election info...


Go to either www.isbarackobamathepresident.com or www.ismittromneythepresident.com for a very interesting site and infographic. Same info but you may feel better going to your candidates site.

I am a visual learner so I like to get information this way. You can hover over balloons and see the state and electoral votes that they think will go to that candidate. Below the toss up states there are little pale gray states that show you which are the toss up states and how many electoral votes they have.

I say very nicely done the guardian and Real Clear Politics.

And of course there is always an app for that.

I just downloaded this but it was recommended by my friend Laurie so I assume it will be good. And I do need this app as we all know that both sides stretch the truth and sometimes downright lies are told. I also think it is truly a sad state of affairs when us critical thinkers have to go through this much work to figure out what the truth really is.

But my challenge to each and everyone one of you is to do just that. Only vote your party line AFTER you have done your research and you know you can stand with that candidate as your leader. It is your responsibility to not only vote but to be as informed a voter as you can be.



I [should have] VOTED TODAY

I found this sticker on the ground the morning after Scott Walker won the recall election and sighed.

As Fighting Bob LaFollette said long ago, “Mere passive citizenship is not enough.” At the very least, why can’t Americans vote at more than the a 50-60% level? Many countries turn out far more of their citizens to vote—we tend to take our precious democracy for granted when we shouldn’t.

The night of June 5, after sixteen months of working very hard—especially in the last four days—I was exhausted and heartbroken when I heard the election results. My first thought was, I’ll never work like this again because it hurts too much to lose. When I simply cast a vote, my investment is much smaller and my loss less painful . . .

By the next morning, I learned it was likely that Democrats had taken back the Senate by a slim margin. Since control of the Senate is a powerful step toward balance and fair representation, that was very encouraging news.

But I had already decided that it was well worth working so hard for 16 months! Here’s why:

1.     It was so much fun making new friends and working hard together with joyful determination and shared purpose. I mean, I even got to sing backup with the Solidarity Sing Along for Jackson Browne and Tom Morello! Who would have guessed?

2.     It was all a learning experience. Sixteen months ago I knew nothing about our state government and its proud history as the laboratory of democracy. I did not l know how to use social media—or all of the words to 30 songs and labor ballads.

3.     It was an enormous privilege to witness the birth of a new and important movement that is just beginning and will continue. Protecting our democracy and fighting for economic justice will be a lifetime project for me I suspect.

4.     I hung around very spunky, admirable people and learned from them how to be bold, work hard, and stand up for what I think is right. And when we lost our bid to recall Scott Walker, there were lots of people to hug.

5.     I’ve learned that our power is in our creativity and in trusting relationships. I’ve never been a witness to such enormous creativity from so many people. (And I majored in art!) Please watch this video for some homemade grassroots inspiration. A highlight for me was holding the lights one night on an overpass. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UE249ah5K4&feature=youtu.be

6.     I’ve learned about the corrupting effect of Citizens United on our democracy. Posterboard and people power are very effective ways to bring visibility to an election, but sadly, were not enough to beat a billionaire–funded campaign flooding the airwaves with Walker’s misinformation since November. Please read this article and check out the graph showing Walker's astonishing spending advantage vs Barrett. Also remember Walker had been campaigning for seven months. Barrett was his opponent for four short weeks. It begs the question, “Did Wisconsin have an Election or an Auction$$$ on June 5?”  http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2012/06/wisconsin-walker-recall-money-stats

After a rest from our labor, we’ll need to learn from what we’ve done so far and dig deep for more ways to win an election when wildly outspent. The rest of the country will have to learn how to do that, too, if the far right is to be defeated in any election.

(And can we please ban political TV ads and phone calls? People are fed up with it all and would be ripe for insisting that their lawmakers pass a bi-partisan law here in Wisconsin.)

No it is Not Too Late!


Wisconsin needs you like it never has before.

If you’re reading this post on Monday morning, June 4, you can help get out the vote for Tom Barrett and Mahlon Mitchell all day today and tomorrow, the two most critical days of the recall effort. To call or canvass, visit http://www.wearewisconsin.org/volunteer/ for office locations and contacts. Find out how to help Lori Compas win her battle against Senator Scott Fitzgerald at http://www.loricompas.org/ All four Senate recall races are close, so please lend a hand if you are in those districts.

Then—quick! grab some magic markers and poster board. Create your own low-budget “VOTE WALKER OUT” ad campaign and get out on the streets of your city or town. One person, one sign is a sign brigade, but find a few others to join you and it’s even more fun. Let’s put people-powered signs everywhere. Believe it or not, there are thousands of people around the state who do not know there is an election June 5.

Use Facebook invitations or send email blasts to your friends. Be creative and find a way to remind voters, especially young voters, that polls are open from 7-8pm. My dream is that many people who have never voted in their lives will decide, “This is the time to make my voice heard!” Let’s make sure we have a record turnout despite GOP efforts to make voting more difficult.

Here’s some information about the most crucial, yet confusing issues:

•  You do NOT need photo ID to vote in the recall election.

•  If you register on Election Day, bring a document with your name and voting address. This must be: a recent utility bill (electric, cell, phone, cable, etc.); a lease; a bank statement; a pay check; an employer ID card; a government document or check; a letter from a homeless shelter; a college photo ID along with a university fee receipt or list of dorm residents; a driver’s license or a state ID.

•  If you are a student living away from your parents, you can choose to vote where you live to go to school OR where your family’s home is. You may only vote once. If you moved between May 9 and June 5, you need to register and vote at the address you lived at BEFORE moving.

Let’s make sure that, win or lose tomorrow, we know we’ve done everything we can to beat the huge out-of-state funding advantage that has controlled perceptions to put a positive spin on Scott Walker, the most divisive governor in Wisconsin history.

If you can be at the Capitol at 8pm on Election Day, join us in a one-hour Solidarity Sing Along, and then watching election returns at The Majestic on King Street. It will be good for your nerves, heart, and soul.

Wisconsin Needs Healing


A right wing group called Citizens for Responsible Government has done something Nazi-like in Wisconsin. I don’t say that lightly. I’m in the midst of reading Erik Larson’s account of the rise of fascism, In the Garden of the Beasts. I’m heartsick that a conservative group would stoop to a similar style of exposure and attack, one calculated to sow neighbor vs. neighbor suspicion and fear.

One morning last week, an anti-teacher flier was delivered to Janesville, Wisconsin residents with their morning paper. (The Janesville Gazette had no knowledge of the plan). The flier attacked teachers, in an attempt to retaliate against those who signed the Recall Walker petition. Salaries and names of 321 teachers were listed. At the bottom of the flier was a "Parents' Rights Protection Form" urging parents to send it to Superintendent Karen Schulte and request that "my child be assigned to a classroom taught by a non-radical teacher during the 2012-2013 school year." This is just one example of the Divide and Conquer approach we must reject on June 5.

Fortunately there was a contrasting event last week. I traveled to Jefferson High School to watch candidate Lori Compas debate her opponent Senator Scott Fitzgerald. She called the Senator to account for his divisive policies with a gutsiness and grace that made me proud to be her supporter. We need people who are kind and respectful, yet brave and strong enough to refuse to tolerate wrongdoing. You can find out how to volunteer or donate to Lori at http://www.loricompas.org

I’m hoping that Tom Barrett will be our next governor. When I watch this video, I see his good-humored inclusive manner. Just like Lori’s style, Tom’s style is very different from Walker's arrogant, combative tone. Watch the reaction of the Stand With Walker people holding signs when Barrett shakes their hands.

What could happen in the next 2 weeks if we all walk up to our opponents, shake their hands and smile

whenever we see them? Let’s remember while we are getting ut the vote that we can be strong and kind.



Fifteen days from today, on June 5, the people of Wisconsin will vote. Six representatives of the people are facing recall: Governor Scott Walker, Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and four Senators, including grassroots heroine Lori Compas in District 13.

As John Nichols said in a recent article, “The unprecedented spending on behalf of Walker and his allies has made these recall elections an example of what campaigning has come to look like in the Citizens United era: Democrats can’t hope to match the staggering level of corporate cash raised by the GOP, so they will have to accelerate grassroots organizing and get-out-the-vote drives.

Wisconsin will test the prospect that people power might yet beat money power.” (My emphasis)

Many people, including me, wonder what we can do in these last days to most effectively fight back against all that corporate cash. After all, we don’t have millions of dollars to spend on slick commercials, so how do we get the word out about the Democratic candidates? Here’s a list I hope you will share with others:

1.     Write a letter to your local paper (Several of mine have been printed, and you’d be surprised how many people mentioned seeing them.)

2.     Spend as many hours as you can volunteering to Get Out the Vote. Go door to door, make phone calls, or bake cookies for volunteers. Sign up opportunities are at http://www.unitedwisconsin.com/ or http://www.wearewisconsin.org/ or http://www.loricompas.org/

3.     Donate money. The National Democratic Party can’t afford to give, billionaires don’t want to . . . http://www.barrettforwisconsin.com or http://www.unitedwisconsin.com/

4.     Make a video and post it to YouTube. Here’s one that Lori Compas and her family did a week ago to combat her opponent http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LO3FWw_XriE

5.     Make handheld signs and recruit others to wave them by the side of the road at rush hour. Get involved in the Highway to Truth Project by contacting Nate Timm at (608) 220-0139 or info2share@rocketmail.com You can donate $20 per sign to fund or help install handmade signs at busy locations.

6.     Wear a button. Sing. I designed the button in the photo to honor Ron, a man in his 80’s who joins the Solidarity Sing along every day and rings his Bell of Freedom.

7.     Visit the Overpass Light Brigade Facebook page and join them—or make your own LED signs. Here’s the video from last weekend when I stood on an overpass in Madison for several hours with 60 other people—what a great time it was with motorists honking down below. http://vimeo.com/42097105

8.     Paint your car, home, or office windows with your recall message. Here’s a good one: “Walker is a Weasel, Barrett is a Badger!”

9.     Or paint your trash . . . Take a look at the Northwoods Project’s newest campaign: the "Trash Walker" Brigade. This is what I call recycling. http://grassrootstvwi.blogspot.com/

Why the Recalls?

Articles with titles like “My Top 40 Reasons to Recall Scott Walker” have been popping up all year, and with time, those lists have grown longer. On the flip side, Walker supporters and the media often insist that Walker and the recalled State Senators have been targeted for their brave action—passing Act 10, the bill that repealed collective bargaining for public employees.

I can list many ways in which Governor Scott Walker is damaging our state, but the reason I believe he—and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald—should be recalled is somewhat different. The Wisconsin State Constitution is very specific about the recourse of recall.

In the early 1900s, Progressives designed recall as the remedy for a broken democracy. They wanted to strengthen the control of the people over the levers of government, while reducing the influence of powerful and wealthy special interests that controlled government. Sure sounds like today in Wisconsin.

As Fighting Bob LaFollette wrote: “By the recall, a faithless public official may be retired without waiting for the evil to be fully consummated. Under such a law, the public official will no longer betray his constituency.”

I vote to recall Governor Walker and Senator Fitzgerald because they have betrayed those who elected them. They used their positions to push an extreme agenda that Wisconsin citizens were not aware of and would never have voted for. We simply cannot wait until the end of their terms to vote them out, because we do not want to stand by until their agenda is “fully consummated”.

So on June 5, be thankful for the recall and make your voice heard!

Will the Real Candidates Please Stand Up?


If you’re confused about tomorrow’s primary recall election in Wisconsin, you’re not alone. Here’s a guide to navigate through the fakes and frauds to the real candidates for each of six offices.

Your vote is very important because the GOP is running six Republicans as fake Democratic candidates. Does that sound fishy? It is. Because voters don’t have to declare party allegiance in the primaries, many Republicans may cross over to the Democratic side and vote for the weakest gubernatorial challenger to create an easy race for Walker. They can also decide to cast their votes for the other five fakes.

“The Republicans have very little incentive to stay on their side of the ballot,” University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee political scientist Mordecai Lee said. “There’s a possibility a tsunami of Republican voters will cross over and mess things up.”

So please don’t ignore this crucial primary—but please do igonore the fake Democrats on the ballot.

Vote tomorrow, May 8, for one of these four real Democratic candidates for governor: Kathleen Falk, Tom Barrett, Kathleen Vinehout, or Doug LaFollette

Vote for Democratic candidate Mahon Mitchell as Lt. Governor.

If you live in District 13, please vote for Lori Compas for Senate.

In District 21, vote for John Lehman.

In District 23, vote for Kristen Dexter.

In District 29, vote for Donna Seidel.

After the primary, we’ll enthusiastically support the Democratic winners. We’ll come together for a month of hard work leading up to the general election on June 5, just like we did when we gathered signatures for these historic recalls. We’ll be outspent, but no one will outdo us in getting our fellow citizens to vote out the GOP, right?

Please volunteer or donate at http://www.unitedwisconsin.com/recall-walker-reclaim-wisconsin

Support Lori Compas in her exciting David vs Goliath attempt to unseat Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald http://www.loricompas.org/ If you can’t vote in her district, you can still donate your time and/or money to her campaign.

Sing Along with the Solidarity Sing Along


on the night of April 26, boy, did we have a party! Hundreds of Solidarity Sing Along participants and supporters gathered at the Majestic Theater in Madison to celebrate the 350th day of melodiously protesting Governor Scott Walker’s policies. Plus we cheered the release of our cd “This is What Democracy Sounds Like.” Lyrics are included with the cd so you can sing along—or just listen to a cut online at http://soundcloud.com/solidarity-sing-along
I was honored to design the cd booklet and cover pictured above. Here is the story of how we got to where we are now, written by Chris Reeder, our organizer and song leader:

“On March 11, Steve Burns printed up some song books and led the first Solidarity Sing Along in the Capitol.

During those first few weeks, we’d be lucky to get 15 people in the circle. We’d stand there, staring nervously at each other, and we’d sing. Our voices might have been shaking, but we sang. We sang out our frustration; we sang out our anger. While there were no longer 100,000 people in the streets, we wanted to make sure the legislators in the Capitol knew that the citizens of Wisconsin had not gone away. That we had not forgotten. That this was all far from over.

We sang every day. A dozen of us. Then two dozen. Then, all of a sudden, we were getting a hundred people every day.

And slowly, without anyone really noticing, some remarkable things started to happen. A community developed. Friendships formed. We supported each other. We cried together on the bad days and hugged each other on the good days.

We found that, although the main point of the sing along was still the petitioning of our government, a secondary purpose had developed. The sing along was strengthening us. The power of singing together was unmistakable. We left stronger than we arrived. We might arrive in despair, shocked at some new atrocity the Walker administration was attempting to foist upon our state, but we could leave strengthened and ready to get back to the important work of participatory democracy.

Perhaps most remarkably, we started—on occasion—to sound good. I suppose it should have been no big surprise. If you do anything for an hour 300 times, you will improve, but it still came as a surprise to us.

Some people who attend the sing along are professional-level musicians and singers. Some never even considered singing in public before the sing along began. Yet we all

blend together into a harmonious whole. Once or twice a week, we sing outside. Over the course of several months, as musicians began to bring instruments, an ad-hoc band formed. They have been dubbed The Learning Curve, due to the ever-changing nature of who they are and what they are asked to do. They’re never the same group of people, but they are always amazing.
Eventually, through the goodwill of some very generous people (in particular Steve Gotcher, Audio For The Arts, and Sally de Broux) we were asked to do a recording. It may not be the most polished recording ever made, but the passion of these citizens of Wisconsin, who make their way into the Capitol every single weekday to sing for what they believe in, is unmistakable.

We have never thought of what we do as a performance. One of the central ideas of Solidarity Sing Along is that anyone can participate. So, please, when you listen to this document of a remarkable time—sing along.”

You can download the cd at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/solidaritysingalong
All proceeds will benefit the Wisconsin recall effort.