News

Democracy Now talks to civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis about the ongoing struggle for voting rights

October 19, 2012

Originally published on July 10, 2012

Democracy Now and Rep. John Lewis discuss the movemement to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and his experiences as a leader in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Lewis reflects on the restrictive voting laws that target people of color. "It is so important for people to understand, to know that people suffered, struggled," Lewis says. "Some people bled, and some died, for the right to participate. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent tool that we have in a democratic society. It’s precious. It’s almost sacred. We have to use it. If not, we will lose it."

WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL: Wisconsin's ban on vouching for unregistered voters will disenfranchise eligible voters

October 22, 2012
Steven Verburg
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Wisconsin residents may know that the photo ID provision of the 2011 election reform law has been struck down, but flying under the radar are other parts of the law that remain in force.

Thousands of new voters and others who vote only in presidential elections may be surprised to find out that the pre-Election Day voting period has been shortened, that they are required to sign a poll book and they must live in a ward 28 days to vote there.

But the lesser-known change that could have the greatest effect voters is a ban on "corroboration" — the practice of allowing new or recently relocated voters to establish residency in a ward and register to vote by having someone vouch for them if they lack an acceptable document that shows their address.

AMERICAN PROSPECT: Study shows that votes cast by mail are more likely to be uncounted

October 26, 2012
Abby Rapoport
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Ohio's Republican secretary of state, Jon Husted, has been under fire now for months from Democrats. They’re angry, particularly, about his moves to limit early voting hours across the state—especially those on the weekend before the election. Poor and minority voters rely on the expanded hours. Black churches have used the last Sunday before election day to bring voters to the polls; low-income voters often have inflexible work schedules and childcare demands at home. After a lengthy court battle, Husted has now authorized county election boards to offer hours in the three days before election day. But he did limit early voting hours in the weeks before, with fewer evening hours and no weekend hours.

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR: Electronic voting machines to be used in the 2012 elections can be hacked

October 26, 2012
Mark Clayton
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Rapid advances in the development of cyberweapons and malicious software mean that electronic-voting machines used in the 2012 election could be hacked, potentially tipping the presidential election or a number of other races.

Since the machines are not connected to the Internet, any hack would not be a matter of someone sneaking through cyberspace to change ballots. Rather, the concern is that an individual hacker, a partisan group, or even a nation state could infect voting machines by gaining physical access to them or by targeting the companies that service them.

WASHINGTON POST: Wisconsin Republicans give inaccurate information to poll watchers

October 30, 2012
Bill Turque
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Democrats and Republicans are training legions of poll watchers to scrutinize voting next week for signs of fraud. But some information trainees are getting is not quite on target.

The liberal blog ThinkProgress opened a window onto the process Tuesday when it reported on material distributed to aspiring poll watchers by the Romney campaign and the Republican Party of Wisconsin in Racine Oct. 25, at one of a series of training sessions held across the state this fall.

ISTHMUS: GAB Director Kevin Kennedy receives criticisms from all over of the political spectrum

November 1, 2012
Mary Ellen Bell
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When Kevin Kennedy celebrated his 60th birthday a few months ago, his staff at the Government Accountability Board presented him with framed copies of two political cartoons. They ran in the Wisconsin State Journal while recall petitions were being verified last spring.

In one panel, a young protester offers to give the GAB a hand with the checking. In the other, a group of older people with tea party signs makes the same offer.

Art imitates life. This actually happened: Both sides did try to horn in on the verification process.

FREE PRESS: Why we must fight to prevent elections from being stolen through disenfranchisement and machine fraud

November 3, 2012
Joan Brunwasser, Sally Castleman, Victoria Collier, Bob Fitrakis, Lori Grace, Emily Levy, Mark Crispin Miller, Greg Palast, Jonathan Simon and Harvey Wasserman
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Originally published October 31, 2012

With election day less than a week away, the spectre of another stolen election is upon us. The airwaves and internet are at last filling with discussion of this possibility.

When the first stories were broken by a handful of us after the fiascos of Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004, there was a stunning silence, followed by a wide range of attacks. Today the warnings about the possibility of another election theft are taken with increasing gravity.

The question is deep and profound, with a huge body of research and writing surrounding it.

But among the many concerns, two are key: massive disenfranchisement, and manipulation of the electronic vote count.

DISENFRANCHISEMENT:

IPS: Abolishing the Electoral College will solve the problem of having "swing" states

November 5, 2012
Becky Bergdahl
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UNITED NATIONS, Nov 5 2012 (IPS) - A small number of states in the United States have a peculiar power. As swing states, they are extremely influential in the outcome of the presidential election. As presidential candidates focus intensely on these states, some argue that this imbalance and several other factors threaten to undermine the country’s democracy.

No More Stolen Election's Sarah Manski and other election integrity activists speak about the risks of a stolen election

November 6, 2012
Free Press

At a Washington Press Club news conference, Nov. 5, 2012, FreePress.org Senior Editor Harvey Wasserman, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, NoMoreStolenElections.org Communication Director Sarah Manski, election fraud whistleblower Clint Curtis, and Lori Grace, founder of the Grace Institute for Democracy and Election Integrity, lay out the risks of a 2012 stolen election and what is being done to keep it from happening.

We CAN do better

November 7, 2012
No More Stolen Elections
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From an election protection stand point, what did we witness yesterday? 
  • We saw the culmination of the most expensive campaign season in U.S. history, with over $5.8 billion spent to influence the electoral process
     

GOP's 2013 agenda for WI: mining, school voucher, tax cuts, sandhill crane hunt

November 8, 2012
Todd Richmond

 

Meet the new Legislature, same as the old Legislature.

Republicans rolled back into control of the state Capitol in Tuesday's elections, reclaiming the majority in the Senate and defending their advantage in the Assembly. With Republican Scott Walker in the governor's office, the GOP can push through just about any proposal it chooses when the next legislative session begins in January.

GOP's 2013 agenda for WI: mining, school voucher, tax cuts, sandhill crane hunt

November 8, 2012
Todd Richmond

 

Meet the new Legislature, same as the old Legislature.

Republicans rolled back into control of the state Capitol in Tuesday's elections, reclaiming the majority in the Senate and defending their advantage in the Assembly. With Republican Scott Walker in the governor's office, the GOP can push through just about any proposal it chooses when the next legislative session begins in January.

CAP TIMES: Journalists face restrictions as they cover Election Night events

November 9, 2012
Jessica Vanegeren
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Phil Ejercito, a Madison-based freelance photographer, took the usual steps prior to showing up Tuesday to photograph what turned into the election night victory party for Wisconsin’s new senator, Tammy Baldwin.

After showing identification, he was handed press credentials and then guided to the press area that included nearly 100 other journalists.

But as 8 p.m. approached and the ballroom at Monona Terrace began to fill with roughly 1,000 members of the public, a velvet red rope similar to what you’d find in a movie theater started to be drawn tight to cordon off the media area.

Electoral maps rigged to favor well-funded incumbents

November 12, 2012
editorial

 

None of Wisconsin's races for the House of Representatives was even close last week.

Every incumbent won by double-digit margins.

GOP: arrest Federal officials who try to implement new healthcare law in WI

November 13, 2012
Patrick Marley

 

Madison - As Gov. Scott Walker contemplates whether to create a state health care exchange under Obamacare, he must contend with nine members of his own party who will serve in the Legislature for the next two years who say they back a bill to arrest any federal officials who try to implement the health care law.

Democracy Now investigates the corporate influences behind the "Fix the Debt" campaign

November 13, 2012

As the White House begins a series of meetings today on the looming "fiscal cliff," a coalition of the largest corporate firms and advocacy groups is lobbying for wide-ranging cuts in government spending, including to programs like Medicare and Social Security. The group, which includes 80 of the country’s most powerful CEOs, is called the Campaign to Fix the Debt. It was co-founded by former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson, previously the co-chairs of President Obama’s bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Critics have accused the group of using the budget crisis to push for corporate tax cuts.

Overpass Light Brigade groups challenge free speech restrictions around the country

November 13, 2012
Kit OConnell
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One Victory, More Conflicts to Come?

Though the Austin Overpass Light Brigade won the right to hold lighted signs over a highway once, it can expect further encounters with police.

CAP TIMES: Law enforcement union sues Wisconsin over collective bargaining law that creates 2 classes of workers

November 14, 2012
Ed Treleven
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A Wisconsin law enforcement union sued the state Tuesday over the state's collective bargaining law, alleging that the portions of the law pertaining to teachers and municipal workers that were found unconstitutional by a Dane County judge are also unconstitutional for state workers.

The lawsuit, filed in Dane County Circuit Court by the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Association (WLEA), two police officers and a field agent for the state Division of Motor Vehicles, alleges that portions of Gov. Scott Walker's collective bargaining law violates state workers' rights to speech, association, petition and advocacy under the state constitution.

WSJ: Wisconsin's GOP legislature lays out their priorities for mining, education, taxes, and jobs

January 6, 2013
Dee J. Hall
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Paving the way for a new mine, lowering income taxes and finding ways to train more workers for available jobs are among the priorities cited by top Republicans, who will control the Legislature.

The two-year session begins Monday and will run through May 2014. Republicans have a 59-39 majority in the Assembly, with one vacancy in a heavily GOP district, and an 18-15 majority in the Senate. Gov. Scott Walker is also a Republican.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said much of the Legislature’s work will revolve around the governor’s proposed budget, expected to be submitted in mid-February.

“The budget controls the landscape for the first six months,” Fitzgerald said.

WISCONSIN WATCH: Redistricting entirely responsible for GOP’s "success" in congressional and legislative races

January 7, 2013
Kate Golden

In the aftermath of the Nov. 6 elections, words like “fickle” and “schizophrenic” are being bandied about to describe the Wisconsin electorate.

How else can anyone explain a group of voters who simultaneously picked Democrats Barack Obama for president and Tammy Baldwin for U.S. Senate while preserving a 5-3 Republican edge in its congressional delegation and giving the GOP a commanding majority in both houses of the state Legislature?

AUDIO: Hear Dennis Kucinich's speech at the Rally for Democracy

February 12, 2013
Liberty Tree Foundation

Dennis Kucinich and Ben Manski speak to Wisconsinites on February 12th, 2013 as part of Liberty Tree's "Shut the Chamber!" campaign kickoff (complete audio below, courtesy of WORT 89.9FM, followed by printed excerpts).

Ben Manski:

NYTIMES: US Chamber Lobbying Heavily Against Climate Legislation

March 4, 2013
John Broder
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(Originally published on november 18, 2009)

BACK in the 1990s when Thomas J. Donohue was president of the American Trucking Associations, a subordinate raised a question at a staff meeting.

Some of the association’s members, the aide said, wondered whether it was really necessary for the group’s president to fly on a private jet.

Mr. Donohue, a scrappy Irish-American born in Brooklyn and raised on Long Island, turned to his chief of staff and asked how many seats his jet had. “Well, eight, sir,” the aide said. “Tomorrow morning I want you to call and get a 12-seater,” Mr. Donohue shot back. The subject never came up again.

CAMPUS PROGRESS: Tom Donohue's US Chamber is Biggest Obstacle to Progressive Change

March 4, 2013
Jake Blumgart
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(originally posted on June 21, 2010)

The Chamber of Commerce is one of the biggest obstacles to progressive change in the United States. Claiming to represent the interests of American business, it is the largest lobbying group in the nation, with over 300,000 anonymous dues paying members and a staggeringly deep war chest and immense influence in both parties. From its cyclopean headquarters on H Street and Connecticut Avenue NW, the Chamber mobilizes its diverse membership to combat everything from environmental regulation to minimum wage increases.

NYTIMES: 45 Anonymous Corporate Donors Provided More Than Half of US Chamber's 2009 Funding

March 14, 2013
Eric Lipton, Mike McIntire, and Don Van Natta Jr.
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(originally published on October 21, 2010)

Prudential Financial sent in a $2 million donation last year as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce kicked off a national advertising campaign to weaken the historic rewrite of the nation’s financial regulations.

AMERICAN RIGHTS AT WORK: The US Chamber's Anti-Union Agenda

March 14, 2013
Capital Research Center
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(originally published on July 27, 2008)

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation’s most powerful business lobbying organization1, has been campaigning against unions, fair labor practices, increases in the minimum wage, and legal protections for America’s workers for nearly a century.  The Chamber’s anti-union initiatives are just one part of its multi-issue agenda.  Unlike other anti-union organizations, this prominent lobbying force does not hide its alignment with big business.

FOLEY HOAG LLP: U.S. Chamber Sues SEC Over Payment Disclosure Rule to Foreign Governments

March 15, 2013
Paul Bork, Dean Hanley, Brandon White, Matthew Baltay
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(Originally published on October 18, 2012)

On October 10, 2012, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and three industry groups filed suit against the Securities and Exchange Commission in federal court in Washington, D.C., seeking to overturn the recently-promulgated SEC rule implementing the Dodd-Frank Act provision requiring disclosure of payments to foreign governments relating to oil, gas and mining projects.

RAW STORY: US Chamber Opposed 9/11 First Responders Healthcare Bill For Fear of Higher Corporate Taxes

March 15, 2013
Daniel Tencer, John Byrne, Stephen Webster
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(originally published on December 18, 2010)

The US Chamber of Commerce lobbied to kill a bill that would have helped cover medical expenses and compensation for first responders and survivors of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, according to documents available online.

The Chamber’s aim was to keep open a tax loophole benefiting foreign corporations that the $7.4 billion bill would have closed to provide funding for the American emergency workers.

TRUTHOUT: US Chamber Attorneys and Military Contractors Conspired to Hack Political Opponents

March 15, 2013
Brad Friedman
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(Originally published on March 12, 2013)

So what do the Chinese Government and the Rightwing mega-lobbying group calling itself the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have in common? Apparently, they are both interested in hacking into the computer networks of their perceived political opponents and appear to be using very similar techniques and tools to do so, as The Nation's Lee Fang reported on Monday.

WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL: US Chamber Affiliate Throws $10,000 At City Council Candidates

April 1, 2013
Dean Mosiman
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(Note: The Greater Madison Chamber of Comerce is an affiliate of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, which is the US Chamber of Commerce's legislative arm in Madison.)

(Originally published on March 31, 2013)

The Madison City Council will have a new look after Tuesday’s election. The big question: How new?

The council will have at least four new members with newcomers taking open seats, while 10 incumbents have opponents.

Campaigns in 11 races have attracted support, cash or both from groups from the leftist political party Progressive Dane to the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, which distributed more than $10,000 in the finance period ending March 18.

Shut the Chamber is marching on the U.S. Chamber!

May 18, 2013

Shut the Chamber is joining with unemployed folks from across the country in a 150 mile from Philadelphia to D.C. to take on Washington’s puppet masters- the U.S. Chamber.  And we need your support!

Even if you can’t march with us, you can participate in our virtual march by uploading a picture of yourself here along with a story of why you’re standing with us to shut the chamber.

Operation Green Jobs to conclude 150 mile march at U.S. Chamber of Commerce

May 23, 2013
 
Press Contact:
Cheri Honkala (215) 869-4753
Jake Parent (202) 834-5593
Carl Gibson (608) 443-6294
 
Unemployed Workers March from Philadelphia to Washington D.C. to Tell U.S. Chamber of Commerce to Stop Blocking Green Jobs.
 

NYT: Chamber head Donahue transformed group into horrifying political colossus

June 1, 2013
Sheryl Gay Stolberg

THOMAS J. DONOHUE is not one for sweet talk. No sooner had he been named president of the United States Chamber of Commerce in 1997 than he promised to “make life miserable” for Bill Archer, a powerful member of Congress. In the next breath, he suggested that John Sweeney, the union leader, needed to be punched in the mouth.

Action Alert: What you can do to stop School Privatization in Wisconsin

June 3, 2013
Institute for Wisconsin's Future

From the Institute for Wisconsin's Future:

JFC close to secret deal on vouchers; vote could be yet today …… it’s time to act again!

Folks …. we are in crisis mode!

There is one thing for sure about the budget process in the state of Wisconsin: Nothing is for sure and secret deals can change the course the state takes for decades to come.

It is being widely reported that Republicans have reached a behind-closed-door deal to expand vouchers statewide. Don’t be fooled, this is not a good deal for Wisconsin’s 424 public school districts, 870,000 public school children, or the communities of Wisconsin.

More Info: 

WISCDC: Legislature seeks to ram through further attacks on voting rights, clean government

June 3, 2013
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign

From the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign:

Word out of the Capitol is that a state Assembly committee will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, June 4th at 10am at the Wisconsin State Capital (417 North) on yet-to-be-introduced legislation that restricts voting rights while enhancing special interest influence over elections, with a committee vote on the bill coming later next week.

MJS: Walker withdraws support for student regent after learning he signed recall petition

June 14, 2013
Karen Herzog and Patrick Marley

A University of Wisconsin-Platteville engineering student anticipating a new seat on the UW System's Board of Regents was renounced at the eleventh hour by Gov. Scott Walker, who withdrew the young man's appointment after finding out he had signed a petition as an 18-year-old freshman calling for the governor's recall.

Joshua Inglett, who finished his sophomore year last month, said an aide to Walker asked him Wednesday evening whether he had signed the recall petition. He told him he had, and within hours another Walker aide left him a voice mail that made it clear to Inglett he wouldn't get the position.

CAP TIMES: Chamber pays Walker to impose its policies, ranks Wisconsin 44th in economic performance

June 17, 2013
Mike Ivey

(Originally published May 3rd, 2013)

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker traveled to Washington, D.C., earlier this week for America’s Small Business Summit, an annual event hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

There, Walker appeared on a special panel titled “How to Lead Enterprising States,” joining with the governors of Maine and Pennsylvania.

“I participated in a good discussion about what we’ve done, and what we can continue to do, to help small businesses grow and thrive,” Walker said in summing up the trip for his weekly radio address.

MIKE KONOPACKI: Scott Walker’s jobs fraud

June 17, 2013
Mike Konopacki

(Originally published April 19th, 2013)

Actually, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s agenda is an unqualified success. Everything Walker has done over the last two years was designed to keep wages low and ensure employers a weak and desperate labor force. It’s simple supply and demand — high unemployment ensures low wages.

The March 2013 BLS statistics rate Wisconsin 44th in the nation in job creation. Wages fell by 4.1 percent and unemployment rose to 8.4 percent. Critics blame Walker’s austerity policies. Walker blames the “uncertainty” of peaceful protests and recall elections.