Sen. Kathleen Vinehout: I understand why the folks who come to sing are not seeking a permit

Yesterday I wrote about Democratic State Senate Minority Leader Chris Larson’s statement that he believes participants in the Solidarity Sing Along should get a permit to exercise their rights to free assembly and free speech.

After posting about Sen. Larson’s comments, I got to wondering what Sen. Larson’s Democratic colleagues in the State Senate think about the Solidarity Sing Along and whether the participants in the SSA should get a permit. I wasn’t alone in wondering, as Doug from Friends Don’t Let Friends Vote Republican was wondering the very same thing. In order to satiate our shared curiosity, Doug and I decided to email each and every Democratic State Senator to get their thoughts on whether they believe the participants of the Solidarity Sing Along should obtain a permit before exercising their rights.

Doug emailed Sens. Miller, Risser, Lassa, Erpenbach, Jauch, and Lehman to get their thoughts, while I emailed Sens. Carpenter, Harris, Taylor, Wirch, Schilling, Cullen, and Vinehout. Doug and I didn’t email Sens. Larson and Hansen, because Sen. Larson’s on record as thinking the singers should get a permit, while Sen. Hansen is on record as supporting the singers’ right to sing without a permit.

The question we asked the Democratic Senators was simple:

“Do you believe the participants of the Solidarity Sing Along should be required to get a permit to assemble and sing in the Capitol?”

As I write this I have received a response from only one Democratic State Senator – Sen. Kathleen Vinehout. Here’s her response:

Hi Zach,

The majority of people in my district just last month learned about the arrests of people who come to the Solidarity Sing-a-long. When they ask me about this situation, I tell them that I understand why the folks who come to sing are not seeking a permit. They come to exercise the rights granted them in a democracy.

The freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, including spontaneous assemblies, and the freedom to petition our democratically elected representative are all fundamental rights in our democracy. It is important for all of us to exercise those rights or we risk losing them.


State Senator
31st Senate District

When (or if) Doug and I get more responses from our Democratic State Senators, we’ll post their responses.


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114 thoughts on “Sen. Kathleen Vinehout: I understand why the folks who come to sing are not seeking a permit

  1. Thanks to Senator Vinehout, for her rationale.

    As another great sleuth explained his deduction, “Elementary my dear Watson.”

    Of course, Holmes had far simpler mysteries to solve no where near as devious or complex as a Walker budget.

  2. Very telling Zach. Not only that Sen. Vinehout is the only one to go on the record and respond, but also because she sees the bigger issue at play- that the Walker Asministration is trying to restrict debate, and is abusing power as a result.

    Do you think Vinehout would back down to Walker on the campaign trail in 2014, and give mealy-mouthed answers that would let Scotty get away with his BS? Me neither.

  3. Senator Vinehout didn’t let Scotty get away with anything in the last election when she ran for governor in the recall. The Finegold enamoured dems just wouldn’t let themselves follow another female when there was a marine to vote for. Vinehout is the best legislator I’ve ever seen in all the years since I first voted–for JFK. There’s a price to pay in politics if you always vote your conscience, not shunning tough issues, and Vinehout is certainly paying on a statewide level. If, saying again, she could get the kind of support that Baldwin got, she’d win the governorship in a deluge. Walker’s gang knows that, that’s why they’re going on about targeting her senate seat in 2014.

    1. I actually think Kathleen could make for a better, stronger leader than Baldwin who seems to be only taking on safe issues for some reason. I expected Baldwin to be a bit more like Elizabeth Warren and a bit less like President Obama, I guess. But early days. I hope Kathleen starts moving around the state as she decides whether to run. I still think money is going to be a major obstacle but she doesn’t seem ready to roll over after all and I admire that spirit. Also, why doesn’t the Democratic establishment like her? I get money is a major problem, but they seem to ignore her.

    1. Kate- they claim it’s the money, but that mentality is dead wrong, as Vinehout’s would be the kind of candidate that would bring a whole lot of people in to the race, and would make many donate who otherwise wouldn’t.

      Good progressive, unapologetic candidates win elections for Dems. And Vinehout’s one of those

    2. Not those of us who have already sent a check. Why anyone is still waiting for others (DPW) to get the ball rolling in a populist political action against Walker is beyond my immediate comprehension. It begins with you.

  4. Senator Vinehout very expertly avoided the question. After all, she’s running for Governor.

    That said, I’ll get on board her campaign in a minute.

    1. They come to exercise the rights granted them in a democracy.

      Enlighten me please, exactly which question did she avoid? I’ve tried but I can’t read that any other way than that the SSA already has a right to be there.

      1. NQ,

        I’m a pretty blunt guy, as I’m sure you know. In my world it’s either yes or no to a question like this. Yes, I think they should get a permit or, no, I don’t think they need a permit.

        BTW, why is there always sort of a sneering tone to damn near every thing you write on this blog?

    2. I disagree, brother Steve, that Senator Vinehout “..expertly avoided the question…”

      Her answer satisfied me in a positive and definitive manner by her elaboration and emphasis on the freedom rights and exercise thereof.

      Okay, you are a “…yes or no…” guy but I don’t feel compelled to use your standard of brevity to arrive at a conclusion or opinion.

      1. Brother Duane,

        It isn’t a matter of me being a yes or no guy. The question Zach and Doug put forth was very straight forward, ” Do you believe the participants of the Solidarity Sing Along should be required to get a permit to assemble and sing in the Capitol?”

        They didn’t ask ” do you understand why the singers refuse to get a permit? ”

        It’s the question that is yes or no, not me.

        1. I do not believe Senator Vinehout was attempting to sidestep, avoid, or mislead with her answer. She is an honest and forthright person and to suggest otherwise requires me as a brother Democrat to reply.

          We must remember she represents all the people of the 31st Senate District of which I am one. I accept her answer unconditionally and as satisfactory.

          1. Duane,

            I’d say she answered the question well, she just didn’t give the answer most of you are claiming she did. Did you read where I said I’d get on board her campaign in a minute?

            1. Thanks Steve. I respect your honesty. We are both a 9 or 10 in our enthusiasm for and devotion to our political causes; we just have a different way of expressing it.

              To borrow a French expression, “Viva la difference” although their usage is to celebrate the uniqueness between the sexes.

  5. I’ve donated, too, and complained to the DPW about their indifference to her potential. This was their response:

    “The Party cannot “choose” the candidate to run for governor until after the August primary election, as we want a people-based approach. After the people have spoken in the primary, it is then our job to endorse the people’s choice. I hope this helps!”

    Democratic Party of Wisconsin

    Of course, I inartfully asked why they weren’t “nominating” Vinehout rather than Burke. I know they can’t technically “nominate” a candidate, but, what are they doing by trumpeting Burke?

    1. Thanks for sharing and for stepping up to the plate.

      No, they cannot choose a candidate, but, between their incessant ranting to the already convinced party base, about how bad Walker is for WI, DPW sure as heck could be dropping in at least an occasional heartfelt thank you to Vinehout, and be making public statements reminding voters of how Senator Vinehout’s quiet but relentless presentation of the facts on any number of issues, about her continually refuting of R demagogy and about how her clear Senatorial advocacy for a common sense concept of populist policy agenda, based upon her record, is aimed at lifting up the most egregiously suffering people of the state, regardless of party affiliation. Be it healthcare, mining, the state/national economic condition or our physical environment, Vinehout understands that they are all factors inter-meshed, parts of the whole picture actually defining progressive policy and needing attention and remedial action.

      Reporting news and statements made by an elected Senator from one’s own party is not direct campaign support of any particular person, but it is highly unlikely that it is ever going to ever come from DPW. DPW will speak or keep quiet ONLY when they get a directive from the DNC or some other monied interests, shy about populism, to do so. Proof is in the pudding and I have NOT had a taste, not even a smell, of anything else from DPW, state or county.

      1. Sometimes it’s not enough to stump the neighborhood. I think I’ll become an unbearable gnat to the State and National. Because Non, you are right. It is the combined individual effort (and not necessarily the party drone boilerplate sort) that causes change.

        How will they know if we don’t beat them over the heads with what we want?

        The last thing we need are more hucksters.

      2. And to jump off on nonquixote’s point- Why aren’t the Dems promoting the policy items that Sen. Vinehout and other Dems are giving, which goes with the MESSAGE that the party should be promoting for 2014? “Walker sucks” is a good reason for a lot of people, but giving a message of what SHOULD be done is what’ll win in November, and Vinehout carries that message every day.

    2. Hear, hear!

      Perhaps, the first order of business is to take back OUR party from Mr.Tate.

      All we are asking for is equality of Democratic candidates in publicity, recognition, and consideration. Let the Primary, by the people, decide who shall represent us.

      Thank you, Kate.

  6. I just do not understand the Progressive excitement over someone who has such a mixed record on abortion rights, and that is putting it politely and giving her the benefit of the doubt.

    1. Stan,

      I’m one of those who couldn’t fully support Vinehout last time around for the very reason you mention. In most other respects I think she’s fabulous and could unseat Walker with the right strategy. I trust her and I believe she would govern well. With that said, I do not trust that she would do everything she could to support a woman’s right to choose. From a strategical standpoint, if Vinehout is a strong legislator (and I think she is), that’s probably where we need her more.

    2. Stan, please allow one topic at a time. This one is about no infringement on the right of speech, assembly, and petition.

      I’m sure the single issue, anti abortion, Republican folks will be out in full force asserting abortion is not settled law and that there is no freedom of religion clause allowing citizens of differing beliefs and faiths. Let’s save that for another day and discussion.

      As a Catholic Democrat, I can hardly wait.

      1. Duane,

        Stan isn’t off base at all. The post is about rounding out Vinehout’s fitness for candidacy. beginning with her support for the Solidarity Singers. What does this say about her support for unions? Don’t know, but a comment about unions would be fair game too. As would how she conforms to a potential agenda strategy against Walker. Going off on a anti-obama screed or payroll tax holidays or any of the other repetitive digressions often seen would be legitimate reason to call foul.

        Asking if Stan missed an entire discussion in which he commented is unnecessary and an illegitimate foul call as well. NQ went off topic a bit by expressing contempt for the DPW, but the comment touched on a number of Vinehout’s positions. Was NQ off topic? Yes, a little. About as much as Stan.

        Discussing Vinehout’s position on abortion is totally fair game in context with her potential position on unions. The general discussion about the governor’s race has evolved into strategy and Vinehout’s ambiguous position on a woman’s right to choose plays into that. If the idea is that she’ll take more anti-choice voters from Walker or more “independent” votes from Walker, that strategy might be misguided on several counts – first on the message and governing agenda and second on midterm tactics. I should think midterm (especially in Wisconsin) the emphasis is defining and drawing out the base. You do that with a solid agenda indicative of 21st century mindfulness.

        1. PJ, Senator Vinehout stated her position on the SSA permit issue in reply to Zach’s question. I don’t think it’s fair to her or proper blog manners to expand this topic to an entirely different subject.

          I’d welcome a separate discussion and suggest you open such a topic for Mary Burke and Senator Vinehout either separately or combined.

          I’m sure you would agree that women’s health issues are too important to co-mingle with an unrelated or other topics.

          1. Fair point. But no, I wouldn’t agree that it is too important to co-mingle. Especially not now in the odd climate enveloping Progressives – by that I mean the Libertarian-Progressive alliance which is compromising the Democratic Party and the viability of the Left.

            Incidentally, this thread is already co-mingled and has strayed into the realm of the DPW, messaging, and who decides the candidate. The thread is already broadened, and combined with the great many posts on the governor’s race and the Solidarity Singers the context is broadened that much further. So questions of messaging, direction, and governing agenda are absolutely germane. Vinehout’s position on abortion is entirely germane in an already broadened context. Stan was right to question. It is too important an issue not to question.

            And there is nothing stopping anyone from piping in on the permit issue or the Solidarity Singers. And the Solidarity Singers have wide and varied purpose for protesting against Walker’s administration. A woman’s right to choose is surely among those purposes. What isn’t fair is taking the thread astray with the same comments or suite of comments made in post after post after post regardless of topic. Unfair is also tangentially irrational commentary. Stan didn’t do either one.

            1. PJ, I understand your position. Going off topic is a pet peeve of mine although on occasion I have been guilty. An example follows.

              I hope a discussion is devoted exclusively to the topic of abortion, contraception, and women’s health care.

              To add to the digression, you may wish to read a position paper that relates to these issues by a Jesuit on “…The Primacy of Conscience…” which I was made aware of some time ago.

              I printed out the 21 pages last night to refresh my memory. I especially liked the quote by the famous Cardinal Newman on the priorities of the conscience in offering an after dinner toast, “…I shall drink – to the Pope, if you please – still to Conscience first, and to the Pope afterwards.”

              I recall writing an English essay at Marquette on Cardinal Newman’s, “The Idea of a University.”

              I believer the primacy of conscience and the freedom of religion clause is very relevant to any discussion on abortion.

              1. Duane,

                Thanks for the link.

                How about I create a couple of post(s) on “conscience” – I just came across an article on a conscience-inspired anti-war vigil led by the pope. Could do another one on abortion too.

                The Syria first, perhaps, as it is most timely?

                1. PJ, nix on Syria as far as I am concerned, but feel free to do your own thing.

                  I’ve been doing national for over ten years. In the past year or so, I’ve decided “all politics is local” and to devote my remaining energy, time, and talents to this great state which I love from the Apostle Islands in the far northern reaches down to, but not including, a southern most sign which reads, “Welcome to Illinois.”

                  Our family roots go back to an illegal alien from Canada, Louis Dube (corrupted to DuBay,Dubey, etc) who first appeared on the Wisconsin scene in the late 1700’s and subsequently married an Indian princess. (“DuBay: Son-in-law of Oshkosh” Milton E. Krug, 1946) Please note I am not in that blood line, but another Dube, also an illegal alien, who first appeared in the U.P. in the late 1800’s subsequently going south to Wisconsin.

                  I feel a moral and family call to help remove Wisconsin’s current governor from office whose only claim to fame is one of “Divide and Conquer.”

                  1. No sweat, D. Just offering a follow-up post if you were interested in a fuller discussion “On Conscience.” Maybe a little later after we learn more about the candidates and what they have to say. Syria’s a nix anyway given today’s potential developments on the diplomacy front. Love that link on conscience by the way. And thanks for sharing your family history – any bit of history/genealogy is something I always enjoy.

  7. A trusted tenet is that most folks are quickest to find their own faults in others. And now my wonderment of the disregard for such a great legislator, Democrat and human being as Vinehout is beginning to come to light. It’s her religious conscience! We’re not bigots but we just can’t abide the Catholic conscience. So, the better she is, the more she scares us!

    1. Catkin,

      Vinehout’s religious conscience isn’t at issue. At issue is whether or not Vinehout allows every other woman in this state their own religious conscience if she is elected governor.

      1. I understand reticence on the part of party members over issues with Sen Vinehout’s stances on abortion and women’s reproductive rights…but we already have a governor who is diametrically opposed to those rights…I am not willing to give up on a viable candidate over those issues…if we lose that is already the status quo…so I am willing to accept her stance on that issue for now to gain progressive values in the other issues before Wisconsin voters…unless we find a candidate who strikes me in all of the things I am looking for…I wholeheartedly endorse Sen. Vinehout for governor. In the meantime I will continue to support the right of women to choose.

        1. I get it, Ed. I do. I’m not willing to send an uncler message that isn’t solidly sharpened and distinct from Walker’s to the young women (and men) in this state that could be potential Democratic voters in 2014 and 2016 and beyond. We blur that distinction now and we might not pick up those votes later. We might lose them altogether. Those are votes that should be easy for Dems, but they won’t be if our Dems are Conservative on the social agenda. A similar mistake was made twice before with Walker. I shouldn’t think we need make it a third time. There will be a Walker doppelganger that follows Walker whether he loses in 2014 or no. Unless some massive unforeseen shift occurs, we will be in the very same situation in the future with the Walker doppelganger. But aside from electoral strategy, I’m not willing to sacrifice women’s fundamental rights to oust Walker. If those rights are to be compromised, it will be the yoke around the necks of Walker and his ilk as far as I’m concerned.

          The Democratic candidate who can speak to change is the candidate who will change minds. I won’t coddle Conservatism and any measure of regressiveness when Wisconsin needs to make leaps forward to shake off its antiquated self. Sorry, but coddling Conservatism is the very reason The Koch-Machine steamrolled Wisconsin and will again.

          Like I said in all but a couple of areas I think Vinehout is dynamite. Her strength is not that she can coddle Conservatism. Her strength as a candidate is that she might be able to change Conservative minds. If she can’t or does not wish to do that and she’s governor for eight years (which I think is a possibility) then that’s not a risk I’m willing to take. The young women in this state need to know exactly where she stands. Moreover, we need a candidate who can persuade young women. I believe Vinehout can do that. But if she won’t stand firm and make a persuasive case for a woman’s right to choose then I’ll have serious reservation about electing her. Then again, I’m the odd one out. I don’t think ousting Walker at all costs is the strategy that will produce change or stability. Only changing minds will do that. If Vinehout is going to be a leader she’s going to have to lead. And she’s going to have to change minds. The task is not finding a candidate who can appeal to pre-conceived beliefs, but can change them. A woman’s right to choose is one issue, and a huge one, but not the only one where that persuasive candidate needs to persuade. Unions is another.

          1. I’m betting this is the answer to my question – they don’t like her because of her stance on reproductive rights. And it’s so much more than that – dignity to make your decisions versus the state, economic prosperity, women’s health, privacy, etc. You can’t alienate at least two and probably three voting blocks with a position too close to Walker’s on this one. She’ll have to figure this out ad if she can’t, it’s probably too big to overcome.

            1. Emma,

              I’m sure there are many who may not favor Vinehout due to her position on a woman’s right to choose. I don’t dislike her. I like her. Alot. But Vinehout’s position on reproductive rights speaks directly to her leadership. You are absolutely right when you point out that reproductive rights impact every aspect of women’s lives. I agree with you on the electoral piece too. From an electoral standpoint, Walker’s opponent must hold a position of clear distinction in this arena. One, the Left in Wisconsin has allowed Walker to determine the discourse in this sphere. I can’t fathom it. The Democratic candidate must be able to talk about women’s lives candidly during the contest. Vinehout has the potential to do that, but I’m unconvinced that she will. It is possible to be Catholic and Pro-choice at the same time, but I don’t believe she is Pro-Choice. Two, the aspect of governance cannot be overstated. Whoever unseats Walker will be spearheading Democratic leadership in this state (presumably) in addition to leading the state as a whole. If, in the highest position of Democratic leadership that individual cannot lead mindful of the today and now – as in responding to the lives of Wisconsin women today (as well as the future) then that individual isn’t a leader, isn’t leading, and isn’t fit to govern.

              Scott Walker has efficiently divided Milwaukee and Madison from the rest of the state, and he’s done so by combining “divide and conquer” with obfuscation. We need a Democratic leader who can use that division to their advantage not to their detriment. I do think Vinehout has the ability to use that division to her advantage; she has the potential to reset the debate. Likewise, she has the ability to reset the debate with respect to unions, the environment, the entire governing agenda. And that’s the bottom line for Walker’s opponent – resetting the entire governing agenda. I don’t think that can be done by going soft here and there to lure the Red vote. With all that said, I’ve not closed my mind to Vinehout at all should she decide to run. I will support her if she runs on recalibrating the governing agenda in its entirety, meaning if her convictions are strong enough for her to be a Pro-Choice foil to Walker’s Anti-Choice.

              1. Luring centrist Democrats and swing voters will be important and on most issues a clearly delineated position from Walker’s is a no-brainer. On economic and taxation issues, though, more sophistication is necessary. The candidate must show her ideas will build up the middle class as a whole (versus a single group) and support a path for lower income families to join the middle class. The candidate will be able to discuss closing tax loopholes, ending handouts to corporations and cronies, and running government more efficiently but will have to show how programs will be paid for with that set of tools. There will be no appetite for tax increases nor will anyone no matter how dynamic be able to sell a tax increase. I’m prepared to listen to Vinehout but my concern all along is whether she has the background and knowledge to craft a smart, strategic economic and tax policy. Her reproductive rights track record is new information to me and I don’t like it. Especially since it is a core economic issue – if she lacks the skill to read the data properly there, then she’s seriously flawed. I continue to think the anti-Burke whining is more a product of not feeling personally consulted as well as weird blaming of Tate for the recall election. Hopefully she doesn’t give up Wisconsin too.

                  1. Yes, I’ve been following all that and her positions on selected issues suggest it’s worth listening to her for now. However, I will stop listenning if she can’t weave her positions into a comprehensive economic and tax platform.

                1. Oh Emma. We shall ever disagree on the swing voter strategy and that’s okay. Or maybe we disagree on how to lure them? I suppose my concern is the governing agenda when it comes to centrism. It isn’t the governing agenda we need. It is the one we need to break from. i wouldn’t want to lure NeoLiberals into voting for a more economically Progressive candidate or vice versa. We need to decide one way or another as a Democratic body – that’s done through persuasion. Although, as with pro-choice, whether that persuasive burden should rest entirely with the candidate is certainly debatable. If those economic solutions are unpopular then we must do what the South has needed to do for some time and is starting to do now – distinguish between popular but harmful policy and traditionally appealing but ultimately poor, long term failed policy. It’s really a matter of messaging – communicating in a way that resonates. Electorally, centrism and appealing to the hypothetical swing voter didn’t get the job done in the last two contests with Walker or nationally in the presidential campaign. Democratic Centrists are members of the base unlikely to swing to Walker i should think. Is it your sense that Democratic Centrists aren’t part of the base or wouldn’t want to oust Walker with urgency? I’m trying to come to your point, and maybe it isn’t a disagreement, but that I may not be certain precisely whom you are referring to when it comes to a Centrist. Also it’s a mid-term election which should be a time to not only define and solidify the base but expand the base which might mean solidifying those Centrists in a way they haven’t been solidified previously.

                  I suppose when we say centrists we should also be clear on what we’re talking about. Centrism, to my mind, has a “reasonable” ring to it, but I generally associate Centrists with Conservative Democrats. Would that be your understanding too? Are you using the term in the same way that I am? Your description of the candidate isn’t suggestive of a Democratic Centrist with exception to tax aversion. I’m not certain about the appetite for taxation, I doubt that appetite is a done deal – if it is continually demonized, of course, there will never be any appetite for taxation. But most people aren’t averse to taxes or even higher taxes if they clearly understand and believe that their taxes are going to benefit them, and what needs to be communicated is taxation doesn’t benefit ONLY them. Properly refocusing taxation will go a long way in altering the appetite. Again, that’s messaging, not a matter of what will be accepted now, but what will be accepted with the right candidate with the right persuasion skills.

                  I’m not whining about Burke, I still don’t know anything about her save the two posts made here. I’ll not be offering an opinion there when I haven’t a reasoned opinion to share. Given that, I tend to agree with you regarding the strange shifting between “Tate the Authoritarian” and “Take the Incompetent” banter. I don’t find either useful, and frankly it mirrors too much the Anti-Obama weirdness in its general character. I’m not a member of the Democratic Party so I can’t speak to Tate all that well, but it seems to me the failed recall wasn’t so much Tate as a fractured and fractious base combined with a late entry candidate and an indistinct agenda – among other things. Nothing Tate could do about any of that. I did see that the Democratic Party just released an oppositional Ad targeting Walker – that’s a really positive sign at this juncture.

                  Critically, though, you might be correct in your concern that the Anti-Tate sentiment is starting to look like an unfair associative judgment of Burke.

                  1. My take on centrists is center-left, center and center-right. I would argue they’re pretty important this time around because they’ll actually be voting in greater numbers rather than sitting out the recall. They abhor being associated with either extreme and the trick is to make a Progressive platform not seem like a left wing, mirror opposite to the baggers. It must seem to be the reasonable, prudent path forward for the middle class and aspiring middle class.

                    1. Emma,

                      Thanks for letting me query you. I think I see your point. I see Walker’s success stemming from the illusion he’s created of a “reasonable” “common sense” kind of guy – he’s used every trope of the “Libertarian populism” (a misnomer) to craft that political persona. It masks his radical extremism. So, do you think centrists in the North need an agenda masked? Like your suggestion about Larson – that he should have masked his opinion better?

  8. A trusted tenet is that folks are quickest to find their own faults in others. Now my long felt wonderment at the general disregard for such a stellar legislator, Democrat and human being as Vinehout is coming to light. It’s her conscience! Many Democrats just can’t abide the Catholic conscience! No matter how well they adhere to the law. So, the better Senator Vinehout performs, the scarier she seems to be to many supposed Progressives.

  9. WARNING! Tangentially irrational commentary ALERT! (my coffee is still brewing)

    I really need to get me some of that solid agenda indicative of 21st century mindfulness to assist me in describing what I was really feeling about the DPW and to also help me safely tiptoe through the next, sure to follow to have the last word, cow pasture of extraneous commentary.

    Interesting propositions in the social sciences there Cat Kin, trusted tenets, conscience, visions of light. I too was raised catholic (understood their shtick when I reached the, “age of reason,” over 50 years ago) but I’m not party affiliated, so that’s why I’m not afraid of Sen Vinehout? (I never inhaled but don’t Bogart that one, sista.)

    (Disclaimer) No sneering occurred or is in any way intended in the posting or the production of this comment. Peace

  10. I’ve meet with Senator Vinehout several times and heard her speak on many issues here in Western Wisconsin. The thought of her making any woman do anything legal or not against her will seems so unlikely that it rather upsets me to hear someone accuse her of such an unseemly and unlikely tactic. Thus my tenet comes again to mind.

  11. Catkin,

    If she is Pro-Choice then she will allow women their own consciences, and she will not seek to legislate or legally codify her own. I don’t believe she’s stated that she is a Pro-Choice Catholic.

    If her own conscience doesn’t allow for women to choose for themselves or she does not allow the medical profession to practice in the sphere of women’s health independent of her individual conscience then she’s not fit to govern.

    I’d need a refresher on her views, but I believe her position is abortion should be “rare” – unfortunately that’s an arbitrary standard of meaninglessness and it isn’t within the realm of her conscience or anyone else’s to determine what in the aggregate “rare” means or might mean.

    The tenet you trust might not be so trustworthy. That tenet might give you an undeserved persecution complex. No one is attacking Catholicism nor the Catholic conscience.

    1. My tenet is holding up well. Pro Choice zealots can’t abide a pro life conscience. They seem to not only want to control legislation and the law they want to control thinking. As said, I’ve had the opporturnity to meet and discuss issues with Senator Vinehout. I cannot imagine her imposing her preferences on anyone against their will. Nor would she attempt to legislate against her constituency. She is just not made that way.

      1. If you want to help your candidate, you will encourage her to clarify her positions ahead of running versus labeling those of us who see clearly the intricacies of the many issues radiating from reproductive health policy as zealots. It’s two for sure and probably 3 or 4 key voting blocs she risks here. Not wise. And not hard to clarify – simply leave personal religious choices out of secular government.

  12. PJ, your apparent obsession with getting the last word in on your microscopically focused angle in this conversation, is expressing what I read as a deep condescension toward the intelligence of every commenter you respond to here.

    I understood your pro-life point the first time you made it and I noticed you missing your very own admonishments made to everyone else about distraction from the blog topic, thus a few more comments justify your own behavior, a predictable feature of your blog participation, which becomes unwavering, boring and superfluous to the posts which you chime in on. In this thread, you appear to be the only commenter exhibiting near OC tendencies over this one facet about one, officially unannounced candidate.

    Voting for the lesser of two evils in the last presidential seemed to sit pretty well with a whole bunch of people who visit this blog and look where that got us (deeper entrenchment in MIC/Syrian debacle, escalated NSA law-breaking, and an official harsher austerity except for Wall St) coming into this week’s immediate brink of war, national circumstance. Yet you’ve escalated your speculation about the importance of one issue, into the end all, be all, for this one person, as if this same potential candidate’s past fights for extremely better healthcare services for every person in the state, has absolutely no countervailing value.

    The above contemplated (spare us here, please) esoteric speculation about the catholic conscience on the influence of personal behavior in elections, I’m sure would be gloriously illuminating as a personal platform for spewing several thousand words a minute, in a university or other venue, religious/political, education course, but it would likely not sway one vote either way in the gubernatorial, a year from now. A simpler clear messaging strategy would likely influence a greater number of voters into rebuking the current regime.

    With the insulting and demeaning labels you have used regarding me and my comments the last few weeks, all I’m asking is for you to just give this one topic a rest. There is no freaking need to respond to me about this comment. You need not explain to me what I just stated, and I doubt anyone else reading here, needs you to explain my comment to them.

    1. NQ,

      Given your demonstrated incapacity for constructing even the most rudimentary of premises necessary for formulating even the most basic of cogent arguments I will regard your discourse assessment for what it is – meaningless. With my previous comments I expanded on your very expansion, NQ. So, I treat your admonishment as I do much of your commentary – with disregard. At this juncture, if a comment has ‘nonquixote’ in the header, I’m fairly certain it can be skimmed and passed by if there aren’t any compelling angles to be had that differ from the usual tripe.

      I haven’t missed my own point in the least with respect to going off topic. This thread drifted from Vinehout’s response to Zach’s email before I posted my first comment. More than one person chose to chime in on the Pro-Choice issue – I responded to those comments because that’s how dialogue occurs. I didn’t reiterate a blanket conclusion, I filled in the contours of the argument. That’s what discourse does. It is not for you to say who has the last word – others may want to respond or question my position. That’s what discourse is. It is not for you to say “give this topic a rest” if others would like to add their thoughts. The matter of conscience isn’t my point. It is the point of others. By using your Walker-esque “no-one-in-my-state-talks-about-this” propagandist canard you don’t silence me. You silence everyone else. I offered to create a series of posts “On Conscience.” If that suggestion meets a “yes” by at least one person, I will happily oblige.

      You, Nonquixote, are a baby troll. Even so, I happen to agree with a number of your conclusions. That I do should never suggest that I think your conclusions are sound if they are irrationally derived. You also express profoundly unsound conclusions which are irrationally derived. And herein lies the problem – fundamentally uncritical discourse. This is the current hallmark of Conservative discourse, and it is precisely what fosters right-wing extremism, gridlock, ignorance, and obstructionism. When I see that pattern wafting into left-discourse (and I have) I am not going to sit idly by and let it go without address.

      Now, you’ve actually improved as of late and for that I give you credit. Though, I’d add you haven’t clarified your position in the Keystone XL post – if you are genuinely interested in discourse you will. As is you behave as a troll. If you behave as a troll you should expect to be treated as one. In my opinion your commentary more often degrades than uplifts the discourse. Yes, I mock and I’m insulting. Perhaps that might change if ridicule is no longer necessary to expose the ridiculous.

      I’ll throw you an olive branch, a bone, a concession if you will – call it a “compromise” – perhaps together we can tone down our mockery?

      1. No mockery in anything I’ve just said, PJ. No commenter here is under any obligation to clarify any issue to your personal satisfaction or thereby automatically be deemed as irrelevant or as being ridiculous or then becomes a troll. Engaging in further name-calling to attempt to make a point, is telling.

        1. NQ,

          Clarification is how discourse works. It’s kind of a key element in distinguishing productive discourse from demagoguery and propagandism. Both sets of dialogue involve recursive movement between the narrow and the broad. If you are unwilling to clarify your position – if you are unwilling to rephrase it, express it so that it may be apprehended by those who do not follow what you are attempting to communicate then you may just have to accept that you are behaving as a baby troll. When you do not acknowledge a query for more information you demonstrate that you have no respect for your partner in the discussion but more importantly, that you have no respect for for your readers and the community of commenters for which you have willingly joined. You are under no obligation to respond, but if you don’t when a commenter asks you to clarify, you are not engaging in discussion. If discussion is truly the goal then one must, you know, discuss… As unspoken “rule” no one is ever under any obligation to say anything or respond or comment at all. But hurling conclusions onto the screen isn’t discussion either. Unspoken rule entails that if you do comment you will be prepared to rationally discuss what you have written. Moreover, unspoken rule also suggests that what you do write is open for rational critique. If you don’t want your opinions to be dissected or deconstructed or expounded upon then maybe commenting on blogs isn’t something you should do.

          And on that obligation matter – nowhere is non-responsiveness more apparent than in not engaging irrationalism. If you do hold dear your own words then my assumption will be you will not degrade others when you pose patently unserious questions unintended for a serious retort and ensuing exchange instead only for degradation, propagandist delegitimization or for the sake of launching a sneering quip. Nor will you degrade those who deem comments unworthy of comment and who have the temerity to say so. Just as a disclaimer here – I adore sneering quips and invective verse – both can be utilized for intelligent political commentary, but when misused or abused both can serve for mere degradation only. You do not wield sneering quips with any talent. That’s not to say you should stop trying, but you would do well to learn how to differentiate between a knee-jerk nasty jab and sophisticated political commentary that is snide and satirical.

          Make no mistake, NQ. I will not be letting up on irrationalism any time soon… or ever. On the contrary, I see propagandistic irrationalism on the Left as the single most important factor in determining the political viability of the Left. I will resist the formation of a crazy bubble tooth and nail.

          Since you are ever insistent upon redefining “discussion” as “competition” I reiterate my former “truce” – perhaps together we can tone down the mockery. When you cease your name calling and demonizations I will cease in regarding you as a baby troll. Think of it as a Cold-War like stand-off if you like.

          1. I see no instance where I’ve called you names, as you have just claimed, but, I have characterized your behavior, and several of your blog comments. I do understand the futility of tilting at windmills, though with this comment, I could be close to a lapse in that judgement. Well, shame on me.

            Your screed on what is demanded in an informative discussion and why everyone would need to listen to you falls completely flat when, for instance, I see nothing in your artificial construct, reasoning, opinion, facts or argument worth responding to. Your frequent assumption that you are the only one who is being rational or correctly assessing something, because you say so, should probably be a point of your own personal reflection.

            I tried to summon decorum but could not and was ROTFLMAO over your unilateral declaration, first that there is a war, second that anyone would need to accept an olive branch or a bone from you as a compromise for the sake of a, “truce,” in your imagined war, and third, that I’ve made commenting at this blog, into a competition with you.

            Please notice, there are NO questions in this comment.

            1. Nearly all of your screeds are packed tight with name calling and demonizations, NQ. I didn’t indicate that when I referred to your name calling and demonizations – those name calling and demonizations didn’t necessarily pertain to your comments to me, but to your noxious commentary in general. I should have. My mistake. I should have clarified that – see how clarification works?

              NQ, You employ rationalization. Not rationalism. Learn the difference. It’s an important distinction. The former is used for propagandism, the latter for critical thought. Until you do grasp the distinction you remain in the realm of the unsound and irrational.

              You do treat discussion as competition. Very much so, largely because you rationalize rather than critique. I’m not saying you’re the only one who does. But your fulsome flippery is particularly caustic and leaves nothing of value for contemplation – because you rationalize rather than critique. And as I said earlier, your commentary more often degrades than uplifts the discourse in my opinion. There’s nothing unilateral about the dynamic here. Take responsibility for yourself and the comments you print on screen. If you do think there’s something unilateral going on here then maybe you’re not committed to discussion. Maybe get out the OED to find out what unilateral means. It is you who are engaging in unilateral dumping, not critical discourse. Discourse is interactive. These are not my definitions, NQ. There is an objective reality here.

              I haven’t demanded anything of discussion anymore than you have, NQ. it was you, recall, who first mentioned unspoken rules and etiquette. I don’t think you have any sense of either one – only that which will allow you to dump without criticism.

              I reiterate what I said before regarding irrationalism and propagandism – I’ll resist those impulses wherever they occur in the most egregious form. That might mean you. When you cease with your name calling and demonizations and your nasty jabs and your repetitive diatribes about those whom you despise then I’ll cease in calling you out for being a baby troll.

              1. Whew!! Thanks for not forgetting me. For a moment there, I thought Steve C was the sole reason for R (purchased with taxpayer money) secret re-redistricting and keeping all those northern counties red, and by extension causing the DCCC to cut Wall’s funding a month before the last election, or to have caused Obomba to sell out single-payer to the HCIP or to cause Holder to fail to prosecute war crimes of the prior administration, or to be encouraging Obomba’s fast tracking of the TPP and for preventing DPW from partnering fully with rank and file labor, and for DPW refusing to discuss these issues at all within the rank and file party membership.

                I’ll come clean here PJ, my sole purpose here as a hired troll (oh, was I that transparent) is to distract you, to keep you typing, attempt to prevent you from doing any real damage to the populist movement in the state. I get a per word response remuneration to any thread you are drawn into, even if not responding directly to me. Covered next month’s rent already, sure could use some help with the groceries.

                1. Well there it is, NQ. Emoprog we knew. I’m more than happy to help you with your rent. And here we have that ever familiar screed-set independent of anything and everything else. To pay your rent, continue with your disclosure, please. Blather on about who hired you. Tell us all about yourself, NQ – give us a great word count while simultaneously giving us some insight into the life of a baby troll. Or just write another paragraph of redundant gruel that we can all skip over. I Want to keep you well fed.

                  1. Realize please, that I am only quoting others about this, but, the actual definition of the term says volumes more about the intellectual credibility or integrity (or lack there of) of the individual stooping to use it, than it does about the person being thus labeled. Sticks and stones and a little toast, ‘glass houses to you,’ PJ. Dinner and a bottle of wine, thank you kindly.

                    A tag dreamt up by self-proclaimed liberals to preemptively blunt any criticism of Obama, even when the same standards were applied to actions undertaken by the previous President.

                    Or, from the Orange Satan:

                    The latest attack by Obama’s apologists against progressives who oppose Obama’s habit of consistently giving in to Republicans is an attempt to disparage us with a new label: “emoprog”. It’s a strategy that’s bound to fail for two reasons: Unlike Obama, emoprogs won’t sacrifice their principles for policies that do actual harm to our country, and the criticism is completely misplaced.</cite

                    Where did I see that advise to me about to referring to a dictionary?

  13. While we quibble among yourselves we still have this:

    “Doug emailed Sens. Miller, Risser, Lassa, Erpenbach, Jauch, and Lehman to get their thoughts, while I emailed Sens. Carpenter, Harris, Taylor, Wirch, Schilling, Cullen, and Vinehout. Doug and I didn’t email Sens. Larson and Hansen, because Sen. Larson’s on record as thinking the singers should get a permit, while Sen. Hansen is on record as supporting the singers’ right to sing without a permit.”

    Back to topic– So what about the other Dems? Are you giving them a pass on answering the question? Or what?

    1. I don’t think this an issue worth pressing the Democratic Senators on. Larson’s opinion is his opinion, he just should have masked it better. With that said, he probably reflects his constituency anyway. My state senator came out long ago in favor of the singers and that seems to reflect opinion up here among Democrats which is in the vein that the singers are in the right, Walker is in the wrong, the whole thing is dramatic and emotional but hey, that’s Madison for you. And that’s about as deep as it gets.

      1. I’m not in Madison so I don’t know what “that’s Madison for you” means. I’m not being snarky here 🙂 Is there something characteristically emotional and dramatic about Madison? My impression of Madison wouldn’t include either one of those adjectives. Honestly, is “dramatic and emotional” a general judgment of Madison from your neck of the woods?

        1. NE WI is almost singularly focused on economic issues. Democrats here seem to regard Madison with a mixture of affection and exasperation (which is historical) but again, focus more time and energy on jobs, growth, education, healthcare, and other economic issues. DNR/environmental issues are watched closely as well.

          1. Thank you for that, Emma. You express what citizens in the Southeast concern themselves with as well. Here’s a concern, though. There is a common theme of North-South division that crops up a lot. I’m not speaking of you specifically, but of a general impression. The most resistance to recognizing the plight of the Solidarity Singers appears to be generated quite a bit from the Northern regions of the state. We are one state with multiple convergent and varying concerns. The permit issue may not be of immediate interest to those outside of Madison because those outside of Madison generally do not participate in ongoing protest – for obvious reasons. However, my concern is the antipathy and frankly the lack of empathy expressed in the Northern portions of the state for the issues of pressing concern to those in the Southeast – primarily Milwaukee and Madison. Again, that’s not a cut at you for your remark, but a general concern. With this particular permitting issue everyone in the North should be concerned especially given the activism that has unfolded in opposition to what’s been happening with the Gogebic Taconite mine. The ability for the citizenry to protest is vital. I suspect this issue will be more vital for Northern citizens in the near future. The either/or dichotomy of not focusing on one area (i.e. permitting) so we can focus on others (economy etc. – we can actually do both) combined with the antipathy leads me to wonder if “singularly focused” is a productive course.

            We are all focused on the economy, education, healthcare etc. The entire nation is focused on those issues. But what’s happening in Madison with assembly rights is Wisconsin-specific and just as critical for those in the Northeast and those in the Northwest as it is for those in the Southeast, Southwest and all the geographical middle ground in between. While those in the South may not be able to physically join you in the Northeast and Northwest for protest purposes, I think I can safely say we don’t want your assembly rights to be in any way hampered. Perhaps I can only speak for myself there. I don’t want any precedent set for assembly rights in the North (or anywhere else in Wisconsin) hampered as they have been in Madison.

            The way I view interest is your concerns are my concerns. I don’t vote for my single interest. I vote for the interests of the state. I know what the economic situation is currently in the SE and what it is historically. I’m less familiar with the specifics in the North, but I have some familiarity. So when I vote I don’t vote simply for the area in which I live. I’m not in Madison but I can recognize the significance of the permitting issue. And as far as economic issues are concerned – this nation is pretty homogenized at this point, there’s very little in the way of an economic issue that affects one area too distinctly from another – broadly speaking. I’m not dismissing regional differences in saying that.

            I would hope that constituents in the North will urge their representatives to pay close attention to the unfolding situation with the Solidarity Singers. I’m with CJ. I’m anxious to know what the other responses are. That’s to say I’m not with you, Emma. I’m with you too on several key points. I’m just trying to sort through the divisiveness and difference to more effectively find a solution for it.

            1. PJ,

              We don’t need to pay more attention to the unfolding situation in the south, you need to pay more attention to the situation in the north. Before the LCO Harvest and Education Camp was established its organizers went to the Iron County Forestry committee and requested a PERMIT, even though they could have exercised treaty rights and made a stand, taking it to federal court if necessary.

              Even after the unilateral, ill conceived and illegal action taken by a group of young people from south of HWY 29, ( some of whom may have been from Madison ) calling themselves The Penokee Defenders, which resulted in an attempted crackdown on the LCO Harvest Camp, tribal officials are still negotiating with Iron County officials for a permit to establish the camp for a year. It’s expected that a decision will be reached by the Iron County board this month, and if they won’t grant a permit I suspect then we’ll see the tribe flex its muscle, take a stand on the land, and make their case in federal court. And then my wife Shelly and I will join them, help finance the camp, and lock arms when they attempt to drag us off to jail. Not until.

              Why would they request a permit if their treaty rights give them access to the land to hunt, gather and fish? Because they have a STRATEGY, one which did not include the unilateral, ill conceived and illegal action of a group of young people from below HWY 29 and points below, who sought no ones advice but their own, including tribal leaders, before launching their, etc, etc, etc.

              So please spare me the smug horseshit about what we need to pay attention to up here. You’ve got a clusterbang of the first order going on in Madison, with no end in sight, so you should probably mind that. And tell the young folks down there to please contact some tribal leaders before they launch their next numbnutted excursion into the north woods.

              1. Steve,

                I do pay attention to the North – I pay attention to everything you write about the situation and will always defer to your expertise – obviously. So you cut the smug. You should post more on how we down here can help you up there rather than lashing out with like a wounded dog. And yes, I do care what happens up North, and yes I do think we should organize in the South to bring protestors North in the most effective manner possible. I don’t know who the numbnuts are that you refer to, but perhaps you should post more informational based entries with your opinion on what to do and how to do it so we can all be more informed. You love to tout what you do and you love to condemn, but you don’t love to outline precisely what needs to be done. So you cut the smug. We can do both, Steve. So long as you take either/or and us/them no one will benefit. I reiterate – you do need to pay attention to what’s going on down here, and you make my point perfectly regarding North/South division. What’s happening here and what’s happening there are equally important and interrelated. What’s happening in the North is as much a concern and as important as what’s happening everywhere else in this state, Steve. So get with it – this is one state. You want Walker to win? Keep up your inanity. You know it just might take both the North and the South to change attitudes, beliefs, and biases on a great many matters if we want Walker’s agenda defeated permanently. And it might take even a little more effort for the North. So cut the smug.

                1. PJ,

                  I never said you should organize protesters from down there and bring them up here, I’d like to make that perfectly clear. I already told you exactly what you can do to help up here, call some LCO and Bad River tribal leaders and ask.

                  And I’ve already repeatedly offered the solidarity singers some excellent advice. Get a goddamn permit. That one didn’t seem to go over so well.

                  Don’t know what more I can do on either front right now. I’ve spent my day wading through smug horseshit from the leftie bright lights living in the southern part of the state, and I am really fucking tired.

            2. Well as a region you focus incessantly on Abele, the county board, and municipal governments not cooperating. You’re grappling with some of the most severe social problems in the country and large crime rates. On the jobs front, you’re hobbled by a lack of entrepreneurial spirit and culture while relying on big corporations that don’t pay taxes. I love Milwaukee, lived there for many years, but it’s different from NE WI and that’s fine. Madison with its perpetual pipeline of tax dollars due to the convergence of state government and flagship university is also different. It’s part of WI’s charm to have these different regions – lifelong residents understand that. I think you’re romanticizing and certainly glorifying the singers impact.

              1. Given that the Solidarity Singers are not giving up and they possess the fortitude to keep up the protest – taking out a little time every day to resist Walker’s admiration I admire them. I’ve read the comments from those that oppose them and I can’t find anything comprehensible about the umbrage. They’ve received notoriety outside of Wisconsin. They’ve kept resistance to the Conservative agenda on the radar. I don’t think I’m glorifying in my admiration – and really I think resistance to Walker needs some glorification.

                To your other biases (if I’m misinterpreting that, do correct me): As a region we focus on the matters that pertain to us directly – that is somehow problematic for the Northern citizenry? Seriously? Abele is a “centrist” scam artist and he’s making matters here worse. In your opinion Milwaukee should simply settle for being railroaded? You find these reasons for bias? I don’t get your drift with respect to severe social problems – no doubt about it Milwaukee’s got more than it’s fair share so without your specification I don’t know to which ones you refer or why these would cause bias.

                We’ll have to agree to disagree on entrepreneurial spirit – we don’t need more entrepreneurship, we need more municipal and cooperative enterprise. We have plenty of entrepreneurs draining all life out of the region.

                I’ve been thinking on your comments a lot today, and one thing that I wondered about was enthusiasm. What will generate enthusiasm in the North? I ask because when I do select a candidate I do want to be assured that candidate possesses the energy required to motivate the North. “Anti-Walker” I suppose enthuses everyone opposed to him, but that’s not enough. I’m still a little muddled by your “masking the agenda” comment – I guess that’s what made me think about energy and enthusiasm. Clever messaging is one thing, but it seems to me there’s a great need for a candidate to dance and skirt or even deceive to overcome the needs of Northern centrists. What I don’t understand is why. If a centrist is genuinely centrist that voter isn’t going to accept an extremist agenda (i.e. Walker’s extremism). So are we talking about actual centrists then or disaffected Conservatives when we talk about “swing” votes in the North?

                1. PJ,

                  ” but it seems to me there’s a great need for a candidate to dance and skirt or even deceive to overcome the needs of Northern centrists ”

                  What a bunch of goddamn bullshit. Most of the northland has voted for democrats, many of them progressives, for many, many years. Bob Jauch, Roger Breske, Gary Sherman, Jim Holperin, Frank Boyle, Russ Decker ( God help me for listing him ) Mary Hubler, Janet Bewley, Nick Milroy, Kevin Shibilski; the list could go on.

                  You wanna help the northland? You wanna bring unity to the progressive movement statewide? You wanna beat Walker?

                  Then start by knowing what you’re talking about. And get off of your goddamned high horse down there.

                  1. Steve,

                    I’ll sit as high as I like. From where I sit your horse looks about as tall as mine. So keep your knickers on during your conniption fit. I’m replying to queries about things I don’t know if you hadn’t noticed. I’m responding to the reply. Here’s what I do know. I know a lot about divide and conquer, how it works, and on whom it works best. It works best on those most likely to exacerbate inertia and embrace resentment. In this instance that means you folks up North.

                    Here’ a smattering of the kind of inertia I’ve seen, all are recipes for obfuscation, inaction, and the crippling of mass mobilization; if anything on this list looks familiar, it should come as no surprise, if none of these look familiar you should probably get out a lovely looking glass and give it a good long stare:
                    “We can only do one thing at one time”
                    “There’s only ever one way to do anything”
                    “We have to mask the agenda”
                    “We have to disguise the message”
                    “We have to coddle their identity”
                    “We can’t mobilize for the North – one person at a time, you go figure it out”

                    Listen Steve, the last time you launched an expletive at me regarding political dynamics You Were Wrong. I Was Right. As it happens those shifting dynamics play into what we’re seeing right here in Wisconsin. You boasted of your bluntness not too long ago, so I’m sure you’ll appreciate my bluntness now. Walker wins because his Koch agenda exploits the bias, bigotry, and Provincial Pride of the North. Don’t like it? Tough titty said the kitty. Too bad; so sad. Walker isn’t winning because of that little blue enclave in the Southeast. He’s winning because he’s got a playbook – and you in the North are the primary pawns in that gambit. Don’t like it? Then quit your bitching and bellyachiing about the Solidarity Singers and how we’ve all got it so wrong down here in the South and get your high horse in gear up there: Put your pity party to rest and stop blowing your bubble larger than it needs to be. You’re doing Walker’s work for him. Well done, Brilliant Bright Lights.

                    Look at the map, Steve – where is it red and where is it blue? Who’s keeping this state red? Guess what? It isn’t the little blue enclave keeping this state red.

                    We all know how reluctant you are to share your expertise in any meaningful way, but here’s a thought – once you can shake off your rattled indignation long enough, why don’t you tell us down here in the South something we don’t know that might actually bridge the divide? How did all those Democrats and Progressives get elected all those years? Is the situation up there the same as it was when those Democrats and Progressives were elected all those years? Why is it that outside of Milwaukee and Madison, the state remains red? Is that our fault down here? Somehow we’re not doing what we’re supposed to be doing to attend to your unique needs? We have to pander to some element of intransigency in order to change the the map colors a bit up there? No, Steve. Walker’s Koch Playbook intends to create a NeoConfederate North in the Midwest and redneck inertia is how it’s going to happen – no – how it is happening.

                    Perhaps you can put your bluster to good use – I’m certain you can. But as you’re blowing over, make sure you’ve got a finely tuned wind – make sure when you’re playing the blame game you are quite certain you know the who and what and where that keeps Walker’s Koch gambit viable.

                    You’re the pawns up there. When you proud “Redneck Progressives” stop playing the Koch game Walker will lose. Not before. And there’s not one little thing we in the South can do for you until then.

                    Yes, I do want to help the Northland, Steve. No, I don’t want the environment in MY state raped and ravaged by the mining industry.
                    No, I don’t want to see the raping and ravaging and prostitution and human trafficking that occurs in “mining towns” and fracking centers to happen in Northern Wisconsin – an epidemic that hits First Nations Women hardest. And it will happen. I should probably do a post on that. But anyway – Yeah, Steve. I actually do know what I’m talking about because I don’t nestle myself in a little bubble here in the South. I actually poke my head out of my shell and I pay attention to what’s happening in the world.

                    How much more blunt can it get, Steve? Stop blaming the South for your inability up there to shake off your own Conservatism. Walker wins when Wisconsin plays his Koch-game. Stop playing it. Convince your fellow rednecks to stop playing it.

                    1. PJ,

                      I think your rants would be more effective if you shortened them up a bit. I’ve mentioned clarity and brevity to you in the past. For example: look how pissed off you’ve gotten at me over just a relatively few words I hurled in your direction. When you go on and on as you do, it dilutes the faux outrage. Just something to think about.

                    2. Get with the program, Steve. I’m not in the least bit pissed off at you. I’m being blunt. And guess what? The world isn’t so simple and dichotomous as you so consistently present. You want the shortest and bluntest? Here it is: Wisconsin is a red state because rednecks keep it that way.

                    3. PJ,

                      You really do need to do your homework before you launch your bile my way. Look at the map, indeed.


                      It’s the counties surrounding Milwaukee that are keeping the state red. If you’ll look to the northwest you’ll see a string of blue. I live in Washburn County, which went for Romney by 260 or so votes. Douglas, Ashland, Sawyer, Bayfield, Price, Lincoln, all went for Obama. And in spite of the fact that Washburn and Barron went barely for Romney, we elected a Dem to the assembly.

                      It’s the southeast quadrant of the state that keeps Wisconsin red, PJ. Your neck of the woods, not my northwoods.

                      Maybe it’s you who should start the democratic revolution down there? I could bring some rednecks down to help you along.

                    4. Steve,

                      I’m looking at your map. I’m also looking at this one – the gubernatorial recall results:


                      Looks like you’re surrounded by red too. So yeah, why don’t you bring some red necks down here and show us how to do it? Road trip it. Take some notes along the way in all that red in between. Map the hostility, note the bias, track the ‘tude. Like to take a guess at what you’ll gather by the time you get here? Bias, bigotry, and provincial pride. Think it will be directed at you up there at your little blue blot in the northwoods? Nah. The contempt you’ll hear will be aimed at Milwaukee and Madison. And what’ll you and your rednecks say when you’re sitting in a pub or grabbing a snack for the road at some restaurant and you’re confronted with bias, bigotry, and provincial pride? You gonna talk around it? Concur? Change the subject? Say you’re gassing up and you’re talking to some guy at the pump – you’re talking about politics and the guy starts in on those damn “Madison Liberals” with obvious contempt. You’re going to contradict him? By the time you get here will you and your rednecks have tacitly abetted divide and conquer or will you have challenged it?

                    5. PJ,

                      We come out and vote in better percentages up here for the first black president and the first openly gay US senator but it’s our “bias and bigotry ” that’s keeping the state red?

                      It’s the bias and bigotry from the south, Madison in particular, toward the ” trailer trash ” and the ” hicks “that keeps the DPW from spending any money on mobilizing the 450,000 people who turned out for Obama/Baldwin but not Barrett in the recall, but we’re keeping the state red?

                      Have you driven from Milwaukee to Superior and chatted with anyone at the pump? Actually, I’ll be the guy who starts talking about ” those damn Madison liberals ” who don’t give a good goddamn about what anyone outside of Dane County thinks, and I voted for Obama, twice, Baldwin, and Barrett, twice.

                      Are you sure you’ve correctly identified the bias, bigotry and provincial pride that keeps this state red?

                2. I mention your SE issues not as a springboard to dive in but to illustrate regional differences. I have no horse in your political battles except I’d add good luck developing jobs and expanding the tax base without a more entrepreneurial culture. As far as the next election, a progressive economic platform fails state-wide if it’s focused on one segment versus all middle class and lower income workers. Same reason the Recall failed. FYI, Northern WI is where Steve is from. Green Bay/Fox Cities is NE WI.

                  1. Emma,

                    Unfortunately, we have the entrepreneurial spirit popping out of our ears down here. What you’re talking about is the innovation economy. The innovation economy isn’t the answer. It’s the problem.

                    You are right about your assessment of a progressive economic platform and its single focus, but a progressive platform doesn’t start with the private sector to achieve that broad goal. A progressive platform uses the engine of government to create the economic space and the architectural frame on which the private sector can build. A progressive platform begins with and strengthens the public sector into which all citizens contribute and all citizens withdraw – meaning education, utilities, telecommunications, healthcare, arts and culture et cetera, et cetera.

                    I’m still curious about the social problems that you alluded to earlier – would you specify which social problems you were indicating?

      1. Thanks for the link. Comments 23 when I looked, all personal opinions, take em or leave em, persuaded neither way by reading them.

        Another take, official actions by a county D party, from their publicly accessible newsletter, and personal reporting, NOT my opinion. “County D party leaders in this congressional district agreed in regional meetings last Jan/Feb that potential D candidates should follow the dictates of each county D party when managing their potential state campaigns in each individual county.” These leadership decisions (which occurred prior to discussion with rank and file membership in my county) were simply revealed by county leadership as this IS the 72 county strategy. Zip it, agree with it, open your wallet, peons, this was, “thoroughly discussed,” with our regional DPW coordinator. Now what will you do to further our decisions about party direction?

        Now my opinion. Deliberate diffusion of effort, county-by-county priorities equaling dilution of messaging with built-in inefficiencies for popular candidates, predictable failures in a candidates ability to target major goals on several fronts. This is party controlled capitulation to the neoliberal status quo. There is no desire for DPW or much of present leadership to support populist sentiment such as direct action like the SSA to highlight actual injustice and a violation of constitutional rights. That would be counter to the personal “safety,” of their, I have mine, screw you, self interests.

        Perhaps DPW leadership might consider asking a potentially strong D candidate what the candidate might or might not want in the way of party support. Right.

        No War But Class War. Find a candidate, not a party.

        1. Right on, NQ, if you will excuse the expression. “Left on” just doesn’t work.

          I agree we must use and keep repeating anything and everything that reveals Walker’s weaknesses, incompetence, corruption, failed efforts(250,000 jobs), cronyism, past crimes (illegal campaigning), ALEC legislation, Koch influence and funding, environmental destruction(open pits, sand mines for fracking), excessive force and denial of rights at the Capitol, assault on women’s and the poor’s health care and on and on and on.

          Shout, sing, write, 24/7 of the inhumanity and injustice at the government of Walker, by Walker and for Walker favoring special interests and the greedy “robber barons.”

      2. Did anyone read in the Capitol Times article where the anonymous democratic strategist said that the solidarity singer business at the capitol will play to Walker’s benefit? Anyone but me?

        1. Read it, not convinced by the author, is all. Sort of like Ben Merens continually telling everybody how they were tired of the recall every chance he could, from day one.

        2. Telling that the writer is so afraid of opposing disruptive action that he/she remains anonymous. But the fact is it does work in with Walker and ALEC’s “union thugs” mantra, because A)Walker and gang pay for and use the media so well; B)Republicans issued an ordinance that make the singers look like people who relish breaking the law; C) The “Union Goons” Mantra is confirmed and further protests, justified or not, become culpable and enervated.

  14. Wow, Zach, 64 comments and still going strong! What’s the record for BB comments in an off-election year?

    Of course, we, me included, have strayed from the subject a wee bit, but if it serves to the advantage of people getting to know Senator Vinehout and recognizing her as a worthy candidate, I’m okay with that.

    “V for Victory in 2014!”

      1. Thanks for the link and to see where people were almost four years ago, as we approach the next election cycle. First dozen or so comments, (not reading chronologically) universal health care, disappointment with D party neoliberal pandering to the 1%, ‘groundhog day,’ all over again.

        Wild thought? OT, Feingold vs Hillary would hardly be a match for Feingold in a primary. Maybe coming out of Africa and near daily press scrutiny, is Feingold’s thinking. In the loop, but behind the scenes.

        LOL, one almost has to imply ‘tongue-in-cheek,’ speaking of the ‘press.’ Prime example, Charlie Rose last night, pathetic “dogged,” journalist shtick, trying to trip up the subject into spewing a stupid sound bite (which SoS Kerry manages regularly without adversarial prompting), totally outmatched in the interview approach he chose with Assad.

        I’d encourage anyone to listen to Nichols’ interview with Sly yesterday (usually in the archives after a day or so) about a clear populist message, being an advantage for a real candidate in a recent election.

      2. Yes, 181 comments is indeed a brick load. But combining a mega politician, Feingold, with a national hot-button issue of the decade, healthcare, is of more interest than what a relatively unknown state senator says about a “few” protestors singing at the Capitol. Thank you for the BB history AND getting to know Senator Vinehout.

  15. Here is a very relevant comment on SSA by a police officer/lawyer. Wow, what a combination!

    Brian Austin writes, “Crackdown on protestors not a Wisconsin Value.”

    He asserts the easy to get permit has hooks; “You will hold harmless the grantors for any injuries you suffer even at their hands, and even more important, you agree to be financially liable for any damages incurred at your event. You are not only liable for your own group, but also for any damages or costs associated with any other people or groups who decide to show up.”

    Now isn’t that guilt by association as well as giving Erwin’s hired thugs a blank check to murder, molest, or whatever?

  16. Steve,

    Yes, I have made that trek. Surely you’re aware that rednecks inhabit every portion of this state. Not just the northwoods? Or is your provincial pride sitting so high on your horse that you’ve claimed the identity of “redneck” all for yourself? When you would be one of those guys at the pump saying “those damn Madison liberals don’t give a damn about what anyone outside of Dane County thinks” you’d be one wrong redneck. And you’d be reinforcing the oldest and easiest political bias in the world to exploit – the urban/rural division. The very division Walker’s agenda is exploiting. Doesn’t matter if you voted for Obama twice. You’re still doing Walker’s work for him – saving him a lot of money in Koch Ads when you’re at the pump buying into and spewing back everything those Ads will attempt to instill. I’m quite certain I’m identifying what keeps this state red. It’s rednecks. I can safely say I have never experienced “trailer trash” talk in my neck of the woods. But, I can tell you where I have experienced it – among the rednecks in the northern outliers outside of Dane and Milwaukee counties. Another den of provincial pride that’ll be as quick to condemn Milwaukee and Madison as their redneck counterparts farther north. It sure isn’t Madison liberals that are keeping “traditional conservative values” alive. But it is Milwaukee and Madison that Walker and his ilk are attempting to culturally/politically isolate from the rest of the state. So, well done again for buying right into the bull. Walker doesn’t need you to vote for him, Steve. He needs you to keep the conflict and obstruction levels high between all points north and Madison/Milwaukee.

    1. PJ,

      Your comments are getting shorter, but you might want to separate them into at least a couple of paragraphs to avoid reader fatigue. Overall, though, it’s an improvement. Good work.

      1. Thanks for the advice, Steve. I’ll stick to the proper function of a paragraph, and I will assume that readers are savvy enough to understand the purpose of a paragraph. It’s not within my control to ascertain who might or who might not understand the utility of paragraph structure. Nor is it in my control to determine who might or might not be more accustomed to “easy-reader” material. I’ll assume the readers here on Blogging Blue are advanced enough to handle proper form. After all it isn’t as if I’ve constructed anything with Euphuistic flourish. If I had slipped into the inaccessibly florid, I’d say: “Oops! You’re right, Steve. I should have dumbed it down.”

        As to length, I’ll stick to whatever length is required. You’ll likely see long replies in future. I trust you can distinguish between compendious and baroque. Or perhaps you cannot. If you cannot, it’s not my concern.

    2. Another totally fact free, diatribe based on personal speculation and loosely defined terms. Any supporting links to offer, ever. You found some on your last diary submission on right to work rulings. Kindly help us out with some, with a bit more regularity, since you insist on engaging readers.

      Terms, here’s an example. I don’t suppose that your real or imagined, “rednecks,” which you keep referring to (and claiming you are quoting as the serious basis of making some point to SC in this case) are adherents of the teabilly, neoliberal or maybe of a more populist political persuasion. Seems that factor would be critical to what you are hearing, observing and then deriving conclusions about. Understanding that context might help readers decipher something in your obvious laboring here at making a cogent statement.

      Another example, still waiting for clarification of exactly what constitutes “a solid agenda indicative of 21st century mindfulness.” Oh, not anymore, never mind, time for lunch.

      1. NQ,

        What kinds of facts would you be looking for when delving into the nuanced realms of bias or attitude or culture or values or opinion? You mean the kinds of non-sequitur, slanted and fallacious “facts” you present when spouting your denigrations? You sputter seething hate, NQ and you attempt to legitimize that hate with slanted and omissive argumentation. You haven’t a leg to stand on. You wouldn’t recognize a “fact” if it bit you in the nose because you don’t evaluate anything with any reasonable sensibility.

        You never asked for clarification of a solid agenda indicative of 21st century mindfulness, though I did allude to it in previous comments. I’ll gladly clarify now: one that responds empirically to our times – one that fully embraces women’s rights with a rejection of misogyny, LGBT rights, African American issues, Native American issues, immigration issues, the working poor, the non-working poor, the homeless, secular government as well as whatever the “middle class” may now mean. It means recognizing and adequately responding to violence and crime – domestic violence, rape, human trafficking, poverty-induced crime, hate crime. It means realizing the “private sector” will not be gracing us with full employment any time soon or ever. It means realizing “job training” isn’t education, and education that develops the whole person, and does not churn out cogs for the economic wheel. Recognition that a neoliberal economic agenda is not a path to global prosperity, but a path to global poverty. What’s holding us back from achieving those goals is conservatism – conservatism is found on both sides of the political aisle.

        Perhaps you are unaware that Steve has identified himself as a “redneck progressive” or that Steve has indicated his own bias. And Steve also identified another bias that plays into the divide and conquer strategy that Walker’s employing – the “trailer trash” “hick” bias. That is also very real. I don’t see it where I am, but it does exist. Steve is right for pointing it out and it is an attitude that needs to be addressed as well, because it is an unfair bias. I’m not going to play your obfuscation game, NQ. So, no. I won’t be providing you with any links to hash out what redneck means.

        1. PJ,

          Did you see where an anonymous democratic strategist told the Cap Times today that the solidarity singers are helping Walker? The Madisonites are helping Walker, not me.

          ” A Democratic strategist says the crackdown might seem like “hard-nosed” politics, but the reality is that when it comes to the squaring off with Capitol protesters, Walker comes out smelling like a rose.

          “He makes it seem as if these extremists and protesters are ‘all against me,’ and he loves to gin this stuff up,” says the strategist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “He’s the one who benefits.”

          Maybe you should apologize to me, in a post, in front of everybody? I promise I’ll be gracious with my acceptance speech. No, really.

          1. If you’d like me to apologize for being blunt or snarky I shall. But I stand by what I wrote. I don’t understand what the intense resistance is to the Solidarity Singers; it only splits Walker’s opposition into factional elements that won’t be able to unify. I don’t see how the Solidarity Singers holding out can help Walker unless the Democratic Party and the base tacks right. A further tack to the right is the last thing we need even if it meets a short term electoral goal.

            Steve, I admire you for admitting your bias against Madison liberals and you are right in identifying a “hick” bias emanating from the South. These kinds of biases must be eliminated if we are to defeat Walker’s agenda. I honestly think you should consider whether or not your intense opposition to the Solidarity Singers and Madison liberals is due to your own bias (which I’m not judging you on). The last thing Walker’s opposition/the Left needs now is intense division. Healthy hashing out of agenda/candidates yes, but that’s not what’s going on with the continual hostility directed at the Solidarity Singers.

            I’ll give you this, when it comes to the Democratic Party I have no clue. I’m not a member and never have been so I have no intimate knowledge of its internal dynamics. So that strategist might know something that I obviously can’t glean not being a member. What that strategist is saying is what was said during the recall. Walker did use the Madison protests as another jumping point for divide and conquer. So, if divide and conquer can’t be turned around then yes. That strategist might be right. But, I think the better route is understanding the mechanics of Divide and Conquer and using what we know to unite. Even if that means changing attitudes, beliefs, biases etc.

            I’ll apologize in good faith if I offended you, but honestly your opposition looks obstructionist.

            1. PJ,

              My opposition to what the singers are doing has been, all along, because they’re making us all look bad. There’s an abundance of comments and posts from me to that effect over the last almost six weeks. My views of ” Madison lefties ” comes from having served on two different boards of peace and social justice organizations based out of Madison. No bias, rather, observation and experience. If anyone has unwittingly played into divide and conquer here it’s the singers and their supporters.

              I’m glad the strategist spoke as bluntly as he/she did, and from this point forward I’ll not have another word to say about the whole business.

              1. “If anyone has unwittingly played into divide and conquer here it’s the singers and their supporters.”

                I reject and deny that I have “…unwittingly played into divide and conquer…”

                Honestly, Steve, as a supporter of the singers, I cannot allow your final word stand without dissent, if not a correction, of my absolute belief in the constitutionality and righteousness of the form of speech, assembly, and petition exercised by the singers since 2011 at the Capitol. It is my opinion they are heroic to a degree, inspiring, and worthy of praise.

                As Senator Vinehout said to begin this discussion, “It is important for all of us to exercise those rights or lose them.” It suggested to me that she was implying a moral and political necessity for action such as that by the singers.

  17. I guess I’ve missed earlier history, but why is PJ (who appears to have the access to initiate posts, making them a moderator) sort of immoderate?

    1. I don’t think diary contributor automatically translates to comment moderator. I trust that Zach and the NSA hold our minimal personal information needed to comment, securely. 🙂

      1. Thank you NQ. I’ve worked in both the law and publishing professions and find life is too short to read formal compositions in a nonformal setting.

  18. Okay….I think it’s abundantly clear that you two (Steve and PJ) are on opposite ends of this issue (and presumably others), but I think the back and forth between you two could go on forever barring some sort of intervention.

    Perhaps this is one of those situations where it’s best that you just “agree to disagree” and leave it at that.

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