News

MJS: WMC members feeling "optimistic" about direction of the state since Walker took power

June 8, 2011
Joe Taschler

Executives surveyed by Wisconsin's largest business lobbying group overwhelmingly say the state is "going in the right direction," a near-complete reversal of sentiment from a year ago that comes against a backdrop of exceptional political animosity.

 

FORWARD LOOKOUT: Why Did Soglin Call in the Cops on Union Protesters?

June 7, 2011
Kyle Szarzynski

Yesterday’s march from Madison’s Fire Station 1 to the Walkerville camp and around the Capitol – stopping by the criminal M&I Bank along the way – was an inspiring spectacle, but things should have turned out better.

 

FDL: Capitol Police Tackle, Arrest Members of the Press

June 7, 2011
David Dayen

Five people were arrested in Madison, Wisconsin at the Capitol yesterday, amid a march of thousands led by former Sen. Russ Feingold.

WSJ: Justices split politically as court takes up collective bargaining law

June 7, 2011
Ed Treleven

As the state Supreme Court heard arguments Monday on a Dane County judge’s order blocking a law that curtails collective bargaining by public employee unions, questions from the justices appeared to fall mostly along the court’s political divide.

CAP TIMES: Craft brewers vent anger over provision in Walker’s budget

June 7, 2011
Jessica Vanegeren

The number of craft brewers is growing across the state, with beer-brand names like New Glarus, Capital Brewery and Sprecher as recognizable to many Wisconsin beer drinkers as Bud and Miller Lite.

In all, the state’s 60 craft brewers now account for 5 percent — a rising but still slim percentage — of the state’s annual beer sales, according to the Colorado-based Brewers Association, a nonprofit trade group dedicated to promoting the country’s small brewers.

JOHN NICHOLS: Feingold marches in solidarity with protesters on Monday

June 7, 2011
John Nichols

Russ Feingold leapt into the center of the fight for worker rights and people-first budgeting in Wisconsin this week, stirring excitement about the prospect that the popular former U.S. senator might soon be re-entering the political fray — as a candidate for an open Senate seat in 2012 or perhaps as the champion of the forces seeking to remove right-wing Gov. Scott Walker in a recall election.

Feingold marched at the front of a crowd of 5,000 public- and private-sector workers, farmers and community activists who packed the streets of Madison Monday for a hastily organized march to protest moves by Walker and his allies to enact a state budget that attacks collective bargaining rights, undermines local democracy and cuts funding for schools and public services.

The MJS recaps the last three and a half months of protests in Wisconsin

June 7, 2011
Bill Glauber, Dave Umhoefer and Lee Bergquist

It was winter in Madison, and Gov. Scott Walker was poised to reorder the state's fiscal and political landscape, perhaps for a generation.

The tool he chose for his far-reaching plan was the budget-repair bill, an often mundane piece of legislation designed to balance the government's books in the middle of a two-year budget cycle.

In Walker's hands, the bill became a bombshell. Tucked in the legislation was language to curtail collective bargaining for most public employees.

 

DEMOCRACY NOW interviews the two journalists arrested while covering budget bill protests

June 6, 2011
Democracy Now

More than a thousand Wisconsin workers marched through Madison, Wisconsin, today to protest Gov. Scott Walker’s "budget repair" bill that slashes collective bargaining rights and funding for education, healthcare and seniors’ programs. During the march, police took into custody two credentialed journalists who were filming the protest.

THE PROGRESSIVE: Wisconsin activists gears up to stop budget bill

June 6, 2011
Rebecca Kemble

The limits of the conventional political process have been reached.

Wisconsin is gearing up for mass action at the Capitol in Madison in advance of the 2011 – 2013 biennial budget deliberations by the full Senate and Assembly. Governor Walker and the Republican legislative leadership have said they want the budget passed by June 20. The installation of the Walkerville encampment on the Capitol Square this past Saturday night was planned as a way to provide a base camp and organizational hub for teach-ins and for disseminating information about legislative calendars and the contents of the bills under consideration for the next two weeks up until the budget is taken up.

MJS: Republicans using state budget to weaken child labor laws

June 6, 2011
Jason Stein

Madison - As the budget committee wrapped up work last week, Republicans largely avoided putting earmarks in the state budget bill but injected new and far-reaching policies into it.

Late Friday night, the Joint Finance Committee approved allowing bail bondsmen in Wisconsin, sales tax exemptions for snow-making equipment and direct mail promotions, changing child labor laws and blocking local regulations on bird hunting preserves. The committee last week also amended the 2011-'13 budget bill to make it harder to get financial interest statements for public officials and limit the work that county highway crews can do, leaving more work for private contractors.

MJS: Republicans add additional $128.7 worth of tax cuts to budget

June 6, 2011
Kathleen Gallagher

Aiming to make Wisconsin more attractive to business, Republican lawmakers have proposed reducing the state tax on the production earnings of manufacturers and agricultural businesses to almost nothing by 2016.

The tax reductions - slashing the rate in annual steps from the current 7.9% to 0.4% - would apply to the production income of the businesses, not to income such as royalties and investments.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates the measure would cost the state $359.7 million over its first five years, and $128.7 million a year once it is fully phased in starting in 2016.

Agence France-Presse: Raging Greeks Stage Biggest Anti-Austerity Protest Yet

June 5, 2011
Will Vassilopoulos
Over 50,000 Greek protesters assemble in the capital

 

ATHENS — Thousands of Greeks took to the streets of Athens late Sunday on the 12th consecutive day of protests against the government's draconian austerity measures.

COMMON DREAMS: Madrid activists vote to continue sit-in as similar demonstrations grow across the country

June 5, 2011
María Carrión

MADRID, Spain -- The crowd of three thousand sat patiently on the hard pavement of the plaza as the fourth hour of the popular assembly came and went. The issue was whether Camp Sol, a protest that had persevered for two weeks in Madrid's main square known as Puerta del Sol, would dismantle or stay on. Protesters were exhausted from living on the streets; there had been a few cases of harassment and tensions between groups; the infrastructure of the camp was fragile; electricity was scarce. The camp's legal team had kept police at bay but there were no guarantees that it would remain that way (a similar camp in Barcelona had been attacked by police the day before).

WSJ: Wisconsin citizens launch "Walkerville" on Capitol square

June 5, 2011
George Hesselberg

Madison's newest campground opened at 7 p.m. Saturday, with most choice tent spots in "Walkerville" resting on concrete. There was no fee or registration, but the rules were strict, privacy was zero and scary stories around the flashlight were likely to feature cuts, slashes and vouchers.

There were roughly three dozen tents set up by 8 p.m., but by 9 p.m. organizers estimated there were 250 campers in 75 to 100 tents. The convivial mood was infectious, with lots of friendly conversation and tents set up within inches of neighbors, as if at a rock festival.

JOHN NICHOLS: When GOP and Socialists stood together for labor

June 5, 2011
John Nichols

The image of a Republican governor and legislators leading the charge to take away collective bargaining rights is getting so burned into the public consciousness that a lot of Wisconsinites might think that Republicans have always been anti-worker, anti-union pawns of out-of-state robber barons.

But that’s not the case.

WSJ: City of Madison grant permits for "Walkerville" tent city

June 4, 2011
Dan Simmons

A city committee on Friday green-lighted a request to use Downtown streets for a "Walkerville" protest village starting Saturday night, setting the stage for a continuous presence by opponents of Gov. Scott Walker's budget who will spend their nights camped in tents along the roads.

PR WATCH: Wisconsin Positive Buisness Alliance organizes protest to save Wisconsin beer

June 4, 2011
Jessica Opoien

“This is the Wisconsin revolution, and it’s powered by beer!”

John Nichols, associate editor of the Capital Times and Washington correspondent for The Nation, gave a rousing introduction to Friday’s “Save Our Craft Beers” rally, held on the State Street side of the Capitol at 5 p.m.

 

Video footage from the WPBA's Save our Beer Rally

June 3, 2011

On Friday, June 3rd the Wisconsin Positive Business Alliance and the Wisconsin Wave organized a "Save our Beer" rally in opposition to anti-craft brewery provision inserted into the budget bill.  At the event a high spirited crowd convened near the Capitol to hear first hand from Wisconsin brewers how this will affect their business.

Lineup and video footage from the Save our Beer Rally:

WBP: Alternatives to Increasing Taxes on the Working Poor

June 2, 2011
Wisconsin Budget Project

The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) voted Tuesday evening for a package of state policy changes that cut taxes for multistate corporations and the wealthy, while raising taxes on working poor families with two or more children.

WSJ: Walkerville tent-city planned to protest budget

June 2, 2011
Andy Cullen and Mary Spicuzza

With lawmakers gearing up for a vote on the state budget, a “Walkerville” camp similar to the one that sprang up during the protests at the state Capitol earlier this year may be returning this weekend — this time to the terraces of Mifflin and Carroll streets.

We Are Wisconsin, an alliance of community groups, labor unions and others, has asked the city for a permit to set up the camp across from the Capitol to provide information about Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposals and efforts to recall Republican legislators who voted to eliminate bargaining rights for most public employees.

MJS: Anti-craft beer bill passed by joint finance committee

June 1, 2011
Tom Daykin

A proposal to ban brewers from buying wholesale beer distributors in Wisconsin has won a key legislative vote, even as both the state's small craft brewers and the world's largest beer maker say it would restrict competition.

The legislation, approved Tuesday night by the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee, is designed to stop Anheuser-Busch from buying wholesale distributors, say its supporters, including a beer wholesalers lobbying group. Opponents say those fears are exaggerated, with craft brewers saying the legislation would hamper their growth prospects.

BEER FM: Budget rider will devastate small Wisconsin breweries

June 1, 2011
Andy

This just crept up out of the woodwork recently and it’s high time BeerFM sheds some light on the situation. I’ve been notified by the Wisconsin Brewers Guild as well as Anne Sprecher about this issue. I’ve pulled the following block of text from this thread on BeerAdvocate: http://beeradvocate.com/forum/read/3813001 which in turn came from Pearl Street Brewery’s Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/notes/pearl-street-brewery/budget-bill-to-damage-wisconsins-small-brewers/218339011518888

WSJ: Kloppenburg will not challenge recount results

May 31, 2011
Scott Bauer

Wisconsin Supreme Court challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg conceded defeat on Tuesday to conservative incumbent Justice David Prosser, saying she did not think a court would overturn the election results that were affirmed following a statewide recount.

Kloppenburg's concession brings to an end the race that was widely seen as a referendum on Republican Gov. Scott Walker's divisive legislation stripping most state workers of nearly all their collective bargaining rights.

FORWARD LOOKOUT: Protesters are Responsible for Striking Down Anti-Union Bill

May 27, 2011
Kyle Szarzynski

With Judge Sumi’s ruling striking down Walker’s collective bargaining law, it’s worthwhile to recall just how it came to be that the Republicans ended up ramming through this bill. Failing to provide 24 hours notice, the legislative committee responsible for amending the measure broke state law. As we all know, this illegality was part of a broader pattern of behavior during the month-long upheaval at the Capitol in February and March.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Colleagues see Nickolaus as insular, hardworking--Waukesha County clerk's error is at center of Supreme Court recount

May 15, 2011
Laurel Walker

May 15, 2011 6:36 p.m.
Waukesha - Kathy Nickolaus, the county clerk at the center of the state Supreme Court election controversy and the focus of an ongoing state elections investigation, has been described by colleagues and acquaintances as headstrong and insular, hardworking and independent.

She came to local public office, where constituents are the boss, from a staff job at the state Capitol, where partisan politics and loyalty to the party caucus fomented team warfare.

"I don't think she's ever gotten past that," said Pam Reeves, the Republican elected county treasurer two years before Nickolaus' arrival at the courthouse. "From the beginning she put up walls: 'You're not going to tell me what to do.' Then she put up more walls."

Daily Kos: Wisconsin Recount, Days 17 & 18 - The Machines Will Save Us

May 15, 2011
Giles Goat Boy

As it made clear at the start of the recount of Wisconsin's April 5th Supreme Court election, the agency in charge of administering that election is determined to prove to the people of Wisconsin that the votes were counted honestly and openly.

As I have said since before the start of the recount, the Government Accountability Board (GAB) has a conflict of interest. The GAB is in charge of investigating allegations of illegal or unethical activities made against the people the GAB trains to run elections. Any fraud or incompetence the GAB might uncover among municipal and county clerks is an indictment of the GAB's ability to train and oversee those same clerks. The GAB has a huge incentive to avoid discovery of wrongdoing.

Their dual role results in some conflicting explanations from them.

AP: Walker's budget raises taxes on the poor

May 15, 2011
Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A new nonpartisan analysis of Republican Gov. Scott Walker's budget proposal shows that it would raise taxes for poor people, while decreasing taxes overall.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau report shows that taxes for low and moderate income people would increase more than $49 million over two years. The largest increase comes to families who qualify for the earned income tax credit and homeowners who receive a homestead tax credit.

Anne McClintock analyzes the recent uprising in Wisconsin

May 13, 2011
Anne McClintock

On arriving in Madison some years ago, I went to the huge Farmers Market that winds round the Capitol. Startled by the slow-moving procession of orderly, white shoppers all pacing in the same direction, I dubbed the market throngs “The Million White Person March,” little imagining how in the spring of 2011 this deep-rooted Wisconsin sense of discipline, good-neighborliness and community pride would fire into the largest rallies in defense of labor rights and democratic process that the United States has seen in eighty years.

Brian Pruka: WHAT I SAW IN WAUKESHA and WHY I AM CONCERNED

May 11, 2011
Brian Pruka


On Monday, May 9th, I drove from Madison to Waukesha to observe the Waukesha County recount of the WI Supreme Court election. I observed from 2:30 pm until the day’s recount was finished at 7pm.

I began the day as a citizen observer. Observers sit in the gallery, a row of chairs behind a line that separates them from those conducting the recount (the official “tabulators”) and campaign-designated observers who are allowed to look over the shoulders of the tabulators. As an citizen observer I was only 4-6 feet from the first row of tabulator tables. But I wasn’t close enough to actually read anything in the poll books or ballots or computer tally tapes being processed.

BRADBLOG.COM: Many Problems Observed in Milwaukee 'Recount' of WI Supreme Court Election

May 11, 2011
"eowyn_of_rohan"

But No Media Reports!:  Open ballot bags, mistallied ballots, high undervote rate, observation obscured and other unreported concerns...

[BragBlog Ed Note: The following account from an observer at Milwaukee County's machine "recount" of ballots from Wisconsin's April 5th Supreme Court election between incumbent Republican David Prosser and independent Asst. Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg, comes on the heels of recently documented reports of complete chain of custody violations such as "wide open" ballots bags in Waukesha County --- where the stunning announcement of the addition of some 14,000 votes two days after the election reversed the originally reported results to give Prosser the unofficial lead over Kloppenburg for the 10-year seat on the state's highest court --- as well as earlier reports of ballots discovered unsecured for weeks in Dane County's city of Verona and unexplained variance

PROTECTOURELECTIONS.ORG: Nonpartisan Advocacy Group Offers $25,000 Reward For Evidence of Tampering in Wisconsin's Supreme Court Election

May 11, 2011

WASHINGTON, May 5, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- ProtectOurElections.org today offered a $25,000 reward for "information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person or persons for election tampering, resulting in reversal of the current outcome of the April 5, 2011 Wisconsin Supreme Court election in which David Prosser is said to lead JoAnne Kloppenburg by more than 7,000 votes." A reward poster is located at http://www.velvetrevolution.us/images/SC-Reward.pdf.

 

Waukesha Recount Eyewitness: Custody of Ballot Bags in Waukesha Raises Serious Concerns

May 11, 2011
James Mueller


From: Jim Mueller, observer at the Waukesha County recount
To: Citizens concerned about the integrity of the Waukesha County recount
RE: Please encourage the (Kloppenburg) Campaign to insist that these steps listed below be taken. If the Board of Canvssers refuse, they look like they aren't doing a good job or ....?
Date: Wed., May 11, 2011
 

Following is an email message that I just sent to Melissa. (editor's note: Melissa Mulliken, campaign manager for The Kloppenburg for Justice committee).

Melissa,

The ongoing compromised state of ballot security in Waukesha County should be stopped immediately.

BREAKING: Legislative committee recommends cuts to WI Arts Board

May 6, 2011
Patti Wenzel
news photo

The Joint Finance Committee voted today to end the independent agency status of the Wisconsin Arts Board, moving the oversight of arts to the Tourism Board. The proposal will now go before the State Assembly and Senate for final approval as part of Gov. Scott Walker’s 2011-13 biennial budget. The vote was along party lines with 14 Republicans voting in favor and four Democrats voting against.

The committee did restore some of the cuts Walker proposed, returning over $350,000 to the agency over the next two years. The Board was facing a drop from $3 million to $750,000; now it will have just over $1 million in the next budget period.

The JFC also reversed Walker by allowing the Arts Board the autonomy to select its own executive director in the future.

WWW.BRADBLOG.COM: CITY OF BROOKFIELD BALLOT BAGS FOUND 'WIDE OPEN' IN WAUKESHA COUNTY, WI

May 5, 2011
Brad Friedman

Five out of six bags of ballots from first batch to be counted out of the City of Brookfield in Waukesha County, WI today, were discovered "almost wide open" during Day 8 of the statewide Supreme Court election "recount". The bags were open and unsealed, according to both photographic evidence and an eye-witnesses account from the counting room. (Many more exclusive photos posted below.)

 "When the ballot bags were taken out and placed upon the counting table, we were literally stunned," one of the citizen observers, Mary Magnuson, a Kloppenburg volunteer, told The BRAD BLOG this morning. "5 out of the 6 ballot bags were almost literally wide open, and ballots could be clearly seen."

Nonpartisan Advocacy Group Offers $25,000 Reward For Evidence of Tampering in Wisconsin's Supreme Court Election

May 5, 2011
www.protectourelections.org

WASHINGTON, May 5, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- ProtectOurElections.org today offered a $25,000 reward for "information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person or persons for election tampering, resulting in reversal of the current outcome of the April 5, 2011 Wisconsin Supreme Court election in which David Prosser is said to lead JoAnne Kloppenburg by more than 7,000 votes." A reward poster is located at http://www.velvetrevolution.us/images/SC-Reward.pdf.

Images from Waukesha County recount from today, Thursday, May 5, 2011

May 5, 2011
photos forwarded via Facebook

The following three photos were sent by citizen observers at the Waukesha County recount this evening. Photos received at 7:15pm, Thursday, May 5th. The ballot bags pictured are from the city of Brookfield. Open ballot bags.

BRADBLOG.COM: WI's Supreme Court Election 'Recount' is a Mess

May 3, 2011
Brad Friedman

Wisconsin is no Minnesota.

Where Minnesota's post-election hand count of the 2008 U.S. Senate election between then Sen. Norm Coleman and now Sen. Al Franken was, as we wrote at the UK's Guardian at the time, "one of the longest and most transparent election hand-counts in the history of the US," Wisconsin has made it extremely difficult (putting it nicely) to know what the hell is actually going on in their statewide "recount" of the April 5th, 2011 state Supreme Court election between Justice David Prosser and Asst. Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg.