Monday, November 09, 2015

Does All This Talk About The GOP Taking Over The States Mean Something To You? How About Wisconsin?


Rubio called Scott Walker last week and made a hard push to pry an endorsement out of him. What Rubio wants is Walker's right-wing donors, like Chicago Cubs owners Joe and Marlene Ricketts who gave Walker’s Unintimidated PAC $4,900,000, and vicious anti-union billionaire-witch Diane Hendricks who gave the PAC $5,000,000 and Jay Jensen, who gave $500,000 to the PAC, Stan Hubbard, who gave the PAC $50,000, Jon Hammes and Ted Kellner, owners of the Bucks, who contributed, respectively, $150,000 and $50,000 to the PAC... to name a few. Walker's SuperPAC hoovered up around $20,000,000-- on top of the $7,354,151 his campaign committee raised-- before he dropped out. And money-- much of which was transactional, tit-for-tit money, is pretty much all Walker has to offer. His popularity even in Wisconsin has tanked. The last two polls showed him unpopular with Wisconsin voters, a Marquette Law School poll in late September with a 37% approval and a Wisconsin Survey poll by Wisconsin Public Radio showing that 60% of Wisconsin voters disapprove of the job he's doing. And things are looking like they could get considerably worse for Governor Walker.

In the wee hours Saturday his Republicans in the state Senate adopted extremely unpopular campaign finance and ethics laws, skulking in and passing them between midnight and 2:30 am! Walker and his allies are trying to transform-- in the most ugly partisan way-- the way Wisconsin, long a bastion of "good government reform," conducts elections and investigates illegal campaign activity. Once the Republican Assembly meets and reconciles some slight differences with the Senate, Wisconsin will be on track to have neutered anti-public-corruption laws and to have lifted restrictions on dark money pouring into state elections.

The Center for Public Integrity ranked every state for it's government's performance on transparency and accountability, even before the new Wisconsin rules were passed. The state under Walker rated a D, in 20th place among the states. The new legislation, once implemented, will move Wisconsin into the ranks of the states with F-- and make put it in the same low grouping as failures like Michigan, Kansas, Louisiana and Texas.

One Democrat who is not curling up in a ball and giving up is state Senator Chris Larson, who has been standing up to Walker and his henchmen in the state Senate and exposing Koch-funded ALEC operations in the state. Yesterday, after Walker's allies in the state Senate passed their odious bills Chris lathes constituents know that the GOP goal was "to politicize the Government Accountability Board and allow an avalanche of special interest money to flow to political parties; burying Wisconsin’s principles and values under a mountain of dark money."
Families across Wisconsin are facing another sleepless night, consumed with worries that their jobs may be the next ones to be shipped out of the state, that they are not going to be able to pay their mortgages next month because of their stagnant paychecks, and that their children aren’t getting the education they deserve because their schools are intentionally underfunded by state leaders that have given up on them. At the same time, Republicans controlling our state are hastily passing bills that do nothing to help end their sleepless nights.

At a time when our state has the fastest shrinking middle class in the nation; where the economic recovery still hasn't reached our neighbors who need it most, and where our education has been severely underfunded at every level, the priority of Wisconsin leaders should be on tackling these problems head-on. Unfortunately, instead of fixing the job crisis in our state that is truly worthy of an extraordinary session, the Republicans in power chose to force through bills that shred the fabric of Wisconsin’s nationally recognized model of good, clean government.

It is unconscionable that Republicans would want to further suppress the voice of Wisconsinites by allowing the wealthiest 1% and special interest influences to poison our political system. It defies logic to replace a diligent and respected group of nonpartisan judges with a partisan group who will be focused on political gain rather than faithfully enforcing state law and regulating ethical standards in public office. Passing these bills is a betrayal of our longstanding Wisconsin values and retreats back to a failed system that was plagued with corruption and scandal. It’s like giving the fox the key to the hen house along with a recipe for chicken soup.

As the dark cloud of corruption that looms over our current administration continues to grow bigger and get darker, Wisconsin ought to be shedding light on this culture of corruption and collusion, rather than making it harder for public transparency and scrutiny.

Republicans are quick to bend over backwards for themselves and their billionaire buddies. However, they won’t lift a finger for the families in Wisconsin that continue to struggle due to Governor Walker and Republican boss’s misguided haste to make Wisconsin ‘Open for Corruption.'
As we announced before, Chris is running for Milwaukee County Executive, a position currently held by the conservative son of a billionaire, Chris Abele, ostensibly a "Democrat" who has, for example maxed out to Republicans like Assemblyman Joe Sanfelippo, who is the main author trying to defund Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin and Supervisor Deanna Alexander, Abele's spokesperson on the board, who spends her time gratuitously antagonizing #blacklivesmatter activists and is currently best known for her lurid, sexist nickname for Hillary Clinton.

Abele has been working with reactionary Republican lawmakers in the state legislature to subvert the democratically elected Milwaukee school board, which has given him the power to fire teachers, close schools and open charter schools in their place. This piece of legislation would have only moved forward if the County Executive had been willing to use these powers, and Chris Abele stood up and said he would. He also cooperated with the Republicans in the legislature to strip oversight from the democratically elected Milwaukee County board over county land sales and first used this power to sell prime downtown real estate to the Milwaukee Bucks billionaire owners/Scott Walker financiers for $1. (No, I did not forget any additional digits-- one buck for the owner of the Bucks.) And, in an effort to secure public financing for a new Milwaukee Bucks arena, Abele put $80 million of Milwaukee County taxpayer money on the table, and wanted to help pay for it in part by allowing Scott Walker’s state government to collect outstanding property taxes from residents who can’t afford to pay their bills.

Larson was first elected by defeating conservative Democrat and Scott Walker ally Jeff Plale. The big money was with incumbent Plale, but Chris beat him by knocking on doors and having thousands of conversations with his neighbors. We got to know Chris during his first term in office when he was leader the "Wisconsin Senate 14" the courageous senators who fled Wisconsin to stop Walker’s disastrous "budget repair bill." Chris is campaigning on ending the takeover and privatization of Milwaukee Public Schools and for an array of progressive quality of life issues important to working families. 
"I want to take back the county for the middle class. We have a county executive who campaigned one way and governed another way very quickly. In the past five years he broke promises and broke away from who he was. He’s changed. I think he’s out of touch and he’s grown more out of touch over the last five years.  I think it’s important to have a county executive who is going to be a steward for the county for the long term and actually care for the parks and restore them to greatness and expand transit so that people have access to jobs that’s affordable, and also to usher in a long-term vision that’s balanced. A county executive has to actually listen to people and be responsive to their needs. That’s why the first pledge I made out of the gate was to do a public listening session in each municipality in each year we’re in office, a la Russ Feingold."
This week we're asking Blue America donors to chip in to help elect Chris Larson Milwaukee County Executive, the second most important executive position in the state. When Wisconsin sees the end of Scott Walker in 2018, the last thing anyone needs is Scott Walker-lite in the guise of a "Democrat" like Chris Abele.

This polling data was just released moments ago. Once again, it shows Wisconsin Republicans in terrible shape in the minds of voters:

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At 3:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WI cheese-for-brains had TWO chances to get rid of that rat bastard Walker. But NO! They had to see the recall as "unfair", and didn't see fit to be rid of Walker at the end his first term. I'm sorry to see Walker get away with these crimes, but WI deserves what he's doing to them, no matter how "unfair" the people of that once-great state might feel he's being to them.

Apologies to both rats and bastards for the derogatory Walker comparison.


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