Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Tammy You Can Do Better!

By Jeff Simpson

I received this email from Tammy Baldwin recently:

Tammy has emailed you. The team has emailed you. I've emailed you.
 Jeff— when we ran the numbers, we saw we needed to raise $50,000 through our email program to stay on track for our FEC goal. And we’re just not there. I really need you to understand just how important this is.
 If you know how important Tammy’s grassroots fundraising is, then please give $5 or more to help us get there!
 We've tried everything, and we're still about $38,700 behind. If we don't speed up our fundraising soon, we will not hit this goal.
 And we absolutely CANNOT afford to miss this. Tammy's under attack. Another opponent jumped into this race. We need this money.
 At the end of the month, the FEC will publish our fundraising numbers and if the corporate special interests and Mitch McConnell’s cronies think we’re weak, we’ll see even more outside spending pour in. And they’ll know we don’t have the money to push back.
 If begging will work, that's what I'll do. That's how important it is to get to $50,000 before the FEC deadline in 5 days. Please, please, please — contribute today.

The Senate is voting on repealing all provisions and protections of  Obamacare, the President is threatening to kill 25 million North Koreans and start a war, the Russian invasion of our election is becoming clearer, Texas and Florida are still recovering from Mother Natures wraith and Puerto Rico may never recover, a group of Trump administration officials were caught using private emails, racism, Misogyny and sexism are boiling over in America and The Donald keeps tweeting like he is a drunk at bar time trying to get even with all the people who bullied him.

Despite all of that, Senator Baldwin emails us an email asking, no begging for money because of some deadline that means nothing at all to anyone but politicians.  Lets remember the election is still over a year away.

Apparently, Ms. Baldwin is falling short of a measly $50,000 and needs you to send your hard earned money ASAP to her for who knows what exactly? 

I get that politicians need money to run and we are a long way from changing that.  I also get that her opponent whoever it is, will be incredibly well funded, so well funded that $50,000 will be peanuts towards competing with the money they will have.

The one thing Tammy always wins at is her message. 

So why is she spending valuable contact time between herself and her Constituents.  on a desperate begging email, that is beneath her?

It is my turn, Tammy, Please, please, please - Stop this ridiculous begging for money.  You are going to be underfunded compared to your opponent, so when you get a chance to connect with voters in the state, BRING US A MESSAGE. 

I know you can do it, I have heard you talk and talked with you personally!  You are one of the bright spots in an otherwise dark Senate.  Instead of sending these ridiculous emails, lets try something new.

Send us positive emails with a message with what the Republican controlled Senate is doing and how things will be different when we switch the control in 2018.   

We found out in the last election, that electioneering is no longer the same.  When America elected The Donald, and Wisconsin re-elected Ron Johnson, all old rules and tricks on how to win elections were thrown out the window. 

I am sure you get a decent response of people who you scared with your email sending you money, but the one question I have for you is -  How many new voters did you convince to vote for you because of that email? 

It is time to be positive, unconventional and informative so you can be re-elected to the Senate again next year!   

President Trump - Modern Day PT Barnum 

Donald Trump has been in the White House less than a year and his repeated tweets, rallies and quotes have become a malignant cancer to a news cycle that feeds off the Presidents need for self-promotion. Many reporters, bloggers, analysts, and activists have weighed in on whether the President is mentally ill, egomaniac or a self-absorbed dotard. While some, if not all may be true, it is by no coincidence the president has modeled himself after a gifted self-promoter named PT Barnum.
The similarities are astonishing in the methodology used by both men.  P.T Barnum made many famous quotes over his life, however, “there is a sucker born every minute” is not one of them and we will come back to that a bit further in the article. However, this one, is probably one Donald Trump has written down and reads daily - Without promotion, something terrible happens... nothing! The quote does not indicate good or bad promotion, just promotion itself. Another quote that seems relevant today is this quote often associated with P.T Barnum – “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”.
Now keeping in mind the events of today and those of yesteryear are different, the strategy remains the same. In essence, Donald Trump made P.T Barnum’s biography into his own “Art of the deal” Let’s look back and compare the two.  
P.T. Barnum became a successful promoter after moving to New York City. Barnum opened Barnum American Museum and displayed the "Feejee Mermaid" and introduced audiences to "General Tom Thumb". Both exhibits garnered the attention of both the media and citizens around the county, however dubious they were people couldn’t help but to look. “Feejee Mermaid” was a supposed half mammal and half fish creature, however, it was really a torso and head of a juvenile monkey sewn to the back half of a fish. “Tom Thumb” another attraction Barnum promoted was a supposed eleven year old boy who only stood only twenty-five  inches tall and weighed a mere sixteen pounds. The hoax was the boy was only two years old and failed to grow an inch over the next year.
“There’s a sucker born every minute”  was said by a man named David Hannum , but P.T Barnum was the catalyst. A man named Hull created a plan in which he would have a giant statue carved and then buried, then subsequently, had it dug up and claimed it was some sort of ancient relic.  A group of investors, including Hannum, bought the statue for approximately $37,500 and put it on display for people to pay to come see it. Barnum could smell a hoax a mile away so he in turn had a bigger statue made and then trumpeted his as the original and Hannum’s was a fake
Incidentally, Barnum was also a politician, Barnum served two terms in the Connecticut legislature in 1865 as a Republican for Fairfield. Now putting this into today’s context with Donald Trump and his ascension to becoming the President of the United States, it would be safe to say he promoted himself successfully too many Americans (Not the majority) as well as Vladimir Putin in order to be the ultimate showman.
Trump learned early on that one way to win a deal is to promote himself as a business genius, someone investors would be willing to take a chance on in hopes of being like him (supposedly rich). He learned how to tap into divisive areas that would stoke fear into competitors either through hoaxes or legal annihilation. Trump built a brand and reputation around this, however, it didn’t always work out. (Trump University, as well as many bankruptcies) Donald Trump expanded his audience when he began appearing on National Television via his show “The apprentice”. The notoriety of the persona of the man saying “Your fired” to another celebrity, titillated audiences as there always seemed to be a villain within the context of each episode.  It also solidified his brand among viewers of the show and investors on Wall Street.  Let’s also not forget the “Birther” movement Trump inspired across American Politics. By all appearances, Donald Trump was a student of PT Barnum as he knows all too well that without promotion nothing happens, so when he wants something to happen, all he needs to do is hit upon a divisive topic such as Racism, Healthcare, NFL, wiretapping, fake missile launches, North Korea and Puerto Rico etc.
He will deliver hoaxes to the American people, Congress and anyone else willing to give him a platform to do so, without regard for the justice system or respect of the highest office in the land so long as the “Showman” is on the front page – good or bad. One last similarity between the two is Barnum also wrote a book “The art of money-getting” (Sound Familiar?) and his biography in which he allowed people to tweak/change so long as he accrued royalties. For Donald Trump, he wrote the book “the art of the deal” and allows his name to be rented on a spectrum of products, so long as he accrues royalties. The reality is that America and the world has witnessed a con-man elected to the highest office in the land – aided by Russia and the only one benefiting is the Trump family, while the fate of others are marginalized or left to fend for themselves. (America isn’t the only country with egg on is face). Let’s all say it together “there is a voter suckered every minute.”

A Deeper Dive Into The Anthem Debate

By Jeff Simpson

Last week, after The Donald called out NFL Players who take a knee during the National Anthem as "Sons of bitches". the NFL players showed unity throughout the league by doing what they felt was best(kneeling, staying in the locker room, locking arms, standing, etc...) to be united during the anthem.

It sparked a national debate where the lines were drawn and people either showed support for their right to peacefully protest while others felt the need to threaten boycotts and change the subject:

The division was not even amongst party lines as the support was bipartisan on both sides.  As we see from this post by "good progressive" and owner of the Reefhouse Brewing Co:

Yes black athletes who decide to use the freedoms this country affords us, are garbage and need to die a horrible death.... There are many people who have tried to turn these protests from racial inequality to an affront on the military and our flag.

In Wisconsin, some of our lawmakers have decided it is a good idea to boycott businesses that you disagree with:

"This day forward I will not support the NFL! Period" - state Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, on Facebook
"Disgusted by the @packers & had it with the @NFL. I was in high school during the 90’s BB strike & never came back. Ready to shut them off.” - state Rep. Jesse Kremer, R-Kewaskum, on Twitter
"Lack of respect for the NFL? What a joke! How about a total lack of respect for the country that gave them the opportunity to go to college and make a great living. I would love to hear your thoughts and see if you will utilize your rights to send a message to the NFL. I for one will be purchasing a lot more Badger attire." - state Rep. Rob Brooks, R-Saukville, on Facebook
"As a Veteran, and one who cherishes our history, and our flag, and our anthem....with respect and pride because of those who died to make sure our flag did not fall and that we did not fall to the British...otherwise who knows what life and freedom would be like today. Thank you to these brave Patriots..." - state Rep. John Spiros, R-Marshfield, on Facebook
Since the WISGOP approved of boycotting those you disagree with, here is a list of Scott Walker;s biggest supporters!  Granted, most of them are from out of state, here is a better list for local businesses to boycott.    Also, here is a list of Van Wanggaard's  contributors and Jesse Kremer's.   I am sure their contributors would love to know that you will not be patronizing their businesses anymore and why!

Here is my take:

There are many ways to dishonor our country and the flag, like displaying a confederate flag, or asking Russia for help in an election, or hiding millions in the Cayman Islands to avoid paying taxes, or praising white supremacists, or suppressing the ability of people to vote, or arresting people for singing in a public building, or allowing big money to control our elections, or taking healthcare away from millions of our citizens, or making fun of people with disabilities, or building a wall to keep people who do not look like us out......etc....
However I do not think anything has disrespected the flag and our country more than this. ANyone who served in Vietnam went through hell and POWs even more so..... To be denigrated by this by a privileged white boy who used his daddys money to get out of the nightmare is unbelievable.
Let's get outraged over the right things please:

'Nuff Said!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Donald Rants & Ryan Cheers

By Jeff Simpson

The Donald gave a speech to the UN recently and in it, where speaking off the cuff, he said:

“The United States has great strength and patience,” Trump said. “But if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”

Which prompted the reaction above from General John Kelly, current White House Chief of Staff.   Apparently a lifelong public servant and military general, was not a big fan of threatening nuclear war, and the death of 25,000,000 people in front of the rest of the world. How very ProLife of him!
Not satisfied embarrassing himself and us there, he kept going.  In his best one liner, worthy of a 4th grade, he called North Korea's leader Kim Jung Un - 

“Rocket Man on a suicide mission”

This is the kind of stuff that would not even make it off the cutting room floor of a Tony Scott movie, way to unbelievable even for him.   

Yet here we are, living this current nightmare of a petulant child, reality TV "star" playing the role of leader of the free world and Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces.

Support the Troops as a rallying cry is so 10 years ago! 

It makes one long for the times when he would just sit and brag about his election victory and fake news....o wait he brought that up to the UN also: 

TRUMP: Fortunately, the United States has done very well since election day last November 8th. The stock market is at an all-time high, a record. Unemployment is at its lowest level in 16 years, and because of our regulatory and other reforms, we have more people working in the United States today than ever before. Companies are moving back, creating job growth the likes of which our country has not seen in a very long time. And it has just been announced that we will be spending almost $700 billion dollars on our military and defense. Our military will soon be the strongest it has ever been.
Typically, his line is pure BS, but its safe BS for millions of human beings around the globe and here in the US.   

Our friends in Sweden, agreed with General Kelly, and were not amused:

—"This was a bombastic, nationalist speech. It must have been decades since one last heard a speech like that in the U.N. General Assembly. ... This was a speech at the wrong time to the wrong audience." Margot Wallstrom, foreign minister of Sweden.
But wait there is more:

One person, LOVED the speech: 

Great message from at the UN. American leadership is needed now more than ever. We must stand by our allies and confront our enemies.

As Charles Pierce once pointed out, BIGGEST.FAKE.EVER! 

The "principled, policy guru"(his words not mine) has now become nothing more than a gopher for The Donald to be used and abused on a daily basis for Trumps amusement.   

A complete and utter embarrassment to Janesville and Wisconsin.

Regardless, If you like Randy Bryce or Cathy Myers, Paul Ryan must not be elected ever again!  

Our Country, our democracy and our children depend on it!   

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

An Open Letter To My Senators About Graham-Cassidy

By Devon Malloy

From a Cancer group I belong too.....thought it needed to be shared! 

Senator Toomey and Senator Casey, I was eighteen years old when I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. I was a senior in high school, I was a varsity athlete and a straight-A student. I had no prior medical problems. But when my lung spontaneously collapsed, my doctors found synovial sarcoma. I was lucky in more way than one. They found my cancer early, and before it had spread. I was also lucky to be upper-middle class, and that my parents had good insurance. I went through three surgeries and seven weeks of proton radiation treatments. The bills sent to my insurance company totaled close to one million dollars. This is not meant to be a pity story—this is a fact that I live with. I will get cancer again in my lifetime, but I haven’t done anything to increase this risk. I will start mammograms early, because radiation treatment has also increased my risk of breast cancer. I take every precaution necessary to catch my next bout with cancer early, including never smoking, and visiting my oncologist for frequent CT-scans. But the fact is, I will get cancer again. My reason for sharing my story is this: very little of these things were in my control. My cancer was not lifestyle induced. I did nothing to earn my spot in the upper-middle class, nor to “deserve” good insurance coverage. I am lucky enough to be on my parents’ insurance until the age of 26 because of the Affordable Care Act. But what happens when I turn 26? Under the regulations that the Graham-Cassidy bill is proposing, my preexisting condition could cost me significantly more than someone else who is “healthier-than-I.” I’ll admit it—I am a risk to insurers. But does that mean that I deserve to pay more for health insurance, or be denied coverage because of my preexisting condition? Supporting this bill will be putting my life and well-being at risk, but I am just one person. I am privileged. I am a white, middle-class American pursing a college education. What about the thousands of other Americans who aren’t so lucky? The list of high-risk diseases spreads further and wider than just cancer. This discussion isn’t a matter of what role the government should play in our healthcare; it is a matter of human decency. Everyone deserves to have access to the medical help they need, no matter their preexisting condition or social class. Have some compassion, and do what is right for your constituents. 

With the utmost respect, 

Devon Malloy Gap, PA

It Could Buy Me A Boat...

By Jeff Simpson

Multi Billionaire Betsy DeVos married heir to the Amway fortune, and unfortunately current Secretary of Education was reportedly in Milwaukee this week.

Of course not to visit our Milwaukee Public Schools, as she has only stepped foot in 12 of them in the country since being confirmed(which is 12 more than prior to being confirmed), as a GOP public official (only making $207,800/yr) being paid by taxpayer dollars, we are not entitled to know her schedule or speak to her.

Apparently, the Tea Party feels no access to public officials falls under the category of "strict Constitutionalism".

Another thing that Ms. DeVos was NOT doing in Milwaukee, was figuring out how to work with the fact that over 50% of the students in the MPS qualify for free and reduced lunches.

Her Yacht only has a crew of 12, and while she is adamant that she wants to build "God's Kingdom" in our public schools, she takes the feeding of 5000 with a single loaf of bread literally.    I also doubt she feels the need to share her caviar or Filet Mignons with any of the hungry public school children.

It was nice of Ms. DeVos, who fully supports The Donald's horrendous budget, to step away from her home and take a leisurely sail down the Great Lakes(before Trump,  Foxconn and Waukesha have a chance to ruin them).


Well, As Ms. DeVos says about the public schools that she is in charge of:

“At what point do we accept the fact that throwing money at the problem isn’t the solution?” Ms. DeVos asked.

Maybe Ms. Devos is correct and more money will not solve the achievement gap, or raise our test scores, or bring equalization to our schools or even happiness....

But it could buy me a boat!

PS;  to help clear up confusion, the yacht that Ms. Devos sailed to Milwaukee was the Seagate, not the Legacy or the Kitsune which they also own.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Undermining Wisconsin’s Future

By Gordon Hintz

Scott Walker has had the advantage of being Wisconsin’s governor during the third-longest national economic expansion in U.S. history. While Wisconsin’s economy has lagged behind the national average during his time as governor, there still has been state revenue growth in each state budget.  Yet even with these increases, Gov. Walker has slashed funding for higher education and K-12 education.
If Wisconsin has more money, why haven’t we increased investment in educational opportunity? The answer is simple. For Gov. Walker and Republicans, it is a bigger priority to direct those state resources to tax cuts for the wealthy.
Wisconsin’s budget has become increasingly strained by the governor’s so-called “Manufacturing and Agriculture Tax Credit”. When it was abruptly slipped into the 2011 budget, the credit was forecast to cost $128 million each year when fully phased in by 2016-’17. However, state estimates show that the credit cost has more than doubled.  This tax giveaway is now expected to balloon to $334 million a year by 2018-’19. In addition to cuts made to public schools and higher education, 148 school districts have voted to raise their own property taxes by nearly $630 million to avoid harmful cuts to educational programs since 2011. The state resources being diverted to this credit have also resulted in the governor actually borrowing $209 million the last three years from future taxpayers—just to keep the budget in the black.
There have been huge consequences and costs associated with this credit. It would be one thing if the hundreds of millions spent on this giveaway had resulted in successful job creation. But they have not. Under Gov. Walker, Wisconsin dropped from 12,009 manufacturing jobs gained in 2010 to 3,776 manufacturing jobs lost in 2016.
Which brings us to Foxconn, and what it means for Wisconsin’s future.
Since becoming Governor, Scott Walker has desperately tried to define himself as the pro-jobs governor. His efforts have, of course, been a gigantic failure. Currently, Walker’s track record includes: an unfulfilled pledge to create 250,000 jobs by the end of his first term; a mining bill which promised thousands of jobs but created zero; anti-worker reforms; and more reckless tax credits aimed at drawing new business. 
These failures have led our frantic governor to double-down on a costly economic trickle-down fantasy: his proposal to offer the most expensive state taxpayer-funded subsidy to a foreign company in U.S. history. It is important to note that because slashing taxes for the wealthy and corporations is now the operating principle of the Wisconsin Republican Party, Foxconn’s billionaire owner will now owe basically nothing in taxes.  Therefore, he will be receiving up to $3 billion in tax credits as a cash payment from Wisconsin taxpayers.
Before the 2017-’19 budget is signed—and before the legislature approved $3 billion in taxpayer-funded incentives—Wisconsin faces a $1 billion deficit in the 2019-’21 budget. With economic growth projections being lowered for the next few years, state growth will likely slow as well. 
Walker has left the state fiscally unprepared for slower economic times. Now he is betting it all on the Foxconn package, which, under the best-case scenario, would not break even for a quarter-century. And knowing Walker’s and Foxconn’s history of “overpromising and underperforming,” this best case is not likely to happen. 
The opportunity cost of not investing in transportation, the future education of our children and further incentivizing entrepreneurship is very real. Just like public school and university cuts paid for massive tax cuts the past few years, you can assume that taxpayer funding for Foxconn will come at the expense of these programs once again.
Gordon Hintz serves in the Wisconsin State Assembly as the representative for the 54th District.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Right Wisconsin Throws Stones

By Jeff Simpson 

John 8:7 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her."

That did not stop Jimmy Wigderson over at RightWisconsin from standing in front of his glass house and throwing stones.  The Right Wing is up in arms that Gordon Hintz is in line for the Assembly minority leader position.  

Despite the character flaws of both major party candidates for president in 2016, character should matter when a political party chooses a leader. By choosing Hintz, the Assembly Democrats are also choosing to ignore their own stated principles as well as expected standards of conduct of elected officials.
If the Democratic Party will not hold its own accountable, then that responsibility falls to the Republican Party. It is not a failure of the two-party system to hold the Democrats accountable for the bad choices in leadership they make, but a responsibility of serious elected representatives to hold the leadership of both parties to a higher standard.
If Hintz’s constituents lack the judgment to choose good representation, that does not excuse the Democrats from their obligation to choose good leaders, nor does it excuse Republicans like Steineke from holding the Democrats accountable for their choices.

Wigderson, in one of his more memorable columns, wrote this a couple years ago when Wild Bill Kramer was elected majority leader, a short time before he was sent to prison:

Kramer’s style may not endear him to Madison liberals; it does represent the conservative nature of Waukesha County. As majority leader, Kramer can lend some much-needed spine to Republican leadership who are hoping to coast through the next elections without offending anyone.
If Kramer wins, it will be good for Waukesha as well. Being represented by legislators in leadership is good for a community.

The of course the good reporter that Wiggy is, he leaves out a big chunk of information regarding Steineke, the Republican "leader" has had a few hiccups on behavior in his prior life also.

 It is interesting that Wiggy expects more from the Democratic Party than the WISGOP.  

And we can not forget this:

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Priebus Lawyers Up

Reince Priebus, Trump's former Chief of Staff and former head of the RNC, is one of the latest of the Trumplins to lawyer up as Special Counsel Robert Mueller digs deeper into Trump's ties into Russia and their probable possible tampering into the 2016 presidential elections:
President Trump's former chief of staff Reince Priebus and White House counsel Don McGahn have reportedly both hired a lawyer amid the investigation into Russian election meddling.

The two hired William Burck, a partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, Law360 reported.

Burck will advise Priebus and McGahn in the special counsel investigation into the Russian election meddling.

The news comes after a recent report that special counsel Robert Mueller told the White House his team will seek to interview six senior and former aides to Trump as part of the federal investigation into the Russian election meddling and possible Trump campaign involvement.

Those aides include Priebus and McGahn, in addition to former White House press secretary Sean Spicer and Trump's adviser and interim communications director Hope Hicks.


Priebus will be asked about any details he knows surrounding Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting last June with a Russian lawyer, according to the publication.
It should not be surprising that Priebus might have some involvement in any meetings between Trump and his people and the Russians.

I reported three years ago that Priebus had interfered with the Wisconsin gubernatorial elections by feeding tips and information to Scott Walker's about Walker's then primary opponent, Mark Neumann..

But, too bad, so sad for Priebus, he's not in Wisconsin anymore and he doesn't have a friendly judicial system that will willingly turn a blind eye to any misdeeds committed during the election.

I just wonder if Priebus has started looking into the witness protection program yet.

Paul Ryan's Minimum Knowledge

By Jeff Simpson

GOP Golden boy, and self proclaimed policy wonk Paul Ryan (R-Wall St.) was asked a simple question recently and completely fumbled the answer:

Thank Goodness his staffer knew that it is a measly $7.25/hr .

Hard to fault Ryan though, he does not deal with such piddly amounts of money.  We know that he likes $350 bottles of wine  and has expensive tastes.   After being embarrassed by his lack of knowledge, he then went on to try and redeem himself.

Q: The minimum wage in other parts of the country is fourteen, fifteen dollars. I don't see huge differential in employment in places that have raised their minimum wage to places that haven't.
RYAN: Our poverty rates are among the lowest in the country.

Sure, if by lowest you mean “tied for 18th with Washington state by percentage of population as of 2014.” And one study at the University of Wisconsin last year found that the state's poverty rate grew by 20 percent between 2010 and 2014, to its highest level in 30 years. Also, the gap in poverty rates between whites and blacks is 49th worst in the nation. So clearly Ryan is either not paying attention or lying through his teeth.

If you want to discuss these issues with Ryan, your chance is coming up.  He is hosting a fundraiser with John "the cryer" Boehner.  Boehner is making a rare appearance off the golf course.  Of course the fact it is a tailgate with lots of alcohol available sure helps.  

It is the perfect time for the man of the people, who grew up in Janesville, to really hang out and mingle with the people who he represents.    \

All you need is it be available on Sunday September 24th, to go to Lambeau Field and watch the Packers take on the Cincinnati Bengals and Tailgate with these two former Speakers(no word if Denny Hastert will be making an appearance).  

I forgot one detail, you also need $10,000!  

Respect The Freedom Of Protest

(Note:  On the opening day of the NFL, I wanted to share a column done by my good friend and fraternity brother (EX) Tom Loewy).

By Tom Loewy

Do you hear it?

A beat has started. Like distant thunder, somewhere just beyond our horizon. It’s the sound just before war. It’s the sound of grunts and yells backed by screams and feet falling in the rhythm of the righteous.

At its full volume, this beat will drown out reason and logic and common sense.

OK. Those three graphs sound like a Sean Bean voiceover from HBO’s “Game of Thrones” — that was promptly axed for sounding like a Sean Bean voiceover from the British comedy “Wasted.”

Let’s get just get to the point:

The National Football League is coming.

That means fantasy drafts followed by stirring visuals of jet flyovers, flags, and tons of love for the military. Throw in a heavy dose of catastrophic brain injury and hundreds of millions in profits and you’ve basically got the picture.

Along the way, a few players will take a knee during the rendition of our national anthem. Some might hold clenched fists aloft. Others will turn their backs to the image of the flag.

Our culture war will escalate. We will be told a lot of things about anthems, protest, honoring our servicemen and women, Black Lives Matter, and how supporting one idea negates the possibility of recognizing any other idea.

For those who don’t follow our annual fall ritual of professional football, Colin Kaepernick — then a quarterback with the San Francisco 49ers — decided to not stand during the playing of the National Anthem before 2016 games.

He did it in support of the Black Lives Matter protests, and to raise awareness of police and authoritarian brutality toward people of color.

Kaepernick’s silent, non-violent protest during the anthem was met with outrage from a variety of police groups, some veterans’ groups, and plenty of people who claimed he was showing a lack of respect for military or police personnel.

For reasons to do with football or politics or ticket sales, Kaepernick finds himself a free agent as the 2017 football season kicks off.

Not long ago — in the wake of pro- and anti-fascist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia — I wrote a column about protecting the speech of everyone who decides to air their opinions in our public arenas.

Basically I said the freedom to peacefully assemble and speak is accorded to even the most vile — in the case of Charlottesville, Nazis and other white supremacists.

The response was overwhelming. People called. They texted. Fifty-two people took the time to sit down and write emails to me, expressing their thanks for standing up for unpopular speech.

A few dudes even walked up to me in public, explained how they rarely agree with me, then shook my hand and thanked me for the column.

Being popular is weird. I’m far more accustomed to having vulgarities hurled in my direction while I attempt to pay a bill or cross a street.

That said, let’s return to the issue of free speech as the NFL gears up for another season and grapples with showing protests during the National Anthem.

This really is easy. But let’s break down a few important issues.
 There is no law — and never should be a law or social custom — making it mandatory to stand during any rendition of the national anthem. Period.

This is a free country. That means you can sit or stand or turn your back on the flag or any ceremony. You can’t punch people. If you start yelling over the music, don’t be surprised when you’re punched. But you don’t have to do what everyone else does.

You can quietly take a knee. You can raise your fist. You can turn your back.

What Kaepernick did and other players plan to do is far more eloquent, simple and unobtrusive than any torch-bearing nationalists or bandana-wearing anti-fascists.

It follows in the footsteps of a lot of other brave folks who silently expressed their protests. More to the point, Kaepernick’s protests asked us to look at the treatment of oppressed peoples.

Lots of people will tell us the NFL has the right to enforce a code of player conduct. It does. But it doesn’t have the right to censor a player’s speech in public arenas. The vast majority of NFL games are played in publicly financed stadiums. The games are broadcast over publicly financed, regulated and protected airwaves and information systems.

The NFL doesn’t own the national anthem. If the league wants to play it, the league must leave open the possibility of silent protest.

Protesting during the anthem is a bridge too far for some. But to claim the protesters in some way besmirch servicemen and women, or the military, is to rationalize the expectation of conformity.

Conformity is easy. As I wrote before, freedom is hard.

Look, nobody has to agree with Kaepernick or any of the other players. And people can serve up all the rationale they wish.

What we can’t do is prevent Kaepernick or any other athlete from expressing his or her opinion during any rendition of a public anthem. Again, they are not interrupting its play. They are not shouting or creating a disturbance or in any way preventing others from standing.

What folks might want to do is actually listen to Kaepernick’s ideas. We might want to hit pause and find out what, exactly, what BLM advocates and hopes to accomplish.

Being a football fan is fairly easy. You can pick a team, buy a jersey and yell and scream for your side. You can join in lock-step with the righteous and claim undying loyalty.

Being a citizen of a free society isn’t easy. You see and hear things with which you don’t agree. Sometimes you hold opinions or beliefs others find idiotic.

Perhaps part of being free is a never-ending debate about what freedom means. Little can be written in stone.

As the jets fly over, the flags unfurl, and our national anthem plays again, let’s remember to reject protest is the easy way out. Let’s not demand conformity.

Let’s make that national anthem stand for something timeless. Let freedom ring.

Tom Loewy: 
(309) 343-7181, ext. 256; 

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Scott Walker's Spending Spree

By Jeff Simpson

End of Summer and Back To School allows way to many activities to pay attention to, so let us catch up:

We know the Assembly Democrats have decided to move on from Peter Barca as their leader.    The Governor, who perpetually puts politics over everything, find time from his incredibly busy schedule (sarcasm alert), to let everyone know how much he loves Peter Barca:

Yes Scott Walker, who once rescinded an appointment of a college kid to the Students Board of Regents because he found out that he signed the recall.    Scott Walker is the same Governor, who sent thousands of jobs to Illinois, along with $50 million of our taxpayer dollars before he even took office.

Yes this is the positive vision Scotty Walker:

Nothing more positive about the future than comparing a bunch of teachers, nurses, police, fire, etc... walking around the Capitol to the number one terrorists organization in the world.   Lombardi he isn't!

About those good paying, family supporting jobs.  Now that the legislature has agreed to give them $3 billion dollars to come here, who gets the first (and maybe the only) good paying job from this fiasco?  

Keith Gilkes of course! 

MADISON, Wis. — Any doubt campaign politics is the driving force behind Gov. Scott Walker gambling $3 billion on a subsidy for Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn has been dispelled by the creation of a single job. According to a report from Wispolitics.com, the lobbying firm hired by Foxconn has brought on Keith Gilkes, Walker’s longtime campaign manager and the head of the Unintimidated PAC that supported his presidential ambitions, to do “public affairs and communications.”

While Gilkes is knee deep in pretty much every walker scandal, including Walker Gate and the John Doe investigation, my favorite story about Gilkes involves the O'Donnell Park tragedy.  At O'Donnell park, on the opening of summerfest, the Milwaukee County infrastructure under Milwaukee County Exec Scott Walker, crumbled.  It not only crumbled, but it fell on and killed a teenager, right in front of his parents.  

While the dust was still settling on the crumbled parking structure, Keith Gilkes sprung into action:

Gilkes, in an email written the day of the accident, advised Walker's county staff to "make sure there is not a piece of paper anywhere that details any problem at all." News organizations and lawyers representing victims and others filed numerous open record requests after the O'Donnell Park accident for inspection reports and other documents on its construction.
In the wake of an incredible tragedy, Gilkes did what almost no one else would do.  His first thought was, we need to shield Scott Walker's career from this.  So glad that he found a way to capitalize on our tax dollars some more!

But Wait there is more!

Scott Walker released his budget earlier this year, and in his budget, he forgot to include millions of dollars to upgrade Wisconsin Rapid's Alexander Field Airport, so billionaires can fly their private planes into the airport and golf at the Sand Valley Golf Resort.  

So the owner of the resort, Michael Keiser, donated $25,000 to the Republican Party of WI and another $65,000 to Scott Walker and incredibly coincidentally, $4 million dollars of upgrades to Alexander Field magically appeared in the budget.  

We know that there was absolutely NO quid pro quo on this airport deal because Scott Krug told us so:

Republican state Rep. Scott Krug, who is not on the budget committee but whose legislative district includes the golf course, said the donations don’t have anything to do with the airport project getting funded.
Krug said Keiser’s donations were to support Republicans who were doing good things for the Wisconsin economy, not to win approval of the airport funding.
If you can not believe Scott Krug, who can you believe?

One last note about Foxconn.  When The Governor offered the company that showed profits of $149 Billion dollars last year, $3 Billion dollars of our money to possibly relocate in Wisconsin, he wrote the agreement on a Post It note and signed it like it was actually binding!

We at CogDis are efforting to confirm that, Scott Walker also Pinky swore and said

"Cross my heart (and hope to die), stick a needle in my eye."