73 thoughts on “Do good ideas come from the WisGOP? Martha Laning thinks so.

    1. Then how are people going to know what she stands for Emma? Are campaign ads like these part of the problem? Candidates who cave to consultants who tell them to say zilch? Zach posted a comment about how an ad like this is smart politics in a tough district where you’re trying to siphon off moderate repub/independent voters. I strongly disagree. Ads like these demoralize/anger the base and lessen one’s chances of success, as evidenced by Laning’s poor showing. The only way to have any chance in a tough district is to attract sporadic/new, likely low income voters with a strong economic populist message coupled with a strong ground operation. TV ads and glossy mailers like this get a candidate nowhere but they sure do makes consultants a lot of money. Laning’s campaign last year is strong evidence she has no business running the DPW.

      1. Of course campaign ads and consultants are part of the problem. So are insinuations from anonymous sources and hysterical blog posts. Get in touch with her and ask about her platform, then evaluate.

          1. Now did Steve Carlson or Copyright Steve reply to me? Because your comment perfectly encapsulates Tea Party ignorance and the refusal to seek, listen and learn.

            1. Look, Emma. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Laning knew she was running for DPW Chair when she ” moderated ” the day long Democratic Forum in Stevens Point two weeks ago yesterday, while announced candidates were prohibited from campaigning in any way, shape or form, and when asked if she would consider running she replied ” no “. So the fact that she went along with this obvious ruse is all I need to know about her. Have I made myself perfectly clear on this? I wouldn’t want you to confuse me again with Copyright Steve, Emma the Grate.

              1. Sounds to me like that was more of a trial run and she replied no to squash any speculation before she made her decision. The real story here seems to be that all three declared candidates were completely cowed and shuffled meekly into line. They’ll have to toughen up and think on their feet a bit better if any of them expects to last a round in the ring with WISGOP.

                1. With 40% of the vote last November it looks like Laning barely made it out of her corner. Maybe if she’d specifically listed all the good WisGOP ideas she’d have done better?

                  1. Holy crap, Steve. You made a really good point and raise the question of whether she knows enough about winning. Now you’re talking.

                    1. Thanks Emma. So when you couple her poor showing with the sneaky way she started her campaign I think it’s pretty clear she’s unfit for the job, but it still begs the question of who is behind her run and why they won’t show themselves.

                2. EmmaR, I’m confused regarding what you think a good response from the other candidates would have been, as opposed to complying with the limits set by their peers. Should they have stormed the stage and taken the mike by force?

                  1. As I wrote mulitple times during the thread, take to social media – this is 2015 after all. And just pass out the literature anyway.

        1. Emma, while I can certainly acknowledge your point about learning more about Martha Laning, I’d disagree with your characterization of what I wrote as being “hysterical.”

          I’d like to think I don’t typically write from a place of hysterics.

          1. How else to characterize shooting first, asking questions later? You posted when Rae announced that you were witholding judgement until you learned more. Why not with Laning? I get the hook was well- baited by the anonymous source. Isn’t it great so many are declaring for arguably the worst job in Wisconsin and we finally have some choice? Maybe she won’t be any good but since we listened to the others, how about her as well?

            1. EmmaR,

              Haning’s running for office. It’s her job to break news of her candidacy. Evidently, she didn’t even send Zach a press release. Her people heard of the negative coverage at BB and sent anonymous and untraceable “Jim” over here to deliberately fabricate his own history (former county chair, but not an “insider” and not from the consultant class) who painted her as anti-Mike Tate. Until/unless “Jim” can clear up the Grand Canyon discrepancies in his comments, I’m going with Ms. Haning as a Mike Tate clone. She understands the DPW Chair’s job is to make sure Sen. Clinton gets all the support from Wisconsin that she needs to secure the Democratic nomination for President. If elected DPW Chair, she would be taking all orders from “the consultants” working for Sen. Clinton and would in effect be ceding day-to-day control of the state’s party apparatus to them. After that, DPW’s job is to make sure Wisconsin’s ten electoral votes go for her. IMHO after that, the deal is that Ms. Haning (or a friend or relative) will be rewarded with a nice federal job in Wisconsin that pays more and has better benefits than what she makes now.

              I hope I’m wrong about all that, but looking at all the evidence, can you disagree?

              These are complex issues and ofcourse DPW wants open lines of communication and coordination with the national Democratic party. What we don’t want is evisceration of local control of DPW, which is what we’ve gotten from Mike Tate. Electing Dems at the local level (school boards, alderman(sic), county supervisors (shame on Chris Abele for cutting their salaries in Milwaukee (that used to be THE place in the state’s largest city, where you could groom the next generation of Dem leaders)…), regaining control of the legislature and Governor’s Office are the measure of the effectiveness of the DPW Chair. That’s why it’s so critical that Dems elect a Chair who is really skilled, or at least has the requisite judgement to surround themselves with really smart, tough, sophisticated people. Understanding local and state media is key, having connections to those reporters and editors is a must. Familiarity with branding, messaging and integrated communications strategies (TV, radio, outdoor, print, online, Facebook, Twitter, ….) is another huge part of the job. Bridge building, however, among various Dem constituencies, private sector unions, public sector unions, pro choice groups (Emily’s List, Planned Parenthood, NARAL….), everyone else, may be the single most important part of the job. A lot of people in the private sector unions voted for Scott Walker. They now understand how dumb that was.

              1. Look all these different marketing tactics are just tools to influence perception and they are deployed in various combinations across almost every product and service we consume, including government. It’s cool to see all this interest in ads and press releases and social media and websites and how a forum might be used to feature one candidate and block others. But as serious people all you have to do is pull the curtain back and behold the wizard. You aren’t sure why Laning’s running and what she believes, ask her. You think it’s unfair your preferred candidate was told they can’t pass out literature, tweet it real time and pass out the literature anyway. You’re worried a :30 sec ad is representative of a candidate’s entire policy platform, it’s not.

                1. EmmaR,

                  Per what you wrote here, “You aren’t sure why Laning’s running and what she believes, ask her.”

                  How would you suggest I contact Ms. Laning?

                  1. Facebook, Twitter, go to one of the events, her Senate page which has now changed over might have a Contact Us feature, or just lobby Zach to send her the questions the others received from BB.

                    1. EmmaR,

                      Was it too much effort just to post a link to her Senate page, which btw has links to her FB and Twitter accounts?


                      From her Senate/DPW Chair page:

                      “Ensuring equality opportunity for all Wisconsinites. All people deserve the same opportunities to live their lives, support their families, and engage in their community safely, free from harm, and with dignity and respect.
                      Providing access to a quality public education. In order to move Wisconsin forward, we need to fund our public schools, oppose the expansion of unaccountable voucher schools, develop our technical and job training programs, and support the decisions Wisconsin education professionals make like the implementation of Common Core.
                      Unifying the people of Wisconsin. Only by listening to and respecting all sides of the key issues facing our community, can we move forward towards an effective solution.
                      Investing in Wisconsin workers. Wisconsin is strong when our workforce is strong and our businesses are profitable. Increasing the minimum wage and supporting small businesses are not mutually exclusive.”

                      Nothing about choice, which will anger Emily’s List, PP, and NARAL. Gov. Walker put that on the DPW Chair ballot, when he said he was going to sign WISCONSIN legislation banning abortions after 20 weeks.

                      IMHO, property tax relief via new tax revenues from marijuana legalization is a must. Property taxes are killing Dems in Wisconsin elections and imho legalization’s the low hanging fruit in making a casse to voters that Dems can lower their taxes. Yes, I know it will anger the law enforcement unions, but they support/vote Walker/Republican.

                      I’d like something in there about “income inequality,” as long as it’s contrasted with “BILLIONAIRES.” The key to making the income inequality argument is to aim at the elites. You don’t want physicians, lawyers, small businesses, worried about their taxes going up. You need them donating to Democrats.

                      I’d STRONGLY suggest she link to Reagan’s 98-second video about collective bargaining.

                      “These are the values inspiring those brave workers in Poland, the values that have inspired other dissidents under communist domination, who have been willing to go into the gulag and suffer the torture of imprisonment, because of their dissidence. They remind us that where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost… They remind us that freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. You and I must protect and preserve freedom here, or it will not be passed on to our children and it will disappear everywhere in the world. Today, the workers in Poland are showing a new generation how high is the price of freedom, but also how much, it is worth that price. I want more than anything I’ve ever wanted, to have an administration that will through its actions, at home and in the international arena, let millions of people know, that Miss Liberty, still lifts her lamp beside the golden door.”


                      How many chances to Democrats get to force WIGOP to run AGAINST Reagan?

                      So far, I don’t trust Ms. Laning. Based on what little I know about her, her positions have morphed since the Senate race. But at least getting Dems on the record, saying the right things, is some progress.

                    2. The thing is freedom-lovin’, tax-cuttin’, pothead, anti-billionaire, Reagan-socialist fundraising/organizational/media savvy whizzes might be a little hard to come by. But maybe I’m wrong.

                    3. EmmaR,

                      W/R/T pot, “Ted Cruz’s Cannabis Conversion Reflects The Political Prudence Of Marijuana Federalism”


                      W/R/T “tax-cuttin,” state and local budgets have to “balance.” They operate just like a family budget. If you think Dems can win back the Assembly, the Senate, and the Governor’s Office on a platform of higher property taxes, by all means, please lay that out. WIGOP has successfully branded Dems with that and they are winning elections.

                      I’m the furthest thing from a tax expert, but people I respect talk about the “land value tax.” AFAIK, that would put the heaviest burden on downtown office buildings, places such as that. Don’t quote me. Since you brought up pot heads, I’d encourage you to consider that pot’s a great GOTV issue with African-Americans and with the elderly, who already pay too much for Big Pharma products, especially really expensive cancer drugs that don’t provide as much relief as pot.

                      Capitalism runs on sales.

                      Without spending–there are no sales;

                      Without sales–there are no profits;

                      Without profits–there is no demand for workers;

                      Without demand for workers–there is no job creation;

                      and without job creation–there is no recovery!


                      On the national level, the socialism we already have is Wall Street “socializing” all their risk onto the taxpayers. On the local level let’s start with billionaire David Einhorn. He tried to buy the NY Mets.

                      “Einhorns’ contribution to Walker could trigger ‘pay-to-play’ rule”

                      “….Along with the similarly named fund created for the WHEDA investment, Capital Midwest manages the $40 million Capital Midwest Fund II. That larger fund received $15 million of its capital from David Einhorn, according to a recent New York Times article. David Einhorn, Stephen’s son, is a well-known New York hedge fund manager who is known for his ability to move markets when his Greenlight Capital bets against a stock. He was ranked 41st on Fortune’s list of the most important businesspeople in the U.S. in 2012, and in February was ordered to pay an $11 million fine for insider trading….


                      I’m sure David’s looking for ways to loot the 100% funded Wisconsin pension system. If DPW Chair candidates don’t know who Einhorn is they should learn. They should also know who is parents are, how they paid for billboards on the north side of Milwaukee to suppress the African-American vote. They tried to do it anonymously, but their identity leaked out. They’re all closely linked to the Bradley Foundation, Charlie Sykes, …..

                      More socialism at the state level,

                      “Wisconsin Awards HP $221 Million Medicaid Contract Extension
                      HP will build on 36-year relationship to help Badger State continue its healthcare transformation”


                      Note, HP doesn’t have a 36-year relationship with Wisconsin or Medicaid. They bought a corporation who did, Ross Perot’s EDS.

                      Please also note, when there are massive problems with the system, below is just one example, “New computer system at Medicaid agency creates backlog of cases ”


                      HP isn’t mentioned. All the blame is laid on state government. In addition to getting funding for their hardware and software, HP functions as “fiscal agent,” which means they get a cut of every transaction. That means they have zero incentive to stop fraud. On the contrary, the more fraudulent claims that get processed, the more they make. They also use the identical off the shelf hardware for all their state clients. Then they supposedly tailor it to the state, but in reality, they’re driving. I’m positive they go to Fitzgerald and Vos and say this is what we need to upgrade our hardware to keep it running. Fitzgerald and Vos then pass legislation which in effect pays HP to force Wisconsin to alter its needs to conform to HP’s needs to upgrade their hardware.

                      When an audit’s done, when stuff goes wrong, it will be Deloitte or some other accounting firm that runs Madison. They’ll white wash everything so HP can keep the contract. HP will pay them back by recommending Deloitte to their clients. It’s the law firms (Foley Lardner, Reinhart,…), and accounting firms that run the day-to-day state business in Madison. Their goal is to wring more revenue out of the taxpayers.

                      Although I can’t prove it, I’d bet dollars to donuts that HP offshores all the IT work they do on Wisconsin Medicaid, “Accelerate your project outcomes with HP offshore resources”

                      So Wisconsin tax dollars intended for Medicaid pay software engineers in India.

                      As far as “freedom-lovin'” yes, I think sex work for adults should be legal. That way you free up law enforcement resources to focus on protecting minors from that life. Doesn’t mean I condone it, I just think government should steer clear of consenting adults and sex. Sex workers already pay taxes on their income. I’m not suggesting Dems go here, but since you brought it up, considering Dems’ position on guns, it has political value. Again, I’m NOT suggesting Dems go here in 2016. Pot’s the 2016 issue. By 2018, and with pot legalized, the electorate might be ready for legalized sex work?

      2. How do we know this ad was because of consultants though? How do we know this isn’t exactly what Martha Laning wanted to put out there?

        1. The work of a creating a TV spot is extensive and specialized. With a bare bones budget, you’re still looking at about 6-10 roles to develop, scout, produce, review/screen individuals appearing, acquire permissions, purchase media and distribute. Martha Laning has all these people in her direct employ? Political ads are pretty silly by and large as they target low-information voters. But once in awhile someone really understands the potential to build and extend their candidate’s brand ( if the link doesn’t work, go to You Tube and search on the keywords Ron Paul Armed Chinese Troops In Texas – you may disagree with the premise but this ad is about ideas): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLv8c2nlF0E

          1. Obviously, she didn’t make the whole thing herself. I get that. That doesn’t mean that the messaging was the result of consultants, though.

  1. Steve, thanks.

    I didn’t see/hear any reference to the Democratic party. W/R/T giving Wisconsin workers “first crack,” at state contracts, Dems should start targeting Hewlett Packard, who swallows up state Medicaid revenue, because they administer the program. My strong supposition is that most of the actual work is done by IT workers in India.

    “Accelerate your project outcomes with HP offshore resources”

    “Using the right-blended delivery model—with the necessary skills and
    framework—enables your organization to achieve effective time and cost
    outcomes for projects, while ensuring security and privacy concerns are met.”


    Those Medicaid IT jobs should be held by Wisconsin IT workers, who work FOR the State of Wisconsin. JPMorgan administers a lot of the Food Stamp programs. Not sure if they administer it in Wisconsin.

    IMHO it’s the oligopolies, fronted by lobbyists, big law firms (Reinhart, Foley Lardner,….), and accounting firms (Deloitte…) who are actually making the day-to-day decisions in Madison. And the only issue for them is how they can wring more dollars out of the state taxpayers.

  2. Look, I don’t know if Martha Laning is a progressive, a moderate, or a more conservative Democrat, but all this ad really tells me is that Laning was trying to siphon off some moderate/independent voters in a district that strongly favors Republicans.

    That’s smart politics if you’re trying to win a tough election where the numbers don’t favor you.

  3. Ms Laning appears to get a few specifics answered in her Senatorial run, 16 min interview with the WI Eye from last October.

    I’ll leave it to you who are Democrats to have at which issue answers there are most important for a DPW chair candidate.


    I read through all the related comments on these past couple of threads, and the mention of Ron Kind is a red flag for me every time I hear his name in any context. I flash immediately to the 3rd Way or the No Name political ploys which I feel are corporate sponsored, corporate interest serving, disingenuous sucking unsuspecting middle to left leaning Democrats into backing a corporate agenda. A kind of double-speak to be aware of. WPR’s former, Ben, why haven’t we been told why he was terminated from WPR, Merens was a prime promoter of that schtick a few years ago.

  4. Our party is in shambles because of the accommodations provided by conservative democrats. If you’re going to vote for a filthy conservative, it might as well be a republican. I don’t want conservatives in my party. GTFO.

  5. OT, TV ad buys might not be as important in ’16. I don’t have cable anymore, although I’m looking at HDTV rabbit ears, which I’m told bring in a lot of the same content.

  6. Might the potential new DPW chair consider putting the horse in front of the cart and have a message for the party direction and connection to a population base, before (or at least break a message out at the same time as) worrying about the means of communication.

    Many of the potential Democratic voters would be having a hard time with utility bills, rent, food and clothing, so I see this self-promotional gimmick as inducing greater polarization and insulation of party leadership from their traditional base. From the J Rae:


  7. John Casper posts quite the paranoia salad. My name is Jim. Nobody “sent” me. I do not support Hillary Clinton. Where does he come up with this stuff?

    1. Jim,

      Here’s what you wrote yesterday in your comment at 3:51 “…Finally, Steve, before I exit this conversation for good, I respect you, though I disagree with the tone and substance of your post…”


      This is so great your back! Now you can prove me wrong. For you convenience, below are all my questions from the prior thread. So looking forward to your responses.

      Jim, you wrote:

      “Steve, I don’t have a lot of inside info. I’m certainly not an insider.”

      1. That doesn’t appear to be the case in your comments from yesterday. “With all respect to the author, he is wrong. 2 weeks ago, Laning was saying “no” to those trying to recruit her.

      Tate’s plan is to switch places with Jason Rae. In fact, right now he’s doing everything he can to sabotage Laning’s candidacy. She has the skills to do the job. All of the announced candidates are deeply flawed, for various reasons. That’s why some really smart people have been working really hard to thwart Tate’s plan, and identify a viable alternative. Martha Laning fits the bill.

      The author treats Laning’s lack of a long-term and close connection to DPW as a liability. It’s not! It’s exactly what so many of us are looking for! My litmus test for any candidate is will you send the Tater Tots packing, and build a staff of mature, hardworking professionals. I’m told that Laning will do exactly that.

      You’re wrong in implying that there’s something shady going on. The people who recruited Laning are good people, committed to finding a candidate who can do the job, and who is not like Tate. You’re wrong in implying that lack of a long-term, close connection is a bad thing. It’s a good thing. It has everything to do with Tate. Tate found out that Laning might be in the mix, and immediately went to work on bashing her. And it’s all about Tate because we need a chair who isn’t like Tate in just about any way one can think of. I think you’ve made up your mind as to your preferred candidate, so you’re trashing Laning. I respect your choice to support a previously announced candidate, if that’s the case. I don’t like that you’re doing the same to her as Tate is. If you’ve made your choice, I respect it, so long as you stick to positive testimonials for your candidate. I urge others to hear Martha Laning out before putting stock in scurrilous innuendo. ”

      Then today, your enthusiasm for Laning is much less. Please explain the change.

      Jim wrote: “Not from the consultant class-never made a nickel off of politics. I get my info by listening to people I respect,”

      2. Thanks, could you name the top five?
      2.1 At one point you used the word, “comport.” If you don’t want to be identified with the “consultant class,” is that a good word choice?

      Jim wrote: “even though I don’t always agree with them. I am a former county party chair.”

      3. Which county?

      3.1. What years?

      Jim wrote: “During my tenure, we had the most successful year in county history.”

      4. Can you link to those records?

      4.1. To what do you attribute your success?

      Jim wrote: “Since then, I’ve been active with local elections in my county, with notable success.”

      5. Who were these candidates you backed, who had “notable success”?

      Jim wrote: “I’m no longer a party member, because I don’t suffer fools gladly.”

      6. You don’t mention Tate here, which is interesting. IMHO, the thrust of what you’ve written is that the anti-Tate block at bloggingblue can trust you, because you’re anti-Tate. And you’re assuring us that Ms. Laning is the anti-Tate candidate to back.

      Is that accurate?

      Jim wrote: “None of the previously announced DPW candidates excite me enough to rejoin the party.”

      7. Why aren’t you running?

      Jim wrote: “Maybe Martha Laning will. I’ll keep an open mind about her. I’ll decide based on facts,

      8. This is a pristine example of the change you went through from yesterday. Yesterday you were fully on board with Laning, now you’re neutral.

      Jim wrote: “not ginned up indignation from someone who’s already cast his lot with Jeff Smith.”

      9. Yesterday, your “yardstick” was anyone who would send the “Tater-tots” packing. How does Jeff not meet those criteria?

      Jim wrote: “Finally, Steve, before I exit this conversation for good,”

      10. Why are you leaving? Do you anticipate losing internet access?

      Jim wrote: I respect you, though I disagree with the tone and substance of your post.”

      11. Since when did “getting in the last word,” become a sign of respect?

    2. Jim, since you “volunteered” that you oppose Sen. Clinton’s nomination for President, please lay out all the reasons. Please be specific. Thanks in advance.

  8. John, I’m not going to answer your questions. I choose to remain anonymous. What you and Steve fail to recognize is that I’m on your side. I want the same things, except Jeff Smith as DPW Chair. But, you are making it difficult to remain on your side, because you seem hell-bent on seeing a conspiracy where, to my knowledge, none exists. Using the word “comport” makes me a political consultant dedicated to the installation of Tate 2.0 and Hillary? I’m sorry, but that’s just whackadoodle.

    1. Jim,

      I’m on the side of transparency within the DPW. What do the staff down in the office do all day long? Where does the money they raise go? Who are the consulting firms hired to manage candidates? And since you’ve remarked that good people recruited Laning then tell us who they are and you can put this particular issue to rest.

    2. Jim,

      1. You wrote: “John, I’m not going to answer your questions.”

      I’m not surprised.

      2. Jim wrote: “I choose to remain anonymous.”

      Nope. IMHO, you lied. You maliciously and with forethought fabricated an identity and that you knew full well did not exist. Then you commented it here with the explicit intention to deceive readers about Ms. Haning’s “true colors”.

      3. Jim wrote: “What you and Steve fail to recognize is that I’m on your side.”

      Please don’t #$%^ in my ear and tell me it’s raining.

      4. Jim wrote: “I want the same things, except Jeff Smith as DPW Chair.”

      See my response above.

      5. Jim wrote: “But, you are making it difficult to remain on your side,”

      You’re the one who engineered the easily falsifiable fiction that you were a county chair who has resigned from the party.

      6. Jim wrote: “because you seem hell-bent on seeing a conspiracy where, to my knowledge, none exists.”

      Wow, “to my knowledge,” you even hedge your own lies.

      7. Jim wrote: “Using the word “comport” makes me a political consultant”

      Your words, not mine. I asked you a question about whether “comport” was a good word choice.

      8. Jim wrote: “dedicated to the installation of Tate 2.0 and Hillary? I’m sorry, but that’s just whackadoodle.”

      See my response in #3.

      If you want to continue commenting here, I’d strongly encourage you to show Sen. Clinton the respect she’s earned. While I don’t support her for President, she’s accomplished a great deal in her life. The reality is that, unless her health gets in the way, she probably will be President, and the best progressives/liberals can hope for is that we can pressure her toward a more progressive platform than the oligarchs and Wall Street will allow. Since you’re obviously well connected, please mention to your superiors that we don’t borrow dollars from China or our grandchildren. There are plenty of things we can run out of, clean water, clean air, sustainable energy, safe food, metals and minerals. Just like the scoreboards at Lambeau Field aren’t going to run out of points, the U.S. cannot run out of dollars. Do you remember all those cars we had to sell to pay for World War II? Nope, neither does anyone else. We lost the soldiers lives. We lost steel, rubber, all the material that went into the war, but dollars, like any currency are just a way of keeping score. There’s nothing to pay back. Once you understand that, you’ll understand how dumb is the ideal of a “balanced” federal budget. What has to “balance” are the three economic sectors, private (domestic), foreign, and public. Economist Steve Keen explains it well here. “Beware of Politicians Bearing Household Analogies,” http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevekeen/2015/01/14/beware-of-politicians-bearing-household-analogies-3/

      Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Chief Economist on the Budget Committee is @StephanieKelton . She understands this stuff and really well and can explain it to all of you “consultants.”

      Below from another economist @ptcherneva is really excellent about how the government deficit = non-government surplus to the penny‏.

      “If the government puts into the economy more than it takes out, the private sector as a whole takes in more than it pays out to the government….

      If you consider for a moment the financial position of the U.S. government vis-a-vis the financial position of the non-government sector (domestic and foreign), it is always the case that the government deficit “goes somewhere”–it is accumulated as a surplus by the private sector. There is no law that can repeal this logic. If the government puts into the economy more than it takes out, the private sector as a whole takes in more than it pays out to the government.

      If we want the government to correct its budget stand, then we must necessarily be asking ourselves to correct ours. If we demand that the government runs a surplus, then we are demanding that we, the private sector run a deficit.

      …So, take your pick: would you like the private sector to be in surplus or the government? You cannot have both. Presumably, we’d prefer the private sector to save and accumulate financial assets, which means that the government must run a deficit and accumulate financial liabilities. …

      If our trade balance was zero, then in order for the private sector to save, the public sector must dissave to an equal amount–to the penny! But when both private domestic and private foreign sectors want to run surpluses, the federal government will by definition run deficits equivalent to those surpluses in magnitude (again to the penny).

      …What must happen if the government budget moves into surplus? Answer: in the presence of a large trade deficit (i.e., foreign sector surplus), there is only one solution–the private domestic sector (that is non-financial, financial firms, and household) must move into a large deficit position to make up for the surpluses accumulated by government and foreigners. That is a ‘solution’ of pushing the private sector into more debt. Hardly a prudent solution. …

      If you want both the U.S. private sector and the government to be in surplus, then the foreign sector must be in deficit vis-a-vis the U.S….

      Once you recognize the import of this irrefutable relationship, you can justifiably ask three questions.

      First, “Will the U.S. government run out of money while it maintains its deficit position?” The answer to the first question is ‘no,’–the U.S. government pays all of its obligations in dollars (from veteran benefits to social security to interest payments on the debt) and for a nation that controls the issue of its own currency (in our case the dollar) there is no economic rationale that will ever justify default–promising to make payments in dollars, but refusing to do so. Any refusal to pay its obligation will be voluntary and political, not technical and operational. …

      The second question (or series of questions) is “If deficits always go somewhere, where do they go? Whose incomes, cash flows, and balance sheets do they improve? What do we get in exchange for this deficit spending, how many jobs are created and do the deficits foster shared economic prosperity?” If you do not like the answer to these questions, then the proper electoral response is to demand from the government not to cut programs to ‘fix’ the deficit, but to redirect the deficit to fix the real problems of the economy.

      Once you take care of the economy, the debt and deficits will take care of themselves.

      And the third question should be “Should the government spend willy-nilly on whatever it pleases since it doesn’t face involuntary default?” and the answer to that question is most definitely NO. Not all deficits are created equal: some create more inequality and more rentier income, as it seems to be the case in the current crisis. Others can cause inflation. Yet others can directly create jobs, public investments, and productive capacity without generating inflationary pressures. In sovereign currency nations, a truly responsible government spending is one that is measured bot by the debt-(or deficit)-to GDP ratios, but by the real impact of that spending on the economy–job creation, poverty alleviation, stable prices, income distribution, social goods provisioning are all good measures for assessing how responsible government policy has been.”


      You clearly know folks with influence in the national Democratic party. It’s absolutely critical that Dems get OFF the “balanced” federal budget disaster which is awaiting us. I hope Republicans will figure out that all LESS federal spending does is make EVERYONE else more poor.

      State and local taxes are different. Their budgets have to balance. If the federal government spends, however, on health care, education, and infrastructure, that puts people to work and their state and local taxes repair state and local budgets.

      (Federal) Taxes For Revenue Are Obsolete http://www.huffingtonpost.com/warren-mosler/taxes-for-revenue-are-obs_b_542134.html
      Federal taxes are NOT obsolete. They are a crucial tool of fiscal policy if you have demand-pull inflation (too many dollars chasing too few goods and services). Whether a reserve currency (US dollar) could ever have any d-p inflation in the near term is highly unlikely. People are seeking refuge in the dollar against other currencies. That’s not helping our exports, which is another reason T-PP is such a spectacularly bad idea. Dems should be fighting to bring back the FULL holiday on both sides of the payroll tax (FICA). That’s the quickest way to get those dollars back into the hands of working Americans who earn less than about $113,000, the “Social Security cap”. Those Americans will SPEND those dollars.

      “Without spending–there are no sales;

      Without sales–there are no profits;

      Without profits–there is no demand for workers;

      Without demand for workers–there is no job creation;

      and without job creation–there is no recovery!”


      While I’ve got your attention, imho every Dem, local, state and national should run on this 98-second video of President Reagan saying, “collective Bargaining = Freedom (VIDEO)”


      Physicians, attorneys, engineers, tenured professors, anyone who uses credentialing to limit the supply of their labor is bargaining collectively. OT, this country doesn’t have a “work ethic,” it has a “money-making ethic.” Dems can change that.

    3. They’ve been set off by the “money people” and “unreliably progressive” references and for good measure the anonymous source threw in mention of labor. Not many in these parts can rattle off a tight, targeted sound bite all set for publication and produce such an immediate, visceral response. Tip of the hat to Zach’s deep throat.

      1. Zach’s source was correct about Sollinger withdrawing and mine was correct about Laning announcing. And I suspect Zach’s will be proven correct again when Sollinger publicly endorses Laning in the next few days. So somebody should come clean with who is behind Laning’s run and clear the air. We’ve heard from Jim, who writes like he knows something, that it’s good people behind her. The solution to this mystery is really, really simple. Who are these good people and why are they so publicity shy?

            1. A confident, prosperous female candidate gets into the race so you open the can of kah-ray-zee. Why? You’re so good on so many topics and then every 6 months or so you just blow it over a woman.

                1. She knew you couldn’t stop yourself from name-calling and the balloon would go up. You’re a sure thing and the only question (besides the obvious how can she stand you) is why bet so low? Unless of course you’re no good for it, the opening bet is clearly $500.

              1. Emma,

                This is about what appears to be people within the DPW using their authority and the party infrastructure to give their preferred Chair candidate an unfair advantage over the others. Period. Your decision to play the gender card and start launching smears leaves me no choice but to conclude that Laning and her supporters are both sneaky and vicious.

                1. I think if you’ll look back, it’s you who are launching insinuations (which may become smears depending how far you take things in your posts, I suppose) and me questioning what you’ve really got to go on and why you think it informs any relevant aspect of Laning’s candidacy. I’ve additionally questioned why another candidate joining the race is a negative when last year, bloggers and commenters alike lamented their lack of choice. I notice nobody is really addressing that inconsistency. I wonder what to make ot it all. You must think Smith can’t win but why? Why do you think competition in and of itself will hurt him? Won’t he perform?

                  These periodic struggles with inclusion are depressing to watch unfold here. PJ is proven right yet again as Jim is run off the blog and another candidate is trashed before she’s even fully out of the gate.

                  1. Actually Emma, I think Jeff Smith is is getting a lot of traction, resonating with a LOT of people, progressives, Dems and Greens. Urban and rural.

                    That’s wh there’s so much passionate talk, both pro and con surrrounding his candidacy. People are waking up. They are tired of sending their money and votes to the Dems (DNC & DPW) and losing.

                    Case in point “You must think Smith can’t win but why? Why do you think competition in and of itself will hurt him? Won’t he perform?”
                    I that projection or distraction?

                    BTW, Jim wan’t run off this blog. He’s welcome any time.

                    1. If Smith has traction then why all the crazy here? What’s the point of it? Why even bother? And Jim pretty much wrote that he’s finished but I’m sure your stand against rudeness two days later will make a difference.

                    2. “If Smith has traction then why all the crazy here? What’s the point of it? Why even bother? And Jim pretty much wrote that he’s finished but I’m sure your stand against rudeness two days later will make a difference.”

                      EmmaR,, I can’t speak for anyone else. I can only stand behind my own comments. I’m not defending other’s or their behavior on BB. They are an argumentive, curmudgeonly bunch. But someone here has surely struck a nerve for you to become so snarky. When you throw down the gaunlet , you invite all comers. And woefully, you got them.

                      As far as Jim goes, I can see why he left. When parsed out, the shifting stances and conflicting information in his comments were a red flag to all. Especially Jim.

                      As far as “Have fun unraveling the great Sollinger-Laning Conspiracy of 2015.” I take a simple view. Mary didn’t really want it. She likes being director of finance. But someone from corporate Dems needed to be in the race because there’s sand shifting in the progressive portion of the party base. The insiders want to make sure that if Rae doesn’t get chair, there’s a corproate Democrat on board to cater to the DNC.

                      I been reading and watching the evolution of all the candidates messages. Ironic that every one of them now touts the vitalness of the rural areas, following Jeff Smith’s lead.

                      I could be wrong. But I think they are worried the DNC cash cow is not going to flow to the consulting class as it has in the past.

              1. The Pitbull remark was about tenacity and ferocity, not name calling. If I remember correctly it’s Emma who likes to call names, like misogynist.

          1. Emma, poke fun all you want, but here’s what gets my goat: you wrote that our posts regarding Martha Laning jumping into the race were “hysterical” (your word) but yet both posts were proven to be absolutely true.

            Laning’s gender has absolutely nothing to do with what I wrote; I wrote because I was given information I found interesting, and it ultimately proved true.

            1. So what if they are true? How does any of this inform us as to the quality of her candidacy? These posts are the equivalent of ET bringing us breathless reports on the dresses from the Cannes red carpet when what really matters are the movies showing inside. Again, hats off to your source.

              1. Oh, let’s see, ” how does any of this inform us as to the quality of her candidacy? ”

                We’ve learned she’s got a whopping two year history with the party, is willing to participate in what is likely an orchestrated stealth campaign aided by unethical people within the party, thinks republicans have good ideas, and that her supporters are willing to holler ” misogynist ” if anyone points all this out in public.

                I think we’ve learned a lot about the quality of her candidacy.

                1. Speculation, a dose of insinuation, and washed down with an awful lot of anger and what sounds a little like fear. Laning must really be something.

              2. Emma, just so I’m clear: you’re saying my post was “hysterical” because….?

                Look, I simply reported what I was hearing, which is sometimes how great stories start…with rumors and speculation. Heck, that’s how I broke the Randy Hopper mistress story, which to date is this blog’s biggest ever scoop. I suppose some could argue my reporting on that was “hysterical” by your definition, since I posted information I was never fully able to substantiate at the time.

                And just so we’re clear, I’ve reserved judgment on Martha Laning’s candidacy until I’ve learned more about her. While the circumstances of her entering the race are…..hmm…”curious” to me, she may very well prove to be a great grassroots progressive candidate, and if that’s the case she’d warrant serious consideration from me.

                I’ve sent Martha Laning the same email questionnaire I sent to Jeff, Jason, and Joe, and I’ll be sure to post her responses if/when I get them.

                1. Once again, you did not treat Laning the same as the others. With them you issued a blog post stating you were witholding judgement and were getting answers first. With her, you printed a tight little anonymous source quote featuring the trifecta of Progressive hot buttons. This is very different treatment and all for what? When someone actually steps up and wants to make this loser Party better, isn’t it worth listening and waiting and analyzing first?

                  I think what you’re saying is as a citizen-journalist you have an obligation to print a process story when you have it. But then don’t you also have an obligation to apply journalistic rigor – multiple sources, question directly the people involved, really examine if you have a story, a rumor, or just an awkward situation? At the very least, you should have disclosed your source’s own preferred candidate and you should have asked the DPW to respond on his Party tenure claims. Even then, you’re a partisan blog. You have the luxury of waiting to see what impact this candidate might have and you have the time to develop your story.

                  PJ gave up because this was ultimately a hostile space for some Progressives. Sad to see that view proved correct again.

                  1. Look, Emma, any reasonable person might quickly conclude that Laning colluded with other party people to give herself an unfair advantage in this race. This is definitely a story, as evidenced by the fact that WisOpinion carried my piece and Zach’s yesterday.


                    So why don’t you press her for some disclosure? Zach has an obligation to press his source for her/his preferred candidate but Laning has no obligation to speak to this issue? Tell your candidate to clear this up and instruct her supporters to quit attacking people who are asking reasonable questions. It’s her best bet going forward.

  9. @Jim, You said, ” I want the same things, except Jeff Smith as DPW Chair. ”

    Who do you lean towards or who appleas to you most for chair and why? Why not Jeff Smith?

    1. CJ, thanks for the link.

      From it, “She’s met with democratic party leaders and activists in every part of the state…”

      Would like the names, dates, and places where those meetings took place. Did those meetings actually happen? Are those people endorsing her for Party chair?

  10. I know neither of these Democratic candidates and am troubled by some of the extreme comments. I begin with an open mind that both are of good character and have the necessary experience. I will form a judgement on who is the most qualified, not who is the worst.

    I await a bio or profile of qualifications.

  11. You know what would be REALLY great?

    If we could have these discussions without everyone throwing nasty barbs at each other. We’re adults. Think we can do that?

  12. To help clarify some of the speculation. Statement from Mary Solinger on her Facebook page.:https://www.facebook.com/mlsfordpwchair

    “Friends and supporters,
    Before I decided to get in the Democratic Party Chair race, I called someone who I thought would be a great State Chair. I was a big supporter of Martha Laning, and after the election we became friends. When Martha decided not to enter the race, I decided to run.
    I launched my campaign because I believe that by creating a culture of respect, empowerment, inclusion, and trust within the Democratic Party – we can make great change here in Wisconsin.
    Before I announced, I asked Martha if she would work on my team and she dove right in. She came down to Madison and helped me with my 16 press releases. The next day she was sending me her campaign contacts, and advising me who to call, for my race. Her support was invaluable to me.
    When I had a family issue come up, that impacted my ability to continue my campaign… and, after I saw her high energy and passion for the Party at the Dem Forum, I thought I should ask her again, and see if she would consider running.
    So a few days later, I called her. She was hesitant, but I told her my reasons and that I – and the Party – needed her to step up. Of course, she did step up.
    I want to thank everyone who, like Martha, has supported me, in my race to be the next State Chair. I have been humbled and honored at the reception I’ve received. Though, I am withdrawing from the race, I am confident that Martha is the right person to take the lead.
    With her good energy and impressive qualifications, Martha will make the difference and she can move our state forward. I am supporting her 100%. Please keep up to date with her race by liking her on Facebook: Martha Laning for Wisconsin
    And for more information on Martha and the issues, visit her website: http://www.laningforwisconsin.com
    – Mary Lang Sollinger”

  13. Sollinger has told people in Madison that the family issue which compelled her to drop from the race is the birth of a grand child. She didn’t know her daughter/daughter-in-law was pregnant when she decided to run for DPW Chair? ” oh what a tangled web we weave………….”

  14. nonquixote- She’s mostly right about what’s wrong. But show me where Jeff Smith has gone negative.

    I love Kathleen Vinehout and would love, love, love to se her run for governor. So would she. Everybody has ambitions. Statements made reflect that with end goals in mind. Thank god she didn’t endorse Rae, good Democrat that he is.

    You still have to consider Maratha’s roll out. “She” “I”,website weirdness. after hyper controlled forum.
    Place card holder Maryu Solinger who pulls out, then endorses.
    All the rest of the shenanigans is social media.

    You guys… *RME* If you can’t see it.

    It’s not that hard to look and seel if your are connecting dots.

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