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 etc...you 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. 

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Scott Walker - A Weasel To The Bitter End

On Tuesday, Karma came to Wisconsin riding atop of a Blue Wave.

As the gentle reader is assuredly aware of Walker losing his seat - and any future aspirations of being president. It was poetic justice done in slow motion.

It was a long, tense night as the counts came trickling in. Walker and his opponent, Tony Evers, never were more than a few percentage points away from each other. Finally, in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, the race was called and Evers was declared the winner.

But then Walker's inner weasel manifested itself in full force. He refused to concede the race. In fact, he sent out his Lieutenant Governor, Rebecca Kleefisch, to beg for money as they were preparing for a recount.

On Wednesday afternoon, Walker finally conceded the race.

But he wasn't done. With all things Walker, there's more, there's always more.

Walker is now goading on the Republicans in the state legislature, to pass some lame duck session bills to hamstring Evers by cutting his powers before he takes office:
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said Wednesday he would discuss whether to look at limiting Evers' power with Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau). FItzgerald is open to the idea, according to an aide.

"If there are areas where we could look and say, 'Geez — have we made mistakes where we granted too much power to the executive,' I'd be open to taking a look to say what can we do to change that to try to re-balance it," Vos told reporters.

"Maybe we made some mistakes giving too much power to Gov. (Scott) Walker and I'd be open to looking at that to see if there are areas we should change that, but it's far too early to do that before I talk to Scott Fitzgerald."
Talk about sore losers.

But Walker is probably feeling extra salty about this loss because Karma kicked his ass all over the state.

Walker has spent the last eight years vilifying teachers, especially the Superintendent of Public Education, Tony Evers. He and his Republican comrades have constantly tried to limit Evers power as Superintendent. Now Evers has returned the favor by ousting Walker from power altogether.

For the past 16 years, Walker has spent attacking and sabotaging Milwaukee County, which has the state's largest population of African Americans and other minorities. It was Milwaukee County that delivered the death blow to Walker's career with tens of thousands of ballots that weren't counted until the very end.

In 2011, an opened bag of 17,000 questionable ballots was "found" in the very red Waukesha County, which gave Walker's judicial rubber stamp, 30,000, an insurmountable lead. This allowed Walker to immediately pass some of his most nefarious laws, including Act 10, his initial volley against unions. in 2018, Walker was mewling about 47,000 uncounted ballots, which he claimed were "questionable." These late counted ballots were what secured Evers victory.

But the most sweetly ironic part of it all was that just last year, Walker and the Republicans changed the recount rules, making it much more difficult for a candidate to ask for a recount. Under the new rules, a race has to be within 1% point for a candidate to call for the recount.

Because of Milwaukee's late surge of votes for Ever, Walker lost by 30,000 votes, or 1.1%. Walker's change in the law came back to bite him in the ass by preventing him from asking for a recount.

The whole election - well, Walker's entire career actually - was summed up perfectly by Richard Trumpka, President of the AFL-CIO:
Scott Walker was a national disgrace.
All of this leads me to ask one question - Is it wrong that I'm still smiling?

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Welcome To The Main Attraction! Now Go Forth And Vote Dammit!

The moment of reckoning is at hand.  Will the fabled Blue Wave of 2018 sweep the state and the nation or will the special interests again be allowed to buy another election and make the people pay - even with their lives?

My wife and I will be voting early today before going out for breakfast.  Then take the Hellhounds for a quick walkies before hunkering down to monitor the news and social media sites for any signs of interference such as Russian hackers or Walker declaring martial law for no damn good reason.

In honor of my friends who passed away this past weekend - Phil Neuenfeldt and Vegas_Jessie - I will be voting to carry their torches forward and fight for the working class, for women, for minorities, for our health and all other rights.  Eight years of the failed Koch experiment in Wisconsin and two years of Trump's Fourth Reich is more than enough to know that they are utter and complete failures and need to be moved to the bad memories file as soon as humanly possible.

I hope you will join me in this effort.

Polls are open from 7 am to 8 pm.  Don't forget your picture ID to satisfy the Republicans' Jim Crow laws.

The following are the people that I am voting for or would be if I lived in their districts.  Please, let us join our voices to take our state and country back.  We need to vote in numbers too great for them to tamper with.


Senate - Tammy Baldwin

First Congressional - Randy Bryce, aka IronStache

Fourth Congressional - Gwen Moore

Sixth Congressional - Dan Kohl

Seventh Congressional - Margaret Engebretson

Eighth Congressional - Beau Liegeois


Governor/Lieutenant Governor - Tony Evers/Mandela Barnes

Attorney General - Josh Kaul

State Treasurer - Sarah Godlewski

State Senate

Senate District 1 - Caleb Frostman

Senate District 5 - Julie Henszey

Senate District 7 - Chris Larson

Senate District 19 - Lee Snodgrass

Senate District 21 - Lori Hawkins

Senate Assembly

Assembly District 7 - Daniel Reimer

Assembly District 15 - Lillian Cheesman

Assembly District 84 - Erica Flynn

Milwaukee County

Sheriff - Earnell Lucas

City of Milwaukee

Fifth Aldermanic District - Nikiya Dodd

Monday, November 5, 2018

Wisconsin Loses Labor Giant

I am sad to report the passing of Wisconsin AFL-CIO President Emeritus Phil Neuenfeldt, who succumbed to cancer after a long battle.  He was 67 years old.

From Stephanie Bloomingdale, President of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO:
The Wisconsin State AFL-CIO announced today that former President Phil Neuenfeldt, a stalwart of Wisconsin’s labor movement, died yesterday in his home. He retired as president in September at the organization’s biennial convention.

“Phil Neuenfeldt embodied the vision and values of organized labor, and he will be tremendously missed,” said Stephanie Bloomingdale, President of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO. “It was a tremendous honor for me to serve with and to call him a friend."

“Phil was one of the great leaders of the labor movement, and I know he would want us to carry on the fight to which he dedicated his life,” said Bloomingdale. “We will wipe away the tears and soldier on, and tomorrow elect leaders who we can partner with to deliver economic justice for Wisconsin’s working families.”

“Phil would no doubt agree with Mother Jones, who advised, 'Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living,” said Bloomingdale.

Details about memorial services and a celebration of Neuenfeldt’s life will be announced at a later date.

Phil Neuenfeldt was a member of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) Local 1916. He began his career on the shop floor in the manufacturing sector at GE and held various positions of leadership in his local union, including chair of the bargaining committee. He started at the Wisconsin AFL-CIO in 1986 and served as Legislative Director, Secretary-Treasurer, and President. He is a Navy veteran and proud Father and Grandfather.
Phil was well-known and widely-admired by friends of Labor for his unwavering support for working families and his tireless fight against the likes of Scott Walker and the other special interest meat puppets.

Phil's death has hit me hard on a personal level as well.  Not only did I respect and admire Phil for his unflagging leadership, but he was a good friend - perhaps a better one than I had realized.

Whenever I saw Phil at some event or heard him speak, he always talked me and this blog up.  He would joke around that if he saw me in the crowd, he'd have to check his social media that night to see what I had to say.  He always kept encouraging me to keep up the fight in the way that I do best and to never let the bastards get me down.

I could never express how much his votes of confidence for a minor loud-mouthed union thug meant to me.

Phil was a giant in Labor, just as he was a giant in life, towering over everyone.  But he was a gentle giant to his friends.

Just last week, while my wife and I were vacationing up north and were off the grid, Phil sent me a direct message on Facebook, trying to pick up my spirits during these ending days of the election cycle:

Think about it.  Just days before his death, he sent me one more message to help keep me carry on the fight. That is the kind of man Phil was.

So, I ask not for your condolences or sympathies.  I ask you to help me and my brothers and sisters carry Phil's torch forward.  Please vote on Tuesday.  Not only vote, but make Phil's goal come true and vote out Walker and the other Republicans that have waged an eight year long war on working families.

On behalf of Phil and myself, thank you.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Scott's Pre-Existing Lies!

By Jeff Simpson

I am one to criticize the Dem party when they deserve it, so I want to praise them when they also deserve it. 

The Dem party, statewide has done a great job standing together, being consistent on their messaging that the Democratic Party is the party that will protect pre-existing condtitions clause of the ACA (Obamacare). 

That message has resonated (imagine the effect a consistent message has) and it has caused Scott Walker and the GOP fits.

Scott Walker and his gopher Brad Schimel have been suing in federal court to get rid of Obamacare for years, which would end the pre-existing protections safeguards and put millions of Americans at risk. 

The WISGOP even had a vote earlier this year where all Republicans voted to remove Pre-existing protections in Wisconsin.   The proof is in the pudding!

Walker, if he has one strength, it is that he is politically savvy.   The fact that he realized the voters were on to him, so he decided to jump on the ACA bandwagon(while he is still suing to end it).

Which at this point, people saw it as the desperation move it is and were not buying it.  Like the boy who cried wolf, the Governor who has attacked anything Obama for 8 years now wants us to believe he supports it.   Like any product "As Seen On TV", no one is really buying it.

Hence even more desperation:

Our friends at OneWisconsinNow checked into and had a new Note to Media and Scott Walker:   There is something very very new about you talking about pre-existing conditions protections. 

In the immortal words of Homer Simpson

Please, whatever you do, whoever you vote for on the rest of the ticket ...we need to get this Governor on the unemployment line and quick! 

Please vote Evers/Barnes on Tuesday Nov. 6th.  

Friday, November 2, 2018

The West Bend Wave

By Jeff Simpson

Once again, West Bend made national news, challenging "Florida man" for biggest the Darwin Awards. 

Let's rewind a bit first.  The Guardian decided to follow The Donald around the country to his "I Love Me" rallies and assigned a different emotion to each rally they attended.  The emotion they assigned to the WI rally (where Scott Walker, Leah Vukmir, Paul Ryan, et al spoke), was HATE.

On the morning of the fourth rally, the outside world blasts its way into Trumpland. Shortly after 10am, as CNN anchors are telling their viewers about a series of pipe bombs mailed to the Clintons, the Obamas and to George Soros, they have to rush off air because the network has received its own explosive device.
At the same time, Jacob Spaeth and three of his buddies are lining up in a field in Mosinee, Wisconsin. They are all wearing the same distinctive red T-shirt. It bears a cartoon sketch of a smiling Trump urinating profusely over the CNN logo.
Today, after the CNN pipe bomb became headline news, a merchant says he’s sold about 15 of them in quick succession at $20 each.
Spaeth, a 19-year-old college student, doesn’t want to comment on the bombs. But he’s happy to discuss CNN.
“It’s not just CNN, it’s the whole media. They are very unfair to Trump. They’re manipulating kids, telling them that Trump is a horrible guy and that he wants bad things.”
Spaeth never watches CNN – he occasionally sees clips of it on Facebook. He gets his information from Infowars, the website of Alex Jones. Jones, a conspiracy theorist, is on the record as saying 9/11 was a government set-up and that the 2012 Newtown school shooting in which 20 children were killed was fabricated. Within hours he will be broadcasting that this week’s pipe bombs are also a hoax.
Spaeth embodies one of the most puzzling aspects of my week in Trumpland. Throughout the five rallies, I talk to scores of people, all of whom, without exception, are welcoming and pleasant. Yet hours later, in the pressure-cooker of the rally, they will turn on me and my mainstream media colleagues and hurl insults at us.
Spaeth admits that when he went to a Trump rally in Minnesota last month he took part in the finger-jabbing and the chanting of “CNN sucks”. It made him feel happy to be able to express his feelings so openly among like-minded folk. “I don’t see it as bullying,” he says.
There’s only one explanation for this pattern of behavior: that Trump enables good, civil Americans to metamorphose into media baiters. “Those people, fake news,” the president says sneeringly at almost every rally, pointing to the caged pen where reporters are cooped up during his speeches.
It’s a trigger mechanism: as soon as he says it, the chants begin. “CNN sucks! CNN sucks!” Many of the people chanting are also laughing – it’s that humor thing again. But CNN is taking no chances: they bring private security guards to every rally.
Tonight, he talks about the need to “bring our nation together”. It’s an extraordinarily cordial message coming from him. But listen closer. His call to unity is in fact a veiled attack on his political enemies.
In the name of “peace and harmony”, he tells politicians to stop treating their opponents – for which read Trump – as “morally defective”, and he references the “mob” – for which read Democrats. Remarkably, he is actually mocking the very concept of national unity while calling for it.
But wait there is more, there is always more.  Also attending the rally in Mosinee, was  Steve Spaeth from West Bend.  The hometown of Owen Robinson( who thanks to guys like Spaeth, the moral he pushes for is improving).  

Spaeth was more than happy to give an interview!   

Tonight in Wisconsin, the crowd are focused on only one thing – hearing their leader. It includes Steve Spaeth (no relation), 40, who runs a home exteriors company in West Bend. I ask him who he regards as his political enemies, and whether “hate” is too strong a word.
“Not at all,” he says. “I have a deep and absolute disgust for these human beings.”
Which ones?
He rattles off CNN, Soros, Clinton, Waters, Booker, “Pocahontas” AKA Elizabeth Warren, and others.
Why do you hate them?
“They want to turn America into a socialistic country. It’s disgusting.”
I ask Spaeth how far he is prepared to take his hatred. In reply, he tells a story. The other day he talked to his sister, who is liberal and votes Democratic. He said to her: “If there is a civil war in this country and you were on the wrong side, I would have no problem shooting you in the face.”
You must be joking, I say.
“No I am not. I love my sister, we get on great. But she has to know how passionate I am about our president.”

Yes Mr. West Bend (does that statement qualify him for Mayor now) will shoot his sister in the face if this guy tells him too:

I highly recommend anyone that is mesmerized with the Donald and the current GOP spend an hour and watch this old 70's movie The Wave.  

Dr, Phillip Zombardo,  the Stanford professor best known for his famous 1971 prison experiment, feels the answer lies in what people are willing to do to go from a feeling of powerlessness to one of being empowered.   “For most people it’s an awful lot,” remarks Dr. Zimbardo.  “People will transgress a lot of personal values to step across the line.”

Please do not stay home this election, we need to stop this dangerous crap before it gets out of control and lunatics like Spaeth actually start shooting people. 

Vote on Tuesday!   Vote blue and if you can not bring yourself to do that, vote libertarian or write in ...we need to change out those in power badly.