Will Brian Sikma Make Exorbitant Salary In Wisconsin State Senate?

This past election season we all heard how out-of-touch the establishment politicians are in the state.  We all heard the plight of the working class who pay the taxes and have a hard time making a way in Wisconsin with not enough jobs, or the higher wages so to make ends meet.  Time and again Republicans alerted voters they were the ones to make the right choices for a state that was in need of sound leaders and policy ideas.

With that comes the news conservative media critic Brian Sikma has left Media Trackers and is headed to the state Capitol.  I am pleased for him on a human level.  It was about this time many years ago that I too started working at the statehouse.  It was a remarkable job and one that allowed me insight into state government and an education second to none.  So I am truly pleased that someone else gets to feel that same sense of  awe as they walk each morning into the building.

Sikma is set to become a policy adviser in Republican Sen. Duey Stroebel’s office.  Up to now Sikma has been the communications director at Media Trackers for over five years.   He has had his share of rather harsh critiques of policy goals of Democrats.   But now Sikma has the chance to prove there is more to his politics than just rhetoric.

At a time when so many are not making a sound salary in the state I have to ask what will Sikma be earning in the state senate office?  This is is a one party district, and state senators have wide discretion as how much to staff pay.  I’d like to know if Mr. Conservative Senator and Mr. Conservative Advocate walk the talk, or if there’s an exorbitant salary?  And I suspect all those voters who heard the anti-establishment rhetoric this fall might want to also know.

I also have a rather odd–but pertinent–question to add.

Since Sikma will be commuting from Waukesha where he resides, how much should I bet when winter comes anyone can walk into Strobel’s office 5 days a week and find the new hire will be “working from home”?

I know some will find this post snarky.

Still others will just think this post should have been headlined ‘Walk The Talk’.

And so it goes.

What Lessons Will Democrats Take From 2016 Election?

Wise words from The Economist.

Aghast at the defection of millions who voted for Barack Obama in 2012 but for Donald Trump in 2016—notably working-class whites in the Midwest—the left wants the Democratic Party to snatch up the banner of economic populism and declare war on Wall Street, big business and other global elites. At post-election gatherings like the Democracy Alliance conference in Washington, DC, it is an article of faith that Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the snowy-haired, finger-jabbing scold who lost the Democratic presidential primary to Hillary Clinton, would have trounced Mr Trump in the general election.

Such Democrats are making a mistake. It is as if America’s political classes are bent on copying every part of Britain’s current flirtation with who-needs-experts populism. Not content with holding an election that saw voters sharply divided by education, age, geography and attitudes to social change—as happened with the Brexit referendum—American leftists seem ready to follow Britain’s Labour Party down the path of self-righteous irrelevance.

Had Democrats owned a crystal ball and known in advance that Mr Trump would be their opponent they might have beaten him by picking a different mainstream candidate, for instance Vice-President Joe Biden. But Mr Sanders would have faced months of attack ads, running something like this. “Radical Bernie Sanders doesn’t like America. That’s why he backs tyrants who hate our freedoms [the screen shows old quotes from Mr Sanders praising Fidel Castro of Cuba]. It’s why he wants to make us like bankrupt, failed Europe, with open borders and amnesty for illegal aliens [images of refugees in the Mediterranean, terror attacks in Belgium and France, then Sanders quotes comparing America unfavourably with Denmark]. He wants government-run health care [viewers see a shabby hospital], abortion on demand and welfare for all. Who’d pay for this? You would, with some of the biggest tax hikes in our history. Bernie Sanders, a danger to America.” A third senior Democrat succinctly calls talk of Mr Sanders winning a general election “insane”.

Populist politicians are gaining ground across the democratic West. But in Britain, France, Germany, Poland, Hungary and the Nordic countries so admired by Mr Sanders, the most successful anti-elite movements are broadly of the right, not the left. Even in Greece, where radical leftists hold power, soak-the-rich populism is allied to nationalist resentment at foreigners causing austerity.

This is no accident. To simplify, populists of the left talk about fairness: an abstract idea. They call for government to break up big banks, make sure the rich pay taxes or erect tariff or regulatory barriers to keep globalisation at bay. Populists of the right happily borrow leftish lines about putting domestic workers first, and curbing the might of international finance. But then instead of talking about fairness, they talk of safety and control, of defending precious values that are under assault, and of keeping The Other at bay. Rather than fixing the system, they talk of taking their country back. If it suits their needs, populists of the right will present government itself as an agent of tyranny. Those are potent slogans that appeal to the gut, not the head—and in America just helped Republicans to elect a billionaire who calls tax-avoidance “smart”. They are reasons why the centre-left should beware of choosing to fight the right on populist ground.

“Post-Truth”

Just a tremendous write-up today from Quartz.  I  have always been fact-based even before I knew there was such a reason to be so defined.  I grew up with radio and newspapers as a daily staple in our home, worked in broadcast journalism, and then state government.   To not be fact-based is simply astounding.

Oxford Dictionaries named “post-truth” its word of the year this week, and suddenly everyone is talking about the problem of “fake news.” Well, OK, not “suddenly”; the US did just elect a president whose whole strategy was based on it. (And still is; his campaign manager this week denied Donald Trump ever called for a registry of Muslims, though he did so explicitly, on camera.)

But the fake news problem does now look even worse than we thought. Not only were Macedonian teenagers making a fast buck by publishing fake pro-Trump news (oh, and so was a guy in Arizona, who claims he hates Trump, but the money was good); a BuzzFeed analysis found that fake news got more engagement on Facebook than the top real news stories.

Now Facebook is under fire for exacerbating the fake-news problem; CEO Mark Zuckerberg is in denial; and Germany is worried that Russian-led fake news and hacking could disrupt its own election next year. (“Welcome to the club, guys,” say countries (paywall) with weaker media institutions, where truth fell victim to Facebook’s algorithm years ago.)

The good (real) news: Facebook and Google are going to starve the most egregious fake-news peddlers of ad dollars. Journalists are banding together against the threat. Some Facebook staff are rebelling against Zuckerberg. Some college kids even hacked together a solution over a weekend. (Yay!)

But even if Facebook shuts down the Macedonian teens, it won’t cut out extremist behemoths like Breitbart, or even more moderate partisan sites on either side. And that’s the real problem. Liberals and conservatives in the US—and in many countries—already live in two entirely different news realities. As Orwell observed long ago, totalitarianism destroys the “common basis of agreement, with its implication that human beings are all one species of animal.” We’ve done that job for it.—Gideon Lichfield

“Hamilton” Had Some Unscripted Words For Mike Pence

Hat Tip to Brooks.

People in this nation are concerned about the results of the election and are in no mood to pretend all is fine.  

“Hamilton,” the hit Broadway musical about colonial rebels shaping the future of an unformed country, took an even more political turn at the end of its performance on Friday night.

With Vice President-elect Mike Pence attending the show, the cast used the opportunity to make a statement emphasizing the need for the new administration of President-elect Donald J. Trump, a Republican, to work on behalf of all Americans.

It was a deeply felt and altogether rare appeal from the stage of a Broadway show — and it drew a surprisingly sharp rebuke from Mr. Trump on Saturday morning. The president-elect tweeted that the “Hamilton” cast had “harassed” Mr. Pence by making the statement and had been “very rude.”

“Apologize!” Mr. Trump wrote at the end of one of two tweets on the matter.

As the play ended, the actor who played Aaron Burr, Brandon Victor Dixon, acknowledged that Mr. Pence was in the audience, thanked him for attending and added, “We hope you will hear us out.”

“We, sir — we — are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights,” he said. “We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.”