Brad Schimel wants to take Wisconsin back to 1955

Brad Schimel was one of several far-right extremists to sign a white paper calling for Wisconsin to go back to 1955.

In case you weren’t old enough to remember what things were like in 1955:

  • Dwight Eisenhower of the Republican Party was President of the United States
  • Republicans Alexander Wiley and Joe McCarthy were Wisconsin’s U.S. Senators
  • Walter Kohler of the Republican Party was Governor of Wisconsin
  • The Brooklyn Dodgers won the World Series
  • The American Federation of Labor merged with the Congress of Industrial Organizations to form the AFL-CIO
  • Race car driver Pierre Levegh and 83 spectators were killed in a horrifying crash in the 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car race in France
  • U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War began
  • The first McDonald’s fast food restaurant opened in Des Plaines, Illinois
  • Nicolas Sarkozy, the former President of France, was born
  • Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on the bus to a white person in Montgomery, Alabama
  • There was no Super Bowl
  • There was no cable or satellite television
  • The internet didn’t exist
  • Cell phones hadn’t been invented yet
  • There were no political blogs
  • Fred Risser wasn’t a member of the Wisconsin State Legislature yet

Anyways, what I mean is that Schimel wants to reinstate a 1955 Wisconsin state statute criminalizing abortion, a statute that is not legally enforceable because of the Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision. The statute, if made legally enforceable again by a far-right U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, would result in abortion automatically becoming illegal in all cases in Wisconsin, with the sole exception of an abortion that is necessary to save the life of the mother. Even in cases of rape and incest, abortion would be a criminal act if Schimel were to get his way.

What Brad Schimel wants to do is force Wisconsin women to carry fetuses to term, even if they don’t want to for whatever reason. I think that’s a downright barbaric idea. Unlike Brad Schimel, I believe that women should have the right to make their own reproductive health care decisions. If you live in Wisconsin, please vote for Susan Happ in the election for attorney general on November 4.

Could third-party and write-in candidates help Scott Walker win re-election?

As recent polling of the Wisconsin gubernatorial race between Republican incumbent Scott Walker and Democratic challenger Mary Burke has shown that the race is tied with few, if any, persuadable voters in the closing stages of the campaign and that turnout is going to be the main factor that will determine the outcome of the election, I do want to mention that there is a second factor that will determine the outcome of the Wisconsin gubernatorial election, and that is third-party and write-in candidates.

There are two third-party candidates on the ballot in the Wisconsin gubernatorial election. One of them is Robert Burke (no relation to Mary Burke), the Libertarian candidate. Robert is running to Mary’s left on some issues, most notably marijuana legalization, so Robert would probably pull more votes from Mary Burke than from Scott Walker. The other third-party candidate is Dennis Fehr, the People’s Party candidate. I know virtually nothing about Fehr or the People’s Party of Wisconsin, although, if I were to guess, he’d pull more votes from Mary Burke than from Scott Walker.

Additionally, there are four write-in candidates in the Wisconsin gubernatorial election. One of them is Steve Evans, who received 94 write-in votes in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Evans is a known Republican, so he’d likely pull more votes from Walker than Burke. Another write-in candidate is Mary Jo Walters, who ran in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor and received 44.52% of the vote against primary winner John Lehman. Walters is a left-wing activist-type, so she’d pull votes from Burke and pull virtually nothing from Walker, although she won’t get anywhere near the number of votes (116,518) she received in the Democratic lieutenant gubernatorial primary. Another write-in candidate is Jumoka Johnson, who is the Constitution Party’s nominee for governor. Since the Constitution Party is a far-right party, Johnson would pull votes from Walker and pull virtually nothing from Burke. Finally, Brett Hulsey, an incumbent state assemblyman from Madison’s West Side who is not running for re-election to the Wisconsin State Assembly and got 16.61% of the vote in the Democratic primary for governor, is running a write-in campaign for governor in the general election. Although Hulsey isn’t going to get anywhere near the number of votes (51,830) he received in the Democratic primary, he’ll pull more votes from Burke than from Walker.

Hulsey’s recent move to jump into the gubernatorial race as a write-in candidate has alarmed some on the left, including Jud Loundsbury, the lead author of Uppity Wisconsin, who wrote a blog post claiming that Hulsey is suffering from some kind of serious mental illness and blasting the corporate media in Wisconsin for giving someone like Hulsey credibility. I’m suspecting that Hulsey’s write-in candidate is a Republican dirty tricks operation of some kind to try to pull enough votes from Burke to help Walker get re-elected, especially since Republican insiders in Wisconsin are becoming increasingly worried about Walker’s re-election chances.

While all of the third-party and write-in candidates in the Wisconsin gubernatorial race will probably get several thousand votes combined, given how close the polls are and that the third party and write-in candidates as a whole would likely pull more votes from Mary Burke than from Scott Walker, that could be enough to allow Scott Walker to win re-election with only a plurality of the vote, which would be a terrible thing to happen.

Carousel Bayrd is a brave woman

Carousel Bayrd, the Vice-Chairwoman of the Dane County, Wisconsin Board of Supervisors, was featured in a web video for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin (PPAWI), the Wisconsin political operation of the reproductive health organization Planned Parenthood, attacking Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker for his hard-line opposition to reproductive rights, including opposing abortion, even in cases of rape and incest. In the video, Carousel revealed that she was sexually assaulted when she was younger, although she was not impregnated as a result of being sexually assaulted.

You can watch the web video here:

Obviously, the video ends with a message asking Wisconsinites to vote for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke, a supporter of reproductive rights who has been endorsed by PPAWI, on November 4.

No woman should ever have to go through what Carousel went through. Sadly, millions of women have been the victims of the horrific act of sexual assault. I applaud Carousel for being willing to talk about being the victim of such an horrific act and standing up for the right of women to make their own reproductive health care decisions, something that very few sexual assault survivors are willing to do.

What is just as bad as sexual assault, in my opinion, is forcing women who have been impregnated as a result of being sexually assaulted to carry an unwanted fetus to term. That’s an absolutely barbaric idea, in my opinion. Yet many politicians, including Scott Walker, want to, among other things, force women who have been impregnated as a result of being sexually assaulted to carry an unwanted fetus to term. Unlike right-wing politicians, I firmly believe that women should have the right to make their own reproductive health care decisions, including the decision on whether or not to terminate a pregnancy.

Proposed Enbridge pipeline expansion in Wisconsin would result in higher chance of major oil spill

If Canadian oil pipeline company Enbridge gets its way, a major oil pipeline that runs through northern, central, and south central Wisconsin would become bigger than the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that runs from the Prairie Provinces of Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast, creating a greater risk of a major oil spill causing significant environmental damage in places like Ladysmith, Marshfield, and Fort Atkinson. If I’m reading this map correctly, the pipeline (dark gold line on the map) runs through 15 Wisconsin counties (Douglas, Washburn, Sawyer, Rusk, Chippewa, Taylor, Clark, Marathon, Wood, Adams, Marquette, Columbia, Dane, Jefferson, and Rock) and 4 Illinois counties (Boone, DeKalb, LaSalle, and Livingston).

However, Wisconsin progressives are fighting back against this threat to Wisconsin’s environment and quality of life.

An 80-year-old Wisconsinite by the name of Bruce Noble is riding his bicycle through numerous Wisconsin counties that the pipeline runs through to raise awareness about the increased environmental threat that the pipeline expansion poses:

(Duluth, Minnesota ABC affiliate) WDIO-TV reported Bruce Noble is biking through counties where the Canada-based company’s crude oil Pipeline 61 could be built. It’s expected to start in Superior and end in Illinois.

Noble is a former professor who has survived open heart surgery and cancer. He said he doesn’t have a long time left to live and wants to fight potential environmental threats the help future generations. He plans to educate the public about oil spills and other issues along his bike route.

Additionally, a public hearing regarding the proposed new pump station in the Town of Medina in Dane County that, if approved, would be built as part of the pipeline expansion will be held on October 28 at 7 P.M. I’m not sure exactly where the hearing will be held, although the Dane County Board’s Zoning and Land Regulation Committee will be holing the hearing. This could be the last opportunity for those who care about Wisconsin’s environment and quality of life to voice their opposition to the proposed pipeline expansion to elected officials.

Furthermore, a teach-in about the proposed pipeline will be held on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater on November 6 from 3 P.M. to 5 P.M. The teach-in is being organized by 350 Madison, the Madison-area chapter of the international 350 organization that supports efforts to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the air to make the planet more livable.

As someone who lives in the other state that Enbridge Pipeline 61 runs through (although about 86 miles southeast of the southern end of the pipeline), I am very concerned that the proposed expansion of Enbridge Pipeline 61 would result in a considerably greater chance of a catastrophic oil spill, especially given that the proposed expansion would make the pipeline even bigger than the proposed Keystone XL pipeline and that Enbridge has a long track record of oil spills from its pipelines, most notably a massive oil spill from an Enbridge pipeline in Michigan in 2010 that caused significant water pollution in the Kalamazoo River watershed.

Republican Party national co-chair Sharon Day thinks that Wisconsinites are stupid

Sharon Day, the co-chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, basically said that she thinks that Wisconsin voters are stupid at a Republican field office in Waukesha:

Sharon Day, the co-chair (of the Republican National Committee), told the audience, “It’s not going to be an easy election, it’s a close election. Like I said, much closer than I can even understand why.

“I don’t want to say anything about your Wisconsin voters but, some of them might not be as sharp as a knife.”

Day may have not used the word “stupid” in her remarks, but she effectively called Wisconsin voters stupid. The first rule of politics is don’t insult the electorate, and Day violated that rule. Republicans have never given a damn about the people of Wisconsin for the last four years, and now they’re admitting it!

Additionally, Republicans have a very big reason to be scared: Municipal clerks in Brown County, which includes the Green Bay urban area, are reporting early voting levels that are similar to that of presidential elections. If all of Wisconsin has turnout for this year’s November elections that are at the same level as the November 2012 elections, Scott Walker is going to be voted out of office.

Far-right crackpot Nancy VanderMeer wants Wisconsin to nullify federal laws she doesn’t like

Republican candidate in the 70th Assembly District of Wisconsin Nancy VanderMeer stated in a 2012 questionnaire from the pro-Ron Paul front group Campaign for Liberty that she wants to nullify federal laws in Wisconsin that she doesn’t like, such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that has provided millions of Americans with health insurance.

Support for nullifying federal laws among Wisconsin Republicans is nothing new. In the same questionnaire, Republican Wisconsin State Rep. Scott Krug of the 72nd Assembly District and eight other Wisconsin Republican legislators publicly supported nullifying federal laws they don’t like and arresting federal officials who try to implement the ACA in Wisconsin. Additionally, pro-nullification Republicans in Wisconsin brought a resolution supporting nullification to the state Republican convention earlier this year, where it was voted down by convention delegates.

If far-right crackpots like Nancy VanderMeer get their way, depending on what federal laws they want to nullify, Wisconsinites could lose health insurance, could lose Social Security benefits, could have an even more difficult time exercising their right to vote, and face more air and water pollution, among other things. Republican efforts to nullify federal laws could have a very negative impact on Wisconsinites.

The fact that the Republican candidate in one of the most competitive state legislative races in all of Wisconsin supports such an absurd idea as nullifying federal laws means that Wisconsin Republicans still have a far-right problem on their hands. If you live in the 70th Assembly District, vote for Democratic State Rep. Amy Sue Vruwink. Sure, she’s not perfect, but she wouldn’t embarrass the district like Nancy VanderMeer would.

Mary Burke thinks it’s “fair” that Scott Walker drove Wisconsin public employees into poverty

I’m going to write one final blog post criticizing both Republican Governor Scott Walker and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke before the November 4 elections, and it’s over…you guessed it, public employees being forced to use government assistance just to provide for themselves and their families.

I’m going to share a video featuring Leah Lipska, a Wisconsin Department of Corrections employee who, after Walker and his Republican allies stripped collective bargaining rights from her and her public employees and forced her and her fellow public employees to overpay into pension and healthcare plans, is forced to rely on government assistance in order to provide food for herself and her family and energy to keep her home warm during Wisconsin’s harsh winters:

Scott Walker’s agenda of busting unions and stripping public employees of a huge chunk of their pay has done absolutely nothing to help Wisconsin’s economy. Instead, it’s put public servants like Leah Lipska into poverty and forced public servants like Lipska to rely on government assistance just to get by. In fact, Walker’s agenda of driving public servants into poverty has significantly hurt Wisconsin’s economy because public employees, just like people who work in the private sector, are consumers who spend money on goods and services, and consumer spending makes up the vast majority of economic activity in Wisconsin and the rest of the country. The fact that thousands of Wisconsin public employees are not able to spend as much money on goods and services as they were before 2011 is a big reason why Wisconsin has a weaker economy than neighboring states do.

However, what is, in my opinion, just as bad as Republicans who drive public servants into poverty are Democrats who support the provisions in Act 10 that stripped public servants of a large chunk of their pay by requiring them to overpay into pension and healthcare plans. One of those Democrats is Mary Burke, who is running against Walker. While Burke supports restoring collective bargaining rights and increasing the Wisconsin minimum wage, both of which would stimulate Wisconsin’s economy, Burke has repeatedly stated that she thinks that it’s “fair” that public employees were required to overpay into pension and healthcare plans, which is a big reason why people like Lipska are in poverty. In other words, Burke thinks that it’s “fair” that people like Lipska are in poverty.

Unlike Scott Walker and Mary Burke, I believe that nobody who works full-time for the government, whether it be the federal government, a state government, or a local government, should have to live in poverty.

While I encourage Wisconsinites to vote for Mary Burke on November 4, the fact that Scott Walker has driven many of Wisconsin’s public servants into poverty and Mary Burke thinks that what Walker did was “fair” is a big reason why Burke is the lesser of two evils compared to Walker.

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