Friday, March 30, 2012

Barrett: Another Gubernatorial Candidate With Special Interests

It is Friday in Wisconsin, because there's more negative news. Tom Barrett just doesn't listen. The unions don't like him for whatever reason. The grassroots don't like him because he cozies up to special interests and Chicago politics. Even though Barrett has less union, grassroots and independent support than Kathleen Falk or Doug La Follette, Barrett announced late this afternoon that he will run for Wisconsin Governor to muddy the waters and try to take advantage of a weak front-running Falk. Who other than Rahm Emanuel wants you to run now?

Support from special interests hurts Democratic recall candidates, but Barrett just doesn't listen. In his announcement, he lies about his support from special interests, saying he doesn't cater to special interests. Really?!

This is why we need a real strong candidate who really doesn't cater to special interests, and that's Doug La Follette.

It really is time for you to pass the damn ball, ball-hog. There's already a petition for Tom Barrett to "fuck off."

The only difference Barrett brings to the campaign is a disconnect with unions. However, Wisconsin already has the "not in bed with unions" candidate, and that's Doug La Follette. He doesn't take money from ANY special interests. He's the true people's candidate with a campaign run for the people funded by the people.

Federal Judge Finds Unconstitutional Portions of Collective Bargaining Rights-Stripping Law

It must be Friday in Wisconsin, because more news about Walker's illegal activities has occurred. According to the WisPolitics budget blog, "A federal judge today invalidated two provisions in Gov. Scott Walker's collective bargaining changes: the requirement of an absolute majority of union members for recertification and denying the voluntary withholding of union dues from workers' paychecks." The provisions were included in Wisconsin's collective bargaining rights-stripping law (Act 10) passed by Walker and the far-right Republicans last spring against the protests of hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites.

The judge "found the state provided no rational basis for requiring a majority of union members -- not just those voting -- to approve recertification." The plaintiffs' arguments are based on the First Amendment and Equal Protection.

This is just another unconstitutional law passed by the far-right Republicans in Wisconsin and stopped by Federal courts; the first two being the Voter Suppression Law and the illegal gerrymandering.

Doug La Follette Has A Shiny New Website

Wisconsin Secretary of State and gubernatorial candidate Doug La Follette released a brand new website at douglafollette.com Friday to coincide with the beginning of the effort to collect nomination papers. I just checked out his website this morning to see if there was anything new, and BAM! a brand new shiny website. Now, you can download nomination papers right on his website, and there's a lot more information regarding his views and upcoming events.

In case you're wondering, since I have been posting a lot about La Follette, I have no connection with the campaign yet. I have seen La Follette speak and emailed him to volunteer my help to get nomination signatures, but I haven't mentioned this blog. I'm just a really big fan of Doug La Follette - Governor!

Check out the new website and download nomination papers.

Anyone who's been following this blog knows that I believe Doug La Follette is the candidate most able to defeat Walker and then move Wisconsin FORWARD.

If you don't know much about Doug La Follette, or even if you think you know him, I urge you to look into the candidate. You can read more about our Secretary of State Doug La Follette on his website douglafollette.com and Meet the Walker Recall Candidates: Doug La Follette by Dane101. There is also a recent WisEye interview that really gives you a sense of La Follette and what he stands for.

Unlike Scott Walker and Kathleen Falk, La Follette doesn't take money from corporations or special interest groups. He runs a campaign for the people funded by the people. So your support in this effort is all the more essential, and as always, he greatly appreciates it.

If you'd like to volunteer, sign up here.

If you'd like to contribute to La Follette's campaign, you can donate online at ActBlue or send donations to La Follette Campaign Fund at 1211 Rutledge #3, Madison, WI 53703. I include this because I personally believe Doug La Follette is what Wisconsin is looking for, and I want him to get as much support as possible, as soon as possible.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Gannett Is Far-Right Walker-Supporting Media

Most of Gannett's reporters didn't sign a recall petition. Therefore, Gannett is clearly far-right Scott Walker-supporting media, because not signing a recall petition is clear support for Walker, while signing a recall petition isn't express support for or against Walker. Gannett has gone so far as to discipline those reporters who didn't follow their political bias and signed the petition. So, Gannett can't possibly report unbiasedly with so many people supporting Walker.

One could easily have signed a recall petition and then vote for Walker in the recall election. You can support Walker and be a petition signer. You may just want to give others a chance to elect someone else. My step-father is one of these people. Gannett is making sweeping claims that these people don't support Walker and then disciplining their employees based on their claims.

Signing a recall petition doesn't remove an elected official from office, the desire of the petition filers. It only gives Wisconsin a chance to remove the official through a recall election. However, not signing a recall petition keeps an official in office, the desire of the elected official. Therefore, there is no other way to interpret not signing a recall petition other than clear support for the current elected official.

Gannett publishes many Wisconsin newspapers including The Green Bay Press Gazette, The Post Crescent, The Fond du Lac Reporter, The Oshkosh Northwestern and Manitowac's Herald Times Reporter. All of these newspapers are in the bag for Walker since most of the reporters are. That's a significant portion of Wisconsin's newspapers that are far-right Walker supporters.

If Gannett is worried about the perception of their bias. They should make sure that half of their reporters sign a recall petition and half don't. Or they can report on what signing a recall petition really is.

Defend the Recall!



(In case you haven't figured it out yet, I don't really believe that Gannett is far-right Walker-supporting media or that they should have half of their reporters sign recall petitions. However, they can't claim that signing a recall petition is "political activity" and has any bearing on reporting.

The main point is: one cannot infer someone's political bias based on their signing or not signing a recall petition.

Gannett, and all other companies, must not prohibit their employees from signing recall petitions, and they must not discipline employees for signing recall petitions. Now that they know, Gannett must come clean and admit what signing a recall petition really is in all of their Wisconsin publications or face the moniker of far-right Walker-supporting media.)

Recall is a Constitutional Right - Defend It!

The recent and increasing recall signature demonization and prohibition is an attack on our rights and democracy, and it must be called out and stopped. Recalling elected officials is a right defined in the Wisconsin Constitution. It's not "political activity" as Gannett recently tried to label it as an explanation for their outrage and reason for disciplining their employees for not following Gannett's political views. No one in Wisconsin should be denied the right to sign a recall petition, because not signing a recall petition is the same "political activity" as signing one.

See that's the problem. Gannett can cloak their political motives in "ethics," but it's the same as disciplining someone for voting or not voting for someone. Gannett could use the same reasoning to discipline everyone who didn't sign a recall petition, because signing or not signing a petition are answers to the same electoral question that is answered based on proportions of the electoral population.

As with elections, you're offered a choice. When you are informed that recall petitions are being circulated, you have the choice to either sign a petition or not sign a petition. You express your support for giving Wisconsin a chance to remove an elected officer by signing a petition, and you express your support for keeping an elected official in office by not signing a petition. And yes, people abstain from both for various reasons, that's the third answer to such an electoral question. Well over a million people in Wisconsin made this conscious decision this past winter. It's the same decision you make during an election with an incumbent. Prohibiting someone who wants to sign a recall petition is forcing them to take a stance they don't support.

As with elections, a recall requires the support of a certain proportion of the people. There are a finite number of eligible voters in Wisconsin. The proportions set forth in the Wisconsin Constitution recognize this and do not take into account citizens who are "prohibited" from signing a recall petition. Therefore, by prohibiting people from signing recall petitions, recalls become more difficult than intended, requiring a higher proportion of the electorate than specified in the Wisconsin Constitution. The increased demonization only seeks to increase the number of people who are "prohibited" from signing a recall petition in order to make it more difficult for citizens to recall their elected officials without going through the work of changing our constitution.

Recall petitions have less power than elections. Signing a petition does not mean that you want to remove an elected official, it just means that you want Wisconsin to be given that choice. Recalling an elected official doesn't remove them from office, it only allows for Wisconsin to hold an election to choose whether or not they want to remove the official. Signing a recall petition is not express support for or against any elected official or candidate. You may sign a recall petition but then later vote for the current elected official during the recall election.

However, not signing a recall petition is expressing support for an elected official, because you become part of the proportion that keeps the official in office. No matter how many people sign a recall petition and want an official removed, the official stays in office. The people in support of the elected official get what they want simply by getting enough people to not sign a petition. So, not signing a recall petition has more power than signing one. One answer is in clear support of an elected official, while the other answer is only support of a recall election.

Demonizing people for signing recall petitions, or prohibiting people from signing them, will make people think about whether or not they want to go through that next time a recall petition is circulated. No matter which party the elected official may belong to. The decision about whether or not to sign a recall petition will no longer be just about the elected official. It'll be about a job, a career, and even one's safety and the safety of their family. A right defined in the Wisconsin Constitution to receive proper representation shouldn't come with such heavy personal considerations. The demonization will force people to take stances that they don't support.

For these reasons, no one, not judges, not political appointees, not journalists, not anyone should be prohibited from or demonized or disciplined for signing a recall petition. In addition, judges shouldn't need to admit to signing a recall petition before or during any case, because recall decisions should be irrelevant to a judge's ability to be fair, just as their votes are. And if anyone wanted to know, it's public information. So, really, what's the point other than to demonize them?

A recall is not political activism, it's democracy, and Gannett may be violating the Wisconsin Constitution by disciplining their employees for signing recall petitions.

The next time someone attacks a recall petition signer, the attack should be redirected with a strong defense of democracy and the rights defined in the Wisconsin Constitution.

Barrett Don't Run: Pass the Ball and Endorse Doug La Follette

You are not listening.

Tom Barrett spent yesterday with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel raising funds from lobbyists. That's right, yesterday Barrett cozied up to out-of-state lobbyists with big pockets to get financial support for a potential run for governor. The likely reason Barrett hasn't announced a run for governor yet is so that he can rake in the special interest dough using this loophole.

Enough with the special interests! It's not just Walker's special interests we don't like, it's your special interests, too. Wisconsin is sick of our politicians listening to special interests instead of their constituents, and that's one of the reasons many people are fighting to recall Walker. We need campaigns that are run for the people funded by the people.

You're not listening!

This is not what thousands of us stood vigilant inside and outside the Capitol and later collected recall signatures in the cold, snow and rain for last year. This is one of our strongest nonpartisan critiques of Walker, i.e., one of the ways we can win over independents and defeat Walker. How do you propose fighting Walker on these issues when you're doing the exact same thing? You can't!

I wrote about Kathleen Falk's troubles with special interests two weeks ago, and two days ago the respected and witty blogger Giles Goat Boy, for the same reasons, asked Falk and Barrett to "pass the damn ball!"

As Doug La Follette said yesterday, "I am very saddened that this magnificent effort, this historic effort, this real people’s democracy was hijacked by the same-old, same-old big money politics that we thought we had rejected."

Russ Feingold's Progressives United feels the same way. “Up until now, the only beneficiary of ominous super PAC support was Gov. Scott Walker. Regrettably, as well intentioned as Wisconsin for Falk no doubt is, the impact it will have on the recall election will almost certainly be to undermine, not bolster, the chances of successfully replacing Scott Walker as governor.”

What's worse is that Rahm Emanuel has his own public education controversy in Chicago, potentially severely degrading the quality of education in poor districts. We want a governor who will listen to the people of Wisconsin, not simply make drastic changes without the knowledge and support from those who know most. Does Barrett agree with Emanuel's actions?

It only gets worse for those two. Falk is heading to Chicago on Friday for a fundraiser called “Chicago Stands with Falk." We don't need Chicago politics in Wisconsin. We need Wisconsin politics in Wisconsin.

What do you offer that Kathleen Falk doesn't? There doesn't appear to be anything after yesterday. Do everyone a favor and stay out.

We already have the "not in bed with unions" candidate, and that's Doug La Follette. He's a much stronger sell because he doesn't take any money from corporations or special interests. You clearly do, just as Walker and Falk. Where you split with unions, you split for other special interests.

We can win this and take Wisconsin back for the people with a campaign funded solely by the people, because we won't be able to compete with Walker's over $12 million war chest and his out-of-state Super PAC friends. Neither Falk nor Barrett's Super PAC and special interest friends have anything close to that amount of money. So, why bother with all of the trouble?

Feingold argues that Democratic candidates can win by rejecting special interest money and building more energy and support by being the people-funded candidate. We can have enough money to run a viable campaign if everyone who signed a petition gave $20 to such a gubernatorial candidate. The Wisconsin People's Legislature also supports this idea as part of their Tin Cup Platform, and they are pushing all recall candidates to run on it.

Start listening.

You clearly don't want this bad enough, or you would have jumped in long ago. Instead of jumping in and muddying the waters, most likely resulting in at least two negative primary campaigns, I implore you to endorse Doug La Follette. His platform appears to be the most inline with yours, and I believe La Follette is our best chance at defeating Walker and then moving Wisconsin forward as quickly as possible. I suspect that Feingold will endorse La Follette before too long for his stance on special interests, if he endorses anyone before the primary.

The time to get in has passed. Those with the confidence and motivation to run have already announced, and you don't offer anything new. It's time to choose who you will endorse. If you run, the grassroots of Wisconsin will fight you and Falk, because you're not what we're fighting for. But with your support, we can defeat Falk and Walker. Do Wisconsin a solid and endorse Doug La Follette - Governor.

Anyone who's been following this blog knows that I believe Doug La Follette is the candidate most able to defeat Walker and then move Wisconsin FORWARD. It was the first Governor La Follette that gave us the ability to recall politicians, now Wisconsin needs another Governor La Follette to give the state back to the people. (Clearly they're different people, and Doug doesn't necessarily have the same views as Fighting Bob, it's just name play.)

If you don't know much about Doug La Follette, or even if you think you know him, I urge you to look into the candidate. You can read more about our Secretary of State Doug La Follette on his website douglafollette.com and Meet the Walker Recall Candidates: Doug La Follette by Dane101. There is also a recent WisEye interview that really gives you a sense of La Follette and what he stands for.

Unlike Scott Walker, Kathleen Falk, and Tom Barrett; La Follette doesn't take money from corporations or special interest groups. He runs a campaign for the people funded by the people. So your support in this effort is all the more essential, and as always, he greatly appreciates it. If you'd like to contribute to his campaign, you can donate online at ActBlue or send donations to his office at 1211 Rutledge #3, Madison, WI 53703. I include this because I personally believe Doug La Follette is what Wisconsin is looking for, and I want him to get as much support as possible, as soon as possible.


Special Interest Support Hurts Democratic Recall Candidates

Every politician, particularly Democrats, argue against lobbyists and special interests. However, most politicians actually take as much as they legally (and sometimes illegally) can from corporations and special interests. In order to win in the recall elections this summer, Democratic candidates must reject money from corporations and special interests, and we must support only those candidates.

One of our strongest nonpartisan critiques of the no-compromise Walker is his pay-for-play with corporations and conservative special interests such as the Koch brothers. You know, like the tried and true statements about "out-of-state money." We can easily win over independents who look for candidates that aren't sold to special interests, and that's what we need to do to defeat Walker. However, to do that a Democratic candidate can't be taking special interest money at the same time, no matter how "good" the special interest might be. The sales pitch dies there, and the critical ideas get lost in the ether.

Scott Walker has over $12 million in his war chest. His Super PAC and special interest friends have already lined up and committed millions more. No Democratic candidate can compete. So, instead of trying to compete, lets actually walk the talk. We can build more grassroots energy and support with the candidates that reject special interests. Let Walker talk to himself on TV. People who are convincible will want more information than just the slime they put out, if only because it'll be so clearly one-sided, and they'll have to look elsewhere. That's where our energy comes in - mainly talking to people. We can save money by doing things such as making our own yard signs which will make the campaign really look like a grassroots campaign.

Think of the stark alternative we would offer. I'm excited!

Russ Feingold agrees. In response to whether candidates should take money from special interests and Super PACs, he said, "People will see us as weak and not being a true alternative and just being the same as the other guy. And as I have said before, to me this is dancing with the devil."

Feingold's Progressives United has spoken out against Falk's support from special interests.
“Regrettably, as well intentioned as Wisconsin for Falk no doubt is, the impact it will have on the recall election will almost certainly be to undermine, not bolster, the chances of successfully replacing Scott Walker as governor. By funneling out-of-state special interest money to support Kathleen Falk’s campaign, Wisconsin for Falk muddies what had been absolutely crystal clear waters in the recall effort. Up until now, the only beneficiary of ominous super PAC support was Governor Scott Walker. That can no longer be said, and because of that, Kathy Falk has been forced to cede what could have been a powerful strategic advantage, namely the complete rejection of support from dubious organizations that the American public overwhelmingly rejects. In fact, a recent poll found that nearly 70% of the public thought that super PACs ought to be outlawed.”
The Wisconsin People's Legislature is pushing all recall candidates to run on the Tin Cup Platform, which rejects money from special interests. We can have enough money to run a viable campaign if everyone who signed a petition gave $20 to such a gubernatorial candidate. It's definitely within our reach.

The top progressive minds in Wisconsin are behind this, and that's usually who Democrats and progressives follow - the advice of independent minds that know what they're talking about. What's your reason for not supporting a candidate that knows what's up?

The two biggest names in the running or potentially running for governor, Kathleen Falk and Tom Barrett, have been cozying up to special interests.

There is a candidate for governor that doesn't take money from corporations or special interests, and that's Doug La Follette. He's a true independent, grassroots and "people's" candidate, and he offers the change Wisconsin is looking for.

In order for us to get a campaign for the people, it must be funded by the people, and we must support only candidates who reject money from corporations and special interests.

If we don't demand it, we won't get it. And if we don't get it, we'll lose to Walker!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mike Tate: Walker Could Learn A Lot From Doug La Follette

Mike Tate seems to think that Doug La Follette would be a good Wisconsin Governor. According to the lastest press release from the WisDems, Tate says that Scott Walker could learn a lot from the gubernatorial candidate Doug La Follette. From the press release:
"Scott Walker could stand to learn a lot from Doug La Follette about the Wisconsin Idea and the freedoms that made Wisconsin great. Whether it is our state's university and vocational-technical system or our record of protecting our abundance of natural resources to the belief that everyone should share in Wisconsin's progress, Doug La Follette has spent virtually his entire career fighting for Wisconsin values. His voice is a valuable addition to the great debate about Wisconsin's future."
La Follette announced his candidacy for governor this morning next to the Wisconsin Constitution in the Capitol's Rotunda. This is what La Follette had to say:
"I choose to stand here with the Wisconsin Constitution in the State Capitol, to announce my candidacy for Governor in the recall election of Scott Walker because it is thanks to what Governor Bob La Follette put into the document over 100 years ago which allows the people of Wisconsin to take back our state.

In the past 13 months, Walker has done much to damage Wisconsin. The worst being to divide us in a way that no one could have imagined. He has pitted business owners against employees, parents against teachers, and neighbor against neighbor.

There has been far too much hostility and focus put on how to divide us rather than focusing on how we can respect each other and work together to move Wisconsin FORWARD. As Governor, I will listen to, and respect ALL of the people of Wisconsin.

As governor, respect for all the people of Wisconsin would be the leading principle in setting my priorities. I believe that respect for business owners, all working people, parents, educators, city and town leaders and all Wisconsinites is the best way to grow our economy, invest in our children, and bring civility and respect back to our state.

Wisconsin needs to return to mutual respect for all Wisconsin citizens, including:
  • Respect for parents and teachers, who we depend on to educate and raise our children for the future
  • Respect for business owners and the people who work for them, helping to make their businesses thrive
  • Respect for all people's need for health care, especially women, family farmers and small businesses
  • Respect for the environment, which, as our great Sen. Gaylord Nelson often said, is critical for a healthy economy
  • Respect for people's rights to vote and organize
After much deliberation and time spent listening to my fellow citizens, I believe that I am the best choice to defeat Governor Walker in the upcoming recall election. I will be a Governor who can bring the state together again.

I am not viewed as a “Madison Liberal” and have always enjoyed broad support from Independents, Republicans as well as Democrats.

I am confident that with the help of concerned citizens from all across our state, we will be successful."
La Follette told WisPolitics, "I was expecting a David vs. Goliath situation with Mr. Walker and his millions of out-of-state monies. But now I see I face two goliaths. … I am saddened to see this primary election has turned into a big money, out-of-state money influence (campaign) with super PACs telling us how to vote."

Anyone who's been following this blog knows that I believe Doug La Follette is the candidate most able to defeat Walker and then move Wisconsin FORWARD.

You can read more about our Secretary of State Doug La Follette on his website www.douglafollette.com and Meet the Walker Recall Candidates: Doug La Follette by Dane101. There is also a recent WisEye interview that really gives you a sense of the candidate and what he stands for.

La Follette plans to distribute nomination papers on Friday to begin collecting 3,000 signatures to get his name on the ballot. We'll only have a few days to collect enough signatures, so everyone's help is greatly appreciated. Email Doug at sosdoug@hotmail.com if you can collect some names, and he'll email you papers on Friday.

Unlike Scott Walker and Kathleen Falk, La Follette doesn't take money from corporations or special interest groups so your support in this effort is all the more essential, and as always, he greatly appreciates it. If you'd like to contribute to his campaign, you can donate online at ActBlue or send donations to his office at 1211 Rutledge #3, Madison, WI 53703.

Why Are Fitzgerald and the Republicans Refusing To Work?

The regular legislative session in Wisconsin has ended for the year, leaving our state legislators practically on vacation for the remainder. However, like most Wisconsinites, there's lots of work the legislators still need to do this year, but Senate Co-Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald is refusing to do his job and bring his party to a special session. Fitzgerald is wasting millions of taxpayer money by refusing to do his job.

The first most critical is fixing the Republicans' illegal gerrymandering. Until it's fixed, no one in Wisconsin will have proper representation, because none of the new maps can be used until the gerrymandering is fixed. Right now, Fitzgerald is planning to waste more taxpayer money in court instead of following court orders and simply doing his job.

The next thing they need to do is pass the Republicans' only jobs plan. There's enough votes in the Senate to pass the Wisconsin Way Mining Reform Act with the Democrats and Republican Dale Schultz. Yet, Fitzgerald is refusing to bring the Senate back to pass it. The Republicans promised they would pass a mining bill as their jobs plan.

There are lots of other things that need to be done, like more jobs plans that have been put forth by the ignored Democrats. All of this can be done if the Republicans keep their word and begin a special session.

It sounds like Fitzgerald would rather spend his time in the nice spring weather getting ready to defend himself against a recall than actually work for Wisconsin. Lot's of unemployed people in Wisconsin would love to work at a job, but they're out of luck because Fitzgerald can't bring himself to do his.

Last year, the Democrats were forced to work outside of the state in order to be able to negotiate with the Republicans over the "budget repair bill." The Republicans tried to blame the Democrats for not working for the citizens of Wisconsin, but it was clear that they were still communicating with citizens and negotiating with other legislators from outside the boundary of the state. Now, the Republicans are refusing to do any work towards their promises, no negotiations, nothing. It's time for Wisconsin to start asking why the Republicans aren't working.

Why are the Republicans refusing to do the work they promised Wisconsin they would do?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Doug La Follette Will Announce Candidacy for Governor Wednesday Morning

I attended Wisconsin Secretary of State Doug La Follette's "People's Input Session" this Saturday at the Capitol in front of Lady Forward, where he told us that he plans to announce his candidacy for governor Wednesday morning at 10am next to the Wisconsin Constitution on the second floor of the Capitol Rotunda. After listening to La Follette and much thought and research, I believe La Follette is the only Democrat that will run who can beat Scott Walker on June 5 and then make the most progress moving Wisconsin forward.

This election is not a slam dunk by any means, maybe if Feingold was running, but that's not going to happen. Everyone else is in a statistical dead-heat with Walker in the latest polls. So we have to pick wisely, and we'll have less than a month after the May 8 primary to convince Wisconsin voters to elect our choice. It's my belief that there are three keys to this election and subsequent execution in office: independents, divisiveness and fundraising, and it's these keys that lead me to believe Doug La Follette is our wisest choice.

Independents are definitely the critical key to this election. The candidate voted for by the majority of independents will win the recall election. Democrats and Republicans are both pretty much locked in and fired up, and with the state pretty much split down the middle, convincing independents to elect a Democrat is the surest way to victory in June.

To understand the second key, divisiveness or unity, it helps to take a step back and think about why over a million people signed a petition to recall Walker and the millions of Wisconsinites who are just not happy with the way things have been done in Wisconsin recently. There are a lot of specific issues: collective bargaining rights, education, gerrymandering, environmental protections, voter suppression, etc. However, most if not all of these issues wouldn't exist if the far-right no-compromise Walker had insisted that legislation be drafted and passed openly and democratically. Many of the issues, such as collective bargaining rights, would have never passed under the light of day or after reasoned debate.

The problem is deeper than just the issues, it's the divisiveness that created those issues. The root of the problem is the way things are being done in Wisconsin since Walker took office, and we can't fix Wisconsin until we fix the way things are done.

A large majority of Wisconsinites can agree with that whether they're Democrat, Republican or independent, although some extremist Republicans "stand with Walker." We'll never convince them to vote Democrat, but we can convince a large share of the reasonable people in Wisconsin by offering a significant change in the way things are done. We need to choose a candidate who can convince Wisconsinites that he/she will insist that everyone work with each other in the open to find the best solutions to our problems without letting special interests get an unfair voice.

Independents will love this. That's what they want. Someone who will listen to everyone to find the best solutions to our problems. The essence of being independent. Independents are especially sick of the divisiveness in Wisconsin. They just want to go back to the relatively calm and quiet Wisconsin that doesn't include political attack ads every time they turn on the TV. We can give independents what they want.

Democrats and progressives will love this, because the majority of progressive positions are supported by reason and science. So, any legislation that is crafted will inherently be progressive, and it will be passable. Therefore, a lot more can actually get done. Of course, not everything will necessarily be exactly perfect, but we'll get the lion's share of what we want, if not more. This is our "platform."

Some Republicans will at least favor this over Walker. There are many Republicans who can be heard or who have been quoted saying something like they may agree with Walker's policies, but they don't agree with how he makes it happen. If some Republicans vote for the Democrat candidate, we will have a very good chance of winning. However, the better reason is that the less these types of Republicans fear the Democrat candidate, the less motivated they'll be to turn out and vote for Walker. We can easily tip the scales with a less divisive and more independent candidate.

Now, I'm sure a lot of Democrats and progressives are thinking, but I'm really ticked off, and there's a lot of other people like me. With everyone so fired up, and so much damage done by Walker, why shouldn't we pick the most liberal candidate possible? Independents. The answer goes back to the first key, we can't win without them, and we won't get their support if they think they're going to get the same thing from both parties. They'll stay at home, and we're left with a flip of a coin. The closer they see our candidate to Walker's divisiveness, the less interest they'll have.

Take your motivation and turn a coin flip into a sure thing. Walker and his Super PACs will be flooding the airwaves with "Stand With Walker" brainwashing. Voters will need to be convinced to vote against Walker by a real person talking to them, particularly face-to-face. If we focus our energy on convincing independents to vote for our candidate like we did collecting recall signatures, we can easily beat Walker. But all of that energy will be for nothing if we're not offering a significant change.

The third key is in part due to the Citizens United ruling, but it's also critical to the first two keys. We need someone who isn't going to get caught in the same funding mess that Walker is in, whether it's corporations or unions. Someone who has taken money from special interests during their campaign will be perceived as giving those interests an unfair voice, whether they actually do or not. It only makes sense, because there's no other logical reason for a special interest to contribute to the efforts of a campaign. Their members already have the right to personally contribute. Any additional contribution by those members through the special interest group can only be seen as a desire to get an unfair advantage in the election or subsequent decisions in office. The only way to effectively convince voters that a candidate isn't accountable to any special interests is to refuse money from special interests, and this is key to motivating independents to vote in the recall for our candidate.

Walker already has over $12 million in his pocket for the recall, and that's without the now Citizens United-powered Super PACS. No Democrat will be able to come close to matching Walker's arsenal. So, there's no point in even trying to compete financially. Instead, the Democrat candidate should focus their energy on fundraising from regular people and refuse money from corporations and special interests. The little extra bit of ads, many times not inline with the supported campaign, that we'd get aren't worth the trouble, negative perception, and lack of focus on the people of Wisconsin. A Democrat candidate can likely raise far more funds this way than by cozying up to any special interests - and that's Feingold's argument.

We can't afford to support a candidate who is beholden to special interests.

Less divisiveness, more openness, more knowledgeable input, and no special interests, focused on education, jobs, health and the outdoors. This is the platform that we must run on to win, and we must select the candidate that can best deliver and execute the message. It's the surest chance we have of beating Scott Walker, and it will also be the surest chance we have of moving Wisconsin forward again as quickly as possible.

A less divisive candidate who is not beholden to any special interest group will be the most effective progressive governor possible in the environment we're in. Remember, governors don't write legislation, they set the tone. The governor can insist that legislation is drafted and debated in an open and thoughtful manner, and such a governor would. We may not always get everything we want, but we won't get anything we strongly dislike, and we'll get needed legislation passed. This is the Wisconsin way.

A less divisive candidate will inherently work across party lines more and be more accepted by the other side. Such a governor will actually be able to get the two parties to work together, because they'll see that noone is being shoved aside. A new atmosphere of working together to solve our problems will fill Wisconsin. That doesn't mean one party won't refuse to work with the other, it'll be our job to hold them accountable. If a majority of Wisconsin elects a governor with the desire to work together, anyone refusing to work together will openly defying the will of the people of Wisconsin. Such a governor will make the Republicans' current position of no-compromise very difficult.

Unfortunately, our "inevitable candidate" is someone who will have a very difficult time pulling this off, Kathleen Falk. Soon after the signatures were turned in, Falk jumped to become the first candidate in the recall against Walker. Falk quickly sought and received endorsements from unions before any other candidate had announced, before an election was even set, before the signatures were even looked at by the GAB, for any chance to disuade any other Democrat from running. Then, on the day that the only other candidate currently, Kathleen Vinehout, planned to announce her candidacy, Falk announced that she signed a pledge with unions to veto any budget that didn't restore collective bargaining rights. Falk's announcement overshadowed Vinehout's as intended. The pledge also solidified the image that Falk is "in bed with the unions," it wasn't necessary, and could likely be broken by Falk in order to fulfill her legal duty as governor if elected.

Now, Falk is mired in controversy with a union Super PAC that supports her. I don't know how Falk passes as a less divisive candidate who's not beholden to any special interests. I don't know how we can sell Falk to independents other than the anti-Walker candidate. You tell me, please.

For these reasons, I can't support her, and we can't support her, unless we want the election to be no different than the flip of a coin. Falk won't cut it. If she doesn't make another critical mistake before the election, we'll be biting our nails right up to the last moment. If she does, she'll have an even bigger hole to climb out of in a very short period of time. If I had to make a bet, I'd bet Falk loses to Walker. I don't like that, especially since she's the "inevitable" candidate, but I can't envision a scenario where Falk attracts more people to vote than Walker's arsenal of brainwashing. Outside of Madison, it can be pretty brutal.

I like Kathleen Vinehout, although I must admit I don't know a lot about her. She might be a good candidate on paper. But, she has a lot of ground to make up on Falk, and she just doesn't have the time to do it. If we're going to find someone who can beat Falk, we need to look elsewhere, and we need to look fast.

However, it doesn't take long to see that Doug La Follette would be a great candidate and governor at this pivotal moment in Wisconsin. One can easily tell from listening to La Follette that he is genuinely an independent thinker. He's also equipped with the intellect and experience required to sift and winnow complex issues. One of La Follette's primary assets that he's campaigning on is his desire and ability to make decisions and policies independently based on sound reasoning for the benefit of the people of Wisconsin. La Follette wants to bring back the Wisconsin Idea, which is exactly that, using Wisconsin's resources to find the best solutions to our problems in an open manner, instead of the far-right cookie-cutter legislation that's been passed since Walker took office.

La Follette can and does attract independents with his message, and he's been elected to Secretary of State consecutively since 1982. So, he has a statewide base of support, and he has a lot of experience campaigning statewide. La Follette modernized the Secretary of State and has fought hard against both Democrats and Republicans to keep the constitutionally defined office in tact. In fact, La Follette would restore the powers that have been taken away, reducing the power of the governor back to what the Wisconsin Constitution conceived. That's just one example of his independence, and I believe La Follette makes the strongest case for a candidate that can attract independents without selling progressives short.

La Follette doesn't accept money from corporations or special interests. So, he's a clear winner on the third key.

La Follette is our ticket to beating Walker in June and moving Wisconsin forward. He's a true grassroots and "peoples" candidate with the capability to heal Wisconsin by focusing on the things that Wisconsinites value most: education, jobs, health, and the outdoors; and doing it through reason and discussion not party politics.

I really don't think any other Democrat is going to jump in the race at this point, and the sooner we start supporting a viable candidate the better. Herb Kohl isn't going to, otherwise La Follette said he wouldn't run. Tom Barrett probably isn't going to jump in now. If he waited this long, it was only so that he could ensure he'd still have a job as mayor after the election April 3. And that doesn't make me feel too confident about his motivation or chances. There's a lot of Internet buzz asking Peter Barca to run, but he's not even on most people's radar. I just don't think there's enough time for him to convince voters, and I believe that's why he won't get in. Blame Falk for stepping in so early and causing everyone else to back off.

La Follette really needs your help to spread the word as early as possible.  So I encourage you to learn more about him at your earliest convenience, and if you think he's a better candidate than Falk, spread the word before it's too late.

A lot of people on the left are fired up, but a lot of people on the right are fired up, and a lot of independents could care less. We need to convince independents to come out and vote against Walker. A divisive or extreme liberal, particularly a "Madison liberal," will not excite the independents, who want calm and progress, not more party politics - from a different party or not.

By tapping into this feeling, we can beat Walker in a landslide. Given a choice between a far-right no-compromise Walker and a candidate like Doug La Follette, I believe Wisconsin will overwhelmingly choose La Follette.

You can read more about our Secretary of State Doug La Follette on his website www.douglafollette.com and Meet the Walker Recall Candidates: Doug La Follette by Dane101. There is also a recent WisEye interview that really gives you a sense of the candidate and what he stands for.

La Follette plans to distribute nomination papers on Friday to begin collecting 3,000 signatures to get his name on the ballot. We'll only have a few days to collect enough signatures, so everyone's help is greatly appreciated. Email Doug at sosdoug@hotmail.com if you can collect some names, and he'll email you papers on Friday.

La Follette doesn't take money from corporations or special interest groups so your support in this effort is all the more essential, and as always, he greatly appreciates it. If you'd like to contribute to his campaign, you can donate online at ActBlue or send donations to 1211 Rutledge #3, Madison, WI 53703.

Update: (March 28, 7:38PM) Doug La Follette announced his candidacy this morning. Read this post to see what he said and what Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair Mike Tate said about La Follette, that is Scott Walker could learn a lot from La Follette.

Let Us Pass A Mining Bill Now

With the State Senate split 50/50, the far-right Republican leadership now must work with Democrats to pass mining legislation. Let's get it done. We've got illegal gerrymandering to fix anyway. Two birds, one stone.

In fact, the Democrats have enough votes with Republican Senator Dale Schultz to pass the Wisconsin Way Mining Reform Act right now. It doesn't curb environmental protections, and it gives Gogebic Taconite what they want.

The Republican leadership was planning on a special session for mining legislation, but they cancelled it. The only reason they planned the special session was to prevent passage of the Wisconsin Way Mining Reform Act in the regular legislative session. The planned special session made it impossible for the Democrats to vote on the WWMR Act. Then, the Republicans blamed Democrats and Schultz for not passing new mining legislation, when in fact it was their inability to compromise with even others within their own party that prevented a bill from passing.

Now it's time for the Republican leadership to make good on their word. We need a special session on mining to pass the only jobs plan the Republicans have.

We all know the Republicans won't make good on their word and even just start a special session for mining legislation, but our calls to begin one will shine a bright light on their hypocritical stubbornness.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Republicans Waste Millions By Refusing To Fix Illegal Gerrymandering

Yesterday, a panel of three Federal judges, two Republican-appointed, and one Democrat-appointed, ordered the unconstitutionally gerrymandered maps fixed. However, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said there is "not a chance" the Republicans will be willing to fix their gerrymandering. The Republicans may have already spent over a million dollars in taxpayer money trying to keep their gerrymandering secret and defending it in court. If the Republicans won't fix the maps, new maps will be created through the courts and will likely result in millions of dollars in taxpayer money wasted on the Republicans gerrymandering our districts, because none of the new maps can be used until the maps are fixed.

The Democrats have been pleading on the side of Wisconsin citizens to fix the gerrymandering. Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca said, "We need to immediately begin to redraw the maps in a manner that is fully open and transparent and does not, in the words of the court, 'needlessly move' more than a million citizens of Wisconsin," and Senate Democrat Leader Mark Miller said, "It is ridiculous that Republicans would ignore a court order to fix an unlawful map."

Wisconsin can't afford to waste more money on this crap. Republicans, you clearly f-ed up, now man and woman up, and fix it!

Tell the Republicans to fix their unconstitutional gerrymandering instead of wasting more taxpayer money, and tell the Democrats to crank up the pressure in support of the rights of Wisconsin citizens. This is ridiculous!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Republicans Found Guilty of Partisan Unconstitutional Gerrymandering - Refuse To Fix

The Federal panel of two Republican-appointed judges and one Democrat-appointed judge overseeing the gerrymandering case against the Republicans found that they unconstitutionally gerrymandered Wisconsin districts strictly for partisan gain, and they have ordered at least a portion of the maps fixed before any of the new maps can be used. The Republicans had already been ordered by the court to reveal their secret emails which showed they signed agreements to keep secret the maps and discussions that took place at a private attorney's office through intimidation, and the emails also showed that the Republicans orchestrated public testimony in favor of the maps. The judges had already given the Republicans a chance to fix their gerrymandering, but Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald refused.

The Republicans have already wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money trying to protect their illegal gerrymandering. The panel said, "Regrettably, like many other states, Wisconsin chose a sharply partisan methodology that has cost the state in dollars, time and civility." And Fitzgerald wants to waste far more by refusing to fix their gerrymandering. He said there is "not a chance" they will be willing to fix their gerrymandering.

The Democrats are pleading on the side of Wisconsin citizens to fix the gerrymandering. Senate Democrat Leader Mark Miller said, "It is ridiculous that Republicans would ignore a court order to fix an unlawful map. Maybe they should sleep on it," and Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca said, "We need to immediately begin to redraw the maps in a manner that is fully open and transparent and does not, in the words of the court, 'needlessly move' more than a million citizens of Wisconsin."

If the Republicans are unwilling to fix their gerrymandering, Wisconsin taxpayers will likely pay millions of dollars to get maps through the courts. Tell the Republicans to stop wasting taxpayer money and fix their illegal gerrymandering!

The judges began their decision with, "There was once a time when Wisconsin was famous for its courtesy and its tradition of good government."

Doug La Follette can help get us back to those traditions as Governor of Wisconsin by renewing the Wisconsin Idea.

Doug La Follette To Announce Candidacy for Governor

Wisconsin Secretary of State Doug La Follette plans to announce his candidacy for Governor of Wisconsin soon, according to his website at www.douglafollette.com. La Follette says he wants to renew the Wisconsin Idea in order to turn the state around. “The Wisconsin Idea was based on the premise that government was most effective when controlled by voters, not special interests. In turn, the University of Wisconsin was utilized, providing ideas most of us now take for granted, including workers’ compensation, child labor laws, forest and water conservation,” La Follette said.

Doug La Follette is an independent thinker, and he expresses that genuinely. He has been elected to be Wisconsin's Secretary of State since 1982. With a PhD in organic chemistry, La Follette makes decisions based on careful thought and consideration, not based on party affiliation or ideology. He's definitely for restoring collective bargaining rights, but he's not stupid enough to sign a pledge that may lock him out of better options for Wisconsin in the future, like getting a budget passed. He's also an environmentalist, a former UW-Parkside professor, and he co-founded Clean Wisconsin, but he's not a "Madison liberal" and he supports Wisconsin being "Open for Business," with a lot of good ideas to actually attract more businesses to Wisconsin.

Doug La Follette is a true grassroots and "peoples" candidate with the capability to heal Wisconsin by focusing on the things that Wisconsinites value most: education, jobs, health, and the outdoors; and doing it through reason and discussion not party politics. That's the Wisconsin Idea.

La Follette would join the two other Democrat candidates already in the race, Kathleen Falk and Senator Kathleen Vinehout. The Democrat primary will be held on May 8.

I see no better candidate for Governor than Doug La Follette by a long shot! Here's why.

We've got Walker shaking in his boots now, because La Follette is a stark contrast from the far-right no-compromise Walker. La Follette can easily sway independent voters away from Walker through his use of the Wisconsin Idea and desire to work together to find the best solutions to Wisconsin's problems.

Doug La Follette will be speaking and meeting with the public at the Library Mall in Madison on Thursday from 11:30am-12:30pm, and he'll be doing the same thing in front of Lady Forward on Saturday from 11:30am-12:30pm. More events are planned, check his website for further details.

You can read more about our Secretary of State Doug La Follette on his website www.douglafollette.com and Meet the Walker Recall Candidates: Doug La Follette by Dane101.

Right now, Wisconsin needs another Governor La Follette.

Update: (March 25, 6:06AM) According to Doug La Follette, he plans to announce his candidacy for Wisconsin Governor this Wednesday at about 10am. He also plans to distribute nomination papers on Friday to begin collecting 3,000 signatures to get his name on the ballot.

We'll only have a few days to collect enough signatures, so everyone's help is greatly appreciated. Email Doug at sosdoug@hotmail.com if you can collect some names, and he'll email you papers on Friday.

Doug doesn't take money from corporations or special interest groups so your support in this effort to take back Wisconsin from the far-right is all the more essential, and as always, greatly appreciated. If you'd like to contribute to Doug's campaign, you can donate online at ActBlue or send donations to 1211 Rutledge #3, Madison, WI 53703.

If you're still looking for more information about Doug La Follette, check out this interview with him on WisEye.

Read this new blog post explaining why I believe La Follette is the only Democrat that will run who can beat Scott Walker on June 5 and then make the most progress moving Wisconsin forward.

Update: (March 28, 7:38PM) Doug La Follette announced his candidacy this morning. Read this post to see what he said and what Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair Mike Tate said about La Follette, that is Scott Walker could learn a lot from La Follette.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Permanent Injunction of Unconstitutional Voter Suppression Upheld

Two weeks ago, the Voter Suppression Law requiring an ID to vote that was passed by the far-right Republicans in Wisconsin was found unconstitutional by two judges, one from conservative Waukesha and one from liberal Dane. Both judges found the law to be unconstitutional, because the law goes "steps beyond the proper authority of the Legislature" to restrict voting by specific groups. Judge Richard Niess, the second judge said in his order, "The government may not disqualify an elector who possesses those qualifications not contained in Article III, such as a photo ID." The unconstitutional law was then halted by a temporary and a permanent injunction from the respective judges.

However, Governor Scott Walker, by demanding the injunctions be stayed, continued to insist upon suppressing the votes of the poor, the elderly, and minorities. Walker and the Republican leadership lit a fire under the normally slow-moving Attorney General Van Hollen's butt to appeal the decisions. Remember, Van Hollen refused to help the FBI in their criminal investigation of Walker and his aides as well as the election debacle in Waukesha last spring. Fortunately for the people of Wisconsin, our judges will have none of that.

Last week, Judge David T. Flanagan denied Walker's request to stay his temporary injunction, and yesterday, Judge Niess denied Walker's request to stay his permanent injunction. Niess said, "It is no law at all."

So, no more IDs to vote, and it doesn't sound like any judge would have a leg to stand on in support of the constitutionality of the law. Judge Niess said that would be a clear case of judicial activism. So, we likely will never need IDs to vote, as should have always been the case. Otherwise, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, where Walker is trying to send both cases, is more than FUBAR.

For those of you worried about increased voter fraud, the Voter Suppression Law wouldn't stop any of Wisconsin's previous cases of voter fraud. So, our elections are protected as well with and without the Voter Suppression Law. This is one of the reasons it's unjustified and unconstitutional, it doesn't make any practical effort towards stopping voter fraud, but it makes great strides to limit the voting of certain groups.

No more IDs and no more asking for IDs to vote. Make sure everyone knows so they can save money by not purchasing one. The halting of free photo IDs is one reason the permanent injunction won't be lifted unless the Republicans can somehow prove the law is constitutional.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Kathleen Falk Is Our Mitt Romney

"If we don't run Chris Christie, Romney will be the nominee and we'll lose."

That's Ann Coulter's now infamous quote from CPAC last year referring to the pool of lackluster Republican Presidential candidates and the inevitability if that didn't change.



Ann Coulter took a lot of heat for her statement, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't think more than twice about posting what you're about to read.

With the recall elections announced that include primaries on May 8, us anti-FitzWalkers are getting very close to turning the Walker recall into the Republican Presidential primaries. We have the same lack of any credible candidates in the race, and everyone's looking around for someone else. We are making Walker feel far too comfortable. He should be shaking in his boots, and not just from being under investigation for breaking campaign finance or election laws.

Our problem is not Mitt Romney but Kathleen Falk. Falk is the clear front-runner and inevitable Democrat candidate if no one else steps in the race, but she won't be able to win the general election. Now, I'm sure Falk would be a good progressive governor if elected. However, she's not what Wisconsin needs or wants right now. Wisconsin can't withstand another divisive politician at the helm, and Falk is clearly too willing to take sides without thinking things through. Wisconsin can't afford any more time in gridlock, and as we saw with the mining bill, big decisions require lots of thought and discussion, but only some people are willing to do the work.

I'm of course referring to Falk's pledge to veto any budget that doesn't restore collective bargaining rights for public workers. Of course we want our public workers to have those rights again. We don't need a pledge to get that done. We got over a million signatures to recall Walker in part for stripping those rights. That should strike fear in every politician, especially if Walker is successfully replaced. Such a pledge just limits the options of the governor to get stuff done, much in the same way Grover Norquist's No Tax pledge does. What happens if a budget restoring those rights can't be passed? Pledges are just a bad idea.

And the rights don't have to be restored through the budget, because the collective bargaining rights-stripping law was passed outside of the budget. Remember, stripping the rights didn't actually save any money. So, in fact, Falk may not ever be able to make good on her pledge, because she may not ever be able to get a budget restoring those rights.

Whether the pledge is good or not, the timing was awful and it just looks bad. The Republicans and millionaire Super PACs will tear Falk to shreds over it and the early endorsement by unions. Why make that specific pledge and why then? I understand the desire to be open and transparent, but that doesn't require a pledge. Falk could have just said she would do it. Who saw a need for such a pledge? The whole thing smacks of amateurism when we need a professional.

The pledge is just one reason Falk will find it tough to win in the general. In the latest PPP poll, Falk leads  Walker by a statistically insignificant 1% with 48%. Falk's unfavorable rating is the highest among the Democrats in the poll and is almost as high as Walker's. That's a lot of people who already know they don't like you, leaving far less people in the convincible pool. One has to imagine Democrats make up the vast majority of Falk's 48%, but we need to convince independents and Republicans to dump Walker, not Democrats. Falk's pledge will make that task far more difficult.

I like Kathleen Vinehout, but the polls show she would get trounced by Falk in the primary. She doesn't have the name recognition, the money, or the infrastructure to beat Falk, let alone Walker. If we're left to choose between two Kathleens, Falk will win the primary.

Falk's pledge was a critical mistake in an election with very little room. Either Falk needs to withdraw, or someone needs to push her out. Right now, a lot of potential candidates are on the sidelines, trying to figure out if they should get in the game. Falk's early candidacy announcement has kept a lot of them away, and her withdrawal would make room for more viable candidates.

We all win with a less divisive and more thoughtful candidate than Falk, that is except for the Republican brand. A less divisive candidate will be able to win more independents over from Walker and even Republicans who are upset with his behavior. A less divisive candidate would seem much more reasonable in contrast to Walker and would probably easily win. Once in office, such a candidate would inherently work across party lines as much as possible to put Wisconsin back on track. A less divisive and more thoughtful candidate will be able to get a lot more done for Wisconsin than Falk. Wisconsin would win with a less divisive candidate, and the Democrat brand in Wisconsin would get a significant boost.

So, who else should step in? We have to face it, Russ Feingold is NOT going to run for governor. He just doesn't want it right now or possibly ever. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is being careful to not get in, and he should. He's damaged goods, even though I think he'd be great for Wisconsin, he lost to Walker not much more than a year ago. The polls look a bit better for him now than they did then, but for some reason he didn't connect. Barrett's a more solid choice than Falk, but we need more than that in a razor-thin election like this.

I only see one viable candidate out there, Secretary of State Doug La Follette (but I could easily be missing someone). He's an independent thinker and he expresses that genuinely. With a PhD in organic chemistry, he makes decisions based on careful thought and consideration, not based on party affiliation or ideology. He's definitely for restoring collective bargaining rights, but he's not stupid enough to sign a pledge that may lock him out of better options for Wisconsin in the future, like getting a budget passed. There is more than one way to skin that cat, and La Follette knows it. He's also an environmentalist, a former UW-Parkside professor, and he co-founded Clean Wisconsin, but he's not a "Madison liberal" and he supports Wisconsin being "Open for Business," with a lot of good ideas to actually attract more businesses to Wisconsin.

La Follette has the same problems I mentioned Vinehout has, but he is already polling higher than Vinehout. Their unfavorable rating is nearly identical, but La Follette has a much higher favorable than Vinehout, possibly because he has better name recognition. Also, La Follette has been elected to be Wisconsin's Secretary of State since 1982. So, even though La Follette would have some work to do, he's not as far behind as Vinehout.

Even though La Follette hasn't officially announced his candidacy, he's closer than anyone else to stepping in by filing papers to look into a possible run, he's my choice unless some other favorable and electable candidate unforeseen to me steps in. Doug La Follette is a true grassroots candidate with the capability to heal Wisconsin by focusing on the things that Wisconsinites value most: education, jobs, health, and the outdoors; and doing it through reason and discussion not party politics.

You can read more about our Secretary of State Doug La Follette on his website www.douglafollette.com and Meet the Walker Recall Candidates: Doug La Follette by Dane101.

Do your part to help convince Doug La Follette, or someone else you feel strongly about, to enter the race by calling, emailing, or writing to tell them you support them for governor and urge them to run.

Of course, I'll fully support the Democrat candidate for governor, no matter who that person ends up being.

But if we don't run someone else, Kathleen Falk will be the nominee and we'll lose!

Updated: (March 21, 11:05PM) Removed all talk of support for Kohl based on his continued co-sponsorship of SOPA. Thanks to reddit user mst3kcrow for reminding me of Kohl's severely irrational decision. We need leaders in Wisconsin that support technology, not degrading or controlling technology for the benefit of a few outdated business models. Doug La Follette, it's all yours for the taking, please give us someone we can wholeheartedly cheer for.

Update: (March 22, 6:37AM) Doug La Follette is expected to announce his candidacy for governor soon to Bring Back the Wisconsin Idea!

Read more about the announcement, as well as campaign events and Doug La Follette himself on his website www.douglafollette.com.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Injunction of Unconstitutional Voter Suppression Upheld

Last week, the far-right Republican Voter Suppression Law that adds the unjustified requirement of showing only certain types of photo ID to vote was stopped by a temporary injunction ordered from one Wisconsin judge, and then later in the week another Wisconsin judge issued a permanent injunction against the law. Both judges found the law to be unconstitutional, because the law goes "steps beyond the proper authority of the Legislature" to restrict voting by specific groups. Judge Richard Niess, the second judge said in his order, "The government may not disqualify an elector who possesses those qualifications not contained in Article III, such as a photo ID."

Walker and the Republican leadership lit a fire under the normally slow-moving Attorney General Van Hollen's butt to appeal the decisions. Remember, Van Hollen refused to help the FBI in their criminal investigation of Walker and his aides as well as the election debacle in Waukesha last spring. However, today, the first judge, David T. Flanagan in Waukesha, struck down the motion, finding that "based on careful scrutiny" the law "is in violation of the Wisconsin Constitution," and there doesn't seem to be any argument otherwise.

So, no more IDs to vote, and it doesn't sound like any judge would have a leg to stand on in support of the constitutionality of the law. Judge Niess said that would be a clear case of judicial activism. So, we likely will never need IDs to vote, as should have always been the case. Otherwise, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, where Van Hollen is trying to send both cases, is more than FUBAR.

For those of you worried about increased voter fraud, the Voter Suppression Law wouldn't stop any of Wisconsin's previous cases of voter fraud. So, our elections are protected as well with and without the Voter Suppression Law. This is one of the reasons it's unjustified and unconstitutional, it doesn't make any practical effort towards stopping voter fraud, but it makes great strides to limit the voting of certain groups.

No more IDs and no more asking for IDs to vote. Make sure everyone knows so they can save money by not purchasing one. The halting of free photo IDs is one reason the permanent injunction won't be lifted unless the Republicans can prove the law is constitutional.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Scott Fitzgerald Reveals That Corporations Wrote Mining Bill

A friend of mine pointed me to this video of Scott Fitzgerald talking about "when the corporations started building that bill," referring to the mining bill AB 426, which the Republican leadership held steadfast to instead of passing the bipartisan Wisconsin Way Mining Reform Act. The clip takes place during Fitzgerald's press conference after the Senate failed to pass their industry-written bill.



The entire video is here



The Republican leadership say they're against government regulation, but when it comes to women's bodies, the Republicans in Wisconsin want more government regulation. They're pushing several bills in the Assembly today. I guess it all depends upon who's lining their pockets.

No Environmental Protections, But We Can Regulate Women's Bodies

The Republicans in Wisconsin can't let go of their extreme right-wing agenda. Instead of passing a bipartisan mining bill last week that gave Gogebic Taconite what they publicly requested without sacrificing environmental protections (Wisconsin Way Mining Reform Act), the Republicans held steadfast to AB 426 with the goal to reduce government regulation in the form of environmental protections. Yes, Republicans, government regulation is good sometimes, it even ensures my milk is fresh, and you used to feel the same way.

But, no, they don't see it that way anymore, and since that was the Republicans' only jobs plan, we have no hope for any significant change in the other direction to finally recover from the recession. Not that the mining bill would have given us exactly that either, but it would have been something.

Instead, today the Republicans in the Wisconsin Assembly will be trying to pass new abortion laws, because government regulation is good when it regulates women's bodies. Some of the new regulations include teaching only abstinence in sex education classes, because that works.

One abortion bill is similar to the vaginal probe legislation in Virginia, requiring a doctor to be in the room when abortion-inducing pills are taken, even though there is no medical need. It also requires an additional conversation between the doctor and patient within 24 hours to make sure she really wants it, because she can't be expected to thoughtfully consider the decision and talk to her doctor herself. The bill just makes getting an abortion more troublesome and difficult by increasing government regulation over women's bodies.

Another bill would ban insurance companies in Wisconsin from covering abortions. Are you kidding me?! More government regulation on women's bodies and now our insurance companies.

Today is more proof that the far-right Republicans in control of Wisconsin care only about their extreme ideological agendas and not jobs or the middle class.

Watch the Republicans talk about the need for government regulation today on WisEye!

Monday, March 12, 2012

GAB Confirms All Republican Wisconsin State Senators Recalled

The GAB voted unanimously today to verify the recall petitions of the four targeted Republican Senators: Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau, Pam Galloway of Wausau, Terry Moulton of Chippewa Falls and Van Wanggaard of Racine. There just weren't enough valid challenges from the Senators without finding any fraudulent signatures.

As for Walker's out-of-state pals at Verify the Recall, GAB attorney Mike Haas said, "Their data entry has been seriously flawed" and is not accurate enough to rely on.

As for Walker's recall, "It is now a mathematical certainty that the recall petition of Governor Walker is sufficient," said Jeremy Levinson, attorney for the recall committees. The GAB has until March 19 to rule on Walker and Kleefisch's recall, but they will be asking to extend the deadline to March 30. However, the extension might not be granted, because according to Levinson the GAB is only required to determine sufficiency. Which makes sense, why does Walker want to make taxpayers pay to have over a million signatures checked when we only need 540,208?

All of the recall elections will likely be held on June 5 with primaries on May 8.

Voter Suppression Permanently Injuncted

Last week Tuesday, a Dane Country judge granted a temporary injunction halting the unconstitutional Voter Suppression Law that adds the historic and unjustified requirement of showing only certain types of photo ID to vote. Upset that they couldn't get their way, the far-right Republicans in control of Wisconsin ordered our Department of Justice to try to lift the injunction on Friday. Today, another judge told the Republicans, "The government may not disqualify an elector who possesses those qualifications not contained in Article III, such as a photo ID." The judge also granted a permanent injunction instead of a temporary injunction.

For those of you worried about increased voter fraud, the Voter Suppression Law wouldn't stop any of Wisconsin's previous cases of voter fraud. So, our elections are protected as well with and without the Voter Suppression Law.

No more IDs to vote, and probably never again! No more Republican voter suppression!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Scott Walker Confirms He's Under Investigation - Sets Up Legal Defense Fund

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker confirmed today that he is under investigation by the FBI in their secret John Doe probe. Walker announced that he has set up a legal defense fund (JS paywall). For the first time in Wisconsin history, a sitting governor has set up a legal defense fund. According to Wisconsin Statutes, the only way that Walker is permitted to set up such a fund is if he "is being investigated for or charged with a violation of campaign finance laws or prohibited election practices." So, Walker most likely is "John Doe," and it looks like the rumors of a possible arrest and subsequent resignation by Walker aren't without some merit. Walker made the announcement late Friday to try to keep this as quiet as possible, and Daniel Bice from the JS noticed Walker must be under investigation to start the fund.

Walker already announced last month that he hired two big-time criminal defense lawyers from Chicago and Milwaukee to represent him in the investigation (JS paywall). The scandal has always pointed to Walker, who was only feet away from a convicted aide, several others who have been charged, and a secret email network. Now, Walker has confirmed our suspicions.

Update: Daniel Bice now points out that there appears to be a consensus among election lawyers that Walker has confirmed he is under investigation or has been charged. A Walker spokesperson says that "Walker has been told that he is not a target in this investigation," but that appears to be another lie, because if he isn't, then how is he not violating Wisconsin law right now? Neither Bice nor WisPolitics received a straight answer.

Scott Walker IS John Doe.

For more information on the Walkergate scandal, visit Walkergate.info.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Republicans Killing Any Hope of Jobs In Wisconsin

Yesterday, instead of moving the bipartisan Wisconsin Way Mining Reform Act to the full Senate for likely passage, the Republicans in the Joint Finance Committee sent a bill to the full Senate that no one but far-right Republicans support and will take muscling to pass. The Wisconsin Way Mining Reform Act provides everything that Gogebic Taconite asked for to create their promised hundreds of union jobs. While the Republican leadership-supported AB 426 goes much further than Gogebic Taconite requested to push far-right ideological goals at the risk of the promised jobs when Wisconsin could use all the help it can get. The Republicans are killing any hope of jobs in Wisconsin by refusing to give way to their extreme ideology.

The Republicans have offered no reasoning or compromise on their far-right goals. The only reason they give for Republican Senator Dale Schultz and the Democrats to take their fake compromise is that it includes a number of modified items from the WWMR Act. Republican Rep. Robin Vos said they have included "60%" of the WWMR Act in the fake compromise, and therefore it should be a sufficient compromise. However, not only are most of the items modified, but the Republican leadership has intentionally left out the most critical items from their fake compromise. In particular environmental protections, real contested case hearings, and keeping the money in the local communities that they deserve.

Getting Gogebic Taconite to open a mine is the only serious jobs plan the Republicans have, even though we've bled over 35,000 jobs since Walker signed his budget last year. The Republicans are risking these jobs by not compromising with Schultz and the Democrats. All it would have taken was to move the bill onto the full Senate. With Schultz, the Democrats have a majority, and it would have likely passed. Much more likely than AB 426. However, that's exactly what the Republican leadership fears.

They can't fail. With the scent of failure all over the Republicans, they need to pass a jobs (um, mining) bill, and it needs to be theirs. Otherwise, the leadership has clearly failed. Why else would they abruptly disband the mining Senate committee that Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald commissioned himself? If it weren't to pass AB 426 as Fitzgerald said it was, what would have been the point? The Republicans must pass AB 426 to keep the egg off their faces, but by refusing to remove their ideological provisions, they have little chance of passing it.

Why is the Republican leadership pushing so hard for totally unnecessary far-right ideological goals when we need jobs? Why didn't the leadership allow the full Senate to vote on a bipartisan bill that gives Gogebic what they want and would probably pass? Instead, they moved a bill that will take muscling to pass. The Republicans shouldn't be risking jobs at this time for their ideological goals unsupported by a large majority of Wisconsin.

Why do the media in Wisconsin consider the far-right AB 426 "the mining bill" as if it were the only option? It definitely doesn't help Wisconsinites understand the real debate that's happening between Wisconsin values and far-right ideology. It's not one bill or no bill. There's already a compromise between Republicans and Democrats and it's the WWMR Act, the Republican leadership just refuses to accept it.

Senator Dale Schultz's passionate statement on why he crafted the WWMR Act with Jauch and how it compromises with the Republican leadership is a compelling read. I strongly encourage your indulgence.

Read A Plea for the Wisconsin Way Mining Reform Act for more information on why we need the Wisconsin Way Mining Reform Act, the failure of the Republican leadership to draft legislation in the open, and the pressure they've put on Schultz to cave. 

Give Schultz and the Democrats some love and tell the other Republicans to not risk greatly needed jobs for ideological goals and instead support the Wisconsin Way Mining Reform Act.