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Wisconsinites to rally against Walker as he announces presidential bid   Written by The Wisconsin Gazette

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is set to officially declare his candidacy for president next Monday and Wisconsinites are ready with a warning to the rest of the nation about the Republican's "dangerous agenda."

The rally against Walker will be held at 4 p.m. on July 13 at the Waukesha County Expo Center, 1000 Northwest Road, Waukesha.

People For the American Way, Voces de la Frontera, Americans United for Change, We Are Wisconsin, League of Conservation Voters and a coalition of more than 20 local and national grassroots activist groups are involved in planning the event.

Their goal is sharing personal stories to explain how his extreme policies have hurt families, workers, students, women, immigrants and the environment."

Walker has been raising money for months as he prepared to announce his bid for the Republican presidential nomination. He also has devoted a lot of time to traveling to early voting states, as well as traveling abroad.

The conservative Walker has a record that is anti-union, anti-woman, anti-immigrant, anti-voter and anti-gay.

He will announce his candidacy at the expo center at about 5 p.m.

On the Web …

To join in the event, go to this page on Facebook.


An Archive of Gov. Scott Walker's Cronyism, Corruption and Incompetence

From his earliest days in political office a quarter century ago Scott Walker has followed a simple doctrine — enrich his friends, punish his enemies and advance his political career. The results for the people of Wisconsin are unprecedented political division and Walker administrations in Milwaukee County and now the Governor’s office rife with cronyism, corruption and incompetence.

Wisconsin swindled by Scott Walker’s jobs scam

by Amy B. Dean  

Over the course of the last month, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has been scrambling to do damage control in the wake of revelations about one of his signature economic programs.

In the name of creating jobs, this trademark initiative of the potential Republican presidential candidate handed hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money to businesses across the state. But Walker’s administration apparently neglected to check if these companies actually hired any new employees as a result.

Wisconsinites have been understandably roiled — but this is not a problem that’s confined to their state.

Across the country, “economic development” programs in states such as Texas, Florida, Michigan and New York are handing out public resources to private hands in the name of spurring “job creators.” Astoundingly, they often fail to uphold even the most minimal level of accountability and oversight over how this public money is used.

The solution to this problem is simple: When corporations fail to deliver on job creation promises, they should be forced to pay back the money.

Elected officials need to enforce rules that not only track whether private beneficiaries of subsidies and tax abatements follow through on their end of the deal, but allow the public to reclaim funds that have been misused.

Read more at Ajiazeera America.

Scott Walker Tries To Use A Back Door To Get Rid Of Wisconsin’s Living Wage Law


Only one hurdle stands between Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and his 
upcoming bid for the White House: passing a budget to keep his state chugging for the next two years. 

After months of uproar over provisions to slash hundreds of millions of dollars from state universities and strip the values of “truth” and “service” from their mission, lawmakers in Madison missed their July 1 deadline to pass the budget. 

In the ensuing scramble, Governor Walker and his allies in the statehouse used the 4th of July holiday weekend to insert several more controversial provisions into the massive document, which local press called “a grab bag of pet projects.” Walker and Republican lawmakers have already been forced to retreat on one of them: a gutting of the state’s open records law that would have barred reporters and the public from accessing the documents that reveal how laws are written, including drafts and e-mails between state lawmakers. 

But the other additions remain, including provisions that censor information about police shootings, scrap factory workers’ right to one day off per week, and completely eliminate the state’s 100-year-old definition of a “living wage,” which now says workers deserve pay that provides “minimum comfort, decency, physical and moral well-being.” This major change, which has received far less attention than the open records law rewrite, would strip the state’s Department of Workforce Development of the power to to investigate complaints that an employee is not being paid a living wage, and would replace “living wage” with “minimum wage” throughout Wisconsin’s laws. 

The change to the wage law comes just as low-income workers in the state are suing Governor Walker for refusing to consider their complaint that the current state minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is not a living wage.

Read more at Think Progress.


Inside the Koch Brothers' Toxic Empire

Together, Charles and David Koch control one of the world's largest fortunes, which they are using to buy up our political system. But what they don't want you to know is how they made all that money

The enormity of the Koch fortune is no mystery. Brothers Charles and David are each worth more than $40 billion. The electoral influence of the Koch brothers is similarly well-chronicled. The Kochs are our homegrown oligarchs; they've cornered the market on Republican politics and are nakedly attempting to buy Congress and the White House. Their political network helped finance the Tea Party and powers today's GOP. Koch-affiliated organizations raised some $400 million during the 2012 election, and aim to spend another $290 million to elect Republicans in this year's midterms. So far in this cycle, Koch-backed entities have bought 44,000 political ads to boost Republican efforts to take back the Senate.

What is less clear is where all that money comes from. Koch Industries is headquartered in a squat, smoked-glass building that rises above the prairie on the outskirts of Wichita, Kansas. The building, like the brothers' fiercely private firm, is literally and figuratively a black box. Koch touts only one top-line financial figure: $115 billion in annual revenue, as estimated by Forbes. By that metric, it is larger than IBM, Honda or Hewlett-Packard and is America's second-largest private company after agribusiness colossus Cargill. The company's stock response to inquiries from reporters: "We are privately held and don't disclose this information."

Read more at Rolling Stone

Watching Scotty Blow, Cont'd: A Shady Budget, a Bad Pipeline, and a Presidential Bid for 2016

Scott Walker's budget is awful, it may help a dangerous company build a pipeline, and for his victory lap, he'll officially announce his candidacy for the 2016 presidential race on Monday. Par for the course, right?

On Monday, Scott Walker, the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to manage their midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin, will make the formal announcement of his candidacy to become the manager of the Koch Industries subsidiary formerly known as the United States of America. This is a prospect both appalling and grotesque, but, nonetheless, here we are. (I warned you back in 2011 not to sleep on this cat.) As a parting gift to Wisconsin, he and his pet legislature have produced a state budget so crammed full of goodies for the people who have sublet Walker for his entire career, and so crammed full of poison for all of his perceived political enemies, which pretty much is everybody else, that all copies of it should be roped off and trucked immediately to the nearest bio-containment facility.

The budget does away with established living wage and prevailing wage law in the state; this is where Walker and his legislative poodles proposed to do away with the idea of a weekend. Much of the really toxic sludge was slipped covertly into the budget over the Fourth of July weekend—because Walker is Unintimidated, dontcha know—and this included restricting access to information developed in the investigation of police shootings, further knuckling of unions by monkeying around with certification elections, and empowering payday lenders to sell insurance, annuities, and generally behave like actual banks. I think Senator Professor Warren just had a stroke.

Read more at Esquire.


Wisconsin Republicans "Double Down" on their Assault on Open Government
Written by GBP Staff  

New attacks on Wisconsin’s non-partisan government accountability organization are not intended to improve our state, they are only intended to improve Republicans’ political fortunes and shield Gov. Walker’s administration from scrutiny as he runs for president.

Read more at Newiprogressive.

John Doe Scandals

This is a guide to almost all the main players in the John Doe investigation that was conducted concerning when Walker was Milwaukee County executive and leading up to Walker running for governor in 2010 and beyond. The investigation was ended with criminal convictions against six individuals, including three ex-Walker aides, a campaign donor and one appointee. Walker supporters being proud that Walker got away without any convictions is like being proud a boss didn’t notice his staff was stealing products out of the warehouse right under his nose and didn’t notice until after they got caught red-handed.

From Wisconsin State Journal:

Emails of former Scott Walker aide from John Doe investigation

For More Visit Scott Walker Watch.

What Gov. Scott Walker is about to do to Wisconsin’s public schools

By Valerie Strauss

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is busy these days, what with preparing to officially join the gaggle of Republican candidates vying for the 2016 GOP Republican nomination and planning to sign a new state budget. What’s in that budget is deep cause for concern for Wisconsin’s public education system, as Bob Peterson, founder of the Rethinking Schools magazine and former president of the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association, explains in this post, which appeared on his Education for Democracy blog and which I am publishing with permission.

By Bob Peterson
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is expected to do two things in the next few days: Formally announce his candidacy for for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination and sign Wisconsin’s biennial budget.  The first may receive national attention, but it is the second that will disastrously affect Wisconsin if the budget isn’t changed — and that should receive national play.

Buried within the budget are 135 non-budget policy items — a toxic cocktail of attacks on public education, democracy, environmental protections and labor rights.

For Wisconsin’s schools, the budget is a blueprint for abandoning public education. In Milwaukee, in addition to insufficient funding, the budget includes a “takeover” plan that increases privatization and decreases democratic control of the city’s public schools.

Read more at Washington Post.
Follow Bob Peterson's Blog.

Scott Walker blames GOP lawmakers for aborted open records plan

By Associated Press

Gov. Scott Walker has blamed Republican lawmakers for an unsuccessful proposal to roll back Wisconsin's open records law.

"I think the whole thing was a huge mistake," the Republican governor said in a radio interview. He told conservative talk show host Charlie Sykes on WTMJ-AM on Friday that the idea didn't come from him, and that the plan should not have been inserted into the budget.

"That was brought to us by the Legislature, and they said they wanted to look at it and wanted our input," he said. "We brought up some things that we still think are legitimate in terms of records that involve things like having our staff giving you options on briefings and things like that. Not anything that's external in that regard."

The changes would have shielded nearly everything government officials create from the state open records law, including drafts of legislation and staff communications. GOP lawmakers slipped the plan into the budget unannounced in a late-night session heading into the Independence Day holiday weekend. It was stripped from the budget Tuesday after a fierce backlash from outraged lawmakers from both parties and open government advocates.

"In the end, I think it was a mistake to even think about it in the budget, even though it didn't come from us," Walker said.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said Tuesday that Walker's office collaborated with Senate and Assembly leaders to draft the changes. Walker spokeswoman Laurel Patrick then acknowledged the governor's office had a role in shaping the language. She said Walker had intended to "encourage a deliberative process" to develop policy and legislation that would allow for robust debate.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and the co-chairs of the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee, Rep. John Nygren and Sen. Alberta Darling, have said the proposed changes stemmed from a desire to protect the privacy of constituents who contact their lawmakers.


Scott Walker Lies and Stumbles His Way to Presidential Kick-off

Scott Walker lies, pathologically. 

This is why Walker avoids the people and the press, except for rightwing talk radio.

Walker's latest lie is his denial on rightwing radio in which Scott Walker claims, "I think it was a mistake to even think about [gutting Wisconsin's Open Records law] in the budget, even though it didn't come from us," (Sommerhauser, Wisconsin State Journal).

This lie is disconfirmed days earlier by Walker's own spokesperson and Republican legislative leaders.

Writes Molly Beck in the Wisconsin State Journal:
Gov. Scott Walker’s office was involved in drafting dramatic changes to the state’s open records law that would have made it harder for the public to monitor how its government works, a spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday.

Spokeswoman Laurel Patrick’s statement came after numerous inquiries from the State Journal in recent days and after Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said Tuesday that Walker’s office collaborated with Assembly and Senate leaders to draft the changes. 

Read More at Malcontends.

Wisconsinites are ready to rise up again

Post-Crescent Editorial Board

This isn't your typical editorial slamming state government.

This one's for everyone who took a stand in the last two weeks in Wisconsin. We thank you.

The silver lining of this month's horrible budget debate in Madison is that it shows, once again, that Wisconsinites are passionate, mobilized and involved. Together with other media organizations and government watchdogs, we have a network in place to disseminate information quickly.

All of you took that information and applied incredible pressure on the lawmakers who tried to sneak open records changes into the state budget.

You worked so hard that the effects will last. Even those with an incentive to work in secret say open records changes are a no-go.

Majority Leader Senator Scott Fitzgerald told Wisconsin Radio Network that "it would be difficult to revisit the issue in the environment we're in right now."

Sen. Fitzgerald, can you say "understatement of the year"?

We know that even though our elected officials are the ones who place the votes, we're in charge.

We can't ever let them forget it.

One thing we can't bring ourselves to do is congratulate the lawmakers who voted to remove the changes that would have gutted Wisconsin's open records laws. That would be like thanking them for allowing us to breathe.

But we'll stay on the positive track for now.

This moment is to reflect on the power of the people. That power is ready to rise up the moment any current or future legislator tries to introduce changes to our state's open records laws.

As the saying goes, that's not a threat; it's a promise.

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