Friday, October 31, 2014

Wisconsin Republicans Are All Wet

By Jeff Simpson

When you like to share Swastikas and talk denigrate the President of the US using racial and homosexual slurs, you will find that maybe you are not the most popular guy in the room.   However, you can always find some good friends with similar views:

Here Gary Ellerman, is doing the ice bucket challenge where he challenges his good friends, Scott Fitzgerald and Steve nASS.  

The ONLY thing missing is Wild Bill Kramer.

Scott Walker's Inner Circle!

By Jeff Simpson

Just so everyone knows, the person who came up with the Mary Burke was fired silly meme, is not only Scott Walker's good friend, he is also head of the Jefferson County Republican Party:

The very same person also posted this on his facebook page(which disappeared)!

Cute isnt it?  

Ladies and Gentleman your Republican Party! 

Scott Walker's Friend

"Governors should be defined not just by what they do and say, but who they surround themselves with..." --- Scott Walker.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Is it time to freak out? Nope! It's time to VOTE!

The highly regarded (and usually accurate) Marquette Law School poll swung wildly in Walker’s favor this week.  Should the electorate be freaked out that this bloc of “likely voters” will be the ones who vote Walker in to a second term?  Not necessarily.

My favorite statistician, Nate Silver, wrote about the challenge that “likely voters” can present to pollsters in a column on his FiveThirtyEight blog on October 22, 2008.  That week there were just two weeks to go until the nation would elect Barack Obama the 44th President of the United States. Pollsters had scrambled to predict whether – or by how much—Barack Obama would be elected.  One of the measures they cited in their poll results was “likely voters”, and if you drilled down into the data, you’d see that their definitions varied wildly on this term. What exactly is a likely voter?

Silver dissected the polls individually, finding two types of “likely voters.” The first “…considers both a voter’s stated intention and his past voting behavior. The second cluster coincides with their ‘expanded’ likely voter model, which considers solely the voter’s stated intentions. Note the philosophical difference between the two: in the ‘traditional’ model, a voter can tell you that he’s registered, tell you that he’s certain to vote, tell you that he’s very engaged by the election, tell you that he knows where his polling place is, etc., and still be excluded from the model if he hasn’t voted in the past. The pollster, in other words, is making a determination as to how the voter will behave. In the ‘expanded’ model, the pollster lets the voter speak for himself.”

The final Marquette Law School poll asked voters if they were registered to vote, asked them to rate how likely they were to vote, and whether or not they had voted already (early voting was under way when the most recent poll was done). This is not as accurate or as in-depth as the description of the first cluster in the paragraph above.  Add to this the in-depth analysis that Harry Enten did of the Marquette and Wisconsin pollsters who’ve tracked state voter data (, August 28, 2014): “The poll’s registered voter results are more in line with the long-term averages of the Marquette poll and Wisconsin polls overall, and there isn’t evidence from past campaigns that Marquette’s likely voter screen produces more accurate results.”  Enten goes on to explain, “It’s important to remember there is nothing magical about a likely voter screen. Marquette chooses a simple screen: Those who say they are absolutely certain to vote in November. Marquette could just as easily choose to include participants who say they are very likely to vote. Both methods have been employed in the past by other polls, and studies have shown that some people don’t accurately gauge their likeliness to vote.
Nor is there much of a sign that using a likely voter screen on Marquette’s surveys improves their accuracy, even within a month of the election. An average of Marquette polls during the final month of the 2012 recall had Walker ahead by 6.4 percentage points among registered voters and 6.5 points among likely voters. Walker won by 6.8 points. In the final month of the 2012 presidential campaign, President Obama led Mitt Romney by an average of 4.2 percentage points among likely voters and 6.9 points among registered voters. Obama won the state by 6.9 points.”

What I find most interesting is the responses in the Marquette Law School poll that could only lead the reader to believe that right-leaning voters are overrepresented in the sample. More people are in favor of Walker’s handling of the state economy, fewer people approve of the job President Obama is doing, 37.6% of those polled approve of Mary Burke and 46% disapprove…  You see where I am going with this.  It’s important to note that some of these responses will get weighted in the end to make up a more representative sample that accurately represents statewide political affiliations and preferences, but I would challenge anyone to read the raw data and not come away feeling like right-leaning individuals were overrepresented.  Also, when you look at how they weighted the poll results, though they don’t explain why, they chose to over-represent both “lean Republican” and “Independent” voters, further making polling results lean to the right.  I simply can’t come away from the sampling data on this poll and say that it’s entirely balanced. Read more here:

Americans are growing less willing – seemingly by the week—to affiliate with either party. I can’t say I blame them. I'd like to do a pretty major overhaul on the DPW, myself. All complaints aside,  let's make one last push, everyone.  There are still lots of opportunities to volunteer to drive voters to the polls, to get those last-minute reminder e-mails out to your left-leaning neighbors, or reach out to your local party and see what else is left to do that day.  Let’s restore and repair this great state’s reputation.  Let’s end Walker’s fascist, fiscally irresponsible stranglehold on Wisconsin on Tuesday, November 4. It’s well within our reach, Wisconsin. It is absolutely NOT Walker’s race, even according to the numbers, if you look closely enough.  VOTE!

The Walker Spiral

Election time is once again very near. I can see it from my house, just like Sarah Palin can see Russia! Har har. Okay, but seriously, we all have SO MUCH riding on this election. If you kvetch about politicians and policies you don't like, while at the same time thinking about how NOT voting is somehow some rebellious act that makes a difference, you've forever given up your right to complain. This isn't one to sit out. This election for the livelihood our state of Wisconsin, the state we all love so much, is really do or die. It's time to vote out Scott Walker. And not only him, but his GOP minions in the assembly and state senate. They're all in lockstep with Walker, and in order to make change, we need to get rid of them all. Also, how many of Mary Burke's campaign staff have been to prison or are currently under investigation? Oh yeah, NONE. Do you think Walker ever visits his friends in prison? Or would he like to pretend they don't exist? Hmm, that's a question someone really ought to ask!

Think about the people you love. Your parents, your kids, your spouse, your neighbors and friends. The policies currently enacted by Gov. Walker and his GOP friends have had serious and real consequences on you and those you love. Whether it's stealing money from kids in public schools, or hurting our returning veterans, Walker has proven time and again that he cannot be trusted in office. Just look at his promise to create 250,000 jobs. He touted that promise for months on the campaign trail in 2010. Now that he's had 4 years to act on that promise and has failed miserably, he's abandoned that talking point and wants it to go away. If we can't trust him to keep the promise that was the epicenter of his campaign, we cannot trust him at all.
Is this really what we want for another 4 years?
 If we allow Walker to be reelected on Tuesday, it will be more of the same. Wisconsin cannot afford to continually allow money to be taken from our children's schools and put into the hands of millionaires under the guise of "job creation." We've already proven during the Reagan years that trickle down economics doesn't work. So why would we want someone who will continue to do it? Does anyone really believe that handing rich people more money will somehow inspire them to use that to put people back to work? Because I don't believe it, and neither should you. He hasn't even come close to creating 250,000 jobs (but wait, I thought government didn't create jobs?) and he never will. Job creation comes by putting money back into the pockets of workers and their families, not millionaires. And that's exactly what Mary Burke will do.

Most of all, and this must be echoed everyday, if you're a woman, this election is crucial. Scott Walker wants us to suddenly believe that he never wanted to keep women from making equal pay with men, or that he didn't want to illegally probe us with an intrusive and unnecessary ultrasound while women excercise the constitutional right to abortion. He believes we're idiots that, when sweet talked by his lieutenant governor in their latest campaign ad, we'd forget these things. That putting Rebecca Kleefisch in the ad to tell us that, oh no, she and Walker DO want us to succeed, and that Mary Burke just wants us to sue employers, will work. All this proves is that Scott Walker thinks you're an idiot. He thinks you are dumb enough to believe that he didn't sign away women's equal pay protection, or that living on $7.25 an hour is sustainable for yourself and your family. Do you really want someone like that in office? Yeah, me neither.

So, long story short - Get out and vote on Tuesday and take everyone you know with you to the polls! We cannot afford 4 more years of the same policies that have sent Wisconsin into a spiral that Walker wants to continue to take us down until we eventually hit rock bottom. That's when Walker we'll leave to go run for president, leaving us to clean up his mess. Wisconsin is known for being a state of hard working people who support each other and their neighbors. Mary Burke knows that. Mary Burke is the only candidate running for governor who is fighting to strengthen Wisconsin's working class, who'll support women and working families and make education affordable. And she needs help by us supporting other progressive candidates running for office in the state. If you haven't believed before that voting is crucial to our livelihoods, believe it now.

The Dog Whistles of Autumn

Photo: With Scott Walker and Ron Johnson for the #WIComeback tour today. 5 days and counting. Are you in for four more years?

By Jeff Simpson

The Republican "superstars" of Wisconsin are on a #wicomeback bus tour of WI.  It is comprised of such people as Scott Walker, Paul Ryan(R-Wall St.), Rebecca Kleefisch, Ron Johnson, etc... 

They are trying to get out the vote in rural Wisconsin and that sound you are hearing is one LOUD Dog Whistle!  

This week, when I traveled through Wisconsin's Republican strongholds, I found something close to a panic about a close race that could be stolen by voter fraud. At a Saturday get-out-the-vote rally in conservative Waukesha County, headlined by Representative Paul Ryan, speaker after speaker warned that the Walker-Burke contest could be decided by faux votes from Milwaukee, the heavily segregated city down the road.

 "We don't have vans that are bribing folks with cheeseburgers in the city of Milwaukee," said Vicki McKenna, a conservative talk radio host based in Madison. "Theirs is a by-any-means-necessary movement: Drag people to the polls by promising cheeseburgers and cigarettes ... they're dragging people to the polls promising everything from barbecue to smokes."
 Do you see what she is doing there??? 
In politics, to make an innocuous statement which is designed to trigger previously indoctrinated bigotry & hatred without being recognized by outsiders for bigotry or hateful speech.


It really is quite disgusting!  Lets make sure it does NOT work!  Wisconsin deserves so much more than that!  

Vote for Mary Burke!  

Compare/Contrast Wi Visitor Edition

By Jeff Simpson

We have had no shortage of political celebrities visiting WI to GOTV for the upcoming Gubernatorial race lately.  The company we keep says alot about us, and I think we have the perfect example.  

Governor Scott Walker who has run a divide and conquer strategy to perfection:


Mr. Walker has had his good friend Chris Christie come to campaign with him a few times.  here is Mr. Christie responding to a "heckler" who is actually a Hurricane Sandy victim who wants to know why the Governor is still sitting on 80% of the funds used for Hurricane relief. 


Mary Burke has actually had President Obama here and let's see how he handles protestors:


That pretty much says it all, one party, one candidate respects all points of view and one doesnt.   Which one do you want running our state for the next 4 years?  

I think the choice is clear!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Women Will Win It

Now that's it's election time, and Overlord Walker has a very serious possibility of losing his governorship, (you don't spend $2 million dollars one week before a major election because you're winning) he's decided that sucking up to us women would be a good idea. Whether it's  determining our reproductive freedom, or politicians telling us we absolutely do not need equal pay, our future as women can see very bleak, but we do have the opportunity to change it.

You'll have to excuse me while I pick my jaw up off the floor after seeing Scott Walker's new ad about women's equal pay and how he and his lieutenant governor, Rebecca Kleefisch of "gay marriage means you can marry your dog," fame, now support it. Never mind that he repealed Wisconsin's equal pay law or believes that $7.25 an hour is enough for people to live on. Oh no, Walker loves women! So much so that he wants to stick us with invasive vaginal probes if we dare exercise our right to have an abortion.

In this new ad, Wisconsin's own Sarah Palin, Rebecca Kleefisch, lies to us with a straight face that Scott Walker supports equal pay, and that Mary Burke just wants women to be sue-happy to get their way in the workplace. It's hard to know where to begin dissecting the complete and utter BS that gets thrown at the viewer in 30 seconds, so let's start at the beginning. Kleefisch says, "I find it so insulting that Mary Burke would say that we're making it harder for women to earn equal pay." THEN DON'T REPEAL LAWS THAT MAKE IT EASIER FOR WOMEN TO EARN EQUAL PAY.  Congrats Palin Jr, you've managed to make me sit here and literally not know how to respond to such a resounding lie. Next she's going to convince us that the sky isn't blue or the grass isn't green, or snow isn't white (white of course, being the favorite color of the GOP.) "Under Scott Walker, workplace discrimination will always be illegal." Again, we HAD protections in place to keep it illegal, and Walker got rid of them. "Mary Burke wants to create more opportunities for women to sue. We want to create more opportunities to succeed." Just stop. Please.

All joking aside, this ad is incredibly offensive. Does Walker really think this commercial is going to fly with women? Like we suddenly forgot the inhuman treatment we've received from his administration? If this is supposed to win us over, it has failed horrifically. This just shows the utter contempt that the GOP has for us. They think we're stupid, they think we're weak and that we'll cave to their lies. That sending a woman in front of a camera to tell us to ignore what her running mate has done to us will work. This is the EXACT reason why the Republican party isn't winning with women and they never will.

I encourage everyone to do so and to vote for Mary Burke! And if you're up in my neck of the woods of southwestern Wisconsin, also cast your vote to keep Ron Kind in congress and to send Pete Flesch to the state assembly! Politicians who know how to respect the rights of women that so many fought for for so long and continue to fight for. The women's vote is precious and our very lives depend on it. On November 4th, women will win it!

Mary Burke By a Nose


Todd Robert Murphy calls Governor race for Mary Burke by a Nose

The Wisconsin Race for Governor Who will win?

The easy way out of this narrative on the gubernatorial race would be to call it a coin toss between Scott Walker and Mary Burke. All of the polling data is pointing in that direction. The paradox of this campaign is Walker should be winning handily and he’s not. Statistically speaking, it’s a draw. In combination with the tangible elements of the campaign, deciphering the qualitative complexities is a critical part of the equation. The elusive variables of a campaign are the things you can’t measure that are generally refined through experience. The more experience you have, the better your instincts.
The Burke-Walker race for governor is one of the most complicated political dynamics Wisconsin has experienced in a long time. And, the incumbent may lose. That could be construed as nothing short of heresy in the very red county of Waukesha. There is a case to be made for either candidate to win the election; my thesis dissects both sides of the argument. Few people who are active in either camp would discount my line of reasoning privately.

Some of the issues both candidates have been peddling on the campaign trail should be put into perspective or just debunked. Mary Burke is alleging we are headed for a $1.8 billion deficit, which is as close to impossible as me being named the next archbishop of Milwaukee. It assumes there will be no growth, or zero revenue growth. If the state of Wisconsin continues at its current growth rate we would likely achieve a balanced budget. So candidate Burke is fairly heavy-handed on the assumption side of her analysis. Act 10 is a non-issue at most kitchen tables in Wisconsin; it’s over, end of story, and the Capitol protests lost a lot of folks on the issue of collective bargaining rights. Privately, most municipal officials are happy with the result. Walker has avoided the issue and, to many, it’s one of his most significant achievements. His avoidance makes no sense.

Walker continues talking about 100,000 new jobs he’s created and the horrible hand he was dealt when former Gov. Jim Doyle left office. He promised he’d create 250,000 new jobs and hasn’t come close, so he’s carving the turkey from the backside of the bird. Any candidate who would have been elected in 2010 would have been left with a tough economy and a bleak job market. His refrain is a tired whine, much like President Obama blaming President Bush for his problems. Voters don’t care. Walker claims to have put our house in good order financially but there were plenty of developments nationally that contributed. The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is something most people like, they want it improved, and they are saving money on health care costs. The frenzied pronouncements this would be the beginning of lousy health care were never true and it was never a good issue for Walker.

Property taxes are lower because Walker gave us across-the-board tax cuts, saving the average household around $150.00. But, he did so on the back of education cuts; a claim that Burke has hammered in her campaign. It’s mostly true. But he has also reprioritized the need for post-high school training programs. Still, Mary Burke’s pizza slice commercial is very effective and it looks like a decent pizza. And, Walker’s tax cut won’t cover the heating bill for most households this January.

Mary Burke, on the other hand, has tripped, stumbled, tumbled, slipped, plummeted, plunged, and vaulted her way from obscurity to make this a neck-and-neck race. She handled herself well in the debates, although few people actually watched them. She avoided embarrassing headlines and news reports. The charge of plagiarism on her jobs plan was mishandled by her campaign. Lifting work from other campaigns is done all the time and the accusation laughable to insiders. Still, it was dumb. But it appears, according to the polls, she dodged a bullet.

Jim Doyle and Mary Burke aren’t conjoined. Most people only vaguely remember Doyle. Tying Burke to Doyle was a weak tactic. There is research that demonstrates you can’t transfer the personal popularity or disdain from one politician to another. The electorate generally doesn’t blame candidates for prior association. Mary Burke’s tenure as commerce secretary isn’t very relevant in this campaign. It’s not like Jim Doyle was Jimmy Carter.

Burke hasn’t overplayed the woman card. It was the right move. Women aren’t a homogenous horde of Philistines who march in lock step to the single issue of the Emily’s List’s movement: abortion. Women are increasingly finding the single-issue resonance of Emily’s list abortion rights mantra insulting. While Walker may not be winning the women’s vote, the real question is: Will Burke win enough of it? While Walker’s ad, stating reasonable people can disagree about abortion, given his strong pro-life background, may have backfired. Many women found it offensive, not because of his position but because it was insulting to all women by its insincere pandering.

The charge of plagiarism on her jobs plan was ludicrous but an issue that looked like it would stick. Walker’s camps handled the initial reports very well. Lifting work from other campaigns is done all the time and not only in the written word but also in TV, direct mail, radio ads, and get-out-the-vote efforts. Does anyone really believe Scott Walker wrote all his plans? Many thought this would stick to Burke but it hasn’t.

Bill Clinton is a rock star and helps build the Burke brand--the Obamas don’t. They should be avoided; it hurts her. But again, not devastating.

Walker’s inability to move the needle in terms of favorability is puzzling. He hasn’t been a bad governor. He ran hard in the recall and has been ballot-tested twice before. He can’t seem to move beyond that 45 percent to 50 percent in the polls. It seems baffling for his campaign too. The question is, why?

The constant news reports on the Walker John Doe probe and the criminal acts of a half-dozen of his surrogates may have left doubts in the minds of voters as to his culpability. He’s never been charged. But the constancy of the news reports has taken its toll. I have written in the past that it is morally and ethically wrong to dangle unsubstantiated allegations tarnishing his name. And, it could be the one of the underlining reasons, as the incumbent he appears so vulnerable.

But Walker’s campaign has made mistakes. His campaign should have demanded many more debates. It was a mistake to hold two Friday night debates so close to the election and on high school football night. Many of his own people encouraged more debates. It was an opportunity to draw distinction with Burke on their respective approach’s to governance and define each other on important issues. It was a blown opportunity for people to get to know their governor.

When Scott Walker said in the last debate, “We don’t have a jobs problem, we have a work problem,” the context in which he made the statement was clear. But that’s not how it’s been reported and it hurt him. He also blundered significantly opposing a modest minimum wage increase. Over 70 percent of Wisconsinites support the increase. Despite a 5.4 percent unemployment rate, real income for average families is down more than $2,000 during Walker’s tenure. These are pocketbook issues to voters. It created a huge opportunity for Burke on topics of job creation and the modest minimum wage increase. She’s grabbed the ball and continues to run with it.

There is an apparent and mystifying disaffection with Walker and voters. It’s not quantifiable; people who are passionate about him are very passionate and people who dislike him really dislike him. In his own party, Republicans overwhelmingly favor Congressman Paul Ryan as the GOP standard-bearer.

Walker is almost robotically smarmy; when speaking he seems unapproachable. He tends to romanticize his tenure as governor and it’s simply not jibing with the difficulties people continue to deal with as we slog our way out of the recession. There is a discontent in the electorate. Wisconsin is still struggling and there is a feeling of stagnation and powerlessness that’s not parochial to our state. Republican pollster Frank Luntz, responding to a recent CBS poll, said there is a “crisis of confidence” in government institutions. He went on to say, “I think it’s going to hurt incumbents. Take a look at the governors’ races across the country, there are a number of incumbents from both parties that look like they’re going down.”

When he was asked if there is an anti-incumbent sentiment, he responded, “Exactly.”
Weighing the option of change for change’s sake is part of the intellectual deliberations voters consider when casting a vote. Francis Bacon wrote in his treatise “Novum Organum,” “For man always believes more readily that which he prefers. His feelings imbue and corrupt his understanding in innumerable and sometimes imperceptible ways.” Weather, and the lack of voter ID requirements, favor Burke, as imperceptible as that seems. The extended forecast is for a seasonal and sunny day.
Scott Walker came into this race with something to lose but his hold on the governorship has always been tentative. The 2012 recall should have reminded him of this. Walker has failed to reconnect strongly with voters. Mary Burke has stayed on message. It’s a simple message: We could have, and should have, done better the past four years.

Mary Burke is the next Governor of Wisconsin…by a nose.

Mise le Meas

(Todd Robert Murphy pays attention and has orchestrated over 80 political campaigns, including some of the biggest upsets in Wisconsin. You can contact him at

In Education, Think of the Visible Reality

 By Jeff Simpson cross posted at Purple Wisconsin.

Journal Sentinel Opinion writer, Christian Schneider recently wrote a column expressing concern about the  fact, that there is a concerted effort to bring out the youth vote!   Now Schneider tells us that while society should not be so quick to allow the youth to vote, taxpayers should pay for them to attend any school of their choice.  Schneider even amazingly attempts to make the case for the massive cost savings of children attending voucher schools(whom he calls invisible children).
When one thinks of a public school student, a specific image typically comes to mind. It may be a boy showing up for elementary school wearing his favorite Minecraft T-shirt or a girl proudly adorned in her rainbow loom bracelets(Edit Note - no one thinks either of these things).
But when discussing public school finance, we often don't think about the "invisible kid," the one who isn't sitting in the public school classroom. The "invisible kid" is instead sitting in a classroom at a private school of his or her parent's choosing, with the education paid for with a state-funded voucher.
When teachers unions criticize the choice program, they always forget to mention these invisible students who aren't taking up valuable space and resources in their classrooms. They frequently complain that the school choice program diverts scarce resources away from public schools, but they neglect to mention that if those invisible students became public students, it would cost school districts millions of dollars and substantially drive up property taxes.
I will overlook the eerily similarities of bad math and economic gobbeldygook that the spokesperson for the Walmart funded, poorly named American Federation for Children also published at nearly the same time
The debate between plagiarism and subservience can wait for another day.   There are too many factual errors to correct to figure out who actually came up with them.
If these dopelganger articles are anything, they are timely!  As has been reported throughout the state, the voucher schools have taken us for a very big and costly ride. 
MADISON — Wisconsin taxpayers have paid about $139 million to private schools that ended up being barred from the state's voucher system for failing to meet requirements since 2004, according to a newspaper report.
State Department of Public Instruction data shows more than two-thirds of the 50 schools terminated from the state's voucher system in the last 10 years had stayed open for five years or less, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. They were all in Milwaukee.
Eleven schools, paid a total of $4.1 million, were terminated from the voucher program after just one year.
For those of you scoring at home, that is $139,000,000 of Wisconsin taxpayer dollars.
Nothing tells this story better than Lifeskills Academy from Milwaukee!
A husband and wife running a private Milwaukee voucher school that abruptly closed last month — after accepting a total of more than $2.3 million in taxpayer money — now live in a gated community in Florida by the beach, records show.
Records show Taron and Rodney Monroe started a new private Christian school this year in Daytona Beach. While the school in Milwaukee was running on fumes, they were telling Florida friends they had experience getting government grants for religious schools......
The K-8 voucher school in Milwaukee, LifeSkills Academy, 3434 N. 38th St., served only about 400 low-income students since joining the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program in 2008-'09. Its closing around Dec. 13 forced 66 students to find other schools with little notice.
The school's rise and fall illustrate how unstable operations are still a feature of Milwaukee's landmark voucher program as it heads into its 24th year.
While running LifeSkills Academy in Milwaukee, records show, the Monroes were living in a five-bedroom, 3.5-bath house in West Bend.
I challenge you to go ask your local school district's superintendent what they would do if they had an extra $2.3 Million(I promise the answer will not be a gated community in Florida). 
Let's take a look at the numbers Mr. Schneider did not share:
Last school year, there were 108 schools and about 25,000 students participating in the Milwaukee voucher program, and 146 voucher schools total. The state has budgeted about $210 million for all voucher schools for the current school year, compared to around $4.4 billion in general aid for public schools. 

Scott Walker and the republicans raised the amount of people who were eligible for vouchers last year and will be raising that number again.    The problem is, it has proven to be a subsidy for the wealthy and not easily attainable for those living in poverty.  
The statewide voucher program, in its first year, is at capacity, with about 500 students receiving vouchers statewide, according to the department. Of those, 79 percent did not attend a Wisconsin public school last year.
The program’s enrollment limit will rise to 1,000 next year. The statewide program exists in districts outside of Milwaukee and Racine, which have had programs for years.
Seventy-three percent of students now attending private schools using a voucher were already enrolled in a private school last year, according to the department. Twenty-one percent of students were from public schools. About 3 percent did not attend any school and 2 percent were home schooled.
"invisible children" make up 2/10 of the voucher school students added under Scott Walker's voucher school expansion plan.   To save our friends on the right the math, thats 100 students out of the voucher expansion, added to the 426 school districts in Wisconsin.  Which would actually "drive up costs" at a considerably smaller pace than the many unfunded mandates the republican legislature sends us
All of this for schools that routinely underperform public schools!
BUT wait!  There's more!
 In order to understand why there is a such a push to "reform" education, we need to dig deep at some more numbers. 
The main group pushing "for profit" education(ie Voucher schools**), is American Federation of Children(AFC) whose leader is disgraced former assembyman Scott Jensen,  and whose name has become so toxic that they had to change it
AFC is a combination of money from the DeVos family(Amway) and the Walton family(Walmart) all blended together under the ALEC umbrella.   AFC has spent MILLIONS(plural) of dollars on Wisconsin elections alone and Jensen alone makes $102,734/yr (the cost of two teachers) to just be their "senior advisor"(with a Governor & legisature so woeful at creating jobs, you cant blame him for taking what he can get).
The question many would ask is why would DeVos and Walton families(who do not even live here) spend millions to increase voucher schools in WI?
Do they truly care about the children of the inner cities and poor?
The answer is simply no!  They do not!
The real answer is it is all part of the "Shock Doctrine".  The money is flowing in, to try and make a massive push to privatize all education!
Or to steal a phrase from our past -
"There's Gold In Them Thar Classrooms!" 
Luckily for us, the people trying to steal it are very very visible!

Eric Pizer Needs Your Help

By Jeff Simpson

We brought you the story of Marine Veteran Eric Pizer a while ago.  Now Mr. Pizer is doing what he has learned to do his whole life --  take action.  

Vote Mary Burke on November 4th.   We need a Governor who cares about actually governing. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Voting? No Photo ID Required, Yet.

Just In Case!

You thought Wisconsin Eye was nonpartisan(picture from facebook):

Wisconsin Eye has a place to donate on their website, make sure and send your hard earned dollars there so next year Charley Sykes can eat the Bone-IN Rib Eye during the made up righty award show

In The Public's Interest!

By Jeff Simpson - Cross Posted at Purple Wisconsin

There are 426 School Districts in the State of Wisconsin, that currently serve over 800,000 public school students.   In each of these 426 school districts, there is a democratically elected school board that represents the community in running the School District(approximately 3000 elected School Board members in WI).
 In 1921, the Wisconsin Association of School Boards(WASB) was formed.  WASB seeks to advance education through supporting the tradition of local school board control of the state’s public schools. The Wisconsin Association of School Boards is a member-driven organization that supports,
promotes and advances the interests of public education in Wisconsin.   WASB offers various services, from advice, to training, to advocacy and information.   One thing WASB also does is send out questions to candidates running for elected office that focus on education. 
This year was no different....well it was a little different(amphasis mine):
As it has done for a number of years, the Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB) has conducted a question-and-answer with the gubernatorial candidates, in this case Walker, the incumbent, and the challenger Mary Burke.
According to the WASB website, “In keeping with our past practice, we posed a series of questions to the candidates on a range of education issues. Governor Walker’s response to the survey request stated ‘our campaign will not be completing any interest group surveys or interviews.’”
WASB did publish Mary Burke's responses and they can be found here!
Scott Walker has time to be interviewed by Hugh Hewitt, The right wing American Spectator Magazine, The right wing talk tank Hoover Institute, the despicable Rush Limbaugh, CNN, New York Times, and GQ, where this was revealed:
Back when Scott Walker was a young politician on the make, he was known in media circles as a guy only too happy to supply quotes. Today the governor rarely does interviews. (At the outset, his staff would only promise me two or three of what they called "pullouts"—a chance to ever-so-briefly grab him after an event and on the way to his car—though ultimately I was granted two sit—downs of about twenty minutes each.) Instead, Walker's preferred vehicle for conveying his opinions is supplied by Sykes and other (right wing)talk-radio hosts, since their deference to him is almost vassal-like. As Walker's former chief of staff, Keith Gilkes, told me, "It's a medium where the governor can go on the air and deliver a message unfiltered."
We also found out in the #walkerdocs drop, that Scott Walker enjoys telling our local right wing talk radio jocks what they should be talking about:
In 2008, after the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorialized in favor of light rail, Walker turned to his talk radio allies to make clear his opposition to government-funded rail transit.
He frequently dropped conservative talkers Sykes, Belling, Weber, Jeff Wagner and Vicki McKenna emails with talking points about major issues before the county, and often distributed treats.
“County Executive Scott Walker plans on making his rounds next week to deliver his own special holiday treat — Frosted Pecans (I have already heard just about every nut joke, but you can try) to thank his radio friends for getting the word out throughout the year on the Executive’s Ride, the Budget, and other county-related issues,” spokeswoman Fran McLaughlin wrote in a December 2007 email.
Then of course if he filled out questionnaires to let people in Wisconsin know where he stands, it might cut into his time running around the country campaigning for others!  
It is hard to be "open for business", when you consider public education a special interest and have no time for it in your busy schedule of campaigning.  
As Derek Bok says "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance." 

George Will Carries Scott Walker's Water

Even as newly released evidence of Scott Walker's illegal politicking is being combed through, George Will further beclowns himself by carrying Walker's water and trying to portray Walker and his corporate sponsors as the victims of crimes they have committed (and are probably still committing):
According to several published reports, Chisholm told subordinates that his wife, a teachers union shop steward at her school, is anguished by her detestation of Walker’s restrictions on government employee unions, so Chisholm considers it his duty to help defeat Walker.

In collaboration with Wisconsin’s misbegotten Government Accountability Board, which exists to regulate political speech, Chisholm has misinterpreted Wisconsin campaign law in a way that looks willful. He has done so to justify a “John Doe” process that has searched for evidence of “coordination” between Walker’s campaign and conservative issue advocacy groups.
Umm, yeah. The source for those published reports is a disturbed soul named Michael Lutz, who is sadly struggling with PTSD and alcoholism. He also has made death threats against Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm and his family.

Furthermore, the CEO of American Media Institute, which commissioned those smear articles that Will cites, is using those smears as a launching pad for Walker's inevitable presidential bid:
"If he survives re-election, he might well become the number one Republican candidate," Richard Miniter, chief executive officer of American Media Institute, in a Tuesday article on the evangelical Christian website One News Now. The piece is entitled, "A union nightmare: Scott Walker in the White House."

Miniter's group commissioned two stories by Stuart Taylor Jr. that accuse Milwaukee's Democratic district attorney of conducting secret investigations of Walker and his staff because of Chisholm's wife's pro-union agenda. The source for Taylor's stories was Michael Lutz, a controversial ex-Milwaukee cop who spent less than six months as an unpaid aide in Chisholm's office in 2011.
As for Will's claims of innocence on the behalf of Walker and the dark money groups, we already know that to be a flat out lie as well. Walker and the Wisconsin Club for Growth were working hand in hand to skirt campaign finance laws:
The documents released Friday by a federal appeals court also show that prosecutors believe Walker personally solicited donations for conservative group Wisconsin Club for Growth to get around campaign finance limits and disclosure requirements as he fended off the recall attempt in 2012.

Aides told Walker to tell donors that they could make unlimited donations to Wisconsin Club for Growth without having the gifts publicly disclosed. Wisconsin Club for Growth then funneled the money to other conservative groups that advertised on Walker's behalf.

"As the Governor discussed ... he wants all the issue advocacy efforts run thru one group to ensure correct messaging," Walker fundraiser Kate Doner wrote to campaign adviser R.J. Johnson in April 2011, a little more than a year before the recall election. "We had some past problems with multiple groups doing work on 'behalf' of Gov. Walker and it caused some issues ... the Governor is encouraging all to invest in the Wisconsin Club for Growth."
Will is obviously confused between free political speech and pay for play corruption. But that's not surprising when one thinks about it. They are confused about a lot of things.

Cross posted at Crooks and Liars

Sunday, October 26, 2014

John Doe Gives Scott Walker An Early Halloween Scare

Last Monday, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke ran this ad which included a five second blurb regarding the John Doe investigations into Scott Walker and his staff doing illegal politicking from his then office suite as Milwaukee County Courthouse.

On the same day, the current Milwaukee County Executive, Chris Abele, announced the release of the third batch of documents from the Walkergate investigations.

On Tuesday morning, even before the emails were released, much less anyone had a chance to look at them, Walker and his apologists went on the offensive, not caring just how ridiculous they looked.

For example, the Wisconsin GOP announced they were filing an open records request, because...reasons:
The Republican Party of Wisconsin today filed an open records request with Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele following the politically motivated release of more than 16,000 pages of documents from his office exactly two weeks before Election Day. The announcement came just hours before Mary Burke’s campaign released a desperate TV ad that mentions the same subject, leaving little room for question on the direct coordination and political motivations behind the premeditated attack.

“Mary Burke and Chris Abele – one of Burke’s top campaign contributors – are directly coordinating messaging and the release of documents from a government office in their pathetic pursuit of an October Surprise. The documents have been in Abele’s possession for months, yet he’s choosing to release them now, with exactly two weeks until Election Day,” said Joe Fadness, Executive Director of the Republican Party of Wisconsin. “The timing of this release is questionable at best and no doubt politically motivated as Abele has given more than $63,000 to Mary Burke’s campaign. Since Chris Abele has given Mary Burke the maximum amount of money allowed under the law, he had to find another way to contribute to Burke’s campaign. Voters deserve answers from Abele after this slimy political stunt.”
This has to be one of the most glaring examples of IOOKIARDI that I have ever seen.

The Walkergate emails have shown that Walker's campaign staff and his county staff were collaborating with each other, the Republican Party and other candidates. Furthermore, we have since learned that the dark money groups funded by the Koch Brothers and Bradley Foundation have funneled hundreds of millions of dollars into Wisconsin, giving it to Walker directly or indirectly.

One of my personal favorite lines is when Walker says that this is old news, that the case was closed two years ago and he was never charged. As if that somehow makes it all OK.

The thing is, six of his aides and friends were charged and convicted while over twenty other people received immunity in exchange for their testimony. The original John Doe led to the current John Doe, which Walker and his friends are going to no ends to stop.

While this Scott Walker might try to deny any culpability in this whole sordid affair, that is not what the Scott Walker from four years ago would say:

Cross posted at Crook and Liars