Thursday, February 16, 2012

JT Lies About Redistricting Maps Whilst Attempting To Look Fair

So the Journal Times comes out with an editorial today condemning the secrecy agreements Republican legislators signed to keep discussions and plans to redistrict the state secret not just from each other but from the people.

An act that is a violation of Wisconsin open meeting laws and a failure to uphold their oath of office. Seriously, they should all be in the unemployment line and other newspapers have called for investigations into the whole criminal mess.

The JT was looking a little too much like the shills many believe they are by not reporting much about it...even the Patch got quotes from area legislators while the JT sat on their hands waiting for the whole thing to blow over. Their subscribers out in Caledonia are a valuable demographic in these hard times - best not to piss them off.

Well it didn't blow over and more documents have been submitted to the courts and no doubt they'll be equally as galling.

So the JT scolds Republican legislators - of course not by name. Why would a local newspaper want to remind anyone the secrecy agreements they are condemning were signed by local legislators,Van Wanggaard and Robin Vos? That's a little too investigative-ish - you know with facts and shizz. We give them credit for speaking out albeit with pale and thin vigor, but it was better than no statement. (Ahem, John Lehman - when the JT beats you to the punch, you may want to step up the pace sir.)  

However, the JT begins their finger-waving with one of their "we're fair" type of statements that is based on a right-wing talking point that is a total lie:
"When Democratic legislators were in charge of the redistricting, they, too, drew the lines quietly and off-camera to suit their partisan purposes."
That would be a good point/counterpoint factoid...if it were true. It's not and it's the kind of bullshit reporting that has saddled the JT with dropping subscriptions and a company in bankruptcy.

But back to the maps...In 2001when the maps were last drawn, Wisconsin had a Republican Governor, Scott McCallum. We had a Republican controlled Assembly and a Democratically controlled Senate. BOTH houses created maps that ultimately were never going to be agreed upon, so a non-partisan court drew the maps.

That's not the same thing. NOT AT ALL. Giving the false impression that Democrats behaved in the same manner as Republicans is not only false, but it is a play straight out of the Republican talking-point handbook widely circulated to local press by groups like the well-funded Heartland Institute.

The truth is the secrecy agreements signed by Wanggaard and Vos are unprecedented in the history of the Wisconsin legislature. Further, a Republican Assembly member has come forward to say not only were legislators required to sign secrecy agreements, they were shown two different maps: one with an electoral advantage for them if they vote for the maps and another map without political advantage for them if they didn't vote for the maps.

This is referred to as "logrolling" and it's illegal under Wisconsin law...in fact it's a felony. Robin Vos would be one of the legislators to have engaged in this activity...but you won't hear that from the Journal Times.