Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Teena Colebrook Election

By Jeff Simpson

We all know Donald Trump won the election, and we all know that many people have different reasons as to what happened and why.  

However, the whole election can be summed up in two words - Teena Colebrook.    

Ms. Colebrook, who contacted the AP with her story, sums up the 2016 election in a nutshell.  She was burned by the Bush great recession, the economy was not working for her under President Obama, was ignored by Hillary Clinton and wooed by Donald Trump.   

Donald Trump was elected and Ms. Colebrook was conned.  Big Time!  

 When Donald Trump named his Treasury secretary, Teena Colebrook felt her heart sink.
She had voted for the president-elect on the belief that he would knock the moneyed elites from their perch in Washington. And she knew Trump's pick for Treasury — Steven Mnuchin — all too well.
OneWest, a bank formerly owned by a group of investors headed by Mnuchin, had foreclosed on her Los Angeles-area home in the aftermath of the Great Recession, stripping her of the two units she rented as a primary source of income.
"I just wish that I had not voted," said Colebrook, 59. "I have no faith in our government anymore at all. They all promise you the world at the end of a stick and take it away once they get in."
While Ms. Colebrook was learning the lessons of the world for people who are not part of the bourgeois, Steven Munchkin was also learning the way the world works for those who are.

  The combination of OneWest's profitability, government guarantees and foreclosure activities drew the ire of activist groups like the California Reinvestment Coalition. It found the bank to be consistently one of the most difficult to work out loan modifications with even though OneWest never drew a major response from government regulators.By June of 2014, five years after taking over OneWest, Mnuchin sold the bank for $3.4 billion at a tremendous profit.
Mr. Mnuchin, who used his money to buy One West, took lots of taxpayer money, to pay his debt and then turned it for a huge profit.   What did Ms. Colebrook do that soured her taste of Government.

In 1998, she bought a triplex for $248,000 in Hawthorne, California, not too far from Los Angeles International Airport.
She rented out two of the units and lived in the third. Colebrook refinanced her mortgage in order to renovate the property and help buy additional homes to generate rental income.
By the time the financial crisis struck in 2008, she had an interest-only mortgage on the triplex known as a "pick-a-payment" loan. Her monthly payments ran as high as $2,000 and only covered the interest on the debt. Then she got ensnarled in the economic downturn.
"All my tenants lost their jobs in the crash," Colebrook said. "They couldn't pay. It was a knock-on effect."
Over five years, she tried unsuccessfully to adjust her loan with OneWest through the Treasury Department's Home Affordable Modification Program. But she said that One West Bank lost paperwork, provided conflicting statements about ownership of the loan and fees and submitted charges that were unverified and caused her loan balance to balloon. By the time she lost her home in foreclosure in April 2015, the payoff balance totaled $517,662.

For those scoring at home, Ms. Colebrook decided to live the American Dream by buying a triplex, living in one unit and renting out the rest to pay for it.  Happens all over the country in small towns and large cities.   She bought it for $248,000 and after making payments for 10 years, only owed $517,662.    

Meanwhile, while Ms. Colebrook is suffering, working hard and losing her home, Mr.  Mnuchin bought out the bank that owned her home, pushed most of the debt onto the federal government (Ie the taxpayers of the United States), and sold it for a hefty profit.

Now Ms. Colebrook, lives with her boyfriend because she lost her home and can not afford another one.  Steve Mnuchin, now will have to find a house sitter for his $27 million dollar home in Bel Air, CA while he works in Washington DC as Treasury Secretary,  

Unless of course Mr. Mnuchin, decides to live in his "cottage" in the Hamptons and commute!

The guy who lives here:

donald housedonald house

Was the one who talked Ms. Colebrook into voting for him.   He reached out to her and she responded.  Ms,. Colebrook, and millions like her, were desperately waiting to have someone acknowledge their pain.   The reality TV star, who knows how to play the American public, did just that.  

Many people will lay the blame on Ms. Colebrook, for being ignorant to her choice, but was she?   While Ms. Colebrook was packing her possessions to move into her boyfriends house before the bank repossessed her triplex, The Donalds competition was tellking everyone how great the economy was and she planned on continuing the success.    The success that no matter how hard she looked Ms. Colebrook just could not see it.

Imagine if we had a politician who understood what Ms,. Colebrook was living through?  Imagine even more, if we had a politician who not only reached out to the Teena Colbrooks of the world but actually followed through with their promises?  

Maybe the best place to start is to acknowledge that Teena Colbrook exists and then we can start helping her fix her problems!

Teena Colebrook

One Last Note on Mr. Mnuchin: Steve Mnucin had to resign his spot on the Board of Trustees of Sears Holdings to accept the Treasury Secretary position.   He has been on the Board of Directors for Sears Holdings for the last eleven years.    If you have not been paying attention, the last eleven years for Sears Holdings, have been disastrous and an American Institution is on the verge of disappearing.

Let's hope that he does not bring the same brand of success to the current "Board of Trustees" that he serves on.  


Friday, December 2, 2016

WISDEMS Executive Director Opening

By Jeff Simpson

Kory Kozlowski, the WISDEMS Executive Director is leaving his job and the State of Wisconsin after the latest election debacle.  

Kory Kozloski, executive director of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, plans to leave his post in January, a party spokesman said Tuesday.
Kozloski, who was hired about a year ago, told state party leaders in a memo that he and his wife plan to leave the state.
Weathersby said in an email that Kozloski "made a deal with his wife long ago that if she would like to move from WI at any point he would support her and come along."

Kory came to much fanfare from Chair Martha Laning:

Madison - Martha Laning, Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, announced today that Kory Kozloski has been named DPW’s new Executive Director.
“Kory’s extensive political experience combined with his passion for Wisconsin politics will be a great addition to our team,” said Laning.  “Kory knows how to find the best candidates and get them ready to run. We intend to win races next November and I have no doubt Kory will help make that happen.”
“After 6 years of failed Republican policies the majority of Wisconsin residents believe our state is headed in the wrong direction,” said Kozloski. “I look forward to working with party leaders, candidates and activists across the state to win elections up and down the ballot, and outline a strong new vision for moving Wisconsin forward.”
Now this is not meant as a look backwards, so I will not be critiquing Kory's performance(that was already done here) but pointing out where we need to go moving forward.   

It appears that Chair Laning, has no interest in posting the job and only wants to give it to a specific person, so there is no posted job description.

So I took it upon myself to do just that(using the open position in Hawaii as a guide):

  • POSITION TITLE: Executive Director, Democratic Party of Wisconsin
  • REPORTS TO: Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin
  • LOCATION: Madison, Wisconsin
  • The Executive Director, working with the State Chair and Party officers, oversees all programmatic and fundraising activities of the state party. The Executive Director is responsible for managing the headquarters and daily operations of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. He or she must be reliable, honest, loyal and discreet. The Executive Director reports to the State Chair.
  • Primary responsibilities and duties include, but are not limited to: 

  •  *   Serve as the chief strategic and tactical executive of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin

  • • Work with the Treasurer to manage the organization’s finances, track income and expenditures, pay bills, and maintain records and accounts in order to produce financial stability.
  • • Work with the Chair, Treasurer, State Central Committee, and Executive Committee to develop and adhere to an operating budget.
  • • Develop, implement, and monitor a fundraising plan in conjunction with the Chair and fundraising committee.
  • • Manage all staff and interns, including conducting annual performance reviews.
  • • Knowledge and understanding of the WISDEMS platform, resolutions, and governing documents.
  • • Ensure the organization and staff complies with all applicable laws governing political parties, including timely filing of required state and federal reports, and the Constitution, Bylaws and Rules of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.
  • • Work with the Chair to manage political relationships both in-state and around the country.
  • • Work with the Chair to assist and facilitate the needs of the County Committees.
  • • Manage the external and internal communications of the WISDEMS. Work with the Chair to issue press releases, respond to time-sensitive media events, and present the Democratic Party in a positive, professional light. Refer media inquiries to the Chair. (Executive Director does not serve as the spokesperson for the WISDEMS.)  Make sure the Chair is responding and getting her message out to the media. 
  • • Oversee development and production of party-building and message delivery tools, including print and digital.
  • • Coordinate with WISDEMS Secretary in preparing written reports for all meetings of the State Central Committee, Executive Committee and State Convention.
  • • Liaise with the staffs of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the Association of State Democratic Chairs (ASDC), and the Association of State Democratic Executive Directors (ASDED).
  • • Organize logistics for all meetings of the State Central Committee and Executive Committee; Organize calendar and schedule activities and meetings held at the WISDEMS headquarters.
  • • Demonstrate an understanding of all aspects of winning elections including state-of-the-art campaign techniques, new technology, campaign planning, targeting, polling, election law, grassroots initiatives and get-out-the-vote programs.
  • • Develop, strengthen and grow the grassroots volunteers and leaders of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.
  • • Working with the Party Secretary to develop, update, and implement guidelines for the use and maintenance of Party files and records, including archiving, storage and disposal. Assisting Party Secretary with all data management operations of the Party, including the membership database and voter database systems.
  • • Ensure proper maintenance of all WISDEM computers, including providing appropriate security and back-up systems. Does not give John Podesta access to any passwords, smart phones or laptops.   

  • • A proven, successful executive with the ability to provide dynamic internal and external leadership to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin to achieve political and financial objectives.
  • *  Someone who is passionate about Wisconsin and makes expanding the diversity of the party priority number one.   It is only a big tent party when people want into the tent.  
  • • Pertinent experience in Executive/Senior level management. Preferred experience: a combination of work in the not-for profit sector, public sector, private sector and/or trade associations, including some experience in local, state or federal politics.  
  • • Demonstrated ability to establish and maintain a credible reputation and high profile presence in the community as would be required on behalf of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.
  • • Demonstrated ability to develop and execute strategic political strategies and manage the tactical execution to achieve results.
  • • Experience in soliciting and securing donor dollars is essential both in state and nationally.  Also must understand that while money is important, it is the people of the party that make the difference and we can not compromise dollars for message or outreach.   
  • • An excellent internal leader recognized for the ability to develop, motivate, manage and build functional teams that regularly achieve and maintain superior levels of performance.
  • • Proven excellence in written and oral communication and proven media experience are essential.
  • • Knowledge and understanding of the political landscape within Wisconsin is preferred.  Someone who understands that while the members of the WISDEMS are important, that there are millions more people who associate themselves as Democrats, liberals, progressives, who have not joined the party and whose opinions are to be valued and sought after.  Someone who understands that reaching these people is critical to future success.  
  • • An individual who is passionate about the success of the Democratic Party and the quality of life for Wisconsin residents.  Someone who understands that winning elections is the primary and only responsibility of the Democratic Party.   Someone who takes it personally when elections are lost and celebrates when elections are won.   Someone who understands that finishing second in an election is unacceptable and not something to be proud of.   
  • • Fluent in MS Office including Word, Excel, Outlook, as well as internet and social media.
  • • Key Attributes: Excellent manager of paid staff and volunteers, trustworthiness/believability, professional appearance, highly developed interpersonal and communications skills, results oriented, global thinker, diplomatic, ability to multi-task, strong public communication skills, open-minded to differing views, persuasive, quick thinking, outgoing and approachable, excellent time management skills, strong leadership ability, conflict resolution skills, negotiation skills, and ability to influence.
  • • Political Acumen: Knowledgeable in current and possible future practices, trends, and other information affecting the Democratic Party in Wisconsin and the country. Understands the competitive issues; aware of the political landscape for change and how collaborative strategies around the state work for the betterment of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin; comprehends how collaborative strategies with national entities work for the betterment of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and candidates in Wisconsin.
  • • Member Focus: Dedicated to meeting the expectations and requirements of internal and external groups; effectively articulates and promotes Democratic Party of Wisconsin programs and services; talks and acts with Democratic Party of Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin idea, values in mind; establishes and maintains effective on-going relationships with board members and all groups and gains their trust and respect.

Those are the basics, now in order to actually start winning elections, the next executive director must have the following(the Simpson Job Description):

  • Must know the difference between a Holstein and a Hereford and the difference of a Duroc to an Appaloosa!    
  • Must be more comfortable at the Sawyer County Democratic Picnic than at the Founders Day Dinner. 
  • Must never agree to ever be part of a national candidates "Victory fund" ever again. 
  • Must Understand how important your work is.  When someone takes away your healthcare, collective bargaining rights, , etc.. they are not great people who just disagree with you, they are attacking fundamental rights for people all over Wisconsin and you are many people's only line of defense.  
  • Must understand that climate change is a real threat to the future of our planet, and be willing to discuss it anytime, anyplace, even if the national party pretends it does not exist.  
  • Must never ever look at someone and judge them by how much money they have or how much money you think they have   
  • Must never allow access to a microphone, party award, or endorsement of anyone who does not fully support labor, unions and the working class people of WI.  
  • Must never discuss seats, districts, states that can NOT be won.  
  • Must be comfortable on a farm, in a union hall, at a county fair or a local diner.  Anywhere in Wisconsin. 
  • Must go to work with passion and a love of Wisconsin, not to cash a paycheck or look for your next job. 
  • Must vow to never buy and/or wear a cheese head for longer than 30 seconds. 
  • Must understand that while the elected Democrats represent their districts, the party represents all Democrats in Wisconsin and must act accordingly and be able to speak up when electeds are being unreasonable. 
  • Must immediately end the incumbent protection program of giving incumbents so many advantages in terms of running in primaries, especially not allowing challengers access to the VAN.  You might not want a primary but you should adamantly defend any members rights to run, and remain neutral, in front of and behind closed doors!
  • Must solemnly swear to protect and defend public education at all times!  
  • Must be willing to throw away all how-to guides, manuals, books, pamphlets, etc... of anything that remotely has to do with winning elections that was written before 2015,  
  •  Above all, it is crucial to keep the wolves, out of state consultants, political lifers and lobbyists away from the inner circle or the checkbooks of the WISDEMS.     That includes anyone who worked with the Mike Tate regime and Nation Consulting.   

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

School Budget Proposal Brings Needed Relief

By Kathleen Vinehout

"Over the past four years, we have seen an increased reliance on referenda to keep the lights on,” State Superintendent Tony Evers announced as he released his school budget proposal. 

“Around the state, local communities took the lead on funding reform through the ballot box, but the state has to be a good partner and do our share to help small town schools.”

Indeed. This year, Wisconsinites passed a record number of school referenda.

In the recent election, 82% of school referenda passed. Over the last four years, citizens in more than half of Wisconsin’s school districts voted to raise their property taxes to pay for schools.

Why? Because state spending for public schools this year is less than it was eight years ago, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau. This does not include public spending for the variety of private school options.

Mr. Evers created a blueprint to fix the funding of local schools. No district in the state will be hurt by his plan.

He proposes repairing the historic budget cuts of the past few years, including cuts to a special aid I added to the school formula in 2007 known as sparsity. The proposal would expand the number of rural districts eligible for sparsity aid. 

The plan provides grants to assist in recruiting and retaining rural teachers. Wisconsin is awash with stories of rural schools struggling to find and keep teachers.

Many rural superintendents point to the impact of transportation costs on their budgets, noting the state pays less than a tenth of the cost of bringing students to and from school. This leaves rural students with fewer resources to learn, as more of the school’s budget goes to fuel and buses.

Mr. Evers addresses this problem in two ways: by increasing funds for transporting students over 12 miles away and by helping schools with unusually high busing costs. 

Childhood poverty increased dramatically statewide over the past ten years. Teachers share stories of bringing extra food and clothing for students in need. However, the needs go beyond the physical. Children living in poverty can succeed but they need extra support from the school.

Mr. Evers’ budget recommendation provides extra support by adding a new poverty factor to the general aid formula. This change will assist many rural districts hurt by the current funding formula, which equates wealth with property value instead of income. Rural districts in tourist areas suffered for many years. Pepin, for example, last year received only $1,381 per student in general school aid.

As Mr. Evers’ budget reads: “The State Superintendent believes that property value alone is no longer an adequate measure for the ability to pay, as it doesn’t serve areas with high-priced vacation homes and large populations of year-round residents that live in poverty. The State Superintendent believes that local family income should also be a factor in measuring a district’s ‘wealth’ in determining the distribution of state general equalization aid.”

In addition to accounting for income, Mr. Evers proposes raising the general aid minimum to $3,000 for every student. 

Creating a minimum aid for all districts will reduce the need for low-aided districts to ask voters to raise their property taxes through referenda. Equally important the new plan adds an inflationary increase in state funds available to schools districts to keep up with rising costs.

Another problem facing a majority of school districts is declining enrollment. The loss of students translates to a loss of state aid. Many small rural schools are losing students faster than the district can cut costs. Mr. Evers makes several changes that ease the impact of declining enrollment.

Mr. Evers offers many other changes in the way Wisconsin pays for schools, including aids to schools with a high number of English Language Learners, like Arcadia whose elementary school enrolls over 70% ELL students. He assists students struggling with mental health challenges, which he estimates effects one in five students.

I am encouraged by Mr. Evers’ thoughtful and comprehensive proposal. His blueprint for Wisconsin schools gives every child, regardless of background or zip code, an opportunity to succeed.

We now need our governor and legislators to share the same goal and pass Mr. Evers’ 2017-19 biennial budget for schools.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Clarke To Interview With Trump On Monday

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke is supposed to be interviewing with Donald Trump on Monday, presumably to be the head of Homeland Security.

Clarke probably has a pretty good shot at it. He'e been a very vocal supporter for Trump for several months and had spent several weeks traveling the country actively campaigning for Trump when he wasn't busy licking Trump's boots.

Clarke has also shown a compatible disregard, if not pure hatred of minorities, including his fellow African Americans. He has repeated ripped into the Black Lives Matter movement. He has allowed four people to die in his jail, including a newborn baby, as he's been campaigning for Trump. And Clarke's been detaining undocumented immigrants as fast as he can, holding them indefinitely and trying to cover it up.

Clarke even fits Trump's desire for "idea men" by having a plan that is in sync with Trump's stance towards immigration:
In his upcoming memoir, Clarke has called for an overhaul of the nation's homeland security program, writing that American citizens suspected of being terrorists should be treated as "enemy combatants" who can be questioned without an attorney, arrested by authorities and held indefinitely.

Their cases would then be handled by military tribunals, not the traditional court system.

"We are at war. Homegrown radicalization has the enemy inside our borders," Clarke writes. "Islamist radicalized Americans are not criminals; they are enemy combatants."
Even though Clarke has a fairly good chance, as a Milwaukeean, I hope he doesn't get the job.

Oh sure, my first instinct is to hope he does so that we would be rid of Clarke once and for all. Even though Clarke has been running as a Democrat, he is in no way imaginable a Democrat. And despite all of Clarke's faults and blunders, the Democratic Party has not been able to successfully primary him.

But that would be the only thing listed in the plus column. But even that one positive could turn out to be a negative. If Trump were to leave Milwaukee County before the next election, Scott Walker would be the person to appoint his successor. It could easily turn into a situation of going from the frying pan into the fire.

I would never wish Clarke to be given even more authority, on a national stage, to act the fool that he is. Next to Trump himself, Clarke would be the most likely to cause an international incident due to his ignorance and immaturity.

The only best case scenario would be for Trump to actually do one thing right and decide against Clarke and then for Clarke's home away from home, Faux Newz, to give him a full time gig. That way we would be rid of him and the only people he could hurt would be those foolish enough to watch him in the first place.

But the way that 2016 has been going, that is simply too much to even wish for.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Open Thread - Popcorn Turkey

Thanksgiving Day is one of those days steeped in tradition. Families across the country gather to feed on the same old same old - turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.

But for us in Casa de Capper, things are different now, and not just in the political sense. Our immediate families on both sides are gone to their final resting places now and we moved to a new house. We also got ourselves a new pup, Beau the Handsome.

With so many changes in our everyday life, we decided to make other changes, ending some traditions, bringing back some old ones and starting some new ones of our own.

One tradition that I've done for nine years now is sharing the recipe for Popcorn Turkey, so here ya go:
Here is a Thanksgiving Turkey recipe that also includes the use of popcorn as a stuffing - imagine that.

When I found this recipe, I thought it was perfect for people like me, who just are not sure how to tell when poultry is thoroughly cooked, but not dried out. Give this a try.


10-12 lb. Turkey
1 cup melted butter
1 cup stuffing (Pepperidge Farm is good.)
5 cups uncooked popcorn (ORVILLE REDENBACHER 'S LOW FAT)
Salt/pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush Turkey well with melted butter, salt, and pepper. Fill cavity with stuffing and popcorn. Place in baking pan with the neck end toward the back of the oven.Listen for the popping sounds. When the turkey's ass blows the oven door open and flies across the room, it's done.

Imagine the look on your loved ones' faces as you show off your culinary skills.
It's also good for making sure that you don't have to cook another holiday meal for years to come.

So, what traditions are new for you?

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Scott Walker - Financial Dilettante

By Jeff Simpson

Today Scott Walker tweeted this:

 Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin (R) is in some serious debt.National Journal's Shane Goldmacher reported Monday that new federal financial documents showed that Walker had credit-card debts totaling more than $20,000 from two separate cards.
The personal financial disclosure forms filed with the Federal Election Commission also revealed that Walker owed another $100,000 in student-loan debt for his children.
One of the debts is via Barclays and is estimated to be between $10,000 and $15,000. The interest rate on the debt is 27.24%.
The other credit-card debt is via Bank of America from 2011. On that debt, Walker also owes between $10,000 and $15,000, with an interest rate of 11.99%.
Walker's assets, by comparison, are not substantial. In the documents, he listed six investments totaling between $1,000 and $15,000, a life-insurance policy, and a deferred compensation plan.
This isn't the first time Walker has reportedly been in debt. The Daily Beast and The Boston Globe both reported back in April that Walker owed Sears up to $50,000 in credit-card debt.

Who the hell buys $50,000 worth of crap from Sears?   Seriously?  
Facing an estimated $1 million in debt from his failed presidential campaign, Gov. Scott Walker is now soliciting donations to pay it off.
The Wisconsin governor dropped out of the 2016 presidential race in September, and campaign finance reports released last month showed his short-lived campaign raised $7.4 million but spent money as quickly as it came. Those reports showed the campaign burned through about $90,000 a day, in part due to exorbitant salaries paid to a massive staff.
Wisconsin state revenues are projected to fall $693 million short of what state agencies have requested for the 2017-19 budget, Gov. Scott Walker's administration said Monday.

Maybe, just maybe, Scott Walker is not the person we want to be getting financial advice from.

As a matter of fact, as Capper pointed out before, Mr. Walker is not someone we want to be getting Christmas List advice for the kids from either!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Victory Lapse


By Jeff Simpson 

Hillary Clinton just finished what could be one of the most epic, incompetent, political campaigns in History.  One of the more controversial things that the Hillary Campaign did was enter into "fundraising" agreements with numerous state parties called the Hillary Victory Fund.  

There was much concern and outrage amongst people who were not party insiders. From local media, to the Bernie Sanders campaign, realized something was wrong and started questioning.   This did not lead to the campaign rethinking what they were doing, but instead banded together with the DNC leadership to attack Bernie Sanders personally.  

With a massive disinformation campaign, mixed with personal attacks on the most vociferous the fervor was brought to a slow simmer.   In Wisconsin, Martha Laning DNC chair, felt the need to issue a statement: 

From Martha Laning, chair of the DPW, for an explanation. A number of incorrect stories and blogs have been posted about our participation in a fundraising Victory Fund – and it is very important to me that we correct the record.Last year, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, along with 32 other state parties, entered into a joint finance agreement with the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign to raise funds that help to support state parties and Democratic candidates in 2016. We have offered, and would gladly partner with Sen. Sanders as well if he is interested in creating a similar joint fundraising agreement. These funds have helped us to maintain a top-notch state voter file, work with the DNC to combat the effects of Photo ID, hire critical coordinated campaign staff, and begin to build the infrastructure for our turnout efforts in the fall. These funds are not being used to support any one particular presidential candidate, and in fact, by helping to update our data and address legal issues around Photo ID, they are helping all candidates in Wisconsin.
Much has also been made about us sharing portions of these funds with the DNC. The DPW regularly partners with the DNC on a wide range of projects and efforts. In fact, over the last two years the DPW has received nearly $200,000 from the DNC to help us build our state party infrastructure. We will continue to work with both campaigns, and with the DNC to do everything we can to support our great Democratic candidates up and down the ballot in 2016, and beyond.
If you have any questions about this, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
If you would like to contact either Martha or Kory, below is their contact info:
Chair Martha Laning:; (608) 255-5172
Executive Director Kory Kozloski:; (608) 255-5172
Much has also been made about us sharing portions of these funds with the DNC. The DPW regularly partners with the DNC on a wide range of projects and efforts. In fact, over the last two years the DPW has received nearly $200,000 from the DNC to help us build our state party infrastructure. We will continue to work with both campaigns, and with the DNC to do everything we can to support our great Democratic candidates up and down the ballot in 2016, and beyond.If you have any questions about this, please don’t hesitate to contact me.If you would like to contact either Martha or Kory, below is their contact info:Chair Martha Laning:; (608) 255-5172Executive Director Kory Kozloski:; (608) 255-5172

Unfortunately, using hindsight, that did not turn out to be the case.  It turns out the partnership was not much of a partnership after all.  Especially in major battleground states, that used to be solidly blue and turned a dark shade of red.     

As we see from Huffington Post

A similar situation unfolded in Wisconsin. According to several operatives there, the campaign’s state office and local officials scrambled to raise nearly $1 million for efforts to get out the vote in the closing weeks. Brooklyn headquarters had balked at funding it themselves, arguing that the state already had a decent-sized footprintbecause of the labor-backed super PAC For Our Future and pointing out that Clinton had never trailed in a single poll in Wisconsin.The campaign’s state office argued additionally for prominent African-American surrogates to help in Milwaukee. “There are only so many times you can get folks excited about Chelsea Clinton,” explained one Wisconsin Democrat. But President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama didn’t come. Nor did Hillary Clinton after the July Democratic convention. She would go on to lose the state, hampered by lower turnout in precisely the place that had operatives worried. Clinton got 289,000 votes in Milwaukee County compared to the 328,000 that Obama won in 2012.“They had staff on the ground and lots of volunteers, but they weren’t running a massive program because they thought they were up 6-7 points,” said the aforementioned senior battleground state operative.In politics, much like anything else, victory has a thousand fathers and defeat is an orphan. A senior official from Clinton’s campaign noted that they did have a large staff presence in Michigan and Wisconsin (200 and 180 people respectively) while also stressing that one of the reasons they didn’t do more was, in part, because of psychological games they were playing with the Trump campaign. They recognized that Michigan, for example, was a vulnerable state and felt that if they could keep Trump away ― by acting overly confident about their chances ― they would win it by a small margin and with a marginal resource allocation.
A strategy of winning by a small margin, shows how their first, last and middle priorities were winning the Presidency for Hillary Clinton and the down ballot and Senatorial races were never a priority.  

But wait there is more!

There was incredible incompetence from the Top.   Chuck Schumer, who was recently named Senate Majority Leader. came up with this strategy:

 Back in July Chuck Schumer summed it up: “For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin.”From this theory and strategy flowed a deeply flawed set of tactics, and a badly fumbled get-out-the-vote (GOTV) effort.
Or not!  Hard working Democrats all over the country, gave money they did not have, and valuable time to the Democratic Party to have them ignore the working class, and focus on Republicans.   Now they have less money, no protections and a more solidly Republican Government than ever before in their lifetime.   At least Chuck Schumer got a promotion.   

It was not just there, it was the political guru's and consultants who know more than the local grass roots.   In Wisconsin, former Executive Director of the WISDEMS, Jake Hadju, who helped oversee three straight losing elections, was in charge of the Hillary campaign here. His superior efforts, along with the Hillary "Victory" fund and help from the ADCC and SDCC led us to a drubbing at the hands of the WISGOP.    

However, incompetence at the top is not unique to WI(emphasis mine):

Writing in the Huffington Post last week, Becky Bond and Zack Exley, both veterans of the Sanders campaign, noted: “Volunteers for the Clinton campaign in Pennsylvania, Ohio and North Carolina,” working from computer-generated lists, “have reported that when reminding people to vote, they encountered a significant number of Trump voters. Anecdotal evidence points to anywhere from 5 to 25 percent of contacts [being] inadvertently targeted to Trump supporters.”
So much for those brainiac, glued-to-the-screen whiz kids. They lacked nouse, street smarts, soul, real-world experience, a grip on reality.
Another thing not unique to Wisconsin, is that the Democrats like to blame everyone but themselves when they lose yet another election.    

In his first remarks since WikiLeaks began releasing thousands of his hacked emails, John D. Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, said Tuesday that Russian intelligence officials intent on swaying the election to Donald J. Trump had been responsible for the illegal breach into his account.
“I’ve been involved in politics for nearly five decades,” Mr. Podesta told reporters aboard the Clinton campaign plane. “This definitely is the first campaign that I’ve been involved with in which I’ve had to tangle with Russian intelligence agencies,” he added, “who seem to be doing everything that they can on behalf of our opponent.”
Without verifying the authenticity of the emails, Mr. Podesta said that he had spoken with the F.B.I. “as a victim” of hacking.
About Poor Mr. Podesta's victimhood:

But what we do know, thanks to digital forensics of the hacked emails, is that Podesta clicked twice on a not-so-sophisticated fishing email asking for his password. We also know from the same emails that John Podesta lost his cellphone in a taxi on January 19, 2015; and that his password was “p@ssword.”
With leadership like that, the rest makes sense.
While Christian Parenti, came to this conclusion about the Hillary Clinton campaign, it could easily be applied to the DNC, and the WISDEMS, the ADCC and the SDCC.   

A point for the Left in all this: the DNC’s ideas are not only bad because they don’t advocate the social-democratic redistribution we would like to see — they are also bad because they don’t work at a purely technical level.
Their arrogance and contempt for the working class produced a flawed political theory, which in turn produced a bad strategy, which in turn produced a tactically inept ground game.
Too busy congratulating themselves and concurring with each other, the Clintonites couldn’t even get the rudiments of the campaign correct.

The question now is, where do we go from here?  Did we learn anything from the Hillary Victory Fund and how they played the state parties like a fiddle?  Have we learned that there are too many careerist in politics who care more about their next paycheck than winning an election.   That just because your dad/mom have been in politics, give big money or are famous, does not mean that you have the competence to win an election.   Will the Democratic party learn from their mistakes and start standing up for the middle class and the working poor in this country?   

If the two weeks since the election are any indication, the answer is no.   We have yet to see a single resignation from the DNC or the WISDEMS, or anyone to take even a semblance of  responsibility for the massive losses on election day.  There has been enough of passing the bucks in the last two weeks, to fill Gringots.    

As Peter Barca made clear recently, elections only have consequences for some of us!  

For the rest of us though, who will be fighting and suffering from GOP policies for the next few years, it is time for us to start taking 2018 seriously.   The work to win the next three elections starts now.

I know its a small club, and people like to not let outsiders in, and give each other jobs but things have advanced beyond the small club pettiness we have witnessed the last six years.   

We need to get people on board or out of the way.  It needs to happen now!  

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Wisconsin's Own Fake News

By Jeff Simpson

David Haynes, the editorial page editor at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, has had a problem with fake news on the internet lately.  

Honestly, people are definitely dumber. They just keep passing stuff around. Nobody fact-checks anything anymore — I mean, that’s how Trump got elected. He just said whatever he wanted, and people believed everything, and when the things he said turned out not to be true, people didn’t care because they’d already accepted it. It’s real scary. I’ve never seen anything like it.

While I agree with Mr. Haynes, that fake news(beyond the onion) really does not help anyone and is partly to blame for the horrendous politicians we keep electing.   

However, the editorial page editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, has never once addressed this, which happened under his watch:

Although to say Mr. Haynes has never addressed this, is not exactly right.    He promoted Schneider from blogger to "columnist" shortly after he posted this.   I would supply the link, but JSONLINE scrubbed it from their website without a word.

You can however read more about the Schneider fake news incident here and here.

Some fake news is better than other fake news apparently!

In case you are so inclined you can reach Mr. Haynes here:

Email: Twitter: @DavidDHaynes

Christian Schneider can be reached at:

 Email Twitter: @Schneider_CM

Mike Pence Gets More Than A Performance

By Jeff Simpson

Vice President Elect Mike Pence, took time out of trying not to piss The Donald off, and attended the Musical Hamilton.   When the show was over. the full cast used their curtain call to deliver a message to the soon to be VP:

There are seasons in every country when noise and impudence pass current for worth; and in popular commotions especially, the clamors of interested and factious men are often mistaken for patriotism. Alexander Hamilton

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Look Over Here!

By Jeff Simpson 

By now, everyone knows what a bad night it was for Democrats in the Nation and especially Wisconsin.   The Democrats had high priced consultants, lots of money, some excellent candidates and still ended up taking a beating.   For some reason, which we have already discussed here, the Dems could not seem to connect with the voters.

Instead of high priced consultants and a professional political class who are pointing fingers elsewhere, the actual answer is right in front of them.

Another story of the election day, was that the voters all over Wisconsin reaffirmed their support for public schools.   While Democrats up and down the ballot were getting defined as tax and spend liberals and losing their elections handily, local school districts were asking for almost a billion dollars from the taxpayers of WI.  In Most instances the people said a resounding YES!

School districts asked voters to endorse nearly $700 million in borrowing for new construction and building updates, and more than $150 million in increases in school district budgets — dollar amounts that were the largest put before voters at the annual spring election going back at least a decade. (For more on that, read our blog post from last week)
Voters approved 55 of the 71 referendums on the ballot, including $492 million in borrowing for building upgrades and construction projects, $128 million to expand school district budgets for a set amount of time, and $10 million to expand school budgets on a recurring basis.

I know, because we passed one in April, what goes into them.  It is not tens of thousands of dollars, high priced consultants and dictating from the state above.   What passes these referendums, is citizen committees, community meetings, defined jobs, a clear plan, understanding your opponents and a clear concise message.  

That is what is going to take our Legislature back, community organizing, discussions, engagement and a concise, consistent message that is told by every candidate from Superior to Footville.  

Then we can start to see even the gerrymandered districts turn!  

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

We Have It In Our Power To Begin Wisconsin Over Again

By Jeff Simpson

In every election as far back as I can remember, the party in power gets smoked in the mid-terms.  For Wisconsinites, the timing could not be better.   The 2018 election will be much more important than the beating the Democrats took last night.   The work for that needs to begin today,  but first we need some housekeeping and lessons from the election of 2016(from a Wisconsin point of view). 

1.  The old rules of how to campaign, win elections etc... all got thrown out the window this year.  While normal candidates, by the book, spent thousands on polling(more on this later), the Donald spent more on hats than he did polling.   The Donald had no real ground game, fought with everyone and spent most of his energy attacking anyone who criticized him, yet was the first Republican to win WI since Ronnie.

2.  There NEEDS to be accountability.   We have zero power now to make change, but we have all of the power to demand change.   There needs to be resignations and they need to come yesterday.   I would recommend we start with Martha Laning, Kory Kozlowski and whoever the head of research for the party is because he/she apparently had no idea that many people were running for office on the Dem Ticket.   We need to continue on and get new leadership in the State Senate and Assembly.   Jen Shilling and Peter Barca need to step down from their "lack of " leadership positions.

3. I recommend that David Bowen take over the party for the next year and he hire Mandela Barnes as Executive Director.   Then Mandela can decide after a year if he wants to run for office again or take over the WISDEMS.  One way or another, Mandela Barnes is part of the future of our party.    I also recommend that Kathleen Vinehout be Senate Minority leader and that Katrina Shankland be Assembly Democratic Leader with Jonathon Brostoff as her assistant.    Fresh leadership is desperatly needed!  

4.  Anyone who tells you that Bernie would not have done better against The Donald is just trying to cover up their own incompetence and lack of understanding of the election process and the Wisconsin electorates, so please take what they say with a huge grain of sand!  

5.  We need to have all of the super delegates, understand their role in the massive losses that we sustained in Wisconsin.   Bernie was a huge favorite, won Wisconsin primary handily, and yet all but David Bowen used their super delegate vote for HRC.  Wisconsinites who supported Bernie were contacting them to advocate for their candidate, some of the SD's were reprinting their letters and openly mocking them on social media.   

David Bowen, Mark Pocan, Gwen Moore, Ron Kind, Tammy Baldwin, Martha Laning, Jason Rae, Christine Bremer Muggli, Martha Love and Michael Childers.   

 6.  The old saying of "Don't mourn, Organize" is becoming passe' and needs to be edited to say "Don't mourn, talk".   I understand that everyone needs a little time to let the loss sink in but do not withdraw.   I see lots of my liberal/progressive friends on social media unfriending their Trump supporting friends and family members.  Stop it!

I have no problem criticizing our elected officials who are bigoted, anti education, racist and just plain dumb.  Keep that up, but their supporters are a different story.  We need to dialogue with them, try and understand them, see where they are coming from.  how they got there. and what you have in common.  Help them see the same things about you.   A big problem is we have put ourselves in a little bubble and only hear and see what we want too.   That happens on both sides (see News Fox) and we need to find ways to step outside our bubble and into theirs and vice versa.    

So Don't mourn, engage!    

7.  Find a spot for Mandy Wright.  Like Mandela Barnes, Mandy Wright also needs to be the future of the party!   

8.  Lets stop pretending that Charles Franklin and Nate Silver are heroes, guru's, experts or geniuses.  It is time to recognize that the anonymous opinion of a thousand people does not speak for 5 million others.   Polls are fine and they are good to know some information, but like a standardized test in public schools, tell us just a small frame of a feature film.   

9.  Who is the base of the Democratic Party?  As a former industrial, heavily unionized, blue state, the economy is not working for many many people.  With Gatt, NAFTA, WTO, And now the TPP, states like Wisconsin have been crushed economically.

Why have we allowed someone like Scott Walker to divide and conquer?  Because there is no champion to unite us.   No person to acknowledge the fact that we have lost jobs, that poverty is going up and so are incomes of the upper class.  No one to acknowledge that people are working two jobs and losing their homes.   No one to acknowledge that attacking public workers for having health insurance while we allow our politicians to give millions of our tax dollars to their friends no questions asked is hurting our state.  

That is what made Bernie so popular in WI(he won 71/72 counties) and elsewhere.   He spoke to the people that needed a champion.  He spoke directly to them and told them he gets it and understand their pain and the importance of fixing it.     

The people of Wisconsin, and elsewhere, are desperate not only for a populist message but a sincere populist message.    If you can filter out the racism, sexism, bigotry, etc... (and many people could) the message that Trump was saying was a populist message,   He told the people that he understood that they are losing their jobs to Mexico and China etc...  He let them know that he understood that we need jobs in America and that if you elect him the jobs will come back.    Ignoring the fact that the messenger was incredibly hypocritical, and the part of the problem, but the message resonated.   

10.   The Dem party, which includes the party apparatchik, made many mistakes throughout.   
          A. This is the first election in memory where the candidate did not make an appearance in the final days before the election.   Great idea.  

          B.  Hillary did send many surrogates here (Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren) and every time, they gave speeches to a solid crowd of Democrats and not once, did local/statewide candidates get a chance to share the stage and introduce themselves.   Now when we start looking at the next election, we get to hear how so many Democrats do not have "name recognition". 

          C.  Statewide Dems, who had a chance to get on a bigger stage, never once did they start naming names and talking about winning.   For instance, Mark Pocan was on Mike Gousha show and when asked about Paul Ryan working with The Donald, never once even mention the fact that Ryan Solen was running against him and he had to win his election first.   

11.  We need to identify who the base actually is.   It should be a big tent party where we bring in and appeal to everyone from the white working class to the minorities to the CEO's to the people in poverty.  If you follow politics, really follow politics, you know that many Trump/Walker supporters should be voting why aren't they

12.   There is a whole professional political class, that moves from one inside job to another and they are destroying our state.   The consultant class is consulting our state into a bright bright shade of red. For instance: 
 *  As Nation Consulting owns writes:  2. THERE IS NO SILVER BULLET. This is not the case of one thing going wrong. If you think nominating Bernie changes this 180 degrees, no. If you think more money changes this, no. If you think only racism or sexism or bigotry explains this, no. If you think only economics or culture explains this, no. If you think any one thing being different is the solution, no. A clusterfuck of this proportion only happens when many, many things go wrong. So take your simplistic answers and shove them.
It is not simple but if you think nominating Bernie would not have made a difference then you can take your simplistic understanding of the WI electorate and shove it! Of course a shill for Hillary would downplay the importance of the vast majority of Wisconsinites.

* Former Mary Burke team member, Joe Zepecki(who handled the press operations for Burke, on what might be the worse press operation campaign in history), who was given numerous chances on news talk shows to "speak for the Democrats", was also given the keys to a multi million dollar Super PAC (For Our Future Fund), which focused on community organizing, was based in Milwaukee. The lower turnout in Milwaukee was the difference in helping the Donald win WI and the Presidency.

Looking at some numbers (not sure what they mean, except turnout matters). (Assuming the results are all in) Clinton had similar margins of victory as Obama in Milwaukee County (66% to 29% vs 67% to 32%; 162,895 more votes in 2016 vs 169,660 in 2012). However, Obama collected 39,104 more total votes in Milwaukee County. Trump's statewide margin of victory was 26,788.

*  Many statewide candidates hired a company from Chicago called The Strategy Group.  Apparently this group of high priced political consultants from Chicago, most of whom were from the Coasts and Washington DC, were the perfect group to tell us how to win in Ladysmith, Winter and Oconto.    Of course right up until election day when they cash their checks, head home and their candidates get their hats handed to them.  

13.   The party insiders need to get over themselves and take a long hard look in the mirror.  Wisconsin was a blue state until Mike Tate and his crew took over and now we are a bright red state.   Members of his team turned that kind of success into other jobs, like Jake Hadju, who ran Hillary's operations in WI( the first time since 1984 that a Republican won our state).  

Many of the team are outright hostile to people who are not members of the party or have criticisms.  Which leads to divisions in the party and Republican landslides.   If they want to continue in their old habits, then they need to find a new career.  If they are willing to acknowledge that their way has not worked in years then lets all work together and change this state back to blue! 

14. Do not be a party of the Republicans suck, be a party of telling stories and holding Republicans accountable.   For example, in the last week before the election, Paul Ryan had someone yell at his GOTV rally "Where is Lee Harvey Oswald when you need him?" and Paul Ryan completely ignored it.  So did the media and the Democratic party.   What would have happened if someone yelled that about Scott Walker at a Democratic GOTV rally? 

15.   Finally, we need some people to start running for Governor now.   Lets get name recognition and message fine tuned soon.  We need to let the Republicans attack them now, and make the hard core criticisms old news by election season!  

Extra Credit:   Make Alan Grayson head of the Democratic National Committee! 

We can do this.  2018 can bring a new day but we need to work together and we need to start now!