New: Emails show strong coordination between Scott Walker officials and lobbyists during Act 10  • October 17, 2015

Mmmmm.  Fresh dirt on Wisconsin’s dirtiest.

The question you’ll be left with is “Who is ‘Jimmy’?”

My best guess is it’s Scott Walker’s campaign coordinator and ringleader from day one, RJ Johnson.

Here’s the story from  WKOW:

MADISON (WKOW) — Personal email records received by 27 News from the office of Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) show a high level of coordination between senior members of the administration and a number of Republican lobbying groups during the battle over collective bargaining rights for state workers in 2011.

One such email suggests a lobbyist may have had the original idea for separating collective bargaining restrictions out of the 2011 budget repair bill and into a separate piece of legislation.

On February 22, 2011, GOP lobbyist Bill McCoshen sent an email to someone identified only as “Jimmy”, which lays out a plan for how the Walker administration and legislators can deal with the problems caused by the of 14 Democratic senators who had left the state just days earlier.

In that that email, McCoshen includes a memo that lays out “the plan.” Part of that plan includes a bullet point that reads: “Move collective bargaining into a separate special session bill.”

The State Senate ultimately did exactly that on March 9, 2011.

The email address for “Jimmy” was redacted by the Walker administration, which redacted only the personal email addresses of state officials and state employees in the 980 pages of emails they turned over to 27 News as the result of a public records request.

McCoshen told 27 News Friday that “Jimmy” was not a state official or employee and couldn’t say why his email address would have been redacted if he wasn’t. The personal email addresses of private individuals are not redacted in the records. McCoshen said he wasn’t sure why that particular email would be in a public file at all.

Laurel Patrick, press secretary for Gov. Walker, would not say who the email was sent to – only claiming it was not sent to anyone in the Walker administration until after Act 10 was already passed.

The emails show even more coordination after Dane County Judge Mary Ann Sumi struck down Act 10 in May of 2011.

Someone in the Walker administration sent out an email to 20 different Republican lobbyists looking for help.

“Gentleman, I believe Judge Sumi’s decision today leaves the general public with the impression that the changes to collective bargaining are dead,’ reads the email. “Should the bill be passed again?”

As one of those consulted, McCoshen advised the administration to take a step back.

“Delay the collective bargaining changes until the recalls are over,” wrote McCoshen, who advised making a deal that had been proposed by then-Senator Tim Cullen (D-Janesville) months earlier. “Maybe even hold some listening sessions so it give the appearance the administration is reaching out.”

But most suggested staying the course and not giving in on the fight to have the law upheld as is.

“Do not concede that Sumi is right, but announce that while the legal battle WILL continue, the cost of waiting is too high,” wrote Brian Fraley, who then worked for the MacIver Institute.

“We’ll get through this. We’ve seen this movie before and it stinks worse than Bob Jauch after walking up a flight of stairs. But life goes on,” wrote Fraley, making a reference to the former Democratic senator from far northern Wisconsin.

Capitol Bureau Chief Greg Neumann will have much more on this story on 27 News at 6.



Sorry for the infrequent blog posts.  I’m on the go a lot and I’m basically never at a desktop computer lately and it has actually been killing me that I couldn’t blog at all.  So standards will just lower here (arrrrgh) and it’ll be just these little updates for a while.

Also, comments are off at the blog now (maybe for forever).  Shoot me a tweet at bluecheddar1 if you like.

How AP and the WI press does damage control for Governor Drunken Sailor • October 18, 2015

Yet again I get the impression that Associated Press does whatever it can to protect and/or repair Scott Walker’s image.

Compare the headlines and stories on Walker’s recent FEC filing:

From Washington Post (author – Jenna Johnson): How Scott Walker spent $90,000 a day to lose an election


From U.S. News and World Report (author- David Catanese):

Fiscal Conservative Scott Walker Spent Like a Drunken Sailor, Put Kids on Payroll


From Associated Press (author – Scott Bauer):

Wisconsin Gov. Walker raised about $7.4 million in run for president, spent about $6.4 million


Channel 3000 of Madison REALLY did Walker a solid favor and shortened the headline (and the story) further:

Walker raised about $7.4 million in run for president


The ever Walker-friendly TMJ4 TV station in Milwaukee did the same at its web site.



The Lee Enterprises-owned Wisconsin State Journal used the shortened headline as well!

There will be another set of news stories out on Walker’s campaign spending and campaign debts in January.  As stated by M.J.Sentinel:

“The full extent of the deficit may not be revealed until the campaign files its next report with the Federal Election Commission in January.”

However it’s unlikely Walker will continue to get this many write-ups in national news outlets.

Tweeters of the political variety are already saying, “Scott who?”

Tues. Oct 6: Hearing on Wisconsin civil service and Vigil to honor Marty Beil by blue cheddar • October 5, 2015



A public hearing on Tuesday, October 6, 2015, in Room 411 South of the State Capitol.

-The public hearing will start at 8:30 a.m., and recess at 11:50 a.m., for partisan caucuses.

-The committee will reconvene at 2:15 p.m., and take testimony until 6:00 p.m., that evening.

-Depending on the number of registrants wishing to speak, the Chairman may find it necessary to utilize a time limit for each speaker. The time limit may be adjusted throughout the public hearing in order to accommodate the number of registrants.

-In the event that more speakers register than time permits to speak, their registrations of speaking for or against the legislation will be changed to registering for or against.

For more info. on the proposed changes, see Joanne Brown’s blog post “End of civil service


Real wick candles are not allowed to be set aflame on the Wisconsin Capitol grounds. You can bring a flashlight or else purchase electric candles at discount stores.

Candlelight Vigil
Tuesday 5PM
October 6
Wisconsin State Capitol
2 East Main Street, Madison, Wisconsin

“We lost not only a champion of the people today, but a brother, Marty Beil.

To honor him please join me for a candlelight vigil Tuesday Oct. 6th starting at 5:00 on the Capitol Steps (of course coinciding with a hearing to kill civil service, because of course Marty wouldn’t have it any other way!)

Be sure to bring a candle and wear your AFSCME Green!


Leah Lipska”



Marty Beil
(January 23, 1947 – October 2, 2015)

Marty Beil, “The Bull of the Woods”, age 68, passed away unexpectedly at his home in Mazomanie on Friday, October 2, 2015. Marty was born in Chicago, IL on Jan. 23, 1947 to the late Martin and Mary (Turk) Beil. He graduated from Divine Word Missionary Seminary and obtained a Master’s Degree from Marquette University. Following college, Marty worked for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections as a Probation and Parole Agent. He quickly became active in the union aspiring to president of his local union and a member of its bargaining team. He was proudly elected as the president of the Wisconsin State Employees Union, a position he held until he had the opportunity to become Executive Director of the Wisconsin State Employees Union, AFSCME Council 24; until his retirement this past June 30.

Marty Beil married Sue Wigdahl the Wednesday before Thanksgiving in 1983. They have spent over 30 years sharing life’s many twists and turns always there for one another. Marty enjoyed the outdoors, hunting, fishing and bird watching; he was a member of the Roxbury Valley Trap Gun Club and Merrimac Conservation Club. Marty looked forward to the farmers market, canning, cooking and grilling out. He cherished time spent with his family and union Brothers and Sisters. Most recently, Marty has enjoyed more than anything his time with his granddaughter, passing on his infinite wisdom and taste for sweets.

He is survived by his wife, Sue; 4 children, Natalie (Derrick) Beil, Audra (Mike) Beil, Nick (Stefanie) Beil, Jessica (Nate) Bahr; 3 grand-daughters, Trinity Childs, Paige and Scarlette Bahr; a brother, Mike (Sandy) Beil; twin sisters, Monica (Norman) Peterson and Mary Ann Beil, many nieces and nephews, and mother in-law, Marilyn Wigdahl. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a sister, Mary Kay Beil and father in-law, Robert Duresky.

A Celebration of Marty’s Life will be held starting at 4:00 pm, on October 10, 2015 at Grandma Mary’s Cafe, 175 U.S. Hwy 14, Arena; a place close to Marty’s heart.

Education for everyone was very important to Marty. The family asks that in lieu of flowers or gifts, memorials may be directed to a scholarship that will be established in his name.

“Kicking ass for the working class!”




Paul Spink, a long time member of Beil’s Local and now president of Council 32, said the following:
“Marty was a fiercely dedicated and passionate activist and leader for public employees and the services they provide for more than 40 years. The labor movement is stronger today because of him. We are all devastated by this loss, but we will carry on and never forget his passion or commitment to the cause of economic justice.”

Statement issued by Dane County Executive Joe Parisi on passing of Marty Beil:
“I am deeply saddened by the news of Marty Beil’s passing. Marty dedicated his life to helping others and fighting on behalf of Wisconsin workers. Marty went to work every day to advocate for Wisconsin’s working families. And his legacy will reflect his desire to see all Wisconsinites have a chance to reach the American dream.”

Statement of Mayor Paul Soglin on the Death of Marty Beil:
Anyone who has worked in Wisconsin, whether they were a union member or not, owes a debt of gratitude to Marty Beil. He not only gave us better wages and working conditions, but he was dedicated to creating a safe and happy workplace. My thoughts and sympathy are with his family at this very sad time.

Representative Subeck released the following statement regarding the passing of Wisconsin labor leader Marty Beil:
“Marty Beil dedicated his life and work to bettering the lives of working people in Wisconsin. Marty was more than a labor leader – he was a role model and a friend to me and to so many others who will miss his presence. I extend my sincere condolences to his family.”

U.S. Representative Pocan Statement on Passing of Labor Leader Marty Beil:
“Marty leaves behind a legacy of tireless advocacy on behalf of workers across the state. For over 30 years as the head of AFSCME, Marty embodied the longstanding Wisconsin tradition of fighting for workers’ rights and protections. I will always remember his pivotal leadership and constant presence throughout the weeks of protests following the introduction of Act 10 in 2011. Marty was strong voice for working families in Wisconsin and a firm believer that when we all do better, we all do better. He will be truly missed by the labor community in Wisconsin and my thoughts are with his family at this most difficult time.”

Wisconsin State Representative Mandela Barnes (D Milwaukee) released the following statement regarding the passing of Marty Beil:
“While many of us are saddened and devastated by the tragic loss of Marty Beil this week, there is no better time than now for us to embrace and celebrate his steadfast passion to achieve true economic justice for Wisconsin families. My thoughts and prayers are with his friends, family, and those who fought alongside him for our unions and the working people that our unions protect and support every day. Marty’s legacy will live on through continued efforts to empower Wisconsin’s families through worker and social justice.”

Statement by Senator Miller on the Passing of Marty Beil:
“I am shocked and saddened by the passing of Marty Biel. Marty Beil was a tireless advocate for worker’s rights, determined to better the circumstances for the working people of Wisconsin. My thoughts are with his family and friends and the many people whose lives he improved.”

Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) released the folowing statement regarding the passing of longtime labor leader Marty Beil:
“Marty was a tireless advocate for Wisconsin’s working families and a fearless defender of workplace freedom. He understood the value of a hard day’s work and was never afraid to take on the powerful out-of-state corporations and special interests who tried to undermine workers’ rights. His tenacity and unwavering dedication to Wisconsin’s hardworking families will be sorely missed but not forgotten.”

Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) released the following statement today on the passing of Marty Beil:
“I am saddened to learn of the passing of Marty Beil, and it is especially unfortunate to lose him so soon after his retirement. Marty worked tirelessly for decades to stand up for the rights of working people, and Wisconsin will miss someone who so fully embodied our state’s values. Our thoughts are with Marty’s family at this very difficult time.”

Senator Jon Erpenbach and Representative Dave Considine release statement on the death of constituent and change agent for working families Marty Beil:
“Marty Beil lived his life working to improve the lives of public employees all over Wisconsin. Even after his retirement he did not stop contributing to positive change. At a recent corrections officers meeting in Portage during his brief retirement, Marty offered his support, his knowledge and his humor; these attributes made Marty a great leader and a good man. Our hearts pour out for his family, his friends and the labor community who have lost a true great in Marty Beil. Earlier this year we were honored to commend Marty on his long career and retirement. The last line of our citation sums it up: Representative Dave Considine and Senator Jon Erpenbach do hereby recognize and thank Marty Beil for his decades of hard work, leadership, and deep personal sacrifices for Wisconsin workers, their families, and the labor movement.”

Martha Laning, Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, issued the following statement on the loss of labor leader Marty Beil:
“Marty Beil was a tireless champion for workers in Wisconsin and our state was a better place because he was speaking up for us. He woke up every day determined to make sure workers in our state had a seat at the table and a voice to better their working conditions. His commitment to ensure working families were treated fairly is legendary and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin was proud to stand with Marty during the Act 10 battle. He was a leader for over forty years at AFSCME who will be missed, but we will all be standing up for him as we continue to speak up in support of working families in Wisconsin. Our sympathies are with his family during this difficult time. In solidarity we salute him.”


Scott Walker plans a not so “unintimidated” public appearance in Beaver Dam today  • September 25, 2015

I have confirmation from Madison radio journalist Michael Crute that Scott Walker will be at the site at Noon today.
I had this information 1 hour and 45 minutes in advance of the so-called “public event”.

Site: Apache Stainless,
200 Industrial Dr,
Beaver Dam, WI

Google Map
Street view

Just to record what goes into ferreting out details on ‘public’ events with Governor Walker:

I called the number of the event site to get details around 9AM. Got no answer.

Alright. No biggie. A person can call the governor’s office to inquire about what time Scott Walker will appear in public.

Worker Answering Phone in Walker’s Office: “I’m sorry ma’am I do not have access to his calendar”
Me: [pause] You don’t have access to his calendar?
(in incredulous voice)

Worker: Hold on…
[long pause]

Worker: No. I am sorry. I do not have access to the time for that event.

He told me I could call my local news media to get the time.


Today Scott Walker will make what the press has been billing as “his first public appearance” in Wisconsin after the suspension of his presidential campaign Monday.

As usual, Wisconsin’s self-proclaimed unintimidated governor only presents himself within an environment that’s friendly to him and under circumstances that ensure most of the public can’t be there.
(Mmm. Yes. This is the guy who bragged he could “take on 100,000 protesters”.)

As I type this, it is the morning of the event but there is no public information that I can locate about what time Walker will be at today’s “public” event on private land.

It appears yesterday was the *first* day the public could learn what site he’d visit in Beaver Dam.

Below the picture are the details I can find online.


September 25th – 40th Anniversary of Apache Stainless
Apache Stainless Equipment Corporation celebrates 40 years in business with an OPEN HOUSE on Sept. 25, 11am – 5pm. Technicians will be giving tours and demonstrations in the manufacturing area. Employees and families, students, vendors, community are all invited to attend. Refreshments will be served. For more information or to RSVP, contact Jessica Jacobson (920) 887-8187


Governor Walker To Visit Beaver Dam Celebration Tomorrow
Sep 24, 2015 — 6:54am
9/24/15 – Governor Scott Walker will make his first public appearance since dropping out of the presidential race when he visits Beaver Dam tomorrow to help celebrate Apache Stainless Steel’s 40th Anniversary. Walker confirmed he will serve out his term as governor, and he’s not sure if he’ll run for a third term in 2018. The Republican discussed his future yesterday in a conference call in which he thanked his White House campaign donors. He also said he would not take a Cabinet post if a Republican wins the presidency next November. Walker says his campaign did not have enough money to weather his recent drop in the polls. Walker said he was not convinced that going into debt and reducing his campaign staff would have helped him recover. The Smart Politics website says Walker had the third-shortest presidential campaign since 1972 — just 70 days since his official announcement of his candidacy in July.

Scott Walker’s “Cocktail of Ignorance” is spiked by poisonous attitude toward unions  • September 23, 2015

I’ve been spending all day reading the official “what happened to Walker’s campaign” articles from the big league papers.

Very few are sharing the fact that Scott Walker has delusions.

Walker has delusions about his own grandeur and he has delusions caused by likening ALL policy matters to union workers and union rights in Wisconsin.

Frank Bruni gets it, though.

“For Walker it was unions at dawn, unions at dusk, unions in his dreams. Having hobbled them in Wisconsin, he vowed to cripple them nationally, and who’s to say it would have stopped there? I feel certain that he was mere weeks away from a big speech advocating the deployment of ground troops to stamp out collective bargaining among the Sherpas in Nepal.”

I like that Bruni also admits that one can’t with full confidence say what brings down a GOP candidate during a primary that allows Donald Trump to prosper WHILE declaring he learns all he needs to know about foreign policy from watching “the shows”.

Get on over to “Scott Walker’s Cocktail of Ignorance” for the rest of Bruni’s brief NY Times opinion piece.

I’ll offer my own dissection of the Walker fall in a day or two.

It’s too nice outside to sit on this computer any longer.

Another blog post from the same day:

Video: “Walker’s critics celebrate, supporters reminisce …”

Despite having no more than a few hours notice of the 5PM press conference announcing Walker’s drop out from the presidential campaign, protesting Wisconsinites were ready, able, and willing to serenade Wisconsin’s delusional governor.

This TMJ4 footage includes just a SNIPPET of protest singing:  LINK TO VIDEO 

This brief broadcast also includes snippets from Wisconsinites who do not support Scott Walker:
Scott Walker drops out of 2016 presidential race


Here’s the full departure message from Walker as delivered on Monday. LINK TO VIDEO

Note that the clapping heard at the 2:42 mark when he says “I will suspend my campaign immediately” was not accidental, as has been reported elsewhere.

Arthur K. Riggs deliberately clapped in celebration of the announcement.


For more “Oh gosh, Scott Walker dropped out of the campaign. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN” footage, try the following:

Scott Walker’s Wauwatosa neighbors mixed on ending presidential campaign

Walker’s hometown Delavan mixed on withdrawal from presidential race

Is there any questioning of whether Scott Walker will reimburse the State of Wisconsin for travel costs? Or whether he will return his salary for all of the days he has been absent?

Nope. TMJ4 is very friendly toward Walker.

The gaming of the WI Democratic Party by Jason Rae and Nation Consulting • May 27, 2015

This is a post by another blogger who wishes to remain anonymous.  He entitled the piece, “How the Washington Generals learned to stop worrying and love the Harlem Globetrotters”.

I opted for something more obvious.



Democracy – noun de-moc-ra-cy
: a form of government in which people choose leaders by voting</b>
: a country ruled by democracy
: an organization or situation in which everyone is treated equally and has equal rights.

Democrat – noun dem-o-crat    \’de-me-krat\

1. a:  an adherent of democracy
2. a:  capitalized :  a member of the Democratic party of the United States.

Under outgoing, current Chair Mike Tate, the DPW went from supporting, at least to some extent, all its candidates for legislative office in Wisconsin, to hitting up all its legislative candidates for cash for the DPW itself. They spoke of a 72 county plan but instead they concentrated on the heavily populated counties of Dane and Milwaukee which contain the cities of Madison and Milwaukee, and largely ignored the rest of the state as well as those who bravely entered the political ring as Democrats.

In Wisconsin the Democrats are getting ready to practice democracy. In just over a week the Democratic Party of Wisconsin will be holding its annual, statewide convention. There they will ask their delegates to vote to select a new Chair, or leader, for the statewide party.

The firmly blue, democratic leaning city of Milwaukee is the site of the convention. Milwaukee, the city that is surrounded by a collar of white suburbs that voted in Scott Walker as County Executive and then backed it up by voting in Tea Party darling in democratic clothing, mouthpiece and pawn of the uber-right Bradley Foundation, Chris Abele.

Oh well, democracy is a relatively new concept and is not yet perfected. But still sometimes one has to wonder. Shouldn’t we be at least slowly moving towards a more perfect form of democracy? As I look around it seems that not only are we no longer moving towards a more perfect democracy, but rather that we are running and leaping away from a more perfect democracy.

Most people by now should know that it is possible to become President of the United States by losing the popular vote (the vote of the citizens of the U.S. who cast ballots in elections) and winning the vote of the electoral college. But that rarely happens so most people shrug it off. “That’s just politics” they say.

Most people by now should know that the combined Republican Party and Tea Party (or GOTea) has been working to prevent a great many Americans from voting. Or at the very least, making it very hard for non-White, upper class Americans to vote. This practice is called voter suppression and when you bring it up in discussion, most people shrug it off. “That’s just politics” they say.

Between extreme redistricting (see graphic below) and voter suppression techniques, the GOTea has sought to create a playing field for itself so tilted in their own favor that they can’t lose. We have even seen them in Wisconsin pick their own judges in court cases who have allowed GOTea defendants to willfully destroy evidence and get away with it.

Kind of like the basketball team, the world famous Harlem Globetrotters. You are all familiar with the Harlem Globetrotters right? The Globetrotters are beloved and dazzle audiences as they…..well….trot all over the globe. Using trick shots, well practiced stunts and not to mention confetti, ladders, garbage cans and other props not allowed in the regular game of basketball, the Globetrotters delight their audience by essentially out-playing, out-tricking and out-cheating their perpetual counterparts, The Washington Generals.

The Globetrotters also bring to the show with them, their own referees who are part of the whole stage show. Referees who turn their back on the play off the game to watch confetti being sprinkled by one Globetrotter as the rest of the Globetrotters set a ladder up under the basket and practice a slam dunk, fire drill and score twenty points in five seconds. All the while their counterparts in the Washington Generals helplessly look on.

Everybody wants to join in the fun and be a Harlem Globetrotter. Nobody wants to be a Washington General. Except in Wisconsin that is. In Wisconsin there are some folks within the Democratic Party of Wisconsin who apparently have watched the Globetrotters decimate the Washington Generals by a typical score of say…..242 – 16. They watch and say, “man, it must be really nice to be a General!”

They probably don’t like the perpetual losing part as much as they love and adore the idea of having steady, lucrative work for life that doesn’t involve the risk of injury, the hard work and practice, the devotion required of players in the NBA.

They probably don’t tell themselves “I love to lose” but rather, they spin it into something like “It sure would be easy if all I ever had to do is show up and automatically end up in second place, just one step away from total victory.” In other words, they think they would like to pursue being perpetual silver medalists, to use an Olympics metaphor. They are refusing to realize that coming in second out of two is total and absolute failure.

And it is all about coming in second….as in second class citizens. These would-be Washington Generals either haven’t thought about or don’t care about the people in Wisconsin who would become, have nearly become, second class citizens to the ultra rich and powerful.

And although there are five current candidates running for the office of Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, they are divided into two basic camps. Those who would learn from our past errors as well as the oppositions past victories and switch away from our previous losing ways in favor of a new winning plan.

And those who enjoy, indeed they profit from, the old status quo system. It may mean that the citizens of Wisconsin lose and lose big, but by golly their jobs are secure as the old two party system is the only game in town. Sure it may not have all the perks of winning every game, of being the Harlem Globetrotters. But it does carry incredible job security to be a Washington General.

Under outgoing, current Chair Mike Tate, the DPW went from supporting, at least to some extent, all its candidates for legislative office in Wisconsin, to hitting up all its legislative candidates for cash for the DPW itself. They spoke of a 72 county plan but instead they concentrated on the heavily populated counties of Dane and Milwaukee which contain the cities of Madison and Milwaukee, and largely ignored the rest of the state as well as those who bravely entered the political ring as Democrats.

Also recently, the DPW has had only had one simple piece of advice for its candidates for legislative office. And that message was “money, money and more money.” The only way to win the DPW would say was to outraise and outspend the GOTea candidates. Money was the answer to everything, the alpha and the omega.

One problem though, the GOTea has always been the party of corporate interests. At a time when the GOTea is pushing for a nationwide takeover of American and state governments by the corporations, how in the world do you expect Democrats to be able to outraise and outspend the Republicans??? Farmers and factory workers, teachers and union members have all been financially decimated by Republican policy. They can’t donate more than the trillion dollar corporations and their billionaire owners.

But still the DPW kept saying that big money was the only possible solution to the problem of big money in politics. Democratic candidates had to have big money to pay for professional campaign staffers to come work for them in Wisconsin where the shiny suits and New Jersey accents stuck out like sore thumbs. Folks in rural Wisconsin like anywhere else, don’t like people from out of state coming in and telling them how and who to vote for.

Mike Tate’s DPW kept telling candidates that big money for wardrobe specialists and hair stylists was the only way to win. Candidates would ask for the DPW’s VAN list, which is the list of democratic voters in their district and Tate’s DPW would say sure, for a couple of thousand dollars we will hit the print button on our computer for you.

Also the DPW kept telling candidates that they, like the DPW itself, needed the big money, corporate spin doctors of firms like Nation Consulting. A huge player in the public relations business if they wanted to win their elections, it was the only way. Pay our specialists, pay our consultants, pay our hairdressers and image people. Money, money, money and spend, spend, spend.

Guess how that worked out? All three branches of Wisconsin government are firmly in GOTea control. In other words, the big money, spend, spend and spend some more plan did not work. It did not work at all! In fact it worked so poorly that Mike Tate knew last year that he was going to have to step down as Chair of the DPW.

And so we will be saying goodbye to Mike Tate as Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. And in all honesty Mike Tate is a good person with a very democratic heart. Things just came apart under his watch, not all of it his fault by any means, but things really came apart for his party in Wisconsin.

But in some ways, depending on who wins the election to replace Mike Tate, it could end up as essentially we have a new Tate. Consider it Mike Tate version 2.1. We may be stuck with the status quo, to keep trying to raise big money to give to the consultants, campaign managers from out of state, old friends and career cronies. In other words we could all end up with a big plan to stay the same, which is to concede that the GOTea will always be the Harlem Globetrotters and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin should remain as it has, the Washington Generals of Wisconsin politics.

And this is why a good many people are very concerned about the candidacy of Jason Rae. Jason Rae has been part of the big money, spin doctoring business. And Jason Rae has many people scared that he is going to copy Mike Tate’s plan from the last election. That seems to be how Rae plans on winning his bid for Chair of the DPW. Only this time there is a huge difference, this time focusing on Milwaukee County and forgetting completely about the rest of Wisconsin could actually work out for the Jason Rae big money machine.

You see, under the election rules of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, the Chair will be elected from among 5 candidates by plurality after a single round of voting. This means that getting 21% of the vote is all you need to win. And guess what? Under the current (but hopefully not the future) way that the DPW chooses delegates to vote for its Chair and other officers, Milwaukee alone has enough votes to take it all.

And so Jason Rae and the staff of Nation Consulting have been focusing on Milwaukee with a fevered interest. They know there is big money at stake for themselves in Milwaukee, even if it is only second place, Washington Generals money. Hey its the only game in town folks.

And a big part of the Rae/Nation machine has been focusing hard, daily, on claiming for itself, the Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. We have received so far, thirteen requests by Milwaukee County Democratic Party members to use this blog [the author’s blog – not the blue cheddar blog] to let people know that under Rae/Nation, that the Chair of the Milwaukee County Dem Party is choosing their delegates to the state convention based on how much they support Jason Rae. If you do not support Jason Rae and pledge to vote for Jason Rae, then you don’t become a delegate and you don’t get to go to the convention and vote for your candidate of choice.

Democracy? Democrats? Check the definitions at the top of this page again if you need to. Because these tactics hardly represent the concept of democracy or the mission of the Democratic Party.

Now technically by the bylaws, charter and constitution of the DPW, Chairs are allowed to subjectively screen party members to find the best, most active people and reward them with delegate/voting status at the convention.

The system was not meant to be used to push for one candidate and one candidate only. But the loophole exists and Rae/Nation is pushing it for all its worth to promote their own interests which are of course, going to be mostly financial in nature.

So under the current system, which most of the party seems to want to change to be more inclusive, our next Chair could be elected with the support of only 21% of the delegates over the opposition of 79%. This is not a recipe for party unity. This is a recipe for party implosion and even death. And that would mean the complete and final decimation of any reasonable quality of life for Wisconsin’s citizens for as far as anyone can see into the future.

And Nation Consulting and its people in the Democratic Party are out to make it happen. Big names in party politics, seemingly unconcerned about the DPW becoming the perpetual losers in Wisconsin politics, the Washington Generals of the badger state. They are looking after their own interests first and let the rabble be damned is what is happening if you judge them by their actions and not their professionally spin doctored words.

Not that Thad Nation, owner and bossman of Nation Consulting has reason to care about the Washington Generals, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin or any of the state’s citizens. Although Thad Nation is a known political insider to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, he is a huge financial supporter of the GOTea.

It sounds quite insane when you hear it altogether, doesn’t it? Get rid of Mike Tate because his plan didn’t work out at all but hire his Jason Rae to maintain the losing plan so that the big dogs and insiders can maintain a lucrative lifestyle. Why would anyone vote for that?

Let me ask you again….why would anyone vote for that? There is no darn good reason to, not a one! At a time when Wisconsin is not only socially but economically and politically torn apart, now is the worst possible time to maintain the status quo, to stick with the plan that so far has never worked. Now is the worst possible time to stick with big money in government, special interests and shady, backroom deals.

Now is the best possible time to return to open and transparent politics in Wisconsin which are to the benefit of everybody. Now is the best time to return to politicians being held accountable for their actions and being made to work for all citizens of the state, not just their donors and the lobbyists. Now is the worse time to maintain the status quo as our state sinks lower and lower in the rankings, as our standard of living lowers, as our people flee to other states in search of work and security.

Now is the worst time to vote in favor of the recent status quo. Now is the worst time to give up on ever being a Harlem Globetrotter.

Thank you to the members of the Democratic Party of Milwaukee County who reached out to us and trusted us to write and promote this article, we hope we have done right by you all.


Thad Nation: “I run a firm with a lot of different clients. We work with both Republicans and Democrats and we employ Democrats and Republicans.” – Blogging Blue

Wisconsin Democratic Chairperson Candidate Jason Rae Employed by Firm Founded by Individual That Provided Money to Koch-funded Organizations – Progressive Midwesterner

Nation Consulting’s Ties to Republican Firms Run Even Further – Progressive Midwesterner


  1. SomeGuy
    May 28, 2015 at 1:47 am

    My hope is that some of the other candidates will strike some sort of bargain before the convention and stop Rae from being elected chair. If he wins, it’s a huge blow to the progressive movement in Wisconsin.

  2. Bob Ettellofal
    May 27, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    There’s an element of the DPW that would rather control a losing party than share power in a winning coalition. You can see that in the online posts and comments saying that “we’ll never change the stupid rural voters’ minds, so to h*** with them”. You can see it in the efforts by the Dane County party to take over the DPW Rural Caucus at the upcoming convention. You can see it in the veiled threats that the winner in the DPW Chair’s race will retaliate against those who voted against him (the ballots are not secret, people, and I’ve heard that anyone who votes the “wrong way” has no future in the party).

    Thad Nation has donated lots of money personally, all of it to Democratic causes (according to state records), which makes him look like a good guy. The problem is that he heads various astroturf nonprofits which funnel money to far right / Koch organizations. Rae is associate director of one of these, “Wired Wisconsin”, ( which advocates against competition in broadband. In the year Rae was appointed associate director of Wired Wisconsin (Midwest Consumers for Choice and Competition), the “nonprofit” donated $190,000 to “60 Plus Association”, a member of the Koch family of organizations ( and $60,000 to the Discovery Institute (the “intelligent design” people). All of this can be seen in the 2010 IRS filing –

    Rae can scream all he wants to about how his politics are perfect, that he’s being smeared, and that he “won’t tolerate these kinds of attacks on Democrats”. But the IRS filings don’t lie. And Thad Nation’s assertions that they don’t give right wing organization work to Jason contradicts the press release from Wired Wisconsin itself.

    Rae could win this election. But if he’s elected, I think that there will be a counter-revolution from the grassroots – and the bylaws will be changed so this doesn’t happen again. Of course, we’ll still lose one more election in the meantime (2016), and who knows what additional damage the republicans will do.

    On the optimistic side – There are over 2300 delegates expected (only had 800 last year for an election year – why ? – for the chair’s election). People are organizing buses from across the state, and housing for those how can’t afford the hotel. Both Jeff Smith and Martha Laning have vowed that they will not, under any circumstances, violate the secrecy of the ballots. And Laning has stopped efforts by other county parties to screen their delegates – I’ve heard her say that she won’t play those kind of games to win.

    • May 30, 2015 at 2:19 am

      Actually it my understanding that Jeff Smith, Stephen Smith and Martha Laning have all vowed that they will not, under any circumstances, violate the secrecy of the ballots. ….. “And Laning has stopped efforts by other county parties to screen their delegates – I’ve heard her say that she won’t play those kind of games to win.”

      Only Joe Wineke and Jason Rae refused to sign the pledge to keep ballots secret. That is very telling to me and reeks of intimidation and the same old divisive, every person for themselves, style of leadership that Mike Tate ran …. which has nearly run the party completely into the ground.

      I really hope Jeff and Stephen can put the future of the DPW ahead of their ambitions and get behind Martha in the end when it is clear they don’t have enough support to win.

  3. Kingfish
    May 27, 2015 at 10:12 pm

    Please attend the Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair and Co-Chair Candidates Forum:

    Democratic Party Of Wisconsin
    Chair & First Vice Chair Candidate Forum

    Saturday, May 30, 2015 – 10:00 a.m. – Noon
    Wisconsin African American Women’s Center
    3020 W. Vliet St. Milwaukee, WI 53208

    Moderator: Honorable Judge Russell Stamper Sr.

    DPW 2015 Candidates Chairperson and First Vice Chairperson

    • Jason Rae, National Democratic Committee Member & Penny Benard, Former State Representative
    • Jeff Smith, Former State Representative & Stephanie Findley, former 4th Congressional District Chair and Black Caucus Chair of the DPW; Election Commissioner City of Milwaukee
    • Martha Laning, Former State Senator & David Bowen, State Representative
    • Joe Wineke, Past DPW Chair & Dotty LeClaire, Chair Outagamie County Democrats
    • Steve Smith, Former State Representative & no running mate

    It is our hope that this panel will bring candidates together to have a constructive conversation that addresses the candidate’s platform and vision for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. This forum is needed before the upcoming election so that individuals designated as delegates can make informed decisions prior to casting their vote for our next Democratic Party chairperson.

    Sponsored by Citizens for A Blue Wisconsin

Madison has entered maximum gentrification mode • June 3, 2015

Eventually Ray “slumlord” Peterson is either going to pass away (he’s 90 years old) or the city will declare his shacks a nuisance. His daughter says if Ray quits the landlord business, she quits it.

Sadly, the current occupants (who also tend to have crappy credit/criminal records) will not be able to afford or qualify for any of the new development that will arise to replace the Peterson hovels.

Because Madison is becoming a very special gentrified snowflake.

“In Madison, average listed rents for 2014 ran more than $850 per month for one-bedroom apartments and more than $1,000 per month for two-bedroom apartments, according to rental listing aggregation site Rent Jungle.

Peterson’s rents fall below that, ranging from $450 to $1250, with a varying number of bedrooms, according to his records. More than half of his tenants pay less than $500 per person, per month.”

Meanwhile the city will give millions to developers in TIF monies. And the developers then deliver minimal benefit to the city’s poor and working poor [I mean I guess an $11/hour job at that new hotel on the lake is a JOB .. but in this rental market and with all the other costs associated …].

But I suppose if it’s cheaper housing you want, you can live in another county and drive in – annnnd pay for higher car costs, emit more pollution, and clog up the Beltline

Your attention please, Independence Day-celebrating Wisconsinites. Still LOTS of alarming BS in that last minute add-on to the WI budget.  • July 5, 2015

NOTE:  I removed most links to screenshots featuring specific provisions.  See the full document HERE.
Wisconsin’s Governor has released yet another Orwellian decree.

It asserts that despite the fact that a radical stripping of open records law was tucked into Thursday’s “motion 999” that the changes were “never intended to inhibit transparent gov’t in any way“.

That’s special.

Let’s assume I can pretend that Scott Walker and associated Republican legislators are properly chastised by conservative threats of recalls and coverage of their actions in the national press – let’s assume they will act true to their word on the open record side of things.

We still have the not so little problem of *THE REST OF MOTION 999*.

Last night instead of watching my neighbor blow things up until 2AM, I screen-capped and read the 24 page last-minute addendum and I typed out at least some obvious points to make it more user-friendly and keyword searchable.

Here is a partial list of the doozies:

#5 Letting homeschoolers evaluate themselves for inclusion in public school “interscholastic” sports with no ability of a school board to question the information.

#16 Loss of oversight of federal military property program

#18 Law enforcement officer-involved deaths: deletion of info. from public reports that “would not be subject to disclosure pursuant to the balancing test under the state’s open records laws”

#25 Making it more difficult to form a new state or local general employee union

#27 SEVERAL THINGS: Overhaul of committee governing the state retirement system // Halting surprise audits on a Chippewa Falls Veterans Home

#33 Making it more difficult to declare that lead paint is “lead-bearing paint”

#40 Deletion of all changes for the “needy veterans program“.

#42 (hey: THIS LOOKS BIG)
Allowing a “foreign risk retention group” to sell healthcare insurance (“medical liability insurance”) in Wisconsin

#48 Looks like a forced revamp of the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District

[multiple screenshots. scroll down to #48 HERE]#51 Allows any “business entity” to condemn real estate if it’s for transmitting oil or “related products” in Wisconsin (in accordance with the already business-controlled PSC)

#55 Limiting town or counties on conditional use permits AND limiting imposition of added insurance requirements on pipelines

#56 An employee can “voluntarily” choose to work without a day of rest

#58 Replace any references to a “living wage” with the words “minimum wage” PLUS lots of changes for specific minimum wage scenarios (what a golfing caddie is paid, for example)

[three screenshots of this – – visit the whole thing HERE and scroll down to #58
or link to the full 24 page document]#61 Payday lender authority expansion to MANY FINANCIAL PRODUCTS

#66 Extension of water or sewer service between municipalities
(this coupled with the changes in the Madison Sewer and Water + Contemplating the Waukesha wanting water out of Lake Michigan thing – LOOKS BIG)

#67 Restricting the Milwaukee County Executive from qcquiring property independently on lands zoned as parks in an area of Milwaukee within “Lincoln Memorial Drive, south of East Mason Street,…”
[multiple screenshots – – scroll down to #67 HERE]


The budget and this motion will next head to the Assembly. It appears that the Assembly will meet on Wednesday July 8th.

If you, dear reader, could scan this list and then give me any feedback, thoughts, comments on the severity or impact of the changes, I would be very grateful to you.

THANKS in advance.

Bloggers and writers are welcome to “steal my thunder” and start digging and writing on anything in this.


  1. Cathy
    July 8, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    I wish they would leave the pension system alone. We worked hard for that money, and paid into the fund. How about we have term limits, and when the powers that be come to the end of their term they leave with nothing and have to get a real job like the rest of us. No pensions, no insurance, nothing.

  2. Claudine
    July 7, 2015 at 4:37 am

    #27 is the Whopper here! It will allow them to “stick it to” the teachers and other public employees yet again, by stealing their retirement funds.

  3. Raven
    July 6, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    But no, the fuss was all over when the closed-records provision (which got all the attention) was so quickly deleted! Now everything’s copacetic, and the watchdogs have settled back down to sleep. Why are you worried about all the *rest* of the insidious provisions left behind, undeleted, still just as ready to go, inserted by the same sets of hands as did the glaring no-no? The news media aren’t. And maybe that was the point — the one big bright flashy thing caught their eyes, so they never looked at the dull little stuff….

    • blue cheddar
      July 6, 2015 at 7:58 pm

      The news media aren’t concerned – and also let us remember that the Wisconsin State Journal laid off a crew of journalists just before the state budget came to this bend in the road. What timing.

  4. Wisconsinisgettingweird
    July 6, 2015 at 12:47 am

    Wild stuff in this including what to pay agricultural workers and then what to charge them for food and housing. Then the weird thing about three nursing home bed transfers with specifics about the population of the county and the population of the adjacent county. (#37)

  5. Nancy Mueller
    July 6, 2015 at 12:09 am

    #27 Would allow all members of the pension governance committee to be Republicans appointed ‘as are members of standing committees’ (majority party) – new way to go after teacher and government employees pensions!! Critical!!

    • lufthase
      July 6, 2015 at 12:29 am

      Yeah #27 is a multi-layered mess…
      a) Kick Attorney General, Public Member, Commissioner of Ins (or experienced actuary), and Sec. of Employee Trust Funds off the Retirement System Committee
      b) Beyond just the Chippewa Valley Veterans Home, the last sentence reads: “Delete the authority of the Governor to direct the LAB to make special examinations of the accounts and financial transactions of ANY dept, agency, or officer.” Somewhat unique that it takes power away from Walker, but who, if anyone, maintains the authority to direct LAB? Just Joint Audit Committee?
      c) Exempts legislative staff and service agencies (like LAB) from public records retention policies.

    • Terri schwartz
      July 6, 2015 at 5:37 am

      This administration has wanted to outsource the WRS since they came to power. To tamper with the country’s best Pension program.

      • Colleen Zietlow
        July 8, 2015 at 1:31 am

        My understanding is that former Governor Tommy Thompson wanted to get his fingers into the retirement pie at one time and judges fined him roughly $2 million for attempting it. Now there are a lot of hand picked people sitting on the bench in Scott Walker’s home. If he’s allowed in, there’s no one to fight for us, the public employees. It will be Enron in the public sector. Wisconsin needs to step up.

  6. Susan Waters
    July 5, 2015 at 11:08 pm


  7. lufthase
    July 5, 2015 at 10:55 pm

    Thanks for digging into the rest of this. Just went thru a similar exercise myself.
    I would also add…

    #23 – New restrictions on benefits for mentally ill public sector workers
    #27-C – Records of any officer of the Legislature, legislative employee, and legislative service agencies (LAB, LRB, etc) are not considered public records or preserved as such. Keep an eye on this one, make sure it’s removed with the rest of the public records stuff!!
    #33 – Put another way, “Lead Paint, now with 43% more Lead!!”
    #35 – Higher payouts to dentists on Medicaid claims (no mention of fiscal impact; and why raise Medicaid payouts without taking the federal expansion?)
    #37 – DHS to distribute 3 nursing home beds — weird thing is the very specific criteria: (a) licensed capacity of no more than 75… ( c) in a county of population 380k+ and adjacent to a county of population 750k+… This means ONLY Waukesha County; and there are only 5 facilities that would possibly qualify. That’s some nano-managing right there.
    #39 – Freeze all county fees for coroner, death certificate, transportation, etc. Another small incursion on local control, and maybe a little giveaway to funeral homes, etc
    #42 – Is about Medical Malpractice Insurance, not normal health insurance; still probably a giveaway to somebody. Also a resurrection of a bill that couldn’t pass on its own- 2013 AB 808.
    #47 – Prohibits local electrical codes from being more strict than state code (they sure do hate local control)
    #52 – If a telecom company stops using poles/antennas/etc, it’s now the municipality’s responsibility to pay for their removal; telecom company can just walk away at no cost, large-scale legalized littering
    #54 – Seems to extend the term limit of PSC Commissioners by 2 yrs; if appointed to PSC Chair, time spent as Chair doesn’t count against overall term limit as Commissioner;
    #61 – Payday Lender Giveaway Bonanza also allows payday loan shops to conduct any other kind of business on-site. Coming soon: Payday Loan/Liquor Stores. Bank on it.
    #65 – Prohibit local governments from making any requirements on real estate transactions, like removing junk/debris from the yard. Most of the talking-points say this helps “small, growing families” make as-is sales; but I wonder if this is more related to bank-owned nuisance properties

    • blue cheddar
      July 6, 2015 at 12:08 am

      Wow. Thanks for your comment lufthase! I’ll dig into this tonight. It’s all so unseemly but this one seems particularly negligent and downright malevolent coming from supposed state leaders : “Coming soon: Payday Loan/Liquor Stores. Bank on it.”

    • Mondobongo
      July 6, 2015 at 8:58 am

      Sounds like a lot of giveaways in prep for Walker’s announced 13 July presidential run.

Spooner, WI students to protest bullying of teachers by bosses on Thursday #SpoonerShame by blue cheddar • June 4, 2015

A silent protest is planned for Thursday, June 4 from 2:30 PM to 4:30 PM at the Spooner High School.

Students, staff, and families are protesting what they call bullying of teachers by school administration. They say that ill treatment of staff has led to an exodus.

This message gives you a taste of what’s up:


Recently coach and physical education teacher Andrew Melton was escorted out of the school and put on administrative leave after he sent out a district-wide email critical of the administration’s treatment of its employees.

On Wednesday over 70 Spooner community members held hands and prayed outside their local high school before the school day to “bring healing” to the school district.

On Tuesday students conducted a walk out.

From Washburn County Register:
“Before classes and after the bell on the morning of Tuesday, June 2 about 50 students from the Spooner High School gathered outside the school on in protest of how they think district staff have been treated over the school year and to show their support for district staff.”

Students initially gathered outside then went into the school and walked through the halls, returned outside, marched around the building then stood along the highway. They later ended up downtown Spooner to continue the protest. While marching students chanted “enough is enough” and “#Spooner Shame”.



School district officials deny that resignations and retirements are as high as students claim they are.

Also they say that much of staff frustration is related to Obamacare changes. (Yes, reader. I too am incredulous.)

From a article:

“Since July 2014, resignations, retirements and non-renewable contracts have been responsible for 27 resignations and 13 retirements, according to the district.

The district says they began the 2014/15 school year with a nearly $1 million deficit, and that they had a year full of difficult decisions due to state and federal changes.

The district attributes a lot of the staff frustration to the recent requirements of the district to be in compliance with the Affordable Care Act.”

One note relayed to me with an accompanying video suggests that the school board plans to public relations their way out of this:


This is a video of the last school board meeting on 3/16/15
At around 1:44:00 Senora Elsen pleads her case to save the Spanish program and a teacher’s job at Spooner High School. The board offers no response.

Skip to about 2:05:00 to 2:15.00 you will be absolutely shocked.
In one sweep of yes votes with only Bob Hoellen standing up and voting NO they hire a Communication Specialist. A one year term with a $50,000 salary. That is not including benefits. The job description: update Facebook, twitter and maintain web page, work on school logo, post pictures of celebrations.

“A fulltime cheerleader” one board member explains.
Wake up Spooner! This is a inexcusable!
See it for yourself!!!” : LINK TO VIDEO 

Federal lawsuit over Wisconsin 2011 redistricting. Efficiency gap is key in new suit • July 9, 2015

I talked with somebody knowledgeable about this last night.
He said this is destined to go before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Here is the PDF of the legal complaint.

Here is the story on this from Gil Halsted and Scottie Lee Meyers of WPR.

Update: Here’s the M.J.Sentinel story in case you want to see that. Or the over 600 comments on the article (I bet they are all from intelligent, even-keeled sorts).

Hopefully this new federal lawsuit wil go better than the old one!

Care to walk down memory lane with me on this?

First off, the public smelled a rotten egg when Robin Vos refused to allow a public hearing on redistricting despite being badgered by the editorial boards of at least 11 media outlets.

We also learned that Republican lawmakers were told that they needed to sign a secret pact on redistricting maps or else. Later the WI Republicans tried to hide information from a 3-judge panel dealing with a lawsuit that Voces de la Frontera brought up (I believe their lawsuit was specific to Latinos in south districts in Milwaukee).

Wisconsin’s good old boy Republicans said they thought that all the info. related to the redistricting was theirs to keep secret because of “client attorney privilege”.

Are you laughing? Because I am laughing. The judges weren’t laughing. They demanded the info. Then the WI Republicans said it was missing. So Robin Vos got subpoenaed.

Also served with subpoena papers: Jeffrey Renk, Patrick Fuller, Scott Fitzgerald, and Legislative Technology Service Bureau. And James Troupis got called in on a deposition.

(Say. Didn’t Troupis get appointed to a judge seat by Walker recently? Wasn’t Troupis also Justice David Prosser’s go-to guy? I think so.)

And remember how eventually 9 computer drives were turned in and one of those drives was unreadable AND it had a dented scratched up case that made it look like the drive’s metal housing was removed? How very odd.

In the end, Voces dropped the case, coming to an agreement that there was no proof that “bad intent” led to the delition of all the thousands of redistricting files.

No bad intent even though it could be determined that Tad Ottman and Adam Foltz were logged into the computers used to do the redistricting work when thousands of files were deleted. And no bad intent when it was clear that a program that covers tracks on deleted files was also being used on Ottman and Foltz’ computers.

I believe their boss at the time was Joe Handrick and that the young men were working on the records (the PUBLIC’s records) inside of the offices of Michael Best & Friedrich LLP at the time which happens to be off of the State of Wisconsin’s computer network.

You can see that public-private partnerships offer secrecy as well as convenient funneling of public money into private pockets.

Menard gives Walker $1.5 mill. thru WI Club for Growth. Then WEDC gives Menard $1.8 mill. • March 24, 2015

According to Michael Isikoff and Yahoo News, the richest man in Wisconsin broke campaign finance laws to the tune of $1.5 million dollars when he gave 5 checks to Scott Walker via Eric O’Keefe’s money laundering non-profit Wisconsin Club for Growth.

John Menard’s company subsequently received “up to $1.8 million in special tax credits from a state economic development corporation that Walker chairs, according to state records”, wrote Isikoff.

I believe he is referring to WEDC, the source from whence so many millions in kickbacks and corporate welfare flow.

Isikoff forgets to note that John Menard is currently an Executive Vice President & Treasurer on the board of vile top Wisconsin lobbying group Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.

Read Isikoff’s article at Secret $1.5 million donation from Wisconsin billionaire uncovered in Scott Walker dark-money probe

Open for Business means Open For Menards Dumping

Isikoff also notes that Menard has gotten less grief from the Department of Natural Resources of the Walker administration.

Hmm. Why would John Menard desire THAT?

Read on.

The information below is from a lengthy 2007 article by Mary Van De Kamp Nohl, “How home improvement store founder John Menard became the richest man in Wisconsin – and what he sacrificed to do it.”

Arsenic and Old Waste
John Menard’s many environmental violations.

John Menard and his company have had more run-ins with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) than any other Wisconsin company, state justice department lawyers wrote in a complaint against Menard in 2005. DNR officials have cited Menards at least 13 times since 1976 for ignoring or violating state regulations related to air and water pollution and hazardous waste.

The company has had environmental problems in other states, too.

• In 1994, Wisconsin obtained a civil judgment against Menards for the unlicensed transportation and disposal of ash produced by incinerating CCA-treated lumber. Wood treated with CCA contains chromium, copper and arsenic – a known carcinogen. It is considered hazardous waste and requires proper disposal in a licensed landfill. The company was fined $160,000.

• In 1997, John Menard was caught using his own pickup truck to haul plastic bags filled with chromium and arsenic-laden wood ash to his own home for disposal along with his household trash. Menard pleaded no contest to felony and misdemeanor charges involving records violations, unlawful transportation and improper disposal of hazardous waste. Menard and his company were fined $1.7 million for 21 violations.

• In 2003, the Minnesota attorney general charged that Menards manufactured and sold arsenic-tainted mulch in packaging labeled “ideal for playgrounds and for animal bedding.” Warning labels from the CCA-treated wood were found in the mulch. The EPA recommends that CCA-treated wood not be converted into mulch. The case is still pending.

• In 2005, Menards agreed to a $2 million fine after Wisconsin DNR officials found a floor drain in a company shop that they believed was used to dump paint, solvents, oil and other waste into a lagoon that fed into a tributary of the Chippewa River. The sanction broke the previous record fine of $1.7 million set by Menard in 1997.

• In 2006, the construction of a $112 million warehouse became a campaign issue in the Wisconsin governor’s race. The warehouse was to be erected by filling in a .6-acre bean field the DNR considers a seasonal wetland used by migrating tundra swans. Menards offered to build a wetland more than twice its size as a replacement, but was rejected by Scott Humrickhouse, a DNR regional director. Humrickhouse said that solution could be used “only when every alternative for saving the original wetland was exhausted.” The increasingly heated dispute got considerable media coverage, with a DNR warden calling Menard’s general counsel a “legal bitch” and the company threatening to move jobs out of Wisconsin. Tempers seemed to cool after Gov. Jim Doyle arranged $4.2 million in state aide to help the company expand its Eau Claire manufacturing headquarters. Menard had previously contributed $20,000 to Doyle’s campaign.

Also in 2006: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued an administrative order against Menards for damaging a Sioux Falls, S.D., stream that ran through its property by filling in 1,350 linear feet of the stream and replacing it with a 66-inch storm sewer pipe.

19-year-old Tony Robinson of Sun Prairie killed on Williamson Street by police in Madison, Wisconsin #BlackLivesMatter • March 7, 2015

The Badger Herald story on this is a good place to get your start.


To get the fuller picture on the immediate protest that happened after the killing as well as the the sit-in at the City County building, the family reaction, and the response from Madison’s Young Gifted and Black, try linking to the hashtag #WillyStreet or #AnthonyRobinson or try the older tag #BlackLivesMatter

Also: Review the tweets of @itsghastlycrew, @ndrewhahn@RebeccaKemble and @velenajones who were at Willy Street and/or the City County building last night.


I realize this meeting announcement is late for a lot of people.  I caught wind of these events late myself.  I’ll be at the meeting hopefully tweeting some, taking some notes, and hopefully learning a lot more.

Meeting Today South Side of Madison:

“In the wake of the tragic murder of unarmed 19 year old Black teenager Tony Robinson at the hands of Madison’s Police Department, We’ll be talking about what we know so far about the situation, how it connects to other state violence against Black people, and next steps in demanding justice for Tony Robinson.

When: 10:30 am
Where: 3101 Latham Dr, Madison, WI 53713
Why: #BlackLivesMatter  Link to map

The people united, will never be defeated.

Come out. Spread the word.

All Power to the People

Young, Gifted and Black Coalition


Other Local News Coverage:

But they will always have their white miner on the flag … by blue cheddar • March 6, 2015

The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and the Operating Engineers were not too proud to stand with Wisconsin’s governor after he stripped collective bargaining rights from the workers who teach their children.

They did it in 2013 – two years after he yanked public sector union rights and 1 year after he won a recall.

With the passage of “Right To Work” legislation in the Assembly, their union power, their workplace safety, their living wages, and their job security is about to be eroded, too.

They weren’t the only unions supporting Walker.

From the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign:

“Unions representing engineers, police, firefighters, plumbers, carpenters and other trades contributed more than $83,000 in 2013-14 to help reelect Republican Gov. Scott Walker, despite his successful 2011 effort to slash public employee collective bargaining rights and his support for a state right-to-work law.”source

Why did they believe in him?

They thought bad things couldn’t happen to good white men?

Men who pay Guvna protection money and yell about spear fishing Injuns when Kathy Stepp pricks their ears just so?

Whichever the cause, the dividing and conquering happened as was foretold.

These unions served Walker well.
They are no longer useful.
They are discarded.
Remember when Walker used that phrase “It’s working“?
They were “worked”.




Image and excerpt below are from Scott Walker’s January 2013 Wisconsin State of the State speech:

“Joining me are Josh Dennis, Larry Youngs, Cindy Lafortune, Karl Krall, Richard Galarno, Curt Lusua, Adam Kaseno, Steve Anderson, Harold Wickman, and Ryan Haffenbredl. These operating engineers are members of Local 139, who are looking for work.

Also joining us tonight are carpenters and millwrights from northern Wisconsin locals of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, welcome Dana Tonnelli, Bob Polencheck, Charlie Steed, Al Ida, Dan Gillespie, Pete Langreck, David Grottke, and Jim Berrens.

Together, these folks are holding up the flag of the great State of Wisconsin. On the right side of the seal is the image of a miner. In the upper right corner are the tools of a miner. And on the top of the seal is a badger, which comes from the nickname given to early settlers who were miners. If any state can move forward with a way to streamline the process for safe and environmentally sound mining, shouldn’t it be the Badger State?”

full speech


  1. Jack
    March 8, 2015 at 2:07 am

    Marty, don’t lump Iron Workers in the same category as those ratty ass carpenters and dumb fucktard operators that supported Walker. We in no shape or form supported him.

  2. Alexander
    March 7, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    This is what happens when we don’t stick together. I would never vouch for any politician who tried to hurt any union ever no matter what my problems with them. These guys sold out, probably were told it was in there best interest…. Or were paid to do this? I dunno but fu€k Scott walker in the @$$

    • Marty Bee
      March 7, 2015 at 8:24 pm

      UUUUUUUUNION YES, as long as I can sit on my butt and do nothing and get a big paycheck. For you? DON’T CARE!

      I am also glad that private unions are being taken down in Wisconsin. Next, they will repeal prevailing wage standards in government contracts. This will especially hurt those bozo construction trades that endorsed and voted for Walker. Now municipalities, who in some parts of the states higher more construction workers than the private sector) will all have to accept bids where immigrants (perhaps illegal?) are paid poverty wages!

      Of course, workers that try to scrape by on minimum wage (or even a few bucks more per hour) cannot afford union dues anyhow and now the unions will not invest in expanding their base, especially in low-wage industries. So those bricklayers, iron workers, engineers, and other union grunt workers are really going to be taken down. Even those that want to will not be able to afford union dues once government contracts are all done at minimum wage.

      Perhaps these morons, largely overpaid anyhow (but I never complained until they stood with Walker) will find out just what the Koch Brothers and other multinational corporate interests think of you. YOU UNION WALKER VOTERS WERE AND STILL ARE STOOOOOOOPID.

      Nice to see you get knocked down. I can only hope you will quickly reap appropriate rewards to voting for the divide-and-conquer governor. YOU ARE ALL MORONS!

      • Mary
        March 7, 2015 at 11:57 pm

        I was just wondering…were police generally supportive of walker during the pre-recall protests at the capitol? And so, are the police in all those 20 or 30 RTW states now no longer going to be defended up to the hilt by a (corrupted) police union? “Security” for me would hinge not on police, but on mutual respect — a job I could put my heart into and that would give me back a wage, with benefits, in return for my contribution to society; not “total surveillance” and “winners” who are “losers” (if you know what I mean) in unfair fights, and imprisoned immigrants and of course African American men and women. Blue Cheddar’s correct. What we got here in Wisconsin is some Koch corruption (pronounced caca-ruption) hitting the fan.

  3. Art
    March 7, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    As a public employee, I say good! Things were going good for them back then, we warned them. Now they can cry like little school girls. Wait until your property taxes or rent goes up from loss of tax revenue due to lower wages. Nothing like poor republicans LMAO

  4. March 7, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    I love monkey observer’s analogy. What a graphically accurate portrayal of our spit in your face uncaring childish governor

  5. Sarge
    March 7, 2015 at 2:03 am


  6. monkey observer
    March 7, 2015 at 1:32 am

    Walker is like the monkey on Monkey Island that masturbates in front of your children, tries to spray you and the kids with urine from his little monkey penis, inserts peach pits in his anus and then removes and sucks on them, and pelts your family with feces.

    Wisconsinites, to walker, are a bad joke and so stoooopid that they deserve the monkey treatment described above. Now he’s taking his sh!t-throwin’ monkey show national and the media is going to lap it all up, eventually catapulting this peach-pit-anus-inserting-and-sucking primate into the White House via some of the most blatant and outrageous propaganda you have ever seen.

    • Marty Bee
      March 7, 2015 at 8:17 pm

      But it is so much fun watching the monkeys at the zoo. You can always wash the urine and feces off when you get home, though I agree, watching them jack off and insert peach pits in their asses to flavor them before inserting them in their mouths to suck on is very difficult to explain to the children.

      Why not elect a juvenile vandal to the White House and let him take down America just like George WALKER Bush did!

  7. james Louloudes
    March 7, 2015 at 1:08 am

    they got screwed

  8. March 7, 2015 at 12:06 am

    They are a bunch of imbeciles, they have become something even worse than a scab.

“Shut It Down” or Submit: Photos, video, thoughts after Sat. 2/28 Labor Rally in Madison, WI

On Saturday labor leaders at the big staged microphone delivered speeches to between 3,000 and 5,000 Wisconsinites about maintaining the long fight to preserving worker rights, workplace safety, and “the middle class” and they called on their members to contact their legislators.

Meanwhile, the rank and file in Wisconsin discusses the futility of showing up for rallies and hearings where nobody but Walker-friendly “experts” are heard. They more openly express regret that a massive general strike was not attempted in 2011. And some speak wherever they can – in hushed tones or loud ones – of “general strike”.

A Wisconsin Right To Work bill [which is an exact replica of an ALEC template bill] is expected to sail through a hearing, to be passed on to the Tea Party majority state Assembly, and then to alight upon Walker’s desk for a signature. All of these actions could be completed by as early as Thursday night.

The solution that longtime activist David Williams and other advocates of direct action have been proposing for years suddenly don’t seem so “out there”.

Below is a video of Bob Slamka, a rank and file sheet metal worker, speaking about “shutting it down” during an impromptu assembly in the capitol rotunda after the AFL-CIO-organized rally. He is not speaking on behalf of a union in this capacity, although he is a union member, and has been so for 30 years. He is with the Local 18 of a statewide sheet metal workers union that has 4,300 members.

He proposes that next Friday be a shutdown day: LINK TO VIDEO 

I asked him if labor leaders – even quasi-leaders – are responding favorably to his idea and he replied that he is getting mixed or guarded answers. He said AFL-CIO seems only to want to put up an opposition “for show”.

The scales have fallen from the eyes of many a former non-radical liberal Democrat and independent who formerly only voted (if that). They have seen for themselves hearing after hearing in which Wisconsinites have driven one third of the day to Madison, wait another third of the day, and ultimately, are not given even 2 minutes to speak in front of the hearing that decides their fate.

They have seen vote after vote advance Walker’s agenda on Tea Party lines with not even the adoption of amendments to legislation obviously churned out by a corporate mill (ALEC).

Most recently they have seen Scott Walker liken their strident yet peaceful, cheerful civic demonstrations to terrorism.

Now some former Republican-voting laborers are thrust into the same painful educational process as Walker rushes Right To Work For Less legislation he formerly said was off the table.

More Wisconsinites are ready to hear about a strident and swift way to combat the corporate corruption that has infused their state, county, town, and municipal governments.

Scales have fallen from more eyes.

But are they too frightened and weary to act after given sight?
Are they really, as Walker would say, “unintimidated”?

Leave your response in a comment.

Please visit my flickr account to see the rest of my photos in an album.
45 in all.


Does the term “throw a monkey wrench into the works” mean anything to workers?

it would be Walker’s dream to fire everyone like Reagan and the air traffic controllers. How about a strategy where anyone could participate? Solidarity Saturdays where anyone (everyone!) negatively affected by Walker’s policies spends no money in WI. No groceries, no shopping, no eating out, no gas. Stay home and have a potluck with family and friends. Let the corporations feel it in their pocket books, too. Don’t know if it should apply to local business or not.



Look – this was our last chance. From now on the destruction of unions will be gradual, sporadic at different times in different locations of Wisconsin. The two times we should have taken direct action are gone from us now. Our leadership blew it, we the rank and file blew it as well.

I’m all for “shut it down Friday,” but how does this happen? Who’s organizing it? Just calling for it, without the ability to make it widespread, just points up our lack of power. “Organized” labor has some communications infrastructure available, but they’re not using it to lead. Those who are willing to lead don’t have that infrastructure to call broadly for a general strike, even for one day. Our Legislature isn’t the only place run by fearful people who won’t stand up against power.

Hello Norm. Bob Slamka here with a contact request. I like your insightful comment, and would like to welcome you as a friend. I will take your call as you are available. This evening the Devil’s Advocates will be at the Rigby 119e.Main off the Square. Let me know if you can make it! Thanks. Slammer

This is just another example of why Citizen’s United was such a blow to our Democracy. Politicians are no longer beholden to their constituents, but only their benevolent benefactors. They serve their agenda, not the peoples’. WI has been testing ground for billionaires Koch and the Union of ALEC (yes, they are a union, they are a collective that pay dues to fight for their interests. Why are they so successful, oh yeah, money!) And sadly, they have proven that the return on their investment was well worth it. It will only be a matter of time before they take it nation wide. So, how do we fight the oligarchs? I fear a general strike or slow down or sick out will only give Scott Walker the Regan moment he has waited for all his life.

When union leadership is too timid, it is time for their membership to step up on their own! If not a statewide, general strike now, WHEN?!?!? While standing as close as possible to the Senate on Wednesday evening as the GOP insulted Wisconsin labor, we continually asked those State Patrol, DNR Wardens, and Capitol Security guarding them if they would consider how their union is NEXT!


I say shut it down. Walker & Co have given us no other recourse. They are not and will not listen to the People of Wisconsin. They are not working for us so they do not care about our voice. They are doing the bidding of a shadow government who is silently stealing the People’s government right out from under us, probably laughing at all of us and our predicament, even thinking there is nothing we can do to stop them. Well, when a government is no longer working for the People there certainly is something we can do about it. We can rise up and shut it down. What Walker & Co are doing, ignoring our democracy, not protecting our Constitutional Rights and doing the bidding of another group for self gain and pay to play, seems to me to be a violation of their Oaths of Office and yes I will say it again sounds treasonous. They are unethical in their offices and are using them only for their goals not the People’s. They have disrespected the People of this Great State of Wisconsin. I am very mad and upset about all of this. It is not fair that this group, who are suppose to be protecting our rights, can put so many people of this state in such a worrisome way. It is a very dishonorable way to govern and we the People of Wisconsin should not sit silent over any of it.

“Scales have fallen from more eyes.” I can only hope so, for the sake of the greater good.

And with their new sight, I sure hope people not only look out for one another, but also LOOK UP, too. I refer you to the “Latest Flickr Fave” posted to the right today (“Capital protest” by Martin Saunders). It shows a large crowd of engaged and unintimidated men and women marching at their Capitol. And above them? A sky filled with chemicals destined to fall to the ground or get inhaled.

There are so many fights to fight. There is no room to be frightened or weary or intimidated. The time for action is now. Battlegrounds include Walker’s office, the foods we eat, the water we drink and very air we breathe. Pick your battle, but don’t forget to LOOK UP. That’s more like a war than a battle up there. (More info at