Wisconsin

If you are interested in getting involved in organizing for democracy amendments in Wisconsin, please contact us.

Adopt a resolution to protect Wisconsin's Guard

May 11, 2010

Please download this sample resolution and bring it to our organization, local government, union, faith community, business -- you name it -- and get them to put their name on record in support of Wisconsin's National Guard.

www.democracysquare.org/files_public/WI Guard Resolution Letter.doc

Tips for Effective Guard Home Petitioning

July 29, 2009
Leah Bolger
  1. Provide good training to your petition gatherers. Make sure they can explain the basic legal argument of the campaign. Give them info sheets and FAQs.
  2. INSIST that signers print. Consider making blocks for each letter to help people be legible. Because this is not a ballot measure petition, you do not need a signature.

Wisconsin National Guard Petition

June 22, 2009

Please help the Wisconsin campaign by circulating this petition (PDF):

Wisconsin Guard Petition

Call for a Wisconsin Wave of Resistance

February 14, 2011

the WISCONSIN WAVE against Corporatization and Austerity and for Democracy and Shared Prosperity

We recognize the rising Wisconsin wave of resistance to corporatization and austerity and call on our fellow Wisconsinites to join it.

BADER: Review of The Lost Soul of Higher Education

June 1, 2010
Eleanor J. Bader

Ellen Schrecker, a history professor at New York City's Yeshiva University, starts "The Lost Soul of Higher Education" with a blunt assessment: "In reacting to the economic insecurities of the past forty years, the nation's colleges and universities have adopted corporate practices that degrade undergraduate instruction, marginalize faculty members, and threaten the very mission of the academy as an institution devoted to the common good."

Additional Information: 

SCOTCH: Legal memo on Wisconsin Safeguard the Guard Act

March 13, 2010
Benson Scotch

Memo to the Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Veterans and Military Affairs
Re:
2009 Assembly Bill 203
You have asked for my views about the validity and enforceability of AB 203, and I am happy to respond to this request. Please note that I am not a member of the Wisconsin Bar, and the comments I offer relate solely to the United States Constitution and laws as well as conventional rules and practices relating to statutory construction.

Additional Information: 

Benson Scotch is retired attorney living in Montpelier, Vermont, and is general counsel to “Bring the Guard Home—It’s the Law!” Ben is a former executive director of the Vermont ACLU, former Chief Staff Attorney of the Vermont Supreme Court, and former staff counsel to Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Constitution Subcommittee. Ben is a 1956 graduate of Yale College and a 1961 graduate of Harvard Law School. He served in the United States Army from 1956 to 1958.

VIDEO: March to Overrule the Court

February 16, 2010
Ben Manski and Lisa Graves

PRICE: Milwaukeeans vs. the Privatization Pandemic

December 6, 2009
Todd Alan Price

"In the 21st century countries that out educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow.” Thus spake President Obama in announcing that his administration would award a total of $4 billion to states demonstrating seriousness of commitment to education reform. Imagine that that tired mantra, some fifteen years after NAFTA and the outsourcing of the U.S. manufacturing, service, and information economies, is a proclamation still being rolled out as a constructive commentary on the state of education and pretext, in the name of reform, for ending its public character.

Additional Information: 

Todd Alan Price is Associate Professor of Educational Foundations and Inquiry at National-Louis University in Chicago, Illinois. He teaches in Illinois and in Wisconsin. In 2009 he was the Wisconsin Green Party candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. He is a Liberty Tree Associate.

MANSKI: Public Radio's Week in Review

December 4, 2009
Joy Cardin and Ben Manski

Liberty Tree Fellow Ben Manski is a regular guest on, "The Week in Review," Wisconsin Public Radio's Friday morning weekly news debate show. Every week, policy-makers and politicos field questions from host Joy Cardin and her callers on a wide array of timely state, national and international topics.

Hear Ben Manski on public radio on January 15th:
http://clipcast.wpr.org:8080/ramgen/wpr/jca/jca100115c.rm

SHUMAN: Localization is way to redefine globalization

November 5, 2009
Michael Shuman

Location:
Madison, Wisconsin

The Capital Times

Additional Information: 

Michael H. Shuman is author of "The Small-Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition" and a keynote speaker at the Future Cities 2009 Conference this weekend in Madison. For more information on the conference, visit www.FutureCities2009.org.

http://host.madison.com/ct/news/opinion/column/guest/article_02d13201-bb85-5717-89fc-8b3c24467098.html

CHIEF COUPER: Seven Seeds for Policing

May 5, 2009
David Couper

David Couper was a leader in the movement toward community policing. He wants to see seven seeds planted in the field of policing--leadership, knowledge, creativity, problem solving, diversity, control of force, and community policing. He is the former police chief of Madison, Wisconsin (1972-1993) and is now an Episcopal priest. This presentation was given in 1994.

In my over 30 years of police service, I have seen some changes of which I am proud, specifically, the higher education levels of police recruits and the larger number of women and minorities in police departments. At the same time, I confess that all I hoped for did not happen.

Additional Information: 

The original transcript from FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin,The.

VIDEO: Manski, Farsetta, Alexander Gray on Extending Democracy

May 1, 2009

Location:
Madison, Wisconsin

Founded in 1909 as La Follette's Weekly, on May 1-2, 2009, The Progressive magazine celebrated its 100th anniversary with a major conference and festival. Major speakers included Robert Redford, Amy Goodman, Naomi Klein, Barbara Ehrenreich, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and the editorial staff of the Progressive Magazine. Liberty Tree's Ben Manski, together with various members of Liberty Tree's Board of Directors and Board of Advisors -- John Nichols and Robert McChesney, among them -- also spoke at this exciting event. Following is Ben Manski's contribution:

Wisconsin votes for immediate withdrawal!

April 4, 2009
Ben Manski

George Bush recently defended Donald Rumsfeld on the basis that responsibility for matters of war and peace are his and his alone, saying, "I'm the decider and I decide what's best." On April 4, the people of Wisconsin begged to differ.

Voting in the tiny villages of the North Woods and the Door Peninsula, in the regional urban centers of Madison and La Crosse, and in the small cities that are the heart of this heartland state, three-fifths of voters cast ballots for immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Wisconsin voted "no" to the occupation, and as importantly, "no" to Bush's self-elevation from presider to decider. Small town America voted, and the world sat up and took notice.

The Roots of the Campaign

How did it happen?

Additional Information: 
A version of this article appeared in the Summer 2006 issue of Green Pages

Ben Manski is a Fellow with the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution. Manski is a Wisconsin attorney, and provided legal counsel to the Wisconsin troop withdrawal campaign.

Manski, Dolan: Has Your Town Declared Peace Yet? Tired of being ignored by the feds, citizens pass city laws declaring peace.

June 16, 2006
Ben Manski and Karen Dolan

The heartland spoke; the world listened. On April 5, 2006, hundreds of newspapers across the globe, from Italy’s Il Manifesto to the Los Angeles Times, shared a similar headline: “Wisconsin votes for troop pullout.”

One day earlier, citizens in 32 Wisconsin cities, towns, and villages had cast ballots for immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Voters in tiny villages in the North Woods and the Door Peninsula, in the regional urban centers of Madison and La Crosse, and in the small cities that are the heart of the Badger State, sent a clear message. As Green Party activist Steve Burns told newspapers, the vote meant that “opposition to the war [has] become the majority sentiment,” winning over communities that had voted for George Bush only months earlier.

Additional Information: 

For the original, please see http://www.yesmagazine.org/article.asp?ID=2699

CAP TIMES: WMC's economic plan would hurt Wisconsin to help wealthiest

January 6, 2015
Dave Schwab

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.

More Info: 

For more info on Wisconsin Wave's WMC-Free Wisconsin campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

STEVENS POINT JOURNAL: WI Public Service Commission serves corporate interests, not public

January 2, 2015
Nick Hylla
news photo

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.

More Info: 

For more info on Wisconsin Wave's WMC-Free Wisconsin campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

FOND DU LAC REPORTER: Wisconsin business coalition opposes "right-to-work" law

December 18, 2014
Scott Bauer
news photo

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.

More Info: 

For more info on Wisconsin Wave's WMC-Free Wisconsin campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

ALTERNET: Corporations get $760 from government for every $1 they spend on elections

December 8, 2014
Alex Eleffson
news photo

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.

More Info: 

For more info on Wisconsin Wave's WMC-Free Wisconsin campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

SUN PRAIRIE STAR: WMC's 2015 priorities include "right-to-work" law, tax cuts for rich

December 8, 2014
Kurt Bauer
news photo

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?

More Info: 

For more info on Wisconsin Wave's WMC-Free Wisconsin campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

BARABOO NEWS REPUBLIC: WI state chamber's main product is misinformation

December 4, 2014
Pat Nash
news photo

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.

More Info: 

For more info on Wisconsin Wave's WMC-Free Wisconsin campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

BILL LUEDERS: WMC and other groups dropped big money in 2014 WI elections

December 4, 2014
Bill Lueders

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.

More Info: 

For more info on Wisconsin Wave's WMC-Free Wisconsin campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL: Incoming Attorney General names WMC lobbyist as top aide

November 25, 2014
Patrick Marley
news photo

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."

More Info: 

For more info on Wisconsin Wave's WMC-Free Wisconsin campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

BARABOO NEWS REPUBLIC: Schultz's successor is beholden to WMC

November 19, 2014
Daniel Holzman
news photo

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?

More Info: 

For more info on Wisconsin Wave's WMC-Free Wisconsin campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

CHIPPEWA HERALD: Environmental violations, ethical issues widespread in frac sand industry

November 8, 2014
Allison Geyer
news photo

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.

More Info: 

For more info on Wisconsin Wave's WMC-Free Wisconsin campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

WMC lobbyist claims raising minimum wage would hurt workers

November 5, 2014
Charlie Mathews
news photo

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.

More Info: 

For more info on Wisconsin Wave's WMC-Free Wisconsin campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

CAP TIMES: WMC defends graphic depicting pay equity advocates as "anti-business"

October 30, 2014
Jessie Opoien
news photo

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."

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

PUBLIC NEWS SERVICE: Wisconsin Supreme Court mired in conflict of interest

October 27, 2014
Tim Morrissey
news photo

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.

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

STATE JOURNAL: WI Club For Growth's tax-exempt status challenged over political spending

October 27, 2014
Matthew DeFour
news photo

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.

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

CAP TIMES: WMC, Gogebic Taconite used dark money to target anti-mining bill legislators

October 15, 2014
Jessica VanEgeren
news photo

The financial power and influence of an out-of-state mining company and business lobby Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce were used to directly target two Wisconsin lawmakers who stood in the way of the passage of a new state mining bill.

An article posted Tuesday by ProPublica, a national investigative journalism outlet, and The Daily Beast gives a comprehensive overview of the money WMC and Gogebic Taconite, a Florida-based Cline Group subsidiary owned by billionaire Chris Cline, spent to oust freshman Democratic Sen. Jessica King and run ads against Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center.

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

MANITOWOC HERALD TIMES REPORTER: Repeal of Equal Pay Act hurt women

October 7, 2014
Don Vogt
news photo

Legislation can be a confusing matter. And so it is for the Equal Pay Enforcement Act passed in 2009.

On introducing the bill, state Sen. David Hansen said, "What this bill is about is restoring fairness to all workers in Wisconsin and their families, whether they are women who are being shortchanged even though they are doing the same job as the men next to them or the middle-aged worker who finds himself let go just short of retirement so his employer can avoid fulfilling their promise to provide for his retirement."

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

STATE JOURNAL: WI Supreme Court majority to decide on investigation of groups that spent millions to elect them

October 6, 2014
Dee J. Hall
news photo

Should the four-member conservative majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court decide a case involving groups that spent more than $8 million to get them elected?

That is one question under debate as the high court considers whether to wade into the stalled “John Doe” investigation. A federal court rejected a challenge to the investigation by one of those groups, Wisconsin Club for Growth, late last month, sending it back to the state courts to decide.

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

THE PROGRESSIVE: Business lobby fights equal pay for women

September 26, 2014
Jenni Dye
news photo

Is thinking that I should be paid the same as a man if I do the same work a radical, anti-business threat? According to the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce--the largest business lobby in the state of Wisconsin--it most certainly is. 

This “threat” appears to be a compelling reason for businesses across the state to open up their checkbooks and donate to the WMC Issues Mobilization Council, Inc. 

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

ISTHMUS: WI tech leaders get little help from Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce

September 18, 2014
Marc Eisen
news photo

This is a problem.

The state's most powerful business voice has conspicuously little contact with Wisconsin's rising technology industry.

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, which claims more than 3,500 businesses as members, brags that "the success of the WMC government relations team in projecting and accomplishing a proactive business agenda has been second to none."

Well, yeah. On the surface, WMC has never been stronger. The support WMC has thrown to small-government, pro-business Republicans has paid off big time, to say the obvious.

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

ISTHMUS: WI tech leaders get little help from Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce

September 18, 2014
Marc Eisen
news photo

This is a problem.

The state's most powerful business voice has conspicuously little contact with Wisconsin's rising technology industry.

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, which claims more than 3,500 businesses as members, brags that "the success of the WMC government relations team in projecting and accomplishing a proactive business agenda has been second to none."

Well, yeah. On the surface, WMC has never been stronger. The support WMC has thrown to small-government, pro-business Republicans has paid off big time, to say the obvious.

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

POLITIFACT: Walker's promise of 250,000 new jobs broken

September 18, 2014
James B. Nelson

Economists say time has run out on top campaign promise

Shortly after he won the 2010 election for governor, PolitiFact Wisconsin told Republican Scott Walker that we planned to monitor progress on his top campaign promise -- that the state would add 250,000 private-sector jobs by the end of his four-year term.

Bring it on, Walker said, adding that his official web site would be keeping its own tally.

Although there is no evidence that Walker kept his own public progress report, we have been updating that promise on our Walk-O-Meter each month.

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

THE PROGRESSIVE: Chamber's attack on Walker prosecutor's wife falls apart

September 15, 2014
Brendan Fischer
news photo

The investigation into Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is led by a Republican special prosecutor, was unanimously approved by Wisconsin's nonpartisan Government Accountability Board, and includes the participation of elected county District Attorneys from both political parties.

But according to an outlet bankrolled by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the motivation for the "John Doe" probe can be traced back to a "weeping" teacher's union member married to Milwaukee County's District Attorney, John Chisholm.

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

BILL LUEDERS: After helping politicians win power, interest groups spend millions lobbying them

September 12, 2014
Bill Lueders

Given the many millions of dollars spent by interest groups to help determine who gets elected, it’s easy to overlook the many millions more being spent trying to influence them once they are. 

In the first six months of this year, Wisconsin’s 700-plus registered lobby groups collectively invested $14.1 million trying to shape state law or policy, according to new filings with the state Government Accountability Board. 

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

CENTER FOR MEDIA AND DEMOCRACY: After subpoenas to big-money donors, WI GOP tried to quietly change law

September 12, 2014
Brendan Fischer

New documents indicate that just weeks after the first subpoenas were issued in Wisconsin's "John Doe" criminal campaign finance probe in October 2013, senate Republicans had begun working to change state law to legalize the activities under investigation.

Legislative Republicans surprised many in the state in March of 2014 when they tried to rush Senate Bill 654 through the legislature to explicitly carve-out an exception to the state's campaign finance statutes for so-called "issue ads," those thinly-veiled election messages that stop short of telling viewers to vote for or against a candidate.

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

EXPRESS MILWAUKEE: The buying of Walker's Wisconsin

September 12, 2014
Lisa Kaiser

Recently unsealed John Doe court documents shed light on what prosecutors call a “criminal scheme” in which Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign and allied dark-money groups allegedly coordinated fundraising efforts.

According to prosecutors, Walker himself knew about the scheme and even boasted about it in an email to George W. Bush’s chief strategist Karl Rove, who now runs a super PAC that supports Republican candidates.

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

ISTHMUS: Don't believe WMC claims about impact of coal regulations

September 12, 2014
Bruce Murphy

As vice president of government relations for the big business lobby Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, Scott Manley's fun job is to convince us the new regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency will destroy our economy. Its requirement that coal emissions be cut by 34% by 2030 could be "devastating," he has warned, forcing Wisconsin to "commit an act of unilateral economic disarmament."

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL: Federal court reinstates WI voter ID law for 2014 election

September 12, 2014
Patrick Marley and Jason Stein
news photo

A federal appeals court in Chicago Friday reinstated for now Wisconsin's voter ID law hours after the three-judge panel heard arguments on the subject.

The move by the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals clears the way for the state to implement the law for the Nov. 4 election, though it does not stop the ongoing appeal over whether the measure is unconstitutional.

"The state of Wisconsin may, if it wishes (and if it is appropriate under rules of state law), enforce the photo ID requirement in this November's elections," the unsigned two-page order reads.

The appellate court said Friday that it was satisfied by changes imposed on the law by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in a separate decision earlier this year.

MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL: Gogebic Taconite funneled big money into WI politics during mining fight

September 12, 2014
Lee Bergquist

The recent disclosure that Gogebic Taconite donated $700,000 to a Wisconsin political group is the latest example of how the mining company and its supporters used money, influence and the allure of jobs to persuade lawmakers to relax state environmental regulations.

Gogebic zoomed into Wisconsin politics in 2011. The company had plans for a massive open pit iron ore mine, but it demanded changes in mining laws before starting a multimillion-dollar regulatory review.

The $1.5 billion project quickly drew support from Gov. Scott Walker, Republican lawmakers and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state's largest business group.

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL: WI Supreme Court bought and paid for by corporate special interests

September 12, 2014
James Rowen

A short political quiz. Three questions.

1. Raise your hand if you were surprised that the right-wing majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court validated two of Scott Walker's signature measures - - Act 10, a false budget measure used to erase nearly all public employee collective bargaining, - - and the Voter ID law, (now blocked in Federal Court), aimed by Walker and his GOP legislative allies at phantom ballot box fraud to make voting harder in cities with large numbers of minorities and students that trend Democratic.

Everyone got that one, I see. No one was surprised. Me, neither.

But back to the Court:

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

MILWAUKEE JOURNAL-SENTINEL: Walker falling far short of promise to create 250,000 new jobs

September 12, 2014
James B. Nelson

Perhaps the most important number coming out of the state's July jobs report is this: 29,437.

That's how many jobs Wisconsin employers would have to add each month for the remaining five months of the year in order for Gov. Scott Walker to achieve his top campaign promise --  creating 250,000 private-sector jobs by the end of his four-year term.

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

MILWAUKEE JOURNAL-SENTINEL: Walker falling far short of promise to create 250,000 new jobs

September 12, 2014
James B. Nelson

Perhaps the most important number coming out of the state's July jobs report is this: 29,437.

That's how many jobs Wisconsin employers would have to add each month for the remaining five months of the year in order for Gov. Scott Walker to achieve his top campaign promise --  creating 250,000 private-sector jobs by the end of his four-year term.

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

WKOW: WMC head: Don't ban state subsidies to companies that outsource jobs

September 12, 2014
Greg Neumann

MADISON (WKOW) -- The top executive at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) says a proposal being considered by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to ban financial awards for companies that outsource state jobs should be approached with caution.

"We don't want taxpayer funds going to subsidize the movement of jobs elsewhere," said Kurt Bauer, WMC Chief Executive Officer.  "Having said that, it is the political season and we think its not maybe the best time to establish a policy that maybe, ultimately, comes back to bite us as far as job creation and job attraction."

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

WKOW: WMC head: Don't ban state subsidies to companies that outsource jobs

September 12, 2014
Greg Neumann

MADISON (WKOW) -- The top executive at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) says a proposal being considered by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to ban financial awards for companies that outsource state jobs should be approached with caution.

"We don't want taxpayer funds going to subsidize the movement of jobs elsewhere," said Kurt Bauer, WMC Chief Executive Officer.  "Having said that, it is the political season and we think its not maybe the best time to establish a policy that maybe, ultimately, comes back to bite us as far as job creation and job attraction."

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

ECONOMIC POLICY INSTITUTE: Life is worse in "right to work" states

September 5, 2014
Ross Eisenbrey

University of Oregon labor scholar and EPI research associate Gordon Lafer often points out how relatively poor the quality of life is in right-to-work states, on average, compared to states that don’t restrict union contract rights.

Politico just came out with a new ranking of the 50 states, on a combination of 14 different measures of quality of life, including “high school graduation rates, per capita income, life expectancy and crime rate.” Then they average those 14 to create one overall ranking of the states.

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

DAILY CARDINAL: Madison environmental, social justice advocates converge in Earth Day rally

April 23, 2014
Dana Kampa
Activists with the Global Climate Convergence march in Madison on Earth Day

Madison community members and organizers marched down State Street Tuesday evening, Earth Day, to raise awareness of environmental and social justice issues as part of a 10-day Global Climate Convergence.

The march and rally, titled “Protect our Water–Reject the Mines and Pipelines!,” addressed many issues, such as clean water and oil pipelines, facing Wisconsin and the nation. Advocates marched from the Monona Terrace to Library Mall, where several advocates spoke about Wisconsin’s environmental concerns.

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For more information about the Global Climate Convergence in Wisconsin, go to https://wisconsinwave.org/global-climate-convergence-wisconsin-0

CAP TIMES: Demonstrators address fossil fuel divestment at Earth Day rally

April 21, 2014
Pat Schneider
news photo

Fossil fuel divestment is one way to empower ordinary people to respond to the issue of climate change, says Julia Isaacs, a member of 350 Madison.

“I see divestment as an opportunity to engage with people about climate change in a real way,” says Isaacs. “Is it important enough to withhold money from my alma mater? Is it important enough that I want to put my retirement savings into a different place?”

Members of 350 Madison will join University of Wisconsin-Madison students, faculty and others supporting the university's divestment from corporations that profit from fossil fuels in a march and rally Tuesday to mark Earth Day.

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For more information about the Global Climate Convergence in Wisconsin, go to https://wisconsinwave.org/global-climate-convergence-wisconsin-0

NEW YORK TIMES: Penokee Hills mine controversy is a fight for Wisconsin's soul

March 29, 2014
Dan Kaufman
Bad River

WISCONSIN has been an environmental leader since 1910, when the state’s voters approved a constitutional amendment promoting forest and water conservation. Decades later, pioneering local environmentalists like Aldo Leopold and Senator Gaylord Nelson, who founded Earth Day in 1970, helped forge the nation’s ecological conscience.

But now, after the recent passage of a bill that would allow for the construction of what could be the world’s largest open-pit iron ore mine, Wisconsin’s admirable history of environmental stewardship is under attack.

WTAQ: WMC takes stand against minimum wage increase

March 6, 2014
Larry Lee

MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) -- Leaders of four Wisconsin business associations spoke out against mandatory minimum wage hikes Wednesday.

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business, the Wisconsin Restaurant Association, and The Wisconsin Grocers Association held a press conference in Madison explaining their opposition to a mandatory increase of the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

IN THESE TIMES: Saving Lake Superior from mining

February 10, 2014
John Collins
news photo

A subterranean labyrinth of iron, copper and nickel wraps its way around Lake Superior, the largest expanse of freshwater on our planet. The labor needed to pull these ancient minerals out of the ground has sustained parts of the rural population around the lake for 150 years. Today, globaldemand for the remaining deposits is climbing. As an extractive industry drools, environmentalists panic. Lobbyists descend. Lawmakers are introduced to wealthy and ambitious companies. Sparks fly. They engage in unprotected democracy on a mattress of potential money. Laws change.

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

WTAQ: WMC pushes bill to limit compensation for injured workers in Wisconsin

February 10, 2014
WTAQ
news photo

A new bill in the state Legislature would tighten the limits that medical personnel could get for treating worker's compensation patients.

Business and labor groups supported the measure at a recent public hearing, while doctors and hospitals opposed it.  

Under the bill, the threshold would be lowered for treatment costs which are considered abnormally high. In 2015, the state would determine maximum prices that health providers could receive for particular treatments.

Medical officials said the bill would either result in less available care for injured workers, or it could hurt other parts of the health care market.

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

AL GEDICKS: WMC, GTac lied to legislators to pass iron mining law

January 13, 2014
Al Gedicks

There is nothing to be gained by "tweaking" the iron mining law because the entire legislation is based upon a scientific fraud ("State's new mining law may require tweaking," Our View, Jan. 10).

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

EAU CLAIRE LEADER-TELEGRAM: WMC pushes 7-day work week bill in WI legislature

January 11, 2014
Eau Claire Leader-Telegram

MADISON (AP) — Wisconsin manufacturing and retail workers could volunteer to work seven days straight without a day off under a bill two Republican lawmakers are circulating on behalf of the state's largest business group.

The bill promises to ratchet up tensions between the GOP and Democrats and their organized labor allies, who are still stinging after Republicans passed Gov. Scott Walker's plan to strip most public workers of nearly all their union rights in 2011.

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

STEVEN ROSENFELD: How US Chamber and corporations spy on civil society

December 3, 2013
Steven Rosenfeld
news photo

Posing as volunteers. Stealing documents. Dumpster diving. Planting electronic bugs. Hacking computers. Tapping phones and voicemail. Planting false information. Trailing family members. Threatening reporters. Hiring cops, CIA officers and combat veterans to do all these dirty deeds—and counting on little pushback from law enforcement, mainstream media or Congress.

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's WMC-Free Wisconsin campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

JEFF MILCHEN: Holiday shopping goes local, independent

November 26, 2013
Jeff Milchen
news photo

For those suffering from too much quality time with their families, the chain stores are poised to offer an escape by opening Thanksgiving Day. Before your dinner is digested, you can flee the table to vie for pole position at the big box entrance like Roman chariot drivers and prepare to do battle for one of those few really cheap “door-buster” flat-screens.

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's WMC-Free Wisconsin campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

STATE JOURNAL: Investigation of Walker recall campaign targets WMC and other big money groups

November 18, 2013
Dee J. Hall
news photo

The campaign of Gov. Scott Walker, the Republican Party of Wisconsin and more than two dozen conservative political groups are the targets of a secret Milwaukee County probe, the Wall Street Journal is reporting.

The newspaper reported that “some 29” organizations were being targeted, and it quoted Eric O’Keefe, an official with Club for Growth Wisconsin, as saying his group was among them.

“In recent weeks,” the newspaper reported, “special prosecutor Francis Schmitz has hit dozens of conservative groups with subpoenas demanding documents related to the 2011 and 2012 campaigns to recall Governor Walker and state legislative leaders.”

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

CAP TIMES: Reports show how Koch Brothers and corporate interests funnel big money into state campaigns

November 13, 2013
Steven Elbow
news photo

A slew of reports released Wednesday reveal that a network of conservative think tanks, funded by multinational corporations and industrialists — most notably Charles and David Koch — comprise a vast dark-money campaign funding mechanism that funnels cash to conservative candidates, including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in last year’s recall election.

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

CAP TIMES: Wisconsin Supreme Court hears Act 10 case involving their biggest financial backers

November 12, 2013
Jack Craver

If the Wisconsin Supreme Court does not rule in Gov. Scott Walker’s favor by reinstating the entirety of Act 10, the governor’s signature law that restricts public sector collective bargaining, it's likely a small group of very wealthy people will feel ripped off.

The court is considering a ruling by a Dane County Circuit Court judge last year that key parts of the law were unconstitutional.

The four justices who make up the Supreme Court’s conservative majority owe their positions largely to the help of Republican Party allies, notably Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state’s largest business group.

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

CAP TIMES: Wisconsin Supreme Court hears Act 10 case involving their biggest financial backers

November 12, 2013
Jack Craver
news photo

If the Wisconsin Supreme Court does not rule in Gov. Scott Walker’s favor by reinstating the entirety of Act 10, the governor’s signature law that restricts public sector collective bargaining, it's likely a small group of very wealthy people will feel ripped off.

The court is considering a ruling by a Dane County Circuit Court judge last year that key parts of the law were unconstitutional.

The four justices who make up the Supreme Court’s conservative majority owe their positions largely to the help of Republican Party allies, notably Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state’s largest business group.

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

ISTHMUS: Schools expert warns Wisconsin off privatization, high-stakes testing

November 7, 2013
Catherine Capellaro
news photo

Don't expect Diane Ravitch to pull any punches when she takes the podium Nov. 14 at the Orpheum Theater. The former assistant secretary of education is on a mission to expose the threat she says privatization poses to our nation's public schools.

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

CAP TIMES: How to stop WMC from hijacking our democracy

November 6, 2013
Dave Schwab

If the people of Wisconsin want to enjoy true democracy and shared prosperity in the 21st century, we must first do something about the corporate special interests that have hijacked our state government.

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For more information about Wisconsin Wave’s WMC Free initiative and how to get involved, check out www.WisconsinWave.org.

APPLETON POST-CRESCENT: WMC supports corporate welfare

October 21, 2013
Michael Muoio

Tom Still of the Wisconsin Technology Council, who wrote a recent guest column, should share why he’s endlessly apologizing for Gov. Scott Walker’s underperformance in creating the 250,000 jobs he campaigned on.

The recent admonishment of Walker and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce by the Federal Reserve on misrepresentation of Federal Reserve statistics is telling.

Walker had been using the Federal Reserve statistics to claim Wisconsin’s economic growth as No. 2 in the nation. His cronies at WMC produced a TV commercial, “thanking” Walker for putting the state on a “path to prosperity.” All lies according to the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States and senior economic analyst Paul Flora. The ad continues to run.

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

GAZETTEXTRA: WI Supreme Court justices tend to favor attorney donors

October 20, 2013
Jake Harper, Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

In January 2009, Milwaukee area attorney Mark Thomsen donated $5,000 to a Wisconsin official's political campaign. Thomsen soon sent an additional $500 just eight days before the official cast a key vote on an insurance issue that greatly affected Thomsen and his clients.

The public official's vote was not in the state Assembly, or the state Senate. It was in the state's highest court.

When the Wisconsin Supreme Court decision came down in Thomsen's favor, the majority included the recipient of Thomsen's money: Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson.

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

BELOIT DAILY NEWS: WMC spends $800,000 to sell Walker to public

October 14, 2013
Daniel Holzman

Why is Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) spending more than $800,000 to sell Wisconsinites that Scott Walker is a good Governor?

Scott Walker has greatly impacted Wisconsin’s human and natural resources. His attacks on women, working families, and public education are unparalleled in the history of Wisconsin. He has funded private education at the expense of public education.

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

BARABOO NEWS REPUBLIC: WMC ad needs reality check

October 8, 2013
Bob Johnson

I'm sure most people have seen the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce ad on TV that makes it look like jobs in Wisconsin are taking off for the stars.

Much of the ad is phony. But when something is wrapped up in shiny bright paper and a ribbon, it makes it hard to refute when talking to our friends and neighbors.

Borrowing heavily from the Reality Check that WISC-TV did on the WMC ad, here is what you need to know.

• "Wisconsin ranks fifth in the nation in new manufacturing jobs." This ranking came from the National Association of Manufacturers, but its numbers include 38,000 jobs from 2009, two full years before Walker became governor.

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

ISTHMUS: Wisconsin's rich getting richer in "new Gilded Age"

October 7, 2013
Bruce Murphy
news photo

Once known as a progressive state, Wisconsin is now deep into what might be called the post-progressive era. The poster boy for the new Gilded Age is home-improvement retailer John Menard, the 57th wealthiest American, according to the most recent Forbes 400 list.

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

State Journal: WMC tells the same lie until people believe it's true

October 7, 2013
Dave Zweifel
news photo

There's an old adage that Americans should know well by now — tell a lie enough times and people will believe it's the truth.

Our largest state big business lobby — Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce — has obviously bought into that truism in spades. It is in the middle of a million-dollar TV advertising campaign, more than a year before the 2014 election, claiming that Gov. Scott Walker has done wonders for Wisconsin's economy and is creating thousands of jobs to boot.

Never mind that it's a lie. Just repeat it over and over on eye-catching TV ads and hope that people will eventually buy it.

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

LACROSSE TRIBUNE: Philly Fed says Walker, WMC using misleading data on Wisconsin economy

September 30, 2013
Mike Ivey

Top officials with the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia are warning Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and others that they are misusing a monthly index produced by its top economists.

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

CAP TIMES: New WMC ad makes misleading claim about WI economic growth

September 26, 2013
Steven Elbow
news photo

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce today replaced their spaceship Wisconsin ad with a more conventional paean to Scott Walker.

In the new offering — which since WMC recently purchased more than $400,000 in air time ($828,000 since Sept. 11) you're sure to see if you watch local news — job announcement headlines flash across the screen as a narrator says:

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

WI DEMOCRACY CAMPAIGN: Governor continues to rake in money from elite class of donors

September 20, 2013
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign

Madison – Seventy-eight individuals and couples mostly from outside Wisconsin contributed nearly $1 million to legislative and statewide officeholders and candidates during the first six months of 2013, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review found.

This elite class of donors who contributed $10,000 or more is similar to “whales” – a gambling industry reference to an exclusive cache of wealthy high rollers who make big wagers and generally receive lavish comps from casinos to lure them back in the future.

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

STATE JOURNAL: State survey shows one third of teachers would change their profession

September 19, 2013
Andrea Anderson

A new survey of thousands of Wisconsin teachers found that nearly a third would “probably not” or “definitely not” choose the profession again, and 63 percent said they did not think the public appreciated the role teachers play in their children’s education.

Of the nearly 2,000 pre-K through 12th-grade teachers who took the Voices from the Classroom survey, 85 percent said they would like to see more interaction between the schools and the business community.

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

WMC spins economic reality in TV ad thanking Walker

September 18, 2013
Dave Schwab
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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

CAP TIMES: Job growth under Scott Walker - August 2013

September 17, 2013
Capital Times

Gov. Scott Walker famously promised during his 2010 campaign that he would bring 250,000 new private-sector jobs to Wisconsin by the end of his term in 2014. How's he doing? We're keeping track with this database.

The graph below shows Wisconsin's jobs growth according to Current Employment Statistics seasonally adjusted data since then and how it compares to its neighboring states. 

 

 

 

 

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

NICHOLS AND MCCHESNEY: Dollarocracy: How big money undermines our democracy and how we can take it back

September 16, 2013
Common Dreams
news photo

“We’ve found through our experience that timid supplications for justice will not solve the problem,” declared the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1967 as he announced the civil rights movement’s pivot toward the economic justice message of the Poor People’s Campaign. “We’ve got to massively confront the power structure."

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

APPLETON POST-CRESCENT: Walker making excuses for slow WI job growth

September 12, 2013
Appleton Post-Crescent

When we last checked in with Gov. Scott Walker on his campaign promise to create 250,000 jobs in the state in his first term, he was telling Rhinelander TV station WJFW that it wasn’t so much a promise as a goal.

“My goal wasn’t so much to hit a magic number as much as it was, in the four years before I took office, when I was campaigning, I saw that we lost over 133,000 jobs in the state. I said, ‘It’s really not about jobs, it’s about real people, real jobs like those here, and more importantly, affecting real families all across the state,’” Walker told WJFW.

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

CAP TIMES: Walker aide requests removal of jobs story from Rhinelander station

September 5, 2013
Steven Elbow

Gov. Scott Walker is starting to get more national attention. Not because of his potential presidential run, but because of an apparent misstep by Walker's office.

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

WPR: WMC seeks rollback of Wisconsin's Family Medical Leave Act

August 27, 2013
Shawn Johnson
news photo

The state's largest business group wants to do away with parts of Wisconsin's Family Medical Leave Act, saying it's redundant to federal law and makes Wisconsin less competitive.

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

STATE JOURNAL: Walker creates stir with talk of stripping police, firefighter union rights

July 31, 2013
Steven Verburg
news photo

 

Gov. Scott Walker stirred things up Monday with talk about extending the state ban on public sector union rights to police and firefighters, before downplaying the idea Tuesday.

Walker and Republican lawmakers exempted police and firefighters from Act 10 of 2011, saying that they couldn’t risk strikes by public safety personnel.

At a public event in Milwaukee on Monday, Walker said he would consider expanding the law, and that police and fire workers may now be willing to forgo union rights taken from other government workers — collective bargaining, paycheck dues withdrawals and arbitration to settle disputes with management.

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS IN WASHINGTON: Walker worst governor in America

July 30, 2013
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington
news photo

 

In the past he’s employed illegal tactics and abused his power to round up votes, but Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) didn’t have to break a sweat to win this contest. 

For racking up a record that has veered from unethical conduct to staggering incompetence, CREW’s voters awarded Gov. Walker the title of Worst Governor in America.

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

JOHN NICHOLS: 16 states call to overturn 'Citizens United'

July 10, 2013
John Nichols
news photo

The most undercovered political movement in the United States — and there are a lot of undercovered political movements in the United States — is the broad-based national campaign to overturn the Supreme Court ruling that ushered in a new era of big-money politics.

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

RAW STORY: Gogebic hires private paramilities to guard Wisconsin mining site from protesters

July 9, 2013
Stephen C. Webster
news photo

Heavily-armed, masked paramilitary forces descended upon the Gogebic Taconite mining site in Wisconsin over the weekend, much to the chagrin of local residents and elected officials.

“I’m appalled,” state Sen. Bob Jauch (D) told The Wisconsin State Journal on Monday. “There is no evidence to justify their presence.”

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

MIKE JOHNSON: Chamber-backed pols defeat Madison donation disclosure proposal

July 7, 2013
Mike Johnson

A recent Madison City Council vote left me pondering a line from "The Simpsons" TV show: “Y'know, a town with good legislation is like a mule with a spinning wheel. No one knows how he got it and danged if he knows how to use it!”

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

WI Citizens Media Cooperative: Citizens testify for strong mining ordinance

July 5, 2013
Rebecca Kemble
news photo

On July 1, 2013, over a hundred people attended the Iron County Zoning Committee’s public hearing on a proposed mining ordinance in Hurley, Wisconsin.

Twenty-three of the twenty-eight people who testified urged the Committee to develop an ordinance containing the strongest possible protections for public health, safety and shared natural resources.

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

CAP TIMES: Researcher: Walker 'fed us a sedative' when stimulus was needed

July 3, 2013
Mike Ivey
news photo

The latest job numbers are out and while Wisconsin has showed some slight improvement, the state still trails most of its neighbors and the nation as a whole coming out of the Great Recession.

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

CAP TIMES: Walker joins Koch brothers' pledge to oppose climate action

July 3, 2013
Steven Elbow
news photo

You’ve no doubt heard about Grover Norquist’s “Taxpayer Protection Pledge.” Well, there’s a new pledge in town, and several Wisconsin conservatives have signed on.

This pledge is called the “No Climate Tax Pledge,” but it might as well be called the “Koch Brothers Protection Pledge,” since it was devised by a group co-founded and backed by the billionaire brothers whose companies, according to the EPA, emitted over 24 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2011.

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

ISTHMUS: Scott Walker's high-speed fail: Train service would have started now

June 27, 2013
Dave Cieslewicz
news photo

Train cars are referred to as "rolling stock." Now, thanks to Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican legislators who run this state, Wisconsin is thought of as a "laughingstock."

Had Tom Barrett won the election for governor in 2010, right now, June 2013, would have seen the opening of Madison's high-speed rail station, connecting us to Milwaukee and Chicago immediately and the Twin Cities eventually.

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

ISTHMUS: Wisconsin goes back to budget deficits

June 27, 2013
Joe Tarr

Andrew Reschovsky is disappointed.

The economics professor at UW-Madison's La Follette School of Public Affairs has been studying the state's problem with budget deficits for decades.

And say what you will about Gov. Scott Walker, one thing he did do was eliminate that pesky deficit in his last budget. But, Reschovsky says, the 2013-15 $68 billion budget recently approved by the Legislature and awaiting Walker's signature shows a government up to its old tricks.

"After years of saying we need to have a balanced budget, very quickly they've turned around and set us up for a deficit," Reschovsky says. "We finally got our house in order and then we're back to creating another structural deficit."

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

CAP TIMES: WMC lobbyists 'very excited' about GOP budget

June 24, 2013
Jack Craver
news photo

The gang at Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce is "very excited" about the budget that now awaits Gov. Scott Walker’s signature. The state’s largest business association released a video on Friday featuring four of the group’s lobbyists discussing the many elements of the budget that will benefit Wisconsin companies.

I was notified of the YouTube clip by a disgruntled legislative staffer, who described its contents thus: “Just a few of the former GOP staffers who give the Legislature its marching orders from outside the building.”

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our democracy from WMC's big-money agenda, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

JOHN NICHOLS: Budget fails majority of Wisconsinites

June 20, 2013
John Nichols
news photo

Assembly Democrats had planned to propose more than 200 amendments to the biennial budget that the chamber voted on Wednesday. But in a surprise move, Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, simply announced that his caucus was ready to vote.

The Wisconsin progressive tradition tends more toward a fight-it-to-the-bitter-end approach, especially when a budget is as fundamentally flawed as this one.

But it is easy to understand the frustration of Assembly Democrats, whose efforts to work with the Republican majority were so frequently thwarted during the budget-writing process.

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For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

CAP TIMES: Chamber pays Walker to impose its policies, ranks Wisconsin 44th in economic performance

June 17, 2013
Mike Ivey

(Originally published May 3rd, 2013)

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker traveled to Washington, D.C., earlier this week for America’s Small Business Summit, an annual event hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

There, Walker appeared on a special panel titled “How to Lead Enterprising States,” joining with the governors of Maine and Pennsylvania.

“I participated in a good discussion about what we’ve done, and what we can continue to do, to help small businesses grow and thrive,” Walker said in summing up the trip for his weekly radio address.

MIKE KONOPACKI: Scott Walker’s jobs fraud

June 17, 2013
Mike Konopacki

(Originally published April 19th, 2013)

Actually, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s agenda is an unqualified success. Everything Walker has done over the last two years was designed to keep wages low and ensure employers a weak and desperate labor force. It’s simple supply and demand — high unemployment ensures low wages.

The March 2013 BLS statistics rate Wisconsin 44th in the nation in job creation. Wages fell by 4.1 percent and unemployment rose to 8.4 percent. Critics blame Walker’s austerity policies. Walker blames the “uncertainty” of peaceful protests and recall elections.

AUDIO: Hear Dennis Kucinich's speech at the Rally for Democracy

February 12, 2013
Liberty Tree Foundation

Dennis Kucinich and Ben Manski speak to Wisconsinites on February 12th, 2013 as part of Liberty Tree's "Shut the Chamber!" campaign kickoff (complete audio below, courtesy of WORT 89.9FM, followed by printed excerpts).

Ben Manski:

WISCONSIN WATCH: Redistricting entirely responsible for GOP’s "success" in congressional and legislative races

January 7, 2013
Kate Golden

In the aftermath of the Nov. 6 elections, words like “fickle” and “schizophrenic” are being bandied about to describe the Wisconsin electorate.

How else can anyone explain a group of voters who simultaneously picked Democrats Barack Obama for president and Tammy Baldwin for U.S. Senate while preserving a 5-3 Republican edge in its congressional delegation and giving the GOP a commanding majority in both houses of the state Legislature?

WSJ: Wisconsin's GOP legislature lays out their priorities for mining, education, taxes, and jobs

January 6, 2013
Dee J. Hall
news photo

Paving the way for a new mine, lowering income taxes and finding ways to train more workers for available jobs are among the priorities cited by top Republicans, who will control the Legislature.

The two-year session begins Monday and will run through May 2014. Republicans have a 59-39 majority in the Assembly, with one vacancy in a heavily GOP district, and an 18-15 majority in the Senate. Gov. Scott Walker is also a Republican.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said much of the Legislature’s work will revolve around the governor’s proposed budget, expected to be submitted in mid-February.

“The budget controls the landscape for the first six months,” Fitzgerald said.

CAP TIMES: Law enforcement union sues Wisconsin over collective bargaining law that creates 2 classes of workers

November 14, 2012
Ed Treleven
news photo

A Wisconsin law enforcement union sued the state Tuesday over the state's collective bargaining law, alleging that the portions of the law pertaining to teachers and municipal workers that were found unconstitutional by a Dane County judge are also unconstitutional for state workers.

The lawsuit, filed in Dane County Circuit Court by the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Association (WLEA), two police officers and a field agent for the state Division of Motor Vehicles, alleges that portions of Gov. Scott Walker's collective bargaining law violates state workers' rights to speech, association, petition and advocacy under the state constitution.

GOP: arrest Federal officials who try to implement new healthcare law in WI

November 13, 2012
Patrick Marley

 

Madison - As Gov. Scott Walker contemplates whether to create a state health care exchange under Obamacare, he must contend with nine members of his own party who will serve in the Legislature for the next two years who say they back a bill to arrest any federal officials who try to implement the health care law.

Overpass Light Brigade groups challenge free speech restrictions around the country

November 13, 2012
Kit OConnell
news photo

One Victory, More Conflicts to Come?

Though the Austin Overpass Light Brigade won the right to hold lighted signs over a highway once, it can expect further encounters with police.

Electoral maps rigged to favor well-funded incumbents

November 12, 2012
editorial

 

None of Wisconsin's races for the House of Representatives was even close last week.

Every incumbent won by double-digit margins.

CAP TIMES: Journalists face restrictions as they cover Election Night events

November 9, 2012
Jessica Vanegeren
news photo

Phil Ejercito, a Madison-based freelance photographer, took the usual steps prior to showing up Tuesday to photograph what turned into the election night victory party for Wisconsin’s new senator, Tammy Baldwin.

After showing identification, he was handed press credentials and then guided to the press area that included nearly 100 other journalists.

But as 8 p.m. approached and the ballroom at Monona Terrace began to fill with roughly 1,000 members of the public, a velvet red rope similar to what you’d find in a movie theater started to be drawn tight to cordon off the media area.

GOP's 2013 agenda for WI: mining, school voucher, tax cuts, sandhill crane hunt

November 8, 2012
Todd Richmond

 

Meet the new Legislature, same as the old Legislature.

Republicans rolled back into control of the state Capitol in Tuesday's elections, reclaiming the majority in the Senate and defending their advantage in the Assembly. With Republican Scott Walker in the governor's office, the GOP can push through just about any proposal it chooses when the next legislative session begins in January.

IPS: Abolishing the Electoral College will solve the problem of having "swing" states

November 5, 2012
Becky Bergdahl
news photo

UNITED NATIONS, Nov 5 2012 (IPS) - A small number of states in the United States have a peculiar power. As swing states, they are extremely influential in the outcome of the presidential election. As presidential candidates focus intensely on these states, some argue that this imbalance and several other factors threaten to undermine the country’s democracy.

ISTHMUS: GAB Director Kevin Kennedy receives criticisms from all over of the political spectrum

November 1, 2012
Mary Ellen Bell
news photo

When Kevin Kennedy celebrated his 60th birthday a few months ago, his staff at the Government Accountability Board presented him with framed copies of two political cartoons. They ran in the Wisconsin State Journal while recall petitions were being verified last spring.

In one panel, a young protester offers to give the GAB a hand with the checking. In the other, a group of older people with tea party signs makes the same offer.

Art imitates life. This actually happened: Both sides did try to horn in on the verification process.

WASHINGTON POST: Wisconsin Republicans give inaccurate information to poll watchers

October 30, 2012
Bill Turque
news photo

Democrats and Republicans are training legions of poll watchers to scrutinize voting next week for signs of fraud. But some information trainees are getting is not quite on target.

The liberal blog ThinkProgress opened a window onto the process Tuesday when it reported on material distributed to aspiring poll watchers by the Romney campaign and the Republican Party of Wisconsin in Racine Oct. 25, at one of a series of training sessions held across the state this fall.

WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL: Wisconsin's ban on vouching for unregistered voters will disenfranchise eligible voters

October 22, 2012
Steven Verburg
news photo

Wisconsin residents may know that the photo ID provision of the 2011 election reform law has been struck down, but flying under the radar are other parts of the law that remain in force.

Thousands of new voters and others who vote only in presidential elections may be surprised to find out that the pre-Election Day voting period has been shortened, that they are required to sign a poll book and they must live in a ward 28 days to vote there.

But the lesser-known change that could have the greatest effect voters is a ban on "corroboration" — the practice of allowing new or recently relocated voters to establish residency in a ward and register to vote by having someone vouch for them if they lack an acceptable document that shows their address.

Democracy Now interviews Greg Palast about voter disenfranchisement in the 2012 elections

October 18, 2012

Democracy Now discusses how voter suppression in the 2012 elections will prevent millions of eligible voters from being able to cast a ballot or have their ballot counted. Greg Palast is the author of the recently released New York Times bestseller, "Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps."

 

THE REVIEW: 15 states back Ohio in early voting case

October 13, 2012
Associated Press
news photo

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Fifteen states and several military organizations announced their support for Ohio's elections chief on Friday in a dispute over early voting in the presidential battleground, which is being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has appealed a lower court ruling that reinstates early voting on the three days before Election Day and returns discretion to local boards of elections. The Republican also has asked the Supreme Court to delay the lower court's decision while it decides whether to take the case.

AMERICAN PROSPECT: True the Vote trains poll watchers to intimidate voters

October 10, 2012
Abby Rapoport
news photo

Two years ago, the week before Election Day, I drove to Harris County, Texas. More specifically, I drove to the Acres Homes Multi-Service Center, a polling location for early voting in one of Houston’s poor, predominantly black neighborhoods. After alleging that Harris County had a widespread problem with voter fraud, a Tea Party group called the King Street Patriots had launched a project called True the Vote, which had trained hundreds of volunteer poll watchers. As the early-voting period began, reports had begun to trickle out about white poll watchers arriving at minority precincts and intimidating voters. In Texas, poll watchers, appointed by a political party to watch the proceedings, aren’t allowed to do much; they’re barred from communicating with voters.

LA TIMES: Judges temporarily block state voter ID laws for 2012 elections

October 8, 2012
David G. Savage
news photo

WASHINGTON — Earlier this year, voting rights advocates foresaw a cloud over this year's election because new voting laws in Republican-led states tightened the rules for casting ballots and reduced the time for early voting.

But with the election less than a month away, it's now clear those laws will have little impact. A series of rulings has blocked or weakened the laws as judges — both Republicans and Democrats — stopped measures that threatened to bar legally registered voters from polling places in the November election.

"Courts see their role as the protectors of the core right to vote," said Ned Foley, an election law expert at Ohio State University.

POLITICO: Voter ID laws may prevent millions from voting

September 23, 2012
Associated Press
news photo

The combined effects of voter roll purges, demands for proof of citizenship and photo identification requirements in several states may hinder at least 10 million Hispanic citizens who seek to vote this fall, civil rights advocates warn in a new report.

Hispanic voters are considered pivotal to the presidential election this November, and are being heavily courted by both Democratic incumbent Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney. If they turn out in large numbers, Hispanics could sway the outcome in several swing states.

WSJ: New capitol police chief to clamp down on protests

August 28, 2012
Clay Barbour

Protesters soon will find the Capitol a less forgiving place for some civil disobedience, according to its new top cop.

Wisconsin Capitol Police Chief David Erwin said Monday he will soon begin clamping down on protesters, strictly enforcing the Capitol's rules in an effort to restore normalcy and safety to a building that has become home to regular demonstrations.

"I need to make this building safe," he said. "I need to make this building where it is something all the citizens can enjoy, not just a select few."

JANESVILLE GAZETTE: Citizens group auditing statewide recall election results—by hand

July 11, 2012
Neil Johnson
news photo

JANESVILLE — The Rock County Clerk’s Office opened its doors to an unusual request Tuesday.

A group of six concerned citizens wanted to cross-check Rock County’s election results of last month’s gubernatorial recall election—by hand.

The group members, who said they were part of the action group Election Fairness, had filed an open records request July 2 with Rock County and Wisconsin’s 71 other counties.

COLORLINES: Young and Black Voters Turn Out in Wisconsin Despite Suppression Efforts

June 6, 2012
Brentin Mock
news photo

It may not feel like there’s anything positive to make out of the unsuccessful bid to recall Gov. Scott Walker in yesterday’s Wisconsin elections, but there were hints of optimism. Young voters and African-American voters did more than their part to show up, according to exit polls and early reports, despite significant efforts to confuse and challenge them from groups that profess to be fighting voter fraud. 

MJS: Major logistical problems mar Milwaukee elections

June 5, 2012
Larry Sandler and Nicole Levy

Heavy turnout in Milwaukee led the city Election Commission to call out the reserves Tuesday.

Extra poll workers were sent to polling places at Becher Terrace, Bradley Tech High School, Keenan Health Center, Morse Middle School, Rufus King International School Middle Years Campus and Cass Street, 53rd Street, Grantosa and Parkview schools, said Sue Edman, the election commission’s executive director.

The backup workers were needed to handle long lines, partly because a significant number of new voters were registering at the polls, Edman said.

“We knew things would be busy, but we didn’t know how busy,” Edman said.

MJS: More reports surface from Waukesha that Kathy Nickolaus is still in charge

June 5, 2012

While Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas and his chief of staff insisted both Monday and Tuesday that County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus is not the one in charge of election duties this recall election, her actions say otherwise.

While Nickolaus has refused to respond to this reporter's questions in her office, turning her back and closing her office door while the reporter waited at a service counter, her deputy, Kelly Yaeger, hasn't responded, either.

Nickolaus has been observed passing out election supplies to local clerks leading up to Tuesday's election, and she's the one who's fielded questions Tuesday from the field, said Gina Kozlik, Waukesha's deputy clerk-treasurer.

Reuters: Exit polls put Wisconsin recall at 50-50 dead heat as of poll closing

June 5, 2012
Nick Carey

MILWAUKEE (Reuters) - The outcome of the Wisconsin recall election on Tuesday was too close to call between Republican Governor Scott Walker and Democratic challenger Tom Barrett as polls closed across the state, broadcast networks said based on exit polls.

Walker was forced to face voters in the Midwestern Rust Belt state after he pushed through severe restrictions on the collective bargaining of unionized government workers.

MOTHER JONES: Kathy Nickolaus may remain in charge of Waukesha Co elections on June 5th

May 31, 2012
Andy Kroll
news photo

Republican Kathy Nickolaus may be the only county clerk known by name across Wisconsin—and not for a good reason.

Last year, Nickolaus, the top election official in Waukesha County, a solidly Republican suburb outside of Milwaukee, blamed "human error" for the late discovery of more than 14,000 missing votes in a bruising state Supreme Court race. Those votes erased liberal favorite JoAnne Kloppenburg's lead in the race, handed victory to conservative incumbent David Prosser, and later led to an expensive recount. This April, Nickolaus resorted to posting election results on strips of grocery-receipt-like paper after the county's reporting system failed on election night.

More Info: 

Take Action to Protect the Recall Elections: www.wisconsinwave.org/nmse

PR WATCH: Right wing front group gins up fears of "voter fraud" during Wisconsin recalls

May 31, 2012
Brendan Fischer
news photo

An out-of-state Tea Party organization recently called a "GOP front group" by a Texas judge is again intervening in Wisconsin's recall election and perpetuating unfounded fears of "voter fraud," a spectre also raised by right-wing media, Governor Scott Walker, and most recently, Republican National Committee (RNC) Chair Reince Priebus.

With polls showing the recall election between Walker and his challenger Tom Barrett tightening to a dead heat (49-49 in a recent survey by Democratic pollster Celinda Lake), Republicans have been invoking fears of "voter fraud" to cast doubt on a potential Barrett victory, despite repeated investigations finding no evidence of in-person electoral wrongdoing.

Community rallies around striking workers in Ashland, WI

May 29, 2012
Sara Nemec
news photo

For striking Ashland Industries welder James Pupp, of Ashland, the show of support Saturday afternoon from friends and neighbors at a rally held for the 43 workers was touching.

“It feels good to see all these people here to help our cause to get back to work again,” said Pupp, who has been employed at the firm for 10 years. “All we want is our security and our family health plan.”

Held in the H. Pearson Plaza, the rally featured live music, food and speakers, such as State Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, and Rep. Janet Bewley, D-Ashland.

CAP TIMES: DNR enforcement down under Walker administration

April 30, 2012
Ron Seely
news photo

Environmental enforcement activity by the state Department of Natural Resources has dropped dramatically in the past two years, according to data from the agency, with the number of permit violation notices hitting a 12-year low in 2011.

DNR officials say the decrease is partly caused by an enforcement staff that's been hit hard by budget cuts. But they also point to a philosophical shift that emphasizes cooperating with businesses by helping them navigate complex state and federal regulations and steering them into compliance when they violate their permits.

HUFF POST: Wisconsin Voters Reportedly Asked To Show Photo ID in April Election Despite Suspension Of Law

April 3, 2012
Amanda Terkel

Wisconsin's voter identification law reportedly caused some confusion at a polling place Tuesday, when workers asked voters to show identification even though the requirement is suspended.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) signed the voter ID bill into law last year, calling it a "common sense reform." While the law was in effect for February's election, two judges have since suspended the law, saying it is unconstitutional.

JOHN NICHOLS: David Koch Admits Big Spending to Help Scott Walker Bust 'Union Power'

February 20, 2012
John Nichols

 

Billionaire campaign donor David Koch, heir to a fortune and a political legacy created by one of the driving forces behind the John Birch Society, makes no secret of his enthusiasm for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

Few Wisconsinites Contributing to SuperPAC's

February 13, 2012
Kate Golden

 

Eighteen people with Wisconsin ties are among the donors to so-called “super PACs,” a new breed of campaign fundraising machine. But compared to Texas, New York and California, where super PACs raised upwards of $10 million, those Wisconsin donors contributed a whole lot less.

Itemized super PAC contributions with Wisconsin addresses totaled $428,301 in 2011, according to Federal Election Commission filings released last week.

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism has posted a searchable database of nearly $93 million in super PAC contributions below.

Just three donors with Wisconsin addresses contributed major sums.

Republicans Extend Open Enrollment To Unleash Market Forces On School Districts

February 13, 2012
Matt DeFour

 

Wisconsin's public school open enrollment period begins Monday, and for the first time, families will have three months to decide whether and where to enroll their students outside of their home school district.

For the Madison School District, the extra time could mean more families choosing to leave for other districts or virtual schools, though Superintendent Dan Nerad said it's too early to know what the affect will be.

"By the nature that there's an open window, that's likely to happen for us as well as other districts around the state," Nerad said.

THE ISTHMUS: Wisconsin Wave leads "Wisconsin Day!" protest to kick-off anniversary week of action

February 11, 2012
Nayantara Mukherji

One year to the day after announcing a bill to eliminate collective bargaining for most public employees in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker continues to draw vociferous opposition. Hundreds of protesters returned to the Capitol Square on Saturday afternoon to kick off a week commemorating the anniversary of the announcement and weeks of demonstrations that followed.

More Info: 

View complete footage of the event from SSWIDTMS:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=m_iXucBn0_Y#!

David Koch's Non-Profit Flouts Law And Spends $700,000 Against Wisconsin Recall

February 9, 2012
Brendan Fischer
news photo

The non-profit founded by the oil billionaire injects $700,000 to retain the embattled Wisconsin governor, possibly violating various laws on political activities.

Walker Heads to Florida Fundraiser, Finds More Protesters Than Supporters

February 8, 2012
Kristine Gill

 

NAPLES — Although he was more than 1,500 miles from home, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker encountered a familiar sight upon arriving in Naples - protestors.

"I'm used to protestors coming from other states to protest me," Walker told 150 attendees during a speech at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort Wednesday afternoon. At least that many people gathered outside to demonstrate against one of the country's most polemical political figures.

Indiana's New 'Right to Work' Law: More Jobs or Lower Wages For All Workers?

February 7, 2012
Mark Guarino

 

After a protracted battle, Indiana in early February elected to make union dues optional for workers in union jobs. It's the first state in more than 10 years to adopt a so-called right-to-work law and the first state ever in the industrial Midwest to go that route.

Scott Walker and the Secret "John Doe" Investigation Explained

February 7, 2012
Andy Kroll

 

A dark cloud hangs over Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

A "John Doe" investigation launched in May 2010 has embroiled former Walker staffers and appointees from his time as Milwaukee County executive, his job before winning the governorship in November 2010. The investigation, led by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, has led to home raids targeting former staffers with close ties to Walker and numerous felony charges for election law violations,embezzlement, and misconduct in office. 

GOP Lawmakers, Pledged to Secrecy, Told to Ignore Public Comments on Redistricting

February 6, 2012
Patrick Marley, Daniel Bice and Jason Stein

 

As legislative leaders secretly developed new election maps last year to strengthen their majority, Republican lawmakers were told to ignore public comments and instead focus on what was said in private strategy sessions, according to a GOP memo that became public Monday.

Other newly released documents also show almost all Republican lawmakers signed legal agreements promising not to discuss the new maps while they were being developed.

GOP lawmakers fought releasing these new documents and testifying about the maps in a pending court case but relented after a panel of three federal judges based in Milwaukee last month found they had filed frivolous motions in trying to shield the information from the public.

JOHN NICHOLS: Chrysler Super Bowl ad features Wisconsin union rally, but edits out union signs

February 6, 2012
John Nichols

The one truly stunning ad on Super Bowl night was a moving two-minute Chrysler commercial featuring actor Clint Eastwood. Aired at halftime, the ad hailed the renewal of the American automobile industry and featured images of union firefighters and factory workers.

At the 50-second point in the ad, images from last year's mass pro-union protests in Madison were featured.

But something was missing: union signs.

The images from Madison were taken from a historic video by Matt Wisniewski, a Madison photographer whose chronicling of the protests drew international attention and praise. Wisniewski's work went viral, and was even featured in a video by rocker Tom Morello.

JOHN NICHOLS: How Scott Walker and ALEC plotted the attack on Arizona's Unions

February 3, 2012
John Nichols

Two days after Ohio voters overwhelmingly rejected Governor John Kasich’s anti-labor agenda by a sixty-one to thirty-nine margin in a statewide referendum, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker jetted to Arizona to launch the next front in the national campaign to attack union rights.

After meeting with former Vice President Dan Quayle, Walker was whisked over to the Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, where he briefed a thousand Arizona conservatives on how they could attack “the big-government union bosses.”

The Tea Party Plan to Save Scott Walker

January 31, 2012
Andy Kroll

 

As soon as April, millions of Wisconsinites will vote on whether to oust Gov. Scott Walker—a rising Republican star and arguably the most polarizing governor in politics today—just two years into his first term in office. Walker's recall election is a referendum on his hardline conservative agenda, including curbing collective bargaining rights for state workers and slashing education funding. For Walker himself it's a pivotal moment in his young political career.  

WSJ: Assembly committee passes devastating mining bill

January 24, 2012
Todd Richmond

Republicans on the state Assembly's jobs committee Tuesday approved a bill that would streamline Wisconsin's iron mining permit process, brushing aside Democrats' claims that the measure is a license to pollute.

The bill is designed to jump-start Florida-based Gogebic Taconite's plans for an iron mine in the Penokee Hills just south of Lake Superior. The measure has triggered a fierce debate between Republicans looking to deliver on campaign promises to create jobs and environmentalists who say the mine would ruin the pristine area.

MJS: Contrary to Walker's claims state budget deficit still exists

January 22, 2012
Jason Stein

Madison - Gov. Scott Walker's administration has touted for months its efforts to balance the state budget, but now it also has acknowledged a significant way in which the budget isn't balanced.

To keep the possibility alive of making further cuts to state health programs, the Walker administration quietly certified to the federal government on Dec. 29 that the state had a deficit.

Federal law allows the state to drop tens of thousands of adults to save money on health care costs if the state can show it has a deficit. Walker has said he wants to cut health care spending in other ways, but hasn't ruled out dropping those 53,000 adults if the other methods aren't approved by the federal government.

WSJ: Indoor Capitol protest photos tell the 'real story'

January 22, 2012
Gayle Worland

For five of the 17 days last February that protesters lived in and slept in the state Capitol, photographer John Riggs was there, with little more than his camera. 

Shooting pictures inside the historic building was difficult: Light conditions were low and events were unpredictable. But Riggs, owner of Tamarack Studio and Gallery just east of Capitol Square, found the occupation sparked by political events so personally moving, so filled with creativity and so peacefully "utopian" that he felt it needed to be documented in a show and a book.

SSWIDTMS

January 16, 2012
Arthur Kohl-Riggs

From the account of YouTube user arthurkr222:

Sherrilyn Ifill, a law professor and a civil rights lawyer speaks to the MLK Day event at the Capitol and shares how the Reverend felt about some issues that we still find ourselves dealing with, like housing discrimination and predatory banking practices, the culture of war and how money and resources spent on war is money and resources not spent helping those in need, but the biggest response of the day was when she brought up the discriminatory voter disenfranchisement law that Walker pushed through.

UPPITY WISCONSIN: Request for data base tries to cause more chaos in recall process

January 13, 2012
xoff

Republican lawmakers have an unlimited capacity for mischief, especially when it comes to trying to delay the inevitable recall elections coming sooner or later this year.

State Rep. Robin Vos has asked the Government Accountability Board to create an online, searchable data base of everyone who signs a recall petition.

Why? So citizens can search the hundreds of thousands of names looking for mistakes, he says:

DAILY KOS: Pulaski WI Marching Band Plays "Union Maid" in Rose Bowl Parade

January 3, 2012
AnnieJo

The Pulaski High Marching Band, of Pulaski Wisconsin, made an awesome statement in yesterday's Rose Bowl Parade.

It was quite an honor for the Red Raiders from this small town (pop. approx. 3000) northwest of Green Bay to be marching in 80-degree weather in Pasadena, while their proud community looked on from windy 18-degree Wisconsin.

The TV coverage started as they marched along playing "On Wisconsin," looking properly Badger-like in their red uniforms.

And then they got to the grandstand, at about 1:15 in the YouTube ... listen to what happened.

CAP TIMES: Austerity in Wisconsin killing jobs

December 21, 2011
Mike Ivey

A liberal-leaning Milwaukee think tank is out with a new report blaming state budget program cuts and public worker paycheck reductions for exacerbating Wisconsin's job struggles.

The report from the Institute for Wisconsin's Future says the reduction in take-home pay for tens of thousands of public employees is now hurting the private sector, as are the drastic state budget cuts for K-12 education.

JOHN NICHOLS: Former state legislator Frank Nikolay embodied the best of Wisconsin's progressive tradition

December 21, 2011
John Nichols

Frank Nikolay learned his New Deal Democratic politics the hard way, as a poor kid in the Great Depression. He knew what it meant when a family fell on hard times and he knew what the government — yes, the government — could do to help them get back on their feet and on the road to prosperity.

Nikolay, who would become one of Wisconsin’s most respected lawyers, a leader in the state Legislature and a contender for statewide office, had no taste for those who suggested that government was the problem. He said they were either lying to themselves or lying to the people.

And Frank Nikolay was no liar.

He spoke the plain truth, even when doing so entailed political risks.

JOHN NICHOLS: Scott Walker's ton of cash can't counter people power

December 21, 2011
John Nichols

If money is speech, as the crooked courtesans of our high court would have it, then Gov. Scott Walker might imagine himself well-positioned for the recall election he is now all but certain to face.

Last Thursday the United Wisconsin movement announced that its thousands of volunteers had in less than a month gathered more than 500,000 signatures on petitions demanding that the agonizingly inept governor of Wisconsin be held to account for an agenda that just cost the state another 14,000 jobs. On the very same day, Walker was touting the news that his campaign had raised more than $5 million.

Surely, in the calculus of the corrupt, 5,000,000 dollars should carry 10 times the political power of 500,000 signatures.

ED GARVEY: More corruption among Wisconsin's Supreme Court justices

December 20, 2011
Ed Garvey

We know the marching song is "On Wisconsin," but not so today as corruption involving a justice of the state Supreme Court, a major law firm, members of the Legislature secretly working with a mining company, and WMC to "relax" environmental protections to help the mining company in the "new" mining bill that has no sponsor is now part of the new marching song. "Not Wisconsin, not Wisconsin, line your pockets now..."

Two stories. Let's begin with the Gableman saga. Gableman ran against Louis Butler for a seat on Supreme Court, a rather cushy position--high pay, good benefits, 10-year term...not bad!

FORBES: Scott Walker Kills Women's Cancer Screening Program For Political Gain

December 17, 2011
Rick Ungar

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has set his sights on ending the availability of cervical and breast cancer screening —along with multiple sclerosis detection— for Wisconsin women who have insufficient health insurance to pay for these critical procedures.

It’s not about money or budgets or unions or any of the usual ideologically driven nonsense we’ve come to expect from Scott Walker. This time, it’s just all about politics.

CAP TIMES: ACLU sues over Wisconsin voter ID law

December 13, 2011
Jessica Vanegeren

A federal lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Milwaukee alleging that Wisconsin's new voter ID law is unconstitutional and will deprive people of the right to vote.

The suit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin and the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, claims top state officials includng Gov. Scott Walker and Kevin Kennedy, executive director of the non-partisan state elections agency, as well as employees tasked with implementing the law at the state Department of Motor Vehicles and Social Security offices have created a poll tax and other obstacles that present a "severe and undue burden on the fundamental right to vote."

CAP TIMES: Solidarity Singers director says 'we're there to petition our government'

December 13, 2011
Steven Elbow

Chris Reeder doesn't think new state policies imposing permit restrictions and costs on protesters at the Capitol are directed at him and the group of Solidarity Singers he leads.

But you have to wonder. The new dictates come at a time when the singers are easily the most consistent voice of dissent. Since March 11, they've never missed a weekday — that's 232 singalongs as of Friday, most of them in the Capitol rotunda.

MJS: Arrest made in John Doe investigation of current and former Walker aides

December 13, 2011
Daniel Bice

Another major shoe has dropped in the John Doe investigation of Gov. Scott Walker's current and former aides.

On Tuesday, authorities arrested Andrew P. Jensen Jr., a commercial real estate broker with Boerke Co. and a past president of the Commercial Association of REALTORS Wisconsin.

Fran McLaughlin, spokesman for Sheriff David Clarke Jr., confirmed that Jensen was behind bars on Tuesday night. But McLaughlin said no one had filed a criminal complaint against the 50-year-old Milwaukee resident.

The sheriff's website states that charges are pending against Jensen.

WSJ: Waukesha County clerk 'likely broke state law' during April Supreme Court race

December 13, 2011
Scott Bauer

Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus said Tuesday she believes she has been exonerated even though her office is undertaking numerous changes in how it handles ballots following the non-reporting of 14,000 votes in the spring Supreme Court election.

State investigators in September determined that Nickolaus likely broke the law by not reporting the votes in the hotly contested race between Justice David Prosser and challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg, but her conduct was unintentional and not criminal.

CAP TIMES: Madison lawmaker seeks to expose ties between Walker, mining interests

December 12, 2011
Jessica Vanegeren

Rep. Kelda Helen Roys, D-Madison, submitted an open records request Monday to Gov. Scott Walker, seeking all communications with Gogebic Taconite regarding the 183-page Republican mining bill released Thursday.

"Many conservation leaders believe this bill is a massive handout to big corporate polluters and the mining industry," Roys said in a prepared statement. "Secret corporate-drafted bills are bad for Wisconsin and the public deserves to know how much influence lobbyists for out-of-state mining companies had in drafting this bill."

NYT: From Finland, an intriguing school-reform model

December 12, 2011
Jenny Anderson

Pasi Sahlberg, a Finnish educator and author, had a simple question for the high school seniors he was speaking to one morning last week in Manhattan: “Who here wants to be a teacher?”

Out of a class of 15, two hands went up — one a little reluctantly.

“In my country, that would be 25 percent of people,” Dr. Sahlberg said. “And,” he added, thrusting his hand in the air with enthusiasm, “it would be more like this.”

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

CAP TIMES: Capitol protest limits violate constitution

December 7, 2011
Cap Times Editorial Board

Gov. Scott Walker in February admitted on Greta van Susteren’s Fox News program that he and his aides considered using agent provocateurs to create violent incidents in order to discredit protests at the state Capitol. More recently he has made it clear that he will go to any length to stifle dissent against his policies.

DAILY KOS: Standoff Coming in Wisconsin Against Restrictions to Protest at Capitol

December 7, 2011
Harry Waisbren

Things may be coming to a head in Wisconsin soon, most interestingly, almost exactly when we will be doing a whole lot of analysis on the Wisconsin uprisings’ past and future at Netroots New York.

Jason Stein at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel lays out the specifics on what is going on in terms of Walker’s attempt to hold protesters financially liable and compel them to apply for permits for any demonstrations of four or more 72 hours in advance.

CAP TIMES: Integrity of Wisconsin's elections further in dobut as GAB comes under partisan control

December 6, 2011
Protect independence of our election watchdog

One of the best ways of ensuring the integrity of our elections is to have an independent, nonpartisan watchdog. Wisconsin already has that, in the form of the Government Accountability Board. The GAB is made up of retired judges and a nonpartisan staff charged with keeping elections clean. But now the independence of the GAB is under threat.

CAP TIMES: Occupy Madison works to overcome legal and weather related obstacles

December 6, 2011
Pat Schneider

With the mother of all Occupy protest sites being swept clean by police in New York, camps being dismantled in several other cities, and the shocking pepper-spraying of protesters at the University of California-Davis, I got to wondering what was up with Occupy Madison.

I found protesters at the encampment on East Washington Avenue hard at work upgrading their tents for the coming cold weather Wednesday, as officials hand delivered a letter warning they may be cited — or evicted — if they persist in refusing to apply for a permit.

WSJ: Wisconsinites decry new anti-free speech Walker policy on protests in the capitol

December 6, 2011
Mary Spicuzza

Protesters accused state officials of trying to silence critics of Gov. Scott Walker at a cranky meeting Tuesday to discuss a new policy requiring more permits — and security and cleanup fees — for demonstrations at the state Capitol.

Angry critics of the policy, which requires organizers of events at the Capitol or other state buildings involving four or more people to get a permit at least 72 hours in advance, gathered in the Capitol basement and demanded answers from Walker administration officials.

But at the meeting, the first of three informational sessions planned, they did not get many specific answers about what would happen to groups that break requirements for protests, exhibits and other events.

CAP TIMES: Gov. Scott Walker continues to deceive while advancing his extremist agenda

December 5, 2011
Paul Fanlund

This year, Scott Walker spun a master narrative that most Wisconsin problems -- from too few jobs to too many taxes -- could somehow be linked to coddled public employees.

Now, faced with a likely recall election next year, our Republican governor, his corporate masters and tea party followers pretend all he did was confront state problems using GOP principles, just politics as usual.

The second narrative is just as untrue as the first.

The recall is not about public employees nor is it about politics as usual. It is about Walker's toxic brand of political fundamentalism -- heartless and historically unprecedented -- that should repel fair-minded, mainstream voters everywhere.

NAACP: States systematically taking away voting rights for blacks and Latinos

December 5, 2011
Ed Pilkington

The largest civil rights group in America, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), is petitioning the UN over what it sees as a concerted efforted to disenfranchise black and Latino voters ahead of next year's presidential election.

The organisation will this week present evidence to the UN high commissioner on human rights of what it contends is a conscious attempt to "block the vote" on the part of state legislatures across the US. Next March the NAACP will send a delegation of legal experts to Geneva to enlist the support of the UN human rights council.

More Info: 

Download the complete report mentioned in the article below:

NYT: Experienced government workers flee public sector after year of attacks

December 5, 2011
Monica Davey

MADISON, Wis. — As states and cities struggle to resolve paralyzing budget shortfalls by sending workers on unpaid furloughs, freezing salaries and extracting larger contributions for health benefits and pensions, a growing number of public-sector workers are finding fewer reasons to stay.

PR WATCH: ALEC orchestrated nationwide attacks on workers, public sector institutions

December 5, 2011
Mary Bottari

On the one-year anniversary of an important American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) meeting in Washington D.C., Wisconsin's public safety officers gathered to prepare for the next stage in the fight for labor rights. 



WSJ: Egyptians stood in solidarity with Wisconsin, now we must return the favor

December 5, 2011
Michael Lethem

CAIRO - The Egyptian Military and Central Security Forces have committed crimes against humanity in the struggle for control of Tahrir Square.

I have been in Tahrir all day and well into the night on recent Fridays. I witnessed hundreds of thousands of Egyptians peacefully rallying to express their political opinions and opposition to the continuation of military dictatorship in Egypt.

Their leaders responded to their peaceful appeals with live ammunition and CR gas, which is classified as a "combat class chemical weapon" by the U.S. military. Its use is forbidden in the United States.

CAP TIMES: Gov. Walker's cuts to Wisconsin education decimating public education

December 4, 2011
Kathleen Vinehout

State officials recently announced this year’s final state aid sent to local school districts. All but 13 of Wisconsin’s 424 local school districts received cuts. The historic school aid reduction in Wisconsin is the second largest per pupil cut in the nation.

Local education leaders, parents and teachers are concerned about the long-term effects of such deep funding cuts.

At the same time, Gov. Walker’s recent radio address touted his commitment to education. “We kept education a priority,” he said. “We also passed reforms that will help protect taxpayers and improve government.”

JOHN NICHOLS: Walker used to like recalls

December 4, 2011
John Nichols

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign is spending a lot of the money it has collected from out-of-state billionaires to fund a television ad campaign that preaches against recall elections.

The governor’s “Recall: No” campaign, which has been augmented by a push from Americans for Prosperity, a project of the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, argues that the push for a recall election is simply “sour grapes.” Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch won the 2010 election, the line goes, so Wisconsinites should swallow hard and shut up for four years.

JOURNAL SENTINEL: Union role strong in Finland education

November 26, 2011
Erin Richards

More than 95% of teachers in Finland are unionized, paying 1.2% of their gross salary to support the Trade Union of Education in Finland, OAJ.

The organization aims to influence policies that benefit educators, much as the state's largest teachers union, the Wisconsin Education Association Council, does in Wisconsin.

But in Finland, the OAJ negotiates on the national level with employer groups to create 14 universally binding agreements that spell out everything from minimum salaries to working hours for teachers and the length of the school year (currently 190 days).

"We have a philosophy: happy pupil, happy parent, happy teacher," said Nina Lahtinen, development manager for OAJ.

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

JOHN NICHOLS: Wisconsinites of every political stripe overwhelmingly support recall effort

November 20, 2011
John Nichols

In the first 48 hours of the movement to recall Scott Walker and Rebecca Kleefisch, more than 50,000 Wisconsinites signed petitions to force the governor and lieutenant governor to face a new election and the prospect of removal from office.

And that number will multiply. More than 20,000 people have downloaded petitions from United Wisconsin as the group works to gather the required 540,000 signatures, and tens of thousands more signatures have been collected from the more than 30 United Wisconsin offices across the state.

The recall movement is real, and remarkable in its strength and reach.

Walker knows he is in trouble.

WSJ: Workers held occupation in state capitol in 1936

November 9, 2011
Wisconsin Historical Society

When protesters occupied the Capitol last spring, they followed in the footsteps of demonstrators who seized the building in 1936.

In March of that year, new employees of the federal Works Progress Administration found they could not make a living wage. WPA jobs paid only a fraction of what private businesses paid for the same work, and administrators could not always guarantee a full week's labor. Workers found they simply could not keep body and soul together.

WPR: Manski versus Halpern on the Occupy Movement

October 12, 2011
Joy Cardin

After seven, it's this week's Big Question: Do you support or oppose the Occupy Wall Street movement? Joy Cardin gets two answers to that question. Guests:

- Ben Manski, Executive Director of Liberty Tree
- Daniel Halper, Deputy Online Editor, The Weekly Standard

Listen in here: http://www.wpr.org/cardin/index.cfm?strDirection=Next&dteShowDate=2011-10-12+06%3A00%3A00.0

VIDEO & AUDIO: Extensive coverage of Democracy Convention by WisconsinEye

September 16, 2011

WisconsinEye is the C-Span of Wisconsin's civil society. The folks at WisconsinEye video recorded 18 different sessions at the 2011 Democracy Convention. They may be watched or listened to for free on their website, or purchased for download, here:

http://www.wiseye.org/Programming/VideoArchive/SearchResults.aspx?XMLSearchGUID=1824f2ef-5c71-433e-d5fb-a69500dfc4cc

 

VIDEO: The Uptake & WORT provide video from the Democracy Convention

September 16, 2011
Cristalyne Bell, Patrick Waring, Norm Stockwell, Sarah Manski & more

For video coverage of the 2011 Democracy Convention, recorded by volunteers and convention staff, and posted at The Uptake, click here: 

http://www.theuptake.org/2011/08/24/democracy-convention-live-from-madison-wi/

More Info: 

These videos range in quality, but most are easy to follow. Additional videos are posted, and will continue to be added as they become available, at http://democracyconvention.org/press

ALPEROVITZ: The Environmental Movement's Civil Disobedience

September 15, 2011
Karen Rybold-Chin

Civil disobedience is a transformation of consciousness, a sudden revelation that something new must be done. It is the knowledge that there are two options: disrupt and change the system or remain silent in the face of injustice. Right now, civil disobedience is emerging from the anti-war and environmental movements in significant ways, most notably around opposition to the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

KC ACTIVE: On hand at the Democracy Convention in Madison

September 9, 2011
Mary Lindsay

For some, there wasn’t a better venue for America’s first Democracy Convention than the in-your-face capitol of local democracy, Madison, Wisconsin — a state with a long history of progressive sensibilities. Earlier this years thousands of protesters converged upon the capitol in response to Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican legislative majority’s decision to end collective bargaining for public employees — a fight that is not over and one leading to a test of Walker’s reelection capability.

MJS: WI leads nation in cuts to public education

September 6, 2011
Jason Stein

Madison - Wisconsin leads the country so far in cuts to state aid for schools, a new report shows.

The study by the liberal Center for Budget and Policy Priorities looked at the 24 states where the budget data is available.

Wisconsin cut school aid by $635 per pupil this year, topping other states including New York, California and Ohio, according to the report. Over the past four years, the state's annual aid to schools is down $776 per pupil after adjusting for inflation, putting Wisconsin at fourth in the country so far in cuts.

Democracy Convention draws 1,000 to Madison, plans next steps

September 1, 2011
Judith Davidoff
Clad in a tiara, long dress and sash reading "Do You Miss Democracy?" Mary Zepernick approached a table at the Memorial Union Terrace Saturday night with a question clearly on her mind. "Do you miss democracy?" she asked the group. "I do."
 
It was a bit of street theater, Zepernick, 71, explained the next day in a phone interview. "It's a way to catch the attention of people, to just shake up their minds a little."

TCT: Cheri Honkala rallies audience at Democracy Convention

August 26, 2011
Pat Schneider

 

Say what you want about Take Back the Land-Madison, whose members have occupied a handful of foreclosed properties to protest public policies that put families out on the street. Their tactics are audacious, if nothing else. It's a brand of activism with the power to rally the allies and antagonize opponents.

WRN AUDIO: Event Focuses on Democracy

August 25, 2011
Brian Moon

AUDIO: Soglin full speech (14:30)

Labor supporters go from the streets and into breakout sessions at the Democracy Convention in Madison. Mayor Paul Soglin kicked off the event reflecting on this year’s massive protests and continued fight against changes by Governor Walker and the Republican majority. He says until then the public was not paying enough attention.

“We cannot rest and assume that others are going to take care of our society,” says Soglin.

MJS: Democracy Convention under way in Madison

August 24, 2011
Bill Glauber

The first Democracy Convention got under way Wednesday, and the five-day gathering is expected to draw up to 1,000 political and social activists from across the country.

The convention brought together at least two generations of left-wing activists ready to hash out such issues as voting rights, access to education and U.S. constitutional reform.

Tom Hayden, a key figure in anti-war demonstrations during the Vietnam era, was among the scheduled keynote speakers. The convention was organized by Ben Manski, a 37-year-old Madison attorney and former co-chairman of the national Green Party.

WSJ: Madison convention focuses on strengthening democracy

August 24, 2011
Deborah Ziff

There may be no other convention where you can learn about the history of civil disobedience, go to a class called Organizing 101, and discuss how to make a general strike succeed.

The first ever Democracy Convention will be held in Madison Wednesday through Sunday.

"It's the first national gathering in my lifetime that has focused on the underlying question of who rules," said Ben Manski, former co-chair of the Green Party of the U.S. and an event organizer. "[It] is not just interested in criticizing the lack of democracy in the United States but is devoted toward strengthening the movement to achieve the American promise of democracy."

ISTHMUS: Democracy Convention kicks off, boosted by Wisconsin Capitol protests

August 23, 2011
Judith Davidoff

The timing could not be better, but organizers say plans for this week's Democracy Convention in Madison were set before Gov. Scott Walker's introduction of his collective bargaining bill and the ensuing protests that led some to compare the uprising in Wisconsin to democratic rebellions in Egypt and Tunisia.

The Isthmus previews the Democracy Convention

August 23, 2011
Judith Davidoff

The timing could not be better, but organizers say plans for this week's Democracy Convention in Madison were set before Gov. Scott Walker's introduction of his collective bargaining bill and the ensuing protests that led some to compare the uprising in Wisconsin to democratic rebellions in Egypt and Tunisia.

WDC: Voters act to rein in extremism

August 17, 2011
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign

Wisconsin voters have shown time and time again that they are not extremists. Voters in largely Republican areas of the state sent a message in recent days that the actions of those in charge of state government have been too extreme by voting for greater moderation.

In unprecedented state senate recall elections, the number of legislators removed from office in this manner over the 163-year history of Wisconsin was doubled in a single summer. A third of Republican senators targeted for recall were ousted, while two others narrowly survived election-day scares. All three of the targeted Democratic senators were returned to office by comfortable margins.

Hartmann: Long Live the Oligarchy! & How to Fight Back With Move to Amend

August 11, 2011

David Cobb, MoveToAmend.org joins Thom Hartmann.

America is now - demonstrably, as proven by Wisconsin - just a few years away from the possibility of a totally corrupted, totally billionaire - and corporate-controlled political system Political scientists call it oligarchy.

The Citizens United election experiment is over - and the oligarchs won. Long live the oligarchy. But before settling into despair - and accepting that American democracy is lost - we need to first ask the question..."is there anything that 'we the people' can do to fight back?"

Thom Hartmann & Ben Manski: Fighting Back Against Citizens United

August 10, 2011

Radio talk show host Thom Hartmann meets Ben Manski, Chair-Democracy Convention / Executive Director of Liberty Tree / Spokesperson for Move to Amend. They show us how to fight back against plutocrats who want to buy elected officials.
 

Thom Hartmann & David Cobb: Fighting Back Against Corporate Personhood

August 10, 2011

Radio talk show host Thom Hartmann speaks to David Cobb, Attorney / Green Party candidate for President in 2004 / spokesperson for MoveToAmend.org. They examine how legislation has given corporations people's rights.

 

Voter Intimidation and Surveillance In Wisconsin

August 6, 2011
Noise of Rain

Imagine that you are a new voter. Perhaps you aren't too clear on all the rules, the picture I.D. thing, even what you are supposed to do in the voter's booth. But by God, you're going to do it. You are going to become a voter! And you do. You accept a ride to the polls in a van driven by Wisconsin Jobs Now as part of their GOTV campaign in your underrepresented neighborhood. You are not letting the rightwing pundits, politicians and policies silence your voice. You are a Voter!

BRADBLOG.COM: WI's Supreme Court Election 'Recount' is a Mess

May 3, 2011
Brad Friedman

Wisconsin is no Minnesota.

Where Minnesota's post-election hand count of the 2008 U.S. Senate election between then Sen. Norm Coleman and now Sen. Al Franken was, as we wrote at the UK's Guardian at the time, "one of the longest and most transparent election hand-counts in the history of the US," Wisconsin has made it extremely difficult (putting it nicely) to know what the hell is actually going on in their statewide "recount" of the April 5th, 2011 state Supreme Court election between Justice David Prosser and Asst. Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg.

Madison and Dane County WI Voters Support Constitutional Amendment

April 6, 2011

Last night voters in Madison, WI and Dane County, WI voted on two seperate resolutions to support a United States Constitutional Amendment that would declare that only human beings are entitled to Constitutional rights.

In Madison, WI voters approved the following language by 84%:

"Shall the City of Madison adopt the following resolution: RESOLVED, the City of Madison, Wisconsin, calls for reclaiming democracy from the corrupting effects of undue corporate influence by amending the United States Constitution to establish that:

1. Only human beings, not corporations, are entitled to constitutional rights, and

More Info: 

On May 3rd our monthly Local Action Webinar topic will be "Passing Community Resolutions" and we'll be looking at the WI resolution campaign as our case study. Register for the webinar here.

If you're interested in passing a resolution in your town, click here.

Check out our map of towns and cities that have passed resolutions or ordinances against Corporate Personhood.

THE NATION: Students active leaders in fight to oppose WI budget "repair' bill

February 15, 2011
Sara Jerving

Protests have engulfed the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where students are standing against a proposed bill that threatens teacher's unions. The outcries come as the state's new Republican Governor Scott Walker announced a plan to end collective bargaining for most of the state's 175,000 public employees.

LIU: Manski Wins Democracy on Campus

May 6, 2010
Alexander J. Liu

Making the drive up to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point once again on Monday, pro-democracy advocate and attorney Ben Manski returned to the campus he had visited in his college career. Only this time the faces had changed, but the message was the same. At 8 p.m. in the Dreyfus University Center’s Theatre, Manski delivered a multimedia presentation on “Winning Democracy,” in the hopes that it would inspire students to do just that.

“I hope that I helped to broaden some perspectives about what other students are doing around the world: what they’ve done in recent generations, that it wasn’t all just in the 60’s. I’m a little bit older, but in my generation student activists, we accomplished a lot,” said Manski. “In my experience, when people think big, they dream big and they work to accomplish those big goals. They sometimes succeed, and if you don’t try at all, then they’re not going to happen and that’s not acceptable.”

More Info: 

Original article here...

STEVENSON: This education is ours, so act like it

May 5, 2010
Sam Stevenson

Want to travel back in time? Drive 80 miles east to Milwaukee, park on Downer and Kenwood and walk a block west. Complementing the anachronistic architecture crowding around, the tenor of student body activism pulsating across the UW-Milwaukee campus could easily fool the most well-informed Madisonian into thinking he or she had traveled to another era, one where college students fought hard to protect and nourish their education.

The impassioned and fair demands made by UWM students last March precipitated last Thursday’s revealing panel discussion with embattled UWM Chancellor Carlos Santiago. Previously, UWM’s participation in a national day of action in defense of higher education on March 4 met a rude end when administrative officials called in police to break up a passionate though peaceful demonstration. Campus and city police aggressively targeted students with pepper spray and physical violence in an effort to neutralize vociferous demands for an audience with Santiago.

More Info: 

Sam Stevenson is a graduate student in public health.

Original article here...

BURNS: Tuition-hike roundup for April 2010

May 3, 2010
Steve Burns

According to a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, at least 28 states have implemented cuts to public colleges and universities and/or large increases in college tuition to make up for insufficient state funding, and four more states have proposed cuts but have not yet carried them out. Full report here...

Vermont: A proposal to raise University tuition by 4.8 percent brought an angry response by the state's Governor, Jim Douglas, who called the increase "excessive, and an unfair burden on struggling Vermont families." Under the proposal, tuition at Vermont State Colleges would rise 4 percent. Read more...

ROTHSCHILD: Corporations Aren't Persons

April 10, 2010
Matthew Rothschild

ON FEBRUARY 16, ABOUT 200 people gathered on the steps of the Wisconsin state capitol. “It’s fitting that we stand out in the cold,” said Mike McCabe, executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

“That’s where the Supreme Court has left us.”

He was referring to the court’s recent decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which granted corporations the right to spend unlimited funds on so-called independent expenditures to influence the outcome of elections. The crowd heartily agreed with McCabe. Signs said: “No Corporate Takeover of Elections,” “Free Speech, Not Fee Speech,” “Money Is Not Speech, Corporations Are Not Persons.” And a chant went up: “Overrule the Court.”

Ben Manski, executive director of the Liberty Tree Foundation, drew the crowd in with a historical analogy.

More Info: 

Matthew Rothschild is the editor of The Progressive magazine.

More information on Move to Amend here.

MANSKI - MCCABE - GRAVES: 'Overrule the Court' Rally in Madison

February 16, 2010

About 200 people came to the state Capitol in Madison to say "No!" to the Supreme Court's ruling invalidating all legal limits on corporate spending in elections.

WRN: Move to Amend sees “Pearl Harbor for American democracy"

January 25, 2010
Bob Hague, Wisconsin Radio Network
Last week’s controversial Supreme Court ruling has some calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Madison attorney Ben Manski says the decision, which is expected to allow corporate and union money to pour into political campaigns, was itself based on a precedent which gives corporations the same rights as individuals.
 
“This decision enshrines the rights of corporations above the rights of the people to govern ourselves,” says Manski. “The majority essentially decided that cortporations have the same rights as flesh-and-blood human beings.”
 
More Info: 

NICHOLS: Feingold Fears Lawless Court Ruling

January 12, 2010
John Nichols
More than one hundred years ago, after a 1904 president race that saw big life insurance companies pour money into the project of electing Republican Teddy Roosevelt, the defeated Democratic candidate, Judge Alton Parker, raised the question of whether presidents and congresses would simply be bought by corporations seeking policies that favored their interests.
 
"The greatest moral question which now confronts us is: Shall the trusts and corporations be prevented from contributing money to control or aid in controlling elections?" declared Parker.
 
More Info: 

John Nichols is the Washington Correspondent for The Nation magazine. He is president of the Liberty Tree Foundation. This article originally appeared in the Nation Magazine here...

Green Policy Conference

Date: 
June 1, 2005 - 1:00pm

Location

Madison, WI

The Green Institute, the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution and the Havens Center sponsored a conference at the University of Wisconsin in Madison to discuss officeholder coordination, education and assistance.

For more information, read the full report at the Green Institute's Website or visit the Green Policy Conference website

Frances Moore Lappé in Madison

Date: 
November 5, 2007 - 1:15pm

Location

Barrymore Theatre
2090 Atwood Ave
Madison, WI

A public talk by FRANCES MOORE LAPPÉ on her new book, "Getting a Grip." Followed by a fundraising reception for Liberty Tree.

UW Together Part II: Unite For Students at the Capitol

Date: 
October 17, 2011 - 12:30pm - 3:30pm

Location

Wisconsin State Capitol; 411 South Hearing Room Madison, WI

Last month, the Center for Equal Opportunity launched an attack on the students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, trying to pit Badger against Badger to further their partisan goals. However, we resisted, we united, and we stood together in support of the holistic admissions practices at UW-Madison, reminding the CEO that we're more than our scores!

Now, our defense continues as Representative Stephen Nass (R-Whitewater) has invited the CEO to the Capitol for a closed hearing to waste time they should be spending working on job creation or lowering the cost of higher education scrutinizing our legal admissions practices at UW-Madison.

ACLU: Support the Wisconsin Democracy Restoration Act

From: 
ACLU
What's happening: 
PUBLIC HEARING: Committee on Corrections and the Courts on AB 353 (WI Democracy Restoration Act) - Madison. 417 North (GAR Hall), State Capitol, Thursday, August 27, 10am.
 
The Restore the Vote Wisconsin Now Coalition is a group of activists, citizens, organizations, faith leaders, legislators and other cool people who are working to restore the right to vote to over 42,000 ex-offenders immediately upon release from incarceration in Wisconsin.
 
Current law in Wisconsin restricts the right to vote to individuals until after their sentence. This means US citizens can be living, raising families, going to school, working, and paying taxes in our communities and not have the right to vote.
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