The Prairie Badger bids farewell

Effective immediately, The Prairie Badger has been archived, meaning that no new blog posts will be published on here ever again, but the blog will remain online for archival purposes.

However, I’m not done writing about Wisconsin politics by any stretch of the imagination. I’ll continue writing about Wisconsin politics at my new blog, The Progressive Midwesterner, where I’ll mostly write about Illinois and Wisconsin politics, in addition to other subjects. I’ll also continue to write about Wisconsin politics on DailyKos from time to time.

You can view The Progressive Midwesterner here.

To those of you who read my posts on here, thank you!

Chris Taylor calls for creation of statewide commission to investigate deaths in police custody in Wisconsin

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This will be my final regular post at The Prairie Badger. Starting Monday, all of my blogging about Wisconsin politics will move to The Progressive Midwesterner. Please update your blogrolls accordingly.

Earlier this year, Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed into law legislation, supported by Democratic Wisconsin State Representative Chris Taylor of Madison, requiring an independent review of all deaths that occur in the custody of state and local police officers in Wisconsin.

After a St. Louis County, Missouri grand jury refused to file charges against Ferguson (MO) Police Officer Darren Wilson after Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, Jr., Taylor is now calling for the addition of a statewide board to review all investigations of deaths that occur in the custody of state and local police in Wisconsin:

“The law that we passed is not perfect. It’s a first attempt to get a more open, transparent, independent process,” said State Rep. Chris Taylor, one of the bill’s co-sponsors.

Taylor is interested in adding to the bill — specifically creating a statewide board that would review all investigations before making recommendations to the district attorney — who decides if the officer will face charges.

“There’s no harm in having another set of eyes looking at these situations, particularly when the public is really questioning some of these outcomes and doesn’t seem to have the trust,” said Taylor.

The independent review panel was in the original draft, but was eventually taken out of the bill. Taylor says she’ll revisit the idea when the Legislature convenes in January.

Given that the statewide review panel was taken out of the bill in order to get enough Republicans to vote for the bill for it to be passed by both houses of the far-right, Republican-controlled Wisconsin State Legislature, I highly doubt that a statewide review panel would be enacted by the new Legislature. However, I thank Taylor for strongly supporting progressive, common-sense reforms to hold those who protect and serve the people of the State of Wisconsin accountable.

Far-right judicial activist Rebecca Bradley would be the wrong Bradley for the Wisconsin Supreme Court

Rebecca Bradley, a Milwaukee County circuit court judge, is running for the seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court held by Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, one of the two liberals on the Wisconsin Supreme Court (the court currently has four conservatives, two liberals, and one moderate).

Democrats and progressives need to organize against Rebecca quickly for two reasons: 1) the state supreme court election in Wisconsin is just a few months away (non-partisan primary scheduled for February 2015 if more than two candidates file to run, and, in any case, general election scheduled for April 2015), and 2) Rebecca is a far-right judicial activist who would be a hyperpartisan rubber stamp for Scott Walker and his far-right Republican allies if elected to Wisconsin’s highest court.

You see, Rebecca, who was originally appointed to the Milwaukee County bench by Walker, is a member of the Federalist Society, a far-right organization whose aim is to impose a destructive, far-right, anti-worker, anti-woman, anti-democracy, and anti-middle class agenda via judicial fiat. Rebecca, like her protegé Rudolph Randa, believes that political corruption is a form free speech, that women shouldn’t have the right to control their bodies, and that corporations should have more rights than the American people. That is a downright barbaric view of society, and Rebecca wants to implement her far-right views by judicial fiat.

Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, on the other hand, is, without a shadow of a doubt, the better Bradley in this race. Ann Walsh is an actual judge who interprets the law, not push some political agenda. I strongly encourage Wisconsinites to vote for Ann Walsh Bradley…you know, the better Bradley…in the upcoming Wisconsin Supreme Court race. Here’s her campaign website!

The progressive takeover of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin is for real

Rowan Viva, who is apparently not running for Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW) this time around (her last attempt at doing so resulted in her not even making the convention ballot), is now organizing an effort to get progressives to register as DPW members in order to get slots as delegates to the upcoming DPW convention next year in Milwaukee:

**CALL TO ACTION FOR FIGHTIN’ WISCONSINITES!**

Please sign up *now* if you may be willing to serve as a delegate at the Democratic Party of WI state convention next June to vote in new leadership and create a grassroots-driven party that will fight for us . . . and win!

You do *not* currently need to be a party member, but you will need to join before the convention.

It only takes one Saturday, and it may be the most important thing you do for our state in the coming year.

Please email your name, phone number, email, address (+county) and current party member Yes or No to progressivedempartyofwi@gmail.com if interested.

This list will only be used to organize grassroots delegates to the state convention and will be kept confidential.

Thank you and please like and share!

(link added by me)

The only thing that is missing is the slate of progressive candidates for Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and other DPW offices.

Tanya Lohr reportedly considering running for Democratic Party of Wisconsin chair

I was notified by a source close to Washington County, Wisconsin Democratic Party chairperson Tanya Lohr that Lohr is considering running for Democratic Party of Wisconsin chairperson at the 2015 DPW Convention. However, Lohr would have to give up her teaching job in order to run for DPW chair, and, if there’s anything that would prevent her from running, it would be that.

My source, who I will not name at this time because I haven’t been authorized to mention the name of my source, is someone who is considering running in the upcoming special election in the 20th State Senate District of Wisconsin, which is being vacated by Republican crackpot Glenn Grothman after Grothman won election to Congress in the 6th Congressional District.

Lohr is the fourth person to either be considering running for DPW chair or rumored to be considering running that I know of (the other three being former DPW Chairman Joe Wineke, DNC member Jason Rae, and recently-defeated State Rep. Amy Sue Vruwink), and she’s, by far, the most progressive of those four. Let it put it this way: if Mike Tate were to not run for another term as DPW chair and Wineke, Rae, Vruwink, and Lohr were the four candidates running for DPW chair, you’d have a shill for the telecom industry (Wineke), a shill for millionaire philanthropists like Chris Abele (Rae), a shill for the gun lobby (Vruwink), and an actual progressive (Lohr). Guess which one I would endorse if that scenario were to occur…

Governor Walker, you are no Fighting Bob La Follette

In an editorial by The Wall Street Journal’s Joseph Rago, Republican Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, who is considering running for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 2016, compared himself to Fighting Bob La Follette, who made Wisconsin a progressive bastion during the Progressive Era of American politics in the early 20th century.

While I highly doubt that Walker is reading this blog post, here are my words for him: Governor, you are no Fighting Bob La Follette.

Unlike Walker, who busted unions, drove down the take-home pay of public employees, made it easier for employers to discriminate against women, and made it harder for Wisconsinites to exercise their right to vote, Fighting Bob fought for progressive ideals such as getting the undue influence of money out of politics, making it easier for Wisconsinites to vote, and championed minimum wage laws, workers’ compensation, and many other progressive ideals. In short, Walker is on the side of the Koch Brothers and other right-wing business interests, who are the modern-day equivalent of the robber barons that Fighting Bob railed against over a century ago.

Walker is no Gaylord Nelson, no Bill Proxmire, and no Russ Feingold. Nelson championed clean air, clean water, and protecting the environment, but Walker wants to pollute Lake Superior by opening an open-pit iron ore mine in the Penokee Hills region of the state. Bill Proxmire fought against actual wasteful spending, such as presidential inauguration ceremonies that were more lavish than necessary and on a U.S. Army study on how to buy Worcestershire sauce (although some of the government spending Proxmire criticized actually benefited the American people), but Walker thinks that social safety net programs are more wasteful than actual wasteful spending, like handing out corporate welfare to political cronies. Russ Feingold fought to protect the civil liberties of the American people, but Walker had the Wisconsin Capitol Police arrest people for exercising their First Amendment right to sing.

Walker is no James Groppi and no Lori Compas. Groppi and Compas both understood what it really means to be a progressive and fight for progressive values. Walker doesn’t understand what it means to be a progressive, because he’s a hard-line conservative who has fought against Democrats and progressives throughout his entire political career.

Sadly, this isn’t the first time that Scott Walker has lied about his political beliefs and whitewashed Wisconsin’s political history to promote his far-right corporate agenda and his presidential ambitions.

DPW Chair Mike Tate to announce future plans in January, praises Scott Walker in Mike Gousha interview

In response to high-grade rumors that he won’t run for another term as DPW chairman, embattled Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW) chairman Mike Tate announced that he’ll decide whether or not to run for another two-year term in January of next year.

In the same interview in which he announced a timetable for a decision on whether or not he’ll run for another term as DPW chair, Tate, whose track record as DPW chairman has been absolutely awful and has refused to take responsibility for the Democratic losses in the November 2014 elections, praised Scott Walker in his interview with WISN-TV’s Mike Gousha:

…But you have Scott Walker, and they’re someone in my — it’s difficult for my party to understand, but people have a genuine affection for him. Especially in the Green Bay market and northern Wisconsin, they think this is a guy who came in and took bold action…

Yes, you’re reading that correctly…the chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin publicly praised Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in a televised interview. Sadly, Democrats praising Republicans is far too commonplace in the Democratic Party of Wisconsin…Tammy Baldwin ran a TV ad praising Republican Congressman Reid Ribble in her 2012 U.S. Senate Campaign, Martha Laning bizarrely claimed in one of her ads that good ideas have come from Republicans in her unsuccessful state senate campaign in the Maintowoc/Sheboygan area this year, Mary Burke ran an ad praising former Republican President Ronald Reagan when she ran against Scott Walker this year, and I could list numerous other examples of Wisconsin Democrats praising Republicans and giving them political cover. I’ve heard more Republican-praising from Democratic candidates in Wisconsin than championing of progressive values and ideals, and I find it to be downright annoying.

Also, the only reason many people in Wisconsin have an affection for Scott Walker in the first place is because Mike Tate pushes corporate candidates like Tom Barrett and Mary Burke who whine about Walker dividing Wisconsin, preach compromise with the very Republicans that are destroying everything that is/was good about Wisconsin, and so on. Instead, Democratic candidates in Wisconsin should be proudly and unapologetically championing progressive ideals every step of the way, talking about how a sweeping progressive agenda would benefit Wisconsinites, and making Scott Walker’s far-right agenda look as absurd as possible and, most importantly, refusing to compromise the core progressive principles that Democrats in Wisconsin are supposed to stand for. Democrats in Wisconsin lack a unified message that can be used to bludgeon Republicans and help Democrats get elected, and Democrats in Wisconsin are not going to have a unified message until millionaire philanthropists like Mary Burke and Chris Abele, corporate hacks like Tom Barrett, Ron Kind, and Lena Taylor, and incompetent party bosses like Mike Tate are purged from the party and progressives are in control of the party.

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