Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Disrespected, Manipulated Wisconsin Electorate

[Reposted, with multiple updates, fresh links and new topics over the last two months - - most recently on Wednesday, October 15th Saturday, December 6th, December 13th-14th, January 23, March 5th, 2015, July 7th, 2015]

I suspect that Scott (Wrong-Way) Walker's stagnation in the polls is a reaction by disrespected and discounted Wisconsinites across-the-board he has made into opponents. 

His latest target, minimum-wage workers, whose pay rate he has locked into $7.25./hr and in which he sees no merit.

And his polling stagnation against a neophyte running in only her second campaign against his 13th is a fatigued reaction by supporters weary of defending his outlandish Presidential ambition, failed record and sleazy tactics.
There has never been a Wisconsin Governor in our memories prior to Wrong Way Walker who so widely disrespected the time, resources and basic interests of so many Wisconsinites, particularly the state's lower-income residents to advance a political career.

Update, July 7th, 2015: Everyone.

Updates: March 5th: We can add:

Wisconsin private sector workers with their pay and union representation suddenly cut by the 'right-to-work' bill on which Walker, post-election, has flipped;

Lower-income and disabled people receiving long-term-care that is about to be privatized.

Further restrictions on abortion upending the stand Walker took on abortion during the 2014 election.

UW faculty and much of the UW system statewide.

Update - - January 23, 2015: Walker shafts Kenosha and Racine Counties which gave him majority votes in the 2014 gubernatorial campaign by vetoing the Kenosha casino - - an action demanded by Iowa Tea Party voters Walker is courting.

Update - - Walker and his bureaucrats figure out a way to bankrupt family planning clinics. After closing several - - all to please the anti-abortion movement.

Update - - Wisconsin's blue-collar families in private sector unions are the latest victims of Walker's ambitions and servitude to corporate money.

Update - - Walker's intentionally-crafted "chamber of commerce" DNR is diverting taxpayer dollars and hunting and fishing license revenue to GTac mining so it can reduced permit costs as it prepares to clear-cut and excavate the pristine Penokee range in the Bad River watershed near tribal lands and Lake Superior.

Conflationists can claim until the cows come home that every Wisconsin Governor has behaved this one-dimensionally, opportunistically, selfishly, coldly - - including his latest  pandering plays and ploys for his Tea Party base: toting a shotgun to beg for donations from hunters to whom he has turned over DNR hunting policy-making, or mandating drug testing for low-income Wisconsinites who apply for food stamps and other public assistance - - again signaling to certain conservative voters that he is their guy.

Few if any Northern states' governors have so eagerly embraced a Nixonian, southern strategy to wield and hold power while playing favorites with a one-track divide-and-conquer playbook.. 

While being habitually evasive - - to our knowledge, as he says when he's cornered - - for 26 years.

Or whose fund-raising, special interest servitude and subsequent dismissals of questions about it and its propriety - - and we're talking about an unprecedented millions of dollars, according to recent disclosures - - are so devoid of credibility and transparency.

And who plays fast and loose with official data, like jobless numbers and state-to-state rankings, to mislead voters rather than inform them.

A recent example:

Not content with merely obstructing Obamacare implementation in Wisconsin, and turning away millions in its funding that could have provided wider care for 38,000 low-income citizens, Walker in mid-September sat on data showing Obamacare rates falling faster in Wisconsin than the national average.

Details, here, as he attacks Obamacare in TV ads and on his Twitter feed while Obamacare, despite the obstruction of Walker and fellow GOP politicians, adds affordability - - and vast numbers of new subscribers.. 

He's even stooped to misleading voters about where they can get help obtaining the ID they now without reason will need to cast their ballots. 

He's sending them to DMV offices that are closed more often than they are open - - sometimes less than haft-time.

Call it Voter Suppression 2.0, after cuts in absentee voting hours.

But I defy anyone to find in the ten previous administrations  - - split about evenly between five Democrats, and Republicans: Nelson, Reynolds, Knowles, Lucey, Schreiber, Dreyfus, Earl, Thompson, McCallum and Doyle  - - and that covers roughly the almost half-century I have spent here - - examples and patterns comparable to Walker's self-interested, game-playing, documented false-speaking and overall manipulative arrogance at the expense of so many other people:

*  Parents of African-American high schoolers, and the kids themselves, are Walker's latest load of campaign fodder, played off city-to-city, region-to-region, for a cheap, Twitter snipe.

*  If you are among the 600 workers at a slaughterhouse at Cargill in Milwaukee's Menomonee Valley, the Walker administration allowed the company to close the plant on 48 hours notice and did not hold the company a long-standing state law that requires 60-days public notice be given to workers, the City and other interested parties.

*  If you are a low-income Wisconsin homeowner and/or low-income wage-earner, Walker's first budget raised your taxes, despite his denials designed to put forward an ideological fiction that he was a tax-cutter only.

*  That budget also cut low-income families' Welfare-to-Work (W-2) $20 a month, just to get poor people more motivated to find work, as I wrote, citing Walker's budget language, in early 2011:
It's right there in the budget, on page 65, in the "Health and Human Services" section (really): "To further encourage W-2 recipients to recognize that the goal of W-2 is for participants to secure unsubsidized employment, reduce the monthly benefit check by $20." 
*  If you are a low-income woman using one of several Planned Parenthood clinics around the state which Walker's budget shut down, then feel free drive or hitch yourself a ride since you've got nothing better to do with your time to another county or part of the state. That was done so Walker could please his important Right-to-Life constituency.

* If you were a lower-income higher ed student denied state aid for which you quality, you joined 41,000 fellow students without the means to continue your schooling, the Cap Times reports, joining students with student debt which GOP leaders will not allow to be refinanced and Veterans facing aid cuts, too.

*  If you are a low-income wage earner making just above the poverty line, Walker made things more difficult for you by turning down no-cost federal funding to help maintain your BadgerCare health insurance.

Walker told you and about 80,000 others in Wisconsin, 'Hey, you're free to find new doctors and perhaps a more costly program via the federal website.'

And tough luck if you fall between the cracks or into ill health while chasing after care like you already had.

In fact, Walker is now griping and sniping about a brief, targeted federal effort to help those left in the coverage gap he created.

That middle-finger pointed your way was to let Walker burnish his preposterous Presidential ambitions and suck up to big, right-wing donors.

*  If you have asthma, heart, lung or breathing problems - - or would just like your kids to be able to breath cleaner air - - Walker did have your interests in mind when he failed to direct his agencies to write and enforce a mandatory clean air plan, so the Feds stepped in Friday, August 8th and said the US EPA would do it. 

*  If you are a student, or live in Milwaukee's central city without a driver's license - - and not coincidentally both are low-income groups, again - - Walker knows you will be inconvenienced by having to obtain the special, mandatory Voter ID provided at state DMV offices with reduced hours so you can exercise your Constitutional right to vote.

Which is the goal - - to discourage urban, young and Democratic-leaning voter turnout with a wink towards an anti-Milwaukee suburban and SE Wisconsin exurban GOP electorate - - part of a larger embrace of big government power by the former adherents to smaller-is-better-government to punish cities and other generally-Democratic regions.

*  If you are gay or lesbian, and the federal courts say you have the right to marry and share in a host of equal property and legal rights already enjoyed by straight citizens, Walker and Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen are continuing to demand that the state's ability to deny you those rights and to discriminate against you be restored.

*  Expect a mocking if you are a parent of Walworth, WI elementary school age children, and you want the state transportation department to listen and react to your worries about a highway expansion within less than 60 feet of the school.

*  And if you are a member of one of Wisconsin's Native American Ojibwe bands, Walker has several special sticks-in-the-eye for you.

The wolves which are part of your spiritual heritage are now being hunted, hounded, shot, trapped and otherwise literally dogged and harassed regardless of your opposition and beliefs.

That's to please his conservative, NRA-subscribing base, to which he gave a bonus: The $100 wolf kill license was cut in his most recent budget to $49 - - a blood red, blue light special.

Even wild animals are not exempt from Walker's political calculations.

And for the Bad River Ojibwe Band, he's got an especially nasty twist of social engineering headed your way:

Walker proposes leveling your sacred Penokee Hills and fouling your essential wild rice growing waters with open-pit iron ore mine fill for 35 years, along with acid runoff let loose by an out-of-state coal mining firm whose executives are major Walker donors.

His disregard for the environment and Ojibwe culture was the subject of a major feature piece in The New York Times, though his own Department of Tourism in something of a telling mixed message has been touting the unspoiled area's hiking and camping opportunities. 

Walker has rhetorically crafted the mine into a big potential job creator to appeal to Up North residents in economically depressed counties - - while knowing full well that most of the better jobs if the mine ever opens will go to out-of-state speciality workers already on call or working for the mining company in other states.

Walker also knows that any mine permits and approvals are problematic, at best - -  in part because the mining law he pushed through the Legislature is incompatible with current Federal water review requirements, not to mention Federal treaties with the Bad River Band. 

So years of delay and even outright veto and defeat for the mine are quite likely - - by which time Walker would have already extracted the political capital he needed from the issue.

And it is not an accident that so many of the people and groups which Walker and his legislative allies have targeted are low-income or minority Wisconsinites - - the very people who have fewer resources with which to fight back.

*  One more: Walker signed a bill making it easier for schools to retain their Native American logos and nicknames. Free speech for school districts, he said.

*  Though to be fair, Walker and his team did recently cut one low-income farmer some slack. 

Trust me: Walker and his team know this, factored it into the calculations, and care less about the harm their work - - from official disinterest to calculated media spin and to governmental policy-making - - will leave in their wake.

Most politicians like to please as many people as possible.

Few Governors would read a snotty Top Ten Public Employee Insult List to the senior staff, including:
"On a snow day when they say “non-essential” people should stay home you know who they mean. 
"You know by having a copy of the Holy Koran on your desk your job is 100% safe. 
"You have a Democratic congressman’s lips permanently attached to your butt."
But that's the essential disrespecting, manipulating, dividing-and-conquering Walker, with no problem stepping on anyone and anything in the way - - even the popular Trek Bike company - - if it suits the narrowest of his personal and partisan goals, and feeds the mean streak which is behind many of his actions.


Anonymous said...

Yet how can he poll around 50%??? This just never ceases to amaze me!!WAKE UP Wisconsin!!!

Anonymous said...

Excellent piece, James. But you forgot to mention Walker's first attacks on the least fortunate among us, the tax increase imposed upon them via a reduction in the earned income credit and an adjustment to the homestead credit. Also, a change in the unemployment law which now requires a one week waiting period before receiving payment is especially hard on people who live paycheck to paycheck.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Tribalism, Nonnie. That and The politics of hatred allow people to vote against their own interests, if it will hurt other people more.

James Rowen said...

Well - - I have written about the EITC back to 2011. Here's one link

And is Walker really a Bush relative? I do not think so.

Anonymous said...

They call each other cousins in public -- they tie is to George Herbert Walker and he had the clan around the Railroad system he controlled at the turn of the 20th century.

The Dem Party of Wisconsin has had the cousin bit on their website.

This is why Walker is from Colorado -- in the days before computers -- folk like george herbert walker had their kinfolk around the system to make sure the bookkeeping was right (of course, pre-computer).

Many know of prescott bush -- george herbert walker married his daughter to him.

Our scott walker would not be from the wealthy side of the family -- his father was a preacher/bookkeeper -- a very odd combination.

There have been reports that kkkarl rove was a mentor to walker. John Nichols reports that walker withdrew from the 2006 request after a personal visit by vp cheney -- his "reformer" schtick ran counter to the direction the repub party was headed.

You can doubt it all you like -- but there is a reason that the same out-of-state billionaires jumped on the scotty bandwagon as the ones that underwrote much of george WALKER bush's political career.

george WALKER bush stole 2 presidential elections -- this is a crime that takes a massive amount of money and then the means to manipulate outcome.

But don't take my word for it -- google Cliff Arnebeck and his work in Ohio and check out richard charnin's book, Matrix of Deceipt.

Since 1988 (the year george HERBERT WALKER bush ran), the numbers also are inconsistent with fundamental math principals.

And now the media (NEP) will no longer even conduct/publish exit polls in all 50 states -- don't believe that they can't afford to do so -- they makes record profits during these cycles.

The data can be used to demonstrate the results are not legitimate.

James -- do some google searches -- the dem party of wisconsin had the relationship on their web in 2012. I don't know if its been scrubbed or not -- but it is a fact that is how they interact.

Anonymous said...

I agree with all that you and others have written here - excellent article. The one thing that gives me the most pause however is how few of us vote. I don't understand why people don't participate in making their lives better.

Anonymous said...

I agree with all that you and others have written here - excellent article. The one thing that gives me the most pause however is how few of us vote. I don't understand why people don't participate in making their lives better. You can argue disenfranchisement and election fraud but when less than 50% of vote in the Presidential election and as few as 5% decide nonpartisan local elections there is something more going on,

Anonymous said...

I agree with all that you and others have written here - excellent article. The one thing that gives me the most pause however is how few of us vote. I don't understand why people don't participate in making their lives better. You can argue disenfranchisement and election fraud but when less than 50% of vote in the Presidential election and as few as 5% decide nonpartisan local elections there is something more going on,

James Rowen said...

About Walker/Bush. Interesting.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:37

Are you saying they steal elections fair and square?

Your larger point is well-taken, but if it can be mathematically proven that election fraud occurs in key races, then why should people vote.

scott walker's negative ads are designed to disenfranchise voters -- but some don't need help staying home.

Many potential voters simply don't have a dog in the fight. If the democratic party would stand behind and fight for the kind of Economic Bill of Rights that FDR advocated for, it would be possible to mobilize many voters.

And the result of an Economic Bill of Rights would create a booming economy as more people would have more income to support basic needs.

Anonymous said...

So if only the right person would run and elections were held a certain better way then everyone would vote and rainbows and lollipops! How about if everyone would vote then maybe better people would think they had a chance at winning elections.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 8:44 AM This may explain in part why Scotty's priority at Marquette U. was political rather than academic. Even at Marquette U. while Walker's grades were less than average his corrupt political activities were his focus/ambition. It's like he was born for it.

Anonymous said...

We all know cancers are hard to fight and to completely eradicate. Keep fighting,

Anonymous said...

anon 9:45

Free, fair, open, and transparent elections matter. This does not exist.

Our 2-party system is leaving people behind. On a national scale, the original party of slavery, the DEMOCRATIC PARTY, stands for nothing.

I pull a lever each November and a lemon rolls out. The views of a large number of potential voters are systematically excluded from the process.

America's voter participation rate compared to other democracies with advanced economies is disgraceful.

Of course, those that believe elections are stolen fair and square can't possibly have a valid take on America's shamefully low participation rates anyhow.

Voting the for lesser-of-2-evils is not a sustainable strategy. Those that stay home refuse to partake in a "vote for me or I will shoot this puppy" scheme.

It is entirely rational to withhold support for a rigged system -- doing anything else props it up.

It is foolish to expect massive turnouts as a way to restructure a dysfunctional system -- if everyone voted there would be no change is a 2-party system that does not work for an increasingly larger chunk of the electorate.

Anonymous said...

I work in the human services department of one of the poorest counties in the state. Many of Scott Walker's policies, which were designed to take from the poor and give to his wealthy campaign donors/supporters, have ensured that many people in this rural county CANNOT vote. They have no means to get to a polling place because they don't have a vehicle that runs, and they can't get the vehicle fixed because there are no jobs in the area from which to obtain an income. These people are living hand to mouth every single day of their lives, barely surviving. The cycle of poverty has been going on for so long that many of them don't know anything better exists. They know that those in positions of power, people who could change the way things are, don't care about them. Scott Walker sure doesn't. And don't even get me started on Act 10 and what it has done to those of us who work in public service jobs. I pray that Walker is voted out in November. If he wins,my family will be moving out of state. I cannot bear to stay and watch what other atrocities he will commit against the good people of Wisconsin.

Jake formerly of the LP said...

Thanks for the heartfelt post. I'm convinced the WisGOPs are perfectly fine with seeing your part of the state (and pretty much any part outside if a few 262 suburbs) go down the drain, as long as they get to be in charge of it.

Anonymous said...

Any article, even one as good as this about Wisconsin politics or Scott Walker should always contain the fact that he is a Koch Bros Lieutenant who will be promoted to Colonel if he follows order from Heir Koch.
The majority of WI lawmakers are Koch 'employees' who will be fired unless they follow orders.
Let me save you 500 hours of research into politics, history and the great despots of the last century.
WWII was over in 4 years. The Cuban Missile Crisis was handled in the time equaling a long vacation. The Koch have been at this for over 30 years and OWN about 22 states at present. THEY ARE THE GREATEST THREAT TO AMERICA IN 100 YEARS. Take this threat very seriously.

Anonymous said...

The koch takeover was financed and implemented by members of the lucky sperm club -- inheritance babies.

The family fortune comes from Joseph Stalin -- one of the most ruthless dictators in world history.

The koch's are vile facists that want to merge their business interests with our government to destroy our democratic republic.

And this should not be surprised -- their daddy was tutored by a brutal dictator.

Anonymous said...


James Rowen said...

To Anon 12:17 - - It's too long and the links would be lost. Instead, why not take one part or theme and i your own words send in your own letter?

Short letters have a better chance of publication. Break it up among friends...

Anonymous said...

Citizens of Wisconsin: take back Wisconsin!

Anonymous said...

Well done James. The first paragraph is a succinct indictment of career politician Scott Walker.

Anonymous said...

Now Walker is refusing to debate Burke on public TV and Radio, agreeing to only 2 debates sponsored by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association.

Among the debates Walker is skipping is one hosted by Marquette University Law School's Mike Gousha, host of WISN-TV's "UpFront with Mike Gousha." He has played host to six major debates over the last five years, including a primary and general election debate in 2010's race for governor and one in 2012's recall race for governor.

Raven said...

Feel free to use this as an illustration for Walker topics.