The Election Season of Magical Thinking: STOP IT!

I don’t think I can remember and delineate all of the wild suppositions and conspiracy theories and miracle side steps that were tossed around in the past year as favored candidates fell by the way side. And I don’t have the energy to go back and search them all out…it sucks the life out of my soul. But from the Bernie Bros to the super delegates to the emails to the rigging to the ‘devious’ DNC to the Russians to the FBI to goodness gracious what next!

But tomorrow, Donald Trump will be elected President of the United States. Some faithless electors may cast a ballot for someone else other than Mr. Trump, but it won’t be for Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump will win the electoral college vote tomorrow. Donald Trump will be inaugurated on January 20th 2017.

Stop thinking otherwise. Now is the time to get involved and oppose his agenda. Now is the time to support those electeds who will provide leadership in government. Now is the time to work with potential candidates for 2018 and 2020 who can step into the breach when the Trump regime fails.

But stop thinking the electoral college will do anything of historical significance tomorrow. (and I mean you too DFA who just sent out a stupid email suggesting we can sway the EC…sheesh…this shit is why we lost)

The Last Baby Boomer Presidential Election?

Well, fact, the baby boomers are aging out…and who ever wins on Tuesday will almost certainly run for re-election in 2020…but this is probably the last ballot where both major parties will have baby boomer candidates.

That being said, I will reiterate my comments from earlier this year. All of you Bernie Sanders supporters, all of you millenials, and all of you gen-xers: NOW is the time to get involved in party politics if you want to see your ideas come to fruition in 2020 and beyond.

And keep in mind that it isn’t just the presidency that you want to aim for…you need to fill the House and Senate and State Houses with like minded individuals if you actually want to get things done. You need to find peers to run as candidates and you need to do the heavy lifting and get them the time and money and resources to get elected. And then you have to hold them accountable while they are in office.

I recently came around to supporting term limits but that isn’t on the horizon…but I don’t see anything to prevent you from rousting out the incumbents ~ all of them. As a matter of fact you should look upon it as your duty.

You want (and we need) a political revolution? The clock starts November 9th, 2016.

State Representative Jonathan Brostoff Arrested In Sherman Park

For many of you from Milwaukee this is now old news already…but for those of you outside of Milwaukee…well you may have seen it too since it made the national news.

But here are the particulars in a nutshell. Mourners continue to congregate in the area in Sherman Park where Sylville Smith was killed by a Milwaukee Police officer. Needless to say the neighborhood itself would like to return to as much as normal as it can following the riots that followed Mr. Smith’s killing. So to disperse the groups and bring quiet to the neighborhood, the MPD is called to the site. So this past Tuesday night, police asked the group to disperse and there were some issues. A number of people came to help resolve the issues, including State Rep. Brostoff. At some point in the evening police forced Rep. Brostoff to the ground, cuffed him and put him in a police van. He did not identify himself to the police before, during or after the arrest. When police were informed of his identity he was released.

So I have a couple of issues with this. The first is, the police need to find a better way to disperse the mourners and others who continue to gather. It’s going to continue for a while yet. I realize the neighborhood is under stress because of the constant stream of people day and night, and they deserve peace and quiet, but there has to be a better way.

Next, Rep. Brostoff shouldn’t have been released because he is an elected official. If this was a lawful arrest, he should have gone to jail just like you or I would have. There shouldn’t have been any favoritism because of his position.

Or wasn’t this a lawful arrest? There were 10 or more others arrested that evening. Were they lawfully arrested? Were they released? Or did they get booked and go to jail?

Meanwhile Rep. Brostoff is requesting a meeting with Mayor Barrett and Police Chief Flynn to discuss the incident.

Update: This piece was published by Rep Brostoff. It is worth the read!

Bernie Sanders’ Our Revolution: The Bolsheviks vs. the Mensheviks?

I haven’t seen the official coverage for Senator Bernie Sanders’ new group, Our Revolution. It was supposed to launch today. But from this article in Politico from yesterday it looks like internally there is a struggle over control and direction:

The revolution is already tearing itself apart.

Less than a week before its official launch on Wednesday, Bernie Sanders’ new political group is working its way through an internal war that led to the departure of digital director Kenneth Pennington and at least four others from a team of 15, and the return of presidential campaign manager Jeff Weaver as the group’s new president.

Weaver shrugged off the suggestion that the group was already falling victim to a caricature of liberal infighting.

“This is an organization that’s a couple of weeks old, and every new organization has to find its footing,” he said.

There isn’t an aide closer to Bernie and Jane Sanders than Weaver. But he became a lightning rod for the criticism of the younger generation who felt that he was curt, dismissive, and overmatched. So when Jane Sanders asked Weaver, who was already involved as a legal adviser to Our Revolution, to take on a greater role early last week — before the ABC News story — Pennington and others immediately protested. They issued what amounted to an ultimatum: him or them.

“A majority of the staff quit as a result of Jeff joining,” said one person familiar with the situation, who added that they had joined with a promise from Bernie and Jane Sanders, and executive director Shannon Jackson, that Weaver wouldn’t be running it and had asked for this promise specifically.

They claim as well that there was a specific argument about fundraising strategy.

Weaver said he had a vision that included more traditional — not just grassroots — fundraising, the person familiar with the situation said.

Our Revolution is aiming to have a long term impact on races all the way down to the most local. They say they’re hoping to start this year, getting the voters activated by Sanders involved in Senate, House and other campaigns.

But Sanders himself has yet to campaign for any candidates whatsoever aside from one rally for Eric Kingson — a New York House hopeful who subsequently lost his primary to the Democratic party’s favored contender.

Sanders’ attempts to get his work for other candidates off the ground has already been sputtering. Around the time he campaigned for Kingson, for example, Zephyr Teachout specifically asked him not to come and campaign for her until he ironed out his eventual endorsement of Hillary Clinton.

Although I agreed with much of Senator Sanders agenda, I never thought he was a good manager and feared that his race was another example of a cult of personality. Particularly when reading the comments and ideas put forward by his most ardent followers. It looks like some of my concerns are coming to fruition. But I wish him well in his endeavor…but it seems like a disorganized mess at the moment:

Weaver said he is optimistic.

“Millions of people voted for Bernie Sanders, hundreds of thousands volunteered, millions donated,” he said. “People are very excited about continuing the work that was done on the campaign and making sure we bring Bernie’s progressive vision to reality.”

All Hands On Deck

Last Friday’s meeting of the DNC platform drafting committee in St. Louis yielded the best evidence yet that President Obama intends to ram the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) through a lame duck congress after the November election. The TPP is the most sweeping trade agreement in history, and is opposed by Democratic Party leaders like Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Russ Feingold and Elizabeth Warren, as well as organizations as diverse as the AFL-CIO, the Sierra Club, the National Organization for Women, the United Methodist and Presbyterian Churches, and the National Farmers Union.

Clinton delegates at the meeting voted down a platform proposal that would have put the party on record saying Congress should not take up the TPP this year. A Sanders campaign press release included this statement:

Sanders said it was “inexplicable” why Clinton allies on the panel at a meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, voted down proposals on trade that both Sanders and Clinton embraced as candidates. “It is hard for me to understand why Secretary Clinton’s delegates won’t stand behind Secretary Clinton’s positions in the party’s platform,” Sanders said.

The reason why, in my view, is obvious: Obama intends to bring this up in the lame duck congress, and Clinton and her delegates don’t want to buck him on it.

So who will Obama call on to champion the TPP in the House? 3rd congressional district Representative Ron Kind. Kind was Obama’s go to guy on fast track authority for the trade deal last Spring, and recently re-iterated his support for the TPP when he announced his ” Dairy Action Plan.”

So what’s the best way to defeat the TPP in a lame duck congress? Defeat Ron Kind in the August 9th primary. Kind’s primary challenger, Myron Buchholz, has made opposition to the TPP wellknown since first announcing his run last February, pulling a trailer behind his van in parades all over the district with large signs that read: ” Stop Bad Trade Deals, NAFTA, Panama, TPP “ If Ron Kind is a lame duck himself come November 9th, it’s highly unlikely he’ll be a TPP champion with any clout in the House.

If you haven’t yet made a contribution to the Buchholz campaign, please donate $25-$50.

Wisconsinites deserve to know, right now, where Ron Kind stands on the prospect of the largest trade agreement in history being passed through a lame duck congress. Who do you stand with, Mr. Kind, the Dem party leaders and the many hundreds of allied organizations who oppose the TPP? Or do you stand with Wall Street and the corporate board rooms who are eager to see it pass? Which side are you on, Ron?

The Considerable Power of a Primary Challenge

A few weeks ago I wrote about how 3rd congressional district Rep Ron Kind had abruptly decided to co-sponsor America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act after ten plus years of refusing to do so. . The Act would protect 9.5 million acres of Utah wilderness from mining, and oil and gas exploration. A good friend and former treasurer of the Chippewa Valley chapter of the Sierra Club emailed Myron Buchholz, Ron Kinds progressive challenger in the Dem August 9th primary, and thanked him writing ” apparently all it took ( to convince Kind to do the right thing ) was a primary challenge.” Indeed.

In what is nothing short of a stunning development, on Wednesday, May 18th, Kind joined a gaggle of progressive democrats in the House and voted for California Rep Barbara Lee’s amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have restored congressional oversight to our ongoing wars in the Middle East. The amendment would have repealed the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force, which gave President Bush the authority to launch the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Why is Kinds vote a big deal?

Just last June Kind earned the dubious distinction of being one of only 14 House Dems to vote against all three NDAA amendments that would have checked limitless, unaccountable war. In less than a year Kind has done a complete turnaround. Long time Veterans for Peace member Tom Chisholm, a Retired US Army Colonel/physician who lives in Chippewa Falls, had this to say of Kind’s vote last week:

I guess it’s better late than never. I’ve called and emailed Mr. Kind many times over the last ten years on this issue. I’m glad he’s finally come to his senses. Maybe what it took was a primary challenger.

Hmmmmmm. Seems to be a pattern developing here?

So what’s next for Mr Kind? Well, he’s been President Obama’s main Dem ally in the House when it comes to advocating for the Trans Pacific Partnership, the largest trade deal in history, even as everyone from Hillary Clinton, to Russ Feingold, to Bernie Sanders, and the undoubtedly execrable Donald Trump declare their opposition to the agreement. What would it take to change Mr. Kinds mind?

If you haven’t yet made a donation to Myron Buchholz’s campaign, please do. It might be the best $50 you spend this election season.

Short Takes: Beer, Guns, Trump and UWM

I should be writing about a lot of other things tonight but I am lazy and watching returns and can’t even motivate to go to one of the five campaign parties I’ve been invited to.

The Boulder Junction Shooting Range, a non profit organization that runs one of the DNR gun ranges in northern Wisconsin blasts the state for changing the rules and starting a ban on alcohol at state owned ranges. I mean beer and guns…what could possibly go wrong! (yes I know they only sell alcohol after a shooter is done on the range per NRA suggested rules but…).

And although the big news about Donald Trump’s appearance at UWM yesterday surrounds the fact Milwaukee Police officers covered their names while patrolling the protests…to me the bigger issue was the UWM faculty attitudes. Several professors complained to the Chancellor in an open letter that the university should not have rented a theater facility to the candidate. That’s utter nonsense. The letter is correct when it states the fact that Mr. Trump is a racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, fascist…but he is still a candidate for president and he should be heard on campus…AND the campus should come out in protest just like they did.

OTOH: why didn’t the actual protest get any press??

How To Take On The Washington Establishment!

Ah…the praises for outsider presidential candidates always include his or her ability to take on the Washington Establishment! Even Carly Fiorina in her endorsement of Senator Ted Cruz today extolled this virtue in her litany of praises. But it seldom happens…because one person is seldom capable of such a transformation.

Does someone need to take on the Washington Establishment? Damn straight…but it’s not one of the candidates for president…it’s YOU!

The current approval rating of Congress is 13%…a historical low.

But you are about to send your entrenched incumbents back to Washington. Why the hell are you doing that? This is the Washington Establishment…vote the sons and daughters of bitches out…every damn incumbent on the ballot. If you think I am kidding, to steal a phrase from that infamous political pundit, Sarah Palin: How’s that hopey changy thing working out for you?

Campaign 16: In Favor Of Term Limits

Let me just state that up until very very recently I was firmly opposed to term limits. My feeling was the voters know what they are doing…should have the choice to elect their own officials…and if we needed another FDR and had another FDR we should be able to elect him/her as often as we could.

But I have changed my mind for a number of reasons.

First…one of the reasons we are finding Congress so incredibly inflexible and truculent one side of the aisle to the other is because they are totally encamped in their positions. The leadership never changes except from maybe majority to minority leader and the plebes stay the same session after session and nobody ever comes up with a new idea or a change in position because there is seldom enough turn over to accomplish that. ENOUGH!
New faces…new ideas…short term to accomplish your goal…means negotiation, cooperation and hard work.

Second…term limits would take some of the big money out of campaigns. There would be less inclination by lobbyists, big business or big money to invest in politicians who can hold office for a short term…they would be of little utility to the 1%’ers. Even for those pols who can move from House to Senate to maybe the Presidency…the money interests should be less…….interested.

So what term limits? The President is already limited to two terms…eight years. Maybe the Senate to two terms as well…12 years. The House the same 12 years…but change their terms to four years and alternate the terms like the Senate seats…so three terms of four years each…if not that…if we keep two year terms make it five terms for a total of 10 years. It is the lower house after all! LOL!

btw: I would suggest that at the state and local levels too…I just read about a Wisconsin elected official who is retiring after 50 years in the same office. WTF?

The really out there suggestion: the House goes to four years…alternating election cycles…but never gets elected at all…it gets drawn from the list of registered voters and they have to serve their term like jury duty…ONE TERM!