Ridiculous polls from Gravis Marketing and Marquette University

A couple of days ago, Gravis Marketing did a poll of the gubernatorial, secretary of state, and state treasurer races in Wisconsin on behalf of the conservative website Townhall.com, and, among other things, they found Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke ahead of Republican incumbent Scott Walker by five points.

Normally, I’d be excited about a poll showing Walker losing, however, the Burke campaign has made zero mention of the Gravis poll on her campaign’s Facebook and Twitter pages, and the poll has several major flaws in it. First off, they listed the wrong major-party candidates for the state treasurer’s race, listing Randy Melchart as the Republican candidate and David Leeper as the Democratic candidate, the actual major-party state treasurer candidates are Republican candidate Matt Adamczyk and Democratic candidate David Sartori. Additionally, the Gravis poll sample is 79% white, which is slightly more than four percentage points less white than the total Wisconsin population (83.3% white) according to the 2010 Census. I would estimate that a Wisconsin midterm electorate would be somewhere around 88-90% white, but I may be slightly off about that.

The latest Marquette University Law School poll, however, showed a five-point lead for Walker among likely voters (the lead for Walker was only one point among registered voters). However, there’s also a major flaw with that poll, this time, it’s in the gender crosstabs for the gubernatorial race. Among likely voters, Walker leads Burke 62-34 among men, and Burke leads Walker 54-40 among women. While I would expect a 12-15% gender gap between men and women, Marquette has the gender gap at a whopping 42% among likely voters, which seems extremely high.

To put that another way, turnout is going to be absolutely critical in this year’s elections in Wisconsin and the only poll that truly matters is the official one on election day.

Progressive-minded Wisconsin women stand up for pay equity in the face of attacks by Big Business interests

Earlier today, Jenni Dye, a Dane County Supervisor and the research director at One Wisconsin Now, called a press conference, which was held at the Wisconsin State Capitol, to support pay equity in the face of attacks by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), a conservative business organization that, among other things, believes that women should be paid less than men for the same work. Five other progressive-minded Wisconsin women spoke at the conference and joined Dye in criticizing the WMC’s anti-equality crusade and supporting efforts to end the pay gap between working men and working women in Wisconsin.

Here’s what Dane County Supervisor Jenni Dye (Fitchburg) had to say about the WMC’s anti-equality crusade:

It’s offensive that WMC is trying to raise money off the suggestion that equal pay is a radical idea and it’s disappointing to think that Wisconsin businesses would contribute to such campaign. But it’s appalling that politicians are willing to tow the WMC line that presumes women are worth less than their male co-workers.

Here’s what Wisconsin State Representative Chris Taylor (D-Madison) had to say about the WMC’s anti-equality crusade:

Women deserve to be paid equally. It’s a matter of fairness and economic prosperity. I challenge WMC to either pull their criticism of equal pay, or produce a single corporate member who thinks it’s okay to pay men and women unequally.

Here’s what Wisconsin State Representative Christine Sinicki (D-Milwaukee) had to say about the terrible pay gap between working men and working women in Wisconsin:

The pay gap costs Wisconsin women over $12 billion a year. That’s $12 billion that’s not being spent buying houses, fixing cars, replacing appliances, taking vacations, or any of the other millions of ways Wisconsin families reinvest their paychecks into the local economy. The pay gap is terrible for business.

Here’s what former Wisconsin Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager (D-Fond du Lac) had to say about the WMC fighting to take away the ability of women to sue employers that pay them less than men:

WMC fought hard to make it harder for women to get their day in court when demanding fair pay. Pay equity is a fundamental right for all citizens, and WMC’s actions to close the courthouse doors in these matters is nothing but an assault on all women and their families.

Here’s what Wisconsin Business Alliance executive director Lori Compas (Fort Atkinson) had to say about how pay equity would actually help businesses make more money:

I’m a small business owner myself, and in any given year at least 90% of my clients are women. Pay equity would certainly benefit my business and others like mine — it’s just simple logic that if women were paid the same as men, they would have more money to spend on goods and services in our communities.

Here’s what  9to5 Wisconsin state director Martha de la Rosa (Milwaukee) had to say about the terrible pay gay between working men and working women in Wisconsin:

In today’s economy, women are particularly vulnerable to economic hardship. Working women represent over half of the workforce and two-thirds of those workers are paid minimum wage or less. Therefore, women are most likely to live in poverty and rely on public assistance in order to make ends meet.

What Lautenschlager was refering to was Republican Governor Scott Walker signing into law a bill, passed by the Republicans who run the Wisconsin State Legislature, that repealed the 2009 Wisconsin Equal Pay Enforcement Act that Sinicki and numerous other state legislators fought for many years to get enacted. Walker’s repeal of Wisconsin’s equal pay law has made it easier for Wisconsin employers to treat female employees like second-class citizens, and it’s one of many reasons why Wisconsin’s economy has cratered under the failed leadership of Walker and his Republican allies.

Despite the fact that the anti-equality and anti-business agenda that Walker and the WMC support has failed Wisconsin on many levels, the WMC continues to rail against the pro-equality and pro-business idea of paying women the same amount as men for equal work.

Glenn Grothman: American ISIS

While Republican nominee in the 6th Congressional District of Wisconsin Glenn Grothman isn’t the kind of person who would consider beheading American journalists, plotting terrorist attacks on the United States, or doing some of the most heinous things that the Islamic fundamentalist group ISIS has either done or would consider doing, Grothman supports a far-right agenda that would make America look not much different from territories in the Middle East that are currently controlled by ISIS, and that’s a very ugly picture.

First off, Grothman is opposed to the idea of women having equal status compared to men. Grothman has publicly defended the idea of women being paid less than men, pushed for legislation to repeal Wisconsin’s equal pay enforcement law, and has supported numerous bills to take away the ability of women to make their own reproductive health care decisions. Men having more rights than men is also a concept in Sharia law, a legal system that ISIS supports.

When it comes to LGBT rights, Grothman effectively supported legislation in the African country of Uganda to criminalize homosexuality by sentencing people to life in prison simply because they’re gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender because Grothman criticized U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for criticizing efforts to criminalize Ugandans simply because of their sexual orientation. That’s a concept straight out of Sharia law, which criminalizes homosexuality and…you guessed it…is supported by ISIS.

Grothman is also a staunch supporter of the far-right gun lobby’s agenda to proliferate assault weapons and other types of guns into every part of society. The only two differences between an ISIS militant and an American right-winger carrying an assault rifle is the clothing and the religious beliefs.

If you live in the 6th Congressional District of Wisconsin, please vote for Mark Harris on November 4. Harris will be a real statesman, not a crackpot who wants to turn America into a third-world country like Grothman.

Gun nuts caught self-plagarizing

Given that Republicans have relentlessly attacked Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mary Burke for having a former campaign consultant self-plagiarize part of Burke’s jobs plan, I find it absolutely hypocritical that the National Rifle Association (NRA), a far-right organization that is supporting Scott Walker and is opposed to any measure that would keep guns out of the hands of criminals, is doing the same exact thing that Republicans are accusing Burke of:

The commercial by the gun rights group — which began airing this week in Green Bay, Wausau and La Crosse — offers a dramatized home invasion to make the case for the first-term Republican governor. The NRA says it is spending more than $1 million on the ad to help (Republican Gov. Scott) Walker defeat Democrat Mary Burke in November.

“Self defense is up to you when it matters the most,” the narrator says. “Scott Walker has protected your right to self defense. Vote like your safety depends on it.”

[...]

To the folks in Louisiana, the Walker ad would look awfully familiar. That’s because the NRA is using the same dramatized home invasion and other footage in a TV spot urging voters to oust Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu.

“How you defend yourself is up to you. It’s your choice,” the narrator says. “But Mary Landrieu voted to take away your gun rights. Vote like your safety depends on it.”

This is the latest example of how hypocrisy is rampant in the Republican Party and groups that back Republican candidates.

Why President Obama should nominate Chris Taylor for U.S. Attorney General

With U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announcing his intention to resign once a successor is picked, speculation is already beginning to fly as to who President Barack Obama may nominate to be the next U.S. Attorney General. I’ve heard Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington Jenny Durkan, and California Attorney General Kamala Harris floated as possible appointees.

In my opinion, President Obama should nominate Wisconsin State Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison) to be this country’s top prosecutor.

Taylor, who considered running for Attorney General of Wisconsin in this year’s elections but decided against doing so, has earned a reputation of being a fearless advocate for progressive causes. For starters, she got the Republicans who run the Wisconsin State Legislature to support her legislation to require independent investigations of deaths in police custody in Wisconsin. As someone with a deep sense of social justice, Taylor publicly defended peaceful protesters who were arrested for singing in the Wisconsin State Capitol, has championed women’s rights and is perhaps the most ardent supporter of reproductive rights that I’ve ever known about.

Chris Taylor would make a wonderful U.S. Attorney General, and I strongly encourage the president to appoint her to be the next U.S. Attorney General.

Race-baiting GOP ad comparing Barack Obama to abusive boyfriend airing in Wisconsin

The right-wing front group Americans for Shared Prosperity, which I’ve not been able to find much information on other than the fact that the candidates and policies they support won’t bring shared prosperity to Americans and that the organization is run by Florida Republican operative Rick Wilson, is running a bizarre TV ad in Wisconsin comparing President Barack Obama to an abusive boyfriend:

A Wisconsin resident and member of the election analysis website Daily Kos Elections (DKE) who goes under the handle WisJohn said that he saw the ad on Meet the Press on the NBC affiliate in Madison, Wisconsin yesterday, so the ad is airing in the Madison media market in Wisconsin and may be airing in other Wisconsin media markets. The ad may be running in other states as well, as the ad doesn’t appear to be targeted at a specific state or constituency.

This ad is yet another horrible example of race-baiting by Republicans. Let’s be honest…if Obama was a white guy, they’d never compare him to an abusive boyfriend. However, since Obama is a black guy, they’ll make him look like he’s the most evil, dangerous person who ever walked the face of the earth because it plays into their negative stereotype of black people. This is Willie Horton-level race-baiting from the Republicans.

Furthermore, it’s hypocritical for Republicans to compare Obama to an abusive boyfriend, since Republicans were the ones who threw a royal fit over disgraced former Democratic operative Graeme Zielinski comparing Scott Walker’s legal defense in the John Doe I investigation to the legal defense of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.

In addition to comparing Obama to an abusive boyfriend, they also compared elections to online dating services. That is an absurd comparison, since getting to know about a candidate for public office is a completely different concept getting to know someone who you’re considering falling in love with. Additionally, to compare elections to online dating services is downright insulting to voters, since voters don’t want candidates who they can fall in love with like a boyfriend or a girlfriend, they want candidates who share their beliefs on most issues.

Republicans need to log off of Ashley Madison and support actual pro-middle class policies like raising the minimum wage and granting collective bargaining rights to public employees. Of course, they’d never do either of those things.

Statement on Eric Schnurer self-plagiarism scandal implicating Mary Burke campaign

Mary Burke’s narrow-minded, inner circle-oriented, and consultant-heavy campaign is coming back to haunt her: It’s been revealed that Eric Schnurer, a consultant who previously worked for Burke’s campaign, had self-plagiarized parts of Burke’s jobs plan from previous Democratic gubernatorial campaigns in other states that said consultant had worked for.

This kind of self-plagiarism is yet another example of why the corrupt, milquetoast, out-of-ideas Democratic establishment has mislead progressives and failed the American people nearly as much as the Republicans have. The political culture that the party bosses expect Democratic candidates to adhere to these days is to fundraise constantly, develop a vindictive, out-of-touch inner-circle mentality, and hire tons of consultants and political operatives who essentially do all the thinking for the candidate. Sure, there’s many Democratic candidates out there who don’t have a ton of staffers and can think for themselves (most of which run in state legislative and other downballot races), but many of them, especially corporate Democrats running in high-profile races, have, for all intents and purposes, outsourced the brains of their campaigns to a bunch of consultants and political operatives.

I’ll admit that I’ve been guilty of more serious instances of plagiarism myself. While attending a small community college here in my home state of Illinois, I failed college courses because of not following directions on research papers on two occasions. One instance involved me forgetting to use an online plagiarism-checking service when directions required me to use that service, and the other instance involved me forgetting to turn in hard copies of sources I used on a research paper when directions required me to do so. What I did is, in my opinion, just as wrong as a consultant for a political campaign plagiarizing his or her own work from a previous campaign that he/she worked for.

Back to the original subject of my blog post, I’m going to write-off the 2014 Wisconsin gubernatorial race as unwinnable for Democrats if the Eric Schnurer self-plagiarism scandal implicating the Mary Burke campaign gains considerable traction, even though I’d hate to see Scott Walker get re-elected despite destroying Wisconsin’s economy and reputation.

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