Christian Schneider Proved Gerrymandering Exists in Wisconsin.

Ironically GOP shill and right wing apologist, JSOnline’s Opinion blogger Christian Schneider recently set out to damn the federal court ruling on WI redistricting and prove gerrymandering didn’t exist. When in fact he proved that it does.

In typical Mr. Schneider style book meanderings he starts off with something that has absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand. And as most of us know, statewide elections whether it be for president or senator or governor hasn’t a thing to do with voting districts. But he digresses with:

It goes without saying that Donald Trump’s victory in Wisconsin nearly two weeks ago was unexpected. But according to a three-judge federal panel who just declared Wisconsin’s legislative maps unconstitutional, Trump’s stunning victory would have been all but impossible.

When you guys figure out what that has to do with the price of corn in Iowa county, let me know.

After throwing out chaff to put everyone off the scent, he got off track and proved the fact he was intent on disproving. And after talking about how assembly districts couldn’t have possibly have been designed to favor republicans, he goes exactly here:
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A good number of Democrats win large victories without a Republican challenger, which artificially inflates their share of the statewide vote.

Now the last half is meant to deflate the rational that Democrats get the majority vote in the state but don’t hold the majority assembly seats…but in those districts without a Republican challenger there aren’t ANY Republican votes. Yes, that is all kinda round and roundy logic and you can see it from either perspective you want.

And the big BUT is “A good number of Democrats win large victories without a Republican challenger…”. Why do you suppose that is? No Republican challenger? Because the GOP leaders in Madison did in fact gerrymander all of those pesky Democrat voters into their own little safe blue districts. Far far away from the red districts just so they couldn’t muck up the Republican incumbents.

So yes, the WI redistricting was in fact gerrymandering…and this helps support that…if the other clues in the mass media weren’t already proof enough!

Conservative Christian Schneider: Russ Feingold “living a double life that would make Josh Duggar cringe”

In an op-ed column published on Friday, conservative columnist Christian Schneider of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel opined that former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold is “living a double life that would make Josh Duggar cringe.”

Read the passage in question for yourselves:

Instead, Feingold is simply following the old campaign trick of a candidate trying to show strength in an area that represents his greatest weakness. In the past few months, reports have shown that Feingold has been living a double life that would make Josh Duggar cringe; despite decades of railing against money in politics, Feingold himself commanded a political action committee that has raked in millions from special interest groups.

The fact that Christian Schneider thinks Russ Feingold’s supposed hypocrisy on campaign finance would make admitted child molester and adulterer Josh Duggar cringe is simply stunning and it shows the depths Republicans like Schneider are willing to sink to in order to protect vulnerable incumbent Senator Ron “sunspots” Johnson.

Governor Scott Walker Is A Quitter

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) was supposed to be the crown jewel among Governor Scott Walker’s first term accomplishments. It was part of his agenda to downsize government and privatize government functions in one fell swoop…as well as serve as a lynch pin in his promised job development in Wisconsin.

Well since then WEDC has failed two state audits. The audits essentially found that the agency didn’t follow state law and didn’t even follow their own internal rules on loans and verification of results from the firms receiving loans.

So what does the governor do when faced with issues surrounding the business loans his organization is making? Does he replace anyone in authority? Does he question why WEDC goes through financial officers like water? Does he call a board meeting (as governor he is board chairman) and get everyone in line like a chair of a business would? Does he hold a public forum and discuss the aims and goals of WEDC…it’s fit in the economy of Wisconsin…and the value and purpose of the loans? NO, he just throws up his hands and says that WEDC shouldn’t be making business loans.

A week after an audit documenting failures by the state’s top jobs agency, Gov. Scott Walker is seeking to end the authority’s $19 million a year in lending, shifting his plans for the agency for the second time in as many weeks.

The Republican governor Friday proposed phasing out the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.’s $74 million loan portfolio — one of the problem areas identified by nonpartisan auditors but not the only one. Within hours of the release of the Legislative Audit Bureau report last week, Walker dropped his proposed merger of WEDC with another state agency that deals with the economy.

And then apparently at his own behest (and that Zach mentioned yesterday), the legislature is removing the governor from his role as WEDC board chair:

GOP legislators voted along with Walker (emphasis mine) to remove him as chairman of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. but chose to keep their legislative representatives on the board of the embattled jobs agency.

WEDC has been plagued by lax oversight…

When the going gets tough…the tough bail out? That’s leadership?

I imagine Gov. Walker’s continued leadership of a failing state jobs agency would totally play against the image he is trying to portray on the presidential campaign trail. Time to bail before there is too much national media scrutiny on his major policy failure.

But let’s roll back to the lax oversight statement. Very recently there has been a lot of scrutiny of a loan WEDC made to a now defunct business owned by a contributor to the governor’s campaign.

Gov. Scott Walker’s top aides pressed for a taxpayer-funded $500,000 loan to a now-defunct Milwaukee construction company that was collapsing and created no jobs, according to a newspaper investigation.

Walker’s economic development agency, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, awarded an unsecured loan to Building Committee Inc., owned by William Minahan, according to records the Wisconsin State Journal obtained through an open records request.

The 2011 loan was for a proposed project to retrofit bank and credit union buildings for energy efficiency. The WEDC sued BCI last year in an attempt to get the money back.

It is among several WEDC loans recently questioned by state auditors in a report that led Walker on Friday to ask lawmakers to scrap the loan program.

Paul Jadin, the former head of WEDC, said Minahan and then-Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch pushed for a $4.3 million loan, but the agency couldn’t justify more than $500,000 — which Jadin said he considered “fairly risky.”

Minahan had given Walker’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign a last-minute $10,000 donation on election day — the maximum individual contribution.

A loan that Gov. Walker claims he was not aware of.

State records say that Gov. Scott Walker received a copy of a 2011 letter pledging a $500,000 taxpayer loan to a now-defunct Milwaukee construction company headed by a Walker donor, seemingly contradicting statements by the governor and his aides that he was not aware of the award.

A spokeswoman for Walker said that, in spite of the records, a copy of the letter from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. was never delivered to the governor’s office.

So let’s see: the governor’s top aides pushed for a WEDC loan, the governor was copied on the letter regarding the loan, the governor is the board chairman of the loaning organization…and no idea about the loan? That is the definition of lax oversight and typical of Gov. Walker’s organizational style both in the governor’s office and his year’s as county executive in Milwaukee.

What should be happening at WEDC?
1: The governor should be holding up his hand and saying the buck stops here.
2: Attorney General Schimel should be called in to investigate potential violations of state law.
3: The officers of WEDC should make some major changes in the organization to meet state law and internal controls.
4: There should be a public discussion on the value of the WEDC and it’s role in Wisconsin.

And the people of Wisconsin should realize that this is a glaring example of Gov. Walker’s lack of governance in this state as he looks toward his campaign for president. None of us, left or right, are getting any leadership out of the governor’s office.

It is also interesting to examine the sideshow related to all of this:

A week ago when it looked like WEDC might be salvageable, Reed Hall, the secretary and CEO of WEDC, wrote a glowing op ed piece for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel supporting the bold approach to economic development taken by the agency.

And then four days later as things around WEDC continued to unravel Christian Schneider, the in house GOP mouthpiece at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, suggested that we don’t need a business loan state organization and that WEDC should be dismantled.

How quickly fickle the Madison GOP shows itself to be these days. You’d think being in control would be more fun (sarcasm)!

BTW: how’s the jobs thing coming? At the end of his first term the governor was 121,000 jobs short of his announced goal of 250,000 jobs.

A Question for Christian Schneider on “Right to Work”

by Jay Bullock

Hi, Christian. Thanks for stopping by to address my question. I appreciate it. You and I obviously disagree on the “Right to Work” bill–I call it the “Right to Freeload” bill–and I’m really hoping you can help me understand where you’re coming from.

I give you credit. A lot of people promoting the “Right to Freeload Work” bill are willing to straight-up lie about it. This includes the people running that Wisconsin Right to Work group, the long-time shady WISGOP operatives who go all the way back to the days of David Wilcox and Mark Block and postcards that broke the law, who are claiming that states with these laws have higher average wages. They don’t. PolitiFact Ohio smacked down a Buckeye State GOPer for trying to claim last year that they did. Ohio passed its bill anyway, and we’ll have to watch to see what happens to their wages–I predict, like Wile E. Coyote, they will plummet.

But you don’t claim that. That’s where I give you credit. Here’s what you say instead:

Any honest assessment of right-to-work recognizes that it’s not a panacea. States with such laws often have lower average wages as unions fade away. But higher employment rates in exchange for wages that aren’t inflated is a deal the state should accept. A slight decline in wages is an acceptable cost if it results in more people getting family-supporting paychecks.

So your point, if I can paraphrase, is that lower wages are basically worth it if we can have lower unemployment. (Although “slight decline” is pushing it: the BLS (pdf) tells us that non-union wages are $10,000 lower than union wages, and non-union jobs have a much higher gender wage gap, for your war on women notes.)

Anyway, that’s where my question comes in: So why does Wisconsin need right to work, then?

I mean, didn’t we just have an election (or three) about Wisconsin’s employment situation, and haven’t you as much as anyone else been telling us all along that Wisconsin’s employment situation is awesome?

Wasn’t that you who wrote that “Walker was … right” about having great jobs numbers on his side? And that Wisconsin’s jobs “jobs have been growing at a reasonable clip”? To give you more credit, and Walker some credit, Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is actually lower that the national average and, in fact, lower than that of any of our right-to-work neighbors except Iowa. We’re beating Indiana just fine and spanking Michigan in that regard. If you insist on counting Ohio, we’re basically tied with them.

If Wisconsin is doing fine in the jobs department, especially since we’re doing better than most of the right-to-work states near us and like us, why do we need to change anything? Is there much room for growth in jobs here, or are we really just talking about cutting wages for those already working?

Or, given that the neighbor state that is doing the best in this regard, Minnesota (3.9% unemployment versus our 5.4%), is both not a right to freeload work state but a liberal haven that raised taxes and the minimum wage and embraced the agenda of the teachers union, wouldn’t it be smarter to model our state on their success rather than Indiana’s failure?

Also, wasn’t it you who insisted, seriously and sarcastically, that there’s actually not much the government could actually do to create jobs? Didn’t you say that “before trying to legislate its way to higher employment, the state needs to rectify some cultural and demographic trends” that make quick jumps in employment unlikely to happen regardless of what legislation gets passed? How do you square your support of right to work with that sensible assessment of Wisconsin’s reality?

Okay, Christian, that was, I suppose, more than one question. But if you could help us out and try to explain yourself, I would appreciate it, and I bet the rest of the BloggingBlue readership would as well. Thanks!

GOP Apologist Actually Admits Why Gerrymandering Is Crucial

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s resident conservative op ed writer and GOP apologist held forth on why unlimited money in campaigns isn’t really an issue. I am not going to do into that right now…but his most telling reason why the money isn’t that important is? Well, we’ll let Christian Schneider tell us himself:

Campaigns are extremely complex endeavors, which are affected by any number of factors. Perhaps most important, the partisan makeup of a district controls who is elected; it doesn’t take a seasoned political mind to recognize that Republicans vote for Republicans and Democrats vote for Democrats.

So the obvious gerrymandering of Wisconsin legislative districts was of crucial importance to the Republican party. More so than PAC money and voter ID!

Change The John Doe Process Because of Leaks?

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s new prince of darkness suggests that it is time to rework the laws defining John Doe because there are LEAKS surrounding John Doe II…aka the John Doe investigating irregularities surrounding the gubernatorial recall campaign.

Leaks have served to prosecute conservatives in the court of public opinion when actual evidence is insufficient.

Seems like a bit of overkill…if leaks are hampering investigations…if people are being wrongly persecuted because of leaks…shouldn’t we be arresting and charging those violating the secrecy provisions of current John Doe law?

Well that might be a little problematic when it is the ‘conservative targets’ of the probe who are apparently the source of the leaks…just sayin’

An Open Letter To The Editors Of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Dear Sirs and Madams,

For those of you who don’t know me, I am a staff writer for the local liberal blog site, Blogging Blue. I am a regular reader of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and its companion website JSOnline. However, I generally don’t read other blog sites on a regular basis because I don’t want to be influenced by their content and I avoid conservative sites because, quite frankly, I don’t need the stress (and I don’t need to give them the page views).

However I do read Mr. Christian Schneider’s opinion pieces on a regular basis since you regularly give him considerable column inches in the editorial and Crossroads sections of your paper. I am sure you won’t find it surprising that I seldom agree with his position on the topic under discussion. But that has nothing to do with what I am about to say: Mr. Schneider has outlived his usefulness to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the community at large.

I am not a journalist, just a blogger. But my readers know that I don’t disrespect public figures or candidates for office or elected officials in my blogs. I use their formal names, their titles and avoid derogatory nicknames in my writing, whether I agree with them or not. In order to have civil public discourse, I believe that is necessary and should be expected of anyone given a public forum.

Mr. Schneider doesn’t hold himself to that same standard and if he was writing for his own blog, I wouldn’t voice my concern. But you have granted him your public forum and the respect your paper and predecessor institutions have garnered over the years. Yet in his column today, 2013: America takes a selfie, you allowed Mr. Schneider to publically disrespect the president, not once, but twice!

Opening with:

In fact, the year was capped by another image, of the American sorority-girl-in-chief Barack Obama squishing his face next to Denmark’s comely prime minister for a cell phone picture at Nelson Mandela’s December funeral.

and closing with:

That is, of course, unless President Selfie can once again convince the public that he is totes adorbs.

Now these aren’t the only times that Mr. Schneider has written similarly ‘clever’ derogatory remarks in the printed editions of your paper. But this should be the last time. There is no place for it in civil discourse and there is really no need to accept in the pages of your newspaper. I suggest that you jettison Mr. Schneider immediately.

Sincerely,

Ed Heinzelman
Staff Writer
Blogging Blue

Milwaukee Voter Turn Out a Ridiculous 87 Per Cent!

Professional GOP apologist propagandist and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel conservative favorite son, Christian Schneider, tossed off the following bit of jetsam in his analysis of Tuesday’s Presidential Election:

The City of Milwaukee had a ridiculous 87% turnout rate on Tuesday…

The only thing ridiculous about the Milwaukee turnout rate is the fact it wasn’t matched or exceeded by every ward in the state of Wisconsin. Milwaukee showed the way to democracy while the rest of the state sat on their thumbs. Shame on the rest of Wisconsin.

JSOnline launches “Purple Wisconsin”

From the folks at JSOnline comes “Purple Wisconsin.”

At Purple Wisconsin, a group of eight community bloggers will comment throughout the year on state and regional issues.

The idea is to try to elevate the level of discussion about the most important issues of the day – especially at a time when the political debate too often is hijacked by extremists on both sides.

Ironic is that the folks at the Journal Sentinel want to “elevate the level of discussion” about the most important issues of the day with right-wing extremists like Rick Esenberg, Aaron Rodriguez, Christian Schneider, and Sunny Schubert. After all, both Schneider and Schubert write/work for the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, a right-wing “free market” think tank that includes right-wing radio squawker Charlie Sykes as one of its commentators.

While I’m convinced James Rowen can (and will) write circles around the group of right-wing extremists the Journal Sentinel has assembled as part of their “Purple Wisconsin” project, perhaps the group could be more appropriately named “The Bradley Foundation and a few lefties.”