My Interview with Senator Feingold

I recently posted an interview I did with Mr. Rob Taylor, Wisconsin Senate Candidate.

I was then accused of favoritism, so that night I sent 5 questions a piece to Ron Johnson and Senator Feingold. Here are the five questions and answer from Senator Feingold. More information can be found at http://russfeingold.org/. I am still patiently awaiting Mr. Johnson’s reply.

1. With the recent Citizens United ruling, how realistic is it to put in reforms to lessen corporate influence of elections?

The Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United was a tragic mistake, and I hope that over time a changing Court will reconsider the ruling. In the meantime, while we cannot reverse the decision by legislation we should put into place disclosure requirements that will let the American people know exactly who is funding the enormous amount of corporate sponsored political advertising that will undoubtedly result from the decision. That is why I support the DISCLOSE Act and believe Congress must enact it in time for it to take effect for the 2012 elections. The House has already passed that bill, and we are just a few votes short in the Senate.

2. As sponsor or author of the Same Day Registration Act, Democracy Restoration Act and the Caging Prohibition Act, how many co-sponsors do you have? What is the opposition to these bills? Will these bills ever become law? what else can be done to ensure a higher turnout amongst the citizens, not just of Wisconsin but of every state?

There are five cosponsors of the Same Day Registration Act, five of the Democracy Restoration Act, both of which I authored in the Senate, and thirteen of the Caging Prohibition Act, which is sponsored by Sen. Whitehouse. We have a ways to go to pass these measures, all of which are aimed at increasing participation in democracy by making sure that all of our citizens that want to vote have the opportunity to do so. I strongly believe that our country is better off when greater percentages of eligible voters exercise their rights. We can increase participation by breaking down logistical and practical barriers to voting as these bills attempt to do, by assuring voters that their elected officials represent them and not corporate interests as my campaign finance efforts have attempted to do, and by proposing and fighting for constructive and realistic solutions to the problems that voters feel are important, like jobs, the economy, health care, and the environment.

3. The workforce has diminished from about 25% unionization in 1980 to approximately 7% now. Is there still the political will and desire in Congress to pass EFCA? Can we expect to see a vote on this bill in the near future.

I am a cosponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) because I strongly support the right of workers to organize and collectively bargain for better wages, health benefits, and improved working conditions. Right now, employers can choose the method by which workers organize and the process is often unfairly stacked against workers who wish to form a union. EFCA tries to correct this imbalance by providing workers the freedom to choose if and how they form a union. The legislation also sets up a process to ensure workers and businesses can reach a first contract and establishes penalties for employers who violate labor laws. Given the many struggles working families are facing right now and the importance of protecting workers’ rights, I hope Congress will address these important issues in the near future.

4. We have seen that the current Senate rules allow the minority party to block all legislation, requiring 60 votes to pass anything. When the filibuster rule was first made, Senators had to actually filibuster. How do you feel about the way the Senate is working now? Would you support the so called nuclear option? Why has Harry Reid not required the Republican members of the Senate to actually stand at the floor and filibuster by talking for hours on end?

Unfortunately, under current Senate rules, there is no realistic way to actually make Senators “stand at the floor and filibuster by talking for hours on end.” I am very concerned about Republican abuse of filibusters, however, and I am open to reasonable proposals to amend Senate rules to try to prevent such abuses in the future. While I look forward to considering these proposals, I have not made a decision on when or how the Senate should consider these reforms. I would also point out that the filibuster was used by Democratic Senators to block several of President Bush’s most extreme judicial nominees and some very bad legislation during the Bush years. We need to carefully consider whether completely eliminating it makes sense for the long term.

5. What current and past elected officials have you looked up to and respected?

I have always been inspired by the titans of Wisconsin’s progressive tradition like Fighting Bob LaFollette, Bill Proxmire and Gaylord Nelson. When I was young, I looked up to both John and Bobby Kennedy because of their keen political senses and their sincere desire for a safer and more tolerant society.

Thank You Very Much to Senator Feingold for taking the time to answer these questions for us!

What’s the Matter with WI?

Yikes!
The latest Rasmussen poll has Senator Feingold trailing by 12%. This absolutely blows my mind given the performance and positions held by Republican Tea Party candidate Ron Johnson. Do the residents of Wisconsin really want to expand the “party of no” and “party of nonsense” with another reliable Mitch McConnell vote or even worse yet, a Jim DeMint, Coburn cohort? The members of this party vote in lockstep and unlike the Democratic Party face significant consequences (unless your name is Jim DeMint) for bucking their party. There is no longer any such beast called a moderate Republican, so we can see where Ron Johnson is positioning himself and how his votes would be against the interests of WI residents, at least those in the middle class and those struggling for a better life.

Here’s the polling data:

She went there, so am I!

This morning I received a campaign email from Rebecca Kleefisch entitled “My Story” (Below): Ms. Kleefisch revealed today that she recently was treated for colon cancer. As a fellow cancer survivor I sympathize with her, you do not have cancer ‘scares” you have “holy shit I have cancer” attacks. So I know that what she dealt with was very serious. How she chose to deal with it is a different story. Let’s let her tell explain:

I researched my disease and the treatments available. I found the best colorectal cancer surgeon around: Dr. Kirk Ludwig. He was internationally renowned and taught others how to remove colon cancer laparoscopically. He was at Froedert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin…amazingly, just 30 minutes away.

I saw him Monday morning. My tumor was the size of a grapefruit, he said. When I asked whether he would still be able to take it out laparoscopically, he said it wouldn’t be a problem.

Thank God for Rebecca that her husband is State Rep. Joel Kleefisch, which means that she has a 100% covered by the taxpayer cadillac health care plan. That allowed her to get treated successfully by the best doctor in the state at our expense. Having caught her cancer early and getting it treated surely has led her humble and thankful. But wait! She is using her cancer story, to make sure others who have cancer are unable to get treated:

My story also illustrates how dire my future might have been if we had socialized medicine. What if the government had told me I had to wait in a 6 month line to get a CT scan? Or that I couldn’t have Dr. Ludwig perform the surgery? That’s unacceptable to me and my family.

veronica Spiers would disagree. How many people in Wisconsin have the plan she has that allows her to get all tests paid for and how many allow the patient to pick their own doctor? What if he was “out-of-network”? what if her insurance company had dropped her because of her family history(they cant now thanks to President Obama)? What if there was a cap on what her insurance company would pay(there is not anymore)? What if she were Devin Pate?

I wish Ms. Kleefisch a quick and full recovery. I hope she takes the time during her recover to actually study the issue that she is speaking out on. Maybe she can meet with some of those whose insurance companies have denied coverage to and explain that its ok they cant get treated because its the “free market” and we need government out of our daily lives. Maybe those people can just take one for the team, while their tax dollars go to making sure the Kleefisch family stays healthy!

Press release in full:

Dear Friends,

About two and a half weeks before I became Scott Walker’s running mate, my life changed. No doubt my life changed the night of the primary, too, but what happened before is something I want to share with you.

Statewide campaigns are a rigorous business. I had traveled Wisconsin time and time again getting to know you. I was eating on the run, drinking a lot of coffee, and keeping a demanding schedule. My excuse for exercise was 8 consecutive Independence Day parades!

That’s why, when I started having stomach cramps and feeling tired, I blamed it on my schedule. I went to my doctor a couple of times and he agreed that I probably needed a lifestyle adjustment after the election.

A few weeks before the primary, I told my doctor that I was sick. Not just campaign-sick. Really sick. He ordered some blood tests and called me with the results. He wanted to know how I was feeling.

“Fine,” I told him.

The test results were not as fine. He said that I was bleeding somewhere, that I might have an ulcer and that I needed an endoscopy right away, and probably a blood transfusion. I hung up the phone and got back behind the camera to shoot my “Mom with a Minivan” ad.

I didn’t want a blood transfusion.

The next day, I had an endoscopy that revealed no ulcer, but instead of being excited, my doctor told me I needed a colonoscopy the next morning.

It was August 26th. Two and a half weeks before the primary I woke up from my colonoscopy to my doctor telling me, “Becky… you have colon cancer, but, 9 years ago I was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer, and I’m here to tell you about it.”

He was like an angel, giving me the bad along with hope. He refused to guess what stage the cancer was.

Eight years earlier, my dad died of pancreatic cancer, and I was so thankful the doctor hadn’t said “pancreatic cancer.” Regardless of the stage, I knew I could beat colon cancer. I went straight to get a CT scan and transfusion.

That weekend I researched my disease and the treatments available. I found the best colorectal cancer surgeon around: Dr. Kirk Ludwig. He was internationally renowned and taught others how to remove colon cancer laparoscopically. He was at Froedert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin…amazingly, just 30 minutes away.

I saw him Monday morning. My tumor was the size of a grapefruit, he said. When I asked whether he would still be able to take it out laparoscopically, he said it wouldn’t be a problem.

“And in ten years…?” I said.

“In ten years, you’ll look back on this and say, ‘Oh, that wasn’t so fun.’ And that’s it.”

The next day when I went for genetic testing I started bleeding and was admitted Wednesday. Thursday morning, around the same time I got my diagnosis the previous week, the cancer was gone.

Dr. Ludwig sent my tumor to pathologists to determine the stage of the disease. After I had been home for a day, he called with the results: despite the fact that the tumor had broken through my colon wall and was creeping up my side, despite the fact that it looked like it had compromised lymph nodes, all the nodes tested negative. I had survived Stage 2 cancer. It was like a miracle.

Last week, the genetic test results finally came. “No mutation detected” they said. I will not pass this on to my daughters. Another miracle.

I’m telling you because perhaps you’ve been touched by cancer. If you have, you know that the stories of hope, of beating it, are the ones you hold on to. Just like my doctor awakened me with a story of hope, I hope you will share my story with someone who needs it.

My story also illustrates how dire my future might have been if we had socialized medicine. What if the government had told me I had to wait in a 6 month line to get a CT scan? Or that I couldn’t have Dr. Ludwig perform the surgery? That’s unacceptable to me and my family.

So please hug your family tonight and be thankful for your blessings. I have a renewed gratefulness for each day. And please join me in fighting for healthcare reform that keeps us in charge of our choices. After a hard-fought primary and cancer, Tom Barrett doesn’t seem very scary.

Forward,
Rebecca Kleefisch

P.S. – Last night, my husband Joel and I shared our story on WISN12 News in Milwaukee (the news station we both used to work for). You can watch the video HERE.
Paid for by Friends of Scott Walker, John Hiller, Treasurer

Convicted criminal “filmmaker” James O’Keefe back to his old tricks

“My name is James. I work in video activism and journalism. I’ve been approached by CNN for an interview where I know what their angle is: they want to portray me and my friends as crazies, as non-journalists, as unprofessional and likely as homophobes, racists or bigots of some sort…

James O’Keefe, conservative activist/filmmaker/convicted criminal.

That from the same guy who wanted to set up CNN correspondent Abbie Boudreau to sexually humiliate her and her network:

Listed under “equipment needed,” is “hidden cams on the boat,” and a “tripod and overt recorder near the bed, an obvious sex tape machine.”

Among the props listed were a “condom jar, dildos, posters and paintings of naked women, fuzzy handcuffs” and a blindfold.

Yeah, there’s nothing crazy, unprofessional, or non-journalistic about setting up a correspondent in some sort of depraved “sex sting.”

Compare/Contrast

I am going to do something I have never done before and use a Democratic party press release as a source. With our corporate press I was not able to confirm and ROJO has not denied, so I am going to assume this press release is based in fact.

That being said, nothing could compare/contrast the two people running to be the next Senator from our great state of WI. There is the incumbent, our Junior Senator Russ Feingold who has only missed on vote in 18 years of serving Wisconsin. Yesterday, despite the echo chamber saying otherwise, Senator Feingold flew flew in to meet President Obama.

His challenger, Ron Johnson, was in Washington DC, at a $1,000 per plate fundraiser, hosted by true Washington insiders Jon Kyl and Paul Ryan.

So while the supposed Washington “insider” was flying to Wisconsin to be with the citizens of Wisconsin, the Washington “outsider” was flying to DC to have the ultimate career politician(Jon Kyl), help him raise outside money to influence the Wisconsin election.

Looks like the choice is clear to me. If you can afford a $1000 lunch, vote ROJO, if you can’t then lets send Russ back to represent us. He has earned it!

In search of the truth…

Dont look to Mark Belling. Milwaukee hate radio host Mark Belling, took a non-topic and went on a rant yesterday:

“I’m going to make an accusation here, and I am very confident that I am correct in my accusation,” Belling said in the first hour of his Sept. 28, 2010 program. “That ad is a fake. That ad is a fake. Feingold is not standing in front of his house in this new ad. They faked it.”

As for Belling’s accusation, the veteran talk show host tried to turn Feingold’s own ad against him, to suggest he’s so out of touch with state voters that he was even out of state when the ad was filmed. He said he based his assertion on his own review of the photography and on one unnamed source, who had no knowledge of how the shoot was conducted but who thought it looked fishy. As for Belling’s proof, we’ll use his own words to describe it: “I have none.”

In the political season of republicans throwing talking points against the wall to see what sticks, facts be dammed, this could be the dumbest one of all. Had Belling done any research for his show, he would of known that Zach already called npr on this foolishness, and NPR even apologized(although did not give Zach any credit).

It was so bad, Politifact even gave Belling their Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire Award.

Maybe from now on, if Belling wants to be credible, he can start out his research checking www.bloggingblue.com, and it will save himself embarrassment later!

Moral Hypocrisy in the Christian Right – Bishop Eddie Long

Giving a whole new meaning for the term missionary….

Some of you may have heard about yet another alleged sexual hypocrite in the Christian right, this time in the guise of multi-millionaire, manipulative sexual predator Bishop Eddie Long of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Mega Church in Atlanta. Good old Bishop Eddie Long is one of the most virulent anti-gay African American pastors in the country calling “homosexuality a spiritual abortion”.

Four young men have stepped forward calling him a sexual predator, selecting and grooming young men to become his “spiritual sons” at his church’s YoungFellow Youth Academy for his concubine as soon as they turned sixteen. He allegedly rewarded them for their sexual intimacy with private trips, cars, electronics and other luxury items.  Here is one of his alleged victims, 23 year old Jamal Parris, talking about the man who abused him.   Bishop Long has vowed to fight the accusations but according to reports about his Sunday sermon did not directly address the allegations.

In an example of the ultimate irony, listen to disgraced Pastor Ted Haggard voice his support for Bishop Long during this interview by Anderson Cooper on AC 360.

Here’s what Eugene Robinson had to say about the Bishop and the African American Churches position on homosexuality in his editorial in The Washington Post “Eddie Long isn’t Practicing what he Preaches“.

“The black church in America has long mixed political activism with a deep social conservatism. But while polls show that the nation has become much more understanding and tolerant of homosexuality, the black church has been painfully slow to change.

I’m guessing that maybe Long has some questions of identity to grapple with.  He might choose to seek and confront the answers, or he might not. But meanwhile, African American preachers and worshipers across the nation are watching — and, one hopes, learning…

Nothing he learns about himself can negate all the good works he has done in his ministry — all the people whose lives he has changed with a message of faith and hope. Maybe he could forgive himself. Then maybe he could forgive all the gays and lesbians he so coldly condemns.”

26,500 Estimated Listeners at Obama’s Madison Rally Yesterday

Here’s some coverage of Obama’s stump speech in Madison yesterday evening on the University of Wisconsin Madison campus before an estimated 26,500 people. I love how he says we “deal in facts” in great contrast to the fact free GOP. He also gets deserved applause for having passed health care reform. I also love the feedback from an audience member “tell it like it is”.

Change happens because of you!
Change happens because of you!
Change happens because of you!

UPDATE
Here’s the full speech –

More tea party ridiculousness

Tea Partier and Fox entertainment star John Stossel. Stossel was a guest last night on the Factor, where Bill O asked the question “Are some Americans simply too dumb to vote?” Stossel, after a copied jaywalking type segment, came back to advocate for people who disagreed with him not being allowed to vote. While first allowing for just students, he also would like to exclude his liberal friends.

No wonder

the Wisconsin \"tea partiers\" in conjunction with the Republican party, included students along with minorities in groups of people they do not want voting this November.

The Republican party not wanting people to vote has a long history and can best be summed up by Wisconsin’s own Paul Weyrich, , one of the leaders of the current “conservative movement” spoke truth to republican power in this memorable quote:

The Republican party has a long history of loving democracy, as long as you vote how they tell you. It is also another example of how little the “tea partiers” truly know about our Founding Fathers.