Wisconsin Democrats should strongly oppose corporate welfare for the Milwaukee Bucks

An important issue facing Wisconsin after the November 2014 elections is whether or not Wisconsinites’ taxpayer money should be used to support corporate welfare for the Milwaukee Bucks NBA team so that they can build a new arena in Milwaukee.

If the owners of the Bucks want a new arena (the NBA has forced the Bucks to either build a new arena in the Milwaukee area or relocate elsewhere), they should pay for as much of the costs of building the new arena as possible and not take a single penny of money from federal, Wisconsin, Milwaukee County, or City of Milwaukee taxpayers. Wisconsin has cut more money from public education per pupil than any other state in the entire country, Wisconsin has slashed a ton of money from other social services, and Wisconsin is projected to have a $1.2 billion state budget deficit next year. To put that another way, Wisconsin can’t afford to hand out a ton of corporate welfare to two ridiculously wealthy people who own the Bucks. Besides, nobody cares about the Bucks except for the sports media and the business community in the Milwaukee area since they’ve been a losing team for the vast majority of their franchise history.

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mary Burke has given public statements supportive corporate welfare for a proposed Bucks arena, while Republican Governor Scott Walker’s position on this issue is unknown.

Most Republican state legislators appear to be either opposed to or are leaning toward opposing corporate welfare for the Bucks. Right-wing business groups are supportive of corporate welfare for the Bucks, and I’m guessing that far-right Tea Party groups are opposed to corporate welfare for the Bucks, especially if it involves any form of raising taxes or raising any other form of revenue for the state government and/or local governments.

However, the positions of Democratic state legislators and state legislative candidates on the issue of corporate welfare for a proposed Bucks arena aren’t well known. I would guess that most, if not all, of the Democrats in the Milwaukee area support corporate welfare for the Bucks, and there may be some Democrats from other parts of the state (especially the Madison area) who are opposed to corporate welfare for the Bucks. Basically, any Milwaukee-area Democrat who opposes corporate welfare for the Bucks runs the risk of losing to a Democratic primary challenger backed by business interests, and any Madison-area or outstate Democrat who supports corporate welfare for the Bucks runs the risk of losing to a Democratic primary challenger backed by progressives who are opposed to corporate welfare. If State Reps. Chris Taylor and Melissa Sargent (both D-Madison), for example, support corporate welfare for the Bucks, they’re probably not winning re-nomination two years from now should a Democratic primary challenger or a left-wing third-party candidate run against them, because their state assembly districts are very progressive and very anti-corporate welfare. I think even outstate Democrats like State Sen. Jennifer Shilling (D-LaCrosse) and Democrats from the Dane County suburbs like State Rep. Dianne Hesselbein (D-Middleton), who represent Democratic-leaning constituencies that are progressive, but aren’t rabidly progressive, could be in big trouble electorally should they vote for corporate welfare for the Bucks and an anti-corporate welfare Democrat runs against them in the Democratic primary.

Regardless of which constituency they represent, Wisconsin Democrats should oppose any form of taxpayer money being used to fund a proposed Milwaukee Bucks arena.

STRAW POLL: Mayor of Madison, 2015

There are currently three candidates running in the 2015 race for Mayor of Madison, all of which appear to be Democrats who have progressive views on most, if not all, issues.

One of them is Paul Soglin, the incumbent Madison Mayor. If I’m not mistaken, Soglin, 69 years of age, is running for what would be his second consecutive term and eighth term overall.

One of Soglin’s two challengers is Bridget Maniaci, a former Madison Alderwoman. Maniaci, 30 years of age, is currently attending college in Pennsylvania (specifically, at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh), but she has filed paperwork to run for Mayor of Madison and intends to move back to Madison in order to run for mayor. Here’s an article from The Cap Times about Maniaci’s campaign.

The other challenger running against Soglin is Scott Resnick, a Madison Alderman. Here’s an article written by Former Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, who lost re-election to Soglin in the 2011 mayoral election in Madison, about Resnick, who is 27 years of age.

Since I’d like to make an endorsement of a candidate in the 2015 race for Mayor of Madison, but I know very little about the candidates running, for the first time in the history of this blog, I’m going to conduct a straw poll. Which candidate do you want me to endorse in the 2015 race for Mayor of Madison? I will endorse the winner of the straw poll if and only if at least 25 total votes are cast in the straw poll, and the winner of the straw poll gets at least 75% of the total votes.

You can vote in the straw poll for the 2015 Mayor of Madison race below:

Was Dumb Ron Johnson behind one of the sexist remarks about Kirsten Gillibrand’s appearance?

In her new book, titled Off the Sidelines, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said that some of her male colleagues on Capitol Hill made sexist remarks about her appearance:

“Good thing you’re working out because you wouldn’t want to get porky,” Gillibrand says one colleague told her in the congressional gym, according to an excerpt of her book Off The Sidelines published by People.

After she lost weight following a pregnancy, Gillibrand writes that one male colleague squeezed her waist and implored: “Don’t lose too much weight now, I like my girls chubby.”

And she says one southern congressman told her, “You know, Kirsten, you’re even pretty when you’re fat.”

Although Gillibrand didn’t specifically name anybody, she either stated or implied several clues as to who made the offensive remarks about her appearance:

  • All three of the sexist remarks were made by members of either the U.S. House or the U.S. Senate.
  • All three of the sexist remarks were made by men.
  • One of the three sexist remarks was made by a member of one of the two houses of Congress from a Southern state.
  • Two of the three sexist remarks was made by members of one of the two houses of Congress, but no clue was given as to which region of the country they are from.

I’m going to ask this question: Was Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) behind the sexist remarks about Kirsten Gillibrand’s appearance?

One of the three sexist remarks about Gillibrand’s appearance, specifically, the one that Gillibrand herself identified as being from a southern congressman, is not from Johnson, since Johnson is from Wisconsin, which is not considered a southern state. However, while this is pure speculation on my part, I suspect that one of the other two sexist remarks were from Wisconsin’s Dumb Senator Ron Johnson.

Of all of the members of either house of Congress, Johnson is one of the most sexist members of either house of Congress. Not only has he repeatedly voted against legislation that would improve the lives of women, he also helped cover-up the sexual assault of one of his own aides by Republican Wisconsin State Rep. Bill Kramer for three years. Sadly, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Dumb Ron Johnson was responsible for making sexist remarks about a fellow member of the U.S. Senate.

Second consecutive Marquette Poll shows less voter enthusiasm among Republicans than Democrats

For the second consecutive time, the Marquette University poll of the Wisconsin gubernatorial race shows that Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mary Burke is leading Republican incumbent Scott Walker among likely voters but trailing Walker among registered voters, which is indicative of less voter enthusiasm among Republicans than Democrats.

This is surprising for three reasons:

  • Walker is viewed by the right-wingers in Wisconsin as a political hero
  • Burke is despised by many on the left in Wisconsin
  • Republicans have rarely had voter enthusiasm problems over the past several decades

About the only thing I can think of as to why Republicans are, all of a sudden, having problems getting their base to turn out is because of the recent document releases from the John Doe I and John Doe II investigations in Wisconsin that show that Scott Walker is a very corrupt politician. Even though Burke is a one-note candidate who only wants to talk about Walker’s all-but-certain-to-be-broken promise to bring 250,000 jobs to Wisconsin by January of next year, I don’t think that Walker’s failed promise is what is causing Republicans to become disaffected with Walker, since 54% of Wisconsinites believe (incorrectly, in my opinion) that Wisconsin is heading in the right direction. I think that the document releases from the John Doe II probe are turning off quite a few Republican voters who were previously certain to vote for Scott Walker but are now disaffected with him because the rampant corruption in their own party.

There’s also more evidence of lower voter enthusiasm among Republicans than Democrats in the latest Marquette University poll: The “less likely” voters favor Walker over Burke by a whopping 19 points, and they’re considerably more likely to believe (incorrectly, in my opinion) that Wisconsin is moving in the right direction.

If you’re wondering why a third-rate Democratic gubernatorial candidate like Mary Burke would have a 50/50 shot of defeating an incumbent governor in a state where a majority of residents believe (incorrectly, in my opinion) that state is heading in the right direction, that’s why.

Recount debacle in 17th State Senate District Democratic primary: 110 votes thrown away in Green County

With 70% of the vote recounted in the 17th State Senate District Democratic primary, Ernie Wittwer, a former state transportation budget official and a vocal critic of the state party establishment, is exactly tied with Pat Bomhack, a former Jim Doyle aide who had the backing of most of the state party establishment.

However, Jud Loundsbury at Uppity Wisconsin is reporting that, for reasons unknown, 110 primary ballots were thrown away in Green County, which Wittwer won with 687 votes to Bomhack’s 458 votes, a margin of 229 votes. Michael Doyle, the Green County Clerk, said that he will likely certify the recounted results without the 110 missing votes, which could throw the Democratic nomination, which Wittwer initially won by seven votes prior to the recount, to Bomhack or result in an actual tie between Wittwer and Bomhack.

Should Wittwer win the primary post-recount, Bomhack’s supporters and some in the state party establishment will almost certainly accuse Wittwer and his supporters of stealing the primary election, although, given that Green County went fairly heavily for Wittwer in the pre-recount results, and the missing votes were in Green County, that claim would be bogus.

Should there be an actual tie post-recount, I’m not sure how Wisconsin state law would determine who the Democratic nominee is.

Should Bomhack win the primary post-recount, Wittwer and his supporters will almost certainly accuse Bomhack and his supporters of stealing the primary election. Because of this, I am calling for the Green County District Attorney’s office to open a criminal investigation in order to determine if any laws were broken by the individual(s) who threw away the 110 primary ballots.

Regardless of the outcome of the recount, expect lawsuits over the missing ballots.

There’s two hypothetical reasons that I can think of off of the top of my head as to why the individual(s), whose identity/identities remain unknown at this time, threw away 110 ballots:

  • The individual(s) who threw away the ballots did so out of pure negligence.
  • The individual(s) who threw away the ballots did so as part of an attempt to steal the Democratic primary for one of the two Democratic primary candidates, probably Pat Bomhack.

Regardless of the reason why the individual(s) threw away 110 ballots that won’t be officially counted, the fact that 110 people who voted in the Democratic primary in the 17th State Senate District of Wisconsin won’t have their voices officially heard is absolutely disgusting.

Republican Scott Krug flip-flops on proposed CAFO in Central Wisconsin

Remember that blog post I wrote about Republican Wisconsin State Assemblyman Scott Krug of the 72nd Assembly District threatening to sue Madison-based progressive blogger Michael Leon because Leon called him out for effectively supporting a proposed concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) that, if built, would pollute rivers and streams in Central Wisconsin?

Leon wrote me a thank you email for criticizing Krug’s plan to violate Leon’s constitutionally-protected right to free speech, and, in it, he notified me that Krug flip-flopped on CAFOs and now opposes the proposed CAFO in Central Wisconsin:

Aaron,

Just a note of thanks RE your recent piece on the threat repeated by Wisconsin State Rep. Scott Krug (R-Wisconsin Rapids) to file a libel suit against me.

Reading the several comments of support, and ridicule in the analysis of this ludicrous threat, I note this same week that Rep. Krug reversed his position on the proposed massive Concentrated Agricultural Feeding Operation (CAFO) in central Wisconsin.

Krug pointed to the high concentrations of Ecoli forcing the closure of area beaches that CAFO opponents have warning about for years and which environmentalist have warned would be made much worse by the proposed CAFO , but the truth is that Krug was facing ridicule that spread quickly around the Net, and jumped on a way to defuse the momentum.

Krug is a pathological liar (and an intellectual lightweight) and would do virtually anything if he though it would advance his petty political career now likely coming to an end this November.

Krug had promised to not take “one cent” of per diem money (for travel) and only serve for two terms (elected in 2010). Both promises were broken with no explanation. See http://malcontends.blogspot.com/2014/08/rep-scott-krug-is-no-show-at-august.html

Your piece stands out because of your citing the Wisconsin and U.S. Constitutions and the clear language of libel law.

Anyway, thanks.

Mike

Unlike Scott Krug, who only recently came out in opposition to CAFOs purely out of political expediency, Dana Duncan, Krug’s Democratic challenger, has always understood the dangers that CAFOs pose to the environment and people who live near them. I strongly encourage voters in the 72nd Assembly District, which includes parts of Wood, Portage, Adams, and Waushara Counties in the central part of Wisconsin, to vote for Dana Duncan on November 4.

Legitimate coordination is illegal coordination

The Wisconsin progressive blog Blue Cheddar uploaded this picture of the first page of Sunday’s B section of the Wisconsin State Journal in which Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker ridiculously claimed that he violated no laws in soliciting hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from Gogebic Taconite (GTac), a company that pushed Walker and Republican state legislators to loosen environmental protection laws to make it easier for them to pollute Lake Superior and the Bad River watershed by building an open-pit iron ore mine in the Penokee Hills in the northern part of Wisconsin, to Club for Growth Wisconsin (CfG Wisconsin), the Wisconsin chapter of a national 501(c)4 organization that runs paid ads in support of Republican candidates for public office, which is a violation of Wisconsin campaign laws prohibiting any form of coordination between a candidate for public office and an outside front group.

You can view the entire Blue Cheddar piece on Walker illegally soliciting funds for CfG Wisconsin here, and you can view the Wisconsin State Journal’s article on Walker illegally soliciting funds for CfG Wisconsin here.

Here’s what Walker said:

“Everything we’ve done is completely legitimate,” Walker told reporters Saturday in Madison. “The only thing I can clearly point out to you is that a federal court and a state court have both said without hesitation that they dismiss the argument that was put out in this report.”

That claim by Walker is absolutely absurd on many levels. First off, courts have not dismissed the argument that Walker is running a criminal scheme by soliciting funds for CfG Wisconsin, although I do know of one federal court that initially struck down the investigation because a far-right judge, Rudolph Randa, the same far-right judge who wrongfully convicted Georgia Thompson as part of a GOP plot to frame then-Democratic Governor Jim Doyle several years ago before that conviction was overturned on appeal, ruled that corruption is a form of free speech. Randa’s absurd ruling is currently being appealed.

Additionally, regarding a point that the author of the Blue Cheddar blog made, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke’s campaign, as well as Democratic operatives in Wisconsin, don’t want to talk about this issue at all for some unknown reason. It appears to me that there are no Democrats who are under investigation as part of this probe (the right-wingers in Wisconsin haven’t said anything about Democrats being under investigation, so that’s a big tip-off to me that only Republicans/conservatives are under investigation), so for Burke and Democratic officials in Wisconsin to not relentlessly attack Walker over hard, indisputable proof that Walker violated campaign finance laws is, in my opinion, political malpractice.

Back to the main point of this blog post, legitimate coordination is illegal coordination. Wisconsin campaign laws prohibit any form of coordination, whether it be a candidate soliciting campaign funds for a front group supporting said candidate and his political allies or some other form of coordination (as a matter of fact, even someone involved with an official campaign for public office asking someone involved with a front group supporting said campaign for driving directions to said campaign’s office would constitute illegal coordination in Wisconsin). If you believe Scott Walker’s absurd claim that he didn’t violate any laws soliciting funds for a right-wing front group, then I’ve got ocean front property in Fort Atkinson that I can sell you.

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