Saturday, December 29, 2018

The Speech I Wish Tony Evers Would Make

My Fellow Wisconsinites,

Thank you so much for electing me to be your next Governor.  It will be an honor and a privilege to serve you as the chief executive of the great state of Wisconsin.

As many of you know, since I took office, the Republicans in the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate decided to throw a pity party temper tantrum, and working with outgoing sore loser Governor Scott Walker, undid the fabric of Wisconsin's Democracy.  They've dramatically pulled back the power of the Executive Branch, and shifted that power to themselves in the Legislative Branch.  What they did can no longer be described as three separate branches of government, with checks and balances to keep all branches honest.  We now have a Legislative Branch more powerful than the other two branches, something the founders of our state (and American Democracy) never intended, as well as a Governor whose power to run the state disappeared with a stroke of a pen.  Through their machinations, the Governor of Wisconsin is pretty much a ceremonial position, with dramatically limited power.

When I was elected to be Governor, the people who voted for me were expecting me to take over the same exact office Scott Walker is vacating.  Now, after Republicans lost total control over Madison, they've disrespected the voters of Wisconsin.  They've negated the election results by taking the path of undermining your mandate, as dictated to them by you, the residents of Wisconsin.

This is why I'm making this solemn, but resolute pledge.  I, as Governor, will not sign one piece of Legislation, including emergency relief for storm damage and natural disasters, until the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate restore the powers of the Governor's office to the levels they themselves were content with under Scott Walker.

I want to apologize first to the people who might be in line for emergency relief funds in the future. With my limited powers remaining, I will direct the state agencies I still control to help you in any way possible through these trying times.  I know this might seem like I'm taking my frustrations with the Wisconsin Republicans out on you, but I take no pleasure in such a serious and far reaching stance.  Let me explain how I came to make this decision.

The Wisconsin Republican Party are a bunch of liars.  If Scott Walker would've won re-election, they would've NEVER muted his powers.  This decision was hyper-partisan, a result of their losing the election and refusing to relinquish the control they've had for eight years.  I've heard the leaders of the Senate and Assembly imply, now that they have neutered the Governor's office as much as they have, they hope I can get past my partisan feelings and work with them to move Wisconsin forward. Their brazen disrespect of me, the voters, and the Democracy of Wisconsin is outrageous.

Since this is Wisconsin, let me explain what they did in football terms.  They decided to do away with kickoffs and punts, and will instead place the football one inch outside of my goal whenever one of us has the ball.  They contend this a 'fair, impartial' starting position.  Then the Republicans insist I'm the bad guy because I'm not willing to move the ball another half inch towards my goal.  I've decided it's in my best interests, and the best interest of the state of Wisconsin, to not even play this incredibly fixed version of the game.

But the real terrifying element of what the Wisconsin Republicans did is how un-American it really is.  This is some third world, evil despot kind of maneuvering.  When Russian dictator Vladimir Putin was President of Russia for the first time, he insisted all the power to run the country needed to be filtered through his office.  Then, when he became Prime Minister, he re-wrote the government's rules so everything would then flow through the Prime Minister's office.  Then, when he re-assumed the Presidency, he reverted control of the Government back to that office.  This is the same tactic the Wisconsin Republican Party is employing to maintain power over the state.  If I was to accept this, and then leave office in four years, replaced by a Republican Governor, OF COURSE they would be insisting the powers they stripped from me need to be restored.  What the Wisconsin Republicans are doing is crumbling the Democratic foundation of this state, and this country.

My decision is a line in the sand, a last stand to save the Democracy imagined by the founding father's of the United States, and by the founders of the State of Wisconsin.  The Wisconsin Republicans are mad with power and I will not idly stand by to see them destroy this state for personal gain.

There is no negotiation.  The first bill I will sign as governor will be the bill restoring the Executive Branch to full power.  Give me back the same powers which the voters wanted me to have, which you would've left in place if Walker would've won re-election.  Then, and only then, can we discuss moving Wisconsin forward.

Regardless, I'll continue to work through the court system to undo your illegal actions.  I know the Republicans will label me petty and bitter, but this stance is solely due to the Republicans own pettiness and bitterness; a partisan temper tantrum after the voters of this state told them they no longer wanted the Republicans in the Governor's mansion.

In the end, I'm trying to save Wisconsin, and Democracy itself, from the Wisconsin Republican's Machiavellian, illegal, anti-American power grab.

Republicans, the ball is now in your court.  I await the Executive Branch Restoration bill which I vow to sign immediately.

Oh, and Go Packers!

You're Sincerely,

Tony Evers

Friday, December 28, 2018

The Friday Link for 12/28/18

First off, let me say I've proudly made three non Friday Link posts on Progressive Citizen X! And the good news is I should have two to three more before the year is out!

For a New Years edition of the Link, three great videos, all going back in time.

First off is the great Mr. Bean and a New Year's Eve Celebration episode, one I hadn't seen before.  Rowan Atkinson was so good at live action comedy.

Second up is a bit of a revisiting of last New Year's Friday Link, where I posted the entirety of Charlie Chaplin's classic film, Gold Rush.  That movie has a pivotal scene (and an all time classic movie scene) which takes place over New Years Eve.  Last years post was removed but I did find the particular scene.  Enjoy!

Finally an amazing piece of historic film from 1914.  This is a New Year's Dance in San Francisco.  It's a minute and a half of people dancing the night away.  Unsure if it's New Years from 1913 to 1914, or if it's 1914 to 1915, but needless to say, it's 100+ years old. I imagine no one at that time thought they'd be remembered 100 years later.

Have a wonderful and safe New Year's Eve everyone!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

The Lemming Parade

With the daily mountain of incompetence coming out of the White House, and a more unhinged Trump clearly needing someone to reign him in, most people are surprised to see Trump with 35% of the US population still loyally approving of him.  This 35% are the ones insisting he's the "best ever," touting his massive list of accomplishments, a list which only they can see.  These are the people I've labeled as 'hating Democrats more than they love their life, their health, their kids, their religion and their country.'  I firmly stand by my description.

What I disagree with is how media experts try to give Trump credit for this 35% by insisting he can 'relate to the common man.' That's bullcrap!  Trump has no knowledge, and no interest in learning about, the regular American.  He knows if he floats veiled racism and bigotry, racists and bigots will show up to his rallies, cheering on their Pope of Hatred like he's a rock star, but he doesn't care about those people, and he never will.

To understand why such utter incompetence has such a loyal following you have to understand a fundamental element of the modern Republican voter; they've been brainwashed. I'm dead serious.  These people have been fed decades of propaganda and it's success shows in their unwavering faith in Trump, even as he's proven to be an unmitigated disaster on a daily basis.

There are four specific moments which have gotten Republican voters to this point.

  1. Newt Gingrich and the Contract with America crew.  In the shock of the Bill Clinton victory in 1992, a victory which seemed impossible nine months earlier, a new element of the Republican Party rose.  Led by the definitive evil which is Newt Gingrich, they clung to the idea Republican voters were so desperate to believe they were right, and that the Democrats were wrong, you could use that desire to get the Right's voters to fight against their own betterment.  Gingrich was right.  When Hillary Clinton spearheaded the early campaign for affordable health care, the Republicans screamed about how they would rather pay more.  As Bill Clinton's economy got rolling, they insisted it was really the Republicans who were responsible, even though the Republicans proudly voted against the economic stimulus bill which led to the greatest economy this country has ever seen.  The desire for Republicans to be right trumped their desire to be factual. This was a huge realization for the GOP, and it, along with the rise of Fox News, changed forever in how the Republicans talked to their voters.
  2. The Telecommunications Act of 1996.  Even though Reagan's removal of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 did far more to damage the quality on-air content (it immediately replaced quality and fair broadcasting with the owner's ideology) it was the loosening of the ownership rules which really got America's far right media going.  Before this change, a right wing owner had no way of reaching a large percentages of the population.  Passed under the promise that it would make media ownership more open, the TA96 was actually designed to do the opposite; solidify the radio, television and newspapers of the nation into the hands of a few dozen people, most of whom had a far right political agenda.  Almost overnight ten or so corporate media juggernauts controlled what the majority of Americans read, saw and heard.  Being in radio, I saw it first hand.  Cities which used to have a diverse broadcasting spectrum now had three right leaning TV stations, one right leaning newspaper, four conservative talk radio stations and (to ensure no other political opinion was able to get a foothold in a market) three to four sports talk stations.  The limited options were FAR worse in small town America, with usually one far right newspaper, and two far right radio stations.  The TA96 allowed for media executives with close ties to the Republicans Party to make sure Republican talking points were all that were heard.  If the Republicans would've been successful at selling of public television and public radio, most of America would've had right wing filtered news as their ONLY option.
  3. 9/11.  Even though Republicans were controlling message through the 1990's, it still conformed to a specific guideline: 'promote stories which make Republicans look good/Democrats look bad, and ignore stories which make Republicans look bad/Democrats look good.' That changed on 9/11. The morning on 9/11, after the planes had hit, I watched Reagan's former Chief of Staff James Baker make a disturbing claim on Fox News: "this was all Bill Clinton's fault!" It was astoundingly irresponsible to start laying the blame for this attack at the feet of your political enemy as rescue workers were still trying to pull people from the wreckage, but here we were.  Baker was telling everyone that whomever was the real culprit behind the attacks, you should think of President Bill Clinton in the same light.  At that moment, It didn't matter for Republican voters that W. had insisted he could go on a vacation for the entire month of August in 2001 because his Administration was in full control.  It didn't matter for them Condoleezza Rice, W.'s National Security Advisor at the time, had all the warning signs of the attack on her desk prior to the attack.  It didn't matter for them that W. had a security briefing weeks beforehand which was titled "Bin Laden determined to strike in the US," and the Administration didn't take it seriously.  At that moment, and in the days surrounding the 9/11 attacks, Republicans expertly used the fury, sadness and anger created on that day to focus the blame on their political enemies, the Democrats.  For me, 9/11 was the beginning of realizing, for some people, facts no longer mattered.  They started insisting what they wanted to be true was reality, an opinion gleefully validated by the far right media.  Republicans tested this 'creating reality' with the Iraqi War and it worked.  Even though it was easy to see W. and Cheney were lying their cabooses off, Republican voters didn't care.  I'll never forget going into Fairview Southdale hospital in September of 2004 to visit my newborn daughter and getting yelled at in the parking ramp by a Republican woman who insisted "I hated the troops" because of my "Veteran's for Kerry' bumper sticker (let that sink in for a second).  That's when I knew the wheels of the Republican voter were coming off.
  4. The Bush re-election of 2004. Up until this point, you have Republicans pushing a narrative in the news, controlling the media of the country, and the beginnings of re-writing reality to fit their narrative, but to get to the blind loyalty we see around Trump today, we need the final piece; what Vice President Dick Cheney did to ensure a second term in the White House.  Realizing the Republicans policies of the last twenty years had pushed the loyal blue collar workers who voted for Reagan out of the party, Cheney turned to the far right fringes of America to get his loyal foot soldiers.  The extreme Evangelical Christians, the militia nutbags, the anti government conspiracy stooges, and the racists were welcomed into the party, giving the Republicans the foot-soldiers they needed, while at the same time giving validity to these bigots, zealots and kooks. It led to a victory for the Republicans in 2004, but this decision immediately derailed the party.  By 2008, an massively unqualified Sarah Palin was sharing the GOP ticket, racists at Republican events were openly attacking future President Obama with racist rhetoric, and the Republicans devolved into a 'who can grunt loudest' obedience test.  That last point is very important.  These new Republicans installed a far right purity test.  Every non-far right psycho had to either get in line or be labeled as a traitor, forever brandished with a a scarlet 'M.'  Dick Cheney got the Republicans a loyal dog, but it was a dog who constantly went to he bathroom inside their own house, then rolled around in it, all while growling at anyone who didn't agree with their master's far right direction.  One time moderate Republicans, afraid of being called out by the screaming lunatic fringe, stuffed their dignity and honor into the trash, and started marching in unison with the rest of the party.
That's how you get 35% of this country never wavering in their love of Trump.  They've been brainwashed, first with a simple narrative validation, then with repetition, then with reality alteration, then with a unintelligent disgusting hoard mentality driving loyalty pledges to the extreme far right.

I will say Trump himself seems to be testing how far this brainwashed lemming parade will go.  His argument to validate his government shutdown is that he's only not paying Democratic voting government workers, a statement most people, including most Republicans, can see is laughable (44,000 members of the Coast Guard are part of the federal workers not getting paid.  They're ALL Democrats?).  

But that being said, trust me.  More than a few Trump supporters are insisting the only people hurt by this shut down are Republicans, even as they themselves are losing their paycheck.  That's the kind of loyalty you can't buy.  This insanity validates another phrase I've often used in the age of Trump: 'most Republicans could walk into their house and find their spouse in bed with Trump, and the first words out of their mouth will be "damn Democrats!"' 

MSNBC just beat Fox News across the board for the first time in 17 years.  Maybe these delusional fools are starting to wake up.  Then again, W., Nixon, Hoover, Hayes, Johnson, Buchanan and Adams all had their supporters wildly applauding their legacy, even as the reality of what they'd done settled upon the masses.  My guess is Trump will always have at least a 25% approval rating, no matter how bad he makes things for those followers.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Equal Opportunity

As attention starts to turn towards who will run for the Democratic nomination to be President in 2020, I've heard two recurring pleas:

  • For God's sake, don't let Hillary Clinton run for President again.  It's because Republicans have been brainwashed into hating her, no matter how irrational, we're in this mess!  Her time was in 2016.  She needs to stay home this time!
  • For God's Sake, don't let Bernie Sanders run for President again.  It's because of him, and his dividing of the party, that we ended up with Trump in the first place. His chance was in 2016.  He needs to stay home this time!
To all the people who are posting these pleas, from the bottom of my heart, SHUT UP!!!

We have a process in place to determine who will be the next Democratic nominee.  If the Democratic party (DNC) determines a candidate fits the definition of what makes up a Democrat, then by all means, let them run.  This includes Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.  Remember: You build resentment by making people feel as if they were wronged.

Hillary Clinton supporters were aggressive during the 2016 nomination process.  I remember when Vice President Joe Biden was considering a run and Clinton supporters immediately insisted he shouldn't because his mental state had been 'compromised' due to the death of his son.  That was cold.  Clinton supporters just presumed Bernie supporters were going to be on board, and took them for granted.  That was a mistake.  For many Clinton supporters, there's still a lot of anger at what they perceive was a less than open arms endorsement from Sanders.

Trust me, no matter how many times I point out the math shows Bernie's ignoring the southeastern United States' Democratic Primaries early in the Democratic race was the deciding factor which cost him the nomination, many Bernie supporters are still convinced super-delegates were the knife in his back.  They weren't, but part of the reason we're in this Trump mess is because they felt wronged (let's not discount the massive Trump/Russian campaign to drive a wedge into the Democrats, encouraging Bernie supporters to not vote or to vote for Jill Stein).  Even today you have a lot of Bernie supporters who have a chip on their shoulder, looking for a reason to turn on the Democratic Party.

This is why we shouldn't be starting this nomination process by insisting on who CAN'T be the nominee.

If Hillary Clinton wants to run, let her.  I'll be honest; besides creating an extreme uneasiness in most Democrats, all she'll likely do is waste a ton of money.  But that being said, IT'S HER MONEY TO WASTE!  If she wants to run, let her run!

If Bernie Sanders wants to run, let him! Considering he'll turn 80 in his first year in office, his age becomes a legitimate concern when it comes to Democratic voters making a choice.  It's almost as if he'd need to announce his VP selection the same time he announces a run for President.  He still needs to address messaging issues towards moderate Democrats, and he needs a better overall campaign strategy, but if he wants to run, let him run!

It's always hard when a candidate you like loses and withdraws from the race.  What turns that frustration into ballot box jeopardizing resentment is the feeling the process was unfair.  Nothing feels more unfair than starting a nomination process by telling a legitimate nominee they're not welcome.

If you're a Democrat, or if you're closely aligned with the Democrats, and the Democratic Party determines you fall under the umbrella of being a Democrat, then by all means, form an exploratory committee and RUN!  The Democrats are supposed to be the party of equal opportunity.  Let's start acting like it.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Initial Thoughts on 2020

Consider how bad things went for the Republicans in 2018:

Their gerrymandered US House was taken back with authority by the Democrats with historic resound.  The Contract With America year the Republicans had a 7.0% advantage in the polling. In 2010, the year the Republicasn demanded all Democrats sit down and shut up, including President Obama, because they "had a mandate from the American people," Republicans had a 7.2% advantage.  The Democrats in 2018 had a 9.2% advantage.

Trust me, the gerrymandering still did it's job.  If the Republicans didn't have a massive gerrymandered advantage, they would've lost 100 seats, but even so no one is popping champaign bottles on the right.  This is their worst case scenario.  Their brand is pretty much wiped out on the West Coast and in the northeastern US, north of the Mason Dixon Line.  There are signs their tight grip on the southeastern US is starting to falter, and even deep red Texas is looking more and more blue.

Heck in North Carolina, they literally had the Republicans confiscating thousands of absentee ballots, an attempt to steal a congressional seat outright.  And we should be questioning whether or not the vote theft tactic/game plan happened in other sates, like Georgia and Florida.

With the majority of the US seeing Trump as a political Titanic starting to slip under the waves, Republicans are stuck with a base who still worships him.  GOP voters will never believe Trump ever did anything wrong, meaning if the Mueller probe goes the way it's looking, Republican politicians either have to decide to A) stand on the deck of the USS Trump as it sinks, B) wait to see if the 2020 polling shows they're in big trouble (which they will be), and then decide to jump like rats from the sinking ship (I really disagree with Trump even though my record says I fully support him!) or C) jump in a lifeboat early and sail towards retirement.  If they take 'C,' at least they'll get a good view of the carnage before the move on.

Most non-retiring Republicans have proven they won't deviate from Reagan's 11th Commandment, [paraphrasing] "never speak ill will against a fellow Republican," even if that Republican is a petulant, narcissistic man child who's addicted to television and bedtime cheeseburgers, and is subject to a daily temper tantrum.  They're going full steam ahead as they look at 2020, and this means the Democrats need to be ready for the Republican's three prongs of attack.

First prong: a repeat of 2016, drive a wedge into the Democrats by working the progressive side of the party against the more moderate candidates.  Although we already have our eyes wide open for this interference, and even though we already know it will happen, it still will be moderately successful because it attacks a Democrat's weakness; Democrats almost always believe 'if everyone did what I wanted, things would be so much better.'  Fight this attack by being more open minded.  Remember, there's a system in place.  If your candidate is looking like they're not going to win, remind yourself EVERY DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE WILL BE FAR BETTER OPTION THAN TRUMP, OR ANY REPUBLICAN!  Stay united, no matter how much you get hurt by your candidate not being THE candidate.

Second prong: They have to get Democrats to stay home.  In Minnesota House races, Republican incumbents got more votes than they ever got before, but it didn't matter.  The Democrats showed up in force.  All Republicans could do is watch the inevitable unfold in front of them.  They can't win if Democrats show up, so they will do everything to get Democrats to stay home.  Ad campaigns to not vote, voting restrictions, disinformation distribution; the Republicans will spend a lot of money trying to get the left to be a no-show.  Fight this by having the same intensity as 2018, IF NOT MORE! Already vow to make sure people are registered to vote and they're going to vote.  Every Democratic Candidate, regardless of incumbent or challenger, needs to be knocking on doors ALREADY.  Don't be afraid.  Be pissed off and looking for bigger margins of victory.  With 2020 being a census year, if there's any hope to undo the right's obscene gerrymandering, we need to sweep every race we can.  That means showing up!

Third prong: outright theft.  Get ready for more attempts like the shenanigans in North Carolina.  Ballots being confiscated, fake ballots being submitted, absentee ballots being stolen and thrown out; the Republicans have already proven they're willing to use these tactics.  Be aware of what's going on, and if anything seems odd, contact the Secretary of State's office immediately.  Then, contact the local media.  Exposure is the biggest threat to these unlawful, anti-American tactics

What all three of these prongs show is something devastating for the Republicans. They're already conceding their candidates can't win fair and square.  Republicans won't appeal to the masses and will be a tough sell in what used to be safe Republicans districts.  Republicans need the Democrats to help them win.  I, for one, am not going to oblige.

Friday, December 21, 2018

The Friday Link for 12/21/18

Ok, I'm a jackass! I haven't had time this week to write, but that's mainly because I used up every bit of free time I had getting the holiday radio shows ready.  On my radio gig, we are airing 8 days of pre-recorded shows, all of them interviews with authors, pundits and even a journalist or two.  It's a ton of work to get that all recorded, but it's always the best option.  A week's worth of 'best of' shows gets boring really fast, and I don't believe in forcing fill in talent to work over the holidays.

Needless to say, it doesn't excuse the near barren existence of this blog.  I promise, with me now having time (when I get finished with my holiday preparations), I'll get something posted.

First a warning about tonight's Friday Links.  If you love Trump and his Administration, don't watch them.  They do not present Trump, or anyone around him, in a positive light, so save yourself the indigestion. These also have some rough language at times, so you've been warned.

For tonight, two insanely good bits from Colbert and his show for the holidays.  Laura Bennati's impression of First Lady Melania Trump is so freaking good.  Here she is showing all off her broadway expertise in a little segment called 'A Christmas Message from the White House.'

Then another holiday special where Santa gets help from Robert Mueller in saving Christmas.  It does have an amazingly accurate version of a Trump Campaign rally audience member.  It's topical, to say the least...

Merry Christmas to everyone celebrating it, and Happy Holidays to everyone else!

I promise I'll post some new blog pieces soon!

Friday, December 14, 2018

The Friday Link for 12/14/18

OKAY, OKAY...the blog has been really light...

I sat down about 11 times this week to write and I either realized I had something more pressing I had to do, OR I was exhausted.  I actually have two blog posts written, but I've not had time to proofread and edit them.  Considering how angry people get at me for typos on the Twitter feed, I dare not publish anything before I've cleaned them up.

That being said, you deserve better than three weeks of a nearly empty blog.  I will get some more posts published in the next week, I promise.

For this week, I've three for you.  First an incredibly satisfying takedown of Fox News' streaming service by Samantha Bee.  She hasn't had her comedic bite since the whole Ivanka dust up, but this was A+ primo comedy. Warning, ROUGH language, but 'Birth of a Fox Nation' is brilliant!

Next up is the best skit so far from Saturday Night Live this season, Them Trumps.  Of course this is what would happen to Trump if he was African American, and most of Trump's current supporters would be cheering this outcome if he was.

And finally for something Holiday, how about some mass marketing! This little skit was only about marketing the movie, and more specifically Lego toys before the holidays, but it's enjoyable.  I choose not to be a Scrooge!  Enjoy!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, December 7, 2018

The Friday Link for 12/7/18

Hey all.

I know, I know.  The blog has been a little light this week.  It's the holidays and with it comes a stress level that's magical. I'll try to get a post out this weekend.

This Friday night I wanted something to put you in the holiday spirit, so I found John Denver and The Muppets Christmas special from 1979.  I remember seeing this on TV as a kid.  It's not the best quality, but it still will make you smile.

I feel John Denver is an under appreciated artist.  Most of us know his songs, but I don't think many people would list him in their top five if asked to name some of the biggest artists of the seventies. His poppy country music was almost it's own genre, mountain pop, where his love of America's rural wilderness balanced with his simple wholesome song lyrics.  He always sang from the heart.

When I was in the Army, stationed in Germany, the pubs and bars were packed with beer and live music.  Of course the Beatles' songs were always the most popular ones sung, but my God, did the crowds love the John Denver songs.  I remember many a Friday night closing down one specific pub where the Germans and Irish would be loudly belting out "Take Me Home, Country Roads."

John Denver died little over 21 years ago in a plane crash in California.

Enjoy John in his holiday best, with the always entertaining Muppets.

Have a great weekend everyone, and I will try to get a post up by Sunday.