Daily News/Blog Posts

Filmmaker Robert Greenwald Tells Truthout How the Koch Brothers Endanger Democracy and Our Health . BuzzFlash at Truthout first got to know Robert Greenwald when he and Earl Katz, who is now chair of Public Interest Pictures, were trying to get a film about the theft of the 2000 presidential election, "Unprecedented," off the ground. That was over a decade ago (4/12)

NYT Unloads on Scott Walker: The Wages of Ideology. Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin is struggling to fight off a determined effort to replace him in an extraordinary recall election scheduled for June 5. The original reason more than 900,000 Wisconsinites signed petitions to get him out of office was his signature on a bill that stripped most public employees of their collective bargaining rights (4/12)

Walker's snotty weak campaign start reflects his real personality. . The one benefit Scott Walker will see from the recall election, will be the dilution of protesters at his many stops throughout Wisconsin. It will be hard to keep up with him (4/12)

Mitt Romney's 'Women for Romney' surrogate is not for equal pay for women in Wisconsin. As he shakes the Etch A Sketch, Mitt Romney is trying hard to boost his appeal among women, after fully embracing the war on women just to keep up with Rick Santorum (4/12).

Walker flees Wisconsin people, Hides with Charlie Sykes. Even though everyone deserves to know exactly when Scott Walker first knew about the secret e-mail system run out of Walker's county executive office during his 2010 campaign for governor, don't look for a town hall question-and-answer session or a press conference on the topic (4/12).

Walker sends out conspiracy theory lackey to stall FBI “John Doe” investigation that continues to boil. It’s been pretty obvious that the database holding signatures of those who signed the Walker recall petition are becoming more about McCarthyistic techniques to make it a black list proving that the signatory is not a sucker for Walker (4/12)

Republican "War On Women" Is Not A Left-Wing Invention. The Dane County Democratic Party (web site) hosted a Gubernatorial Candidate Forum at the Concourse Hotel in Madison featuring Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, Wisconsin Secretary of State Doug La Follette and Wisconsin State Senator Kathleen Vinehout (4/12).

Paul Ryan's Cynical Catholic Claims. Following is the statement of Democratic Party of Wisconsin Communications Director Graeme Zielinski in response to claims made by Paul Ryan to justify his radical budget (4/12).

Struggling Sean Duffy, Reid Ribble Tops in Waste of Taxpayer Dollars For two men who pound their chests as fiscal conservatives, Wisconsin Reps. Sean Duffy and Reid Ribble certainly can blow through hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money in no time flat. And, for seemingly no return (4/12).

Mitt Romney’s Campaign on Whether Romney Supports the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act: ‘We’ll Get Back To You On That.’. On a press call this morning, Mitt Romney’s campaign was asked if Mitt Romney supports the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Their response to the question was, “We’ll get back to you on that.” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate released the following statement on the Romney campaign’s initial failure to take a position on pay equity for women (4/12).

No War on Women in Wisconsin?. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed Senate Bill 202, essentially a reversal of Wisconsin's Equal Pay for Equal Work Act (Act 20), into law on April 5, 2012, more than a month after the bill was passed (4/12).

Wendy's is the 6th Firm to Say It is No Longer a Member of ALEC. Wendy's International, the parent company of Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburger, is the sixth corporation to say that it is no longer a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in the past week (4/12).

George Zimmerman faces second-degree murder charges for death of Trayvon Martin. Prosecutors Wednesday charged a neighborhood watch guard with second-degree murder in the killing of an unarmed US black teenager that sparked nationwide anger amid suspicions it was racially motivated (4/12).

John Mellencamp informs Gov. Scott Walker of his liberal beliefs. Liberal rocker John Mellencamp wants Gov. Scott Walker to know he supports collective bargaining and union powers and says Walker should be aware of that before using his song "Small Town" on the campaign trail (4/12)

4 Ways the Big Banks are Still Screwing Homeowners — And How They're Fighting Back. Here's how the banks are still doing exactly as they please when it comes to homes. But there's hope (4/12).

Meet the Rising Republican Star Who Would Love to Punch Hillary Clinton in the Face In case you haven't noticed, Wisconsin's been fraught with untenable political tumultuousness since one-man Human Centipede Scott Walker was elected governor. He's bullied teachers, attacked gay couples' hospital visitation rights, signed a repeal of Wisconsin's equal pay law, and rolled back sex education to an innocent time when kids thought storks brought babies (4/12).

Ryan's Recycled "Tipping Point" Scare Tactic Divides Americans, Hides Hypocrisy. . Have you seen the Paul Ryan headline yet? "Ryan says U.S. at financial and cultural 'tipping point'" Hmm, that late breaking headline sounds really familiar. Oh my gosh, here’s that same story as summarized so perfectly by Dana Milbank way back on March 20th (4/11).

For what you do, no bud for you. Bud Selig is the commissioner of major league baseball. The lords of the game pay him an enormous salary to do very little. Very little. Selig has a chair at the University of Wisconsin history Department. How did that happen? (4/11)

Republican "War On Women" Is Not A Left-Wing Invention. Right-wing media are claiming that a Republican "war on women" is "phony" and "invented" by the left to distract attention from issues such as the economy and gas prices. But Republicans throughout the country have indeed pushed a plethora of legislation during the past few years that would result in limiting women's reproductive rights, access to health care access, and access to equal pay; moreover, right-wing media themselves launched a bullying campaign against Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke after she testified in favor of expanded contraception coverage. (4/10).

GOP Panicking on John Doe Criminal Probe . One Wisconsin Now sent letters today to 9 current Wisconsin State Senators asking them to revoke their membership in the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The Senators would join the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and corporations like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Intuit and Kraft who earlier announced they've pulled their support. The letter also asks that the nine refund the tax dollars that were used to purchase ALEC memberships on their behalf (4/11).

What is going on? If you need to know what’s wrong with American conservatism in the early 21st century you have only to look at their view of the Girl Scouts. You would think that legislatures would want to honor the 100th anniversary of an organization like the Girl Scouts but empowering women isn’t exactly what the patriarchal GOP is about (4/11).

Russell gets new lawyer in Doe case. Timothy Russell, the former Scott Walker aide facing felony embezzlement charges, has a new lawyer with Republican leanings. The attorney is Dennis Krueger, a former state prosecutor who recently joined Milwaukee attorney Michael Maistelman's law office. Krueger pops up in court records as one of Russell's lawyers as of Friday, the same day another lawyer -- John Birdsall -- withdrew (4/11).

Democrats question legality of running as a 'fake' candidate. Undaunted by claims that running as a fake Democratic candidate in the recalls constitutes criminal election fraud, six such candidates filed paperwork Tuesday to run in the May 8 primary (4/11).

UWM professor predicts Scott Walker will be GOP's VP choice. UWM Political Science Professor Mordecai Lee is making a bold prediction for the Republican VP candidate: Scott Walker. (4/11).

Paul Ryan's Cynical Catholic Claims. Following is the statement of Democratic Party of Wisconsin Communications Director Graeme Zielinski in response to claims made by Paul Ryan to justify his radical budget (4/11).

A little word game for the Fake Democratic Candidates... . Let’s see if the illegal and unethical electioneering by the Wisconsin Republican Party will stand up to a little test I came up with (4/11)

List of Bills Walker Signed Into Law Last Week. It's been well documented for some years now that abstinence based education *increases* the number of teen pregnancies AND that when you tell teenagers the truth about sex, as they do in Europe, not only do you get fewer pregnancy, you actually get fewer teenagers having sex in the first place (4/11).

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March 2012
Gogebic Taconite's clear message: "We can't pass reasonable environmental scrutiny"
by Bill Breitsprecher

Bury the mining billIn what appears to be a hardball-bargaining tactic or a flat-out admission that its proposed iron-mine in northern Wisconsin can't meet reasonable environmental standards and public scrutiny, Gogebic Taconite President Bill Williams issued a statement late Tuesday, March 6, 2012, saying the company was leaving the state because the Senate sent a "clear message that Wisconsin will not welcome iron mining. We get the message."

This brash statement sounds like childish chest-thumping and whining "I'll take my ball and go home", a threat that Scott Walker and the Fitzgerald Brothers may use to ram this through in a special session, something Walker has advocated. Williams is really admitting he cannot meet minimal environmental expectations.

Scott Fitzgerald, Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader, former state chair of ALEC, current member/advocate, and member of the ALEC Public Safety and Elections Task Force; had no choice but to pull the bill off Tuesday's (March 7, 2012) calendar and send it back to committee. He did not have the votes needed to pass the bill.

Because the legislative session ends March 15th, getting a bill passed now will be problematic. Fitzgerald claims the difficulties are because half the senators and all state representatives will be out campaigning for November's elections.

While the numbers of those up for November elections are true, it is curious and laughable to some that he didn't mention important elections that appear certain to happen before then, perhaps in June - four Republican state senators, including Fitzgerald himself, and Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch could face recall elections as soon as May or early June. Recall elections played a major roll defeating Wisconsin's mining bill.

Given that virtually every other ALEC sponsored and supported legislation has been railroaded through the legislative process despite the fact that Walker's legitimacy as Governor is questionable given the ongoing John Doe investigation, defeating the mining bill, if things stand, is an amazing victory.

The Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice (www.wnpj.org) has an outstanding set of resources online that more-fully explain the environmental racism underlying this bill and the many reasons that company written mining laws drafted specifically for one firm’s benefit represent terrible public policy. And the idea of privatizing environmental studies should outrage everyone and has no place in responsible public policy.

Most that fought this mining bill clearly and repeatedly stated: They supported mining in Wisconsin.

Despite what certain shills in the media bray, the majority opposed to this bill were not against the mine. The public opposed this legislation across party lines - Wisconsin's mining laws are reasonable, just, and widely supported by Wisconsin citizens.

Sen. Bob Jauch (D-Poplar), perhaps because he actually represents the area directly impacted by the proposed mine, summed up these issues best when he stated, "You cannot have responsible mining if you have irresponsible mining legislation."

Wisconsin's current taxes on mining compare favorably with Minnesota and its approval process is not excessively overbearing, yet proponents continually point to Minnesota as a model for Wisconsin. The foolishness of using our western neighbor as an example for success were most-clearly articulated by Shari Eggleson's testimony on behalf of Clean Wisconsin (Board Member) and the Sierra Club (Member), on January 11, 2012, when she stated:

The problem with using these states as models is that their taconite mines are chronic polluters whose operations have resulted in fines, cleanup orders and stipulations totaling just under $10 million in the last 8 years alone. Under current regulations, taconite mining wastes in Minnesota and Michigan are currently exceeding discharge limits for mercury, selenium, sulfates. Moreover, this bill goes farther to deregulate Wisconsin mining law than even Minnesota and Michigan.

Bill Williams and Gogebic Taconite did not have to abandoned their mining proposal. Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey analysis of state law shows it should take 2 1/2 to four years for the entire process.

Had they started this process in good faith more than a year ago instead of demanding and then taking more than a year to create, advocate, and then attempt to coerce the legislature to pass their law, they could reasonably have assumed to be mining BEFORE the time-lines in the bill they largely drafted - if their proposal was safe and on the up-and-up.

It was Bill Williams and Gogebic Taconite that had no confidence in their proposal, not the citizens of Wisconsin. They knew that the mine was potentially an environmental disaster. Gogebic Taconite and Bill Williams are only willing to go forward if special legislation exempts them from a reasonable process and releases them from liability from their actions should there be damage.

The real question here should be: "Why do Williams and Gogebic Taconite believe they cannot pass public scrutiny and demonstrate that their proposal is safe, economically justifiable, and able to reasonably fulfill the many promises made by Walker and others on behalf of this mine?"

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