Showing posts with label corruption in Wisconsin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label corruption in Wisconsin. Show all posts

Mar 5, 2013

Citizens Media Writer Is Right to Flip off GOP Legislature

Hematite, writing for the Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative, concludes: "The State Legislature does not deserve respect. And neither does the Wisconsin press."

The writer is correct on both counts.

An obscene gesture made in the Wisconsin Senate Chamber by the Citizens Media writer resulting in the loss of press credentials is amusing; the gesture that is.

What the Republican Party is doing to Wisconsin is a disgrace.

Even less amusing is the complicity of Lee Enterprises Inc's media outlets, the Wisconsin State Journal, Gannett Company newspapers across the state, Journal Communications Inc. and virtually all of Wisconsin broadcast media, except seemingly Tony Galli of WKOW.

Stenography in the service of corruption is obscene.

Face it; the Wisconsin legislature is a den of corruption and lies. And the media's failure to note this is obscene.

Good for Hematite, though I would have held a sign reading, "Fucking liars.' It's a matter of taste, and a fleeting respect for representative democracy.

As Aaron Sorkin, creator of The Newsroom said:

Nobody uses the word lie anymore. Suddenly, everything is “a difference of opinion.” If the entire House Republican caucus were to walk onto the floor one day and say “The Earth is flat,” the headline on the New York Times the next day would read “Democrats and Republicans Can’t Agree on Shape of Earth.” I don’t believe the truth always lies in the middle. I don’t believe there are two sides to every argument. I think the facts are the center. And watching the news abandon the facts in favor of “fairness” is what’s troubling to me.
Do check out The "Newsroom" Season 2, expected to premiere in June on HBO.

Mar 2, 2013

A Statement of Apology from Scott Walker Is Not Sufficient

Scott Walker is still lying to Wisconsin

Only several no-holds barred, question-and-answer listening sessions can clear the air if Scott Walker truly believes he is innocent.

If Russ Feingold were governor, he would likely hold sessions in all 72 Wisconsin counties.

Democrats are calling for a statement and apology from Scott Walker.
Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha): "While the governor was not charged, he must make a statement accepting responsibility for the people he trusted, hired and supervised and apologize to the taxpayers, particularly the veterans, who were cheated," Barca said. (Bice and Umhoefer. MJS)
Reading Bice and Umhoefer's piece, apparently, these two journalists believe that the top executive taking responsibility is extraordinary.

Walker issued a statement reading in part: "As many may remember, this entire matter began when we asked the district attorney to look into concerns we had with respect to Operation Freedom. We appreciate the effort that was undertaken and to bring appropriate matters to justice." (Hall and Spicuzza, WSJ)

If Walker had begun the investigation out of his "concerns," why did then the district attorney seek a John Doe Probe citing Scott Walker's office's obstruction?

Not questions answered in the reporting of closing the John Doe probe.

"Milwaukee County prosecutors opened the secret John Doe criminal investigation more than two years ago after being stonewalled by Gov. Scott Walker's office when he was county executive, according to a newly released record," reported Dan Bice (MJS) in June 2012.

More reporting not mentioned in the closing the John Doe probe.

So, we are not going to get the truth or the questions that any thinking citizen has asked by the press.

The press buried the John Doe scandal. People up north and in central Wisconsin during the recall campaign had never even heard of the John Doe investigation.

If Walker is innocent as he and his allies now claim, why not face the people of Wisconsin in multiple listening sessions?

Stealing from veterans? Using secret routers; directing Tim Russell to take down the secret e-mail system? The legal defense fund contributors. The sentencing hearing of Kelly Rindfleisch. There are as many questions today as before the John Doe was launched.

As Joe 'Ragman' Tarnovsky, United States Army (28 January 1968 to 22 Oct 1970) e-mailed us here: "The following award is being presented to Scott Walker, Kevin Kavanaugh and Tim Russell for actions BELOW and INFERIOR AGAINST VETERANS: The Distinguished RAT BASTARD Tail for Thievery and Lack of Accountability."

You have that right.

Dec 10, 2012

Mar 25, 2012

Scott Walker created a United Front not seen since WW II

Dante Atkins at Kos has an excellent piece explaining the unprecedented Recall movement in Wisconsin that has brought together Republicans, progressives, reformists, women, first responders, liberals, working families, organized labor, democrats and the ordinary Joe and Sue 12-pack [this is still Wisconsin] in a way not seen since the 1930 and 40s.

Targeting working families will do that.

The coalition of citizens is what used to be called a United Front, and Scott Walker, besides amassing $Millions, still does not have an idea how to react to this demonstration of democracy. Locking down the capitol, aka the people's house, now in the middle of the recall campaign would be political suicide.

Woody Guthrie - And now the 21st Century United Front,
United Wisconsin
So, our own governor is in hiding, and in an even more arrogrant display than Richard Nixon refuses to meet with the press in a no-holds-barred press conference to explain to the Wisconsin people why his six close aides are facing 15 felonies, six misdemeanors, and the extent to which Walker lorded over his secret, illegal campaign for governor. Many more have struck immunity deals, it is believed, including press secretary, Cullen Werwie, and former Republican Lt. Governor candidate Brett Davis.

Walker has veered into out-and-out fascism; and his rare public appearances are armed displays of police power that keep Walker securely inside the bubble of Fox News, Milwaukee talk radio, and Republican events. Never has a Wisconsin governor been so pathologically afraid of the people whom he is supposed to be representing.

The question that may emerge this Spring is will Scott Walker resign and take the $Millions of out-of-state campaign money and use it to pay his legal bills from his criminal defense attorneys; his legal defense fund would have to be mighty successful to meet the criminal defense costs.

Dante Atkins at Kos

The Wisconsin recall elections in June could very well set the tone for how Democrats do the rest of the year. A successful recall of Gov. Scott Walker and a recapture of the Wisconsin State Senate could energize Democrats nationwide and foreshadow bigger gains in November.

Wisconsin Democrats certainly couldn't have predicted that they would be the epicenter of pushback against the extreme agenda of the corporate right, but they have already been successful in winning two state senate recall elections in redder districts and are poised to take advantage of the grassroots energy throughout the state to deliver more victories in the months ahead.

As you will see, the peculiarities of Wisconsin law give a major financial advantage to Walker and his allies. To help fix this imbalance, you can donate here to our Wisconsin Recall Fund.

The interview is below the fold.

Tell me about how you became the Chair of the Wisconsin Democratic Party.

I became chair in June of 2009. Obviously, it was a rough time. But prior to that, I had worked on different political campaigns and other progressive nonprofits for the past twelve years. I started out as a college kid helping to organize students for Democratic campaigns. I worked on a governor's race, and for a labor union. I ran a same-sex marriage initiative, and ran a large independent expenditure field program for that. After 2008, I was looking for what was next, and it was suggested to me by some of the people who worked for then-Governor Doyle that I should run for Party Chair.

I bet you didn't expect to be at the forefront of the national debate right now.

This is not what I anticipated when I became party chair in June of '09. It's not even what we anticipated a year ago when we went through the occupation of the Capitol, the Senators leaving. It has been an incredible, exciting, stressful, but historic ride.

Where are we in this recall process?

It will likely be made official a week from Friday, but we are likely to have elections scheduled next week. The primary will will be May 8, and the general election will be June 5.

What does the polling look like right now?

The polling has been fairly encouraging. The last poll that was out had both County Executive Kathleen Faulk and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett leading Scott Walker. Walker continues to have a negative job approval rating, and continues to have a majority of voters pretty inclined to fire him from his current job.

We had the situation before where we took back two of the Senate seats, but didn't get a majority. What's going on in terms of the upcoming Senate recalls?

The important thing is that we have four state senate recall elections happening. These are all districts that have substantially better Democratic performance than the recall races that we had last year. These are substantially better districts, all but one, and we need just one seat to take back the majority. There has been no public polling, but our internal polling has shown that we have a strong path to victory in every race. We feel confident that we have great candidates, that we'll have a good chance of winning.

How does the recall election work in the senate seat where the senator resigned?

This is in the Wassau area of central Wisconsin. What happened here is that the senator in question, Pam Galloway, resigned because of health concerns in her family. This is a real story, not something fabricated. We feel confident that we have a fantastic candidate there who is a current member of the State Assembly from that district, Donna Seidel. The Republicans will be running a state representative, Jaret Petrowski, from that area. This puts us in a stronger position to win that seat right now.

So there is going to be, in addition to a Democratic primary, there will be a Republican primary?

We don't know if there's going to be a Democratic primary at all. The question is whether the Republicans will pull the maneuver they did last time and run fake Democrats to prolong the process.

Explain more about that process for readers who may not be as familiar.

First, if there's no primary, the recall election procedure is only six weeks long. So in the state senate races, the general election will be May 8 if no primary opponents file. What the Republicans did last time was elongate the race because they figured their biggest advantage was money. So they wanted to prolong it and spend us down. So in all of the six districts where we were recalling Republicans, they recruited a fake Democrat--a Republican who was willing to appear on the ballot, collect signatures and run in the primary. Then the Republicans ran a turnout operation to drive out the vote for them.

You mentioned finances. Can you talk about the quirky rules that are in place for these recalls?

It's a total quirk of the law. The individual being targeted for recall does not have to adhere to our fundraising limits, which are pretty strict. They're allowed to raise unlimited money from individuals and PACs. We've seen Scott Walker pull in half a million for Bob Perry, who just gave $3 million to Mitt Romney's super-PAC. We was a funder of Swift Boat Veterans For Truth. So we've got some of these Republicans taking money from some pretty bad actors.

They've accused you of trying to raise money from outside the state. Is that a bit hypocritical?

Not only is it hypocritical, it's actually comical. Scott Walker has spent more time in the last few months outside of the state raising money for the campaign as he has inside it. The majority, overwhelming majority are from the state, but we have a lot of grassroots donors from around the country who have been giving us twenty, thirty dollars at a time. Some live in Los Angeles, some are from Denver, some live--we have people from every state in the country giving us money.

Let's say that the recalls are successful, we have a Democratic governor in June, and Democratic control of the Senate. Walker and Fitzgerald have managed to do a lot of damage. How do you repair that if the State Assembly is still in Republican hands?

We have a long road back. It's important that the story doesn't get written that if we win on June 5, all the problems are solved. It's a long road back to fix the damage that Scott Walker and his allies have done in a little over a year. The biggest opportunities for repairing these breaches well come in the next state budget, which is the only bill that the state legislature actually has to pass. And we'll see strong moves toward restoring collective bargaining rights and repealing these dogmatic anti-Wisconsin laws that have come into existence in the last year.

What are the odds, since people haven't been focusing on this, that Democrats can capture the State Assembly in November?

Let me say this: I think we have a great shot at taking it back. I think that especially if we take back the Senate, that a lot of time and energy and resources can be focused on the Assembly. We're working hard on recruiting good candidates and a lot of people have been inspired by the citizen activism that we've seen in the past year and have stepped forward. I feel optimistic about our chances at taking back the State Assembly.

Ever since the state capitol in Madison got occupied, it seems like Wisconsin has turned into the epicenter of Democratic activism and people power. How do you maintain that and keep that going after November if Walker is recalled, you re-elect Barack Obama and have him win Wisconsin--how do you keep it going?

This is been the most incredible story of this whole thing. When we, the people of Wisconsin, embarked on these Senate recall elections last summer, people questioned whether we would have the ability to recall these senators. But the people were incredibly enthusiastic and fired up, but we had to wait until was in office for a year. And people said that the Senate recalls are one thing, but you can't recall Walker, you can't keep this energy going, this momentum, this enthusiasm. And two things happened. One, Scott Walker and [Senate Majority Leader] Fitzgerald continued to make laws that are absolutely offensive to anyone who cares about this state, and looks at the state the way we do. And the momentum grew. We have more people involved now than were involved when we occupied the capitol. We've had tens and tens of thousands of people from all across the state get involved. A million people signed the recall petition. We feel pretty good about our ability to maintain momentum, and it's something we'll keep working on.

How can people who aren't in Wisconsin help with this effort?

There are two or three things that can be done. One is obvious: we could use financial help. People can give online. Sign up for our email alerts. Stay in the loop. The other side has the Koch brothers, and Bob Perry. We done have big donors writing us six-figure checks. We have thousands of small donors giving us fifteen or twenty dollars at a time. The second is, if you have any friends or family in Wisconsin, please reach out to them, talk to them. Please get out the votes for our nominees. And third, there are going to be a number of programs where people who don't live in Wisconsin but want to call voters will be able to do that through out website, and we've had a lot of success with that in the past. It's reaching out to people you know, giving a little bit of your hard-earned money. Or you can get down and dirty and talk to voters.

One last thing on this: the voter ID law. What's the status on that, and how could it affect this race?

Wisconsin passed what many have said is the most regressive photo ID law in the country, which is saying something, considering South Carolina and Alabama and some of these regressive Southern states. But our law is pretty extreme. About two weeks ago, though, we won a big court case where a state judge said that the photo ID law violated the Wisconsin constitution, and he permanently enjoined the law. So today, the law is not valid. However, our Republican Attorney General, at Scott Walker's insistence, is vigorously appealing that decision. We have a conservative majority on our Supreme Court. The best justices the Chamber of Commerce can buy! And I'm concerned that it's possible and probable that this law could be back in place for the recall elections.

Now, this law allows people to use gun ID's to vote, but not government-issued student ID's?

You cannot use tech school ID's, and there are restrictions around the student ID's as well.

Is that intentionally designed to disenfranchise Democratic-leaning constituencies?

That's all this bill is. There is no voter fraud in Wisconsin. In fact, Wisconsin has one of the highest participation rates of any state in the country. How our laws were a year ago should be a model for the nation. We have same-day voter registration. We have the ability to vouch for someone if they can't offer identification on them. We have a system of laws that was designed to enhance participation and provide no barrier or impediment to voting, and the Republicans didn't like that because they can't win elections when everyone votes. It turns out, more people are Democrats than Republicans. So the first chance they got, the decided to restrict the ability of minorities, restrict the ability of college students, of seniors as well, to vote. It's appalling and it's un-American.

Mar 26, 2011

Forbes: Gov. Scott Walker To Defy Court Order Blocking Anti-Collective Bargaining Law?

It’s now officially a toss-up between Wisconsin and Michigan in the race to see which state government can do the best job of thumbing its nose at our most basic democratic principles in order to force their autocratic desires on their citizens.
- Rick Ungar, Forbes Magazine Online