Saturday, July 20, 2019

Is James Wigderson really a dummy?

By Steve Carlson and Jeff Simpson

It’s tough to watch a once great man tumbling into decline. There was a time when human Foghorn Leghorn and occasional Topo Gigio impersonator James Wigderson was a genuine force in Wisconsin conservative politics. A time when the unrelentingly raw, merciless stench of his haphazardly hyperbolic and buffoonishly bellicose rhetoric could not be ignored, much like your aging, alcoholic uncle’s periodontitis scented halitosis wafting across the picnic table at a close quarter family reunion on a hot Sunday afternoon. But no more.
A quick perusal of the Not Quite Right Wisconsin website, where Wigderson serves as editor, reveals a recent body of work woefully bereft of substance, wit or originality.  There are small minded ramblings about Mandela Barnes and bongs, Milwaukee street cars and bikes, that Scot Ross, essentially, is an asshole, and so on and so forth.
The majority of Wigderson’s output, though,  appears to be little more than a parroting of the latest press release from the misnomerly named “ Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty” , the Bradley Foundation funded old white guy club where “ ride to the sound of the guns “ seems to be the corporate motto. Law, Liberty, Guns. Sounds kind of like a Warren Zevon song!
Wigderson’s articles so dutifully repeat WILL’s views on everything from health care policy, to DPI powers, to school choice that, against one’s will, an image slowly comes to mind of Wiggy perched precariously on WILL CEO Rick Esenberg’s lap, his jaw flapping in time to an unseen and unheard metronome while Esenberg’s lips seem to barely move.  Try to unsee that!

It’s a neat trick though one shudders to wonder where Esenberg’s forearm has been. Note to Esenberg: you can now get hand cleaning towels by the bucket!

Friday, July 19, 2019

Duffy Has Meltdown Trying To Defend Trump's Racism

On Tuesday, leading up to the final vote on the resolution saying what we've known all along, that Trump is a racist bastard, former reality TV star Sean Duffy, from Wisconsin, took the floor to defend Trump and deny that he is really a racist. In a matter of a minute or two, Duffy escalated quickly into a full meltdown and ending up calling "The Squad" as being anti-American:
Duffy defended Trump on the floor, saying the president’s remarks could not be racist because they did not cite anyone’s race.

Duffy then went on to accuse the four Democrats criticized by Trump of being anti-American.

“I see nothing (in Trump’s tweets) that references anybody’s race. Not a thing! I don’t see anyone’s name referenced in the tweets,” Duffy said.

“But the president is referring to people, congresswomen, who are anti-American! And lo and behold, everybody in this chamber knows who he’s talking about,” Duffy said.
Duffy got so far out of hand that Representative Pramillya Jayapal (D-Washington) had to ask that Duffy's comments be stricken from the record because they were "defamatory."

However, on Wednesday, Duffy became a profile in courage by saying that his comments were "misinterpreted" and threw Trump under the bus:
Duffy said in the interview Wednesday that when he said, “the president’s referring to people, congresswomen, who are anti-American,” he was referring to Trump’s characterization of those House members as anti-American, not making the charge himself.

Duffy said he was making an argument that if Trump accused unnamed Democrats of being anti-American, and it was widely assumed by Democrats and by journalists that Trump was referring to these four lawmakers, then for Democrats and the media, “they are the four that must match the definition.”

Asked in the interview Wednesday if he thinks those four congresswomen are anti-American, Duffy said, “I think those four have made anti-American comments. I’ve never called them anti-American.”


Asked in the interview Wednesday if he thinks Trump’s tweets went too far, Duffy said, “I wouldn’t use the president’s language or the president’s tone. I’ve always said that. But did I think he’s making a point that you have some people who don’t like this country and make anti-American comments? I don’t think he went too far (in that regard)."
Duffy should really know better, being a former reality TV star and all. The minute he goes off script, he really makes a fool of himself.

Scott Walker: Rural Votes Should Count More Than Urban Votes

Since being finally ousted from the governor's mansion, Scott Walker has been scrambling to find a soft place to land through the conservative welfare system. One of the empty figurehead jobs he got was the chief national fundraiser for a right wing front group, National Republican Redistricting Trust, which goal is to raise money to help the inevitable gerrymandering the Congressional Republicans are going to try to pull. Because of this, Walker will occasionally throw up some lame rationalization for gerrymandering on social media and/or his podcast, ironically names "You Can't Recall Courage."

Media Matters caught an exceptionally gobsmacking moment form Walker's podcast on July 5:

During the July 5 edition of You Can’t Recall Courage, Walker offered further justification of his tweet. Complaining about high voter turnout in liberal-leaning Madison and “unbelievably big” Democratic margins of victory in districts in and around Madison, Walker said it’s a “flawed argument” to say that “a vote in Madison counts the same as a vote in a very rural community or in a suburban community.”

“Just because a bunch of votes are packed into one given area doesn’t mean the rest of the state has to have an equal number of legislative districts held by Republicans and Democrats,” Walker added.

The logic behind this argument is confounding. For example, high margins of victory are a direct consequence of partisan gerrymandering, where minority-party voters are packed into small numbers of districts with the goal of diluting the impact of their votes. And Walker’s previous citation that the vast majority of districts in Wisconsin -- which, again, have been gerrymandered for partisan advantage -- voted Republican in 2018 is itself an argument that boils down to saying that plots of land, rather than residents, should determine representation in the Assembly.
There's a couple, three things that Walker omitted and Media Matters subsequently missed.

One, Milwaukee is also a Democratic stronghold so it's just not one area that is seriously affected.

Secondly, the Republicans have their own strongholds that they heavily depend on to carry statewide elections, the WOW counties:
Wisconsin’s “WOW” counties — Waukesha, Ozaukee, Washington — are legendary for delivering turnouts and landslides that made them among the highest-performing Republican counties in swing-state America.

They aren’t about to turn blue, and they haven’t “abandoned” the GOP the way some suburban counties have in other states. But the Republican vote has now lagged there for two elections in a row.
This only strengthens Media Matters point of how severely gerrymandered Wisconsin is right now.

Thirdly, and most significantly, these urban areas that Walker is disdaining, especially Milwaukee, has the highest concentration of African Americans. In other words, Walker is saying that African American voters aren't as important as the white, rural voters.

While the Republican effort to gerrymander the entire country is obviously a control issue for them because they know they couldn't win in fair elections, but now we have further confirmation on whom they want to disenfranchise to maintain that control.

Cross posted from Crooks and Liars

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Nation’s Fyre Festival?

By Steve Caer

When news broke early in 2019 that the Democratic National Committee had shortlisted Milwaukee as a possible site for its 2020 national convention, many wondered aloud if the city had enough hotel rooms to accommodate the expected 50,000 convention attendees. WDJT Milwaukee reporter Mark McPherson noted at the time that Milwaukee has 18,000 hotel rooms, compared to Miami’s 57,000 and Houston’s 91,000, the other two cities that were still under consideration. Hospitality Marketers International President Greg Hanis told McPherson
“To be realistic you need more rooms than Milwaukee has “and “I would be scratching my head as far as how they could pull this off.”  In spite of these concerns the DNC announced in March that Milwaukee would host the convention, and a great cheer went up from democrats across Wisconsin.
Now, however, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that the city’s hotels and restaurants don’t have enough workers to handle the expected DNC convention crowd, making an iffy situation even iffier. With the convention just a little over a year away this seems a bit of a precarious situation. So how did Milwaukee win over the DNC with these kinds of shortages almost certainly known beforehand?
As we’ve reported previously, it appears the inept, though well compensated, folks at Nation Consulting, the ones who brought us State Supreme Court Judge Brian Hagedorn, have played a central role. Over-selling and under-delivering seems to be standard operating procedure over at Nation HQ, so perhaps it’s no surprise it’ll be a race to the finish to see if the convention comes off as planned.
McFarland lured thousands of unsuspecting fest-goers to a remote island in the Bahamas with promises of a world class music fest replete with top flight accommodations and gourmet chow. Upon arriving at the island, however, attendees abruptly found themselves directed to FEMA tents and cold cheese sandwiches, while a group of local musicians played for a few hours, the only music played during the entire festival. Predictably, lawsuits and criminal charges soon followed and McFarland is currently doing time in Otisville federal prison in upstate New York, the same joint that houses Trump’s former “ fixer “ Michael Cohen.
 We certainly hope the DNC  convention in Milwaukee is a success and that attendees have a good time during their stay here, and we further hope that the event inspires a blue wave that hands Wisconsin to the eventual Democratic nominee in the 2020 November election. But if you’re coming in from out of state, or even out of town, it couldn’t hurt to pack a sleeping bag and a loaf of bread. We have no doubt Nation will supply the cheese.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Lyin' Ryan And Trump Rekindle Their Love/Hate Relationship

Tim Alberta is about to release a new book titled 'American Carnage.' This book takes a look at the tenuous relationships Republicans have with Donald Trump and how they all eventually willingly caved in to him, knowing how bad things were going to get.

Part of the book gives the opportunity to Lyin' Paul Ryan to have his say about Trump and why he decided to retire as he did:
Perhaps no one has had a more tortured relationship with the president than former House speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) — who went from wanting to abandon Trump after the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape to working to enact his agenda after the election all while doing his best to avoid commenting on his tweets and controversial statements.

Alberta reports that Trump berated Ryan over a 2018 spending bill because it didn’t include funding for his border wall but then said he would sign it if Ryan were to give him time to build suspense on Twitter. Ryan agreed and then publicly sang the president’s praises after the meeting.


Now out of office and trading in his power suits for a blue vest, Ryan is back to critiquing Trump in unflattering terms in conversations with Alberta, who writes the former speaker could not stand the idea of another two years with the president and saw retirement as an “escape hatch,” in Alberta’s words.

“We’ve gotten so numbed by it all,” Ryan says. “Not in government, but where we live our lives, we have a responsibility to try and rebuild. Don’t call a woman a ‘horse face.’ Don’t cheat on your wife. Don’t cheat on anything. Be a good person. Set a good example.”

Ryan depicts Trump as uneducated about the government.

“I told myself I gotta have a relationship with this guy to help him get his mind right,” Ryan recalls. “Because, I’m telling you, he didn’t know anything about government . . . I wanted to scold him all the time.”

Ryan says he sees the presidency getting worse, with Trump determined to govern and campaign on his terms, rejecting calls from other Republicans to moderate his message in 2020.

“Those of us around him really helped to stop him from making bad decisions. All the time,” Ryan says. “We helped him make much better decisions, which were contrary to kind of what his knee-jerk reaction was. Now I think he’s making some of these knee-jerk reactions.”

In Alberta’s telling, Trump calls Ryan a “f---ing Boy Scout.”
True to his nature, Ryan is lying his ass off.

Ryan wasn't looking for an escape hatch. He went along willingly with Trump's agenda since it so closely matched his own, including things like the GOP tax scam; killing Social Security and Medicare; suppressing voters' rights; and a general dislike of brown and black skinned people. The only difference between Trump and Ryan is that Trump would say out loud what both of them were thinking.

No, Ryan didn't want to escape Trump. The real reason Ryan up and quit was because he was afraid of losing to Randy "Ironstache" Bryce. And even if he would manage to squeak out a victory, he saw the writing on the wall and knew he would lose his position as Speaker of the House.

As we all knew would happen, the deranged orangutan had a twitter meltdown over someone saying something less than praising him:

I seriously doubt that anyone would be surprised by this. Just like they wouldn't be surprised by the fact that Trump is also a pathological liar. As they say, there's a tweet for that:

I don't think any fallout between Ryan and Trump is due to any philosophical, ethical or any other type of difference. No, any tiff between these two would be the result of too many similarities and seeing themselves in each other.

But if Ryan felt that strongly about disliking Trump, he really ought to consider challenging him in a primary. Now wouldn't that be fun to watch?

Thursday, July 4, 2019

What Has Act 10 Cost You - The Milwaukee County Edition

Let me start this post with two sentences that I never, ever thought I would say in my life, especially as a public sector worker:

The first one is:
Thank you, Scott Walker!
Ooh, that was painful!  OK, the next one is:
Thank you, Chris Abele!
Ugh! I'm never going to get rid of this rotten taste in my mouth!

No, I haven't gone stark raving mad.  I actually have a valid reason for those statements.

To explain, let me remind the gentle reader of something that I have reported on in the past, which is how Walker's Act 10 would have a particularly detrimental effect on Milwaukee County taxpayers:
In 1991, Milwaukee County enacted the "Rule of 75," which meant that when an employee whose age and years of service totaled 75, they were eligible to retire with full pension benefits. However, this rule only applied to non-union represented employees or represented employees that were hired in 1993 or earlier. Represented employees weren't eligible for full benefits until they reached the age of 60 or 64, depending on their date of hire.

When Act 10 was enacted, AFSCME, the union representing public sector workers, chose not to play the Republicans' union busting games and didn't bother holding a vote to recertify. Their contention was that only the unions could decertify themselves and AFSCME wasn't about to do that. Thus, Milwaukee County chose to not recognize the union and claimed that all of its members were now non-represented.

This meant that over 1,000 employees suddenly became eligible for the Rule of 75.

Recognizing this loophole, the county then passed a resolution which basically said that if the employee wasn't eligible for the Rule of 75 then, they weren't eligible for it now.

AFSCME filed a class action lawsuit, arguing that the previously represented employees were now eligible. In other words, the county was trying to have it both ways.
AFSCME had won that lawsuit in 2016.

As I had predicted at the time, Abele appealed it. He lost a second time in 2017.

So Abele then appealed it again to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. I'm sure that Abele thought it would be a slam dunk for him, given how friendly he is with the conservatives, especially his "special friend," Rebecca Bradley.

I would have loved to see his face when the Supreme Court issued their decision in favor of the workers. Especially when the court's ruling was written by Bradley herself:
The Wisconsin Supreme Court delivered a victory Tuesday to a group of Milwaukee County employees, allowing them to take advantage of early retirement benefits that county officials say they didn't mean to give them.

The 5-2 decision is expected to worsen the county's long-term pension liability by $6.8 million, according to a 2016 report. That would force the county to contribute more than $800,000 a year for 20 years to cover the liability.
So, you can see, while I would have much preferred to have had my rights as a worker left intact, there was a silver lining to the whole debacle. To make it even sweeter for me, because of Abele's stalling tactics, not only was I eligible to retire, I was eligible for a modest backdrop - sorry Daniel Bice and Mark Murphy, not enough for you to start frothing at the mouth like you like to do - but enough to make up for a large hunk of the money Walker and Abele stole from me over the past seven years.

Last Friday, I retired as a Milwaukee County worker of more than 24 years.

All that said, as a taxpayer, I am considerably less than thrilled about this course of events.  According to the paper, the cost of all the eligible people retiring would be about $7 million dollars.  I would love to know how Abele came up with that number since there is no way for him to really know.  The County irretrievably lost parts of workers' records in 2013, when Abele, through his negligence, set the Courthouse on fire. He has no way of knowing even who is eligible to retire due to the ruling, much less how much it might cost. 

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Same As It Ever Was

By Jeff Simpson

One thing we know about our friends on the right, especially the folks at Wisconsin Law and Liberty (WILL) is that they love to file frivolous lawsuits.   Rick Esenberg, has to justify his $200,000 + year salary(running his "non profit") by using his law degree to sue anytime a Democrat in WI sneezes. 

Now we see on White Right Wisconsin( I read it so you don't have to), that a "teacher" is joining the lawsuit to keep ACT10 since the operating engineers are trying to have it ruled unconstitutional. 

The "teacher" name is Kristi Koschkee and her argument is:

“As a public school teacher who refused union membership, the lawsuit will restrict my freedoms in the classroom,” Koschkee said in a statement released Friday. “The public unions are once again trying to use the courts to handcuff all teachers, union or not, to collective bargaining agreements. If the unions are successful, it will hurt my ability to do what I love: teach students.”
Kristi Koschkee, was much more famously known as her maiden name during the ACT10 battles of Kristi Lacroix.  LaCroix who was a teacher, then left to try and start an alternative to teachers unions(irony alert), and now is apparently teaching again.   Along the way, Ms. Lacroix also had a stint with the Knot my Wisconsin goon squad, all the while complaining about the supposed vitriol spewed at her by union supporters.   She more than fulfills her daily dose of irony! 

Now Kristi Koschkee's argument, is that by restoring collective bargaining, it will hurt her ability to teach students.  Not exactly sure how that would happen but it makes for a great line to throw red meat out to the hard core right wing base that will never be able to understand the nuance or lack of logic in her statement.   The fact that WILL can base an argument on such loose logic explains what you need to know about them also.     That is why they are known for frivolous lawsuits, they have unlimited Michael Grebe money to clog the courts. 

While I do not know when or why Kristi returned to teaching, there is something I do know for certain about her contract.  Thanks to ACT 10 that she so vocally promoted, she (and all teachers in WI) make $2000 less in base pay than they did pre Act10.

Thanks to White Right Wisconsin we know that the attacks on public education are nevereneding with a certain, well funded group in WI and we need to continue to stay vigilant.

Our kids are depending on us! 



Friday, May 10, 2019

Scott Walker's Clueless Columns

By Jeff Simpson

In the immortal words of - Ronald Reagan - the person Scott Walker first voted for as a teen"There you go again".

Walker who, for some reason has been giving column inches in the Rev. Moon's Washington Times, is out with his second column.   The first was incomprehensible and things have not gotten much better   However what you can gleem from Walker's second column is that he has never had much self awareness. 

Recently, Social media giant Facebook, culled from its community a bunch of far right extremists, like hate monger lunatic Alex Jones, Wisconsin Republican Parties own white Supremacist Paul Nehlen, even a crazy WISGOP group Wisconsin Conservative Union(which has caused Dan ODonnell countless faux tears), among many others (even Louis Farrakhan). 

One thing that our friends on the right are great at, is playing the part of the poor innocent victim.   Yes, there are claims of censorship, but Facebook is a private company and not bound to the first amendment.   When the Republicans can not control something/someone it makes them crazy. 

Which leads us into Walkers latest attempt at an opinion column.  Incredibly titled - Who wants to live in a country that can block free speech.   More of his obsession with Venezuela.

History shows us that dictators often seek to deny the people access to information to thwart revolutions. And in Venezuela, the government has historically had a heavy hand on the media.
Radio and television are censored by an organization sympathetic to the government, and most newspapers are owned by supporters of Mr. Maduro and his predecessor, Hugo Chavez.
Now, they are turning their efforts to blocking digital to stop dissent. We saw similar attempts in 2011, during the April Spring uprisings. Eight years ago, the government in Egypt shut down all access to the Internet. Now, it is happening again in our hemisphere.

Scott Walker, who controlled the message for 8 years, by when he did make a rare appearance in public, only had the courage for invite only events. 

However, nothing showed a heavy hand of the Government and total censorship of free speech as when Scott Walker as Governor, ordered the arrest of anyone who dared sing in the Rotunda of the Capitol. 

Here are pics of the Capitol Police arresting Vietnam War Hero Will Williams and then him falling down on the stairs as they take him down to process him.  He put his life on the line for our country in Vietnam but was treated like crap by Scott Walker for singing in a public building. 

While there are many many many other stories of censorship and desperation in controlling information from the Walker administration, there is one image that sums up the lack of transparency and Unconstitutional actions that defined Scott Walker.

When this picture defines your tenure, you should probably take a good, hard, long look in the mirror before you offer an opinion on censorship anywhere else in the world! 

Monday, May 6, 2019

Wisconsin Loses Again

By Jeff Simpson 

A Wisconsin 2020 election preview just played out in the spring election season here and it is not a good thing for the people of Wisconsin. 

In almost a slam dunk race, the Democrats grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory in one of the most important (and winnable)  State Supreme Court Elections there has been.   Far right extremist, and Scott Walker crony,  barely defeated Judge Lisa Neubauer.   

Hagedorn, became famous for his 1820's anti gay views, so much so, that many traditional funders/bosses of the Republican party, distanced themselves from him.  The WISGOP however felt that his hatred of anyone gay was a feather in his hat and took over the funding and the campaign.   

As Steve Elbow from the CapTimes puts it:

Polling by a group backing Hagedorn showed him trailing badly as he headed into the final week of the campaign.
Yet on Election Day, he edged out Neubauer by nearly 6,000 votes, thanks, some say, to a $1.3 million effort by Republican operatives in the closing days of the campaign.
The initiative by the Republican State Leadership Committee targeted conservative voters who didn’t vote in the spring election last year when liberal candidate Rebecca Dallet won a spot on the Supreme Court. The group estimated that it mobilized 160,000 voters with a multi-media campaign that painted Neubauer as a radical liberal, linked attacks on Hagedorn with last fall’s contentious U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearing and tapped into support for President Donald Trump.
Yes Hagedorn was behind the last week, rightly so, and ended up winning.   Now we have a far right, Hyper partisan,  Supreme Court for a few more years at least. 

Where did we go wrong?   There are many reasons, let's check out a few.

We already pointed out, that Neubauer, paid almost a million dollars in consulting fees.

While we can blame the WISDEMS, and they definitely should shoulder their fair share of the blame but as always, they had help.    As s typical the candidates hired consulting groups:  Nation Consulting,Scott Spector Strategies(Moonlighting from Tammy Baldwin's office). G Strategies,  Spiros ConsultingAL Media and 50+1. 
This is all to the tune of $893,656.60 in the last filing period alone.  
Almost a million dollars in Consulting fees, to end up losing to a homophobic bigot that his own biggest donors would not touch.  
Then there is the case of her campaign manager being not ready for Prime time:

Asked if Neubauer intentionally placed a firewall between herself and the party, campaign manager Tyler Hendricks said: “Yes.”
“We ran a fair, impartial and independent campaign,” he said in a response through the Neubauer campaign’s Facebook page. “Over $100k changed hands between our opponent and the WisGOP in the final days of the campaign, raising serious questions as to his claims of impartiality.”
One of the dumbest statements you will ever read.   Of course Hagedorn is not impartial.  Anyone who paid even remote attention, knows that the candidates who the Republican party runs, are chosen because they are not the least bit impartial.   They know exactly how they will vote and rule n 99% of their cases which is why they were chosen.  To pretend otherwise is naive. 

Neubauer, wanted to distance herself from the Democratic Party.  Yet what voters want is authenticity.  Neubauers resume made it impossible to distance herself. 

There’s no question that Neubauer is a Democrat. She and her husband, Jeffrey, a former state Democratic Party chair, have shelled out more than $100,000 for liberal causes and candidates over the years. She was appointed by a Democratic governor. Her daughter, Greta, is a Democratic state legislator and her husband is a former one. She’s worked for Democrats and she’s campaigned for them.
Yet in her recent bid for the Supreme Court, she sought to brush those Democratic ties under the rug. And she urged liberal outside groups supporting her to stay out.
Of course the "Liberal" groups did not listen, they stayed in and helped tip the scales. 

Zepecki conceded it was a game well-played.
“They’ve got a story to tell because they took a flyer on this race and it worked,” Zepecki said. “They didn’t spend $1 million-plus knowing that they were going to be able to turn out 160,000 conservative voters. But they thought it was worth trying. Sometimes the narrow path to victory pans out. That’s what happened here.”
He said the multi-media approach kept the campaign under the radar. No one knows, he said, what lands in people’s mailboxes or what texts they get on their phones. When the television ad appeared, it was too late to do anything about it.
“We all sort of missed it,” he said. “Most folks were looking at the TV spend and the disproportionate levels of spending there going, ‘Oh this thing’s probably over in the other direction.’ And it turned out there was a whole other campaign happening.”

A million plus dollars on consultants paid for by the campaign, and who knows how many hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to consultants outside of the campaign and "We all sorta missed it".

Good work if you can get it.   Being paid thousands upon thousands of dollars to get your ass kicked and then come back the next election to charge as much and lose again. 

Lather, rinse, repeat. 

As long as  we continue our downward spiral in continually hiring the same consultants to do the same work, we will continue to be the state that used to be Progressive.   

If by some chance, we decide to cleanse our politics of political lifers, whose main goal is to cash a check, then we can get back to the people powered, grass roots efforts that made us a blue state for years.   

I, for one, am not optimistic. 

One last thing, the devil is always in the details.    Everyone knows that the DNC Convention will be coming to Milwaukee in 2020, but everyone might not know that the Registered agent of the Milwaukee 2020 committee is Thad Nation of Nation Consulting.   

Something to keep in mind when you decide if you want to volunteer to do the hard jobs there, while Nation Consulting fills their coffers.   

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

WISDEMS Caught Looking

By Jeff Simpson

The Spring elections came and went and left the Democrats and the people of Wisconsin stuck on the 1500's again.    Brian "Hagar" Hagedorn was elected by a small margin(recount probably coming) but will cement the right wing activist control of the Wisconsin Kangaroo Court for years to come.   

This race was particularly egregious, because many of the normal right wing big money players left Hagedorn out to dry.    He was too extreme for even them, but apparently not for the voters in Wisconsin.   

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Wisconsin Supreme Court race is still too close to call, but Judge Brian Hagedorn says he's the winner.
Right now, conservatively-backed Hagedorn leads liberally-backed Neubauer by 5,801 votes, with 3589 of 3600 precincts across the state reporting.
Hagedorn tweeted this announcement just after 2 a.m. Wednesday.
From the Neubauer campaign:

"This race is too close to call. We are almost assuredly headed to a recount," said Neubauer campaign manager Tyler Hendricks. "We are going to make sure every vote is counted. Wisconsinites deserve to know we have had a fair election and that every vote is counted."
The reality is we do not have fair elections in Wisconsin.   We have a two party system where one (R) has a loyal group of followers no matter what and their only criteria to stay loyal is that whatever the R party does they better piss off the Democrats. 

On the other side of the aisle, Team Blue, is filled with too many crony capitalists, political lifers whose idea of success is come close, cash checks and get hired by their friends. 

Let's take a look:

Judge Neubauer hired Tyler Hendricks as campaign manager.   While I do believe that every candidate for a major office needs a campaign manager, maybe we should require more from them, to run elections with such consequences. 

Hendricks career in politics has been very ho hum and the Neubauer campaign he ran, fit right into that. 

The only ad I personally saw was one that they ran bringing Hagedorn's homophobic blog posts.  It was important to let people know that is who he is as a human.  However it is even more important to discuss YOUR own plans and strengths and beliefs and how they fit in with the rest of Wisconsin.

I am not the only one to see it either. the whole country could see that the WISDEMS dropped the ball.

But wait there is more, there is always more! 

While we can blame the WISDEMS, and they definitely should shoulder their fair share of the blame but as always, they had help.    As s typical the candidates hired consulting groups:  Nation Consulting, Scott Spector Strategies(Moonlighting from Tammy Baldwin's office). G Strategies,  Spiros Consulting, AL Media and 50+1. 

This is all to the tune of $893,656.60 in the last filing period alone. 

Almost a million dollars in Consulting fees, to end up losing to a homophobic bigot that his own biggest donors would not touch. 

Somewhere in that million dollars and multiple out of state Consultants, no one had the idea to blanket some areas in yard signs (I know yard signs do not vote, but neither do out of state consultants), or working with progressive people for local races to do meet and greets and share lit drop etc... 

There are ways to overcome the right wing lemmings and unlimited dark money, but we know that a Wisdems leader that has checked out and hiring out of state and incompetent consulting firms.   

This election was a lay-up and only the WISDEMS could figure out a way to muff it in grand fashion. 

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Robin Vos: Stop Sign To Progress

By Jeff Simpson 

The legislative season is kicking in, and the one person you will be hearing from a lot, is Robin VosRobin Vos is the "leader" of the Republican Party and Speaker of the Assembly.   Vos problem, is when he actually speaks and show his true colors. 

Under the Walker admin, the WISGOP had a plan of demonizing anyone in a union with a special emphasis on teachers.   Their hatred of public education, started with our local public schools, then expanded it to the UW system. 

This led to Vos, Walker, etc... amazingly calling Professors lazy and wanting to make sure they were in the classrooms and not being paid to do research.   Especially research that Vos did not understand (which is about 99.9% of all research done). 

Vos incredible ignorance led to this infamous quote:

In the wake of Republican victories at the polls last Tuesday, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos opened another chapter in a contentious relationship with the University of Wisconsin System.
Vos said he wants university research to be geared toward helping the state's economy, "not on ancient mating habits of whatever."

Apparently the fact that UW system research brings in a billion dollars to the states economy was not good enough, or lost on the uninformed Vos. 

However what I want to focus on here is how incredibly ignorant and dangerous the WISGOP can be to Wisconsinites. 

If Robin Vos had his way, this would have never happened:

UW-Madison researchers have discovered one way a gene that usually protects against tumors can, when mutated, spur cancers of the breast, ovaries, lung and bladder.
The finding involving the protein p53 — for which no drugs have been developed, despite its link to many cancers — could provide a target for drug development, the scientists said.
“If you can eliminate mutant p53, you might be able to eliminate cancers driven by p53,” Richard Anderson, one of the cancer researchers involved in the study, said in a statement.
“Our discovery of this new molecular complex points to several different ways to target p53 for destruction,” said Dr. Vincent Cryns, who also worked on the study.
We have to be diligent in making sure that our politicians work for us, and not for special interests who care about profit and not the people.  No one embodies that  more than Robin Vos.    He puts being a Republican over anything else in his life and we are paying the price for that.   

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Blaska For Imperiled Schools

Dave Blaska, Right wing Republican blogger, is running for the Madison School Board Seat 4. David is running against Ali Muldrow.
To many in Madison, Dave Blaska's name will sound familiar. He has been a stalwart on right wing hate radio Vicki Mckenna's show, and a local blogger.      
Now that Dave, a former State Employee, is retired, he has all day to accost, anyone who supports public education. 

Dave has a long history of being scared of, and wanting to punish anyone who does not look like him or can advance his bank account.   Here is some classic Blaska on section 8 housing:
This landlord offered helpful advice:
Plenty of ways to keep the Section 8s out of units. .... Just keep using creative ways to dodge them and you'll get a good renter in there soon enough. It may hurt your pockets some initially, but it'll definitely payoff in the long run.
Potential School Board member Blaska is offering "helpful advice" on how to "legally" discriminate.   Blaska also proudly concealed carries a weapon, which is dangerous in the hands of someone who is perpetually offended and scared.  Blaska also believes in regulating everything a teacher does all day, especially the women.  Blaska also looks up to Bill Cosby,which explains why Blaska's highlight of attending Scott Walkers Inauguration Gala, was creepily staring at cleavage! 
The most egregious act of Blaska's though, was when he teamed up with Wisconsin Law & Liberty(a right wing, Bradley funded group who is known for filing frivolous lawsuits), and sued the Madison Metropolitan School District. 
Right-wing blogger and professional cranky old man David Blaska has filed suit against the school board, the school district and the Madison teachers union for wasting his tax dollars by signing an employment contract.
Blaska's complaint, filed by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) -- a nonprofit law firm almost wholly funded by the right-wing Bradley Foundation -- accuses the board, the district and the teachers of "unlawful collective bargaining."
Under Gov. Scott Walker's Act 10, the court filing points out, teachers and other public employees are not allowed to bargain over terms of employment, working conditions, merit pay, benefits and any other items beyond cost-of-living increases on base pay.
Blaska, "whose taxes are used to fund the school district," the complaint observes, is also filing his suit on behalf of the teachers, whose rights are being violated by their union, he claims, since they are being unlawfully represented.
The lawsuit was completely without merit and thus was dismissed, but not until after too much time and money wasted on the frivolous challenge. 
Now that Blaska is running for the MMSD School Board, he sees a problem when the district does not punish "those kids" to the fullest extent of the law - and beyond. 
As he says, one of the problems he wants to solve is:  If they can’t keep order at a school board meeting, imagine the chaos in the classroom!   Yet Blaska fails to mention that there is chaos at School Board meetings because he creates the chaos.

Blaska is not in the race for betterment of the district, the kids, or the taxpayers.  David Blaska is in the race to make his name as a charter school hero, so he will create a circus to make sure people are paying attention. 

As he puts in his latest blog:

4. Name three things you believe the MMSD needs to improve.
Classroom Discipline. Return control of the classrooms to teachers.
More charters (call it “one thousand points of light”) One size does not fit all.
Lose the fixation on identity politics.
More charters, equals less money for MMSD and the kids who desperately need it.   

PS:   David after fully supporting ACT10, David likes to say things like:

  •  Trust teachers to control their classrooms. They are the captains of their ship. 
  • Because good teachers are quitting in frustration. Teachers with high expectations for their students, who do not make excuses, ought to be honored — not vilified.
Yet everything ACT10 was designed to do, and all of the many hours Dave has spent on hate talk radio decrying the teachers unions as the downfall of society and now he wants to recognize teachers as leaders?

PSS:  In Dave's latest blog, where he supposedly answers questions from Madison's Teachers Union, he answers with an outright falsehood: 

Because reformers like Mike McCabe — a former spokesman for MMSD! — are applying to Scott Walker’s Office of Educational Opportunity for charter schools instead of to MMSD.

After checking with Mr. McCabe, He says: 
I haven't applied to any Office of Educational Opportunity or anything else related to charter schools.

Why Mr. Blaska would need to make up things like this is beyond me.   I do know for certain that for the good of the children in Madison, please vote for anyone else! 

Image result for dave blaska singing capitol

Cross Posted! 

Monday, March 18, 2019

Brian "Hagar" Hagedorn - 1000 AD Hero

By Jeff Simpson

We wrote recently how Wisconsin Law and Liberty (WILL) was nothing more than a well financed WISGOP Apology/Propaganda machineRick Esenberg is at it again, this time he is standing alone on an island.   As so many typical right wing supporters are surprisingly jumping ship, Esenberg alone stands with Hagedorn.  When you make the money Rick makes to be an apologist, there is no lengths you will not go to protect that gravy train.   However, Esenberg while making a jumbled law argument, tipped his hand elsewhere, and probably did not even realize it(emphasis mine). 

And this is just as wrong as the idea that Hagedorn is somehow beyond the pale because he holds traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs about marriage.

Let's take a look: 

Christian marriage
Christians believe that marriage is a gift from God, one that should not be taken for granted. It is the right atmosphere to engage in sexual relations and to build a family life. Getting married in a church, in front of God, is very important.
A marriage is a public declaration of love and commitment. This declaration is made in front of friends and family in a church ceremony.

That is simple, most people are happy when friends/family get married in a church in front of family and friends.  Most people, not named Robin Vos or Donald Trump would agree with that.   It is the oldest trick in the book though by taking a sliver of his view and pretending that is relevant to all of his views. 

As we dig deeper, we realize that he holds views that would make Jerry Falwell Jr. say damm. 

Esenberg forgets to point out that Hagedorn also believes:

*  "The idea that homosexual behavior is different than bestiality as a constitutional matter is unjustifiable," he wrote in October 2005.

*  "There is no right in our Constitution to have sex with whoever or whatever you want in the privacy of your own home (or barn)," he wrote.

*  In one titled "Another reason why I hate Planned Parenthood," Hagedorn called it a "wicked organization" that was more devoted "to killing babies than to helping women." He said his litmus test for voting in an election was a candidate's position on abortion.
Hagedorn said he had committed himself to praying and lobbying to stop abortion. He went on to say his convictions on this issue and others were given to him by God.
"The Lord has laid three fundamental passions on my heart: 1) Protecting the dignity and sanctity of human life, 2) Defending and preserving the institution of marriage, and 3) Promoting racial reconciliation in the church and culture," he wrote in November 2005.

*  But he also said in his blog that the NAACP, the national civil rights group, was a "partisan hack" and a "disgrace to America" that should be repudiated by all who want racial reconciliation in the nation.

*  He called the Supreme Court's ruling in Roe v. Wade "the worst and most unjustifiable decision in history."
"We are now 45 million Americans short. That's right, 45,000,000 human beings," he wrote in January 2006, estimating the number of abortions that had taken place since the Supreme Court ruling legalizing the practice. "For me, I highly resolve again today that these lives shall not have died in vain."

*  “Here’s the bottom line: Mormon theology is blatant heresy,” Hagedorn wrote in the post found using an internet archive. “Mormons are polytheists who believe we can become gods and who believe that both Jesus and Satan are sons of God the Father.”

These views are no where near the mainstream and it is why supporters are running off in droves, from the Wisconsin Realtors Association(who wants their money back) and the US Chamber of Commerce, do not want to touch this race or be associated with Hagedorn in the least. 

As Joel McNally writes, there is positives that come from such hateful rhetoric:

That move proved to be too much even for a majority of Republicans. That’s another positive political sign, along with the growing reluctance of Republican funders to finance openly bigoted candidates.

Now it is up to the people of Wisconsin to reject openly bigoted candidates in the Spring elections.   

Vote NO for hate and 15th Century beliefs and YES for Judge Lisa Neubauer!   

Here at Cogdis, we were able to find an old college picture of Brian Hagedorn in college where he cemented his beliefs! 

Friday, March 1, 2019

Maciver Faces Reality

By Jeff Simpson 
(Matt "not a journalist" Kittle crying with Robin "bitter far right partisan" Vos that an adult introduced a budget in WI for the first time in 8 years).   

One thing that never fails to amaze me in modern day politics, is when someone does something stupid, their best defense is to pretend it never happened.  We saw Scott Walker master that with his perpetually sticking his foot in his mouth(wall off Canada, comparing peaceful protesters to ISIS, etc..) then pretend it never happened.    Luckily for them, the Wisconsin Press Corps is toothless and pandering and they never get called on it. 

Unlucky for them, Capper started a blog a few years ago and invited me to join him. 

The latest situation of faux outrage and terrible memories comes from our friends on the right - Maciver Institute.  Tony Evers refused access to their bloggers at a press briefing, and their feels got hurt. 

 Gov. Tony Evers likes to talk a lot about transparency and accountability.
Those two noble words, after all, were in the first paragraph of the Democrat’s campaign agenda.
“For the past eight years, Wisconsin’s state government has been used to … undermine our state’s rich tradition of transparency and accountability,” the opening lines of the political document state.
But it appears the governor is suffering from selective transparency and accountability. He certainly doesn’t seem to have much time for conservative journalists and critics.
Evers administration made that clear — again — on Thursday afternoon, when his handlers barred MacIver News Service from attending a Capitol Press Corps budget preview powwow behind closed East Wing doors.
This, despite the fact that MacIver has long been a credentialed Capitol news organization in good standing. 
They are credentialed in "good standing" because Scott Fitzgerald and Robin Vos issue the credentials. Does anyone think that a dark money propaganda org, that will write whatever they are told to help the Dems look bad and the GOP look good would not be in good standing with the WISGOP? 

Even Robin Vos apparently felt the need to weigh in (Edit note: i just saw this on Macivers page, could not see it on my own as Robin Vos is currently illegally blocking me on twitter.  Hey Robo - my handle is JeffSimpson7, please follow the law and unblock me):

Robin Vos@repvos
Amazing that @wisgop allow liberals to attend but @GovEvers is afraid to let @MacIverWisc attend?MacIver Institute@MacIverWisc
And thus ends the Open Government Era of the Walker years ... @MacIverWisc not allowed to attend @GovEvers capitol press corps budget briefing this hour despite MacIver's multiple requests and its capitol credentials. MacIver turned away at the East Wing door #wiright #wipolitics 311:38 PM - Feb 28, 2019
Umm Robin, I know that no one ever accused you of being brilliant or even remotely non partisan, but you do not "allow" liberals to attend.  Let me refresh your memory:

It doesn’t appear Walker is interested in improving his own image among certain members of the press, however. In an effort to block access to independent journalists, the entire media group, which was already set up in a first floor conference room, was asked to move to a more secure room on the sixth floor of the building.
The move caused congestion with about twenty members of the press and all their equipment jammed up in the hall outside the elevator. State officials checked the press credentials for a second time before allowing people onto the elevators. Once on the sixth floor, several independent journalists, including Jenna Pope and Arthur Kohl-Riggs, were denied access to the room by four Capitol Police officers.
These enhanced security measures delayed the press conference by 45 minutes.
Once in the room, Scott Walker’s Communications Director and former Karl Rove associate Jocelyn Webster ejected a WCCA-credentialed photojournalist for not displaying her press credentials (even though she is well-known photographer in the Capitol), and scanned the room in hopes of targeting more non-preapproved reporters.  Members of the public who pay for the state-owned building and to whom the governor is accountable as a public servant, were also blocked from attending the press conference.
Almost word for word the other way.   I personally feel that both sides need to let in people with press passes of either persuasion.  I also feel that the politicians should not be deciding who gets a press pass and who does not.   The one thing though that I am certain of, is that no one at Maciver is a journalist, nor are they reporters, they especially are not investigative reporters.    They are in our category of political bloggers, they are in a subset though of the Political Propagandist Bloggers, since they have a nice budget from the Bradley Foundation, so really stand for nothing but a paycheck.   

I also applaud Tony Evers for keeping them out of his presser.   Unless, both sides want to get together and come up with a fair and impartial way to issue press passes, then the WISDEMS need to be playing the same game as the WISGOP.   

For too long they haven't been. 

As a blogger, I say let the bloggers in (I have occasionally had press passes), but I have never once called my self a reporter or a journalist, and if Matt Kittle and his cohorts, continue to do so, maybe they should talk to a therapist about delusions of grandeur, before they get their blogger press pass and are allowed out in public! 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

WISGOP Founding Fathers of Fake News

By Jeff Simpson 

For some reason, The Jussie Smollett story is a story that the WISGOP can not seem to stop talking about. 

From Jimmy Wigderson, to hate talker Vicki Mckenna and the incomprehensible Dan O'Donnell has been obsessed with it.

Now that it is rather obvious that "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett paid two Nigerian-born brothers (one of whom was for a time his personal trainer) to help stage a hate crime hoax in Chicago, one must ask why so many in the media and Democratic Party fell for such a questionable story in the first place.
To paraphrase Agent Mulder in another popular FOX show, it was because they wanted to believe.
They wanted to believe that President Trump has fomented such a hateful environment that his supporters would attack a gay, black Trump critic simply for being a gay, black Trump critic. They wanted to believe that, as CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin put it, "this is America in 2019."
Only it isn't. It's the America that the political left and its media allies have invented. Sadly, hate crimes do occur, but they are dramatically outnumbered by the truly staggering number of hate crime hoaxes that generate similarly uncritical and sympathetic coverage.

They are acting like staging attacks for political point is a new thing.   That it is some deep conspiracy that "the left" has concocted to figure out a way to make The Donald look bad. 

Yes the Donald can make himself look bad all on his own, he needs no help for that

However I want to perform a public service and remind our friends on the right, that making up stories to score political points is something the WISGOP and the right has been doing for years now.   Let's jog their memory.

The all star of fake news is, of course, Christian Schneider.   Schneider, for reasons unknown to anyone,  had a column in the Journal Sentinel for years and helped break the story that Mark Pocan's husband attacked and beat Pocans opponent.  As with many things that Schneider wrote, there was not a lick of truth to his story, so he did what most unethical people do when caught in a lie.  Deleted the story like nothing ever happened.

Not to be outdone by the idiocy, irrelevant ex Senator Neil Kedzie's son got beat up at bartime in Whitewater for being an ass.  Instead of owning up that he raised a son who could not handle his liquor, Kedzie blamed it on Democrats and said that his son was beat up because he had a Romney/Ryan sign in his yard.  Kedzie even had his taxpayer funded staffers calling the Romney campaign trying to get national exposure.  We knew it was fake immediately, because supporting Paul Ryan is punishment enough, no need to throw salt in the wound and hit him also.

Then, that captain of telling fake stories, Scott Walker, even wrote a fake book about all of the times he was harassed on the campaign trail, but stood up to the bullies like the hero he likes to think he is.  The problem of course was the time he told his ghostwriter about that made the book, were all #fakenews.    Walker claimed many things from, protesters surrounding his car at Devils lake and shaking it to getting spit on at his local grocery store.

The one commonality of all of Scott Walker's "protest" stories is that they are never true.

Speaking of the Capitol protests, Matt Kittle from Maciver recently tweeted about the riots at the Capitol.

As someone who not only was at the Capitol protesting almost daily, I took my 7 and 4 year old children at the time whenever I could.   There was nothing resembling a riot.   Three Pinocchios to Matt on that tweet. 

We see that our friends in the WISGOP are the Founding Fathers of fake news and are actual Republicans, yet not a peep from the hate talk/propaganda bloggers trolling through the internet. 

I would say that it seems like many in the WISGOP are auditioning to be guest stars on "Empire" but not sure that Robin Vos and Jim Steineke allow anyone of our African American brothers and sisters to watch! 


Thursday, February 14, 2019

Small Government WISGOP Strikes Again

By Jeff Simpson

Everyone knows that we have appeased our African American brothers and sisters by declaring February(the shortest month of the year) as Black History month so we can appease them and get back to forgetting their history 11 other months a year. 

The Wisconsin Assembly Black Caucus, and specifically Rep. David Crowley, authored a Black History Month Resolution he wanted to get passed to honor the one month a year we have allowed Black History to be discussed. 

Then what in reality is no surprise whatsoever, the WISGOP stepped in to block and edit the resolution. 

The Wisconsin Legislature's Black Caucus, which is composed entirely of Democrats, drafted the annual resolution to honor dozens of prominent African-Americans from Wisconsin. An early draft included Kaepernick, the one-time San Francisco 49ers quarterback who started the movement of kneeling in protest during the national anthem at games.
The resolution draft credited Kaepernick, a Milwaukee native, as an athlete and political activist who "has sought to raise attention to racial injustice and systemic oppression."
But Republicans blocked the resolution until Democrats agreed to leave Kaepernick out. He does not appear in the updated text. A final version has not been approved.

Noted Historians Robin Vos and Jim Steineke, thinking of themselves as Livy and Tacitus, have decided that the Black Caucus was not qualified to decide which Black Americans to honor so in a move of unequaled arrogance, the two white privileged gerrymandered lawmakers offered up a counter-proposal to the Black Caucus original proposal that would be acceptable for the all white GOP gerrymandered caucus

Republicans on Tuesday introduced a different resolution with the same text as the black caucus' proposal, but replacing Kaepernick and Milwaukee Rev. Greg Lewis with Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes and former Wisconsin Secretary of State Vel Phillips.
Democrats objected, blocking a vote on the GOP proposal.
Because of their objection, Vos suggested black Democrats were trying to distract from the Assembly's planned vote on a middle-class tax cut plan.
"I know that because we are making headway on actually doing something that’s going to affect every middle-class Wisconsinite you’re trying to figure out any way to talk about something different," he said.   

Ok, we need to let that statement truly sink in.    This guy, who for some reason the Republicans have made their speaker, has decided that the Assembly Black Caucus can honor African Americans, during black history month BUT only as long as he approves of the African Americans that they would like to honor. 

This from a guy who received a whopping 18,711 votes in the last election(his opponent received 10,487 votes).   For contrast, Rep. David Crowley, running unopposed received 20,820 votes in 2018.   Vos, in earning his 18,711 votes has raised $300,000 (about $15.75 per vote).   

Rep. Steineke, was not scared to go on record:

But Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke of Kaukauna reportedly said Republicans wouldn’t support the resolution that included Kaepernick “for obvious reasons,” referring to the former quarterback’s protests during the National Anthem.

To still be upset about his protesting police brutality, two years ago is a simpleton reason to reject this Resolution.  Not only are the protests old news, but it is an issue that has more layers than an onion

That all aside, I would guess that no one in the Republican side of the legislature has any idea how much time and money that Kaepernick has been giving to charity since the protests started. 

This is the results of Republican Gerrymandering,   In Wisconsin with 5.8 million people, an insignificant unpopular childhood, could lead to a person deciding all major decisions and policies in Wisconsin because they received 8,224 (less than 1%) more votes than their opponent. 

8,224 votes have taken us down the far right rabbit hole in Wisconsin.    We are all worse off because of it.