Friday, October 14, 2016

Jim Sensenbrenner Owns Trump

In this presidential election, we have a choice between one of the most qualified candidates who ever ran for the office, and the absolutely most frightening. Republicans officials are in a quandary. They must choose between a President who might make a few decisions with which they disagree and one who represents an existential threat to our country. Unfortunately, many in the GOP are making the wrong decision- one that will haunt them for the rest of their political lives.

Congressman-for-life, Jim Sensenbrenner is one of those people. At a time when many in his party are rejecting their dangerous nominee, Sensenbrenner is doubling down on his support for Sniffy McGrabber. However, Jim never makes a case for why GOPers should vote for Donald Trump, but on why they should vote against Hillary Clinton. In fact, when talking about the election, Sensenbrenner rarely even mentions the name of his own party's candidate.

In an October 5 interview on the hate radio show of Limbaugh-wanna-be Jay Weber, Sensenbrenner tried to make his case to Wisconsin Republican voters. "There are a lot a people who don't particularly like Trump, but they sure don't like Hillary. If you don't like Hillary, you've gotta turn-out and you've gotta vote and you've gotta vote for Trump."

So Sensenbrenner supports the flimflam artist who set-up a phony school to steal money from the gullible. He supports the unscrupulous thief who stiffs small businesses and workers. He supports the crook who uses his sham charity like a personal bank account. He supports the sexual predator, bigot, and misogynist who preaches a doctrine of division and hate. He supports the dictator-in-waiting who would jail political opponents, ignore the Constitution, and restrict the press. He supports the traitor who idolizes, defends, and is aided by former-KGB agent Vladimir Putin.

Sensenbrenner came roaring to the Orange Con-man's defense in a October 7 column in the Journal-Sentinel. Earlier, the paper opined that Trump is not qualified to be President. Rather than defending Trump, Sensenbrenner could only attack his opponent. Jim brought-up all of the delusional so-called "scandals" from the far-right bubble. Of course, he brought-up Benghazi. He brought-up the Clinton Foundation. He brought-up the silly e-mails. But not a single word extolling the virtues of his man, Donald Trump.

Even on the day after the infamous "grab p***y" tape, Sensenbrenner was supporting the sexual predator that heads his party. Last Saturday, Sensenbrenner spoke at the GOP Frightfest in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. During his seven minute speech, ol' Jim could not bring himself to utter Trump's name a single time. He tried to make the election all about enacting the crazy Tea-Party agenda of Paul Ryan. He tried to make it about imposing far-right judges on America, saying "President Hillary Clinton will veto this (Ryan's Ayn Randian) plan. That is why we can't have President Hillary Clinton sitting in the White House. This election is not about individuals. It is about issues. It is about ideas. It is about the direction this country will take."

Sorry, Jim. This election is very much about individuals. It is about the person who will be Commander-in-Chief of America's military. It is about the person in charge of our nuclear arsenal. You want to entrust that responsibility to Donald J. Trump.

In a Monday statement, Sensenbrenner again tried to convince people to vote for Trump. Again he said nothing supporting the Donald, but merely criticized Hillary, saying "Now is not the time to make perfect the enemy of the good." He claimed that a Clinton presidency "would have a devastating and far-reaching impact on the future of our country." and that "Hillary Clinton is a bet America cannot afford to make."

Jim Sensenbrenner could not care less whether an insane and horrible person becomes our nation's leader. To him, it is all about entrenching an extreme Supreme Court that will continue to allow the wholesale purchase of politicians. It is about having a President that will rubber-stamp taking heath-care away from twenty million Americans. It is about having an unfettered path to privatizing Social Security and turning Medicare into a discount coupon scheme. It is about sending the country even deeper into debt by giving deep tax-cuts to the rich.

All in the name of gross partisan politics, Senenbrenner fully supports Donald Trump. With his enthusiastic and self-serving Trump support, Jim Sensenbrenner owns all that is Trump. He owns all of the hate, division, and fear stoked by Trump. He owns every outrageous racist, xenophobic, and sexist comment uttered by Trump. He owns every one of Trump's wacky conspiracy theories. He owns all of Trump's fascist tendencies. He owns it all. 

Paul C. Adair

Friday, October 7, 2016

These Are a Few of My Favorite Poll-Agglomerators

During the 2012 elections, my liberal mother-in-law kept worrying. She thought that Romney was likely to win the presidential race. Several times, we had to talk her down from the ledge. We knew that Obama had this. Nate Silver told us so.

Political geeks of all stripes are frequent visitors to websites predicting the national political races. At least 13 well-known groups are making predictions on the presidential and Senate races. Many of these are associated with news media. For example, ABC, Associated Press, NBC, CNN, and the Washington Post all make predictions. Based on individual state polls, each predicts how many of the 270 electoral votes required to win that each candidate can count on. Here are the most recent calls from this morning (October 7, 2016):

Outlet           Hillary EV's           Trump EV's           Toss-up EV           % Likelihood of Hillary Win
ABC                272                         197                         69                                    --- 

AP                  272                          197                         69                                    ---
NBC                272                         174                         92                                    ---
CNN                271                         197                           70                                     ---
Wash Post      253                          197                         88                                     ---

There are other, independent pundits who also make prognostications on the races. Sabato's Crystal Ball (U. of Virginia), the Cook Political Report, and the Rothenburg and Gonzales Political Report are three of these groups. All three also predict the Senate, House, and gubernatorial races.

Sabato            316                          215                          7                                    ---
Cook               272                          197                         69                                   ---
R&G               279                          191                         68                                   ---

However, I prefer the groups that use statistical analysis to derive a percent likelihood of a given result. The New York Times, Huffington Post, and the Daily Kos all take this approach. Of the statistical groups, my personal favorites are the Princeton Election Consortium (Sam Wang), and FiveThirtyEight (Nate Silver).

FiveThirtyEight, for example, weights each poll contributing to its overall predictions by how recent the poll was conducted, historical ideological skew, and historical accuracy. Both FiveThirtyEight and Princeton offer a dazzling array of great graphs and charts. Using differing assumptions, both give several types of percent likelihoods. Best of all, neither tries to weasel-out of prediction by calling any state a toss-up.

Huff Post       263                           180                        95                                    83.5
Daily Kos      308                           230                         ---                                     86
NYT              322                           192                          24                                    82
538                326                           212                         ---                                     79.6
Princeton       323                           215                         ---                                     88

With all of the various and sundry poll-agglomerators, is was only natural that an agglomerator of poll-agglomerators would appear. The site 270 to Win is such an entity. The site gives current results and links for most of the groups mentioned above. It lists averages of all of the sites, covering both the presidential and Senate races.

After the 2012 election, stories abounded on how the election night loss shocked Romney and his staff. We remember the right-wing website that "unskewed" supposedly liberal polls and proclaimed that the Republican candidate would actually win. However, reliable poll-agglomerators like Wang and Silver had been predicting an Obama win for weeks. The Romney campaign should have paid more to the actual numbers than to their misplaced hopes.

There is a wealth of free, on-line election predictions available to the incurable political geek. With that information, there is no reason to be unsure of the state of the races or to be taken by surprise on election night. 

Paul C. Adair

Friday, September 30, 2016

Two Peas in a Political Pod

The first Presidential Debate is over, with the overwhelming ass-whipping of Donald Trump by his smart and well-prepared opponent. Now the country's political geeks anxiously await next Tuesday's Vice Presidential debate.

Like Trump, Mike Pence is no Brainiac. He had a number of very bad moments during last year's furor over Indiana's "OK to discriminate against gays" law. However, Pence was a talk-radio personality in Indiana and his calm media demeanor is much better than Trump's (he called himself Rush Limbaugh on decaf). And unlike Trump, he is taking the debate seriously, actually preparing for it.

As part of his preparation, Pence is going through mock debates. The person that he chose to stand-in as his opponent, Tim Kaine, is none other than his good friend and soul-mate, Scott Walker.

Tim Kaine graduated with a Harvard Law degree. He has deep political experience as a mayor, governor, senator, and DNC Chair. Selecting Walker to play Kaine is simply bizarre. Intellectually, Scott Walker is to Tim Kaine as Beavis is to Sir Issac Newton.

However, there is a deep bromance between Pence and Walker. In Pence's first Wisconsin trip after the GOP Convention, Pence called Walker the "best governor in America". And the admiration is reciprocal. After Pence became Trump's running mate, Walker gushed, "Mike’s just someone that’s very well respected, certainly amongst governors, Democrat (sic) and Republican alike, highly regarded, and he’d be a great vice president."

During Trump's first post-convention trip to our state, Walker was busy washing his hair. But Mike Pence was welcomed with open arms. Buddies Walker and Pence hang together at the quarterly meetings of the Republican Governors' Association. They are both frequent speakers at far-right "God, guns, and gays" meetings such as CPAC and the NRA National Convention.

There are many parallels between the two with respect to sponsors, ideology, and actions. For example, both Pence and Walker endorsed Ted Cruz over Donald Trump in their states' late GOP primaries.

Due to bumbling incompetence and a far-right agenda, both Walker and Pence are unpopular in their own states, with approval ratings hovering around 40 percent.

Both are wholly-owned employees of the Koch brothers. The two were among the four prospective Presidential candidates invited to a secret January 2015 meeting of Koch donors. Koch money and organizations were integral to the election of both governors.

Neither believes in science. In 2001, Pence said on the House Floor, "... I also believe that someday scientists will come to see that only the theory of intelligent design provides even a remotely rational explanation for the known universe." Walker brought shame to our state when he "punted" on the question of evolution during a trip to the UK.

Walker and Pence are using taxpayer money to push their extremist agenda, acting in concert to sue the federal government. Both Indiana and Wisconsin sued to stop workers from getting a raise through new overtime rules. Both sued to stop new pollution rules pertaining to coal-powered power plants.

Pence and Walker both greatly increased taxpayer funding of for-profit and religious schools through voucher give-a-ways. Pence ended Indiana's use of Common Core state standards, while Walker, pushed by his Tea Party base, is headed that way. Both have attempted to grab power from their independently-elected state Superintendents of Public Schools.

Both have signed some of the county's most restrictive anti-choice laws. Both have signed some of the country's most lax gun laws.

Both are against LGBTQ rights. Walker refused to let the state defend our civil union registry. He has fought against gay marriage much of his career. Pence once stated that gay couples "signaled societal collapse". Scott Walker even defended Pence during the Indiana "OK to discriminate against gays" fiasco. He said the widespread anger was the result of "people who are chronically looking for ways to be upset about things instead of really looking at what it is."

Mike Pence and Scott Walker are like two peas in a political pod. They are owned by the same billionaires, follow the same "God, guns, and gays" ideology, and have same delusions of competence. If you like Scott Walker as Governor, you will love Mike Pence as Vice President. 

Paul C. Adair

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Scott Walker's Personal, Taxpayer-Funded Law Firm

This week, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel announced that his office was joining in yet another lawsuit against the federal government. This time, the suit attempts to overturn new workplace regulations that increase the salary threshold at which overtime must be paid to workers.

This is certainly not the first time that Schimel has used your state tax money to fight the federal government (which is ironically supported with your federal taxes). In a series of highly partisan actions, Schimel has consistently used state resources to advance the right-wing agenda of Scott Walker and the state GOP.

No friend of the environment, Schimel has entered Wisconsin into a suit fighting federal regulation of power plant carbon emissions. He is fighting federal regulations  that limit ozone-forming pollutants. He has spent state money to limit the ability of the federal government to remedy the pollution of navigable waters.

But Schimel doesn't just limit his actions to the protection of corporate polluters. He has joined in no fewer than three suits attacking the Affordable Care Act. He joined in a suit to allow federally-banned discrimination in schools based on gender identity. He joined a multi-state suit fighting much-needed federal immigration reforms. State suits against the US government almost always require the approval of the governor. Walker has been involved, if not the instigator, in all of these actions. 

Schimel's meddling on the national scene isn't limited to fighting the feds. He has supported Texas in their unconstitutional anti-abortion efforts. He has involved Wisconsin in a federal case to protect manufacturers of leaded paint from liability (sound vaguely familiar?).

Where is all of the money coming from to advance this right-wing-corporatist agenda by the Wisconsin Department of Justice? I thought that Wisconsin was broke! At a time when our university system, public schools, and the DNR have undergone drastic cuts, the DOJ keeps getting more and more money. Walker has given the DOJ a hefty 5.2% increase in funding between 2014 and 2017.

In a 2015-17 budget that pulled $250 million from the state university system, Scott Walker somehow found the money to build a new bureaucracy within the DOJ. The new group, called the Solicitor General's Office, was created and funded at $584,500 per year (2017). This staff of five is tasked with representing "the State of Wisconsin in cases on appeal that are of special importance to the State". In reality, this means defending new extremist-GOP laws of questionable constitutionality.

Much of the new funding for the DOJ is being used to defend Walker's and the GOP legislature's extreme agenda. Schimel's recent actions include defending Wisconsin's anti-choice laws, defending new voting restrictions, and defending our unconscionable redistricting maps. He defends the state GOP's union-busting Right-to-Freeload law that was jammed through the legislature in 2015. He defends the constitutionally-questionable "pee-in-a-cup" law requiring drug tests for those on public assistance.

Not content to have a lock on the Governor's office, the State Supreme Court, and both houses of the Legislature, the GOP has sought to punish any remaining moderate office holders. GOP legislative power grabs to minimize elected moderates like Supreme Court Justice Abrahamson, Secretary of State Doug LaFollette, and State Superintendent Tony Evers have all been defended in court by the partisan hack, Schimel.

Acting like Scott Walker's personal legal representative, Schimel has interjected himself in the John Doe illegal campaign-coordination scandal. In August, he submitted a brief to the US Supreme Court, arguing that Walker's Doe case should not be considered by the highest court.

Wisconsin Attorney General, Brad Schimel has taken gross GOP partisanship to an unprecedented level. Hardworking Wisconsin taxpayers are footing the bill for his spree of lawsuits against the federal government. We are funding his expensive courtroom defense of a swarm of indefensibly-partisan state laws. We need an Attorney General whose first obligation is to the people, not his Governor, legislature, and party. 

Paul C. Adair

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Assembly GOP Plans for Next Session

Last week, State Assembly Republicans unveiled their plans for the next legislative session. They call their 16-page manifesto, "Forward-For Wisconsin's Future". The plan is long on photos of politicians posing with workers, but short on substance. The plan is long on flowery PR language, but short on actual policy proposals.

As in past years, the Assembly Republicans are not running on what they really plan to do. They don't mention their intense efforts to stay in power through voter suppression and gerrymandering. They don't mention their continued campaign to lower the wages of Wisconsin workers through banning prevailing wage, instituting Right-to-Freeload, and ending the right to bargain. They don't talk about their relentless push to demolish Wisconsin's once-clean government.

However, last night I received a folder from an anonymous and totally unreliable source. The folder contains what appears to be a set of future bill proposals from the GOP Assembly majority. I can't vouch for their authenticity, but these bills just might be what we see emerging from Madison next legislative session:

AB-231 Relating to: Establishing Emergency City Manager plan. Take control of Milwaukee. Save money by sourcing municipal water from Milwaukee River instead of Lake Michigan.

AB-232 Relating to: Making English the official state language. Requiring all Wisconsin city names to be changed to their Anglicized versions. Germantown will become "Britishtown", Prairie du Chien will become "Dog Prairie", Fond du Lac will become "Melted Cheese Lake". 

AB-233 Relating to: Replacing out-dated Capitol "Forward" lady statue with nude statue of generous public benefactor Diane Hendricks. Replace Capitol bust of Bob LaFollette with bust of John Menard.

AB-234 Relating to: Changing the name of the WEDC (called Wee-dik) to the Business, Industry, & Governmental Development Corporation.

AB-235 Relating to: Renaming Badgercare "The Socialist Plot to Destroy Wisconsin Jobs -Care"

AB-236 Relating to: Limiting purchases by Food Stamp recipients to gruel, porridge, moldy bread, and dented cans.

AB-237 Relating to: Compensating for cuts to state university system by requiring all academic staff to participate in annual popcorn and cookie sale fundraisers.

AB-238 Relating to: Tripling the budget of Wisconsin Attorney General, Brad Schimel, so that he can continue to bravely defend Wisconsin against abortion, same-sex marriage, labor unions, minority voters, gun laws, immigrants, healthcare, and federal environmental laws.

AB-239 Relating to: Moving Wisconsin citizens from dependence to independence by ejecting anyone with an income higher than 50% of poverty level from Badgercare program. Those removed to be issued a bottle of aspirin, a field surgical kit, and a copy of Atlas Shrugged.

AB-240 Relating to: Banning the sale of British magazine, The Guardian, in Wisconsin (because Walker asked us to).

AB-241 Relating to: In the spirit of the Wisconsin Right-to-Work law, making payment of Wisconsin state taxes optional.

AB-242 Relating to: Providing ideological balance in the UW system. Require teaching climate stability. History instructors must swear that Ronald Reagan is the greatest president. Geology professors must teach Creationism. Chemistry professors must cover phlogiston.

AB-243 Relating to: Allowing the no-bid sale of Devil's Lake State Park, the Bronze Fonz, and the Giant Shirt.

AB-244 Relating to: Calling for a special legislative session for emergency action on the next (to-be-determined) Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce whim.

AB-245 Relating to: Prohibiting former Supreme Court Chief Justice Abrahamson from purchasing crab, lobster, or shellfish with her taxpayer-funded salary.

AB-246 Relating to: Requiring the successful completion of a civics test as a condition for obtaining a high school diploma. The test to include an essay section on: Ronald Reagan-great President or the greatest President ?

AB-247 Relating to: Establishing a “Wisconsin State Bureau of Rosy Economic News” to let everyone know that “It Really Is Working !”

AB-248 Relating to: Making English the official state language. Requiring all state employees to adopt Anglicized names. For example, Rep. Janel Brandtjen will become Jane Brand, Rep. Andre Jacque will become Andy Jack. Rep. Joel Kleefisch will become Chris Larson. 

 AB-249 Relating to: Abolishing Badgercare. Replace with common-sense, patient-related reforms. Abolish the food stamp program. Replace with common-sense, hunger-related reforms. Abolish the DNR. Replace with common-sense, mutation-centered reforms.

AB-250 Relating to: Establishing standards for teachers at school-choice voucher schools. Teacher must have graduated from eighth grade, have an audible speaking voice, and be off-paper

AB-251 Relating to: Selling corporate naming rights for Milwaukee, Lake Winnebago, and the University of Wisconsin.

AB-252 Relating to: Requiring a five-day waiting period for abortions. Prohibiting abortions after the first three days of a pregnancy.

AB-253 Relating to: Commending Scott Walker for his tireless 2015-16 efforts to build interstate trade relations with Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.

AB-254 Relating to: Establishing a wall at the Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois borders, to keep out-of-state demonstrators, welfare bums, illegal aliens, and fraudulent voters out of Wisconsin.

Paul C. Adair

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

By this time in 2012, Romney signs in the W.O.W. counties were sprouting like mushrooms. However, there just does not seem to be similar enthusiasm for Donald Trump this year. Last weekend, we made two journeys through deep-red W.O.W., going from Germantown to Brookfield and from Germantown to Cedarburg. During these drives, we saw a total of five Ro-Jo signs, but only a single Trump sign. This is only anecdotal evidence, but it seems to verify other tales of very low Republican enthusiasm for Vladimir Putin's BFF.

Psychologically quite revealing is a comparison of Hillary yard signs with those of Trump. The design employed by the Democratic ticket uses the same font-size for Clinton and her running-mate, Tim Kaine. Not surprisingly, the font for Mike Pence is 35% smaller than that of his egomaniacal Cheeto running mate

The jury is still out on the effectiveness of campaign yard signs. Many political campaign professionals believe that they are a waste of time and money. However, in a study conducted at Columbia University, campaign yard signs in a set of four different campaigns generated an average 1.7% increase in turnout for the sign-posting campaign. That is not huge, but it could make all the difference in a close race.

Signs for local races may well be more effective than for statewide and national elections. Signs for local candidates get people familiar with your candidate's name.
In local races, name recognition is half the battle. Candidates for national and top state offices are already well known.

Democrats in W.O.W. counties are especially hesitant to display yard signs. Many of us have tried, only to have our signs quickly stolen. Such is one of the hazards of living in a red area. However, we should not let a few vandals deter us.

I have heard of a lot of strategies to keep signs from being stolen. Of course, there is the malicious approach, in which the sign is electrified, or is equipped with razor wire, or shards of glass are scattered around it, or bear traps are placed in front of it. Tempting though that might be, you shouldn't try to actually hurt someone. You could go to jail longer than would the sign thief.

No, there are many ways to foil the sign thieves short of causing physical harm. A common method is to print on the sign "If this sign is stolen, I will donate $200 dollars to Hillary's (etc.) campaign.". You don't actually have to do that, but don't feel guilty about lying to a would-be thief.

Another approach that I employ is to allow my dog, Bella, to poop in a circle around my signs. This approach is especially effective in poorly-lit neighborhoods. It may not totally deter the perp, but it will give you some satisfaction of revenge.

Some folks have gone out of the way to actually catch the crook. A strategically-placed trail camera could provide the evidence you need for an arrest. It probably isn't worth buying a camera just for this purpose, but if you already own one, go right ahead and try it.

Yet another effective approach I call -"If you steal us, we multiply". This requires getting a goodly number of signs. If you have one sign stolen, replace it with two. If those are taken, replace them with four. Like the fable of grains of wheat on a chess board, you can't keep this up for very long, but your thief will probably give-up before you do.

Similarly, if you are handy enough to make you own signs, you can make progressively larger and larger signs until the perp gives up. This works up to a point because state law (and many local laws) limit the size of residential yard signs.

However, probably the most effective method is to simply bring-in your signs at dusk. Even the most brazen pilferer will not strike in broad daylight. It is more work for you, but at least you will probably not be robbed.

Campaign yard signs have been shown to have a small, but distinct impact on voter turn-out. As progressives in a deep-red area, we should not be afraid to display support for our candidates. It says to other liberals in your town that they are not alone. It has the added bonus of pissing-off your right-wing nut job neighbor.

Paul C. Adair

Friday, September 2, 2016

How Walker Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Donald

There has never been a presidential candidate less qualified to take office than Donald Trump. His absence of relevant experience and knowledge alone should cause voters to reject him. His bombast, childish behavior, and lack of self-control should rule him out. His attempts to divide Americans over racial, ethnic, religious, and gender lines are a clear danger to our country.

Facing Trump is one of the smartest, most qualified presidential candidates that has ever blessed America. Only the most cynically partisan hack could believe that a six-times-bankrupt, three-times-married, know-nothing, Putin-loving, David Duke-hero, reality-show star could be a better president than Secretary Clinton. One such partisan hack is Wisconsin's own Scott Walker.

But it hasn't always been this way. Over the course of five months, Walker has gone from the anybody-but-Trump camp to become just another Trump apologist. How did Walker transition from strongly opposing Trump to being one of his top advocates? Let's explore.

The first indication that Walker was not Trump's biggest fan came when he abandoned his train-wreck of a presidential campaign. Never mentioning Trump by name, Walker stated that he "is being called (by God) to lead by helping to clear the field in this race" and that he wants "a positive, conservative alternative to the current front runner."

Feeling increasingly desperate to stop Trump, Walker endorsed Trump's last realistic rival, Ted Cruz, just a week before Wisconsin's early April primary. This endorsement, together with overwhelming Cruz support from extreme-right radio, gave Trump his last major loss on the way to the nomination.

At the May Wisconsin state GOP convention, Walker gave a thirty minute speech. During that time, he stressed the importance of re-electing Ron Johnson and retaining Ribble's congressional seat. He emphasized the need to add to the GOP majorities in the State Assembly and Senate. But he did not mention then-likely presidential nominee Donald Trump a single time.

In early June, Walker still had not come to fully accept his party's presumptive nominee. After Trump's racist comments about a US judge, Walker wistfully stated "I think for a lot of us, not just Republicans in general, we want to see what he’s going to do between now and the time the convention comes. The sad fact is -- it’s just sad in American that we have such poor choices right now."

In early July, Walker entered into the acceptance phase of his grief when he tweeted: "Last August, I said I'd support the GOP nominee. It's now clear who the RNC delegates will vote to nominate. And he is better than she is." He still had difficulty saying Trump's name, but at least he started to accept the grim reality of Don the Con heading the GOP ticket.

Walker was given a chance to extol the virtues of his party's nominee during a not-prime-time speaking slot at July's Republican National Convention Fear-fest. However, most of his time was devoted to bashing Hillary and to his boasting about taking-on the "big government union bossesTM" in Wisconsin. During his ten minute speech, he uttered Trump's name a mere five times.

Walker realized what Ted Cruz (who was widely booed by delegates) did not. Snubbing Trump at the national convention would be the end of his still-simmering national ambitions. His speech only gave the bare minimum homage to Trump required to avoid the permanent anger of the racist wing of the party. It is no wonder that Chachi was given a better time-slot than Walker.

However, at least Walker was finally able to utter the name "Donald Trump" without choking. But he still wasn't fully on board. After the convention, Trump traveled to Green Bay to rally his supporters. Walker and the rest of the state GOP nabobs scrambled to find something else to do that day.

But Walker has since come to terms with Trump. He has fully endorsed the orange Cheeto. He is totally on board the crazy-train. At the mid-August Trump rally in West Bend, Walker not only showed-up, but he actually introduced Trump. Walker enthusiastically said, "There are two names that will be on the ballot on November 8. One is Hillary Clinton, the other is Donald Trump. ...(unintelligible rant on Hilary)... There is only one person who's got a track record in the private truly take-on Washington, and put power in the hands of the American people. To make America great again. That man is the next President of the United States, Donald Trump."

It has taken him a while to arrive here, but Scott Walker has wholeheartedly endorsed the most unqualified presidential candidate in history, just because he has an "R" after his name. He has placed the Republican Party, and his own political future in that party, over our country. 

With his recent enthusiastic and self-serving Trump support, Scott Walker owns all that is Trump. He owns all of the hate and fear stoked by Trump. He owns every outrageous racist, xenophobic, and sexist comment uttered by Trump. He owns all of Trump's fascist tendencies. He owns it all. 

by Paul C. Adair

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Playing with Matches in a Fireworks Factory

As Donald Trump's election becomes increasingly unlikely, he has been sounding increasingly desperate. His speeches are more addled. His actions are more bizarre. The garbage spewing from his mouth is more incendiary.

During the GOP primaries, Trump unveiled his strategy of calling his opponents grade-school playground names. "Little" Marco, "Lyin'" Ted, and "Low Energy" Jeb can attest to that. Trump's childish name-calling continues in the general election. Starting with lame names such as "Crooked" Hillary, Trump has become increasingly over-the-top as it is becomes clear how far behind he is trailing.

Some of Trump's name-calling is simply silly. For example, he has called Hillary a "marshmallow", a "low energy napper", and a "world class liar". Sounding less mature than a second-grader, he called his opponent Hillary "Rotten" Clinton. However, many of his more recent names are aimed at dehumanizing Hillary. They are designed to strongly demonize his opponent, making her seem somehow worthy of hatred and scorn.

In a reflection of Trump's own shortcomings, Trump has called Hillary "incompetent", a "disaster", and a "nasty and mean enabler". In an audacious pot-meet kettle moment on Wednesday, he actually called Hillary a "bigot".

Many Trumpian names for his opponent are really over the top and could incite some of his most rabid and unstable followers into actions that go beyond simply exercising their vote. In Cinncinati, Trump killed a mosquito, then proceeded to compare Hillary to that dead mosquito. He has called her "the Devil". He has called her "evil". He has said that she is a "monster". He has repeatedly implied that she is a Muslim terrorist, calling her the "co-founder of ISIS".

Trump's rallies have become hate-Hillary fests. The uniform of choice is a "Hillary for Prison" t-shirt. Trump's stream-of-consciousness speeches are often interrupted with chants of "Lock her up!". These rallies are aimed at dehumanizing the Democratic candidate and whipping the Trump faithful into a frenzy of hostility.

And Trump keeps spouting-off about how the system is rigged. How "Crooked" Hillary is going to steal the election from him through widespread voter fraud. How "certain areas" of Pennsylvania are rife with cheating, and will lead to his defeat. When Trump finally loses the election, he will find great comfort in this fantasy that he is not a choker. He will convince himself that the presidency should rightfully be his. The problem is, some of his most addled followers will also believe this, thinking that Hillary Clinton is somehow not the legitimate President. It is difficult to fathom what actions some of these crazies will take.

If Trump worries that the most violent of his followers will not get his message, he spelled it out for them at a recent rally. He suggested political violence against either a President Clinton or Supreme Court justices, saying "By the way, and if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don't know." Although he later backpedaled on his dangerous and ill-considered statement, the most diehard Trumpbots heard him loud and clear.

If there was any doubt, a New Hampshire politician who advises Trump and sometimes travels with him to campaign events stated on radio that Clinton "should be put in the firing line and shot for treason."

If you think that Trump's followers will all just laugh off his agitation to violence, I encourage you to stand outside of one of his rallies. Some of these folks are downright insane. While most of his disciples would never consider acting on their rage, a small subset would have no such restraint. It only takes a few well-armed Trump-inspired nut-jobs to cause major damage to our country.

Donald Trump has dehumanized his opponent by calling her a "monster", "the Devil", "evil", and the "co-founder of ISIS". He has implied that, if (when) he loses, it will be because the election was stolen. He has gone so far as to suggest armed violence against a legitimately-elected president. This kind of rhetoric is akin to playing with matches in a fireworks factory. Someone this reckless has no business being anywhere close to the White House. 

                                              by Paul C. Adair

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Tuesday's Anti-Trump Rally

I normally don't like to discuss an event after it has already happened. However, today I would like to talk about Tuesday night's anti-Trump protest at the Washington Co. Fairgrounds.

Trump came to Washington County in an attempt to shore-up his Republican base. Despite trailing by 15% in the latest state polls, he is under the delusion that he can do what no Republican candidate has done since Reagan-carry Wisconsin. Don the Con and his advisers figured that Washington County was a safe place to hold his campaign stop. After all, we are (percentage-wise) the most Republican county in the state.

However, Washington County still has more Democratic voters than all but 14 of Wisconsin's counties. We certainly were not going to give Trump and his horde a free pass to spew their patented brand of hatred, unopposed. Not here. Not in our county. A good crowd of Dems and allies showed-up at the fairgrounds to wave the progressive flag. All of the protesters were local, most from Washington County.

At any one time, the protesters numbered about forty people. The crowd had a bi-modal age distribution. There were plenty of old people like me. Encouragingly, there were also a lot of college-aged kids. I guess neither of these groups are trying to raise a family or focus on their career right now. Both old and young have time to devote to changing the world. Everyone had a sign of some sort, many quite clever. My own sign is pictured above. (the baby is my 3-month old grandson, "Otis")

As expected, the Trump crowd was almost exclusively white, slack-jawed, and gray-haired. Many in the crowd were so decrepit that the GOP would do well to strongly encourage early voting. Men greatly outnumbered women. Almost everyone attending seemed angry. Angry at the protesters. Angry at the country. Angry at life in general. 

A very long line of Trumpsters waited outside of the hall to pass through security. They must have been patting people down for smuggled copies of the Constitution.

While we were pretty far removed from the line of Trumpsters entering the auditorium, there were plenty of Cheeto-Jesus disciples walking or driving past us on their way to see their hero. Many of them felt obliged to flip us the bird, give thumbs down, or tell us in so many words that we were misguided. Pretty tame stuff for anyone involved in the recalls.

Many believed the GOP meme that we protesters were either employees of the Hillary campaign ("Who is paying you?") or don't have a job ("Go to work!"). Well, which is it?

One man must have learned his street invectives from Moe Howard, calling us "imbeciles", "morons", and "idiots". Another yelled-"We will build our wall and put you on the other side of it!" Yet another one said, "You Dems just want free things!"

To almost everyone who treated the protestors with disrespect, we answered with "Have a nice day!"

Things were just getting started about 4:30. A steady stream of cars kept coming into the Fairgrounds at least until 7:30, when a headache forced me to go home. Trump was running late and did not speak to the crowd until well after 9:00.

We were surrounded by vendors selling Trump and GOP swag. Many of these entrepreneurs travel with the campaign nationwide and contribute to the carnival atmosphere. Pundits who call Trump a carnival barker are spot on.

The biggest winners of the night were the people selling the "Hillary for Prison" t-shirts that appeared to be the uniform of choice. They succeeded in getting hundreds of gullible rubes to spend $20 apiece on something they would be ashamed (and scared) to wear outside of a Trump rally.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

We're Here. We're Progressive. Get Used to It !

For much of the 25 years since we moved to Washington County, I was unaware of the many progressives living in our town. We saw few Democratic yard signs and bumper stickers. Most local political offices had only GOP candidates on the ballot. In local social gatherings, no liberal ideas were voiced when the discussion turned to politics.

Yet, one in three of my W.O.W. neighbors consistently vote for the Democratic candidate for President. Thousands of us signed to recall Walker, Darling, and Grothman. After Dane and Milwaukee counties, Waukesha has the third most Democrats of any county in Wisconsin. We exist. We are here. We just tend to keep our heads down. But that is changing.

I wrote a lefty political blog in the Germantown NOW from 2012 to March 2016. At first, many from the far-right crowd were apoplectic. "How dare there be a liberal voice expressed in our town?" Early on, the anonymous comments on the articles were often so offensive that they were quickly removed.

However, over time the comments became more substantive and respectful. By the last year, several of my far-right readers said that, while they seldom agreed with the columns, they enjoyed reading them. I don't know if I changed any opinions, but over four years we went from open hostility to an acceptance of the right of progressive ideas to exist.

In a similar vein, I have volunteered to work at the Washington County Fair's Democratic Party booth since 2012. The first year was awful. No sooner did one angry venom-spitting rightie leave our booth than another one would take their place. I was convinced that they were on scheduled shifts.

However, Washington County conservatives are gradually coming to an acceptance of local Democrats' right to exist. And increasing numbers of our rational neighbors are being assured that it is OK to be a liberal here. This year, I saw more thumbs-up than down. There were only a handful of nasty comments. Sure, there were still a few people who wanted to argue the primary GOP fixations on "God, Guns, and Gays". But even the argumentative folks approached us with much more respect than I saw my first year.

I have heard similar stories from others. For example, the Washington County Dems have had a float in the West Bend 4th of July parade for the last several years. Participants report hearing fewer Boo's each year. We are becoming more accepted. Simultaneously, we are letting other liberals see that it is OK to express your political views in public here.

Just last week, I was getting my hair cut at a local salon. A loud-mouthed Belling disciple started spewing talk-radio memes, assuming that everyone in the room agreed with his bizarre world view. Having had enough of his pro-Trump monologue, I spoke-up. He seemed stunned.

He said Trump was a great businessman. (I said that he stiffed suppliers and went bankrupt six times). He said that the Trump kids were great and you could tell a lot from how someone's kids turned-out. (I refrained from saying how dickish the Trump boys are, but replied that Chelsea Clinton seemed nice). He said that Hillary belonged in jail. (I said that the FBI cleared her, but Trump was in court for fraud). He said that electing Hillary would be like a third Obama term. (I said that that would be great). Growing increasingly red, he said that Trump would get rid of Obamacare. (I replied that I get my insurance on the exchange and am quite happy with it). (I asked him if he was really going to vote for a guy who idolizes a Russian dictator and who said that we should abandon NATO allies to Russian attacks). In a fit of pique, he sputtered again that Hillary should be in jail ! (I said, "So should Scott Walker!").

He then made an angry exit, muttering that "Scott Walker is a good man". He was no longer feeling secure to shout right-wing talking points in Germantown without push-back. A sense of relief went over the salon and several of the patrons actually thanked me for shutting the guy down.

Every Hillary yard sign, every Russ bumper sticker, every Democratic parade float makes being progressive in W.O.W. Counties a little more accepted. Every local Democratic candidate, every liberal view voiced in a beauty shop, makes others feel that it is indeed OK to be a progressive. Every lefty letter-to-the-editor, blog, and door-knock makes our neighbors realize that we're here, we're progressive, and they'd better get used to it.