News

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.

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.

Gerrymandering at its Worst

February 29, 2012
Erin Schikowski

COMMON DREAMS: Local Businesses Hit by 'Cash Mobs'

March 23, 2012
Common Dreams staff
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Move over, flash mobs. "Cash mobs" are coming.

Longfellow Books co-owner Stuart Gersen enjoying his store being "cash mobbed." The idea behind cash mobs is to get a group of people to flood a local business and spend a suggested set amount in order to give the local business an economic boost.

The first cash mobs were organized back in 2011 in Buffalo, NY and Cleveland, but now they seem to be spreading nationally and internationally, with tomorrow set for International Cash Mob Day.

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.

ALTER NET: May Day's Radical History: What Occupy Is Fighting for This May 1st

April 27, 2012
Jacob Remes
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American general strikes—or rather, American calls for general strikes, like the one Occupy Los Angeles issued last December that has been endorsed by over 150 general assemblies—are tinged with nostalgia.

May 1st 2012: No Work, No School, No Banking!

April 30, 2012
The Nation
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Occupy Wall Street hopes to capture headlines once again next week with the May 1 “General Strike”, long advertised by the group as an event that will prove to the public and media that OWS is currently experiencing a resurgence. Whether workers, students or banking customers, OWS is calling on all Americans to stop offering their labor and money to corporations for one day and join their local Occupy chapter for a day of resistance.

The plan initially drew the ire of some labor leaders who quickly declared their members would not participate in the so-called strike.

TRUTHOUT: Occupy vs. 99% Spring Movement?

April 30, 2012
Arun Gupta
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"The 99% Movement" has something for everyone, even the left, but is it Occupy?

By all measures the Occupy movement is a powerful brand. It has thousands of spin-offs such as Occupy Our Homes, Occupy Money, Occupy the Hood, Occupy Gender Equality and Occupy the Food System. It has powerful name recognition, snagging "word of the year" honors in 2011. And now, ardent supporters are manning the ramparts to defend its integrity.

NATION OF CHANGE: Five Tax Fallacies Invented by the 1%

April 30, 2012
Paul Buchheit
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We hear these claims often, even though they're entirely false. An analysis of the facts should make that clear.

(1) The Rich Pay Almost All the Taxes

That's simply not true. The percentage of total taxes paid by the very rich (the top 1%) is approximately the same as the percentage paid by middle class Americans (the 4th quintile, average income $68,700). Here are the details:

CAP TIMES: DNR enforcement down under Walker administration

April 30, 2012
Ron Seely
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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.

THE GUARDIAN: Quebec student protests mark 'Maple spring' in Canada

May 2, 2012
Martin Lukacs
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The social unrest roiling Quebec is colour-coded red. One cannot miss the hundreds of thousands of people with cloth of the colour pinned to their coats and satchels; the stickers pasted on street poles and storefront mannequins; and the sheets fluttering from balconies and windows. The red squares – punning visually on a French expression to be squarely in the red, or in debt – are a gesture of solidarity with university and college students on a massive general strike against government tuition fee hikes.

FAIR: Media Get Bored With Occupy—and Inequality

May 3, 2012
John Knefel
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Occupy Wall Street is rightly credited with helping to shift the economic debate in America from a fixation on deficits to issues of income inequality, corporate greed and the centralization of wealth among the richest 1 percent. The movement has chalked up other victories as well, from altering New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s tax plan (New York Times, 12/5/11) to re-energizing activists and unions, but bringing some discussion of class into the mainstream dialogue has been one of its crowning achievements.

NEWSWEEK: Serious doubts remain about the 2000 Florida recount's legitimacy

May 13, 2012
Michael Isikoff
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(originally published on November 18th, 2001)

After spending nearly $1 million, a consortium of big news organizations last week rendered what it once thought would be final word on last year's bitterly contested Florida recount.

The decision: a split verdict.

Community rallies around striking workers in Ashland, WI

May 29, 2012
Sara Nemec
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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.

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

May 31, 2012
Brendan Fischer
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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.

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

May 31, 2012
Andy Kroll
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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

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.

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

June 6, 2012
Brentin Mock
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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: Nickolaus changed software before April election breakdown

July 10, 2012
Larry Sandler

Sometime after final testing of Waukesha County's election software - but before the April election - County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus mysteriously changed something in her office's computer programming, according to a consulting firm's report released Tuesday.

Only Nickolaus knows what she did. The consultants can't figure it out, and she's not talking.

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

July 11, 2012
Neil Johnson
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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.

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."

Chicago Teachers Strike for Better Schools

September 10, 2012
David Moberg

Early this morning, Chicago teachers organized picket lines at all entrances to William H. Ray Elementary School in Hyde Park on the city's South Side. They were joined by dozens of students, parents and local community residents. It was the first day in 25 years that the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU)--the first teachers union in the country--had gone out on strike, and picketers banged drums, gobbled doughnuts, waved at passing motorists (and the driver of a passing waste truck), and chanted with militant cheeriness: "Lies and tricks will not divide/parents and teachers side by side."

Democracy Now explores what's at stake locally and nationally in the Chicago teacher's strike

September 10, 2012

Democracy Now spends most of the broadcast exploring the regional and national implications of the Chicago teacher's strike (skip past headlines to view the interviews):

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Teachers are winning concessions at the bargaining table

September 13, 2012
Ellen Jean Hirst, Jennifer Delgado, Bridget Doyle, Hal Dardick and Kristen Mack

The two sides in the Chicago teachers strike remained optimistic about a deal as they resumed contract talks today, but it appeared the earliest classes could resume would be Monday.

CTU: Poll demonstrates strong public support for teacher's strike

September 13, 2012
CTU
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CHICAGO –As contract talks continue to two steps forward and one step backward, the city’s 29,000 public school educators enter their fourth day of a labor protest that has shut down schools across the city. An independent new poll indicates the majority of the public and parents support the teachers strike and blame Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his hand-picked school board for the District’s education woes.

CPS alum release song in support of striking teachers

September 13, 2012
Rebel Diaz

POLITICO: Voter ID laws may prevent millions from voting

September 23, 2012
Associated Press
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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.

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

October 8, 2012
David G. Savage
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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.

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

October 10, 2012
Abby Rapoport
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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.

COMMON DREAMS: Bain Capital owns electronic voting machines that will count many of Ohio's ballots

October 14, 2012
Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman
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Electronic voting machines owned by Mitt Romney's business buddies and set to count the votes in Cincinnati could decide the 2012 election.

The narrative is already being hyped by the corporate media. As Kelly O'Donnell reported for NBC's Today Show on Monday, October 8, Ohio's Hamilton County is "ground zero" for deciding who holds the White House come January, 2013.

O'Donnell pointed out that no candidate has won the White House without carrying Ohio since John Kennedy did it in 1960. No Republican has ever won the White House without Ohio's electoral votes.

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."