Does DPW Chair candidate Martha Laning support the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

A few days ago I cam across this little nugget on Facebook.

Marth Laning TPP

In case you’re wondering, Paul Geenen is a surrogate and organizer for Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair candidate Martha Laning. It’s clear from the image posted above that Paul Geenen is a supporter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that was negotiated in secret and that is opposed by progressives like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and while it seems to me that he’s asserting Martha Laning supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership, that point isn’t made completely clear. What is clear is that Geenen asserts that any of the DPW Chair candidates who oppose the TPP have taken an “incorrect and divisive” position on that particular issue, leaving one to wonder if that leaves Martha Laning as the only DPW Chair candidate who supports the TPP.

Seeking clarification of Martha Laning’s position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (since each of the other DPW Chair candidates have made their positions known), I emailed Laning to request a statement from her regarding the TPP. Here’s Laning’s unedited response to me.

I am supportive of Senator Elizabeth Warren and our own Senator Tammy Baldwin’s stance to stop the fast track of TPP and I have signed that petition. I did this because the pieces that have leaked, if true, are deeply concerning. I like most Americans, want to be sure that thoughtful consideration is being given to each and every part of the agreement and I feel we should have more transparency. I have heard concerns about the lack of financial oversight by our government on big corporate deals that could result in another financial crisis like we had in 2008, which is unacceptable. I have heard this bill would hurt jobs here in the US like NAFTA did, and that too is unacceptable. On the other hand, I respect President Obama and understand his desire to help shape the rules for world trade to prevent China from shaping them without us. Bottom line is that for me to have an opinion on TPP, I need the details of the bill. TPP has not been completed and submitted for a vote yet and therefore, most legislators and the public do not have access to the details of the bill, only leaks, and we don’t know the credibility of the leaks. Many legislators that I respect, like Senator Tammy Baldwin and Senator Elizabeth Warren, have expressed their deep concerns, but stop short of saying they would vote no, likely because the details are not available. Out of respect for the President of the United States, I express deep concerns about what I am hearing about TPP, but will reserve final judgment for when the document is made public and we clearly understand what is included.

What’s clear about Martha Laning’s position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership is that her position is unclear. However, the fact that at least one of her surrogates is attacking one of her opponents in the DPW Chair race for his opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership certainly does seem curious.


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35 thoughts on “Does DPW Chair candidate Martha Laning support the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

  1. Laning’s candidacy and campaign for DPW Chair is just plain bizarre. If Kathleen Vinehout wasn’t behind the entire thing Laning would have never been taken seriously by anyone. She’s been a Dem party member for maybe, maybe, all of two years, lost a targeted senate race by 20 points, and ran on a ” I know how to reach across the aisle and bring people together to solve problems ” schtick which demonstrates a profound naivete’ about the current state of the GOP. On her own she would have been laughed out of the room.

    And when asked about the TPP she cites Tammy Baldwin and Elizabeth Warren, hoping we’ll all equate her with them. Really? On June 6th her name should appear on the ballot as ” Martha Lanhout “

  2. There is a lot of misinformation out there on the TPP. Come to my TPP House Party, Thursday, May 7th, 6:30 PM, at 2841 N Stowell Avenue, Milwaukee, WI. We will start by clearing up some of the confusion around this trade agreement, explain the role Congress plays in shaping negotiations and hear your concerns about this trade agreement. My goal is to have a civil conversation about trade in general and the TPP specifically. We will look for areas where we have broad agreement, recognizing the fact that we will disagree on specific elements of the TPP. I hope many of you can attend!

    1. Paul,

      If you think there’s any confusion, no need to wait until May 7th, just leave it here in the thread, “House Democrats Angry Over Obama’s Classified Trade Meetings.”

      “Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) condemned the classified briefing.

      “Making it classified further ensures that, even if we accidentally learn something, we cannot share it. What is USTR working so hard to hide? What is the specific legal basis for all this senseless secrecy?” Doggett said to The Hill.

      “Open trade should begin with open access,” Doggett said. “Members expected to vote on trade deals should be able to read the unredacted negotiating text.”

      Paul are you claiming knowledge that House Dems don’t have?

      If so, are you leaking classified information? Do you have the appropriate security clearance?

      If you’re not leaking classified information, where did you get it?

      I’m for fair trade. I know how much Wisconsin depends on exports. TP-P isn’t about fair trade, it’s about multi-nationals and usurping U.S. sovereignty.

      1. And another nugget, the lesser of two evil scare tactics, give Barry his TPP or else:

        This Obombya backer, Dem hack, corporate loyalist and treasonous pimp is everything populists need to fear and to avoid in future elections and also be seriously concerned about coming from any candidates he is backing. What a tool.

        Pushing his book on top of everything else, forgot narcissist in his autobiographical twitter intro. But hey, see him for the secret info on the TPP advantage. Pathetic.

    2. Gee Paul,

      Tell us all about the civility in selling out another 5 million American jobs. Are we the people going to get quantitatively eased like Barry’s banking friends this time around in this “trade,” deal. A magical $80B a month for roads, schools, jobs, infrastructure, health care, food and something so extreme as not having such a high rate of infant mortality in the good ole USofA? Would this TPP be better described as a “TRADER,” deal? Should be easy questions for someone of your standing in the “party of the people.”

      At least several of us are waiting for some civil response from you, right here. Apparently there are none to be shared or you are just full of crap when honestly criticized by normal citizen pulling up my own bootstraps. Afraid to even directly respond to the blog you try to recruit from. No college age head-nodders in awe of your presence is too tough a crowd?

      I’d say your trust level as an authority on anything political or even on a retelling of history is falling faster than Walker’s.

  3. Attend my TPP House Party, May 7th, at 6:30 PM, at 2841 N. Stowell Avenue. Learn more!

    1. Come on Paul, spill the beans, we all cannot drive over 220 miles to get the secret on how corporations are going to be able to be skirting around US labor, health, safety and environmental regulations and trumping the US Judiciary system while we the people won’t be able to do the same.

      What’s been your personal financial reward for pushing this, for betraying the citizens of this country.

  4. Is Paul Geenen related to Sara Geenen, who ran unsuccessfully for a Wisconsin State Assembly seat last year? Sara had some labor backing in her state assembly bid last year.

    Also, Paul Geenen is acting as if Rae, the candidate of, for, and by political insiders, and Laning, the candidate of, for, and by corporatists, are the only two candidates running for DPW Chair. There’s three other candidates running: Joe Wineke, Jeff Smith, and Stephen Smith.

  5. Also, Martha Laning’s website mentions her support of Common Core State Standards:

    That’s also a divisive issue within Democratic and progressive circles in Wisconsin, although there’s probably more Democrats/progressives who support the standards themselves and oppose standardized testing that is tied to the standards than outright oppose the standards.

  6. Apologies for making three comments on here in quick succession, but where do Jeff Smith, Joe Wineke, and Stephen Smith stand on the TPP?

  7. Laning is anti-union, and was working HR at Target to keep the unions out. She also made it very clear that she’s anti-$10/hr (especially during her lost race). Now she’s open to free trade. This person wants to be chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. It’s shameful.

    1. Good to know Robert Egavas.

      It would even more helpful if you could provide some links to reinforce statements related to anti-$10/hr., her anti-union stance and anything related to HR work at Target. There are a lot of gaps in her bio. Any info you could provide to back up the statements would be greatly appreciated.

  8. I would like some proof of this anti-Union stance also. We all know Targets history and philosophy regarding unions at this corporation. If she was in HR and reinforced this philosophy, she should consider dropping out of this chair race. If any of this is true, why on Earth would a true Progressive like Vinehout endorse and put her good name on the line? Did Sollinger and Vinehout not vett this candidate?

    1. Nimeria,

      IMHO, the Presidential election, Sec. Clinton’s advance team is driving this. Wisconsin is a key state that Dems have to get in 16 to win the White House. To raise money, Sec. Clinton supports T-PP. It’s possible imho that her campaign crafted a deal with Sen. Vinehout to support Ms. Laning in return for something else. “Something else” could be jobs for Laning and Vinehout in D.C. with the Clinton administration or in Vinehout’s case support for her to run against Gov. Walker in 2018. Per Steve’s comment above, I don’t think Ms. Laning has any real connections to or understanding of DPW. That suggests Sen. Vinehout will be the defacto chair of DPW, exercising power through Ms. Laning.

      1. I think you’re on to something John. That would explain her answer to the TPP question…..and Geenen’s tenacity in trying to have a party to talk it over. Vote Bernie, or we’re doomed.

      2. John Fonzy Casper, ;^)

        Didn’t see that shark in the channel, but this is a bit fishy. Vinehout dealing with Clinton at this stage of the play? Seriously? Pure speculation or something a bit more tangible to be steering that line of thinking. Vinehout being the defacto chair through Martha is something that I might not be too overly concerned about, might be a welcome check on the DPW organization’s direction and a conduit between the Legislature and the DPW. Just imagining another angle there.

        I’d be more concerned at the moment, with Bernie officially announced in the D race, about the personal web page of a DPW Administrative committee member and the Hillary banner on her personal page, along with Jason Rae being retweeted. Reminds me of top-down dictates again, rather than leadership actually listening to anything coming from the grass roots.

        1. nq,

          Below is my humble attempt at a very limited transcript of Sen. Vinehout’s 28-minute interview with Wisconsin Eye’s Steve Walter’s in the link below.

          Steve Carlson and others pointed out the unusual timing of Laning’s entry into the DPW’s chair’s race and I think Sen. Vinehout’s comments below confirm that. Her decision to support Laning, is very recent. She didn’t disagree when Steve Walters stated they were friends. If that’s the case, why wasn’t she supporting Laning before what Sen. Vinehout claims was such a critical meeting in Stevens Point?

          That was the meeting Ms. Laning was allowed to “chair.” It was BEFORE anyone knew that she, this, “fresh face to the party,” as Sen. Vinehout described her, was running for DPW chair. AFAIK, “fresh face to the party,” means she has almost zero experience as a member of the Democratic party. Who made that decision? Who else was considered to chair the Stevens Point meeting? Why was Ms. Laning chosen? The appearance is that that meeting may have had at least three hidden agendas. One was to test Ms. Laning’s skills to see if she could actually hold up, because no one, including Sen. Vinehout had a clue. Another was to “showcase” her to the other county chairs, most of whom probably had never spoken with her. Another may have been to position her DPW chair candidacy to say that she did such a “great” job of chairing that even with her vast experience as a Dem, she should be considered a serious candidate for DPW chair.

          after 00:35 – 00:59

          Steve Walters: “Wisconsin Eye has been going around to 15 Democratic legislators asking them if they’ve endorsed anyone of the five candidates. When I asked Sen. Vinehout, Democrat from Alma, 31st Senate District, she said, “check with me next week.” When I checked with her this week, she said, “let’s do an interview.”

          Sen. Vinehout: after 5:45 …. Wait until after the 28th February, we’re having a gathering over in Stevens Point, all of the County Chairs, …60 people, basic business planning process, Lisa Herman and Martha Laning chaired that meeting,

          Starting after 10:40, Steve Walters says, “Martha Laning, ran for the State Senate and good friend of yours,….”

          Sen. Vinehout doesn’t correct Steve Walters.

          Steve after 11:00, do you endorse Martha Laning?

          Sen. Vinehout: after 11:15 “Absolutely, Martha’s a fresh face to the party. She brings the perspective of a grown-up and frankly one of the problems we have is that there’s too much juvenille name-calling, especially in the press, that’s hurting our possibilities outside of Madison and Milwaukee. Is it playing to the base of course, … we have their votes. We have to convince people who are not engaged, or are independents. Martha comes with a fresh attitude, she brings a strong background in leadership and management. She most recently worked on a community center, a multi-generational…she raised $4.6 milliion…She went to work to run as the Senator from the 9th, she lost the election, but she learned a great deal about the inside of the party, what was wrong with how things were being run, and she has a lot of ideas on what we need to do differently. Yes, message is part of it, but we must listen to the people, in the party across the state to make sure that we gather that wisdom and give them all a seat at the table only way we’re going to win… she believes in empowering those local County chairs, and the local members, the local grassroots people and when I say turn the party upside down, that’s what I’m talking about. I’m talking about saying to the consultants and to the people that are making money off this party whether we win or lose, you guys gotta stand down, and right now we gotta listen to the people who know Wisconsin.”

          Steve Walters, after 13:00 “ok I respect…, why would Martha be better than Jason Raye?”

          Sen Vinehout buries Jason Raye and Nation Consulting after 13:15… after 15:00, “…he represents the corporatization of the Democratic party. … 17 floors of AT&T lawyers.”

          After 15:40, why Ms. Laning’s better than Joe Weineke, who btw, Sen. Vinehout admits she nominated Joe for party chair. “Joe’s had his chance, we need a fresh face.”

          After 16:35, why is Ms. Laning better than Jeff Smith After 16:55 “he is extremely negative.”

          After 17:35, why is Ms. Laning better than Steve Smith, “…not a leader….”

          Starting after the 19:55, Sen. Vinehout made what I consider a reckless statement, “…frankly I was considering running for chair, and if Martha hadn’t of gotten into the race, and if I hadn’t been able to find a candidate that I thought could do this, I would have run for chair.”

          The state Senate is the only body where Dems have any chance to block or dilute Gov. Walker and WIGOP. The mention to the media that any Democratic Senator might consider stepping down strikes me as irresponsible. One of my fears is that if Ms. Laning had fallen flat on her face in the Stevens Point meeting, Sen. Vinehout was dead serious about resigning her Senate seat to take over as DPW chair. I certainly hope I’m wrong about that, but if correct, I take that as a sign of how serious the Clinton campaign team is about exerting very tight control DPW. As far as they are concerned, the further off the cliff that WIGOP drives Wisconsin, the easier it will for Sec. Clinton to win our ten electoral votes in November 2016. That frees up more money for her to spend in other battleground states. Given the horrendous electoral college that we use, most American votes for President don’t really count. The only states that matter to Presidential candidates are states that could go either way.

          You and I both want less spending on defense, but is “Defense spending in Wisconsin took a big hit in 2014,”

          the Obama administration paving the way for Sec. Clinton to win Wisconsin in 2016?

          What also got my attention is that nowhere have I seen Ms. Laning rip Nation Consulting the way Sen. Vinehout did. If Ms. Laning wants to publicly repeat Sen. Vinehout’s very strong talking points in that video, stuff on AT&T was great, I’ll be happy to reappraise.

          Whoever the DPW chair is will be under enormous pressure from whomever the the Dem candidate for POTUS is. That’s reality. I’d just like a DPW chair, who will try to make the best possible decisions under really adverse circumstances.

          1. Morning JC,

            Thanks for the transcript, I didn’t know a sitting state Senator couldn’t hold both positions and don’t have the time to look it up today. Nobody asked her about her comments about Jeff Smith as a follow-up to that interview. If that bothers anyone they should ask her.

            I would not have been opposed to Vinehout being DPW chair, and with a D primary (Bernie announcing) that puts the Hillary, thankfully out of direct state party support until after a primary vote.

            So from your comments and what I thought previously, Vinehout would be able to direct Laning to perform the job that Vinehout wanted to see done, without Kathleen being in the glaring spotlight like Tate was.

            I still don’t see anything sinister or bad about a Laning being directed by Vinehout if that arrangement has been part of the deal. Of course this is all speculation, but Vinehout behind Laning in some fashion is going to hold OFA to what DPW wants from OFA rather than the other way around. Vinehout would push state Dem wins as a priority and let the Dem POTUS candidate follow on the state coat-tails rather than the other way around. OFA needs WI as much as WI needs them, especially if it is the Hillary. Republicans could beat Hillary for lack of D voter turnout here.


  9. If Laning was in human resources at Target that’s an absolute deal breaker. She needs to come forward with details of what she did there now.

    1. Why is it a deal breaker? Then again it’s not like you were going to support her anyway.

      1. Mase,

        I’d love to be wrong, but imho Steve’s on target here. A background at Target, especially in Human Resources, MBA, finance, pretty much screams virulent anti-union. That’s just the way Target operates and it’s part of a larger problem that the rewards all favor employers who bludgeon workers. Not to say that people can’t change, but until I see really robust evidence of that, I share Steve’s concerns.

        IMHO, the 98-second video below is really worth a watch.

        Ronald Reagan saying no “freedom,” without “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.”

        Both GOP and Dems have moved to the right of Reagan and Eisenhower on labor. I know labor unions are a pain-in-the-neck, but without them all the money flows to .00001%.

        The real “job creators,” are consumers with money to spend.

        Wealth is created by productivity improvements. Right now, Wall Street and the oligarchs have replaced America’s “work ethic,” with a money making ethic. They’re essentially betting all the money U.S. citizens have saved for retirement in the stock market on currency swaps and interest rate swaps. There’s zero productivity involved and they’ve socialized all the risk onto the taxpayers.

        I look forward to a time when we Americans can enjoy a high standard of sustainable living with a 30-hour work week, home ownership, great health care, access to education. To me that’s the promise of capitalism, that’s been ripped away by the elites.

  10. Over there in Camp Rae, I hear they are doing their best to try to smear Martha. Whisper Campaign is full steam ahead. Like those consultants have a leg to stand on? Keep in mind, a vote for Rae is a vote for Tate. They just love that the heat is finally off of them….Atleast temporarily.

  11. The TPP House Party at the Geenens’ on Thursday, May 7th will start at 5:30 PM instead of 6:30 PM. We will have a conference call with a member of the administration at 7:00 PM.

    I noticed in the comment sections that several were concerned about their distance to Milwaukee and my home. Tweet me @paulgeenen or Facebook me with your phone # and I will conference you in. We would love to have you as part of this discussion.

    1. Paul,

      I hope you’ll explain to the anonymous member of the administration, (Who is it? How will anyone there actually know it’s someone from the administration?) that even Sec. Clinton, “Agrees With Elizabeth Warren On Trade Dispute With Obama.”

      “Clinton writes in her book:

      Currently the United States is negotiating comprehensive agreements with eleven countries in Asia and in North and South America, and with the European Union. We should be focused on ending currency manipulation, environmental destruction, and miserable working conditions in developing countries, as well as harmonizing regulations with the EU. And we should avoid some of the provisions sought by business interests, including our own, like giving them or their investors the power to sue foreign governments to weaken their environmental and public health rules, as Philip Morris is already trying to do in Australia. The United States should be advocating a level and fair playing field, not special favors. (Emphasis added.)”

      That’s the “investor-state dispute settlement,” which is the worst part of “NAFTA on steroids” aka T-PP.

      While you’re at it, ask the member of administration why President Obama, along with the Republicans and most Democrats are fiscal illiterates, who want a “balanced,” federal budget.

      Here’s some economics 101, “spending = income.” A cut in spending means you cut someone else’s income.

      When you cut spending, for things that make sense, like tax breaks for saving for retirement, the federal budget is already UNBALANCED into the negative. When you buy foreign products, and those countries don’t SPEND our dollars (and they don’t because right now everyone is hoarding dollars), the federal budget is even more UNBALANCED into the negative.

      “Demand Leakages: The 800lb Economist in the Room”

      “I can’t say I’ve seen anyone in the deficit debates talking about the demand leakages. Not a mention in the mainstream press, financial news media, or any of the thousands of economic reports? That’s like discussing the right horsepower for a truck or an airplane without any consideration of the weight of the vehicle.

      Demand leakages are unspent income. For a given currency, if any agent doesn’t spend his income, some other agent has to spend more than his income, or that much output doesn’t get sold. So if the non government sectors collectively don’t spend all of their income, it’s up to government to make sure its income is less than its spending, or that much output doesn’t get sold. This translates into what’s commonly called the ‘output gap,’ which is largely a sanitized way of saying unemployment.

      And with the private sector necessarily pro cyclical, the (whopping) private sector spending gap in this economy can only be filled with by government via either a (whopping) tax cut and/or spending increase (depending on one’s politics).

      So wherefore the ‘demand leakages?’ The lion’s share are due to tax advantages for not spending your income, including pension contributions, IRA’s and all kinds of corporate reserves. Then there’s foreign hoards accumulated to support foreign exporters. And it all should be a very good thing — all of that net unspent income means that for a given size government, and a given non government rate of credit expansion, our taxes can be that much lower. Personally, I’d rather have a tax cut than a policy to get other people to spend their unspent income or borrow more. But that’s just me…

      State and local budgets are different. Those have to balance.*

      Because the U.S. government has a monopoly the currency, as long as a debt is denominated in dollars, there is no reason the U.S. government cannot pay it. We don’t borrow dollars from China or our grandchildren. There are plenty of things we can run out of clean air, clean water, safe food, sustainable energy, some metals and minerals.

      Wall Street’s already figured this out and they’re the biggest welfare queens, “Bank Of America Dumps $75 Trillion In Derivatives On U.S. Taxpayers With Federal Approval.”

      To put $75 trillion in perspective, US GDP in 2012 was around $16.5 trillion. We blew a lot more than the $6 trillion they’re claiming in Iraq and Afghanistan. Social Security’s Trust Fund is around $2.3 trillion. Bank of America is just one Wall Street bank. They all have derivative exposure. I’ve seen estimates of $700 trillion, but I don’t think anyone knows.

      What Democrats should be supporting is an immediate holiday on both sides of the payroll tax (FICA), and increases in spending on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education, and infrastructure.

      If you’re worried about demand-pull inflation (too many dollars chasing too few goods), or price instability, that’s one of the primary purposes of FEDERAL taxes, to manage aggregate demand.

      But as long as the federal government is spending on things with a high multipliers, such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education, and infrastructure, I doubt you’ll see it.

      Plenty of economists will explain Modern Monetary Theory #MMT to you, but start with Prof. Stephanie Kelton.

      “UMKC’s Stephanie Kelton is named chief Democratic economist on the Senate Budget Committee”

      *If the FEDERAL government does all that “spending,” that’s what repairs state and local budgets, because Americans with good paying jobs can afford to pay their state and local taxes.

    2. Paul,

      Right and left are uniting against T-PP, because it’s the only the elites and the multi-nationals who benefit.

      “Economists Say White House Argument on Outsourcing Falls Flat.”

      “…But economists on both sides of the trade debate say the White House seems to be barking up the wrong tree, muddling arguments about two distinct things–foreign investment and outsourcing–on a hot-button issue that is dividing the public and Congress.

      Labor unions and skeptical economists are warning the Pacific pact could lead to the kind of outsourcing many workers blame on the North American Free Trade Agreement, the landmark 1993 deal with Mexico and Canada.

      Several economists quickly shot back at the White House argument, saying foreign direct investment measured in the White House study and the outsourcing the administration is pledging to avoid aren’t the same thing, despite some overlap.

      They know that’s very loosely correlated,” said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a liberal think tank critical of Mr. Obama’s trade policy.

      The key finding about investment “doesn’t really speak to the issue that the opponents are making,” said Gary Hufbauer, a trade expert who backs the TPP at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, which supports trade liberalization. “I applaud what Furman is trying to do, but this doesn’t do it.”

      Classic outsourcing and offshoring involve a company halting operations in one country and obtaining the same product or services abroad. But that doesn’t necessarily involve foreign investment, since many companies can get the product under contract without building a plant or making an acquisition, Mr. Baker said.”

    3. I see that the elitist Democratic, “leadership,” is willing to ignore a large part of their potential base requiring twitter sign up or Facebook membership to get the “insider,” scoop. Interesting but not unexpected, another data base to harass people with requests for donations to help them represent corporate amerika and issue right-wing propaganda from. Just as wrong headed and blind as several Republican state legislators requiring subscriptions to their web presence to understand what they claim they are doing for constituents in Madison.

      Divide and conquer from OFA/DPW, “authority,” in the state, supposedly serving small “d” democratic ideals. I’ll repeat my suggestion that it is time for progressives and socially minded party members to leave the, “leadership,” to lead themselves (is all that they actually do now) and break from the DNC as a state organization. Privilege and more privilege, who’d have guessed?

      Avoid speaking to a couple of concerns in a this forum website, demand conformity to his terms for, “discussion,” which took as much effort to do as just speaking plainly would have already accomplished.

    1. Jim, spare me.

      I’ve been as critical as anyone of Mike Tate, and I have yet to make a decision on which candidate I’ll support for DPW Chair.

      What’s more, Steve Carlson has made his support for Jeff Smith very clear on this very blog, so again, I say spare me.

    1. nq,

      Thanks for the links.

      IMHO, Ms. Laning’s big problem is Chris Abele and Mary Burke. Abele and Burke could be marketed/packaged to Dems as progressives because neither had a history in politics. Abele had never run for office. IIRC, Ms. Burke had one term on a school board.

      I hope I’m wrong, but I’m supposed to buy that Ms. Laning is anti-Nation Consulting, anti-corporatization of DPW, because of Jason Rey and Sen. Vinehout? Without any history, how would either of them know?

      IMHO, as soon as Mary Burke lost, the Clinton 2016 advance team, Nation Consulting, Foley Lardner, Deloitte, all the corporate lawyers and accountants who run Madison, knew Mike Tate was done. Their Plan A for his replacement was Jason Rey. IMHO when the anti-Tate backlash tainted Jason’s candidacy, they, Nation Consulting, Foley Lardner, Deloitte, all the corporate lawyers and accountants who run Madison, trotted out Sen. Vinehout to “carry water” for Ms. Laning as their back-up to Plan A. Precisely because she was a “fresh face,” they could market her as the anti-Mike Tate/JasonRey candidate.

      At a minimum, I’d like to hear/read Ms. Laning (and all the candidates) rail against Nation Consulting, AT&T, and the corporate takeover of Madison with the same vigor and specificity that Sen. Vinehout displayed.

      I appreciate Dom’s counsel about Dems being a “big tent,” party and completely agree. If Dom believes that, he should be advocating for the legalization of marijuana, because that’s a huge GOTV issue that imho could deliver the State Senate into Democratic hands in 2016 and we could pick up a lot of seats in the Assembly. Once Dems control the Senate, we can block WIGOP’s attempts to turn Wisconsin into North Korea. Legalization ends a “job-killing-government-regulation.” It positions Democrats as fiscally conservative, and defunds the drug gangs. The prison industrial complex is just welfare for wingnuts, who turn around and donate those state tax dollars back to GOP candidates.

      “As priorities shift, corrections budget passes UW System”

      A lot of Republicans and Conservatives want pot legalized. “Ted Cruz’s Cannabis Conversion Reflects The Political Prudence Of Marijuana Federalism” FWIW, I would never encourage anyone to use it, unless for medicinal purposes, but the prohibition against alcohol didn’t work either. “Mitch McConnell’s Love Affair with Hemp: How the Kentucky senator picked a fight with the DEA and became one of Washington’s top drug policy reformers.”

  12. “Sex, Drugs and Poverty in Red and Blue America”‏

    “In the fall of 1969, Merle Haggard topped the Billboard country charts for four weeks with “Okie from Muskogee,” the song that quickly became the anthem of red America, even before we called it that.

    “We don’t smoke marijuana in Muskogee, we don’t take our trips on LSD, we don’t burn our draft cards down on Main Street, we like livin’ right and bein’ free,” Haggard declared. “We don’t make a party out of lovin’, we like holdin’ hands and pitchin’ woo.”

    Times have changed.

    Today Muskogee, Okla., a city of 38,863, has nine drug treatment centers and a court specifically devoted to drug offenders. A search for “methamphetamine arrest” on the website of the Muskogee Phoenix, the local newspaper, produces 316 hits. In 2013 just under two-thirds of the births in the city of Muskogee, 62.6 percent, were to unwed mothers, including 48.3 percent of the births to white mothers. The teenage birthrate in Oklahoma was 47.3 per 1,000; in Muskogee, it’s 59.2, almost twice the national rate, which is 29.7.”

    is a brilliantly written NYT’s article by the veteran WaPo reporter Tom Edsall and imho it’s the Dem’s blueprint on income inequality and the lack of economic mobility.

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