On Wednesday March 4th, Scott Walker will speak at Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce's Business Day - the annual meeting of Wisconsin's most powerful corporate lobbyist group and its sponsored politicians.
If you believe that our government should represent the people, not corporate campaign funders, join us at NOON WEDNESDAY to protest Walker and WMC.
Invite your friends and allies and spread the word!
While several union representatives at Wednesday's rally at the state Capitol lamented the carnage Republicans are inflicting on organized labor, one leader said it's time for the talk to end and called on workers to "stand still."
“I’m getting sick and tired of coming to these rallies, singing Kumbaya, and end up getting screwed,” Phil Gruber, Midwest territory general vice president for the Machinists Union, told some 2,000 people attending the rally outside. “It’s time we take action in this country, brothers and sisters. It’s time we take action, or these politicians will take every damn thing left away from us.”
I spent this morning calling local chambers of commerce in Republican state senate districts in an effort to get their take on the so-called “right to work” legislation that is scheduled to be introduced at the State Capitol this week.
Since the State Chamber of Commerce, or WMC, is strongly supporting the legislation, I was curious to learn where local business associations stand on the issue.
Specifically, I wanted to learn the answer to this question: Is WMC really representing Wisconsin’s broad and diverse business community when it claims that businesses want legislators to enact “right to work” laws?
Just weeks ago, the Washington Post described Scott Walker as the first "It" candidate of the 2016 presidential races, but after stumbling over "truth," evolution, and whether or not the President is a Christian or loves America, Walker is getting ready to change the topic.
MADISON – Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the state’s chamber of commerce, announced that former State Senator Joe Leibham will join their lobbying team pushing for right to work legislation.
Leibham’s announcement comes two days after former State Representative Duey Stroebel (R-Cedarburg) won a three way special Republican primary for the 20th Senate District. During the primary campaign, Stroebel came out on record in support of full right to work legislation and promised to co-sponsor any legislation that would come out of the State Senate.
Kurt Bauer, CEO of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, recently outlined WMC’s priorities for 2015-16, including tax cuts and “right-to-work.” WMC has spent millions to elect Gov. Scott Walker and allied politicians in the state Legislature and Supreme Court, and the business group has gotten one item after another on its wish list since 2011.
Special interests are driving Wisconsin's energy policy to the detriment of the public.
2014 will be remembered as a landmark year for renewable energy in the United States.
Last year saw the shale revolution; the Tesla Gigafactory; the end of cheap coal; fossil fuel divestment; the rise of community solar; the utility death spiral; renewable energy "fairness"; the value of solar; the Clean Power Plan; the U.S.-China climate agreement and more.
MADISON — A newly formed coalition of more than 300 construction-related private businesses in Wisconsin announced Wednesday that it will work to defeat a right-to-work proposal being discussed by Republican leaders in the Legislature.
Formation of the group comes as talks proceed behind the scenes among Republicans who control the Legislature about the timing of a right-to-work bill and what form it may take.
Gov. Scott Walker repeated his message on Wednesday, during a brief speech to Republican state senators in the Capitol, that he sees right-to-work as a distraction from his agenda. He told lawmakers he wants them focused on his legislative agenda, but he also didn't promise to veto a right-to-work bill should it pass.
Wisconsin's transformation from an anti-business to a pro-business state has been remarkable, but it is also incomplete. There is more work to be done in order for our state to achieve its full economic potential.
Unfortunately, Wisconsin doesn't control its own economic destiny and wrong-headed federal policies and uncertain global economic and geopolitical conditions are holding us back.
But, that shouldn't be an excuse to take our foot off the reform accelerator in order to improve Wisconsin's business climate. Here are some reforms the 2015-16 Legislature should consider.
Worker Freedom: Should joining a private-sector union be voluntary as it is in 24 states or should it be mandatory?
The 2012 and 2014 elections were the most expensive in American history and were financed largely by corporate money. So why are American companies so eager to put up so much cash for political influence? Because it pays. A lot.
On this 73rd anniversary of the last declaration of war by the United States, as the Pentagon escalates its military actions in Iraq and Syria, the silence of the U.S. peace movement carries an ominous warning for Washington, DC. The streets of major U.S. cities are not filled with anti-war demonstrations, yet the apparent quiet does not signify consent. A look at history shows why.
Gov. Scott Walker and the Republicans rode to victory in the Nov. 4 elections because they got more votes. Period.
Redistricting may have produced fewer competitive districts. But unlike 2012, when the GOP won big despite getting fewer overall votes, this time the party maintained its 5-3 edge in Congress and tightened its control of both legislative houses by dominating turnout.
But money and redistricting did play a huge, perhaps decisive role. How huge? Consider the state’s races for Congress.
In the two-year funding cycle that began Jan. 1, 2013, Wisconsin’s House candidates raised $21.4 million, a new record. And that was just as of Oct. 15, with nearly three weeks to go.
Well, it’s over. Republicans won their battle to re-elect Gov. Scott Walker and retain their majority in the Legislature. One of the reasons they won is due to the state’s chamber of commerce, the biggest business group in Wisconsin.
When most people think of a chamber of commerce, they think of an organization that works to increase business and prosperity in their state or community. When they think of its members, they think of people who work hard to run a business and want everyone in the community to thrive. And most of us assume that the leaders of these groups are people with integrity.
We live in an era in which it is increasingly normal for individuals not only to reject the power of corporations over their lives, but for some to even occupy public space and defy police and established authorities. Ben Manski discusses how this era was inaugurated on November 30th, 1999 in the streets of Seattle.
A lobbyist for Walmart, the state's biggest business group and more than a dozen other businesses and organizations will serve as the top aide to incoming Attorney General Brad Schimel.
Schimel, the Republican district attorney for Waukesha County, announced Tuesday that he had appointed Andrew Cook to serve as his deputy secretary.
"Andrew was a key adviser to my campaign, where he displayed his broad knowledge of civil law and state government," Schimel said in a written statement. "He is a trusted adviser and his abilities will serve the Wisconsin Department of Justice well in protecting our citizens."
Pat Bomhack did not have much of a chance against Howard Marklein for the Dale Schultz senate seat.
In the Oct. 20 candidates’ forum on 92.1 WRJC FM, Bomhack stated again and again that Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce bought $668,000 in TV attack ads against Bomhack. The American Federation for Children, a Wall Street for-profit, school voucher corporation, gave $50,000 worth of support for Howard Marklein. Marklein was silent.
Newspaper reporters were at the forum and wrote the story, but no journalist mentioned the WMC and AFC big donor support for Marklein. Bomhack’s message never got out. The missed story was, where were all the TV attack ads coming from, and what made Marklein so attractive to the AFC and WMC?
Those are the calls being voiced in the streets of London on Wednesday as thousands of students marched for publicly-funded ("free") education nationwide. The protest was also billed as a direct challenge to austerity cuts to higher education imposed by the conservative government led by David Cameron.
On Tuesday, the United States should be celebrating its 95th Armistice Day, pausing as a nation to think about the terrible costs of war – including the loss of so many lives. Unfortunately, we replaced it with a very different holiday.
December 2014 will mark the 100 year anniversary of the Christmas Truce of 1914. During 2014 VFP National will plan activities to share with chapters to celebrate this memorable moment in history.
Christmas Truce of 1914
During World War I, on and around Christmas Day 1914, the sounds of rifles firing and shells exploding faded in a number of places along the Western Front in favor of holiday celebrations in the trenches and gestures of goodwill between enemies.
The nation needs a full public debate and a Congressional vote on whether to authorize the current American military interventions in Iraq and Syria and, if so, under what conditions. The past is prologue:
April 4, 1956: President Dwight Eisenhower’s news conference --
Q: Sarah McClendon, El Paso Times: Sir, would you order those Marines that were sent over to the Mediterranean and over in that area, would you order them to war, without asking the Congress first?
The New War has escalated since we sent this letter November 3, 2014. President Obama has dispatched another 1,500 US troops and requested $5 billion in new funding. The president also has requested a congressional authorization. It is time for Congress to act and widen the public debate.
One of the bitter lessons of Vietnam, learned again in Iraq, is that it is relatively easy for Congress to authorize a war, but far more difficult to end one. Instead, there comes quagmire, suffering, cost, regret and political fallout.
More than half the frac sand companies operating in Wisconsin have violated Department of Natural Resources regulations, manipulated local governments or engaged in “influence peddling and conflicts of interest,” a study by an advocacy group has found.
The Land Stewardship Project, a Minnesota-based nonprofit organization that promotes sustainable agriculture, released this week a 30-page report that compiled and analyzed public data and news reports on Wisconsin’s booming frac sand industry.
MANITOWOC – Scott Manley sought to make the case that raising the minimum wage would likely hurt and not help those individuals making the federal and Wisconsin minimum of $7.25 per hour.
"The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates about 500,000 lost jobs nationwide, but the possibility of up to a million," Manley told a Monday Business Connects with Government audience at the luncheon program sponsored by The Chamber of Manitowoc County.
The vice president of government relations for Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce said higher labor costs from government-mandated wage hikes do not result in additional efficiency, output or productivity.
Democratic lawmakers and Wisconsin's primary corporate lobbying group clashed Tuesday over the repeal of the state's Equal Pay Enforcement Act.
A group of state lawmakers and others held a news conference at the State Capitol admonishing Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce for a fundraising plea that characterized a woman advocating for pay equity as "anti-business."
MADISON – A conservative group at the center of a John Doe investigation into Gov. Scott Walker’s 2012 recall campaign should be prosecuted for violating Internal Revenue Service laws and have its tax-exempt status revoked, according to a complaint filed Monday by the liberal Center for Media and Democracy.
The Wisconsin Club for Growth filed as a tax-exempt 501(c)4 “social welfare” organization in 2011 and 2012, telling the IRS that it spent $0 for political purposes.
But according to the complaint, Club for Growth spent almost all of the more than $20 million it raised to help elect Republican candidates in the Wisconsin Senate and gubernatorial recall elections.
MADISON, Wis. – The future of the now stalled John Doe probe into alleged campaign finance law violations by Gov. Scott Walker could rest with the state Supreme Court.
But Mike McCabe, executive director of the nonpartisan Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, says four of the seven justices were elected because of ads run by the very groups under investigation.
"They're up to their eyeballs in conflicts of interest and there's no way the public could trust that they could deal with that case impartially, because they'd be dealing with three groups who played a huge role in getting them the job," he maintains.
Detroit's "unprecedented" shutoff of water utilities to city homes condemns residents to "lives without dignity," violates human rights on a large scale, and disproportionately impacts African-Americans, United Nations investigators declared Monday following a two-day inquiry.