Thursday, May 31, 2012

What Has Scott Walker Done for Wisconsin Lately?

In an update to the popular post What Has Scott Walker Done for Wisconsin, this post adds to the list of things Walker has done for Wisconsin in the last few months. Walker still hasn't created any jobs, the numbers he provides are unverifiable statistics which deviate wildly from official verified statistics, and thus can't be trusted until verified. Walker still hasn't balanced the budget, and contrary to Walker's claims, he raised taxes on the poor and middle class to support tax breaks for the very rich.

But all of that was already covered in the previous post. A lot has happened in the three months since.

Walker's Criminal Mind

In March, Walker opened a criminal defense fund, becoming the first ever governor in the United States to do so. According to Wisconsin Statutes, Walker can only legally open a criminal defense fund if he "is being investigated for or charged with a violation of campaign finance laws or prohibited election practices." However, Walker continues to say that he is not under investigation by the FBI in their John Doe probe (Walkergate) that has resulted in two convictions and four apprehensions on felony charges, all connected to Walker. So, Walker is either lying or he's breaking the law.

Walker stole millions from victims of the mortgage crisis in order to help offset his budget deficit. That's right, Walker has a budget deficit, i.e., he did not balance the budget. Not only that, he used money from the poor and unfortunate to help bolster his budget.

Walker and the Republican leadership killed any hope of jobs or mining legislation by not even compromising within the Republican party to provide what Gogebic Taconite wanted instead of an additional far-right wishlist. The Democrats had a bill that gave the mining company what they wanted without the ideological rollback of environmental protections that Walker wanted, the Wisconsin Way Mining Reform Act. However, the Republicans did everything they could to prevent a vote on the sure-to-pass bill, holding out for their impassable bill and thus killing the Republicans' only jobs plan.

Throughout Walker's term, particularly this spring, Walker signed into law a wide array of secretly corporate-backed model legislation from ALEC.

Policies of the War on Women

Instead of any jobs legislation, Walker amped up the far-right War on Women in Wisconsin.

To start, Walker repealed part of Wisconsin's Fair Employment Act so that women and minorities will find it even more difficult to get the same pay as white men. Republicans in Wisconsin have stated that they believe men should make more than women, and this bill helps to ensure that continues to happen.

Walker banned abortion coverage from future Wisconsin private health insurance plans that will be setup through the Affordable Care Act exchanges. So, women on those health plans, the least fortunate women and many in the middle class, won't have insurance coverage for potentially life-saving abortions.

Walker signed into law a bill that requires women to make unnecessary appointments with their doctors 24 hours before having an abortion. This forced Planned Parenthood to stop offering the morning after pill to rape victims.

Walker then allowed schools to teach the myth that abstinence is the only effective way to prevent pregnancy or STDs and not teach anything about condoms or contraceptives, because Walker doesn't like to use facts so neither should our teachers.

In a blatant sign of Walker's ignorance for women, Walker ignored the bombing of a medical clinic for women in Appleton.

Far-right and Unconstitutional Legislation

Rolling back environmental protections in mining wasn't enough for Walker, he and the Republicans successfully repealed wetland protections in the middle of the night. No jobs were created as a result of the legislation.

Nearly every one of Walker's legislative achievements were found unconstitutional including the Voter Suppression Law, the collective bargaining rights-stripping law and the Republicans' illegal gerrymandering. So, IDs are not required to vote and parts of the union busting law were struck down, but Walker refused to fix the illegal gerrymandering, costing more taxpayer money in court where new maps will now be drawn.

Collective Secrecy

In the previous post, I mentioned video that showed Walker saying he would negotiate with unions during his campaign, contrary to his statements that Wisconsin knew he was going to strip collective bargaining rights from public workers. Walker hadn't made any public statements to that effect prior to releasing the bill.

Now, recently released video shows Walker in January 2011 telling Diane Hendricks, a billionaire heiress who paid $0 in state taxes that year and gave Walker a record $510,000, that he plans to get rid of unions in Wisconsin through a "divide and conquer" plan that begins with the public employees. Walker hid this plan from the rest of us, but gladly told his rich donors who are the only people to gain from such efforts. This divide and conquer plan turned out to be the collective bargaining rights stripping bill that Walker released less than a month later.

Rich Kings and Queens

All the while Walker has been either under investigation or breaking the law, very rich donors have been donating over 25 million dollars to his campaign as well as Super PACs, billboards and TV ads. Nearly all the way up and down Highway 41, you see billboards from rich a**holes who want to buy tax breaks for themselves at our expense. What's not to like about Walker if you're rich? Well, other than the fact that his policies don't improve the economy, Walker hasn't done anything in the open and cordial Wisconsin way.

But money means way more to top Walker donors like Diane Hendricks who doesn't pay any Wisconsin taxes and wants to turn Wisconsin into a unionless state, otherwise known as Right-to-Work. They could care less what happens to us as long as their bank account gets fatter. Heck, they don't even care that Walker is either investigation or breaking the law. Most of all, the lies don't seem to bother these rich donors one bit. Many of the out-of-state donors don't care what happens to Wisconsin as long as Walker's anti-union, anti-women, anti-minority messages prevails here and spreads.

Tea Party Hero, Wisconsinite Zero

Walker is a national hero to the Tea Party crowd, and he's been using his far-right hero status with a rich donorbase by travelling across the nation to raise over 25 million dollars in campaign donations from the aforementioned rich. Compare that to the nearly 1 million that the entire effort against Walker has raised. How dare Walker complain about the "millions from out-of-state union thugs," when that's not happening, and instead he's the one brining in millions from out-of-state. "Out-of-State" Scott Walker has spent so much time travelling the nation that he refuses to tell us how much time he's been out of Wisconsin.

Haven't we had enough of Walker's lies, secrecy and damage to Wisconsin?

Final Scott Walker Recall Debate Tonight

The final debate between Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Tom Barrett before Walker's recall election next Tuesday is live tonight at 9pm. The live coverage of this debate is despicable. If you're in Milwaukee, you can watch the debate live on TV channel 12 WISN. If you're not in Milwaukee, which just happens to be the majority of Wisconsin, you can watch it live online at or

After the first debate, Walker has a lot of questions to answer. Barrett answered questions in plain English with no spin. Walker evaded just about every question he could, and when he couldn't, he lied. Will WISN act like the fourth estate, or will they forget about the follow-up question like the journalists for the rest of the far-right media in Wisconsin?

Will Wisconsin finally get some questions answered, or will Walker continue to lie about some of the most critical questions surrounding his governorship?
  • Why did Scott Walker strip collective bargaining rights from public employees when the definition of bargaining excludes the dictatorship Walker assigns unions, and the same amount of money could have been saved through the true difficult task of actually negotiating?
  • Why didn't Scott Walker even try to negotiate with the unions who publicly conceded all of the financial cuts Walker desired?
  • What did Scott Walker know about the corruption surrounding him, and when did he know it?
  • How is Scott Walker legally using a criminal defense fund if he is not under investigation and why?
  • Who is donating to Scott Walker's criminal defense fund?
  • How much time has Scott Walker spent out-of-state fundraising and building his national image?
  • Why didn't Scott Walker tell the public his plans to "divide and conquer" the unions instead of lying and saying he would negotiate with unions during his campaign?
  • Why couldn't Scott Walker support the Wisconsin Way Mining Reform Act, which would have created the promised jobs and would have been passed to his desk if the Republicans allowed a vote?
  • What emails did Scott Walker send in reference to the illegal campaigning and fundraising?
  • Why didn't Scott Walker pass any real jobs legislation instead of focusing on his far-right wishlist of union busting and attacks on women and minorities?
  • What was Scott Walker's involvement in the secret illegal gerrymandering?
Wisconsin deserves answers to these questions. Unfortunately, Scott Walker thinks he can keep the wool over our eyes and still survive the recall, and his corporate backers want him to keep quiet. Wake up Wisconsin!

Remember, Barrett is being outspent more than 25-to-1 by Walker's out-of-state millionaire donors. Those "big out-of-state unions" Walker keeps crying about have garnered about 1 million dollars, while Walker has raised over 25 million in his weeks travelling the nation. This has always been a people's campaign to restore Wisconsin values and move us Forward.

The full video of the debate is online at WISN.

Bill Clinton Coming to Wisconsin to Campaign for Wisconsin

Bill Clinton is coming to Wisconsin to campaign for Wisconsin. The Journal Sentinel reports that Clinton will be in Milwaukee Friday with Tom Barrett. The time and place have yet to be determined. The popular former president is on the side of Wisconsin, not the 25 million dollar corporate-backed Out-of-State Scott Walker, and he's coming to show his support and get voters motivated to remove Scott Walker from office for all of his lies, secrecy and damage he's done to Wisconsin.

Where's George W. Bush for Walker?

You can sign up on Tom Barrett's website to be notified when the details are released.

Listen to the people of Wisconsin, not the out-of-state millionaires who want nothing more than to keep more of their money at all of our expense.

Vote for your economic interests and your neighbors'. Vote Tom Barrett.

Note our grassroots amateur-created signs :)

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Broke the Law

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker broke the law when he opened his historic criminal defense fund, the first ever in Wisconsin for a sitting governor. Either that, or "Out-of-State" Walker is lying and he is under investigation by the FBI in their John Doe probe (Walkergate) for using taxpayer money for his political campaign. Because that's the only legal purpose for creating a criminal defense fund, according to Wisconsin Statutes. The statutes say that Walker can only set up a criminal defense fund if he "is being investigated for or charged with a violation of campaign finance laws or prohibited election practices." However, Walker continues to say that he is not a target of the investigation by the FBI (maybe he's under investigation by someone else?). But then, Walker must have broken the law in March when he opened his criminal defense fund.

We don't know whether Walker is a criminal or just under investigation for being a criminal, because Walker refuses to tell us the truth about his legal defense fund which currently holds $160,000 in donations to pay two big-time criminal defense lawyers from Chicago and Milwaukee. Why would Walker need to set up a criminal defense fund if he isn't under investigation? Walker even lies about who started the investigation, Walker did not ask to start the investigation as he said in the first debate last Friday.

The answer clearly isn't good for Walker's recall campaign, but the answer is critical in light of his coming recall. The FBI probe has already resulted in conviction of a Walker aide and apprehension of four other close associates, as well as the conviction of a top donor to Walker's 2010 campaign. More arrests are expected in the continuing investigation, and Walker is suspected to be John Doe.

Wisconsin deserves to know what Scott Walker knew about the corruption surrounding him and whether or not he's breaking the law by funding his criminal lawyers with donations. We also deserve to know who's funding Walker's criminal defense, but he refuses to provide any information after countless attempts from the media, Tom Barrett and others.

Scott Walker's secrecy stinks, and it's time Wisconsin citizens and media demand answers from Out-of-State Walker. The media really makes this way too easy for Walker. What happened to journalists who asked follow-up questions? I guess the far-right media corporations Gannett, Journal Communications and Lee Enterprises have forced their bias on their employees.

There's no ethical way to vote or endorse Scott Walker's re-election without knowing whether his criminal defense fund is legal and Walker is lying or not. Here's looking at you far-right Journal Sentinel...

Friday, May 25, 2012

How Much Time Has "Out-of-State Walker" Spent Outside of Wisconsin?

Tom Barrett's piercing question to "Out-of-State Walker" Scott Walker during the first debate between the two clearly made Walker uncomfortable. Barrett asked Walker if he would publicly release the amount of time he's spent outside of Wisconsin fundraising and trying to increase his national image. Walker made absolutely no attempt to answer the question, even though he responded twice. It was particularly telling when Walker responded a second time and offered absolutely nothing new.

Tom Barrett was referring to the investigation into Out-of-State Walker's time conducted by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. We need a governor who works for Wisconsin in Wisconsin.

So, how much time has Walker spent outside of Wisconsin since he took office? It's clear that Walker really doesn't want us to know.

Let's add this to the list of questions Out-of-State Walker must come clean to Wisconsin about.

Tonight is the First Scott Walker Recall Debate

If you didn't already know, tonight at 8pm, Scott Walker and Tom Barrett will face off in the first of two debates. Just about every local affiliate of the big four (ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox) should carry the debate.

It should be interesting.

What might be some good talking points for Barrett?
And that's just getting started.

Vote for your economic interests and your neighbors'. Vote Tom Barrett. Early voting has already begun.

Update: The debate is NOT on Wisconsin Eye as I had previously stated.

U.S. Congress Requests Answers from Walker About Validity of Sworn Testimony

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government sent Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker a letter today, asking him to answer their questions regarding the validity of his sworn testimony by June 1. Tuesday, Walker told a local Fox affiliate that he was upset members of the committee wrote to the chairman instead of Walker directly. So, today, the members fulfilled Walker's request, and now it's time for Walker to provide some answers.

Last year, Walker told the committee under sworn testimony that he never "had a conversation with respect to [his] actions in Wisconsin and using them to punish members of the opposition party and their donor base.” This recently released video of Walker talking to billionaire heiress Diane Hendricks, who later gave Walker $500,000 and pays $0 in income tax, about his plan to "divide and conquer" unions blatantly contradicts Walker's sworn testimony.

The committee wrote,
"It is critical for Congress to obtain accurate information from witnesses who testify before the Committee in order to help inform our policy decisions. Your videotaped conversation with Ms. Hendricks not only raises serious concerns about the accuracy of your testimony before the Committee, but it undermines the entire rationale put forward for your unprecedented campaign against public sector workers."
The committee asked Walker, "Do you now wish to withdraw your sworn testimony?"

Walker has until June 1 to respond...

Stand with Wisconsin Women, Middle-Class, Elderly, Teachers, LGBT, Children, Poor, Minorities, and More

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has been recalled, and now it's time to replace him. In the year since taking office, Walker has fought hard against just about everyone in Wisconsin besides rich white males. The alleged criminal Walker repealed Equal Pay for Equal Work for women and minorities, discriminated against minorities in unconstitutional redistricting, reduced education funding more than any time in Wisconsin history, reduced teacher and public worker pay and benefits, killed any hope of jobs, banned hospital visitation for same-sex couples, raised BadgerCare premiums and reduced other healthcare help, repealed rights of middle-class workers, and a whole lot more. So, for us in the middle-class and the poor, we're getting far less for our tax dollars, while corporations and the rich are paying far less in state taxes.

Everyone agrees that to fix education, we need to pay teachers well. We all know the main reason that many good, intelligent people choose not to become teachers is because they can get significantly more money in other jobs. Why then do people think it's OK to reduce the already low pay for teachers? If you think this won't hurt our children, you need some education yourself.

And Walker's done it all under the banner of job creation, even though Wisconsin has lost more jobs than any other state since Walker took office and continues to bleed jobs with 6,200 more in April. Walker and the Republicans have refused to make any real effort towards job creation.

Instead of real job creation, Walker gave huge tax breaks to his campaign donors, the rich who are funding his 25 million dollar campaign, the billboards you see all over Wisconsin and TV ads. Walker did this even though there's every reason to believe tax breaks for the rich are bad for the economy. Even a Republican policy wonk recently wrote in the New York Times that taxes don't affect the employment rate one way or the other, particularly now with our taxes already as low as they are. The rich can't create jobs if the middle-class doesn't have the money to spend on the products and services the rich provide. We're the real job creators.

The rich clearly don't need more money, with the millions they can donate to Walker and use for billboards and TV ads all over Wisconsin. If they paid even half that much in taxes, we'd probably solve most of our budget problems. But instead they're using it to help Walker, because they know they'll save much more in taxes. And we suffer.

It's time Wisconsin starts sifting and winnowing again to find the best solutions to our problems, not partisan and ideological goals pushed by millionaires. We need a governor who will stand up to the demands of the rich few like Diane Hendricks (who inherited her great wealth from her husband).

If you stand with Walker, you stand with rich white supremacy and nothing more. Not jobs, morals or anything else. Show me otherwise, I'd be pleasantly surprised.

Vote for your economic interests and your neighbors'. Vote Tom Barrett. Early voting has already begun.

Scott Walker's Significant Job Losses Explained

In a recent TED talk, Nick Hanauer, a serial entrepreneur and member of the 1%, explained why Wisconsin has such a significant job loss since Scott Walker implemented his policies (33,900 jobs lost) and why we need to appropriately tax the rich again.

The rich are not "job creators," because they create jobs only as a last resort with gritted teeth when customer demand requires it. No entrepreneur starts a business because they want to create jobs. It's their customers that create jobs. Without a strong customer base, no business will create jobs, and that's the problem we have here in Wisconsin. Hanauer says that calling people like him job creators is "disingenuous." We're the real job creators.

By reducing the amount of middle class jobs like teachers and janitors, and reducing the pay of those who have jobs, Walker has single-handedly reduced the customer base of Wisconsin businesses. Businesses in Wisconsin aren't growing, because their revenue doesn't support it. Some big companies are doing well in Wisconsin, e.g., GE, but most businesses are growing slowly if at all, and businesses continue to close all over Wisconsin. A big and popular restaurant just outside of Green Bay, River's Bend, closed last week.

Hanauer says the fix to our economy is to appropriately fund government services with a fair tax that receives more investment from the rich, e.g. the Reagan Rule.

Hanauer doesn't say this because he's generous, but he said "ultimately these things are good for me," because his businesses grow when we have more money to spend on their products and services. Although some of Hanauer's logic is flawed, or his explanation lacking, his main point is right on.

The rich clearly don't need more money, with the millions they can donate to Walker and use for billboards and TV ads all over Wisconsin. They need to support the state that supports them. It's time we get a governor who will stand up to the rich like Diane Hendricks.

Vote for your economic interests and your neighbors'. Vote Tom Barrett. Early voting has already begun.

The Problems with Scott Walker's Unverified Jobs Numbers

There are several problems with Scott Walker's new unverified claim of a net increase of jobs during his term: the numbers haven't been verified, there's no proof, they're not consistent with trends and verified data, and Walker released the unverified numbers with conspicuously perfect timing.

The biggest bipartisan complaint with Walker is the significant job losses Wisconsin has suffered since Walker took office, more than any other state in the nation (most states have gained jobs). According to verified numbers by the U.S. Dept. of Labor, Wisconsin lost 33,900 private sector jobs. If you count public sector jobs, Wisconsin lost far more jobs.

You wouldn't trust your safety on an airplane if critical safety checks weren't verified. Why would you trust other unverified work, i.e., Walker's unverified jobs numbers? How can anyone trust unverified numbers when it comes to such a critical decision.

Walker has not publicly released the raw data. So, there is no way to verify the numbers until the U.S. Dept. of Labor does, and their verification won't be finished until after the recall election June 5th. There's no actual proof that Walker's numbers are accurate, and no way to get proof until after Walker's recall election.

If Walker's unverified numbers are accurate, the numbers from the U.S. Dept. of Labor would have to be very inaccurate for nearly 12 consecutive months. The difference between the verified numbers and Walker's is 57,200 jobs. The unverified state numbers that Walker cites has never deviated so far from the verified numbers from the U.S. Dept. of Labor. So, the probability that Walker's unverified numbers are accurate is very low.

The unemployment rate has gone down, but experts attribute this to people who can no longer claim unemployment benefits and have given up on getting a job. Such people are not counted as unemployed, and so can skew the numbers if too many people are without jobs for too long. So, just because the unemployment rate goes down does not mean the economy has more jobs, and likely doesn't given all of the verified data.

Walker had no problem using the numbers from the U.S. Dept. of Labor. He touted the numbers early last year before we began bleeding jobs. However, it would behoove Walker to release conflicting data showing an increase in jobs instead, especially less than 3 weeks before a statistically tied recall election, even if they turn out to be inaccurate after the election.

Wisconsin has never publicly released this data before last week. Up until now, Wisconsin waited for the U.S. Dept. of Labor to release the numbers after they verify them. Walker released the unverified numbers a day before the U.S. Dept. of Labor was expected and did release new verified job numbers for April showing a loss of 6,200 private sector jobs in the month. The same day Walker released his unverified numbers, his campaign released an ad displaying the Journal Sentinel headline of that day touting his new unverified jobs numbers. Clearly, Walker was hoping to combat his horrible job record and offset the coming negative news of continued bleeding.

While the timing doesn't prove Walker cooked the numbers for political purposes, it doesn't help Walker's trustworthiness.

We have no way of knowing whether Walker cooked the numbers, and we have no reason to believe he hasn't cooked the numbers. Walker, the Republicans, and the rich have a lot to gain and lose with this election, and we know Walker and the Republicans are willing to do just about anything from breaking their own laws to hiring people that break campaign finance laws.

The core problem is that there simply is no way to verify Walker's numbers. If Walker wants us to believe his new numbers, he must provide the raw data so that his numbers can be independently verified. As taxpayers, we pay for that data, and deserve to see it upon request. Otherwise, we'll have to depend upon the data that we know have been verified.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Remember. Recall. Replace.

Remember that energy we had during the massive protests last year? This ad from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee is a great reminder. We need to harness that energy now in order to actually remove Scott Walker from office on June 5th. Tell your family and friends why you stand with Wisconsin women, teachers, middle class, children, poor, minorities, LGBT, and the elderly instead of Walker and his few greedy financial supporters.

Outside of Madison, we really need more "We Stand With Wisconsin" yard signs, because, particularly in the Fox Valley, it's hard to find Wisconsin supporters in the sea of "Stand with Crooks" yard signs. I'm making my own this weekend that says "We Stand With Wisconsin women, teachers, middle class, children, poor, minorities, LGBT, elderly"

We really do stand with Wisconsin while everyone else stands for rich white male supremacy, and we need to make sure everyone in Wisconsin knows it!

Early voting starts Monday!