Wisconsin Wave

Uniting Wisconsinites for democracy and shared prosperity

This is an archived version of the Wisconsin Wave website.

DIANE RAVITCH: Ex-charter school proponent: why charters are a mistake

The campaign to "reform" schools by giving public money to private corporations is a distraction from our system's real problems: poverty and racial segregation.

Los Angeles has more charter schools than any other school district in the nation, and it's a very bad idea.

Billionaires like privately managed schools. Parents are lured with glittering promises of getting their kids a sure ticket to college. Politicians want to appear to be champions of "school reform" with charters.

PAUL BUCHHEIT: Average American family pays $6,000 a year in subsidies to big business


That's over and above our payments to the big companies for energy and food and housing and health care and all our tech devices. It's $6,000 that no family would have to pay if we truly lived in a competitive but well-regulated free-market economy.

WI DEMOCRACY CAMPAIGN: Governor continues to rake in money from elite class of donors

Madison – Seventy-eight individuals and couples mostly from outside Wisconsin contributed nearly $1 million to legislative and statewide officeholders and candidates during the first six months of 2013, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review found.

This elite class of donors who contributed $10,000 or more is similar to “whales” – a gambling industry reference to an exclusive cache of wealthy high rollers who make big wagers and generally receive lavish comps from casinos to lure them back in the future.

STATE JOURNAL: State survey shows one third of teachers would change their profession

A new survey of thousands of Wisconsin teachers found that nearly a third would “probably not” or “definitely not” choose the profession again, and 63 percent said they did not think the public appreciated the role teachers play in their children’s education.

Of the nearly 2,000 pre-K through 12th-grade teachers who took the Voices from the Classroom survey, 85 percent said they would like to see more interaction between the schools and the business community.

NICHOLS AND MCCHESNEY: Dollarocracy: How big money undermines our democracy and how we can take it back

“We’ve found through our experience that timid supplications for justice will not solve the problem,” declared the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1967 as he announced the civil rights movement’s pivot toward the economic justice message of the Poor People’s Campaign. “We’ve got to massively confront the power structure."

APPLETON POST-CRESCENT: Walker making excuses for slow WI job growth

When we last checked in with Gov. Scott Walker on his campaign promise to create 250,000 jobs in the state in his first term, he was telling Rhinelander TV station WJFW that it wasn’t so much a promise as a goal.

“My goal wasn’t so much to hit a magic number as much as it was, in the four years before I took office, when I was campaigning, I saw that we lost over 133,000 jobs in the state. I said, ‘It’s really not about jobs, it’s about real people, real jobs like those here, and more importantly, affecting real families all across the state,’” Walker told WJFW.

CAP TIMES: Women protest WMC's attempts to repeal Family and Medical Leave Act

On Women’s Equality Day 25 years ago, former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson signed the state’s Family Medical Leave Act into law, a stricter version of the federal version already on the books.

On Monday, hundreds gathered outside the state Capitol in Madison to mark Thompson’s action and to draw attention to past efforts by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state’s largest business lobby, to repeal Wisconsin’s version.

CAP TIMES: Does freedom of the press still apply in state Capitol?

The U.S. Constitution is absolutely clear in its language:

There can be “no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”

The Wisconsin Constitution is absolutely clear in its language:

“No laws shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech or of the press.”

Yet Progressive magazine editor Matt Rothschild was arrested at the state Capitol last week while reporting on the arrest of participants in the Solidarity Sing Along.

Rothschild made it clear that he was a reporter doing his job.

STATE JOURNAL: Despite arrests, Capitol protest grows

Participation in the noontime Capitol protest against Gov. Scott Walker continued to crescendo Monday despite nearly four weeks of almost daily arrests for gathering in the rotunda without a permit.

New participants, many of them from local police and firefighters unions, said last Thursday’s arrest of a journalist, a Madison City Council member and a 14-year-old girl encouraged them to join the more than 2-year-old Solidarity Singalong.

STATE JOURNAL: Walker creates stir with talk of stripping police, firefighter union rights


Gov. Scott Walker stirred things up Monday with talk about extending the state ban on public sector union rights to police and firefighters, before downplaying the idea Tuesday.

Walker and Republican lawmakers exempted police and firefighters from Act 10 of 2011, saying that they couldn’t risk strikes by public safety personnel.



In the past he’s employed illegal tactics and abused his power to round up votes, but Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) didn’t have to break a sweat to win this contest. 

For racking up a record that has veered from unethical conduct to staggering incompetence, CREW’s voters awarded Gov. Walker the title of Worst Governor in America.

A BAGFUL OF CASH: How the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Orchestrated a Corporate Takeover of Government

The US Chamber of Commerce-- a 101 year-old organization formed as corporations’ first union—is the chief agent behind Congress’ kowtowing to corporate interests, the Supreme Court’s favorability to corporations in its rulings, and presidents of both parties’ insistence on accommodating the wishes of multinational corporations at the expense of working-class people all over the world.

MIKE JOHNSON: Chamber-backed pols defeat Madison donation disclosure proposal

A recent Madison City Council vote left me pondering a line from "The Simpsons" TV show: “Y'know, a town with good legislation is like a mule with a spinning wheel. No one knows how he got it and danged if he knows how to use it!”

CAP TIMES: Researcher: Walker 'fed us a sedative' when stimulus was needed

The latest job numbers are out and while Wisconsin has showed some slight improvement, the state still trails most of its neighbors and the nation as a whole coming out of the Great Recession.

NYT: Big companies paid a fraction of corporate tax rate

The biggest, most profitable American companies paid only a fraction of the taxes they would owe under the official corporate rate, according to a study released on Monday by the Government Accountability Office.

Using allowed deductions and legal loopholes, large corporations enjoyed a 12.6 percent tax rate far below the 35 percent tax that is the statutory rate imposed by the federal government on corporate profits.

ISTHMUS: Scott Walker's high-speed fail: Train service would have started now

Train cars are referred to as "rolling stock." Now, thanks to Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican legislators who run this state, Wisconsin is thought of as a "laughingstock."

Had Tom Barrett won the election for governor in 2010, right now, June 2013, would have seen the opening of Madison's high-speed rail station, connecting us to Milwaukee and Chicago immediately and the Twin Cities eventually.

JOHN NICHOLS: Budget fails majority of Wisconsinites

Assembly Democrats had planned to propose more than 200 amendments to the biennial budget that the chamber voted on Wednesday. But in a surprise move, Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, simply announced that his caucus was ready to vote.

The Wisconsin progressive tradition tends more toward a fight-it-to-the-bitter-end approach, especially when a budget is as fundamentally flawed as this one.

TNM: Elizabeth Warren Warns Supreme Court Owned by Chamber

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) used her remarks at the 2013 American Constitution Society for Law and Policy National Convention to warn that the Supreme Court is being captured by interests representing America’s biggest corporations:

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

(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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

(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.

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

(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.

NYTIMES: US Chamber Lobbying Heavily Against Climate Legislation

(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.

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

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:

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

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.