Ferraro, Compas, and June 5, 2012

In 1984, Geraldine Ferraro was the first female vice-presidential candidate in U.S. history. I think she was the first female political candidate to register on my radar. I was twenty-eight years old. I was a long way from being the political junkie that I have become. I didn’t yet identify myself as a feminist. At best you could say I was paying casual attention.

I had no idea that any of it was all that important to me, but around the time Ferraro and Mondale lost the election, I had a very vivid dream. I dreamed that I met Ferraro, shook her hand, and thanked her profusely for running. I told her how important it was to me personally that she had run, and I shamelessly begged her to run again.

I woke up surprised. My subconscious mind had a more active political life than my conscious mind did. Obviously the dream was powerful enough that I’ve not forgotten it twenty-eight years later. (OMG, has it really been that long?) I had a lot more of myself invested in Ferraro’s candidacy than I realized, just for the very simple reason that she was a woman—well, a smart woman who said things that resonated for me.

Twenty-eight years later, here I am in Wisconsin, startled to find myself and my friends on the front lines of the battle for democracy. In my evolution as an activist feminist political junky, there have been candidates and political leaders I have felt a strong connection with: Russ Feingold, Tammy Baldwin, the Fab 14, the Assembly democrats in their orange tee-shirts. But absolutely no one has struck a chord with me like Lori Compas has.

She is exactly as she describes herself: a citizen candidate. Had it not been for the Fitzwalkers’ outrageous political overreach, Lori, like many of us, would likely have carried on with life as usual, in Lori’s case, being a mom and a businesswoman. But there’s nothing usual about what’s happening in Wisconsin.

Every week or so, like so many others, I find myself doing things I’ve never done before: Gathering signatures. Talking about politics to neighbors, acquaintances, and strangers. Discovering that, lo and behold, I have a voice. Who knew? By deciding to run against Fitzy, Lori took that “politics as unusual” thing so many of us are going through several steps further.

On May 23, I had another of those political firsts. I went to my first live political debate. Not super monumental, maybe, but anymore it seems like the opportunity to see one of these rapers of the public good called to account without party and mass media gatekeepers running interference is rare indeed. And this was none other than our very own Lori Compas challenging the oh-so-full-of-himself Scott Fitzgerald to account for his actions as the elected representative of Wisconsin’s lucky 13th senate district.

That debate alone was a huge victory for all of us. I loved watching Fitzy’s face get redder and redder as he worked so hard to keep his temper in check. I loved seeing him on the defensive. And I loved watching Lori calmly stand up to him and call him out. Here’s a little secret: I am easily intimidated. (Don’t tell anyone, okay?) So when I see someone—anyone—stand up to an individual who not only is powerful but abuses that power, I am in awe. The catharsis is visceral. And that’s how it was for me the night of the debate. My inner child was doing a wild, happy jig.

Many of the things Lori said that night were really important and needed to be said right to Fitzy’s (red) face.

Democracy doesn’t stop when we cast our ballots. It’s a continual process. We need to watch our leaders and hold them accountable, and this right is protected in our constitution. What we’re seeing here is a pattern of abuse of power and betrayal of trust. The senator broke the open meetings law, he forced his fellow legislators to sign secrecy pledges, and he didn’t campaign on these major policies that he has imposed on our society. He didn’t tell us he wanted to divide and conquer us.

In her closing statement, Lori made clear to Fitzy that he is accountable to the people of his district. He may think he’s working for Walker. He may think he’s working for ALEC and his corporate backers. But Lori made it crystal clear that the senator is supposed to be working for the people of senate district 13.

Our discussion tonight has shown that the people of our district have never had a clearer choice between the entrenched power of a career politician and the grassroots energy of a citizen candidate. We are here tonight because the senator abused his power and betrayed our trust. He campaigned on jobs and economic development, but instead of jobs, he gave us divisive policies that polarized our state.

We didn’t ask him to roll back women’s rights, but he did. We didn’t ask him to roll back voting rights, but he did. We didn’t ask him to roll back workers’ rights, but he did. And in doing so, he turned neighbor against neighbor, friend against friend. He led the effort to execute a plan that was, in Governor Walker’s words, designed to divide and conquer us, his constituents.

As upsetting as these policies were, the process he followed was even worse. He shut down debate, he silenced our voices, he had absolute power, and he used it to hurt us. And last winter, twenty thousand of his own constituents told me that they could not bear this to go on. They told me it was time to stand up for what’s right. They told me they didn’t want him anymore.

I’m honored that the volunteers turned to me to serve instead, and I’ll do my best to be worthy of their trust. I will be a senator who’s open and accessible. I’ll return the focus of our district to create jobs, fund education, and provide affordable health care. I’ll help return to Wisconsin’s best traditions of cooperation and civility in the legislature, and I’ll be honored to serve as your voice in the senate.

As I said from the beginning, this campaign isn’t about one person, and it isn’t about one political party. It’s about our shared belief that people should matter more than money. It’s about our belief in open, honest government. It’s about our belief that legislators should represent their constituents honorably.

The people I’ve met during this campaign—Republicans, Independents, and Democrats—have shown me that there is so much more that unites us than divides us. This gives me great hope. I’m offering you a clear choice. I ask for your vote on June 5th.

I tried to explain to Lori (in person, not in a dream!) after the debate how much her candidacy means to me. I even tried to tell her about the Ferraro dream. But I failed to get across how much her courageous advocacy means to me. I’m doing better as I write this now, but I’m still not able to adequately express how deep and powerful my feelings are. I just know that there are many others whose feel the same. I expect they’ll understand.

So here were are on June 4. June 4, 2012. I can hardly believe it. Unlike 1984, I know exactly how much of myself is invested in what happens tomorrow, not only in the race for governor, but also in the races for the senate. And especially in the Compas-Fitzgerald race. Every fiber of my being, every corner of my mind—conscious and subconscious—is pulling for Lori. And Tom. And Mahlon. And the amazing recall fighters of Wisconsin. There’s no way I’m going to be able to sleep tonight.

Photo courtesy of Ingrid Laas

Lori Compas pledges a clean campaign against Sen. Scott Fitzgerald and fake Democratic candidate, Gary Ellerman


I made another of my many trips to the Gov’t Accountability Board office today. Instead of photographing a light snow on a crowd of smiling people as I did when Lori Compas submitted 3 boxes of signatures to recall Scott Fitzgerald, I snapped photos of pure sunshine falling on the same determined smiling people. Lori Compas has become known as the woman who organized a recall against Sen. Scott Fitzgerald from her kitchen table because it had to be done. She is now known as the contender for his seat, and her submission of 800 signatures to file for the candidacy today lets the world know that her team of volunteers is chomping at the bit to do much more. The volunteers collected more but they could not all be submitted per G.A.B.’s policies (920 signatures were collected for her bid for office in 7 hours on Saturday and around 900 signatures were collected the next day).

She is also hoping to make a name for heself as a clean campaigner despite the fact that she will be up against a fake Democratic candidate and the ever-snarling personality of the GOP’s Senate Co-Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald [Wisconsin now has 16 GOP and 16 Dem senators after the resignation of Pam Galloway of Wausau and thus Fitz is no longer a “majority” leader].

Gary Ellerman is the man who Lori informed me did cause authentic confusion over the weekend in Wisconsin after he announced he would run as a Dem to primary her on May 8th. But when a photograph of Ellerman emerged showing him standing side by side with Fitzgerald at a Lincoln Day dinner, and when online researchers learned he is the leader of “Walker Walkers” of Lake Mills, his secret was swiftly outted.

I stood with the volunteers discussing their responses to Ellerman’s entry into the race – which were really mere shrugs of the shoulders. It was a response very unlike the alarm many activists [this blogger included] displayed last summer when they saw Wisconsin’s GOP prop up fake candidates in each of the GOP recall races. The feeling is, “Been there. Done that.”

Today amongst a team of about 30 supporters Lori Compas invited Scott Fitzgerald [and I presumed Ellerman] to rise to the challenges she says she will honor in a clean campaign pledge: to attend 5 debates to occur around the district, to collect at least 75% of fundraising monies from inside Wisconsin, and to attend no out-of-state fundraisers.

“I hope Scott Fitzgerald will respond to constituent concerns and pledge along with me to run a clean campaign,”Lori Compas said.

One thing I think Wisconsin can expect from Scott Fitzgerald is condident yet empty statements such as his February 8th remark after 20,600 petitions were submitted to kick off his recall [when only 16,742 were required]:

“I’ll have enough challenges to be below the threshold.”

His recall election was certified between the hours of 9AM and 10AM last Friday March 30th.

As the photo-taking wound down, one couple waited eagerly near Lori Compas. The woman of the pair said to Lori, “What do we do NOW, Lori” as if she were waiting for her instructions from a local field organizer. Lori replied, “Knocking on lots of doors.”



I had to make a correction: earlier I wrote that 75% of collected funds would have to come from within the district as stipulated by the clean campaign pledge. I should have said that the funds are to come from within the State of Wisconsin. 04/02/12 10:53 pm Central

Blogger’s Report: Recall Papers Have Been Filed on Scott Walker, Rebecca Kleefisch, and Scott Fitzgerald

At 9AM this morning the Wisconsin State Senate rules committee began a meeting many are concerned will hobble recall efforts in Wisconsin.

Simultaneously, two blocks away a group of people proclaimed they would exercise the right to recall one of the most hated Wisconsin politicians in all of history: Governor Scott Walker. We were jammed into a spartan basement recall office at 330 E. Wilson. I heard former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, Wisconsin Firefighters Association President Mahlon Mitchell, and citizens declare their intent to file papers on Scott Walker and Rebecca Kleefisch. The words that made me gasp: “Wisconsin can not take 1 more day of Scott Walker as governor of our state”.

We walked over to the Government Accountability Board office at East Washington, probably looking like a blob of press and 1 “Recall Walker” sign held aloft

Julie Wells walked up to the G.A.B. desk and announced, “I want to take out a petition to recall Governor Walker and I want to recall Lieutenant Governor Kleefisch”.

The paparazzi-like mass crowded closer, camera shutters clacking, digital cameras bleeping. Papers were filed, a few details were spelled out by the G.A.B clerk and it was done.

A reporter asked Julie how she felt, and she said, “It feels surreal. It really does. It feels like a dream. A dream come true. We’re going to do this. We’re taking back our state” There was light applause. And soft sounds of “yes”.
In my recording, I hear myself sigh loudly with relief in the background. Julie then embraced Sarah Hammer and another citizen and I heard her repeat, “We’re going to do this.”

I asked Sarah Hammer co-coordinator for United Wisconsin how she felt, “Amazing. Amazing. Absolutely amazing. 10 months in the waiting….I haven’t been getting a lot of sleep lately. It feels like Christmas.”

I asked her if she could devote all of her efforts to the recall in the next 60 days of signature gathering. She replied, “I have a full time job and I have a 4 and an 8 years old. I work about 100 hours a week- including this. For free.”

The assembled then left for the 1605 Monroe Street Madison United Wisconsin Office to carry on the press conference at that location.

I lingered listening to a few reporters confirming details on the recall process. I noticed a woman and her daughter had quietly slipped in and were filing more papers . They were adding papers to recall Wisconsin State Senator Scott Fitzgerald.

Me being a deferential citizen reporter, I asked them if they would like to be videotaped. They declined but authorized a photo. They tweeted under the @RecallFitz twitter

“Just filed the paperwork to #RecallFitz”
and I retweeted the message.

16,742 signatures at minimum must be gathered to recall Scott Fitzgerald.

Before departing, filer Lori said, “I just wanted to make clear that this is a serious effort. I’ve had lots of people say this is just symbolic. I wouldn’t allow Scott Fitzgerald to raise money – unlimited funds – if we weren’t serious. We’re coordinating closely with the Democratic Party.”

I believe they are enjoying something sweet on the square and some down time before heading into a great deal of work.

Lori will release a presser around noon from @RecallFitz with more information on the effort.

I have video I’ll be filing when I get back home.

For now, I’ll be talking to the people at the two tables next to me in this cafe. One is a table of two men circulating petitions and the second is a table of two women who were elated to be asked to sign. I will follow my state’s future as dictated by the GAB and the rules committee at 140 characters at a pop on twitter even though I’m across the street from our lawmakers.

For just a while, I need be at the periphery of the macabre bureaucracy inside and talking to people….. like a woman who has just drifted over to ask me where she can buy this Recall Walker sign..


To answer your frequently asked questions on the Walker and Kleefisch recalls, see United Wisconsin’s FAQ

Wisconsin State Senator Scott Fitzgerald expected to face a recall effort

Scott Fitzgerald, Republican Majority Leader, Wisconsin State Senate, pouting at the podium

On Friday a new site called RecallFitz was created to document and promote an impending recall effort against Scott Fitzgerald, leader of Wisconsin’s state senate GOP majority.

The site authors promise that “we’ll post the petition on this site at 12:01 November 15”. Based on social media, the recallers will aim to gather 18,000 signatures, but gather at minimum, 16,750.

(In case I have some outta-staters drifting in here, papers will be filed to recall Scott Walker on November 15th along with his Lieutenant Governor and 3 other Republican state senators–Sens. Pam Galloway of Wausau, Terry Moulton of Chippewa Falls and Van Wanggaard of Racine )

Scott Fitzgerald has served state senate district 13 since 1994. District 13 encompasses the villages of Fort Atkinson, Lake Mills, Watertown, much of Oconomowoc, Deerfield and Beaver Dam.

It doesn’t look like an easy task to boot Fitzgerald out considering his 2010 election numbers. Dem opponent Dwane Block of Oconomowoc got 29.2% of the vote, Independent Vittorio Spadaro got 3.14% of the vote, and Fitzgerald got 67.61% of the vote with 65,860 people voting in all.-source

I wish I could report that the Kloppenburg race this spring brought a switch to blue there as we saw in Wisconsin’s southwest and northwest but…. I can’t. In Dodge County Prosser got 13,379 to Kloppenburg’s 8,524. In Jefferson County Prosser got 13,261 votes to Kloppenburg’s 9,763 votes.

But election stats be damned, local recall volunteers are gung-ho to get out there to recall for Walker and this will be just 1 more piece of paper to bring along. They’ll be able to tell us what if any hope there is in getting Fitzgerald out of there from their time in the trenches. And in the meantime, they will build a stronger network for progressive types. Godspeed!

For just a quick refresher on why many hold a touch of contempt for Scott Fitzgerald – –
You may remember that Fitzgerald called the Dem14 – the 14 Democratic senators who left for Illinois to halt passage of Wisconsin Act 10 – “the most shameful 14 people in the state of Wisconsin” and he called their time in Illinois a “vacation from reality”

You may remember Scott Fitzgerald as the guy who ordered the LRB to do a runaround on our Secretary of State AND a court order, telling them to print the union-busting Wisconsin Act 10. Afterward he defied all legal logic and he proclaimed it legally published. – illusory tenant

Or perhaps you recall that he admitted on Fox that the whole gutting-the-unions thing was not for fiscal prudence, but for defeating Obama in Wisconsin saying:

FITZGERALD: Well if they flip the state senate, which is obviously their goal with eight recalls going on right now, they can take control of the labor unions. If we win this battle, and the money is not there under the auspices of the unions, certainly what you’re going to find is President Obama is going to have a much difficult, much more difficult time getting elected and winning the state of Wisconsin.

Backup link to video.

2008 Campaign contributors

“That’s illegal, you know!” – Scott Fitzgerald: “Yes sir!”

This is a guest post by Bruce N. I’ve seen Bruce protesting in snow, sleet, rain, and sweltering sun at the Capitol building. If you want to learn about how to do a marathon protest, Bruce is your go-to man. He had an unusual conversation with the Wisconsin Senate’s Scott Fitzgerald today.

One hour and 45 minutes ago I was jauntily completing my daily citizen’s duty – 198 straight days sign-protesting at Capitol Square. I’m an unpaid, non-union, average guy who, like many Wisconsinites, has been slapped in the face by an internal coup d’tat of Wisconsin representative government in February. I like to call it “Walker’s St. Valentine’s Revolution.”
In response, I try to make a small contribution, a fresh and topical sign every day, that keeps the issues on the minds of those who haunt the capitol. A presence, a stand-in for all those who can’t make it every day.
Today’s sign-bite Reeled In A Big Fish. It read:
J. Fitzgerald’s lobbying org’s (ALEC) membership paid by WI taxpayers.

(ALEC, of course, refers to the ubiquitous but largely unknown American Legislative Exchange Council. Go to ALECEXPOSED.ORG)
So, back to the story. Who should I run into today but our jovial, red-faced WI Senate Leader, Scott Fitzgerald, Jeff’s brother, and two of his cohorts.

I held up my sign directly in front of them and they dutifully read it. Following which, I politely (not always my M.O.) said to them, “That’s illegal, you know!”

Senator Fitzgerald answered without pause, “Yes, Sir!” He smiled broadly, as did I before turning my back and leaving.

What the senator meant by his retort is anyone’s guess. Could it be that he agreed with the sign’s implication of illegal use of funds and was showing the extreme hubris so common these days among the GOP? Or, was it a clumsy, off-the-cuff bit of Irish humor. I’m not writing with the purpose of intuiting personal intent. I’m reporting what I saw and heard verbatim and you be the judge.

The story beneath this chance meeting is instructive. The putative Republican candidate for the open U.S. Senate seat, Jeff Fitzgerald, used Wisconsin taxpayer money to become a member of ALEC. That may be illegal. The Assembly leader also accepted a suspect donation of $1,329 from ALEC.

The main revelation about ALEC is that it secretly gathers together 2,000 state legislators, including our own, along with 300 corporate representatives to draft and vote on so-called “model legislation” that is then trotted back to state capitols, including Madison, for use in GOP legislative agendas. ATTENTION: our supposed representative government is being run from outside the state, especially by CORPORATIONS.

Among ALEC’s members are 33 WI Assembly representatives and 15 WI Senators – all Republican. If you check Wisconsin legislation you’ll find a remarkable similarity to ALEC models. How else, barring pre-knowledge of Scott Walker’s election, could the revolutionary putsch of our government have put together a voluminous set of prepackaged bills in such a short period of time. The only answer is that between the November, 2010 election and the January 3, 2011 inauguration they already had them in their back pocket.
ALEC claims they are not a lobbying organization. But, if writing bills for states and allowing corporations to vote on “model legislation” along with wining and dining WI legislators is not lobbying what is? ALEC has made old-fashioned lobbying in smoke-filled rooms look like stone tools.

It is important to know that Wisconsin makes it illegal for their legislators to use taxpayer money for membership in lobbying organizations.
I suppose a demand to make ALEC identify itself as a registered lobbying group would require a court case. I am not a lawyer and do not have the money to mount such an endeavor, but until somebody does what can we do? We can shout to the rooftops that the Republicans are set to run a man for the U.S. Senate who, if he has not blatantly broken the law, has committed ethical malfeasance and severely jeopardized representative democracy in Wisconsin.

Keep your spirit. Settle in for a long fight. Politics and citizen protection of Democracy is an endurance activity.

And now for a brief flashback, this is a video I did of Bruce at day number 94 of his protest. The video cuts to the part where he explains why he’s friendly with everybody, even the Republican legislators:

Judge Sumi plays by the rules. Wisconsin Republicans don’t.

“Wisconsin Republicans were struck down in a blaze of judicial glory” – Sarah Jones, Politicususa.

I wish Judge Maryann Sumi really was a fire-breathing liberal. However, I believe she just respects the Wisconsin constitution and the law.

I learned what I need to know about Wisconsin’s open meetings’ law from watching Peter Barca fire-breathe it on March 9th.  But Fitzgerald and his band of tone deaf Republicans couldn’t hear him. Worst case of selective hearing I’ve ever seen.

As you recall, the Dem14’s absence halted the “budget repair bill” because it was a fiscal bill and a quorum must be present to act on fiscal matters in Wisconsin’s senate. Then in a sudden turn of events, Fitz and the pack removed a portion of the larger bill and called it “non-fiscal”. The segmented portion stripped collective bargaining rights from public unions in Wisconsin.

Fitz waved the new bill by the Legislative Reference Bureau, [probably running by as fast as his short legs could carry him], he said he got their blessing, and called for a 6PM meeting with about 1 hour and 50 minutes notice:  less than even the 2 hours which may be used in the case of an “emergency”.

I think Fitzie fearing a loss of Republican votes does not  qualify as an emergency.

Now that Judge Sumi has ruled that Wisconsin Act 10 is dead for violation of the law, the Wisconsin Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments June 6 to determine whether they will consider the case.

I have a feeling they will consider it given the fact that our supreme court has a 5-4 conservative majority and one of them is a real turd.

The Tool has Another Tool

Meanwhile, Walker will continue to put the screws to teachers from the budget side forcing layoffs.

Walker’s budget requires a $500 per-pupil reduction in property tax authority, reducing the money available to the state’s 424 districts by 7 percent, or nearly $600 million, based on a study done by University of Wisconsin-Madison economics professor Andrew Reschovsky.

Walker is using this “tool” to weaken WEAC, Wisconsin’s teacher union. Fewer union teachers means less union dues to collect. Layoffs have begun in Oshkosh, and Kenosha. And where teacher contracts are renegotiated, Walker’s budget gutting looms large and results in reduced pay and benefits.

Reminds me of this oldie – Fitzgerald speaking with FOX on how removing union rights – specifically reducing dues collected – helps to weaken Obama’s base here in 2012.


Mass Transit Parasites

What the heck. Let’s flash back to March 9th just one more time. Immediately following the illegal committee vote and then floor vote by the assembled Senate [Dem14 being in Illinois] the Republican senators scurried to a City of Madison bus, ordering the paying riders off. The band of authoritarian mass transit parasites were whisked away.

Here’s some choice video of that episode:

They rumbled away in the rain on City of Madison property to some location closer to a mall [perhaps their native habitat?] to collect themselves. That weekend they jetted to D.C. for a fundraising dinner where, I presume, they also snorted cocaine and…. Whoa! Ha ha…Sorry. I made up the coke part.You have to admit it’s less absurd than the previous set of events and less criminal.


Sometimes I sign off with “Forward”.

About time that became, “Recall”.




Headlines. Call ’em like you see ’em.

I’ve been traipsing about meeting Joanne Kloppenburg and hanging out at Wisconsin’s capitol with the other fans of cooperatives and labor. I’m now parking myself at a free computer at Michelangelo’s on State St.  Apparently while I was out having fun, illusory tenant was combing the net and finding that most U.S. dailies got the story on yesterday’s GOP print job wrong.

He noted that the Wisconsin State Journal was one of the few daily newspapers to get it right on the first try.

Wisconsin State Journal: “Collective bargaining law published despite court order blocking it”

and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel stumbled terribly:

illusory tenant: The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is out to lunch

I took a quick look to one of my old favorite papers and it seemed alright:

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Wis. law taking away collective bargaining rights published; disagreement over taking effect

A scan of the Atlanta Journal Constitution didn’t alarm me.

Are you finding any skewed reporting out there in the daily newspaper space? Comment here, please.  I’m really hogging the public computer. I’m out.  Catch you later today.

Counterfeit Wisconsin

The Walker administration is pretending lying. They have printed the “budget repair bill” and they are putting forth the message that it doesn’t need to face the scrutiny of the Wisconsin Supreme Court as decided by an appellate court on 3/24/11. (Court’s decision. My post on the decision.)

Scott Walker, Scott Fitzgerald and the Wisconsin Dept. of Justice have said that they consider Act 10 to be law and will act on that presumption going forward. They say it is “published” by the LRB.

However, if we are playing by Wisconsin law, then no, Act 10 can not be presumed to be “published” as law  right now. It has only been “printed”.

I’m calling that a counterfeit law. They can say that printing the law makes it good to go. Just as I can say that twenties off of my inkjet printer are good. The difference is I have a chance of cashing in my fakes.

An email from Scott Grosz to Rep. Peter Barca, 7:08PM tonight, clarifies that the Secretary of State’s publication of a bill determines its date of enactment. (Grosz is a staff attorney for the nonpartisan Legislative Council).

In the words of Grosz, “the statutory obligation that relates to the effective date of Act 10 has not yet been satisfied by the Secretary of State, and at this time the Secretary’s actions remain subject to the temporary restraining order issued in Dane County Circuit Court.”

This is Scott Fitzgerald saying otherwise in an AP article:

“Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, who said he went to the Reference Bureau with the idea, said the action means the law takes effect Saturday.

“It’s my opinion it’s published, it’s on the legislative website, it’s law,” Fitzgerald said. “It was clear to me after our discussions this morning, if it in fact it is posted and it says published and there’s a specific date on it, it would be very hard to argue this was not law.” From the AP

As said by illusory tenant -“this is getting leagues beyond ridiculous”.

Senator Scott Fitzgerald


Intuition correct: anti-union bill rushed through because hold on Republican Senator votes is tenuous

Karoli at Crooks & Liars gets the golden stomach award for watching FOX news and not only not upchucking, but turning out a story. Scott Fitzgerald got some grilling from Greta Greta Van Susteren and finally toward the end of this 4 minute video he admits that he’s not trying to revote the collective bargaining bill rushed on March 9th because:

“Greta you know that the legislature is always very tentative. You may have the votes on one day and you don’t on the next. I mean there’s so many factors that are out there in trying to bring this together. Judge Sumi says that the Capitol was not open during this entire process. We know the protesters would come back immediately if we said or announced that we were going to run this bill through again. …”

I surmised as much myself. Republicans can’t risk going back in for a legal vote in committee and Senate because faith in Republican Senators voting for the Governor’s ridiculous legislation waivers.

I think they are also getting wise to how media coverage and spirits rise with a full occupation of the Capitol. They don’t want to risk that again, either.

Part 2. 100,000 Welcome the Dem14 Home: The Press Conference

I could say without exaggeration that I was riveted to the appearance and the words of the Dem14 at Saturday’s press conference.

Dave Hansen of Green Bay conveyed the most emotion of all of the Senators who spoke to us.

Sen. Dave Hansen

Here is a 2.5 minute selection. This is a recording I don’t get tired of.

I realize I am incredibly biased. In my eyes, what the Dem14 did was necessary and heroic.  The press in this room didn’t share my admiration Continue reading

Wisconsin reacts: Protest, Recall, Strike, Boycott.

Video of last night’s GOP kill of workers’ rights

And here is an audio link – the video will likely be removed at some point

Representative Peter Barca is the man interrupting and saying the law for meetings has been violated. Wisconsin GOP Senate members later said they were in “Special Session” and therefore did not need to comply with the 24 hour meeting notice rule.

Below, Rachel Maddow’s show-footage of protesters followed by an interview with Michael Moore who says “this is a class war that has been leveled against the working people of America”

Michael Moore says that high schools across the U.S. will do a walk-out at 2PM on Friday, whenever 2PM is in their time zone.

A swell of social media messages to come to Madison to protest today and Saturday.

Protesters Rush In. Police Refuse to Stop Them.

And state troopers are no match. In the video below, the camera stops being shaky at about the 28 second mark. Thousands of people entered through doors and windows. I’m not sure how many stayed overnight, but I’d suspect hundreds to 1,000 given the past pattern.

Photo of Metal Detector in its New Role

Link HERE. This from Ben Masel.

Boycott of Businesses that Supported Walker Picks Up Steam

I’m seeing web sites, facebook notes, emails… so many it is too tedious to document. Madison.com Article

What’s in what passed last night

A LINK to a PDF copy of a summary from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. I haven’t read this yet. According to the statements from last night’s committee, it is everything in the Budget Repair Bill supposedly minus elements that have fiscal impact.

“General Strike”

Chants by protesters, tweets, comments on facebook display a huge uptake in mention of a “general strike” as a response to last night’s Republican Senate attack on worker rights. Socialists promote this as a viable and powerful solution, and dismiss recall efforts, seeing no hope in the Democrats.

From World Socialist Web Site:” A SEP team was present at the scene. Andre Damon, a reporter for the WSWS, was able to speak to thousands of demonstrators both inside and outside of the capitol building. He called for the formation of independent workplace committees to build for a general strike to force Walker out. These demands were met by enthusiasm among the workers present.”

Wisconsin, it’s not about you.

As I finish reviewing this article, 6pm March 9, the Republican GOP assembles to vote.

And 5 minutes, and it’s done. Peter Barca interrupts Scott Fitzgerald to say that open meetings law of Wisconsin is violated. Not even 2 hours of notice was given, and only with “just cause” [usually an emergency] may a government meeting be conducted in under 24 hours.

Barca said he had no idea what was in the bill. Fitzgerald said it’s the same but some things were removed. Barca kept yelling that the action was illegal, not just a rule violation.  Somewhere in the chaos an audience membered yelled “This is wrong” several times.Fitzgerald did the roll vote, gaveled, it was done. Another person yells “What have you done?” over and over after the gavel falls.  Legislators rush away while the crowd literally screams “SHAME” repeatedly at them. Dale Schultz was the one “no” vote.

It is legislation that strips collective bargaining. Doing so violates previous statements that the stripping of these rights was needed for fiscal reasons. Fiscal legislation relies on a quorum of 20–and non-fiscal legislation may be done with the remaining Republican Senators in Wisconsin. I watched the events tonight via Wisconsin Eye, where the footage will be archived.

We’ve been swearing out loud, at each other, yelling at the Capitol, asking ourselves why is the GOP doing this to us? What must the Republicans of Wisonsin be thinking? Wisconsin. I’ve had a break-up like this, too – but of course not on the magnitude of this break-up between the people of Wisconsin and the GOP. You can feel rejected and angry, but it’s not about you. It’s about Obama and the election of 2012.

Fitzgerald told us this on national TV –  that by defunding the unions when they remove collective bargaining rights – and thus dues collection, Wisconsin Republicans are weakening the Democratic Party funding and therefore Obama’s 2012 bid for reelection. Wisconsin is an important piece to capture on a presidential campaign chessboard, and I think we knew that. But we may have not realized that the goal of hobbling Obama would tower over everything else you hold dear.

Or in other words, you’re being used until someone better comes along. Like Washington D.C. [though how THAT’s better…]

I know. Who wants to believe that Wisconsin’s angelic form, charm, education, and plain beauty would not be enough for these GOP men [well, mostly men anyway]? Who wouldn’t want a future with Wisconsin?

Do you now wonder if it matters if we bring 100,000, a million, and even 2 million people to clog up Madison? Or would we still be ignored because Scott Fitzgerald and Scott Walker only have eyes for Mr. Right Wing? [Scott Walker finds his dreamboat in the mirror]

I can’t help but recall that when Scott Walker sent $890 million away to 11 other states, he said that the jobs he sent away were “not the right kind of jobs”.

Now I believe he would call the  majority of the Wisconsin electorate that disagrees with him “not the right kind of people”. Maybe “slobs”?

If I came up to Fitzgerald and said the following, do you think he’d only hear “blah blah numbers blah blah blah” because it’s not about cutting off unions and Obama at the knees?:

Pew poll released yesterday found the unions winning over the public in Wisconsin — they led Walker by 11 points.” These polls and others are in line with earlier polls that suggested Walker’s popularity was already sagging and that a majority of Americans oppose efforts to weaken collective bargaining rights by a margin of 60 percent to 33 percent.”

I’d think a sensible politician who wants to keep his job, would rethink this whole stripping -of-collective-bargaining-rights idea. But in yesterday’s press conference, he ignored the issue of local recalls when asked about them [2 minute video clip]. Meanwhile a vast grassroots recall effort against GOP senators is on fire across the state delivering 15% of the signatures needed in 1 weekend.

But the recalls must’ve registered with him. Just as something to stop. Yesterday Senator Fitzgerald revealed that Republicans are considering changing the rules for recall elections and allowing them only if an elected official has been found guilty of ethical or criminal misdeeds.

Source: WPR.

Again, Wisconsin, this is not about you – or representing you – at all.

Sticking with wildly unpopular plans does not make sense if you’re trying to stick around and have a relationship with your people. Walker and this Senate Majority leader see us as something ugly and cheap to walk on while they ready themselves for one day, and one suitor on November 2nd, 2012.

The Fab 14 on the Ed Schultz Show: “Whose side are you on?”

Why am I going to summarize this video? I love it. And I know a lot of you don’t have the patience for it and you might not like that constant yelling Ed Schultz does.

Also, it’s a pretty good framework for where things still stand right now between Scott Walker, Senate Majority Leader Scott “Don’t give a shit about your constitutional rights” Fitzgerald, and the power and energy of the impending recall elections against GOP Senators- recall elections that Scott Fitzgerald suggested he’d try to scuttle with a rule change yesterday.

Here’s what’s in this 15 minutes on Wisconsin from a recent Ed Schultz Show:

Walker calls Mark Miller’s letter and offer to meet “ridiculous”.

Walker says he’s assuming that Republican Senator Dale Schultz will vote “no” on his bill, siding with the Democrats. Democrats say they are applying pressure on moderate Republican Senator Mike Ellis.

To accomplish their goal of passing the Governor’s union-busting “budget repair” bill and also the draconian public-education-destroying regular budget bill, Republicans need 1 Democrat to come home and flip.  To defeat the Governor’s agenda, the Democrats need 3 Republicans to flip to “no” votes.

Senator Scott Fitzgerald announces that Dem. Senators Bob Jauch and Tim Cullen met with Walker allies. This announcement enrages Senator Jauch who says “Trust is completely broken down now. I don’t believe anything he says. [meaning Republican Senator Scott Fitzgerald]”

At the 1:19 mark, Ed talks with Senator Mark Miller and Senator Lena Taylor. Senator Miller says that in a recent press conference, Governor Walker claimed access to” ‘zero flexibility’. Senator Miller: “…and then he accuses us of not being able to negotiate”.

Senator Miller adds that Walker apparently does not know how to negotiate, and that is one of the reasons he wants to get rid of public bargaining.  Miller adds that the ability to negotiate is essential to working in the political arena.

Lena Taylor says that Republican Senator Dale Schultz has pretty much stated that he does not support the bill and wants an amendment to it [to keep collective bargaining rights]. She adds that Republican Senator Ellis has always worked in a practical way and he has a good relationship with Democratic Senator Risser. She says,

“Whose side are they on-those 19 Senators [Republican]? Are they on the side of Wisconsin workers? Or are they on Walker’s side?

Senator Miller calls the recall efforts “basically a do-over of the November election” and credits Governor Walker’s radical agenda for dividing Wisconsin. Senator Taylor adds that if the public were not energized to side with the workers, why would they be lining up around the block to volunteer in recall efforts against Republicans?

Ed Schultz asks, “What if you can’t change minds, how long are you willing to ‘hang in there’ and be absent?” Senator Taylor does not address the question directly. Instead she says,”It’s a question of whose side are you on, on the side of an unpopular governor or on the side of the workers?”

At the 5:08 mark, Senator Lena Taylor (full disclosure: my favorite Senator) closes saying,

“the recalls provide an opportunity for Wisconinites to take this baton and to really do what needs to be done to hold them [Republicans] accountable.” She adds something at the end — the Muhammad Ali style of tough talk I’m needing right about now:

“They’re gonna see ’em now, or they’re gonna hear ’em now, they’re gonna listen to ’em now, or they’re gonna have to deal with ’em later”.

Click to link into 15 minutes on Wisconsin's current crisis.

Insulting Letter to Dem. Senator Mark Miller from Scott Fitzgerald

Scott Not-Afraid-To-Be-A-Royal-Prick Fitzgerald: Republican Majority Leader, Wisconsin State Senate

March 7, 2011

Sen. Mark Miller

Parts Unknown, IL

Dear Senator Miller,

Thank you for your hand-delivered letter with an offer to meet, in Illinois, about the business and future direction of Wisconsin.   Let’s set aside how bizarre that is for a moment.

As you know Continue reading