For a group just so-darned-concerned about
wasteful government spending, Citizens for Responsible Government sure
is excited about spending taxpayer dollars chasing down Scott Walker's
CRG filed a frivolous
complaint against progressive blogger Chris Liebenthal, aka capper, for
supposedly posting during work hours. A quick google search and a cursory review
of capper's posts in question show that the posts were clearly 1.) on a
Walker-imposed unpaid furlough day, or 2.) on a specifically enumerated
This is nothing other than a
thinly-veiled attempt to silence the critics of CRG hero Scott Walker.
When Walker's constituent services coordinator got busted for (and admitted to) posting pro-Walker propaganda
on the Journal Sentinel and other websites on taxpayer time, CRG was
nowhere to be found. Where was the breathless CRG press release
demanding an investigation? Where was the CRG complaint against such a
blatant waste of taxpayer resources? Crickets.
course, this is just one more in a growing list of manufactured,
selective outrage episodes from CRG that have absolutely no merit. CRG's
'Recall Doyle' stunt from last year was over before it ever started,
yet there was the Journal Sentinel, dutifully reporting CRG's press release. The total effort behind the recall of Senator Jim Sullivan is apparently one press release. Last year, Haas414 pointed out
another couple of local officials, Cudahy Mayor Ryan McCue and Muskego
Alderman Noad Fiedler, who found themselves in the crosshairs of CRG's
vendetta against Liebenthal from CRG is even worse than their pathetic,
sputtering recall efforts because it's now taxpayer-financed.
is it going to be time for the media to ignore these baseless stunts?
CRG's record of getting it wrong is matched only by
he-who-always-gets-it-wrong Bill Kristol.
Tea Party attendees likes to think Tea Parties are part of some
"grassroots" populist movement of informed Americans. But in fact,
they're neither grassroots nor populist.. and Tea Partiers sure as heck
ain't informed. Ron Johnson, fat cat CEO, should know; he hosted one.
Sure, Tea Party
attendees are mostly middle-class and overwhelmingly white folks. But
the fear, anger, and resentment they have for all that taxes and
spendin' and buiggubmint "trickle down" from the fat cat CEOs, big
business interests, and Republican operatives hosting the Tea Party
Look no further than the great state of Wisconsin.
Here we have Republican Party operative Mark Block of Americans for
Prosperity pulling most of the Tea strings. He shows up at every major
Tea Party, directing people to his website, touting Republican Scott
Walker as a Tea Party conservative, despite Republican Mark Neumann
being decidely more visible in the movement.
But big business
Block isn't the only Tea Party organizer 'round these parts. Fat cat CEO
Ron "Who?" Johnson is a Fox Valley Tea Party activist and organizer. As
a fat cat CEO, he embodies exactly who stands to gain from the policies
and ideology pushed at Tea Parties. And there ain't a single person
showing up to a Republican operative- and/or CEO-organized Tea Party
that will gain anything from MORE tax cuts for the rich and MORE
corporate tax loopholes.
Thanks to everyone who spoke out for Wisconsin's schools and
signed our petition in support of the Keep Our Educators Working Act.
Today, we delivered over 1,200 petitions to Senators Feingold and Kohl.
Wisconsin teachers are facing layoffs, and students from all across the
state could be forced into larger classes with less personal attention,
fewer course choices and even cuts to instruction time.
The Keep Our Educators Working Act will provide desperately needed
money to Wisconsin school districts, save or create over 6,100 jobs in
Wisconsin and ensure our public schools, one of the most important
factors in a sustained economic recovery, remain strong and able to
provide a top-notch education for our kids.
Thanks again to all of you who spoke out on this important issue!
Ron Johnson hears voices. They speak to him through the tee vee, as he
explained about his entrance into the U.S. Senate GOP primary. Johnson
determined "prostitute toe-sucker" Dick Morris was talking to him
through the Fox News airwaves, so he's got his campaign-sized tea bag
and he's hitting the trail.
And how's he spending that personal
campaign fortune to win a primary in which the level of discourse will
likely be which candidate would be more personally insulting to the
President if Obama came to Wisconsin?
He's buying ad
space on one the country's top liberal blogs. It's true. Check out this
screen shot captured Monday of Johnson's ad on the notoriously-accurate,
and thus "librul, socialist hooey," site Talking Points Memo.
And if that's not alarming enough, check out that screen shot with added graphics and a sarcastic speech balloon.
the current substance-free GOP senate primary, it will be funny to see
whether the teabaggers, pack up their teabags for their teabag champion
Ron Johnson and teabag their way to whatever candidate is left after the
purging of any moderate whoever once resided in the Party of No.
The AP is reporting that Madison business magnate and U.S. historian
Terrence Wall is stepping out of the spotlight, citing a slow start
"after reports that he had not owed any income tax for nine of the past
10 years." But wait, there's more! Here's a recap of Wall's record.
Wall paid no net income taxes in nine of the last ten years The
tax documents obtained from the state by the Wisconsin State Journal
independently confirm records released last week by the liberal group
One Wisconsin Now. The documents indicate Wall, a prominent local real
estate developer, paid no net taxes from 1999 to 2008, except in 2005.
[Wisconsin State Journal]
Wall's 'Pumpkin Patch' Looks Like a $34,000 Tax Loophole Wall
Land Investment, LLC, one of multi-millionaire Madison developer
Terrence Wall's companies, has reclassified $2 million in prime Dane
County commercial real estate into "agriculture" property, which allows
the company to eliminate $34,000 in local property taxes. [One Wisconsin
Wall Blames Great Depression on FDR Wall
claims that Franklin D. Roosevelt was responsible for the Great
Depression, despite Roosevelt taking office over three years after the
Depression began and enacting policies which lowered the unemployment
rate from 25 percent in 1933 to 10 percent by 1937, saving the U.S. from
economic collapse. [One Wisconsin Now]
Did Wall Create Delaware 'Office' to Avoid State Tax Responsibility? Critics
are already questioning Wall for registering much of his business
activity in Delaware... "There is no evidence that Mr. Wall actually
builds anything in Delaware... "It would appear his only Delaware
construction project was building a shelter to dodge his obligation to
Wisconsin taxpayers." [Capital Times]
After eight years as head of Milwaukee County government, Scott
Walker is both very proud of the job he has done and is so dissatisfied
with job he has done that he wants to abolish everything he runs.
years ago, the naysayers said we couldn't take back our government here
in Milwaukee County. They said there was no way a fiscal conservative
could be elected in Milwaukee. They said it couldn't be done but we did
it; not once, not twice but three times. [Scott Walker Convention Speech]
Walker, the county executive of Milwaukee County in Wisconsin -- who
has, improbably enough, suggested the possibility of eliminating county
government -- concurs. "It's reached the point where the public is
already there," said Mr. Walker. [New York Times]
One Wisconsin Now said last week in our comprehensive debunking of a
Walker ad, refering to Walker's earlier call for dissolving his own
government: "Just last summer Scott Walker was repeating his call to
abolish county government because he had made it so dysfunctional... Now
on the campaign trail he's trying to paint a rosy picture of all the
great things he failed to accomplish." [One Wisconsin Now]
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker's record of fiscal mismanagement
is well-known. From drastically underfunding critical public services
like the County Mental Health Center, public transit and the social
services call center, Walker's record of damage is unprecedented. One
Wisconsin Now asked Stuart Carlson, the award-winning editorial
cartoonist whose sought-after work has appeared in newspapers across the
country, for his thoughts.
Walker is endorsing
an irresponsible tax cut plan that would hand over the lion's share of
$2 billion a biennium to the rich and big businesses. Walker refuses to
say how he'll pay for these Bush-style tax cuts.
grave budget projection, Walker has repeated four specific
budget-busting schemes as the cornerstone of his agenda for Wisconsin:
Slash income taxes for the top one percent of income earners who make
more than $225,000 a year - two-year budget cost: $287 million.
Reopen the "Las Vegas Loophole" which allows Wisconsin businesses to
shelter their tax obligations to Wisconsin families through phantom
"offices" in states without corporate income tax - two-year budget cost:
• Repeal changes made to the capital gains tax
deduction, despite the fact 70 percent of capital gains filings are from
those earning more than $200,000 a year - two-year budget cost: $243
• Shelter the assets of the wealthiest Wisconsinites
even more by a radical end to tax paid on retirement income, regardless
of income - two-year budget cost: $920 million. [Legislative Fiscal Bureau, 2/23/09, 7/8/09, 1/25/10; "Upfront," WISN-TV, 11/8/09; La Crosse Tribune, 11/24/09]
refuses to tell us how he will pay for these tax cuts which would
require drastic cuts to education, health care and police and fire
protection - and that's nothing to laugh about.
And this week, I learned Scott Walker really deserves the nickname Slippery Scott.
His latest ad, 'Results,'
has Walker deftly dancing through a minefield of half-truths,
distortion of the facts and outright lies about his record with that
same aw-shucks, George Bush-but-from-Wisconsin demeanor we've come to
The ad is supposed to highlight all
the great things Walker has done for Milwaukee County, but about the
only facts he gets right in the ad are that his first name is indeed
Scott, his last name is Walker and he's currently the Milwaukee County
Executive. Beyond that, well...we did the hard work and fact checked
Walker's claims in the ad, and here are just the most glaring
Claim #1: "In 2002, a pension scandal rocked Milwaukee County. The guy
who had the job before me tried to grab millions for himself and
friends. We had enough. We took back our government."
Fact Check: In 2007, Walker acknowledged his failure to fix the pension
problem when it was revealed that 350 workers stood to gain another $50
million in extra pension benefits. He was also caught breaking his
promise requiring his staff to take less-lucrative pension benefits.
[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 08/01/2007; 07/08/2004]
Claim #2: "In fact, the first thing I did was to give part of my salary
back to the taxpayers - $370,000 over eight years."
Fact Check: In 2007, Walker announced he was giving himself a $50,000
pay raise - which will total $200,000 over his four-year term.
[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 3/19/2008]
Walker Claim #3: "I cut the government workforce by 20 percent."
Fact Check: A private company that Walker outsourced courthouse
security to employed a known criminal and sex offender on guard duty at
the courthouse. Additionally, the cost savings Walker pledged when
pushing through the privatizations was over $300,000 less than he
claimed it would be. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 04/15/2010]
Walker Claim #4: "And I introduced eight budgets without raising the property tax levy from the previous year."
Fact Check: As county executive, Walker proposed budgets that would
have increased spending by 35%, far ahead of the 21% proposed by
Governor Doyle over the same period. And the actual county property levy
increased by 20% during Walker's tenure. [Analysis of proposed and
adopted Milwaukee County budgets, 2003-2010; proposed and adopted State
Walker Claim #5: "While Washington and Madison run up big budget deficits, we had an $8.9 million surplus."
Fact Check: The state has not had a year-end budget deficit under
Governor Doyle, yet Scott Walker has had two year-end budget deficits -
2003 and 2004. Like the state, Milwaukee County has frequently announced
mid-year budget deficits, which they are required by state constitution
to close by the year end. [Milwaukee County Executive Budgets]
Walker Claim #6: "They say you can't cut waste without sacrificing services - they're wrong. "
Fact Check: Walker has failed repeatedly to provide Milwaukee County
taxpayers with high quality, timely needed services. Milwaukee County
bus routes are being slashed and fares are the highest fares in the
nation; the state was forced to take over social programs for the
county's neediest residents; deaths, sexual assaults and unsafe
conditions at county facilities for the mentally ill have gone
unaddressed; the Sheriff was forced to take charge of the County House
of Correction; and the County Courthouse building is crumbling, with
notoriously unsanitary conditions and neglected grounds. [Milwaukee
Journal Sentinel, 3/1/2007, 8/23/2007, 9/18/2007, 10/18/2008, 1/1/2009,
2/4/2009, 5/8/2010; WISN-TV, 12/11/2009]
Claim #7: "We invested in our airport and today its one of the fastest
growing in America - adding nearly 1,000 new jobs."
Fact Check: Walker has repeatedly attempted to privatize the airport,
most recently in 2009. The airport's success stems from the development
of the "Master Plan," adopted by the Milwaukee County Board of
Supervisors in 1993, while Scott Walker was still in the state
Legislature. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 02/16/2009; "Mitchell Airport Master Plan," 2002]
Walker Claim #8: "We eliminated the waiting list for long-term care for our seniors."
Fact Check: Family Care, which manages county health services for
seniors, ran severe deficits -$2.3 million in 2003, growing to $12.2
million by 2004. Walker's solution was to outsource it, putting
taxpayers on the hook to bail out the program for the full $12.2
million. [Department on Aging Care Management Organization Projected
Deficit Report, Milwaukee County Board Digest, 6/23/05, Milwaukee
Journal Sentinel, 7/30/2004]
Walker Claim #9: "We even won the gold medal for the best parks in the country."
Fact Check: The gold medal was for "parks administration," not the
actual quality of the parks. "Considering the reduced emphasis on parks
spending since the 1970s, the county's first-place national award for
park management in 2009 was remarkable," according to a county audit
looking into the decline of the county parks system and enormous
estimated deferred maintenance costs. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,
10/14/09, 1/4/10; National Recreation & Park Association News
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker is traveling across Wisconsin
this week and will likely be talking with media about his priorities
and the state of Wisconsin.
With Wisconsin and the nation still
emerging from the devastating economic collapse and job loss directly
attributable to regressive taxation, deregulation and skewed priorities,
One Wisconsin Now invites the media to consider the following questions
Scott Walker has so far refused to answer about a host of important
1. Scott Walker has
pledged to make four separate tax cuts, which according to the
non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau would cost $1.86 billion over the
biennium. These include an income tax cut only for those earning more
than $225,000; reopening of the Las Vegas corporate loophole; rolling
back the capital gains tax recalculation; and eliminating all taxes on
any retirement income. With a projected $2 billion state budget deficit
before his proposed $1.86 billion in revenue cuts, how exactly will
Scott Walker pay for the four major tax cuts components of his plan, all
of which would overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy and big businesses,
and what will he cut from state spending to offset the nearly $4-billion
deficit his plan would create? [Legislative Fiscal Bureau, 2/23/09,
7/8/09, 1/25/10; "Upfront," WISN-TV, 11/8/09; Appleton Post-Crescent,
2. Scott Walker referred to BadgerCare , which provides
basic health care access to hundreds of thousands of children,
expectant mothers and working families ,as wasteful during an interview
on the Charlie Sykes show . He has also told media he supports scaling
back the successful program - a move which could cost Wisconsin hundreds
of millions of dollars in federal aid. Just how much does he intend to
slash from the BadgerCare programs? [WISC-TV, 10/9/09; "Insight with
Charlie Sykes, 3/2/10]
3. Scott Walker touts himself as a fiscal
conservative, yet as a member of the state legislature, he voted for
five straight budgets that increased spending 84 percent. As county
executive, his proposed spending increases would have grown spending by
34 percent -- a much higher rate than the state of Wisconsin budget. How
can he claim to have controlled spending while supporting these
dramatic increases? [Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau; Milwaukee
County Division of Budget and Fiscal Affairs]
4. Scott Walker has
refused to fire the administrator who oversees the Milwaukee County
Mental Health Center, even after female patients were sexually assaulted
by dangerous male patients after the two groups were housed together.
Walker defended the practice, even though the county has spent more than
$200,000 in outside legal costs due to ongoing legal action related to
the mismanagement of patient safety in the center. How can Walker
continue to defend the practice of placing vulnerable patients in harm's
way and refuse to hold his administrator accountable? [Milwaukee
Journal Sentinel, 5//12/10, 5/14/10]
5. Scott Walker's tour is
being financed by Air Tran Airlines. Just this week, the Walker
administration's proposal for the Mitchell International Airport's first
master lease renegotiation for airlines in 25 years was before a
closed-door meeting of county supervisors. Is it appropriate for Walker
to be traveling at the expense of a business in the midst of these
negotiations? [Milwaukee County Committee on Transportation, Public
Works and Transit agenda, 5/12/10]
Further information about the
mismanagement and skewed priorities of Scott Walker, which have
devastated Milwaukee County, please visit:
When news outlets across the country caught wind of the latest in
Attorney General JB Van Hollen's partisan political agenda after we at
One Wisconsin Now busted his office for coordinating with a Republican
group on a lawsuit to stop health care reform, Van Hollen and his office
received a heavy dose of criticism. Now we learned today that Van
Hollen's office has fired back at said news outlets, and once again,
earned a heavy dose of criticism.
After giving Van
Hollen and his Justice Dept. an initial 'thumbs down' for "mixing
partisan politics with their jobs," the Appleton Post-Crescent received a
critical response from Van Hollen's assistant Kevin St. John:
St. John, special assistant attorney general, wrote the May 4 letter to
Dan Flannery, executive editor of The Post-Crescent. In it, St. John
expressed his disappointment over the thumbs-down.
"I'm sure your
paper also returns contacts from Republicans and might even take
positions that are aligned with many Republicans," St. John wrote. "But
it would be a logical fallacy to conclude that Republicans control your
paper or that you are putting party before your principles."
that had been his argument in a court of law, St. John would have lost
his case. It's a far-flung analogy to suggest that Flannery exchanging
e-mails with someone who happens to be Republican carries the same
weight as Taffora communicating with a Republican political consultant
on filing a lawsuit about a law that has become a deeply partisan issue.
It would have been better if the Justice Department just let this one go. No one would have even given it a second thought.
For trying to attract widespread media attention over a political criticism, Van Hollen and crew deserve another thumbs-down.
largely to the Recovery Act, the largest middle class tax cut in the
history of the US, the overall tax bill for Americans' is at its lowest level since 1950. Since the Great Bush Recession of 2007 and 2008, the average tax bill has dropped a whopping 26%.
tax bills shrunk for the vast majority of Wisconsinites, one voice is
conspicuously absent from the debate - the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance.
If it were really an alliance of "taxpayers," rather than a cabal of
corporate interests who do everything they can to avoid paying their
fair share, WISTAX head Todd Berry would be following in George W. Bush's footsteps and leading the cheers.
Berry usually isn't one to sit out when tax numbers are the topic. During the state budget debate, WISTAX and Berry diligentlypushed
conservative talking point criticizing the Governor for raising taxes
on the top 2% for the first time in 40 years. Each year, WISTAX pimps
for "Tax Freedom Day,"
a widely-debunked announcement by the Tax Foundation that supposedly
marks the day Americans have earned enough to pay their tax obligations
to federal, state and local governments. And WISTAX's publication
"Focus" regularly excoriates the tax climate in Wisconsin, again parroting right wing Wisconsin's favorite talking point that Wisconsin is a "tax hell."
claims to be "independent" and to be interested in making "voters and
taxpayers, student and teachers...more active and informed citizens." If
that were the case, where's the WISTAX report detailing the achievement
of President Obama, Congressional Democrats and liberal leaders at the
state level for dramatically lowering the tax bills for the vast
majority of Wisconsin taxpayers?
The answer is pretty simple when you look a little closer at who's behind WISTAX. The WISTAX board of directors
is full of Republican Party activists, former Republican elected
officials and CEOs and other corporate-aligned parties who aren't
interested in either the well-being of Wisconsin's working families or
appearing to support any legislation or policy advanced by anyone with a
'D' after the name. The current board of WISTAX has funneled nearly $358,000 to Republican and conservative candidates, compared to only $28,000 to Democrats or liberal, or 92.8% to 7.2%.
that, WISTAX silence on the dramatic drop in taxes paid by regular
Americans is hardly surprising The real shocker is that the clearly
conservative Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance continues to be labeled as
"independent" or non-ideological in the media, despite a mountain of
evidence to the contrary.
Republican Mark Green endorsed Republican Scott Walker
yesterday. Big deal. What is a big deal though is how fiscally
irresponsible both of these so-called fiscal conservatives are.
prepared statement, Green said that 'Scott Walker's common sense and
commitment to fiscal discipline are exactly what Madison needs to get
our state back on track and our economy growing again.'"
Green should mention Walker's "fiscal discipline." He voted for the two
major George W. Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. You know the ones: the
Economic Growth and Tax Relief Act of 2001 and the Jobs and Growth Tax
Relief Act of 2003.
How's all that growth and jobs and relief workin' for ya?
Walker, as you know, has a plan for Wisconsin as equally budget busting
that will only further erode the middle class. If you haven't heard,
tax breaks to the rich and big business is Scott Walker's solution to
the economic problems that were caused by giving tax breaks to the rich
and big business by George W, Bush and his Republicans rubber stamps,
like Mark Green.
Once again the Tax Foundation is bringing its big business,
low-tax agenda to Wisconsin and trying to convince us that businesses
need their taxes lowered and the owners of those big businesses need
their taxes lowered.
As we have detailed at WISTAX Watch, the Tax Foundation is intimately tied to the Teabaggers' favorite group, Americans for Prosperity.
For one thing,
Wisconsin is a low-fee state and the report provides no indication this
is taken into account. This is a long gripe One Wisconsin Now has with
WISTAX and as a recent analysis by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
showed, our tax burden is squarely in the middle of the country --
despite the extraordinary high quality of life we have and the stellar
public services (note: doesn't not include Scott Walker's reckless
dismantling of even basic Milwaukee County public services).
Review our report and
make your own (no pun intended) conclusions. The tax debate is
complicated and has many perspectives. And when it comes to WISTAX and
the Tax Foundation -- you're always going to get the "your taxes are too
high" argument. Which may be true. But what they won't say is that if
rich people and big business weren't able to hide away trillions of
dollars in taxable assets in complicated shelters and Bush tax schemes,
we'd all pay a lot less -- and we get even more back in public services.
The source of video used in the American Justice Partnership (AJP)
ads in support of Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, in the midst
of his tight GOP primary with Mark Neumann, suggest a more formal role
for Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) than the group has
needs to come clean about its role in getting these television ads on
the air during Scott Walker's floundering campaign for governor. Either
WMC gave AJP access to the event to get video of Walker for this ad
campaign, or it turned over its own footage.
Footage captured from
the February 23, 2010 WMC lobby day business luncheon, in which Walker
addressed the audience, is being used in two separate ads paid for by
the corporate anti-accountability AJP in a more-than $200,000 statewide
television campaign to support Walker's primary campaign. The ads are
featured in the Madison, La Crosse, Eau Claire, Wausau and Green Bay
During the AJP ads, Walker's video comments are
punctuated with thunderous applause. A review of video taken at the same
event available on the Wisconsin Eye website reveals tepid if any
applause during these comments.
It's ironic they had to
manufacture canned applause to Scott Walker's recycled and failed tax
policies of George W. Bush. Considering that when Walker is asked how
he'll pay for his $2 billion giveaway to the rich and big business, all
we hear is silence.
AJP was created by the National Association
of Manufacturers and names WMC as a "State Partner" on its website. AJP
also claims as "successes" the election of pro-corporate Wisconsin
Supreme Court Justices Annette Ziegler and Michael Gableman. WMC spent a
combined $4 million+ during those races on a series of
roundly-criticized attack ads.
Wisconsin Right to Life issued a press release today with a typo
that reads: "Wisconsin Right to Life Lunches 'Pass It On' Campaign."
They want to honor mothers or something, which is kind of ironic given a
video I captured recently.
In the release,
WRTL announces they will are "actively searching for positive web
content with life and family messages that can quite literally be passed
around the world and make a difference in someone's life." They go on
to say: "Mothers are the backbone of many families today and too often
the only parent present in a child's life," said Lyons. "As we approach
another day in which we honor mothers, this video promotes respect for
mothers in an unusual but profound way."
I actually have a
submission for the video that allegedly "promotes respect for mothers in
an unusual but profound way." But the pro-lifers in the video actually
show NO respect for a pro-choice pregnant mother at the April 15 Tea
Party, calling her a "babykiller."
the video is a little shakey as I'm trying to make my way through the
mob with a camera phone, following the pro-choice/pro-family ladies as
they are harrassed.
And as for the typo in the headline of the WRTL release (seen here) that reminds me of something else. An actual scene from an episode of the Office, called "Launch Party".
Kevin Malone: Isn't 7:00 PM a little late for a "Lunch Party"?
Angela Martin: [to Phyllis] "Lunch Party"? It's supposed to say "Launch Party." What's wrong with you?
Phyllis Lapin: How do you feel about the fact that the banner says "Lunch"?
Martin: I feel angry. Angry at you. Angry at you for doing something
stupid. Angry at me for believing you could do something not stupid.
Phyllis Lapin: I'm so sorry to hear that. That must be awful.
Angela Martin: It is awful. You've made this day awful.
Kevin Malone: Maybe you could just change the U into an A.
Angela Martin: Then it would say "Lanch Party," Kevin. Would it really be better if it said "Lanch Party"?
The Republican State Leadership Committee, the 527 group that
coordinated with Republican Wisconsin Attorney General JB Van Hollen, is
largely funded by the health insurance and big pharmaceutical
Records show the
RSLC has taken millions of dollars in political donations from the
health insurance and pharmaceutical corporations, including the American
Tort Reform Association. Below is data from OpenSecrets.org, which
lists the top 20 funders to the RSLC in each of the last four reporting
2010 $150,861 | Pharmaceutical Rsrch & Mfrs Of America $140,562 | Novartis AG $100,970 | Eli Lilly & Co $ 91,068 | Blue Cross/Blue Shield $ 82,570 | AstraZeneca PLC $ 80,823 | Allergan Inc $ 80,500 | Anthem Insurance $ 75,000 | Pfizer Inc
2008 $358,071 | Pfizer Inc $335,339 | Pharmaceutical Rsrch & Mfrs Of America $330,908 | Eli Lilly & Co $305,000 | American Tort Reform Assn $192,735 | Blue Cross/Blue Shield $166,537 | GlaxoSmithKline
2006 $620,300 | American Tort Reform Assn $466,995 | Pharmaceutical Rsrch & Mfrs Of America $283,250 | Pfizer Inc $182,808 | GlaxoSmithKline $182,500 | Novartis Pharmaceuticals $170,500 | Blue Cross/Blue Shield
2004 $565,000 | American Tort Reform Assn$ $216,750 | Beverly Enterprises $185,000 | Pharmaceutical Rsrch & Mfrs Of America $183,525 | Pfizer Inc
among the largest contributors to the RSLC is the American Justice
Partnership, created by the National Association of Manufacturers. The
American Justice Partnership has donated $2 million to RSLC since 2006
and its website features advertisements run by Wisconsin Manufacturers
and Commerce against Kathleen Falk in 2006, Van Hollen's opponent. WMC
spent an estimated $2.5 million in Van Hollen's razor-thin victory. The
page, also featuring WMC ads for pro-corporate Supreme Court Justices
Mike Gableman and Annette Ziegler, is available at: http://americanjusticepartnership.com/partners.php
it's pretty apparent why the RSLC is at the forefront of a national
Republican effort to stop health reform. But what's most troubling is
the coordination with and political contributions to Republican
In Wisconsin, it was revealed through email
communications obtained by One Wisconsin Now that the top deputy to Van
Hollen and Van Hollen's political campaign manager were in on the
RSLC-coordinated effort to stop health reform [One Wisconsin Now]. In June 2009 Van Hollen's political campaign received $10,000 from the RSLC [One Wisconsin Now].
Pennsylvania, it was revealed that "Attorney General Tom Corbett was in
communication with a consultant for the Republican State Leadership
Committee before he decided to join a lawsuit challenging the landmark
health care reform package signed into law in March." [Keystone Progress]
states with Attorneys General in on the RSLC-coordinated effort include
Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South
Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington.
For more information on RSLC political contributions to these Attorney General, see Crooks and Liars.
One of the key players in Rove and Gillespie's 'take-back-the-power'
network is the Republican State Leadership Committee, the same $57
million Republican campaign outfit that Van Hollen's staff consulted
with prior to seeking authorization from the legislature and Governor
to file the ridiculous lawsuit to stop health insurance reform from
becoming the law, and the same group, chaired by Gillespie, that funded
Van Hollen's campaign to the tune of $10,000.
With Rove's tentacles now sliming their way into Wisconsin, Van
Hollen's claim that he was "just doing his job" in consulting with the
RSLC and pushing the lawsuit against health insurance reform is exposed
for the calculated campaign maneuver it really was.
Dave Obey has been an honorable public leader for five decades,
true. But he is also known around here for being the one-and-only One
Wisconsin Now "Hero of the Week" award winner for a statement about the
George W. Bush administration he made during the health insurance reform
debate in 2009.
Here's Dave Obey's award-winning statement:
swear to god, when I see what some people are saying today, I think
they have the memory length of a cocker spaniel," said Obey "I want you
to go back and compare what George Bush inherited, when he took office
eight years ago and what Barack Obama inherited when he walked into that
"What Bush did was blow away $6 trillion in
expected surpluses and he spent $2 trillion, borrowed $2 trillion I
should say, in order to promote tax cuts, that primarily went into the
pockets of the most wealthy people of this society and he spent another
$1 trillion on the dumbest war in America's history."
Another day, another damning revelation that the attempted lawsuit to
thwart the will of the American people and stop the federal health
reform act was an orchestrated plot whose motive was partisan Republican
And once again, Wisconsin's Republican
Attorney General JB Van Hollen distinguishes himself by upping the ante
in the ever-growing pot of sleaze in this GOP game of liar's poker.
Last week, One Wisconsin Now discovered through open records requests
that prior to calling on the Governor and the Legislature to authorize
the frivolous lawsuit, Van Hollen's top aide, Deputy Attorney General
Ray Taffora had consulted Ben Cannatti, political director of the
Republican State Leadership Committee - a $57 million campaign
organization which helps elect Republican attorneys general.
latest stunning bombshell: Van Hollen's campaign manager, Chirag Shah
was a part of the email discussions that included not only Taffora, but
also Cannatti and representatives of 13 other states being encouraged to
join the lawsuit spearheaded by Florida Republican Attorney General
(and aspiring Governor) Bill McCollum.
Shah offered a sheepish and unconvincing explanation to reporters telling the Wisconsin State Journal
"he thought he received the e-mails because he asked - independently of
Van Hollen - to be added to the e-mail list for the committee, which
seeks to elect more Republicans at the state level."
He provided a similar answer to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, saying he was in the loop through the Republican Attorneys General Association.
he is taken at his word, Shah's inclusion are even more evidence that
the Republican State Leadership Committee was calling the shots in this
The exchange was started the morning after
passage of the reform bill Monday, March 22 at 10:19 a.m. by South
Carolina Deputy Attorney General Bryan Stirling and concluded the next
day. Contributing to the email exchange was also McCollum's Chief of
Staff Joe Jacquot.
McCollum was the lead author of the lawsuit
and Cannatti told Taffora in a previous email that Stirling "has been
riding point on coordinating efforts btwn all the various OAGs [office
of attorneys general]."
The other states included on the email:
Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania,
South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Washington.
Oklahoma eventually declined to join the lawsuit. The emails from
obtained by One Wisconsin Now did not appear to include representatives
of either Nebraska or Louisiana, both of whom did join the lawsuit.
of the attorneys general signing onto the lawsuit are Republicans with
the exception of Louisiana. According to media reports, the Louisiana
attorney general told several staff he was signing onto the lawsuit in a
deal cut with GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal to avoid budget cuts for his
office. He and Jindal have both subsequently denied this allegation.
The national news blog Crooks and Liars
confirmed contributions by RSLC to the AGs in Virginia, North Dakota
and Texas ranging from $15,000 to $50,000. These are not the only
contributions made by RSLC to GOP attorneys general in the lawsuit.
lest Wisconsin forgets, among the largest contributors to the RSLC is
the American Justice Partnership, created by the National Association of
Manufacturers. The American Justice Partnership
has donated $2 million to RSLC since 2006 and its website features
advertisements run by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce against
Kathleen Falk in 2006, Van Hollen's opponent. WMC spent an estimated
$2.5 million in Van Hollen's razor-thin victory.
obtained by One Wisconsin Now prove conclusively that this lawsuit was
about nothing more than partisan Republican campaign politics and an
abuse of taxpayer funds in each state participating in the suit.
the taxpayers of those states can send the bills to Ben Cannatti and
the GOP puppet masters at the Republican State Leadership Committee.
Certainly a $57 million campaign shack that advertises itself as "the
largest caucus of Republican state leaders in the Country" can pay for
its own legal bills.
After spending eight years dismantling Milwaukee county's
core services, safety net services, quality of life services, and
transportation, at a recent listening tour/campaign event Scott Walker
made the claim that he will continue his "commitment" to these services.
But, there can be no "commitment to continue", because there's never
been a commitment to providing these services in the first place.
And he got called out
on it by Stephanie Bloomingdale of the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses
and Health Professionals (WFNHP). WFNHP represents nurses at the
severely short-staffed and underfunded county Mental Health Complex.
Walker's tenure, the Behavior Health Division, which runs the Mental
Health Complex, has come under severe scrutiny and reprimand for its
deadly neglect and mismanagement of the county's most vulnerable: deaths, starvation, rape, assaults, and security lapses endangering the lives of patients, doctors and nurses.
Stephanie asked Walker the following question:
primarily concerned today about mental health services. And I would
like to know Mr. Walker, do you intend to make the significant and
severe cuts to mental services that you have year after year after year
in this next budget?" Bloomingdale says.
Walker says the objective is not to cut funds going to the Mental Health Complex.
have in terms of a goal that we gave the behavioral health division,
which includes obviously the mental health complex, kept them intact and
tried to give them some help for the 2011 budget in terms of what their
goals are. We're not asking as other departments have been asked in the
past for cuts to try and balance the budget," Walker says.
Kudos for Stephanie for standing up for her patients, and maybe state and county audits
will shed some light on what those goals are that Walker was referring
to. While going on record saying he won't make cuts to a program hasn't
stopped him from proposing cuts in the past, at least the public has
something to hold him accountable to.
If ever there was a time the Republican Party and the political right
proved they were institutions with an active agenda aimed against
non-whites, it will be April 2010.
1) RNC Chair Michael Steele admits Republican Party alienates minorities
doubt that the GOP has had a white agenda should have been abolished
when an African American Republican Party chair admitted it:
told a group of 200 students at DePaul University that
African-Americans "don't have a reason" to vote for Republican
During his remarks he also acknowledged that for
decades the GOP pursued "'Southern Strategy' that alienated many
minority voters by focusing on the white male vote in the South."
was asked to explain why an African-American should vote Republican at a
university-sponsored discussion on the conservative movement. The RNC
chairman's response: "You really don't have a reason to, to be honest --
we haven't done a very good job of really giving you one. True? True."
2) WI College Republicans Chair quits Republicans citing right-wing race issues
Rae Anderson decided the homophobia, hypocrisy, and un-checked racism
from conservatives and Republicans was too much for her, and decided
toquit the GOP:
"Racial slurs obviously don't sit well
with me, but when somebody knowingly racially slurs my friends; I am
personally insulted... Needless to say, I will not be renewing my
membership to the Eau Claire County Republican Party or the Republican
Party of Wisconsin for the year 2010."
new Arizona immigration bill pushed by right-wing anti-immigrant groups
and signed by the Republican governor of Arizona "requires police to
question people if there is reason to suspect that they're in the United
States illegally." This of course gives the go ahead to racial
profiling. What's more, the co-author has open ties to a noted neo-Nazi.
4) WI Republicans propose constitutional amendment to ban affirmative action
do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and
liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race and then say,
'you are free to compete with all the others,' and still justly believe
that you have been completely fair.
Thirty-five years later,
Wisconsin Sen. Glenn Grothman (R) and Rep. Gary Tachen (R) announced
they were introducing a constitutional amendment to ban affirmative
action in Wisconsin. They were incited to protect white advantages
because Assembly Democrats "tried to resurrect the Minority Business
Grants and Loans Program on a straight party-line vote." Grothman said
the Democratic-backed bills "tear at the very fabric of our culture." [Sen. Glenn Grothman]
5) WI Republicans conjure ACORN from the dead to block voter rights
week the Wisconsin GOP leadership got their followers to be irate about
the Wisconsin Voter Protection Act by invoking ACORN - a now-defunct
group that advocated for low income families and communities. It's no
secret that many of ACORN's constituents included African Americans and
non-whites. Now, right wing leaders are taking pride in the fact that
they were able to agitate the Tea Party and ultimately kill the voter
rights bill which would have, among other things, stopped voter intimidation efforts. [Appleton Post-Crescent, That's Debatable]
6) All-white Tea Party stomps on WI Capitol
Tea Party takes regular criticism (from the left, not so much the
media) for being grossly misinformed by the GOP on a number of issues,
like the fact that President Obama actually CUT taxes on 98% of working
families in Wisconsin. But it is more often criticized (by everyone) for
the racist and xenophobic overtones of the signs and commentary seen
and heard at its events. The Tea Party leaders make concerted efforts
to shed or downplay its all-white image.
But enough has been
written on this topic and you can see photographic evidence of the
race-based fears and hate at Tea Parties everywhere on the internet
(including our Facebook page) and at least one survey study
that indicates as much, but I came across an awesome article this
morning that poses an interesting hypothetical... Imagine if the Tea Party
Was Black. [Tim Wise]
actually more, I'm sure. But last month really came to a head (for me
anyway). To say that the negative signage, comments, and policies aimed
against non-white members of society are only pushed by a small number
of folks in the right-wing fringe, and are not institutionally a part of
the right wing agenda, is a poor analysis. Last month's examples proved
Clips of the right wing chanting "Drill baby, drill!" and "Drill
here, drill now!" are a dime a dozen on the YouTubes. I mean, if you
saw the 2008 Republican National Convention you surely wouldn't have
missed the dozen or so times the arena full of right-wing mainstreamers
broke out into pro-drill chanting. Anyway, I thought I'd collect a few
highlights and splice them with news coverage of the ongoing oil