Friday, January 31, 2014

The Party "Extremes"


By Jeff Simpson

Its common knowledge now that Mary Burke's campaign strategy is to attempt to appeal to the  Obama/Walker voter.   After the dust up yesterday of Mary Burke skipping out on the appearance by President Obama, her friend Paul Fanlund put out an article, trying to justify this strategy.

Franklin generally agrees: “I think if you look at all of our data over two years now, you do find something in the ballpark of 10 percent that fall into this category of what you might call Walker-Obama voters, and I have looked at them in some detail.
“They’re much more likely to call themselves independents; they are much more likely to say they are moderate rather than either liberal or conservative. They’re considerably younger than the population as a whole. They pay less attention to politics and are, of course, less likely to be partisan.”
The problem that we come into with this is that they make the false assumption, that both sides are the same.  That the "far left" will play as poorly with the general public as the "far right".   That is a false assumption, and the fact that not only the media but all to often the democratic party feeds into that has been a major reason for the election beatings the last few years.

Let's take a look.   For the purposes of this article, I will look at what I consider to be the opposite ends of the spectrum - Republican Senator Glenn Grothman and Democratic Representative Chris Taylor.

Here is a list of  Glenn Grothman's bills:

Sponsoring a mandatory forced ultrasound before abortion,  A bill that prohibits non-existent sex selective abortion, and making it harder to vote. 

A sampling of Representative Chris Taylor's bills:

Healthy Women/Healthy Families Part 1 and 2 (AB 348, AB 349): Restores state funding
to the state’s family planning program and essential Medicaid services for uninsured and
low-income women and families across Wisconsin.
Let Them Drink Milk Initiative (AB 566): This bill restores funding for school milk
programs for low-income children.
Mercury Bill (AB 744): Establishes rebate programs for the return of thermostats and
compact florescent lightbulbs that contain mercury in order to reduce mercury pollution
in landfills and in lakes, rivers and streams.

Not seeming equal to me.  Let's now look, because with the wonders of youtube we can, at SB507:

 Section 1. 48.982 (2) (g) 2. of the statutes is amended to read:
2 48.982 (2) (g) 2. Promote statewide educational and public awareness
3campaigns and materials for the purpose of developing public awareness of the
4problems of child abuse and neglect. In promoting those campaigns and materials,
5the board shall emphasize nonmarital parenthood as a contributing factor to child
6abuse and neglect.
7Section 2. 48.982 (2) (g) 4. of the statutes is amended to read:
8 48.982 (2) (g) 4. Disseminate information about the problems of and methods
9of preventing child abuse and neglect to the public and to organizations concerned
10with those problems. In disseminating that information, the board shall emphasize
11nonmarital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.
12Section 3. 48.982 (2) (gm) of the statutes is amended to read:
13 48.982 (2) (gm) Provide, for use by the board in its statewide projects under sub.
14(5) and for use by organizations that receive grants under subs. (4) and (6),
15educational and public awareness materials and programming that emphasize
16nonmarital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect and the
17role of fathers in the primary prevention of child abuse and neglect.
Glenn Grothmans(the author of the bill) view's:

Chris Taylor on SB 507:

Let's now look at a random video of each

Glenn Grothman pointing out how rough white males have it in America:

Representative Chris Taylor regarding the Republican legislative agenda:

Do you really think we can equate the "far left" with the "far right"?  Are the people of Wisconsin more aligned with Grothman or Taylor? Are there people in Wisconsin who say, I want to force ultrasounds on women and have corporations tell me how much BPA is in the plastic container I just bought?   Are there voters who say i want to make sure we crush the unions and allow minorities to vote, so I am torn on who to support? 

Is that the voter we need to reach?  want to reach? is reachable?

As Fanlund himself puts it:

 Whatever, Walker’s re-election fate will apparently hinge on the sort of political non-combatants reflected in Franklin’s polling. It has always seemed to me, I said to Franklin, that about 45 percent of Wisconsin voters adore Walker, another 45 percent loathe him, and those with much, much less passion get to decide his fate.

 So 90% of the people have their minds made up in terms of what side they are on leaving 10% apathetic.  The one thing no one addresses is that while 90% of the people have their mind made up, less than 50% of the people VOTE.

In Wisconsin we have (roughly) 5,700,000 people of which, approximately 2,500,000 people voted in the last gubernatorial election.   take into account that (roughly) 1,300,000 people are under 18, that leaves roughly 1,900,000 people who do not vote.  The ten percent(which is a very high guesstimate) of undecided's would equal approximately 570,000.  This still leaves over 1,300,000 people who represent a party and have not been motivated to move to the polls to fill in the line. (FYI for perspective - Tom Barrett lost the recall election by 171,106 votes). 

 Who amongst the do not vote category is more likely to turn up on election day?  Someone who identifies and likes a candidate or someone who has no idea whats happening in our day to day society?

Now let's break it down even further.    We know that there are more Democratic voters in Wisconsin than republicans. While Wisconsin is a purple state it definitely leans to the left of center.

Now let's go back to the Marquette Poll that everyone likes to use as a fact:

What issues are important to the people of WI?

Says Franklin of his latest poll: “Support for increasing the minimum wage, support for extending unemployment benefits, opposition to refusing Medicaid expansion. There’s quite a list of things that we polled on that show majorities that are typically Democratic sides of the issue.”
Last summer, Walker quietly signed into law a bill requiring women to have an ultrasound before an abortion, an action opposed by 56 percent to 38 percent in Marquette’s October poll.

Now let's sum it up.  There are more Democratic voters in Wisconsin than republican, the Core issues that matter most to Wisconsinites, are traditional Democratic strong hold issues and the current Democratic candidate for Governor is running as "anything but a rabid Democrat".

 Mary Burke is also losing ground fast

You do the math.  

More on this subject @ Political Heat

Republican War on Public Schools!

By Jeff Simpson

Ruth Coniff at The Progressive has a must read

here is a clip, read the whole thing:

It was Schultz who pointed out that his colleagues' plans to siphon tax dollars into private schools, even as they slash funds for public education, means setting up two parallel school systems.
"How conservative is that?" Schultz said recently. "We are trying to duplicate something we already can't afford."
Schultz also objects to the generally sour tone toward teachers, and what he calls "loose talk" in the Capitol that our public schools are "failing."
"Failing schools, hell," he said at a recent public forum. "Would you like to take me and show me, in my district, where are the failing schools?"
Schultz, like most Wisconsinites, takes pride in his local schools and feels warmly toward the teachers who look after the children in his community. Contrast that with the barrage of right-wing attacks on teachers and public education generally this week during National School Choice Week.


The Virtual Truth

By Jeff Simpson

In the Land of Mordor, they like to keep the Orc's doing the dirty work so the Grand Wizards like Harry Bradley can keep their hands clean.

One of their more bigger fountains of misinformation is James Wigderson.   Jimmy has never ever let facts get in the wayof a good propaganda piece and he is at it again.   Since the rest of the article is behind a  pay wall(people actually pay for this garbage?)  we mercifully, only have access to the last paragraph

No, a virtual school isn’t for everyone. Years ago when I began writing about school choice and virtual schools, I certainly never thought my son would be an online student. A traditional public education was good enough for me, and Waukesha has good schools – both public and private. Fortunately, one of them is an online public charter school.
But as every kid is different, parents need different educational choices. n. That is the real story of school choice, and it’s how I became a proud online school parent.

Let's forget the reality that School Choice is republican code word for lets profit off the backs of public education.  After all "Thar's Gold in them there classrooms."  

Then we also have to look at the reality that we already have school choice in Wisconsin, it is called Open Enrollment. 

What is Public School Open Enrollment?
Wisconsin’s inter-district public school open enrollment
program allows parents to apply for their children to attend
school districts other than the one in which they live.
Applications may be submitted to up to three nonresident
school districts.
Who may participate in open enrollment?
Students in 5-year-old kindergarten to grade 12 may apply
to participate in open enrollment.Open enrollment for prekindergarten, 4year-
oldkindergarten and early childhood education is limited.Parents should call their residen
t school districts to find outif their preschool - aged children qualify for open enrollment. 

You also have the ability to attend any school you want, public, private, online, voucher, charter, religious, etc... You just do not have the right to have taxpayers pay for anything but a public school.  As the Wisconsin Constitution says(yoo hoo tea partiers):

"The legislature shall provide by law for the establishment of district schools, which shall be as nearly uniform as practicable; and such schools shall be free and without charge for tuition to all children between the ages of 4 and 20 years; and no sectarian instruction shall be allowed therein; but the legislature by law may, for the purpose of religious instruction outside the district schools, authorize the release of students during regular school hours." Wis. Const. art. X, § 3.

So there in one paragraph we have exposed two lies  by Wiggy, lets go for the third.

 There is no one-size-fits-all solution for education. 

What is an online education?

 Online education is a one-size-fits-all endeavor. It tends to be a monologue and not a real dialogue. The Internet teacher, even one who responds to students via e-mail, can never have the immediacy of contact that the teacher on the scene can, with his sensitivity to unspoken moods and enthusiasms. This is particularly true of online courses for which the lectures are already filmed and in the can. It doesn’t matter who is sitting out there on the Internet watching; the course is what it is.

 The author of the article sums it up in terms of a college course but can easily be translated to high school.

A truly memorable college class, even a large one, is a collaboration between teacher and students. It’s a one-time-only event. Learning at its best is a collective enterprise, something we’ve known since Socrates. You can get knowledge from an Internet course if you’re highly motivated to learn. But in real courses the students and teachers come together and create an immediate and vital community of learning. A real course creates intellectual joy, at least in some. I don’t think an Internet course ever will. Internet learning promises to make intellectual life more sterile and abstract than it already is — and also, for teachers and for students alike, far more lonely.

 Does anyone think that in a classroom, during the instructional times is the only time you are learning in a school setting?  You are learning not only subject matter, but how to interact with others of different sexes, beliefs, ideologies, religions, ethnic backgrounds, interests, etc... 

Maybe that explains why Wiggy hangs out in Waukesha, preaching propaganda and ignoring and running from opposing viewpoints. 

If Wiggy wants to give his child a vanilla, lonely, sub-par education, that is his right.

However stop spreading lies and propaganda, trying to ruin the education of the other children in WI!

PICTURE OF WIGGY DELETED, Because wiggy cried to Capper and begged for it to come down.  You can find previous pic here!

However, we at CogDis were able to find another pic of Jimmy, when he was out in public recently.


Walkergate 2: The Sons Of Doe Ride Again

After the Walkergate investigations ended with the conviction of six of Scott Walkers aides and supporters, may people thought that that was it.

But in October, news broke that there was another John Doe, or to be more accurate, five more John Doe probes, being conducted.  Precious little was known about these newly discovered investigations.  What we did know was that the investigations involved possible illegal collaboration between the Koch Brothers - Bradley Foundation-supported front groups such as the Wisconsin Club for Growth and Americans for Prosperity and the political campaigns of at least one of the recalled Republicans.  

Trying to get a grasp of what was going on was greatly hindered by the fact that the possibilities were so vast and the network of these front groups and the politicians were so immense, it was hard to keep it all straight.  Another issue was that the credibility of the sources of information was dubious at best.  Unlike Walkergate, these investigations started to leak like a sieve.  Sadly, the leaks were all right wing operatives, some who were claiming to be the subjects of the investigations.  To complicate things further, they were leaking to the right wing front groups and propagandists, adding to the doubt.

Fortunately for us, Lisa Kaiser of the Shepherd Express was digging into it already.  Kaiser was the first to point to some of the central people/groups that were part of the investigation.  She pointed out that Eric O'Keefe, who has claimed to be one of the subjects of the investigation, was the head of Wisconsin Club for Growth and has ties to the Sam Adams Alliance, which in turn funds the Franklin Center and by extension, Wisconsin Reporter.

Kaiser also pointed out the enmeshment of R.J. Johnson, who was a consultant to Scott Walker's campaign as well as involved with Wisconsin Club for Growth.  Johnson was one of the people regularly copied into the emails that were flying between Walker's campaign and his county staff.

Kaiser went on to take a closer look at the front groups and their levels of enmeshment with each other. She was also able to confirm that the Koch Brothers were indeed funneling dark money into Wisconsin to influence the  recall elections.

The right wingers threw everything they could at the Does to at least impede, if not completely stop, the investigations. They ran a damage control barrage on squawk radio and through their various propagandists.  They also hired some very expensive attorneys to challenge the dot on every "i" and the cross on every "t."

A little less than a month ago, retired Appeals Court Judge Gregory Peterson ruled against the Does.  In his ruling, Peterson found that the prosecutors did not provide sufficient cause to believe that a crime was committed. As a result, he squashed the subpoenas that had been issued to, y'know, help investigate if a crime was committed.

The right wing was ecstatic.  Charlie Sykes and his White Wisconsin went on for days and days, claiming that this was some sort of victory for Freedom of Speech.  We heard how this was all some sort of political witch hunt aimed at Republicans.  They even went so far as to try to have White Wisconsin and former ALEC operative Brian Fraley act the martyr because - insert dramatic music here - a reporter asked him a question!

I found all of their antics to be particularly irritating, but especially their painting of themselves as martyrs.  These are the same schmucks that would go after the likes of Professor William Cronon for daring to expose the workings of ALEC.  They also went after me for daring to report the truth about Scott Walker.  Yet when they break the law, they think they should somehow be exempt?

Even though their antics were annoying, I held my tongue, knowing that that when it comes to these types of things, there's more.  There's always more.

On Thursday, the "more" came out.

Among the legal flailings of the right wing martyrs was that it was illegal to have a special prosecutor to run a John Doe investigation and that it was illegal for said special prosecutor and John Doe judge to run investigations in several counties at once.

Three appellate court judges ruled against most of these motions, finding that there were actually five different investigations going on even though they shared some commonality.  They also found that the special prosecutor took away the concerns of politics being the motivation for the investigation ans well as helped streamline the operations for everyone involved.

But the court also ordered that some of the court documents should be unsealed.  These documents include:
Unfortunately, the unsealed documents don't reveal any more specifics about who is being investigated or what they might have supposedly done except for ""suggested criminal campaign finance violations may have been committed by residents of Columbia, Dane, Dodge and Iowa counties."

But some of the unsealed documents do reveal that Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm asked Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen a second time to get involved in the investigation.  Van Hollen again denied this request, claiming that his office could not act with impartiality regarding the case.  And this was long before his office got tapped to represent the judges that they right wingers were suing in their efforts to impede justice.

Keep in mind that Van Hollen often was involved with various political campaigns.  It should make one wonder if what he knew of the Son of Doe investigations led to his decision to not seek reelection.  The question would be because he was part of the shenanigans or because he wants the job of someone who was involved with the shenanigans.

There are a couple of other tidbits that are worth keeping in mind.

One is that Van Hollen tried to dump the investigations onto the Government Accountability Board even though they do not have the authority to conduct criminal investigations, much less prosecute anyone.  With all the attacks on the GAB by the Republicans and their efforts to make it a more political entity, I wonder how much these investigations played into their motivation for doing so.  I think it's not unreasonable to question if they were trying to rig the system.  It would, after all, fit perfectly into their modus operandi.

The other thing to keep in mind is that two of the DA's requesting the John Doe proceedings and the use of a special prosecutor are Republicans.  This is in no way a political witch hunt or an attack on anyone's Freedom of Speech as the Republicans and their propagandists are trying to portray it to be.  

Rather, this is a legitimate investigation into possible crimes against our democracy.