Tag: Milwaukee

Milwaukee state legislator incorrectly listed as congressional candidate in Northeastern Wisconsin

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The title and body of this blog post have been edited to include information provided by Wisconsin State Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa (D-Milwaukee).


The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) incorrectly lists Wisconsin State Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa, a Democrat who represents a state assembly district entirely within the City of Milwaukee, as having filed a campaign registration statement (page 4 of this PDF file) for the Democratic nomination in a U.S. House race in the 8th Congressional District of Wisconsin (8th CD), which includes no part of the Milwaukee metropolitan area and includes the northeastern part of the state. Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson is campaigning for the 8th CD seat in Wisconsin, but is not listed as having filed any paperwork with the GAB at this time. Additionally, the GAB lists Democrats Wendy Gribben and Jerry Kobishop as having filed declarations of candidacies with the GAB for the 8th CD race.

However, as Zamarripa stated via Twitter, this is a technical glitch of some kind on the GAB’s master list of candidates for the August primaries in Wisconsin, and that she actually filed to run for re-election to her state assembly seat:

I’m thankful that State Representative Zamarripa explained what the problem was.

Joe Donald: Not an independent-minded jurist

Milwaukee County (WI) Circuit Judge and Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Joe Donald has made his claim of being an independent-minded jurist pretty much his entire campaign for state supreme court.

In reality, he’s just another politician in the political old boys and girls network in Milwaukee that includes people like Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Milwaukee County Executive Chris “Boss” Abele. In fact, Donald has supported Scott Walker’s hand-picked Wisconsin Supreme Court justice, Rebecca Bradley, on multiple occasions prior to Bradley being appointed to Wisconsin’s highest bench:

On Friday a WisPolitics report (unfortunately hidden behind a paywall) highlighted Judge Joe Donald’s past support of Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley. According to the report Donald, one of two challengers vying to unseat Bradley, served as a reference on Bradley’s application for an appointment to the 1st District Court of Appeals and endorsed her campaign to retain a seat on the Milwaukee County bench in 2013.

When Rebecca Bradley, one of the most far-right judges in the entire country, ran for public office for the first time (for election to a full term to a Milwaukee County circuit judgeship that she was originally appointed to by Scott Walker), guess who was one of her biggest supporters…Joe Donald. When Rebecca Bradley sought a political appointment from Scott Walker to a seat on the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, guess who Bradley listed as her reference…Joe Donald.

The truth of the matter is that Joe Donald is too connected to the political old boys and girls network in Milwaukee, which also includes people like Rebecca Bradley, Chris Abele, and Scott Walker, to be a truly independent justice. There is only one candidate who will be a truly independent justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court if elected, and that candidate is JoAnne Kloppenburg. Unlike her opponents, Rebecca Bradley and Joe Donald, Kloppenburg will interpret the U.S. Constitution, the Wisconsin Constitution, and federal and state laws if elected to Wisconsin’s highest bench, not engage in any kind of judicial activism or making political decisions from the bench.

The non-partisan primary for Wisconsin Supreme Court is February 16. The top two candidates in the primary (likely Bradley and either Kloppenburg or Donald) will advance to the April 5 general election.

Gannon the Cannon gives the finger to a Democrat on the floor of the Wisconsin Assembly

Earlier today, Wisconsin State Rep. Bob Gannon (R-Slinger) flipped off Wisconsin State Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) during a debate about Gannon’s racist remarks about crime in Milwaukee:

Several Democratic lawmakers from Milwaukee chastised state Rep. Bob Gannon, R-Slinger, for his comments, which they believed were racially charged. After a heated back-and-forth, Gannon flashed Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, his middle finger and walked out of the Assembly chamber.

“It is wholly inappropriate to give somebody the finger, for God’s sakes, on the floor of the Assembly,” Barca said, asking for Gannon to be reprimanded.

Gannon later apologized for making the gesture. It was the state Assembly’s first time meeting in 2016.

Gannon has earned a reputation of being a loose cannon and a racist. Prior to this most recent incident, Gannon made remarks encouraging concealed carry weapon (CCW) permit holders to shoot and kill “scumbags” and blamed black people for Wisconsin’s economic problems, the latter of which prompted the floor debate over crime in Milwaukee.

Gannon makes me look mild-mannered by comparison, and anyone who has met me, either in person or online, knows that I have a temper. What Gannon did on the floor of the Wisconsin Assembly earlier today was extremely inappropriate, and people with Gannon’s attitude are why Wisconsin’s political climate is absolutely toxic these days. Wisconsin gave America kindergarten, and, quite frankly, kindergartners are more civil than Republican politicians these days.

The Washington County, Wisconsin Democratic Party issued this response to Gannon’s use of a certain inappropriate hand signal on the floor of the Wisconsin Assembly:

Granted, it would be an absolute miracle if Gannon were to lose re-election to a Democrat, but Democrats should run a candidate against Gannon. I would be willing to do an email interview with a Democratic candidate in the 58th Assembly Candidate of Wisconsin, if one were to run for that seat.

Scott Walker completely ignores request from Wisconsin teacher to quit talking about her story

Megan Sampson, an English teacher at Wauwatosa East High School in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, has repeatedly been used by Republican Wisconsin Governor and presidential candidate Scott Walker as the face of his union-busting Act 10 bill. Act 10, among other things, stripped teachers and most Wisconsin public employees of the vast majority of their collective bargaining rights.

However, Walker has been using Sampson’s story, which I’ll explain in detail in the following paragraph and only mention once on this blog, without permission from Sampson. Sampson has repeatedly denied Walker permission to use her story because she doesn’t want to be seen as a political figure, and she’s offended by Walker using her as a posterchild for Walker’s far-right political agenda.

In 2010, Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) laid off Sampson, and Sampson was hired by the Wauwatosa school system not long afterwards. Both of those events occurred before Act 10 became law in Wisconsin in 2011. After she was hired to teach in Wauwatosa, MPS offered Sampson to return to MPS as a teacher, but Sampson refused the offer because she was employed to teach in Wauwatosa.

Walker has claimed that Sampson was hired in Wauwatosa after Act 10 became law in Wisconsin. As I stated in the above paragraph, this claim by Walker is false. Additionally, Walker has claimed that Sampson was honored by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) with a Outstanding Teacher of the Year award for her work for MPS. In reality, DPI gave four Wisconsin teachers outstanding teacher awards for 2010, but not Sampson, and Sampson received an outstanding first-year teacher award from the Wisconsin Council of Teachers of English (WCTE), a non-profit organization whose membership is composed of English teachers in Wisconsin who wish to join the organization.

Since I started blogging a few years ago, there have been instances where people have contacted me and asked me not to use their name, likeness, quotes, stories, etc. in my blog posts, and I have respected their wishes. The fact that Scott Walker has continued to use the story of Megan Sampson in an inaccurate manner and, more importantly, without her permission proves that Walker has zero respect for his fellow Wisconsinites. If Walker can’t respect the people of his own state, he’s not going to respect the American people if he’s elected president.

Wisconsin State Assembly votes to gives taxpayer money to millionaire NBA team owners

The Republican-controlled Wisconsin State Assembly voted to give millions of dollars taxpayer money from ordinary Wisconsinites the owners of professional basketball’s Milwaukee Bucks in order for them to build a new arena by a 52-34 vote, with 5 members not voting at all, 4 members casting paired votes in favor, and 4 members casting paired votes in opposition.

Here’s the Wisconsin State Assembly members who voted for the Milwaukee Bucks corporate welfare giveaway:

  • Scott Allen (R)
  • Joan Ballweg (R)
  • Peter Barca (D Minority Leader)
  • Mandela Barnes (D)
  • Janel Brandtjen (R)
  • Robert Brooks (R)
  • Bob Gannon (R)
  • Evan Goyke (D)
  • Gordon Hintz (D)
  • Rob Hutton (R)
  • John Jagler (R)
  • Adam Jarchow (R)
  • La Tonya Johnson (D)
  • Andy Jorgensen (D)
  • Robb Kahl (D)
  • Terry Katsma (R)
  • Samantha Kerkman (R)
  • Frederick Kessler (D)
  • Joel Kleefisch (R)
  • Dan Knodl (R)
  • Dale Kooyenga (R)
  • Jesse Kremer (R)
  • Mike Kuglitsch (R)
  • Tom Larson (R)
  • Amy Loudenbeck (R)
  • Cory Mason (D)
  • Jeffrey Mursau (R)
  • John Murtha (R)
  • John Nygren (R)
  • Alvin Ott (R)
  • Jim Ott (R)
  • Kevin David Petersen (R)
  • Warren Petryk (R)
  • Jessie Rodriguez (R)
  • Dana Rohrkaste (R)
  • Joe Sanfelippo (R)
  • Michael Schraa (R)
  • Christine Sinicki (D)
  • Ed Skowronski (R)
  • John Spiros (R)
  • Mark Spreitzer (D)
  • Jim Steineke (R)
  • Lisa Subeck (D)
  • Rob Swearingen (R)
  • Paul Tittl (R)
  • Tyler Vorpagel (R)
  • Robin Vos (R Speaker)
  • Dana Wachs (D)
  • Leon Young (D)
  • JoCasta Zamarippa (D)
  • Josh Zepnick (D)

In addition to those, Mark Born (R), Dianne Hesselbein (D), Bob Kulp (R), and Tom Weatherston (R) cast paired votes in favor of the Milwaukee Bucks corporate welfare deal. However, under Wisconsin Assembly rules, paired votes, which can only be recorded if members casting the paired votes have an excused absence, do not officially count as votes in favor or in opposition to legislation, but are officially recorded as paired votes in the official vote tally. Personally, I think the paired votes rule should be repealed in any jurisdiction that allows paired votes, since it seems  like a relic of the pre-automobile era, when it was very difficult for a state legislator who lived a long distance from the capital city of a particular state to get to the state capitol building.

This deal is a terrible deal for Wisconsin taxpayers from every corner of Wisconsin, and it would have been cheaper for the State of Wisconsin to let the Milwaukee Bucks leave for another state than to keep the team by way of corporate welfare for a new arena.

While proponents of the deal have claimed that the deal will pay for itself over time, the fact of the matter is that the deal would certainly not pay for itself. Over a 20-year period, the State of Wisconsin will pay $3.5 million annually to the Bucks, which will play 41 games per year (not counting any preseason or postseason games) in the new arena, starting with the 2017-2018 NBA season. It would require the Bucks to have an average home game attendance of 170,732 or greater to make up for the money that the state gave the Bucks owners to build the arena through the 50¢ cut of a $2/ticket surtax that the state receives. Since the maximum spectator capacity of the arena is going to be roughly somewhere between one-tenth and one-eighth of the break-even attendance figure of 170,732, it’s absolutely unrealistic to expect the state portion of deal to pay for itself over time.

By the way, here’s how I calculated the 170,732 figure for determining break-even attendance for the state portion of the deal:

  • State portion of expenditures to the Bucks is $3,500,000/year
  • There are 41 home regular season games for each of the 30 NBA teams, including the Bucks
  • The portion of the Bucks ticket surtax that the state receives is 50¢/ticket
  • 3,500,000/41/0.5=170,732, rounded up to nearest whole number

In fact, if one were to factor in every revenue and expenditure factor of the deal, such as any tax revenue created or saved by the Bucks deal and the costs that taxpayers in Milwaukee County and the City of Milwaukee are on the hook for, the break-even attendance figure for the entire Bucks deal would probably still be more than any reasonable estimate of the maximum spectator capacity of the new arena. This is for two reasons. First, the portion of the money going to the Bucks owners that Milwaukee County and City of Milwaukee taxpayers are going to be on the hook for is in the low nine-figures. Second, there isn’t a ton of tax revenue that will be created or saved by the deal due to a large number of tax exemptions associated with the deal. To put all of that another way, the deal isn’t going to pay for itself. Even if the state portion of the deal repays itself and them some, it would still short Milwaukee County and the City of Milwaukee a large amount of taxpayer money that could have been better used for local government services that serve a public purpose and that Milwaukee County and the City of Milwaukee are legally responsible for.

If you live in the 20th Assembly District of Wisconsin, you’ll have an opportunity to tell Christine Sinicki to oppose Scott Walker’s NBA corporate welfare giveway

If you live in the 20th Assembly District of Wisconsin, which is entirely within Milwaukee County and includes the southern-most part of the City of Milwaukee and all of St. Francis and Cudahy, you’ll have a rare opportunity in Wisconsin. You’ll have the opportunity to tell Wisconsin State Rep. Christine Sinicki (D-Milwaukee) to oppose a corporate welfare giveaway for the proposed Milwaukee Bucks arena. The event is scheduled for Saturday, July 25, 2015 at 9 A.M., and the event will be held at 3558 E. Sivyer Ave. in St. Francis, Wisconsin.

There are a number of reasons why this deal is bad for Milwaukee and Wisconsin:

  • The deal would send hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Wisconsinites’ taxpayer money to the owners of the the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, including Jon Hammes, who is a co-chairman for Scott Walker’s presidential campaign.
  • The arena’s estimated lifespan is 30 years, after which, the Bucks owners would be demanding more taxpayer money for yet another new arena once again if they get the deal for the arena they intend to build over the next couple of years.
  • The deal includes a ton of tax exemptions that would severely restrict the amount of tax revenue that could be generated by the deal, resulting in less tax revenue being available for roads, schools, and other things that serve a public purpose.
  • Marquette University’s basketball team would likely be a regular tenant of the arena, in possible violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
  • The deal includes the creation of a special “entertainment district”, which would likely consist of mostly of national chain bars and restaurants, that is unsustainable and would likely drive local businesses in Milwaukee out of operation.
  • The new arena would be managed by a board consisting partially of elected officials who aren’t from the Milwaukee area and aren’t elected by Milwaukeeans, such as Jennifer Shilling (who is from La Crosse, located over 170 miles from Milwaukee), while completely shutting out the Milwaukee County Board from making any appointments to the board.
  • The deal would not restore one penny of funding that was taken from public schools, state parks, and other things that received budget cuts from Scott Walker’s state budget.
  • Given that the NBA has mandated that the Bucks either build a new arena in Milwaukee or move elsewhere before the start of the 2017-2018 NBA season, that would leave a roughly two-year window for the Bucks to build the arena, and any significant construction delays would result in the arena not being built on time, the Bucks being forced to move, and Milwaukee being stuck with an unfinished arena.

If a lot of opponents of the Milwaukee Bucks corporate welfare giveaway show up, you may be able to help sway Christine Sinicki to do the right thing and vote against the Bucks corporate welfare giveaway. Letting the Milwaukee Bucks move to Las Vegas (or some other city) would be, by far, the lesser of two evils compared to wasting more of Wisconsinites’ taxpayer money that would probably see little or no return on investment for taxpayers.

Milwaukee is why Wisconsin progressives can’t have nice things

After the Wisconsin State Senate voted overwhelmingly to give a quarter of a billion dollars in corporate welfare to the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks so that they can build the new arena that the NBA is forcing them to do, I’ve come to the conclusion that Milwaukee is why Wisconsin progressives can’t have nice things.

Over the past quarter of a century or so, Milwaukee has become a cesspool for Wisconsinites’ taxpayer money being wasted on state government policies, supported by both Republicans and Democrats, that have little or no actual benefit to the vast majority of Wisconsinites. First, it was school vouchers, which was first implemented in Wisconsin in 1990, but the Wisconsin school voucher program originally only covered Milwaukee (it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that vouchers were expanded statewide in Wisconsin). Next came the corporate welfare package for Major League Baseball’s Milwaukee Brewers, which gave them taxpayer money to build a new baseball park, which became Miller Park after naming rights for the park were sold and opened in 2001. Now, the National Basketball Association’s Milwaukee Bucks are about to get their own corporate welfare package for their new arena in Milwaukee. In all three of these cases, both Republicans and Democrats supported these policies, which have little or no benefit to the vast majority of Wisconsinites.

How the Bucks got such broad support for corporate welfare for a new arena in the Wisconsin State Senate looks to be, at first, shocking, since scientific polling has shown nearly 80% of Wisconsinites are opposed to corporate welfare for the Bucks. However, the Bucks had two advantages to overcome public opinion being against them: support from the political elite in Wisconsin and a well-organized campaign by a vocal minority of Wisconsinites to give the Bucks taxpayer money for a new arena. Unlike the National Football League’s Green Bay Packers, which have a very large national following, and baseball’s Milwaukee Brewers, which have a large following in Wisconsin, the Bucks have a relatively small fan base.

However, from an electoral standpoint, the Democrats who support the Bucks corporate welfare deal are in big trouble…if anti-corporate welfare progressives can organize effective political campaigns against those Democratic elected officials who sided with the Bucks owners. There is growing opposition to corporate welfare, both in Wisconsin and nationally, so there’s a golden opportunity for anti-corporate welfare progressives to get organized and replace corporate Democrats with progressive Democrats through the electoral process. In fact, in regards to the 2018 gubernatorial election in Wisconsin, if there’s a contested Democratic primary, the battle lines have pretty much been drawn. For all intents and purposes, a competitive Democratic primary for Governor of Wisconsin in 2018 is effectively going to be between a pro-corporate welfare Democrat supported by the Milwaukee-area political elite and an anti-corporate welfare Democrat supported by the activist progressive base of the party, if such candidates run. The anti-corporate welfare Democrat should ideally run against Milwaukee, but not in the same way that a Republican would. The anti-corporate welfare Democrat should talk about a bipartisan political elite giving Milwaukee taxpayer money for corporate welfare for wealthy sports team owners, religious welfare for private schools, and other policies that are of little or no benefit to the general public. At the same time, the anti-corporate welfare Democrat should advocate for progressive policies that benefit the vast majority of Wisconsinites. This message would resonate heavily in both Dane County, the progressive stronghold of Wisconsin, and the rural western and northern parts of Wisconsin, which are the areas with most of what few persuadable voters there are in a statewide general election in Wisconsin. Also, there would be extremely little political risk in running against Milwaukee for a Democratic statewide candidate. This is because quite a few people in the Milwaukee area are strongly opposed to the kind of policies that the anti-corporate welfare candidate is opposing, and roughly 99% or so of the voters in the Milwaukee area have a group grievance with one of the two major parties and vote for candidates in the other major party all the way down the ballot. This kind of campaign would be even more effective for state legislative races outside of the Milwaukee area, but anti-corporate welfare progressives would have to drop the Milwaukee-bashing for state legislative races in the Milwaukee area.

Milwaukee’s ticking oil train time bomb (Cochant train de pétrole la bombe à retardement de Milwaukee)

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The following article includes a French translation, courtesy of Google Translate. I have no actual working knowledge of the French language. Below the first page break is the English-language article, and below the second page break is the French-language translation.

NOTE DE L’AUTEUR: L’article suivant contient une traduction en français, gracieuseté de Google Translate. Je ne connais pas de travail effectif de la langue française. Ci-dessous le premier saut de page est l’article de langue anglaise, et en dessous de la deuxième saut de page est la traduction en langue française.


Two years and three days ago, a train carrying crude oil from the Bakken rock formation along the border between the United States and Canada in the northern Great Plains derailed in the town of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, Canada, causing explosions of oil tank cars that destroyed dozens of buildings in the central part of Lac-Mégantic and killed 47 people.

The train that derailed in Lac-Mégantic passed through Milwaukee, the largest city in the American state of Wisconsin, where a railroad bridge responsible for carrying trains loaded with oil tank cars has deteriorated so badly, some of the beams supported the place have been rusted hollow. Earlier this week, a protest was held at the bridge, which runs right next to lofts in the Fifth Ward area of Milwaukee that would likely be destroyed in the event that an oil train derails and explodes, whether it occurs because of the bridge collapsing or for some other reason. Protesters were critical of both the deteriorating condition of the bridge and the oil trains that use it frequently, and they called for the release of bridge inspection reports and for the development of an evacuation plan in the event that either an oil train or other type of train carrying hazardous materials were to derail.

The deteriorating railroad bridge in Milwaukee is owned by Canadian Pacific Railway, a company, which is based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, that runs freight trains through the United States and Canada. Under United States federal law, Canadian Pacific is legally responsible for inspecting the bridge and maintaining inspection reports. However, because the bridge has rusted and deteriorated so badly, a proper inspection of the bridge is impossible, according to a steel engineer that WITI-TV, a local television station in Milwaukee, brought to the bridge with them. Despite requests from WITI, Canadian Pacific has repeatedly refused to make the bridge inspection reports available to them. Additionally, the United States Federal Railroad Administration, the only government entity in the United States that can demand the release of bridge audits from Canadian Pacific, has claimed to have never asked for the Milwaukee bridge inspection reports from Canadian Pacific.

Because of deteriorating railroad infrastructure and more trains carrying tank cars full of highly-explosive oil across America, places like Milwaukee could become the next Lac-Mégantic if action isn’t taken to fix our crumbling infrastructure and increase the amount of energy being generated from renewable sources like solar and wind.


Il ya deux ans et trois jours, un train transportant du pétrole brut de la formation rocheuse Bakken long de la frontière entre les États-Unis et au Canada dans les Grandes Plaines du Nord a déraillé dans la ville de Lac-Mégantic, Québec, Canada, provoquant des explosions de wagons-citernes de pétrole qui a détruit des dizaines de bâtiments dans la partie centrale de Lac-Mégantic et tué 47 (quarante-sept) personnes.

Le train qui a déraillé à Lac-Mégantic passé par Milwaukee, la plus grande ville dans l’état américain du Wisconsin, où un pont responsable de l’exécution des trains chargés de wagons-citernes d’huile de chemin de fer a tellement détériorée, quelques-unes des poutres supportées l’endroit ont été rouillé creux. Plus tôt cette semaine, une manifestation a eu lieu sur le pont, qui passe juste à côté de lofts dans la cinquième zone de pupille de Milwaukee qui serait susceptible d’être détruite dans le cas où un train d’huile déraille et explose, si elle se produit en raison du pont effondrement ou pour une autre raison. Les manifestants ont critiqué à la fois l’état de détérioration du pont et les trains de pétrole qui l’utilisent fréquemment, et ils ont appelé à la publication des rapports d’inspection des ponts et pour l’élaboration d’un plan d’évacuation dans le cas où soit un train de pétrole ou autre type de train transportant des matières dangereuses étaient à dérailler.

Le pont de chemin de fer détérioration de Milwaukee est possédée par Chemin de fer Canadien Pacifique, une société, qui est basée à Calgary, Alberta, Canada, qui gère les trains de marchandises à travers les États-Unis et au Canada. États-Unis en vertu de la loi fédérale, le Canadien Pacifique est légalement responsable pour inspecter le pont et le maintien de rapports d’inspection. Cependant, parce que le pont a rouillé et tellement détériorée, une bonne inspection du pont est impossible, selon un ingénieur en acier qui WITI-TV, une station de télévision locale à Milwaukee, a apporté sur le pont avec eux. Malgré les demandes des WITI, le Canadien Pacifique a refusé à plusieurs reprises que les rapports d’inspection des ponts à leur disposition. En outre, les Etats-Unis la l’administration des chemins de fer fédéraux, la seule entité du gouvernement des États-Unis qui peuvent exiger la libération des audits de pont du Canadien Pacifique, a affirmé avoir jamais demandé les rapports d’inspection des ponts Milwaukee de Canadien Pacifique.

En raison de la détérioration des infrastructures de chemin de fer et plus de trains transportant des wagons-citernes plein d’huile hautement explosive à travers l’Amérique, des endroits comme Milwaukee pourraient devenir la prochaine Lac-Mégantic si des mesures ne sont pas prises pour corriger notre infrastructure en ruine et d’augmenter la quantité d’énergie produite à partir de de sources renouvelables comme l’énergie solaire et éolienne.

ANONYMOUS GUEST POST: How the Washington Generals learned to stop worrying and love the Harlem Globetrotters

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The following blog post was emailed to me by an individual who I will not publicly name, but is a resident of the State of Wisconsin who I will refer to as Progressive Activist A. The blog post is almost completely unedited (I did make a slight edit to remove a reference to a graphic that was not provided in the email) and not originally written by me, but written by Progressive Activist A with help of unnamed Milwaukee County (WI) Democratic Party members. The blog post compares the Republican Party of Wisconsin to the Harlem Globetrotters and the current Democratic Party of Wisconsin leadership to the Washington Generals. Below this author’s note is the blog post, and below that are my notes about the blog post.


In Wisconsin the Democrats are getting ready to practice democracy. In just over a week the Democratic Party of Wisconsin will be holding its annual, statewide convention.  There they will ask their delegates to vote to select a new Chair, or leader, for the statewide party.
The firmly blue, democratic leaning city of Milwaukee is the site of the convention. Milwaukee, the city that is surrounded by a collar of white suburbs that voted in Scott Walker as County Executive and then backed it up by voting in Tea Party darling in democratic clothing, mouthpiece and pawn of the uber-right Bradley Foundation, Chris Abele.
Oh well, democracy is a relatively new concept and is not yet perfected.  But still sometimes one has to wonder. Shouldn’t we be at least slowly moving towards a more perfect form of democracy?  As I look around it seems that not only are we no longer moving towards a more perfect democracy, but rather that we are running and leaping away from a more perfect democracy.
Most people by now should know that it is possible to become President of the United States by losing the popular vote (the vote of the citizens of the U.S. who cast ballots in elections) and winning the vote of the electoral college. But that rarely happens so most people shrug it off.  “That’s just politics” they say.
Most people by now should know that the combined Republican Party and Tea Party (or GOTea) has been working to prevent a great many Americans from voting.  Or at the very least, making it very hard for non-White, upper class Americans to vote.  This practice is called voter suppression and when you bring it up in discussion, most people shrug it off.  “That’s just politics” they say.
Between extreme redistricting and voter suppression techniques, the GOTea has sought to create a playing field for itself so tilted in their own favor that they can’t lose.  We have even seen them in Wisconsin pick their own judges in court cases who have allowed GOTea defendants to willfully destroy evidence and get away with it.
Kind of like the basketball team, the world famous Harlem Globetrotters.  You are all familiar with the Harlem Globetrotters right?  The Globetrotters are beloved and dazzle audiences as they…..well….trot all over the globe. Using trick shots, well practiced stunts and not to mention confetti, ladders, garbage cans and other props not allowed in the regular game of basketball, the Globetrotters delight their audience by essentially out-playing, out-tricking and out-cheating their perpetual counterparts, The Washington Generals.
The Globetrotters also bring to the show with them, their own referees who are part of the whole stage show. Referees who turn their back on the play off the game to watch confetti being sprinkled by one Globetrotter as the rest of the Globetrotters set a ladder up under the basket and practice a slam dunk, fire drill and score twenty points in five seconds. All the while their counterparts in the Washington Generals helplessly look on.
Everybody wants to join in the fun and be a Harlem Globetrotter. Nobody wants to be a Washington General.  Except in Wisconsin that is.  In Wisconsin there are some folks within the Democratic Party of Wisconsin who apparently have watched the Globetrotters decimate the Washington Generals by a typical score of say…..242 – 16. They watch and say, “man, it must be really nice to be a General!”
They probably don’t like the perpetual losing part as much as they love and adore the idea of having steady, lucrative work for life that doesn’t involve the risk of injury, the hard work and practice, the devotion required of players in the NBA.
They probably don’t tell themselves “I love to lose” but rather, they spin it into something like “It sure would be easy if all I ever had to do is show up and automatically end up in second place, just one step away from total victory.”  In other words, they think they would like to pursue being perpetual silver medalists, to use an Olympics metaphor.  They are refusing to realize that coming in second out of two is total and absolute failure.
And it is all about coming in second….as in second class citizens.  These would-be Washington Generals either haven’t thought about or don’t care about the people in Wisconsin who would become, have nearly become, second class citizens to the ultra rich and powerful.
And although there are five current candidates running for the office of Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, they are divided into two basic camps. Those who would learn from our past errors as well as the oppositions past victories and switch away from our previous losing ways in favor of a new winning plan.
And those who enjoy, indeed they profit from, the old status quo system.  It may mean that the citizens of Wisconsin lose and lose big, but by golly their jobs are secure as the old two party system is the only game in town.  Sure it may not have all the perks of winning every game, of being the Harlem Globetrotters.  But it does carry incredible job security to be a Washington General.
Under outgoing, current Chair Mike Tate, the DPW went from supporting, at least to some extent, all its candidates for legislative office in Wisconsin, to hitting up all its legislative candidates for cash for the DPW itself. They spoke of a 72 county plan but instead they concentrated on the heavily populated counties of Dane and Milwaukee which contain the cities of Madison and Milwaukee, and largely ignored the rest of the state as well as those who bravely entered the political ring as Democrats.
Also recently, the DPW has had only had one simple piece of advice for its candidates for legislative office.  And that message was “money, money and more money.”  The only way to win the DPW would say was to outraise and outspend the GOTea candidates.  Money was the answer to everything, the alpha and the omega.
One problem though, the GOTea has always been the party of corporate interests.  At a time when the GOTea is pushing for a nationwide takeover of American and state governments by the corporations, how in the world do you expect Democrats to be able to outraise and outspend the Republicans???  Farmers and factory workers, teachers and union members have all been financially decimated by Republican policy. They can’t donate more than the trillion dollar corporations and their billionaire owners.
But still the DPW kept saying that big money was the only possible solution to the problem of big money in politics. Democratic candidates had to have big money to pay for professional campaign staffers to come work for them in Wisconsin where the shiny suits and New Jersey accents stuck out like sore thumbs.  Folks in rural Wisconsin like anywhere else, don’t like people from out of state coming in and telling them how and who to vote for.
Mike Tate’s DPW kept telling candidates that big money for wardrobe specialists and hair stylists was the only way to win. Candidates would ask for the DPW’s VAN list, which is the list of democratic voters in their district and Tate’s DPW would say sure, for a couple of thousand dollars we will hit the print button on our computer for you.
Also the DPW kept telling candidates that they, like the DPW itself, needed the big money, corporate spin doctors of firms like Nation Consulting.  A huge player in the public relations business if they wanted to win their elections, it was the only way. Pay our specialists, pay our consultants, pay our hairdressers and image people.  Money, money, money and spend, spend, spend.
Guess how that worked out?  All three branches of Wisconsin government are firmly in GOTea control.  In other words, the big money, spend, spend and spend some more plan did not work.  It did not work at all!  In fact it worked so poorly that Mike Tate knew last year that he was going to have to step down as Chair of the DPW.
And so we will be saying goodbye to Mike Tate as Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.  And in all honesty Mike Tate is a good person with a very democratic heart. Things just came apart under his watch, not all of it his fault by any means, but things really came apart for his party in Wisconsin.
But in some ways, depending on who wins the election to replace Mike Tate, it could end up as essentially we have a new Tate.  Consider it Mike Tate version 2.1.  We may be stuck with the status quo, to keep trying to raise big money to give to the consultants, campaign managers from out of state, old friends and career cronies.  In other words we could all end up with a big plan to stay the same, which is to concede that the GOTea will always be the Harlem Globetrotters and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin should remain as it has, the Washington Generals of Wisconsin politics.
And this is why a good many people are very concerned about the candidacy of Jason Rae.  Jason Rae has been part of the big money, spin doctoring business  And Jason Rae many people scared that he is going to copy Mike Tate’s plan from the last election.  That seems to be how Rae plans on winning his bid for Chair of the DPW. Only this time there is a huge difference, this time focusing on Milwaukee County and forgetting completely about the rest of Wisconsin could actually work out for the Jason Rae big money machine.
You see, under the election rules of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, the Chair will be elected from among 5 candidates by plurality after a single round of voting. This means that getting 21% of the vote is all you need to win.
And guess what? Under the current (but hopefully not the future) way that the DPW chooses delegates to vote for its Chair and other officers, Milwaukee alone has enough votes to take it all.
And so Jason Rae and the staff of Nation Consulting have been focusing on Milwaukee with a fevered interest.  They know there is big money at stake for themselves in Milwaukee, even if it is only second place, Washington Generals money.  Hey its the only game in town folks.
And a big part of the Rae/Nation machine has been focusing hard, daily, on claiming for itself, the Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.  We have received so far, thirteen requests by Milwaukee County Democratic Party members to use this blog to let people know that under Rae/Nation, that the Chair of the Milwaukee County Dem Party is choosing their delegates to the state convention based on how much they support Jason Rae.  If you do not support Jason Rae and pledge to vote for Jason Rae, then you don’t become a delegate and you don’t get to go to the convention and vote for your candidate of choice.
Democracy?  Democrats?  Check the definitions at the top of this page again if you need to.  Because these tactics hardly represent the concept of democracy or the mission of the Democratic Party.
Now technically by the bylaws, charter and constitution of the DPW, Chairs are allowed to subjectively screen party members to find the best, most active people and reward them with delegate/voting status at the convention.
The system was not meant to be used to push for one candidate and one candidate only.  But the loophole exists and Rae/Nation is pushing it for all its worth to promote their own interests which are of course, going to be mostly financial in nature.
So under the current system, which most of the party seems to want to change to be more inclusive, our next Chair could be elected with the support of only 21% of the delegates over the opposition of 79%. This is not a recipe for party unity. This is a recipe for party implosion and even death.  And that would mean the complete and final decimation of any reasonable quality of life for Wisconsin’s citizens for as far as anyone can see into the future.
And Nation Consulting and its people in the Democratic Party are out to make it happen.  Big names in party politics, seemingly unconcerned about the DPW becoming the perpetual losers in Wisconsin politics, the Washington Generals of the badger state.  They are looking after their own interests first and let the rabble be damned is what is happening if you judge them by their actions and not their professionally spin doctored words.
Not that Thad Nation, owner and bossman of Nation Consulting has reason to care about the Washington Generals, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin or any of the state’s citizens.  Although Thad Nation is a known political insider to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, he is a huge financial supporter of the GOTea.
It sounds quite insane when you hear it altogether, doesn’t it?  Get rid of Mike Tate because his plan didn’t work out at all but hire his Jason Rae to maintain the losing plan so that the big dogs and insiders can maintain a lucrative lifestyle.  Why would anyone vote for that?
Let me ask you again….why would anyone vote for that?  There is no darn good reason to, not a one!  At a time when Wisconsin is not only socially but economically and politically torn apart, now is the worst possible time to maintain the status quo, to stick with the plan that so far has never worked.  Now is the worst possible time to stick with big money in government, special interests and shady, backroom deals.
Now is the best possible time to return to open and transparent politics in Wisconsin which are to the benefit of everybody. Now is the best time to return to politicians being held accountable for their actions and being made to work for all citizens of the state, not just their donors and the lobbyists.  Now is the worse time to maintain the status quo as our state sinks lower and lower in the rankings, as our standard of living lowers, as our people flee to other states in search of work and security.
Now is the worst time to vote in favor of the recent status quo.  Now is the worst time to give up on ever being a Harlem Globetrotter.
Thank you to the members of the Democratic Party of Milwaukee County who reached out to us and trusted us to write and promote this article, we hope we have done right by you all.

Here’s some of my own notes regarding the blog post:

  • Chris Abele is the current Milwaukee County Executive, first elected to that post in a 2011 special election to replace Scott Walker, who vacated the post to become Governor of Wisconsin. Abele has governed Milwaukee County in a very conservative manner, in fact, he’s a political ally of Scott Walker despite being a Democrat.
  • Although not mentioned by name in the blog post, the Milwaukee County Democratic Party Chairwoman is Marlene Ott. The blog posts references Ott, who has endorsed Rae, trying to fill her county’s delegate slate with as many supporters of the Jason Rae for DPW Chair campaign as possible.
  • The blog post contains a large number of grammar errors, which I’ve left in the blog post because I’m not the one who originally wrote it.
  • Actually, 20%+1, not 21%, would be the minimum percentage of delegates that a candidate for DPW Chair in a five-way race would need in order to be mathematically able to win.
  • The reference to That Nation being a funder of Republicans is a reference to Coalition for the New Economy, a political organization led by Nation, giving money to right-wing political organizations that have supported Republican candidates and/or right-wing causes.
  • The Milwaukee County Democratic Party members who helped write the blog post were not named by the person who sent me the blog post.
  • The blog post is displayed without lines between paragraphs due to a bizarre technical problem that I’ve not been able to fix.

Wisconsin right-wing shock jock Charlie Sykes publicly made a death threat against Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll

Charlie Sykes, who hosts a right-wing talk radio show on WTMJ-AM in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, publicly called for the lynching (i.e., public execution of a person by a mob, usually by hanging) of Pete Carroll, the head coach of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, either during or immediately after Super Bowl XLIX, in which the Seahawks lost to the New England Patriots by a score of 28-24:

Sykes’s tweet is still online, so, in case Sykes decides to delete his vile tweet, Wisconsin progressive blogger Chris “Capper” Liebenthal posted a screengrab of the tweet here.

Charlie Sykes’s remarks about wanting Pete Carroll, who is white, to be lynched is disgusting, and WTMJ-AM should pull Sykes off the air immediately. Furthermore, police should investigate Sykes in order to determine whether or not there is an actual plot to kill Carroll, and, if there is such a plot, Sykes and any co-conspirators should be arrested and tried in a court of law for plotting murder. If Sykes’s remarks were merely hyperbole and not an actual death threat against Carroll, then Sykes may be able to avoid a prison sentence, depending on the outcome of a U.S. Supreme Court case that involves online death threats.

Additionally, Charlie Sykes is one of two right-wing talk radio hosts in Milwaukee, the other being WISN-AM right-wing talker Mark Belling, that have long supported Scott Walker, a contender for the Republican presidential nomination, and Walker has frequently appeared on Sykes’s radio show. The fact that Walker would associate himself with someone like Sykes is disgusting, and all political figures in Wisconsin should condemn Sykes’s death threat against Pete Carroll.

While I’m very excited about the New England Patriots winning this year’s Super Bowl, the fact that Charlie Sykes publicly called for the lynching of the losing team’s head coach is highly unacceptable.