Friday, December 14, 2018

The Walker Legacy

By Jeff Simpson
Yesterday, as Scott Walker keeps trying to burn the state down on his way out of town, he decided it would be a good day to hand 28 million of our taxpayer dollars to Kimberly Clark.  Walker, the self proclaimed "fiscal conservative" was very proud of himself after.

I want this to be my legacy," Walker said. 

Kimberly Clark currently has plans to lay off up to 5500 workers, while also enjoying an operating profit last year of $3.3 Billion dollars.     Unfortunately for Scott Walker, he has made a habit of sending millions of our dollars to companies that have profits in the billions, so this final(hopefully) giveaway, will not be his legacy.

However after eight long years, what Scott Walker's legacy will be is open to date.  Let's take a look at some options.

1.  The first option, is the infamous video where Scott Walker tells his boss the strategy he has to screw over the working class of WI. 

2.  The next option would be, when, shortly after his inauguration, he called his cabinet together and told them to get ready, because he planned on "dropping a BWOMB on the people of WI."   Which led to this:

and this:

3.  The next option would be the Senators heading to Illinois, the recall and probably the real highlight of Walker's career - the fake phone call with "Charles Koch" which turned into the most honest 10 minutes of his life. 

4.  Which led to the beginning of the Solidarity singers.  When you are a complete partisan tribal hack the way Scott Walker is, you get disgusted anytime a group of people you disagree with gather in public.  Which led to Scott Walker and the WISGOP completely dismissing the first amendment, and arresting anyone who looked liberal and stepped foot in the Capitol (at great cost to the taxpayers).  Here is American hero Will Williams getting manhandled for daring to be in the people's house. 
5.  There was also the time when Scott Walker asked the people of Wisconsin. to skip out on buying their kids Christmas presents, and send the money to him instead(that really happened).   

Instead of venturing into the cold this Black Friday, stay in and give your children a gift that will keep on giving.
This year, we are celebrating the Holiday Season with a Black Friday special that is better than any deal found in stores. Donate $5, $10 or $25 to help Governor Walker get reelected and save your children from a future of double-digit tax increases and billion dollar budget deficits.
Instead of electronics or toys that will undoubtedly be outdated, broken, or lost by the next Holiday Season, help give your children the gift of a Wisconsin that we can all be proud of. Governor Walker is helping Wisconsin move forward to a future where your children and grandchildren can experience:
Economic Prosperity
Improved Schools
Freedom From Government Dependence
The Governor wants his sons to grow up in a Wisconsin as great as the one he grew up in. When asked why he never stopped fighting for Wisconsin during the Recall, Governor Walker says he has two reasons, his sons Matt and Alex.
With your help, Governor Walker is enacting reforms that are securing a strong state for the future of Wisconsin’s children. This Black Friday, donate $5, $10 or $25 to help Governor Walker win reelection so he can continue to help Wisconsin move forward.
A strong Wisconsin is the best gift you can give.
Taylor Palmisano
Friends of Scott Walker
6.  Then there was his incredible ego, and a conversation with God, that led Scott Walker to think(after promising he had no interest and would not do it) he could be the next President of the United States.   However the real story here, besides God's sense of humor, is that he burned through over ten million dollars, while making  drunken fool of himself for three months and ended up with 0.0% support! 

7.  Or the fact that when he finally dropped out of the race to be the Republican Presidential Nominee, he said he did so, to make sure that The Donald would never be President.

8.  Let's not forget also, that the one big policy point that made Scott Walker stand out when he was running for President.   He wanted to build a northern war between the US and Canada

                                “So that is a legitimate issue for us to look at.”  
9.  We also can not forget that Scott Walker, is the only Governor to have a "Criminal Defense Fund".

10.   While those are all important parts of the Scott Walker legacy, if I had to sum up his eight years into one picture, this is what I would choose!

What do you think the Scott Walker legacy is?

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Robbin Robin

By Jeff Simpson

By now we all know the ridiculous temper tantrum power grab that the Republicans, led by Robin Vos and Scott Fitzgerald just pulled off to diminish the power of the election winners this last week.

I am not going to rehash that here, if you need to know more about it, or anything about it, there is not a person who covered this, better in the country than James Rowan at the Political Environment.  Go here and read up/catch up on it! 

Here is the account that was up on

Republican lawmakers, after an all-night push made mostly behind closed doors, passed legislation Wednesday morning diminishing the powers of incoming Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul and curtailing the timeline for early voting.
A Senate amendment to the bill was made public shortly before 5 a.m. Wednesday, and senators passed it at about 6 a.m.
The vote was 17-16, with Sen. Rob Cowles, R-Green Bay, the lone GOP "no" vote and all Democrats opposed.

Thank you to Senator Cowles for his courage.   (608) 266-0484 /

 What I want to focus on here is the current face of the Republican Party - Robin Vos. 

I have been documenting his unethical exploits for ages.   From my time at Blogging Blue - Here, here, here, here etc... and of course here at CogDis.  Others have had plenty to say also like here and here. 

There is plenty of places to go to see the egregious things that Robin Vos has done, here, we will take a look at who Robin Vos is. 

Robin Vos is a 50 year old, UW-Whitewater graduate, who has roomed with Reince Priebus and Scott Suder. Vos is now the owner of 21 rental properties in Whitewater, WI under the unoriginal name of Whitewater College Rentals.  As one would expect, his history as a landlord is not a very good one, and he is not Better Business Bureau accredited.  I know housing is a major problem in America, but if you can avoid renting from Robin I would highly recommend it!

Vos also owns a popcorn business called RoJos Popcorn (if you were Robin Vos you would not use your name on your company either).   You can leave a yelp review here.   Like Vos has treated ethics in Wisconsin, he has let his website slide to non existent, so I can not guide you to that.    I hope you all make sure never to buy a single kernel of "Rojo's Popcorn". 

Rojo's Popcorn 140 Long meadow DrBurlington, WI  53105 (262)763-9434 

Vos, also has problems in his personal life.  For all of you ladies out there, the thrice married Vos has described his turn ons as:

 His "turn-ons: Long hair, Skinny dipping, Flirting, Public displays of affection, Dancing, Power, Money, Brainiacs, Boldness/Assertiveness.
As the unmarried(but has a friend) Julainne Appling points out:

Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Council says, “Governor Walker’s proclamation rightly identifies the benefits of marriage and the costs of marital breakdown, not only for the men, women and children directly involved, but also for the entire state.” The proclamation reads in part, “Marriage breakdown takes a toll on the emotional, physical and financial well-being of the entire family, and increases the public cost for human service programs.”  
As Robin Vos has said in the past:

  Robin Vos, R-Burlington, who announced last week that he is a single guy and that, "Saying I am against birth control is to say I am against water." His profile says he does want two children, though.(edit note: he finally got his two kids, just took him three marriages to do it)
 The Ladies Man from Burlington, has a history of control issues also.  First he actually was with former married Rep. Michelle Litjens(while he was also married) and as Speaker of the Assembly, was technically Litjens boss.   Our friends at One Wisconsin Now also unearthed that Vos has kept Representative Samantha Kirkman on his payroll for the last 5 + years.  It is best to have the members beholding to you in as many ways as possible.

But WAIT there is more.  The best man(term used loosely) at Robin's third wedding was former House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, a Republican from Ohio.  Cliffy is not a former Speaker of the House in Ohio because he had too much fun at the Vos/Litjen soiree.   Rosenberger is no longer House Speaker because he is dirtyThe FBI was looking into his travel and spending habits since he liked to take international trips paid for by lobbyists. 

Before you ask, Rosenberger traveled with more than just lobbyists, Robin Vos was his travel partner.   No need to worry though, what the Lobbyists did not pay for, the Wisconsin taxpayers did. 
We can assume that Vos makes for a good travel partner because he has no scruples, can be bought as easily as Rosenberger and likes to tell stories of his sexual exploits with Litjens(sorry if you were eating).

Then there is the latest power grab, while Vos is being criticized from Historians, pundits, politicians and citizens all over the country, Vos is desperately trying to stop the attacks.   Vos started with this:

The first act of every elected official is to take the oath of office and swear to uphold the law. So it’s troubling that after being elected governor of Wisconsin, Tony Evers’ first promise was to undermine a state law that requires welfare recipients to work.
Luckily, while the media is missing in many parts of our political atmosphere, people are stepping up and taking their place.  Here a Professor from Georgetown weighs in

So Robin Vos was shown to be disingenious(who knew), so he tried again(with the same results). 

 The hyperbole has been excessive during the last week.

If anyone would know hyperbole it would be Robin Vos.    Like the time he said 1 in 4 public schools are failing, and was given a pants on fire rating.  The time when Robin Vos, attacking one of the leading research institutions of the world, UW-Madison, by saying their professors are preying on the taxpayers by wasting time studying "the ancient mating habits of whatever" .   or the time he called three WISGOP Senators "terrorists" because they negotiated a deal with Scott Walker on he budget and did not include him.    While far from the last, one of my personal favorites, was when he compared recall elections to cancer.  Apparently, depending on how the election goes, depends on if should listen to the voters or not. 

The guy who has, at great cost to taxpayers, gerrymandered our state to ensure he runs it from the Assembly, is never scared to bring full blown ignorancy or hyperbole to any debate, and now that he is caught and exposed for the power grab he is doing he is speaking up against what he has built his career on. 

Robin Vos should be ashamed. 

Let him know how you feel:

(888) 534-0063 

Walker Exits As He Came In - With Lies, Chaos And Corruption

When Scott Walker became governor of Wisconsin, one of the first things he and his fellow Republicans did was work into the wee hours of the night to pass laws that would end up devastating the state's economy, environment and the rights of most people. These include things like Act 10, the attack on public workers such as teachers, even though Walker not once mentioned this during his campaign.

Eight years later, when the voters of Wisconsin finally had enough of Walker and his lies and corruption, they ousted him from office. Sadly, Walker has chosen to leave office the same way he came in - with lies, chaos and corruption.

After the elections, Republicans called for an extraordinary session of the legislature to pass a last minute corporate welfare bill for Kimberly Clark, a paper manufacturer.

Last week, the Republican legislature worked into the wee hours of the night to pass an unprecedented power grab. They stripped the incoming Democratic governor-elect, Tony Evers, and the incoming Democratic attorney general-elect, Josh Kaul, of much of their powers. They even found time to give the wealthiest of the state yet another tax break, put work requirements on healthcare and to greatly curtail early voting.

The one thing they never even discussed was the bailout for Kimberly Clark, which was supposed to be the whole purpose of the session.

Now that these power grab bills are with Walker, he is trying to simultaneously rationalize and minimize these bills with a lengthy Facebook post:
Let’s set the record straight – the new governor will still have some of the strongest powers of any governor in the nation if these bills become law. He will have the power to veto legislation and he will have some of the broadest line-item veto authority of any governor in the nation.

The new governor will be able to appoint members of his cabinet and of various other state government posts - as well as judges, district attorneys, sheriffs and other officials.

The new governor will be able to sign off on administrative rules. He will be able to present a biennial state budget. He will be able to pardon convicted felons.

None of these things will change regardless of what I do with the bills passed in the state Legislature last week.
:He goes on to outline the supposed criteria he is using to evaluate the bills. In truth, he only uses only two criteria:
  • Will it help forward my future political aspirations?
  • Will it please my corporate special interest masters?
Walker has given every indication that he's going to sign these bills, despite the fact that he had vetoed some of them before and had advocated against others:
Walker's openness to providing more say to the Legislature over state agencies comes after rejecting similar measures in his last state budget that would require state agencies to report to the Legislature.

In vetoing the measures, Walker said the language would put an unfunded mandate into state law and would "encroach" on his office's "responsibility to manage state agency programs within the statutes and funding levels set by the Legislature."

Walker also advocated against reshaping state government in the final weeks of an outgoing governor's term in 2010 when he asked then-Gov. Jim Doyle not to act on a number of measures, including making permanent appointments, and asked the Legislature not to approve public employee union contracts.

Now, Walker has appointed Department of Administration Secretary Ellen Nowak to the Public Service Commission and Attorney General Brad Schimel as a Waukesha County judge.
It should also be noted that they had already tried to limit early voting on the major urban areas like Madison and Milwaukee, both Democratic strongholds, but these laws were struck down in court.

So, why would Walker sign these now when he was against them before. Let's look at his personal criteria. Walker's political career is dead for all practical purposes, so that's not it.

But it will appease his masters, like the Koch Boyz and the Bradley Foundation. He's probably hoping to gain their favor so that they give him a do nothing job where he can collect a paycheck for doing an occasional dog and pony routine when they want him to.

Walker's legacy will be able to summarized in one short phrase - Once a weasel, always a weasel.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Republicans Change the Rules

By Jeff Simpson

Courtesy of our friend Heather at the Wisconsin Public Education Network! 
Dear friends of Wisconsin public schools,

"Who is asking for this?" "This is not democracy."

We were there last night to bear witness on behalf of our children as the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) adjourned just after midnight, after hours of testimony during which only one person spoke in favor of any measure, Ironically, that one measure (changing the date of the spring 2020 election) was the only bill that did not advance last night. Not even the authors of the bills attended to speak in favor of this unprecedented power grab.

The Senate and Assembly will now take up the three bills that moved forward. THESE BILLS WILL HAVE LONG-TERM IMPACTS ON OUR STUDENTS AND SCHOOLS, and are widely opposed by members of both parties. Even the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial team is taking a strong stand: Once again, it's time for Wisconsin citizens to let politicians know who's the boss. "If you think votes matter, if you think citizens should be in charge of their government, you can stop them by raising your voice."

Capitol staffers tell us the Senate will be called into session at 10 am, and the Assembly at 1pm. IF YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY DONE SO, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LAWMAKERS NOW. Find contact info for your legislators here:

"The optics problem looks bad." - Senator Luther Olsen

The bills are most vulnerable in the Senate, where several members have expressed qualms over the sweeping measures. We also urge you to take a moment to make a call to the following Senators and ask them to put people before party politics:

Senator Howard L. Marklein, Spring Green - (608) 266-0703 -

Senator Rob Cowles, Green Bay - (608) 266-0484 -

Senator Dan Feyen, Fond du Lac - (608) 266-5300 -

Senator Luther Olsen, Ripon - (608) 266-0751 -

Senator Jerry Petrowski, Marathon - (608) 266-2502 -

Senator Patrick Testin, Stevens Point - (608) 266-3123 -

Our message remains the same (and you're welcome to customize it as you see fit):

Stop playing politics, and stop playing games with democracy. Voters said in November that they are ready for a new era of civility and working together for what's best for our children and our communities. Let's respect that and get to work. Vote NO on each of these bills and take time now to start working on policy that ensures the success of our students, schools and communities.

These are the bills that moved forward:

AB1069 Relating to: state and local highway projects; expenditure of transportation moneys received from the federal government; determining a reduction in individual income tax rates; and election of pass-through entities to be taxed at the entity level.

AB1070 Relating to: legislative powers and duties, state agency and authority composition and operations, and administrative rule-making process.

AB1072 Relating to: federal government waivers and other requests for federal approval; public assistance programs; waivers from work search and registration requirements for certain unemployment insurance benefit claimants; granting rule-making authority; and making an appropriation.

Thank you for taking action to support strong schools and good government!

- Heather
Also for some fun reading, the world is watching Wisconsin again.

On CNN, they compared the WISGOP to Walter White.

Scott Fitzgerald doesn't trust Tony Evers.  Who knew gaining BIG Ftz's Trust was the final step to getting elected?   I guess we now have the new "voice of reason" in Wisconsin.  This guy:

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

O Christmas Tree - Scott Walker Version

By Jeff Simpson

O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
How lovely are thy branches
O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
How lovely are thy branches

Seriously, some stories just write themselves.   Scott Walker, in his last Holiday Season, picked Balsam Fir from someone's yard to dress the Capitol Rotunda. 

The Miller family donated the tree from their very own backyard, to let the whole state admire its beauty. 

They trusted a beautiful family heirloom in Scott Walkers hands.  Scott Walker, in all of his glory, did to this beautiful tree, what he did to Wisconsin in 8 years - dismembered it!

Here is the end result of how Scott Walker and his crew handled this beauty.

Charlie Brown would be proud.

The difference of course is Charlie Brown had nothing but good intentions.   

We are nothing if not fair here at CogDis, so in all honesty it could have been worse, Walker could have allowed Melania to decorate the Capitol.  

O tannenbaum, o tannenbaum
How lovely are, are thy branches

Monday, November 26, 2018

Five Stories About America

By Jeff Simpson 

Let's catch up on some interesting news that has flown under the radar from the recent election.

*  In New Hampshire, a 19 year old former Girl Scout is now a state lawmaker.

When Cassandra Levesque was 17, she led a campaign to end child marriage in New Hampshire that was dismissed by a state legislator who said that it would be absurd to raise the age of marriage from 13 just because “of a request from a minor doing a Girl Scout project.” Levesque, 19, was elected to the state House of Representatives as a Democrat last Tuesday after an election that saw the number of state representatives under age 40 double in a legislature that was once the oldest in the country. As recently as 2015, the average age of a New Hampshire state legislator was 66 years old.
“They have had some trouble trying to get into the mindset of generations after them — it’s a totally different time than when they were my age,” said Levesque, whose “Girl Scout Project” successfully helped push the state’s marriage age to 16 this summer. “Having someone new to help them see different perspective will definitely help.”

* The Tea Party Libertarian Eddie Lampert Does Not Disappoint.

When Sears, once America’s largest retailer, made its bankruptcy filing Monday in a White Plains courthouse, the proximate cause was the decision by Eddie Lampert, by far its biggest individual creditor and shareholder, not to make a $134 million loan payment that was due. “This is not so much a melting ice cube, but a puddle,” a lawyer for a large creditor told the federal Bankruptcy Court.
But in the end, this wasn’t simply about a struggling retailer unable to pay its bills. Sears succumbed to Mr. Lampert’s hubris. The problems at Sears Holdings, as it is known on Wall Street, are more than a decade in the making, all because one of the smartest guys who has ever been in any room — Mr. Lampert — stayed convinced of his own deeply flawed thinking. As a result, billions of dollars of shareholder and creditor money has been immolated, probably forever; at least 175,000 jobs have been lost; and one of the greatest American business success stories may well be extinguished.
While it is sad that hundreds of thousands of people will be losing their jobs and their pensions, and a piece of Americana will be no longer, we see that Libertarianism is working exactly like most of us knew it would.   The rats have decided if they are going down with the ship they crashed into the iceberg, they would prefer to do so with a GOLDEN parachute! 

Sears is seeking court approval to pay executives as much as $19 million in quarterly bonuses while the company struggles to restructure in bankruptcy.
Three top executives could get nearly $1 million each if the company goes out of business. If Sears remains in business, they could get nearly $500,000 each for hitting the top performance targets.
 Sears filed two different types of bonus plans in bankruptcy court Thursday. The first is for the top 18 "key" executives, who would collectively get as much as $2.1 million per quarter. The bonuses would only be paid in full if Sears reaches its cash-flow targets. Sears Holdings, which includes both Sears and Kmart, has been burning through cash at a rate of about $125 million a month.
Libertarianism Capitalism at it's best. 

* Speaking of Capitalism at its purest form, who better to show us what it means than Kim Kardashian

The California wildfires are causing massive devastation with current death count at 77 dead, over 1000 people missing, along with Paradise, CA virtually burned down.   We know it is bad because Kim Kardashian took a picture of it from her private jet. 

It was such a frightening experience for Kim that she and Kanye hired their own private fire fighters to keep their mansion safe, while the peasants burn....

As multiple devastating wildfires raged across California, a private firefighting crew reportedly helped save Kanye West and Kim Kardashian’s home in Calabasas, TMZ reported this week. The successful defense of the $50 million mansion is the most prominent example of a trend that’s begun to receive national attention: for-hire firefighters protecting homes, usually on the payroll of an insurance company with a lot at risk.
The insurance companies AIG and Chubb have publicly talked about their private wildfire teams. AIG has its own “Wildfire Protection Unit,” while Chubb—and up to a dozen other insurers—contract with Wildfire Defense Systems, a Montana company that claims to have made 550 “wildfire responses on behalf of insurers,” including 255 in just the past two years. Right now in California, the company has 53 engines working to protect close to 1,000 homes.
The TMZ story feels uniquely 2018—financial capitalism, inequality, KimYe, the fires of Armageddon—and it is, for Americans at least.
*  The True Nazi Salute: 

 I wrote recently about the incident in Baraboo, where a bunch of kids were pictured giving the Nazi salute.    I pointed out that in our current society, we continue to reward White Nationalism, Supremacy and outright racism.   The world will be watching Mississippi this Tuesday, where there is a run off election between D- Mike Espy and R - Cindy Hyde-Smith.   

Our children will be watching to see how much support Ms. Hyde-Smith receives since she made her national mark with her "sense of humor" -

The public hanging, is of course the go to for pure comedy, especially when your opponent is an African American, no hidden meanings in that comment at all. 

Besides would this poor lady be racist?

Just because she dresses up like a Confederate soldier, attended a segregationist high school and has praised Confederates in actual legislation does not mean she has nothing but the absolute purest heart. 

We will see on Tuesday, taking a deep look in the mirror, we see everyone who votes for Ms.  Hyde-Smith is doing their own Nazi salute. 

*  We as a country get incredibly offended, when someone fires upon, gases and kills children - Unless we do it

After Central American migrants approached the U.S.-Mexico border on Sunday to call attention to awful shelter conditions and request asylum, U.S. Border Patrol agents reportedly fired tear gas into Mexico, forcing parents with toddlers to flee.
"Children were screaming and coughing in the mayhem," the Associated Press reported. "On the U.S. side of the fence, shoppers streamed in and out of an outlet mall."

Extra Credit:

Wisconsin will have a celebrity Republican in the state for the next couple weeks

Despite his last-minute requests and hopes, former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos will still have to start his 14-day prison sentence on Monday for lying to federal investigators in the Russia probe.
Papadopoulos had asked a federal judge twice in the last 10 days to pause his sentence. The federal Bureau of Prisons has him set to surrender at a correctional camp in Wisconsin tomorrow.
Welcome Papadopoulos to our Beautiful State ....hopefully they can get you out cleaning trash on the highways for your stay here. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Save Stephanie or Keep Klett

By Jeff Simpson

There has been some push lately, for Tony Evers to keep Stephanie Klett, as head of the Department of Tourism.   I would like to state that I publicly agree with this idea, with some context. 

While I have been critical of some of her decisions, I think that Ms. Klett has done a very admirable job running the Department of Tourism.   In an era where her boss has been openly hostile to public employees, unions, teachers, LGBTQ community, people of color, the English language etc...  she has still found a way to market our great state despite the obstacles.     Stephanie  has done such a good job, that it amazes me that it was a hire Scott Walker actually made.

Now some quick caveats, I am all for bipartisanship but it has to work both ways and there has to be some sanity and logic involved.   I hope everyone on the right who wants Governor Evers to show some bipartisanship and keep Ms. Klett on, also calls Vos and Fitzgerald and tells them to not redefine the Governors powers. 

Let's also remember that Scott Walker, and the rest of the GOP, would not give you the time of day if you signed the recall petition.   If Governor Evers keeps Ms. Klett on board that everyone recognizes that he is not the partisan petty child that his predecessor is. 

Finally, as we see by the crony appointment of Schimel to a cushy judgeship,  that competence has never been in any job description that Walker has ever written,   

I am on board, I thoroughly recommend keep Stephanie Klett on as head of the Department of Tourism.

I am also of the strong belief that anyone else that Scott Walker has hired or appointed in our Government, gets walked to the door the second Governor Evers gets sworn in.   

It can not happen soon enough!   

*  Full disclosure, Stephanie and I attended Beloit College together in the 80's, and while I would not say we are friends, I would say we are acquaintances. 

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Baraboo Reflection

By Jeff Simpson

By now, you have probably heard that the children of Baraboo High school are public enemy #1, because of a picture they took at least Spring's prom.

Yes it appears, that most of the boys from the class of 2019 were giving the Nazi salute.  The photographer swears that he was telling the boys to say good bye to their parents, the camera, Scott Walker, their anonymity, or whatever the story is he is telling at the time.

One of the students who was there, and did not Heil to the camera, was Jordan Blue, whose memory is different from the photographers.

  "As soon as I heard the photographer say, 'Raise your hand,' I knew what was going to happen," senior Jordan Blue told CBS News correspondent Adriana Diaz. Blue, who is in the photo, refused to participate.
"Did he say anything to make it clear that it was raise your hand in this way as in this Nazi symbol?" Diaz asked.
"He did not say raise your hand in a Nazi symbol way. And I'm pretty sure my classmates just interpreted as raise your hand, let's do this as a joke," Blue said, adding that he thinks the others knew what the symbol represented.
The command to raise your hand, is almost automatically turned into a Nazi saluteI wonder why that could possibly be,....

Maybe they watched the Republican National Convention, where one of the main speakers, Laura Ingraham spoke of nationalism....

Of course Ingraham has the highest rated show on Fox.  Ever since she came back from her suspension vacation after making fun of the parkland shooting survivors.     (Quick note - the Parkland Shooter - Nikolas Cruz - recently registered as a Republican.  I guess his long ties with the NRA makes this the logical next step. )

Maybe they attended a rally for the Donald in West Bend and one of their parents bought a Nazi flag as a Souvenir.

or ran across these guys there:

Or possibly worked for the Republican Paul Nehlen Campaign.  Yes, Nehlen did not come close to winning, but he was praised by The Donald for his "kind words". 

Or Maybe they caught Richard Spencer's speech:

What does the head of the Alt-Right movement Richard Spencer have to do with Wisconsin?  Well a student at UW-Madison wanted to start an alt-right movement on campus and was forced to go through many road blocks, which then led to Republicans Jesse Kremer and Robin Vos to pass a law that says if you disrupt a speaker at the University System you can be expelled. 

The student that Vos and Kremer were writing legislation for, was convicted of arson on black churches, which definitely led to his appeal with the WISGOP. 

What has the Alt-Right Movement really done, since they were also praised by the Donald as "having some really fine people " as part of their movement.    I mean we can overlook the Alt-Rights role in this, all they have done is hold a White Power rally in Charlottesville, NC and shoot up a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

FYI: the guy who keeps praising the Alt-Right movement, he won Wisconsin in the last Presidential vote.   Plus Wisconsin's Governor ,was the only elected official, to be a featured speaker at a White power rally in Florida and it barely made the Wisconsin Media blink.(Stormy Daniels was more exciting to cover).

Then there is far right hate radio that made fun of the whole topic:

The list goes on and on.....

Did the photographer say raise your hand in a Nazi salute....I personally do not think so. 

Did the Photographer ask the kids to put their hand in the air and most of them used the Nazi salute for fun....I believe so.   

However, before we run to Baraboo with our Pitchforks in hand, maybe we should stop and look in the mirror first and realize all these kids are doing is modeling our behavior. 

Next time you look at that picture of the Baraboo Boys with the Nazi salute,  take a second look and you will see that it is just a reflection of our current society. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Top Ten Election 2018 Thoughts

By Jeff Simpson

It is a new day in Wisconsin with the end in sight finally of the Scott Walker reign.   Tony Evers and Mandela Barnes will be the next Governor/Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin.    Scott Walker will be forced to do something he has not done since getting kicked out of college - find a job not on the taxpayer dime.  Apparently the same fate has been bestowed upon Rebecca Kleefisch but she appears to be a comet, completely disappearing, but showing up every four years. 

The Democratic Party also won the US House but lost seats in the US Senate.   The Blue wave turned into some occasional heavy rain storms but in too many other areas no rain in sight.   It was like being in the winter in Alaska, no sun, no rain and hell mostly froze over. 

However we need to look at Wisconsin, what went right, what went wrong and how do we fix it. 

The first thing we need to do is acknowledge the successes.   Very few seats were uncontested(although still room for improvement) and there were some incredible candidates on the Democratic Ticket, who unfortunately did not win, but it is important that they do not disappear from the fight.

Secondly and best news of the night, Tony Evers/Mandela Barnes are the new leaders of Wisconsin.  Along with Josh Kaul, Sarah Godlewski and Doug LaFollette swept the statewide races (More on this later). 

This means that in 2020, when the Republicans sign secretive agreements to gerrymander even worse, and before Rick Esenberg can testify that the maps are Constitutional (before he even sees them) they will have to be signed off by Tony Evers.   

Gone are the days of Scott Jensen having final say on all maps, and bills.   No matter what else happens, that was a net positive.

Josh Kaul winning is also a net positive for the people of Wisconsin.   Brad Schimel might be the most partisan person ever born.   He is the former Waukesha Attorney General that the GOP changed the law for, so they could move their trials. to his court room.  Schimel is known for giving Republicans a slap on the butt and saying "Go Get Em Tiger" to any major Republican that crosses his path.  That and not being bothered to test rape kits. 

Doug Lafollete also won easily, but I knew that when Nation consulting decided to find a Democrat to primary him, ensuring his victory in this election cycle.

Turnout was huge and Madison and Milwaukee showed up. 

Robyn Vining Won her race for Assembly seat 14 against Agustus Gloop.

Not a terrible night but things could/should have been so much better.  Let's dig a bit deeper. 

1.  I love that we beat Scott Walker as much as the next person, BUT we need to stop declaring total Victory.     No one won last night.  When the nation projects a Blue Wave and we pick up one seat it is not a successful night.

2.  The Democrats are still using the Gerrymandered seats to dismiss the numerous defeats across the board.  Yes, I am not naive enough to think that gerrymandering does not make a difference.  It was unbelievably unethical  how they gerrymandered the state.

It is also impressive.

The GOP nationally, and locally,  realized that power is fleeting and elections are cyclical and decided to change the rules.   They had a multi level plan, but one of their main action steps was understanding the importance of local elections and in turn, being able to rewrite the maps.   You can be so much more successful when you pick your voters, instead of relying on the voters to pick you.

The problem though is this is the fourth straight election where we have had to play by the same rules and lines   The Democrats have a good number of people who make alot of money, and have during every one of the last four elections, and yet they can not seem to figure out how to win an election anywhere.  In Wisconsin that is - seems our brethren in Kansas have figured out some secrets.

3.  The WISDEMS have never been able to stop chasing the money.   Moneyed donors are pheromones to Wisconsin Democrats.  Understanding that you need money to run (unfortunately) but if you chase the money you are running from very thing that you need to win.  The real winners of this election cycle are the consultant class once again.  Their checks are in the bank.  They will be on vacation, enjoying some much needed downtime, while we sit here and watch the lame duck session bring Wisconsin even further down the rabbit hole.

How do we win?  We can break that down also!

1.  Look Deep Inside.  
The first thing to do is form a committee and take a deep deep inside look into what happened.  Nothing off the table, do not worry about feelings hurt and ask and demand raw honesty.  A few years ago, the WISDEMs did form a committee but it was laughable as it was mainly intended to push the blame on everyone but themselves.   On this committee you need some WISDEM party members and some people who refuse to pay dues but are liberal/progressive activists etc. 

Then they need to interview and listen to, every candidate on the D side of the ballot, activists, party members etc...  With such questions as What re your impressions of being a candidate, what were the successes, what were the failures, what would be your advice to future candidates, what would you need to run again, what were the success and failures of the help you received from the WISDEMS, etc...

Then let's start building an infrastructure that uses the advice given.

2.   Get over yourselves.   We still, even after the fiasco of electing the Donald, have too many party party members that think because they pay their $25 that have "stars upon thars".   They truly believe that paying $25 makes their opinion matter more, they are more liberal/progressive/smart/logical/pragmatic etc...   We have to understand that if we rely only on the dues paying members of the party then we will continue to lose every single election. 

It is time to welcome all people in.  I understand that you pay your $25 and you want extra privileges, you get to vote for the chair and attend meetings where people talk down to you, and can attend an annual picnic.   Take those privileges and enjoy but when it comes time for election, lets open the doors and welcome everyone.   Here is a suggestion, maybe open the door for a $5 membership fee, it allows you access to so many more people. 

3.  Chill on the direct mailers.   We have to stop running elections like its 1972.  We can reach people in so many more (less expensive)  ways than killing trees and filling recycle bins. 

3.  STOP PAYING CONSULTANTS!  What in the world have they won?  We have to have this conversation after every single election, for some reason.    Its like Groundhogs day every two years in WI.  We run a campaign, exactly like the last campaign and then when we get beat and whine about the maps and tell each other how great we are.

A consultant is by definition, a professional who provides expert advice.  The rules for the last 8 years have been the exact same, and so have the results.  You would think that having four straight chances at something you could eventually start having some success. 

Hire the right campaign coordinator and go from there.   Get someone with skin in the game, instead of a mercenary.  Stop with the conflicts of interest.  I documented numerous times that Mary Burke's campaign was run by someone who owned a lobbying firm.   Nothing to see here.   A partner at Nation Consulting is the DNC Secretary.   We can not keep having so many Blurred Lines and wonder why we fail.

4.  Use Wisconsin Businesses.   How many candidates are spending tens of thousands of dollars on Amazon, Uber, Printers in DC or New York, Firms from DC, New York, San Francisco, etc...    The message of I am going to protect small business in WI, I just have no interest in using them, is one that does not play well.  Yes Republicans do the same thing, make sure and point that out as often as possible.

A perfect example of what not to do would be the Bryce Campaign.   Kudos to them for raising over $7 million dollars.  I remember talking with Marge Krupp and she was excited to raise $100k for her run against Paul Ryan.   However while I praise him for raising so much money a quick look at his campaign finance report and it is hard to see any of that money staying in WI.   When you send tens of thousands of dollars to a "strategy" group based in the heart of the Midwest - New York City, who is used to working with billionaires and your candidate is Joe Sixpack, not sure why anyone thought that was a good idea.

The deadbeat dad meme and multiple arrest record of Randy Bryce was too much to overcome as Bryce lost to Paul Ryan's Chauffeur by 13 points.  The problem was that these overcome able  problems should have been addressed at the beginning of the campaign and not made it look like the campaign was trying to hide something or surprised that the allegations came out.   Making the impact of the ridiculous accusations substantially more than it should have been, 

As someone who used to work for a multi national company, we all know that when ever Wisconsin comes up in a conversation at the GSG, they all have plenty of redneck/hick jokes ready to go.   It is hard to then from thousands of miles away, tell someone who they would never associate with in public, how to win over voters in Janesville, Racine and Elkhorn WI.    Bryce's comms director grew up in DC and New York, and now was in charge of communicating with people in Clinton, Mukwonago and East Troy.   Which leads to Bryan Steil in Congress and I would guess some very nice holiday bonuses at GSG.

5.   Use your resources. 

Mike Crute ran a progressive radio show on a progressive station here in Madison.  After the last election all of the major corporate owned radio stations purged the Progressive shows and then doubled down on far right wing shows.   So Crute bought his own radio station and broadcasts his own line up of Progressive radio1510Am on your dial.     A perfect vehicle to help spread the Progressive message. 

Yet the real resistance in the Dem Party these last few years, have been the Democratic Insiders resisting anything that Progressives no party approve have done.  I know as being part of a Progressive blog(there are not many of us left), we get more pushback and resistance from inside our own party than anything the Republicans throw at us. 

As I have pointed out on more than one occasion, the GOP has their network of radio, tv and blogs and use them all.   At anytime you will heard a perpetual stream of candidates on their shows or giving interviews.  Anytime they want to push something or start a message for the echo chamber there they are.  No questions asked.

If you want to be a Republican, be a Republican.   You are not going to get that from any of the blogs I know or Crute.  However we are all progressive, have similar goals and can help push the right message.   If your feelings get hurt because we criticize something that we disagree with, then you are in the wrong business.  Instead of having the lets work together when we agree attitude, it comes back to The Sneetches.   How dare you question us, we have "stars upon thars" and you need to know your place!

When they do take a break from fighting With progressing outlets, it is usually to complain that they do not have enough money or exposure. 

Crute spent an extended period explaining this recently on his show.  I highly recommend checking it out for an insiders view of what happens within the party.

Listen here! 

It is hard to complain about lack of coverage and people not knowing your candidates when you have built in outlets to reach people and you treat them worse than your opponents because they are mad that you do not agree with them 100% of the time.

6,  Study successes all over the country (there were some). 

In Kansas they beat the Trump candidate easily, and the best advice they gave is "run your campaign" not always chasing and responding to your opponent(which I felt the Evers campaign did a very good job of).

In Texas, Beto O'Rourke unfortunately lost his race, but there are lessons to learn from his enthusiasm and positivity.  He also emphasized no corporate PAC money. 

In Kentucky, Veteran Amy McGrath had a very high profile in this election thanks to her original campaign video. 

Ms. McGrath, was urged by the DCCC to got hard and negative at her opponent and she refused to get slimy.   Congrats on her for that, but there is a difference between going slimy and answering BS attacks.  Good for Ms. McGrath, we will hear from her again.    One thing that I have always found interesting, the reddest states and thee hardest core Republicans who wrap themselves up in the flag and have changed their middle name to "support the troops" are never scared to smear a veteran if it will help them win an election.  It was Paul Ryan's SuperPac that did the smearing of Ms. McGrath

Boy are we quick to anger at Pete Davidson for making a joke about a Veteran but then hold The Donald and Paul Ryan up on pedestal as they attack vet after vet.   Party over People. 

7.  PROMOTE the Hell out of the bottom of the ticket.   

Notice that the four candidates that the Democratic Party outright supported won.   That is not a coincidence.   Check out their generic lit piece and wonder why we only picked up one seat. 

If the down ballot member running is an afterthought to The Democratic Party, why wouldn't they be with you?   Another example, President Obama came to Milwaukee for a GOTV rally and look who was on the stage.

Know who isn't on stage?  Julie Henszy.    Who is Julie Henszy you ask(and shouldn't)?  She ran for Leah Vukmirs old Senate seat outside of Milwaukee and lost to Drunken Dale Kooyenga by around 2000 votes.   A few kind words from Obama, could have gotten more people out to the polls for her and maybe been the last minute adrenaline shot need to push even further across the finish line.  We will never know though because the bottom of the ballot is insignificant to party insiders. 

For example, while Julie Henszy wasn't on stage, our old friend Tonya Bjork was backstage getting pictures with President Obama and her kid.    It is much more important to pat each other on the back, and tell each other how great they are, than it is to win elections.   Until that changes we will continue to be in the minority.

The correct response here would have been to have it go as it did and at the end bring up everyone who is on the ballot that could make it there that morning and introduce them and let them get a team picture with president Obama. We ran some great candidates and a team pic with Obama would have shown the Dems to be a much different party than their opponents.

Drive big turnout in the lower ballot races, and that will trickle up.   Drive big turnout in the top of the ballot and the Democrats win, and no one else does. 

8.  Can we finally admit, that many people are left behind in this economy?  

I have found, since the Hillary campaign really started this, that too many good liberals want to show everyone how "Woke" they are.  It usually starts out with someone saying something that is not politically correct but comes from a good place.   Then instead of having a conversation about it, the WOKE superstars start attacking.   They save their venom for people that are mostly on the same team because they all their friends to know how inclusive they are and want to be at the forefront of flogging the "bad liberal".

Let's look at it another way.  We are all in this together.  If you are an African American female, you head out into our current world with alot of strikes against you. If you are a single white mother who is trying to work and raise kids on your own with the rising costs of healthcare also have strikes against you. Instead of comparing "woes", lets join together and start eliminating those strikes against everyone.

White Privilege is a very real thing, but not everyone who is white has the same amount of privilege in this country.   If you are living in a mostly rural, mostly white area and the factory, your family has worked at for generations,  just closed down, you do not want to be preached at about white privilege.    Sure you can send your son out into the world and be pretty sure he will come back if he gets a speeding ticket, but you also send him out knowing if the car breaks down you do not have the money to fix it.   

The white family, that was working at the closing Beechworth Windows in Ladysmith, and the African American family in Grover Heights Milwaukee and the Latino family in Cambria all have more in common than not.    Let's focus on our commonalities - healthcare, good education for the kids, a roof over your head, a job that pays a fair wage and where you can be safe at, the ability to buy healthy, fresh food, have transportation and can maybe take a vacation every year or so.     These things transcend race and each of the families have too many obstacles, although they may be different, to get their slice of the American Dream pie. 

9.  Grow with the times.   

I admire that so many Democratic candidates worked so hard doing doors upon doors. I question the effectiveness of it though.   I would guess that except for maybe some married women whose husband was gone, Robin Vos has not knocked on a door in years, yet he runs the show.    I think doors are still important but there has to be more.   I do not have the answer but it is out there.

We also need to figure out more ways to reach people in (free) social media platforms.

Stop fighting yard signs.  Yard signs do not vote but they are like mini billboards that you can place all over your district,.   Which beats actually having to spend limited resources buying billboards.  They also help start conversations between neighbors.   The conversation between neighbors is what will change the world.

Use the WISDEMS platform to push all candidates not just the top of the ticket. 

Be ready to learn and listen when you do #1.

10.  Keep fighting and Stay Positive.  Never Give Up. 

Complete election results here!  

Our friend Dom has his take here.  

Vox take on it is here, where they emphasize the long term plans of the Republican Party that put us here.

I appreciate that we had an OK election night in Wisconsin.  I will forever be grateful that Scott Walker lost to a teacher.  It was awesome.   However we have a long way to go to take back our state and it needs to start now.