Throughout Wisconsin, Tea Party leaders have received threats, harassment, and intimidation from those who oppose anyone who supports Governor Walker and the Budget Repair Bill.
Phone calls and emails are the most common forms of threats and harassment, but bullying and intimidation has occurred at recall petition drives.
On Saturday March 12, the fugitive “Badger 14” returned to Madison for a “hero’s welcome.” Each of the senators addressed a record crowd in Madison, but not one of them took that opportunity before the crowd, in the media, or through official statements to condemn the shameful death threats against Governor Walker and their 18 Republican colleagues in the Senate who were personally threatened.
According to the Democrats, it’s OK to run away from your job for weeks and then cry foul when your colleagues try to find solutions in your absence. After nearly a month of Democratic senators absconding from their duties at the capital the Republicans decided to break the stalemate on the budget repair bill by separating the collective bargaining provisions from the spending provisions. This move allowed Republicans in session to vote, and ultimately pass, the collective bargaining revision while their colleagues across the aisle remain AWOL.
Supreme Court candidate, JoAnne Kloppenburg touts her “broad legal experience” on her campaign website and in campaign materials.
But a review of Kloppenburg’s cases show that her legal career centered almost exclusively in environmental law. In fact, since 1990 she has only argued seven criminal cases before higher courts. To really reflect her background, her website should say, “legal experience in representing the interests of the DNR, especially when the agency went after homeowners over their piers and other constructions on Wisconsin lakes.” (more…)
Yesterday the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran a story about “pro-Walker” businesses that are targeted for boycott by opponents of the Budget Repair Bill. The over 125 companies and 26 PACs on the boycott list are those that contributed at least $5000 to Governor Walker’s election campaign in 2010. The Journal Sentinel article notes that this boycott list first showed up on a Facebook page titled “Boycott Scott Walker Contributors” that has netted over 9,500 “likes.” Another page that features the boycott list is www.scottwalkerwatch.com, an “unaffiliated…purely grassroots” website dedicated to recalling Governor Scott Walker.
Last week, Media Trackers explained how many local communities across the state were imprudently rushing through labor contracts and failed to utilize the tools provided by the yet-to-be-passed Budget Repair Bill. In the case of Madison, Mayor Dave Ciezlewicz and the Madison Common Council rammed through twelve labor contracts in one night in order to beat the anticipated passage of the Budget Repair Bill. Mayor Ciezlewicz went so far as to enlist the assistance of now fugitive State Senator Mark Miller to slow down the Budget Repair Bill in order extend labor contracts.
Three distinct courses seem to be emerging among labor negotiations in local communities. Many communities are following the example of Madison and jamming through the status quo labor contracts from years past. Other communities are using the Budget Repair Bill as leverage to work within the collective bargaining process to exact the concessions needed to neutralize their budget deficits. Finally, some communities are waiting to utilize all of the tools of the Budget Repair Bill and finding the savings promised by Governor Walker.
JoAnne Kloppenburg’s official Facebook campaign page is being used by her supporters to organize protests against Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair bill, as well as recalls against Walker, Lieutenant Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and a Republican state legislator who supports the governor.
Furthermore, the site is filled with weeks of rants against Gov. Scott Walker, especially over his budget and efforts to restrict collective bargaining rights. Posters call him a “horrible person” and say that Republicans don’t like to “help children.” One appears to refer to Kloppenburg’s opponent, Justice David Prosser, as a “turd.” Posters also repeatedly link a vote for Prosser to a vote for Walker.
On February 17, Madison Mayor Dave Ciezlewicz and the Madison Common Council voted to approve the extension of twelve labor contracts through 2012 in an emergency session. The process of approving labor contracts often takes days or weeks, but both Mayor Ceizlewicz and the Common Council agreed on the importance ensuring that “all employees can continue to receive current pension and health benefits for the next two years.” Following the vote to approve labor contracts, the Common Council marched to the Overture Center with representatives of the twelve unions to show “solidarity.”
By now anyone paying attention knows that Wisconsin is 3.6 billion dollars in the hole. What the average person may not know is that 20 percent of the state’s budget goes to fund Medicaid. That’s a huge chunk of change and a huge contributor to the state’s fiscal nightmare. And right now the funding for Medicaid will run dry in mid-May.
Today Governor Walker releases his two-year budget for Wisconsin. It’s not going to be pretty folks. But hard decisions rarely are. Wisconsin faces a 3.6 billion dollar shortfall. That debt isn’t going to magically go away, and because the Wisconsin Constitution requires a balanced budget, Governor Walker is in the middle of the proverbial rock and hard place.