Showing posts with label Ron Johnson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ron Johnson. Show all posts

Oct 17, 2013

Wisconsin's Suicide Caucus—Ron Johnson, Four Wisc GOP Reps Vote for Gov Default

Paul Ryan leads Wisconsin Suicide Caucus; Now Looking to Slash
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as Their Next Crusade

Update - China's credit rating agency Dagong has downgraded the U.S. rating from A to A-, reports the Business Insider.

Five out of six members of the Wisconsin Republican congressional delegation voted not to open government, and avert an unprecedented financial default in a vote late last night.

This manner of Tea Party campaign is incredibly reckless action that has world economists wondering if Republican Party extremism will destroy the United States Dollar as the world's reserve currency.

Wisconsin Republicans did their worst.

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin is one of only 18 senators to oppose the Senate bill opening government, and avoiding a government default that economists say would have thrown the United States back into a recession.

Reps. Sean Duffy (R-Ashland), Tom Petri (R-Fond du Lac), Paul Ryan (R-Janesville), James Sensenbrenner (R-Wauwatosa) all voted "No" in joining Sen. Johnson.

Rep. Reid Ribble (R- Green Bay) is the only Wisconsin Republican in Congress to vote Yes to opening the government and avoiding default.

The Republican-engineered shutdown is estimated to have cost the U.S. domestic economy and American families $Billions is lost income and economic production.

The House voted 285-144, with all 144 No votes coming from Republican members of Congress.

The Senate voted 81 to 18, with all 18 No votes coming from Republican members of Congress.

The shutdown, perilous to the American economy, is also seen as a political body blow to the Tea Party or suicide caucus to which most Wisconsin Republicans have attached themselves.

Around the world, there is relief as well as disbelief that Republicans would perpetrate the 16-day shutdown bringing the United States of America close to default and financial catastrophe.

James Meikle, Paul Lewis and Dan Roberts report in The Guardian:
Stock markets in Japan, China, Hong Kong and South Korea initially reflected relief after the Republicans finally capitulated in their failed attempt to undermine Obama's healthcare reforms. But in Asia and Europe stock markets overall displayed a muted reaction with traders apparently expecting another battle in Washington early in 2014.

The shutdown is estimated to have cost the US $24bn – £1.5bn a day – according to ratings agency Standard and Poor. China's official Xinhua news agency had accused Washington of jeopardising other countries' dollar assets. China is the US government's largest creditor.

Obama signed the necessary legislation to fend off a default shortly after midnight on Thursday after a Republican split in the House of Representatives. The bill had passed easily with broad bipartisan support in the Senate, where Democratic and Republican leaders forged the agreement. It offers a temporary fix, funding the government until 15 January and raising the debt ceiling until 7 February.

Jul 2, 2013

Vatican Conspired to Hide $Millions from Sexual Assualt Victims

U.S. Senator (R-Wisconsin), Ron Johnson
Opposed Wisconsin Child Victims Bill giving
legal protection against Predator Priests
Update: Two facts to keep in mind about the Milwaukee Archdiocese documents released on July 1

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) testified before the Wisconsin State Senate in 2010 against state legislation, the Child Victims Act, to eliminate the statute of limitations for sexual abuse crimes, making it easier for victims of sexual abuse to seek damages from the Catholic Church or any other culpable institution, Talking Points Memo, Dan Bice, Daily Kos, Uppity Wisconsin, and many other online journals reported.

In 2009, Johnson, a private citizen, also traveled from Oshkosh to Madison to deliver additional testimony opposing the Child Victims Act.

Johnson was successful in his efforts.

In Johnson ready now to recant his testimony?

Today would be a good time.

Not sure how often Johnson reads the New York Times, but today's report that "documents reveal that Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, as Milwaukee’s archbishop, moved to protect $57 million in church assets from sexual-abuse victims," is the kind of news that might result in a Johnson re-think.

And today, State Sen. Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) has reintroduced the Child Victims Act, noting that the "National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect estimates that only about 3 percent of child molesters are ever caught. That raises the specter of hundreds of pedophiles walking the streets of Wisconsin towns, safe in the knowledge that they are protected by the law from ever being held accountable for their crimes."

Whose side is Ron Johnson on?

His friends hide $57 million and he helps kill legislation that would offer a chance of some measure of healing for sexual assault victims.

From a policy perspective Johnson takes the side of the perpetrators, against the children.

With allies like Sen. Ron Johnson, the Vatican, Cardinal Dolan and the molesters must believe they are untouchable.

They are not.

That smoke wafting from the Vatican and Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan's New York plush offices today is not white smoke signaling the election of a new Pope.

This smoke is emitting from a smoking gun; or perhaps more justifiably described as a decades-long smoke screen the Catholic Church hierarchy has emitted to cover up the sexual abuse of its clergy against children.

Out of Milwaukee, we are treating to the news reported by Laurie Goodstein (NYT) that documents reveal Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, as Milwaukee’s archbishop, moved to protect $57 million in church assets from sexual-abuse victims. [See also Michael D'Antonio's and M.L. Johnson's reporting on the Catholic Church's shanda.]

Why should people traumatized for life by the Catholic Church hierarchy, with the complicity of the Vatican, be compensated?

It's called decency, a human trait apparently absent from Cardinal Dolan, regarded by some as a reformer—in Catholic Church holy nomenclature, this means a church official who has beseeched the hierarchy to stop shielding predatory priests, stop molesting children, but works against legislation stopping victims from receiving funds from the Church to help treat sexual trauma.

Not surprisingly, the Republican legislature didn't slip in the Child Sexual Abuse Victims Act into the state budget (lamely opposed by the Democratic Party). I guess sexual abuse victims don't make for sympathetic players in Scott Walker's Wisconsin. Open for business, and that includes you, sexual predators, just don't get caught and then you're home free.

Writes Goodstein:

But the documents lift the curtain on [Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan's] role as a workaday church functionary concerned with safeguarding assets, persuading abusive priests to leave voluntarily in exchange for continued stipends and benefits, and complying with Rome’s sluggish canonical procedures for dismissing uncooperative priests who he had long concluded were remorseless and a serious risk to children. In one case, the Vatican took five years to remove a convicted sex offender from the priesthood.

“As victims organize and become more public, the potential for true scandal is very real,” he wrote in such a request in 2003 to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the head of the Vatican office charged with handling abuse cases until he became Pope Benedict XVI in 2005.

Victims on Monday called for a federal investigation into the actions of Cardinal Dolan and his predecessors, but the cardinal sought to deflect criticism by saying in a statement Monday that he welcomed the release of the documents.

The current archbishop of Milwaukee, Jerome E. Listecki, had announced his decision to release the documents in April, one day before a judicial hearing. Lawyers for abuse victims had asked a judge to compel their release.

Archbishop Listecki released a letter last week warning Catholics in his archdiocese that the documents could shake their faith, and trying to explain the actions of church leaders while offering apologies to victims.

“Prepare to be shocked,” he wrote. “There are some graphic descriptions about the behavior of some of these priest offenders.”
Shocked by "true scandal?" No shit.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests '(SNAP) reaction is to seek the hidden $ millions and award the money to the 1,000s of victims.

New York Cardinal conspired with Vatican while in Milwaukee to transfer nearly $57 million into new corporation for the “protection” of funds “from any legal claim and liability”

Milwaukee Archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in January 2011 not claiming Dolan’s transferred funds as assets.

Survivors asking US attorney to investigate Dolan for criminal charges of “fraudulent conveyance”

Statement by Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director (Milwaukee) CONTACT: 414.429.7259

Click here for Dolan letter to Vatican.
See Below for Ron Johnson Testifing Against Child Abuse Victims; Opposing Child Victims Act in Wisconsin

Apr 17, 2013

GOP Blocks Background-Check Bill from Vote; Bill Has Majority Support

Update: Obama’s Fury over Failure of the Background Check Bill in Seven Lines

Anti-massacre bill scuttled in its entirety, as President Obama rails against a shameful day

"A woman in the Senate gallery shouted "shame on you" at the members below, but she, like the Newtown families, Gabrielle Giffords, and 90% of the country were ignored, " writes Steve Bennen.

The weakened and modest background check bill was defeated with the minority of 46 senators defeating a majority of 54 senators on a vote in the U.S. Senate on the Manchin-Toomey compromise amendment.

A typical day in the world's greatest deliberative body in the world's greatest democracy. "The good news? Our political system is still way better than North Korea’s," writes Jonathan Chait.

The American people and American families enjoy the status of  irrelevance when it comes to the machinations of the Republican Party.

"I’m going to speak plainly and honest about what’s happened here. Because the American people are trying to figure out how can something have 90% support and yet not happen, " said President Obama in an angry address.

"They (the GOP) need to be ashamed of themselves," Ms. Patricia Maisch (survivor of the mass shooting in Tucson) said as she was being escorted from the Capitol. "They have no souls. They have no compassion."

In Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin voted for letting the popular initiative come to a vote; Sen. Ron Johnson voted to block it.

Mar 22, 2013

Dumb Ron Johnson: Walmart's Low Wages Help Employees

Dumb Sen. Ron Johnson
Wisconsin's senior U.S. Senator, Ron Johnson has earned the moniker, "dumb Ron Johnson."

And for good reason.

Jud Lounsbury of Uppity Wisconsin has the latest dumb Ron Johnson talk on display.

Take the "Wal-mart effect."

Chinese imports have displaced 100,000s of U.S. jobs, according the Economic Policy Institute.

As Loundsbury points out, "Wal-mart ... drive(s) other employers out of business with their predatory pricing and drives U.S. manufacturing employers out of business by pumping in cheap products from overseas."

But Dumb Ron Johnson in a debate with Sen. Bernie Sanders actually argues for low wages, and thinks U.S. business, employees and the economy benefit from Wal-mart.

"In last week's budget hearing, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders argued that the minimum wage should be raised because the nation's largest private employer-- Wal-mart-- routinely pays such low wages that their average associate is eligible for food stamps, medicaid and other government assistance programs, which in effect, causes taxpayers to subsidize Wal-mart's low wages," points out Lounsbury.

Low wages are good for America, argues Johnson.

And the predatory Wal-mart practices destroying U.S. business and driving down wages is how the "free market" is supposed to operate.

Damn, this guy is dumb.

So, the next time you read, "Made in China" think good for the USA and the free market on display, according to Ron Johnson.

Just don't mention it to a Wal-mart employee.

See also Wal-mart and China: A Joint Venture.

Here's Johnson and Sanders on C-SPAN.

Feb 25, 2013

Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese—No Contrition, More Shameful Attacks on Victims

Lobbying for the church blocked measures helping
child victims in Wisconsin, Arizona and Connecticut in 2010.

Update: Vatican Summoned Before UN Committee on Rights of the Child

The Catholic Church. What is wrong with these people in the Catholic hierarchy? Have they no sense of shame? Not even the Catholic Church's GOP friends can save these predators now.

By David Clohessy

Jim Stang is a bankruptcy expert. He’s been involved in nine Catholic institutional bankruptcies-more than any other attorney. In 2010, he was named “Bankruptcy Lawyer of the Year.” He knows this stuff.

And according to the National Catholic Reporter, Stang says that he has “not faced anywhere near the number of challenges to claims” as in Milwaukee.

In recent years, 574 alleged victims have come forward in response to the Milwaukee archdiocese bankruptcy filing. Catholic officials are trying to toss out 400 of them.

What a particularly cruel "bait and switch" maneuver. Church officials repeatedly claim “We’re seeking bankruptcy so we can be sure we’re able to help ALL victims.” Then, after running mandatory notification ads across Wisconsin urging victims to come forward, church officials now try to disqualify 400 of them.

Again, no other Catholic institution has played this kind of legal hardball with this many alleged victims.

And while we’re on the subject of Catholic bankruptcy claims, thanks to the AP’s Rachel Zoll who got it right recently, when she wrote “Milwaukee is the eighth diocese in the U.S. to seek bankruptcy protection since the abuse scandal erupted in 2002 in Boston.”

Notice she didn’t say or assume that dioceses seek bankruptcy protection because they’re broke. That’s a common – and wrong-headed - assumption. Zoll simply states the fact, without ascribing motive.

The sun doesn’t rise each morning because many people drink coffee then. The fact that two things may happen around the same time doesn’t indicate causation.

And Catholic officials don’t declare bankruptcy because they’re running out of money. They declare bankruptcy to avoid embarrassing trials that expose the corruption of the hierarchy.
As we written here before maybe now Wisconsin's dumb Sen. Ron Johnson will disavow his speaking out against the Wisconsin Child Victims Act just before he was elected to the U.S. Senate.

Feb 22, 2013

How Do PR Men of Catholic Church Speak with Straight Faces

Lobbying for the church blocked measures helping
child victims in Wisconsin, Arizona and Connecticut in 2010.
By David Clohessy of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
“How does he keep a straight face?” That’s the question I often think about the public relations staffers who work for Catholic officials.

Take Joseph Zwilling, the PR man for New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan. Here’s what Zwilling released yesterday about his boss’ deposition in clergy sex crimes cases:

"Today Cardinal Dolan had the long-awaited opportunity to talk about his decision nine years ago in Milwaukee to publicize the names of priests who had abused children and how he responded to the tragedy of past clergy sexual abuse of minors. . .” (Annysa Johnson and Bruce Vielmetti of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

Long-awaited? Really?

Ever met anyone who really looked forward to being deposed by a hostile lawyer in a child sex case?

Dolan’s a chatty guy. He blogs a lot. He gives lots of interviews. Maybe we missed it, but we don’t recall even once hearing Dolan say “Geez, I’m just dying to sit in a room for hours, surrounded by lawyers, and face questions under oath about predator priests. . .”

Notice too that Zwilling mentions Dolan’s alleged desire to talk about “the good work and progress that took place to ensure the protection of children and pastoral outreach to victims" in Milwaukee and Dolan’s decision there “to publicize the names of priests who had abused children.”

That move, we’re convinced, was part of a shrewd strategy to forestall legislative reform that would have enabled more child sex victims to expose more predator priests in court.

But regardless, if publicizing the names of child molesting clerics in Milwaukee was “good work” and “progress,” why does Dolan refuse to do the same thing in New York?
Maybe now Wisconsin's dumb Ron Johnson will disavow his speaking out against the Wisconsin Child Victims Act just before he was elected to the U.S. Senate. First, he needs to pray on it, I suppose.

As Dan Bice reported in June 2010:
"People want a senator (referring to Johnson) who is going to fight for victims of abuse, not lobby against them," said John Kraus, a senior strategist for the incumbent Democrat [running against Ron Johnson]. "If he won't stand with children who are victims of abuse, who will he stand with?"

Here are the key political questions:

Why did a guy considering a run for statewide office decide to jump into a controversy that cuts across party lines? What upside could there be?

Only (Ron) Johnson can answer those.

In an interview last week, he said he was first contacted on the issue by Deacon Tim Reilly, director of administration for the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay. Though a Lutheran, Johnson is a big backer of Catholic schools and was serving on the diocese's finance council at the time of his testimony.

The proposal [the Child Victims Act] would have eliminated the statute of limitations for future victims of child sex abuse and opened a three-year window for past victims.

It [the Child Victims Act] was opposed by the insurance industry and church organizations, including the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, which argued the bill could bankrupt it. The measure had the support of several police organizations, social workers and Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm.

Feb 14, 2013

Wisconsin's Dumb Ron Johnson Makes Name for Himself

Update: Actually Said Violence Against Women Act Is Unconstitutional

Wisconsin has its share of famous U.S. senators in history—Fighting Bob La Follette, Gunner Joe McCarthy ... .

The Tea Party-GOP's Ron Johnson is a new addition after only two years.

Really dumb.

Feb 5, 2013

Wisconsin Gets Leading Role in Catholic Church Atrocity Film

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Alex Gibney: "Judging from statements from the Vatican, it's as if there has barely been a sex abuse crisis." ... "I think what this film does is show what happens to institutions when they become so convinced of their own goodness that they imagine that they can do no wrong."

Wisconsin, former Milwaukee DA E. Michael McCann (1968-2006), the city of Milwaukee, Boulder Junction, Three Lakes, former Archbishop Rembert Weakland and host of heroic activists refusing to remain victims are featured in Alex Gibney's powerful, disturbing, inspiring and brilliant new documentary on the Catholic Church and its systemic preying on children by Catholic priests protected from on high, the current pope, Rat-something, who gives a shit what the guy's name is—Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God.

McCann and the Milwaukee Police Dept. don't come off well. They come off as bystanders and careerists who chose to look the other way.

Weakland is a hero, just not to the Catholic Church and its sick dogma.

By the way, to keep up on this ongoing atrocity, bookmark the good folks at SNAP, Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests.

Ron Johnson, Wisconsin's dumb senator, is not mentioned by name in the film but as he and his fellow Republicans saw fit to kill the Wisconsin Child Victims Act and take the side of the molesters and rapists, his actions live in the film as well.

I'm betting the current Republican legislature and Scott Walker won't have a change of heart.

Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God.
The Republican Party has consolidated its allegiance with the the hierarchy of the Catholic Church now.

That's why the Wisconsin Child Victims Act was killed. Locally, around here (the Madison area) Morlino is the head shit-head.

Whenever I think of organized pond scum such as the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, I take solace in the words of Norman Cohn. A "mood of passive compliance" is all that is required for atrocities to take place.

But these victims, robbed of their childhoods, spoke up, beginning with homemade flyers (at right) they handed out at Milwaukee City Hall and Catholic institutions.

This is the beginning of how this came to light. I surely would like to meet these people some day and have a cold beer with them.

Passive compliance v. these brave people.

Passive compliance never stood a chance.

Jan 11, 2013

Dumb Ron Johnson: Walmart 'Trying to Grow the Economy,' No Time for Gun Control

Damn, this guy is dumb.

Check out David at Crooks and Liars.

Wisconsin has perhaps the most intelligent U.S. senator (Tammy Baldwin), and the dumbest—Ron Johnson.

Sep 22, 2012

On Tom Coburn and GOP Senators Blocking Veterans Jobs Bill

Sen. Ron Johnson: Out-of-work veterans can go to hell
58 Yeas to 40 Nays means the Nays win in the U.S. Senate as Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson again votes with 39 other GOP senators to stop legislation easing the high unemployment veterans face. Johnson and GOP make a habit of obstruction of bills helping veterans.

Heather at Crooks and Liars has excellent commentary, reserving Sen. Tom Coburn (OK) for special opprobrium as the GOP again tells veterans to get lost.

"The unemployment rate for Iraq and Afghanistan-era Veterans (or Gulf War II-era Veterans) in August ticked up to 10.9 percent," notes a VA blog.

Jon Stewart nails it: "So once again, 800 billion dollars, unfunded, for war. A billion dollars, but paid for in a way you aren't crazy about to help the guys who fought the war get jobs afterwards, 'We're not made out of money people.'"

Sep 17, 2012

Republicans v. Veterans’ Jobs

The GOP and elements of the media such
as Allen Breed continue their lies that
U.S. veterans and reformist VA elements

effectively collude to commit widespread fraud.
Blaming veterans for illness and injury
has a long and shameful tradition
 Update: Video: GOP Senators Boozman, Johanns, Burr, and Toomey kill veterans' jobs bill

"A jobs bill that would support veterans is being blocked by some wacky maneuvers in the Senate [by the Republicans again]," reads a cheerful NYT editorial this morning.

Check out this NYT commentary for a revealing look at today's GOP distaste for veterans and the GOP's appalling lack of commitment to our troops and Marines.

Sen. Ron Johnson (Tea Party-Wisconsin) votes to obstruct.

"Pass the Veterans Jobs Corps so we can put more vets to work protecting and rebuilding America," demands President Obama repeatedly.

'No,' say the Tea Party and Republicans for whom even veterans are just another tool in their historic obstruction project to drive our country deeper into the ditch, no matter the costs.

"I had this conversation with a guy in the [Bush] White House, the liaison to the Department of Veterans Affairs. This was during the Bush Administration. He said, if we were to keep every promise that we made to the veterans, it would bankrupt us as a nation," said veterans' advocate, Steve Robinson, who challenged President Bush, the VA and the DoD establishment face-to-face on their shameful neglect of the health problems, especially mental-health issues, faced by returning Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans.

The GOP-Tea Party continues this Bush-Cheney legacy of giving veterans their get-lost directive.

Oct 28, 2010

Millionaire Insiders Hide Behind Group Attacking Feingold

- Rightwing Multi-Millionaires Seek Take-over of Congress -

By Lisa Graves and Brendan Fischer at the Center for Media and Democracy

An activist group called SpeechNow.Org is running ads against Senator Russ Feingold. It blames him for the deficit and claims that clean election laws he spearheaded are “attacking free speech.” But who’s really behind SpeechNow’s folksy, cartoon attack ads?

The Money Bags: One funder is multi-millionaire Fred Young, the heir of the Young Radiator fortune in Racine. He sold his Wisconsin company for over $70 million in 1998 to a group that quickly merged with Wabtec Corporation, a multinational with a history of outsourcing jobs to make goods in China and elsewhere. But even before Young sold the company, he worked to ship well-paying Wisconsin jobs out of state. Back in 1991, Young Radiator closed its Racine plant and fired 120 Wisconsin workers in order to boost his profits by outsourcing work to Iowa and Tennessee plants that did not give union-negotiated benefits. Young donated over $100,000 last month to fund attacks against Feingold, constituting the bulk of the funding. With millions in profits from helping to sell out Wisconsin’s industrial base and time on his hands, Young has become involved in Washington, D.C.-based groups, like SpeechNow.

The Political Operative: SpeechNow is spearheaded by David Keating, who formed SpeechNow with other millionaires to fight campaign finance reforms. He's an old nemesis of Senator Feingold's efforts to ban soft money and bring a little democracy to our democracy. SpeechNow has brought lawsuits against the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reforms, and recently won a ruling lifting the prior $5,000 limit on the amount individuals could donate to a group’s electioneering efforts. That ruling stems from the Supreme Court’s January decision in Citizens United to allow corporations to spend unlimited money influencing elections. SpeechNow’s litigation paved the way for Young to give $100,000 to the group last month alone to fund attack ads in this election, and also paved the way for corporate spending to fund new groups running election ads like the American Action Network, which has spent almost $1 million dollars in ads against Feingold in this race.

The Web of Money: Keating emphasizes SpeechNow does not accept corporate donations and the group also does not pay him; instead, the D.C.-based “Club for Growth” pays him almost $200,000 a year to serve full-time as its executive director. Club for Growth also paid Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Pat Toomey almost $680,000 last year to act as its president and it does not reveal its major donors, although donors to its PAC are required to be disclosed. The Club for Growth opposes limits on trade that would protect American workers and is desperate to put social security trust funds into Wall Street’s hands. The Club for Growth has been called so out of touch on economic policy that conservative former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee (now a Fox News commentator) dubbed it the “Club for Greed.” The Club for Growth has become a big player in many close races, spending almost $200,000 in the Wisconsin Senate race so far and millions nationwide.

The Attack: SpeechNow’s attack on Feingold accuses him of creating the federal deficit. The attack is grossly misleading. Feingold has received numerous awards from non-partisan watchdog groups, like Taxpayers for Common Sense, the Concord Coalition and others for battling pork and excessive spending. Feingold worked to balance the federal budget in the late 1990s, a successful effort which allowed Republican President George W. Bush to begin his first term with a $230 billion budget surplus that Bush turned into a trillion dollar deficit. Even in this hyper-partisan moment, Feingold works with conservative Senators John McCain (R-Arizona) and Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma]] on eliminating earmarks, and with Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) on a bill to create a federal line-item veto. Feingold also voted against the $780 billion TARP bailout bill and has pushed to use excess TARP funds to pay down the deficit. SpeechNow’s misleading attack echoes deficit claims by other Feingold opponents, like the American Action Network, which is supported by Wall Street elites like the Goldman Sachs executive who led the failed Wachovia bank, which became part of the Wall Street bailout.

CMD does not endorse political candidates, but we work to protect the public's right to know about front groups and corporate PR campaigns, as part of our core mission. And, we believe Wisconsinites have a right to know who’s behind misleading attacks like SpeechNow’s -- who’s footing the bill and who stands to gain.

Sep 23, 2010

Advice to Russ Feingold: Ron Johnson Is a Republican

Unless I am missing it, I do not see Sen. Russ Feingold mentioning that the brand, party and mission of Ron Johnson is: Republican.

Russ is defining himself well in his TV spots.

But he needs to define his opponent Ron Johnson as a Republican's Republican. Associations with the Republican brand follow. As in:

- We cannot go back to eight years of Bush-Cheney-Republican Corruption and Waste
- We cannot hand control of Congress to big-money Republicans

Every ad should have a visual GOP lede-in:

- There's a reason Ron Johnon is running as a Republican ...
- Republican Ron Johnson ...
- My Republican opponent ...

Jul 29, 2010

EPA: 1M gallons of oil may be in Mich. river; Ron Johnson would be proud

Is this what Ron Johnson had in mind when he said, "Yeah. You know, the bottom line is that we are an oil-based economy. There’s nothing we’re going to do to get off of that for many, many years, so I think we have to just be realistic and recognize that fact. And I think we have to get the oil where it is, but we need to do it responsibly." [WisPolitics, Interview, 6/14/10], cited Uppity Wisconsin?

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – Federal officials now estimate that more than 1 million gallons of oil may have spilled into a major river in southern Michigan, and the governor is sharply criticizing clean-up efforts as "wholly inadequate."

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the update Wednesday night, shortly after Gov. Jennifer Granholm lambasted attempts to contain the oil flowing down the Kalamazoo River. She warned of a "tragedy of historic proportions" if the oil reaches Lake Michigan, which is still at least 80 miles downstream from where oil has been seen.

Granholm called on the federal government for more help, saying resources being marshaled by the EPA and Enbridge Inc., which owns the pipeline that leaked the oil, were "wholly inadequate."

Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge said earlier Wednesday that it had redoubled its efforts to clean up the mess. Chief executive Patrick D. Daniel said the company had made "significant progress," though he had no update on a possible cause, cost or timeframe for the cleanup. The company didn't return messages for comment after Granholm's statements.

The overall work force on the spill Wednesday was likely more than 400 people.

EPA officials said they're ramping up efforts with air and water testing. Local officials said they weren't concerned about municipal water supplies.

Tom Sands, deputy state director for emergency management and homeland security, said during a conference call with Granholm that he had seen oil past a dam at Morrow Lake. The lake is a key point in the river near a Superfund site upstream of Kalamazoo, the largest city in the region.

But his report could not be immediately confirmed. The company's latest update statement Wednesday said oil was about seven miles short of the opening to Morrow Lake. A press conference scheduled for late Wednesday, which was to include company and EPA officials, was canceled for what a company spokesman called scheduling conflicts.

State and company officials previously said they didn't believe the oil would spread past that dam.

"It's going to hit a Superfund site unless somebody like the EPA and the company get very serious about providing significant additional resources," Granholm said.

The spill has killed fish and coated wildlife as it made its way westward about 35 miles downstream past Battle Creek, a city of 52,000 residents about 110 miles west of Detroit.

Both company and EPA officials have said oil is no longer leaking.

Enbridge has been working to clean up the spill since the leak was reported early Monday.

Before the EPA announced its new estimate, Enbridge reiterated its belief that about 819,000 gallons of oil spilled into Talmadge Creek, which flows into the Kalamazoo River. State officials said they were told during a company briefing Tuesday that about 877,000 gallons spilled, but company officials disputed the number.

An 800,000 gallon spill would be enough to fill 1-gallon jugs lined side by side for nearly 70 miles. It also could fill a wall-in football field including the end zones with a 14-foot-high pool of oil.

Granholm has declared a state of disaster for some areas along the river, and President Barack Obama called Granholm to offer federal support.

An oily reflective sheen could be seen in patches along the Kalamazoo, and the affected area still had a strong odor, although not as strong as on Tuesday.

Anil Kulkarni, a mechanical engineering professor at Penn State University, said a quick response was vital to the river's ecology. Snails, frogs, muskrats and even birds eat, live and nest on or near the riverbank.

"The river banks are nearby. It has more potential to inflict damage because of the proximity to land. Anything that comes in contact with oil is going to be affected badly. It prevents the natural life of species, whether it's collecting food or anything else."

Enbridge affiliates have previously been cited for skirting environmental regulations in the Great Lakes region.

Houston-based Enbridge Energy Co. spilled almost 19,000 gallons of crude oil onto Wisconsin's Nemadji River in 2003. Another 189,000 gallons of oil spilled at the company's terminal two miles from Lake Superior, though most was contained.

In 2007, two spills released about 200,000 gallons of crude in northern Wisconsin as Enbridge was expanding a 320-mile pipeline. The company also was accused of violating Wisconsin permits designed to protect water quality during work in and around wetlands, rivers and streams, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said. The violations came during construction of a 321-mile, $2 billion oil pipeline across that state. Enbridge agreed to pay $1.1 million in 2009.

The Michigan leak came from a 30-inch pipeline, which was built in 1969 and carries about 8 million gallons of oil daily from Griffith, Ind., to Sarnia, Ontario.

The river already faced major pollution issues. An 80-mile segment of the river that begins at Morrow Lake and five miles of a tributary, Portage Creek, have unsafe levels of PCBs and were placed on the federal Superfund list of high-priority hazardous waste sites in 1990. The Kalamazoo site also includes four landfills and several defunct paper mills.


Associated Press Writers David Runk and Corey Williams in Detroit contributed to this report.

Jul 13, 2010

BP Associations Will Kill GOP's Ron Johnson in Wisconsin

Ron Johnson: On Great Lakes oil drilling: "I think we have to, get the oil where it is." ... Oil Drilling Is a "Wedge Issue," not an environmental issue.

Madison, Wisconsin—This writer has taken Sen. Russ Feingold to task in the past, but now it appears that Feingold's likely general election opponent, U.S. Senate candidate Ron Johnson, wants to be the head cheerleader for Big Oil.

That's bad.

If this were not bad enough, Johnson wants to open the Great Lakes to Big Oil, a position he denied yesterday after Feingold announced his new commercial hitting Johnson on Big Oil, which Johnson says is just a "wedge issue."

ThinkPorogress reports, "Last month, when asked if he would support drilling for oil in the Great Lakes, Johnson — who owns more than $100,000 in BP stock — replied, 'I think we have to, get the oil where it is.'"

If you don't live in a Great Lakes state, I'll spell it out: This is a crazy idea, especially from a guy who has more money invested in Big Oil than what most people make in 10 years.

One hopes all political candidates in any of the Great Lakes states are held to account for their positions on Big Oil exploiting a tremendous natural resource.

Yesterday, Johnson released a statement saying he now opposes Great Lakes drilling: "I would not support any efforts to overturn the provision which outlaws drilling in the Great Lakes as Wisconsin’s next U.S. Senator. Let me repeat: I would reject any and all efforts to drill in the Great Lakes.”

But the Wisconsin Democratic Party is keeping the heat on the guy with over $400,000 invested in Big Oil:

U.S. Senate Candidate Ron Johnson delayed the release of personal investments in the oil industry for a month while he defended Big Oil and British Petroleum after the worst oil spill in American history.

Johnson’s personal financial stake in Big Oil includes up to $315,000 in BP stock. Johnson also has as much as $100,000 in Exxon stock and $50,000 in Occidental Petroleum stock, as well as, various funds that contain additional BP and Big Oil investments.

Yet Johnson kept his Big Oil investments a secret while he repeatedly defended Big Oil and BP after the Gulf oil spill, telling national right-wing talk radio host Ed Morrissey: “This is not the time to be beating up on those guys, quite honestly.” [In the interview with Morrissey, Johnson responds to questions on government regulations of off-shore and on-shore oil drilling, asked his "gut-level reaction" to the BP disaster, Johnson says at the 46-minute mark: “This is not the time to be beating up on those guys, quite honestly.” ]

Johnson also announced his support for drilling in national wildlife areas and his opposition to more caution before undertaking new oil-drilling projects in the wake of the BP oil spill in the Gulf.
Feingold is hitting Johnson hard on the issue now, and good for him and us:

Jun 23, 2010

Sen. Feingold Blowing Away Challenger on Veterans

Once upon a time, Republicans got giddy thinking out loud about their prospects of winning Wisconsin's seat held by Sen. Russ Feingold as they dreamed of taking over the U.S. Senate.

Forget about it. Feingold is killing his presumed challenger with a key constituency: Veterans and advocates.

Feingold's challenger, multi-millionaire Ron Johnson, does not even mention veterans on his campaign website. That's a political-moral mistake with a few wars going on, and troops and Marines still feeling the effects of war decades ago.

From the Friends of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs:
On June 4, 2010, U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) sent his annual update letter to hundreds of members of Wisconsin’s veterans community on his extensive, most recent efforts on issues related to veterans.

Those efforts included:

  • Veterans health care;

  • Vet Centers;

  • Iraq Burn Pits;

  • Veterans Outreach;

  • Veterans Jobs/Employment;

  • Gulf War Illness Research;

  • WWII, Civil War veterans, Alonzo Cushing.

See the full text of the letter, which has been uploaded to the Friends of WDVA document archiveon ScribD (as of today, the archive’s documents have had 3,448 reads).

Among the issues Feingold details is his work on outreach to veterans, a key WDVA-CVSO-Feingold joint initiative that has seen much progress in the last several years.

Feingold’s government website provides more details of his accomplishments for veterans, including his successful championing of two new Vet Centers for Wisconsin, in Green Bay and La Crosse.

Similarly, Feingold’s Senate campaign website has a full page of his efforts and accomplishments for veterans.

Feingold’s opponent in this year’s election, multi-millionaire Ron Johnson, has chosen not to mention or prioritize veterans -- a key constituency -- in his campaign or on his campaign website.