Wisconsin Voters Should Not Be Pawns To Elections Commission

The desire by conservatives to limit some citizen’s ability to cast a ballot in Wisconsin is very unsettling.  It is most appalling to watch play out.

I come to this issue the old-fashioned way, which I suspect in one way or another, is how most of my readers also approach this topic.  My earliest memories about elections are not for any particular candidate or party.  Instead, they are of Dad telling his family the importance of making sure we always went to the polls, along with the reason we have the right to select our leaders.  He always took voting as most important.  He was not a civics teacher but came home from World War II with the knowledge that our freedom came with responsibilities.  It is a lesson I carry very close to me.

This past week there was another judicial slap-down to efforts of undermining the registrations of thousands of voters the Elections Commission determined likely had moved and therefore do not remain valid.  That the Commission is playing partisan games with one of the foundations of our republic should make us all cringe, regardless of which party we call home.

No one needs to have more than a rudimentary appreciation of math to see what is happening.  Removing voters from the rolls could have a significant effect on upcoming elections since major Wisconsin contests are often decided by one or two percentage points.  Donald Trump, for example, won Wisconsin by only about 23,000 votes in 2016.  Governor Tony Evers eked out a victory in 2018.

But more to the point than math comes the fact that nothing nefarious has been happening in our elections.  There are no bands of people changing the outcomes due to voting more than once, or impersonating other voters, or living in one region and casting ballots elsewhere.  Data supports the credibility of our elections.  Every single election!

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty is the driving force in the legal hunt for a way to remove names from the voting rolls.  The partisan organization has as its mission, in this case, something that is most sinister to the requirements of a well-functioning republic.  The only reason to see voting rolls purged and voters disenfranchised comes as a direct result of voting trends that do not favor the Republican Party.

Over and over we have seen efforts by Republicans to tinker with voting laws, or now with voting rolls.  There is never an intent to in some way improve voting procedures, but rather to undermine the other party at election time.  It troubles me greatly that limiting voter participation has become an accepted trait among conservatives.  All Americans should be most peeved at this practice.  I would like to think that some Republicans…somewhere… might understand the larger and nobler calling at making sure elections are open and accessible to all voters.  I wish they would stand up to their party.

Enshrining any form of voter suppression into law is not the way Wisconsin’s proud history should be written.  We have the means–through the courts–to roll back this tactic of partisanship that dangerously feeds on the very foundation of democratic ideals.  In so doing we can again prove our state can lead the nation.

Two Boys On The Train After President Shot

There is one part to the assassination story of President James Garfield to be found in Destiny Of The Republic which is new to me.  I have never before come across this part of the events from any previous readings.  Candice Millard does a superb job of adding so many aspects in her account of this most-awful chapter in our national story.

The morning of the shooting at a railway depot in Washington, DC, Gardfield’s two youngest children were already on a train speeding to Mentor, Ohio.  Ten-year-old Irvin and eight-year-old Abe are, as we might imagine any youth at that age, excited by the ride and looking forward to weeks out of Washington.

The shots fired in DC was making news far down the tracks from where the kids were traveling.  But the boys were not aware of the tragedy.   The boys did, however, became a focus of national concern.

There became a unified effort to not alert the boys while in transit.   Rail workers all along the route were instructed to stay quiet, conductors made sure passengers were not conversing about the shooting, and along the depots where the train traveled boys hawking newspapers pulled away so not to be seen.

No one in the nation seemed to be unconnected to the boys on the train.  By the time the boys reached Mentor the town had known the news for an hour.

The two boys were bundled into a carriage and taken to the family farm where they will then be informed of the news about their father.

Just a most bitter-sweet account.

dfgh

Trump Not Providing Nation With Leadership Anyone Believes In

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What will happen–this blogger has asked since 2016–when the nation meets a crisis–and Donald Trump is the one who needs to show resolve, intelligence, and credibility?  That moment has arrived and what we knew would happen, is now playing out for the world to witness.

Only days ago Trump stated that all we needed to do was wait until April for the coronavirus to come to an end. Prior to that Trump has undermined science at every step, and cut federal budgets that deal with medical research and preparedness.

Today the news from those who have a finger on the national economy, and look ahead to see where trend lines point for future growth or decline, sent another powerful message to the Trump White House.

The US stock market sold off sharply as worries over the virus went up, and up. The three main indexes fell into correction territory and are on track for their worst week since the financial crisis.  To put a fine line of the facts, the Dow dropped 1,191 points, or 4.4% in its worst one-day point drop in history.

Markets operate on a flurry of hard data, but also navigate daily with unique psychology that plays into every action taken.  Therefore, it is most obvious Trump has lost all credibility with the financial markets and those who are grounded in reality.  Everyone saw Trump at the Wednesday press conference in the White House Press Room, but he looked like a boy in his dad’s suit compared to the intellects who stood around him.  There was nothing in his words or presentation that allowed for one iota of credibility to have been created.

Placing Vice-President Pence at the top of the plan was another wrong decision from the Trump Administration.  No one finds truth or honestly to come from this White House, so it was imperative to have selected someone from outside to talk to a nation yearning for the insight they can believe in.  But, sadly, that was not done.

The only thing Pence does effectively is stare at Trump’s neck when the cameras are on–otherwise, he is a lightweight, as evidenced by his lack of understanding as to why free needle exchanges are prudent when working to combat the spread of HIV.

Trump told the nation Wednesday that the cases in the US of this virus could be down to zero within a week.  But the professionals with an actual education who addressed the nation from the same platform alerted us to prepare for a pandemic and possible disruption to their lives.

The markets know that production and supply lines are already impacted from the virus and also that there is no solid leadership being exhibited in the US that can play a role to deal forthrightly with what is unfolding.  And it will only get worse.

Thanks To NRA Your Wednesday Mass Shooting Is In Milwaukee

Here we go again, America.  The NRA bought your congress,  and their followers continually demonstrate they love their guns more than the nation itself.

Multiple people were killed including a gunman during a shooting rampage on the Milwaukee campus of Molson Coors on Wednesday afternoon.

Extremists leaders at the NRA, along with their following who are short on logic and common sense have placed us where on any given day the average citizen knows they can be killed with a gun.

Every nation has angry men and mental health issues galore, but it is only here in America that we say to destabilized people, here is an assault weapon!  And please do not forget to stock up on your ammo supply, too.   This policy did not just happen but instead was developed over time through the efforts of the NRA.

When this nation allowed the wack-jobs at the NRA to bastardize the meaning of the Second Amendment, allowed them to buy elected officials, and turned the nation into their personal shooting gallery so to then incite a ‘need’ to further purchase from gun manufacturers so to feel ‘safe’…well…that is when the republic was allowed to shift on its axis.

It is no surprise that the gun industry gives a lot of money to the NRA.  That incestuous relationship is one of the reasons the collapse of any spine from a huge portion of the Republican Party to stop the bloodshed is most troubling.

Today the coffins need to be bought in Milwaukee.  Due to the NRA anyone can spin a wheel akin to one at a carnival show to ponder where that need will land tomorrow.  That is the reality of America who now is forced to live under the loaded political gun of the NRA.

Americans For Prosperity Full Of (Blarney), And Meet My New Buddy Tim Phillips

Earlier this week I filled out a survey from Americans For Prosperity. It was the epitome of a push poll, and as such, I shoved it right back with honest answers.

Since then I am now buddies with Tim Phillips as he sends me notes and updates and links to guide my faithful footsteps leading up to Election Day.   Soon we will be trading pics of the family and our fave potato salad recipe leading up to grilling season.

But before we get to the warm fuzzy back-slapping emails I must address his lack of honesty and, therefore, credibility.  He wrote that he has the desire of an America where truly free markets allow for free and prosperous people.

I am not sure if Tim knows that means he will need to jettison the umbilical cord he has attached to Donald Trump.  Free trade and Trump are about as much a non-sequitur as Trump and salad greens.  So for Tim to spin a fondness for free trade—a policy that this liberal blogger actually believes in–at the same time he slips closer to Trump only makes for laugher on the receiving end of his email.

In another email my buddy let it be known that age is creeping upon him. He is having trouble reading.  He stated I saw in your response that you indicated that you want “policy research and analysis on the most important issues of today,” so I wanted to send over a guide that our team recently published.

What I actually stated in the survey was the option, “other” and then added the following.

I would ask that basic civics books be paid for from your organization and handed out at the gates to the White House and also to each office of Republican congressmen and senators.

It seems Tim Phillips is upset about our nation’s debt.  Had he been reading the views from noted economists in 2017 he would have come to learn of the staggering debt which was predicted due to Trump’s tax cut.    It was reported in October 2018, thanks to Trump’s massive tax cut for corporations and wealthy Americans, the federal government collecting 22% less corporate tax revenue than in 2017, and tax revenue overall was flat. That’s why the deficit soared to $779 billion in 2018, 17 percent higher than in 2017.

My buddy Tim concludes his note today with the following.

You may agree that since most of the people in our country do not have an advanced law degree, they tend to “tune out” complex legislation. And it’s when we aren’t paying close attention that lawmakers could “sneak in” things that do not align with our principles.

No, Tim , I do not agree.  I feel, instead, that those who push as many emails through your system as you obviously do, that you might become an educator and ante up with facts and reason.  The only intention you have, as I have been able to prove above, is a partisan hack-job with the truth.

I will share my recipe for summer flavors but you really need to crack open some books but spend less time sniffing the bonding glue.

New Madison School Superintendent Undermined

There was a congressman who came from a rather low rung on the ladder of life.  His education was limited.  He did not possess the good looks for a politician, and reports are that his voice was high-pitched.  He even lost a U.S. Senate election, which seemed to auger ill for any further expectations of holding elected office.  But that same man, when given a chance to show his leadership skills, put into effect the Emancipation Proclamation.

That is how life often proceeds.  More often than we realize.

I found it truly sad to read the coverage in the Wisconsin State Journal about the verbal attack on incoming Madison School District Superintendent Matthew Gutierrez.  A group of leaders among the local black community penned a letter lamenting the school board’s decision in not naming their choice for the open position.

The group called the process the school board used for the final selection as ‘flawed’.  But in reading the article the reason for the backlash from the signees of the letter revolves around a desire to have a superintendent with more experience with larger school districts, and more cultural diversity.  There seems to be no evidence that all the finalists for superintendent were not treated the same, allowed access to the public,  or that outside groups were not provided opportunities to pose questions.

To call the process out after the fact, based on an outcome that runs counter to the desires of any group, is unseemly.  It very well might be that the process ran perfectly, but some of the candidates were flawed. The evidence regarding the other two finalists, as best as one can gleam due to the non-disclosure agreements they hide behind,  does not place either one of them in a positive light.

Which takes us back to Gutierrez.  Having now publically taken a smear at his hiring a vocal segment of the city has started his tenure in Madison in a most unfortunate rut.   If there had been a desire for education standards to rise, graduation rates to increase, and public faith in the school system to be enhanced it would have been more intelligent and professional for the letter writers to have linked arms with the one now selected.

Pragmatism is often forgotten by those who press forward with their agendas.  That is once again the case in Madison.  What is sad in this case, too, are the headwinds that Gutierrez now must walk into as he takes on the role we all want him to succeed at for our schools and students.  The needless disruption, after the process concluded, says more about the ones who signed their names to the letter, than the one they are dismissive of.

I am hoping for a Lincoln moment.  We all should.

Your Tuesday Perspective (On Bernie Sanders)

As the Democratic Party is now about to run at full steam towards Super Tuesday I think we need to calm down just two seconds and ponder a fact.

As of now, three states have been involved in the process and about 687,000 Democrats have voted — 156,000 of them for Bernie Sanders — representing about two-tenths of one percent of the nation’s population.

Sanders has money and a determined machine to support his path in the days and weeks to come, but today the hype over it all is just that.  Hype.

The vetting that is about to take place for Sanders–especially concerning his views on international policy–will be illuminating.  In just a few hours on Monday, his adoration for a Fidel Castro literacy program was headlined.  Nothing wrong with literacy, but no smart and grounded candidate lauds Castro and interjects that into a contest where the objective is to beat Trump in the fall.

Then it was reported that when American hostages were being held in Iran starting in 1979 Sanders was giving vocal support to the entities who stood with Iran. 

Virtually all Americans—Democrats, Republicans and independents—united in support of the hostages and the international call for their freedom. One prominent political figure on the 2020 stage, then almost completely unknown, stood apart by joining a Marxist-Leninist party that not only pledged support for the Iranian theocracy, but also justified the hostage taking by insisting the hostages were all likely CIA agents. Who was that person? It was Bernie Sanders.  

Sanders would like the public to believe, as an AP story put it, that “democratic socialism [is] the economic philosophy that has guided his political career.” But that has not always been the case. In 1977, he left the tiny left-wing Liberty Union Party of Vermont that he’d co-founded, and in 1980 instead aligned himself with the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), the self-proclaimed Trotskyist revolutionary party, became its presidential elector in Vermont, and campaigned for its candidates and platform that defended the Iranian hostage seizure.  

Yes, much will happen with this process as we move to nominate our candidate for the fall ticket.  So do not hyperventilate if you fear what Sanders could do to the ticket if nominated, just as others should take air from a paper bag thinking this is all over and Sanders is the winner.

This is what a runner calls the warm-up exercises before the all-out strides take place.

When A Bush Can’t Win In Texas

Every now and then one single story places the political times in which we live into context.  This is such a story.   This article demonstrates how far the Republican Party has drifted from Reagan and Bush to the rapid xenophobic right.  Pierce Bush is campaigning for a suburban House seat as a compassionate conservative — but will that fly in the era of Trump?

The son of Neil Bush and grandson of George H.W. Bush speaks reverently of the contributions of immigrants and has dedicated much of his career to a youth mentorship nonprofit, taking a compassionate approach to conservatism befitting his family name. At a recent campaign event that drew more than 100 Asian Americans to a mansion here, dozens lined up for photos with him before crowding into a small concert hall to hear Bush tout his campaign to keep ‘the most diverse congressional district in the entire United States of America’ in GOP hands.

[Bush] has to make it through two rounds of GOP primaries in Donald Trump’s Republican Party, a test of the public’s appetite for a Bush — even in Texas — at a time when his family name has been disparaged by the president.

His predicament is an extreme version of the conundrum plaguing the party in swing districts: The candidate who’s perhaps best positioned to win sometimes struggles to gain traction in a system that rewards blind fealty to the president. The open-seat race Texas’s 22nd District, which spans the southern suburbs of Houston, has drawn a massive field of 15 Republicans. Most private polling indicates a fierce three-way battle to advance to a runoff from the March 3 primary, and a very real chance Bush gets boxed out.