The Prairie Badger will be archived on December 1, 2014

Effective December 1, 2014, I will no longer be posting new articles here at The Prairie Badger, although I’ll keep the site online for archival purposes.

I will be moving all of my blogging activity (save for the occasional contribution to DailyKos and a couple of other sites) to The Progressive Midwesterner, which you can view here. I’ll write primarily about Wisconsin, Illinois, and national politics there.

Fake Democrat who ran against Lori Compas in 2012 recalls behind last-minute swiftboat attack against Mary Burke

Jefferson County, Wisconsin Republican Party chairman Gary Ellerman is a world-class sleazeball.

First off, Ellerman was the Republican plant who ran in the Democratic primary against Lori Compas in the 2012 Wisconsin State Senate recall election in the 13th District as part of the fake Democrat scheme that Republicans ran in the 2011 and 2012 recall elections in Wisconsin. Ellerman lied about his party affiliation to get on a ballot against Lori Compas, and he got his ass handed to him in the primary.

Now, Ellerman, who himself was fired from Trek Bicycles in 2004, is behind a swiftboat campaign claiming that Mary Burke was fired from Trek, which is run by Burke’s family:

A report published Tuesday by online news organization Wisconsin Reporter, which has been criticized by some as having a conservative bias, claims Burke was fired by her family, who founded Trek Bicycle, following financial losses and low morale among staff.

The report relies on statements by several anonymous sources and Gary Ellerman, who the Wisconsin Reporter identifies as a former Trek human resources director and current chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party.

“I read the report. It’s ridiculous,” Burke said. “Frankly, we’re in the last six days of the election, and I think it’s a desperate attempt to undermine my credibility based on absolutely no evidence at all.”

Trek president John Burke released a statement Wednesday saying the report was inaccurate and noted that Ellerman had been fired from Trek in 2004.

Gary Ellerman is someone who apparently thinks that only Republicans should be allowed to run businesses and certainly would say or do anything to draw attention to himself. He has right-wing propaganda groups like Wisconsin Reporter, as well as a corporate media that is actively trying to get Republicans elected and is willing to publish garbage from Wisconsin Reporter and other similar outfits, at his beck and call. If you were to ask me whether I’d trust John Burke, the head of Trek Bicycles, or Gary Ellerman, some right-wing blowhard who lied about his party affiliation to get on a ballot against Lori Compas, about Mary Burke’s record at Trek, I’d trust John Burke, because he seems like someone who knows virtually everything about his company.

Sean Duffy vs. Kelly Westlund debate TONIGHT at 7 P.M. CDT

At 7 P.M. Central Daylight Time tonight, far-right Republican Congressman Sean Duffy of Wisconsin’s 7th District will debate Democratic challenger Kelly Westlund, a former Ashland, Wisconsin alderwoman and a champion of progressive, pro-middle class values and ideas.

You can watch the debate online here and here. You’ll see a clear contrast between Sean Duffy’s right-wing, anti-middle class agenda and Kelly Westlund’s progressive, pro-middle class ideas to make America work for the people again.

Republicans are already afraid of my possible 2018 run for Governor of Wisconsin

We haven’t even gotten past the 2014 campaign season, and Republicans are already attacking me on Twitter because I’m considering moving to Wisconsin in order to run for Governor of Wisconsin in 2018 should Scott Walker win re-election this year:

In case you were wondering, it was a Republican Illinois Governor, Jim Edgar, who served two terms back in the 1990’s, that started the fiscal mess that has plagued Illinois ever since.

I’m not some Mike Madigan/Rahm Emanuel-type corporate machine Democrat who supports corruption, cronyism, political patronage, privatizing government agencies, giving out tax breaks and other corporate welfare to the business community, and dismantling public education, an agenda that isn’t all that different from the far-right agenda that Scott Walker and his Republican allies have implemented in Wisconsin. I’m a progressive Democrat who supports restoring the middle class, restoring public education, and restoring democracy and good government. If I decide to move to Wisconsin and run for governor, I’ll be unapologetic about my progressive values.

The old boys and girls network in Wisconsin and their followers are scared of me because they know that a Scott Walker win this year is a Pyrrhic victory for them and that their days in power are numbered.

Right-wing front group implicated in John Doe II probe could lose tax-exempt status

Club for Growth Wisconsin (CfG Wisconsin), the right-wing front group that Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker illegally solicited $700,000 for, could lose its federal tax-exempt status, as an official complaint has been filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS):

A liberal Madison-based group filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service on Monday asking it to strip Wisconsin Club for Growth of its nonprofit status for spending millions of dollars to help Gov. Scott Walker and other Republicans during the recall elections.

The complaint is based in large part on records released as a result of Wisconsin Club for Growth’s federal lawsuit aimed at stopping a secret John Doe investigation of the group. The suit has since been thrown out.

“I’m certain they’ll spend a lot of money fighting an IRS investigation just like they spent a lot of money fighting the John Doe,” Brendan Fischer, general counsel for the left-leaning Center for Media and Democracy, which filed the complaint. “But I think we have a really strong case here.”

You can read the complaint here.

CfG Wisconsin is not a social welfare organization. They are a right-wing outside political group that has spent millions of dollars helping Republicans and conservatives like Scott Walker and David Prosser get elected. In fact, they’ve violated campaign laws prohibiting any form of coordination between candidates for public office and outside political groups.

The IRS should revoke the tax-exempt status of CfG Wisconsin and all other political organizations, regardless of party affiliation or political ideology, that claim tax-exempt status.

Brad Schimel wants to take Wisconsin back to 1955

Brad Schimel was one of several far-right extremists to sign a white paper calling for Wisconsin to go back to 1955.

In case you weren’t old enough to remember what things were like in 1955:

  • Dwight Eisenhower of the Republican Party was President of the United States
  • Republicans Alexander Wiley and Joe McCarthy were Wisconsin’s U.S. Senators
  • Walter Kohler of the Republican Party was Governor of Wisconsin
  • The Brooklyn Dodgers won the World Series
  • The American Federation of Labor merged with the Congress of Industrial Organizations to form the AFL-CIO
  • Race car driver Pierre Levegh and 83 spectators were killed in a horrifying crash in the 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car race in France
  • U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War began
  • The first McDonald’s fast food restaurant opened in Des Plaines, Illinois
  • Nicolas Sarkozy, the former President of France, was born
  • Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on the bus to a white person in Montgomery, Alabama
  • There was no Super Bowl
  • There was no cable or satellite television
  • The internet didn’t exist
  • Cell phones hadn’t been invented yet
  • There were no political blogs
  • Fred Risser wasn’t a member of the Wisconsin State Legislature yet

Anyways, what I mean is that Schimel wants to reinstate a 1955 Wisconsin state statute criminalizing abortion, a statute that is not legally enforceable because of the Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision. The statute, if made legally enforceable again by a far-right U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, would result in abortion automatically becoming illegal in all cases in Wisconsin, with the sole exception of an abortion that is necessary to save the life of the mother. Even in cases of rape and incest, abortion would be a criminal act if Schimel were to get his way.

What Brad Schimel wants to do is force Wisconsin women to carry fetuses to term, even if they don’t want to for whatever reason. I think that’s a downright barbaric idea. Unlike Brad Schimel, I believe that women should have the right to make their own reproductive health care decisions. If you live in Wisconsin, please vote for Susan Happ in the election for attorney general on November 4.

Could third-party and write-in candidates help Scott Walker win re-election?

As recent polling of the Wisconsin gubernatorial race between Republican incumbent Scott Walker and Democratic challenger Mary Burke has shown that the race is tied with few, if any, persuadable voters in the closing stages of the campaign and that turnout is going to be the main factor that will determine the outcome of the election, I do want to mention that there is a second factor that will determine the outcome of the Wisconsin gubernatorial election, and that is third-party and write-in candidates.

There are two third-party candidates on the ballot in the Wisconsin gubernatorial election. One of them is Robert Burke (no relation to Mary Burke), the Libertarian candidate. Robert is running to Mary’s left on some issues, most notably marijuana legalization, so Robert would probably pull more votes from Mary Burke than from Scott Walker. The other third-party candidate is Dennis Fehr, the People’s Party candidate. I know virtually nothing about Fehr or the People’s Party of Wisconsin, although, if I were to guess, he’d pull more votes from Mary Burke than from Scott Walker.

Additionally, there are four write-in candidates in the Wisconsin gubernatorial election. One of them is Steve Evans, who received 94 write-in votes in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Evans is a known Republican, so he’d likely pull more votes from Walker than Burke. Another write-in candidate is Mary Jo Walters, who ran in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor and received 44.52% of the vote against primary winner John Lehman. Walters is a left-wing activist-type, so she’d pull votes from Burke and pull virtually nothing from Walker, although she won’t get anywhere near the number of votes (116,518) she received in the Democratic lieutenant gubernatorial primary. Another write-in candidate is Jumoka Johnson, who is listed by the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) as a Constitution Party candidate but is neither the Constitution Party’s nominee for that office nor a member of the Constitution Party. Since the Constitution Party is a far-right party, Johnson would pull votes from Walker and pull virtually nothing from Burke. Finally, Brett Hulsey, an incumbent state assemblyman from Madison’s West Side who is not running for re-election to the Wisconsin State Assembly and got 16.61% of the vote in the Democratic primary for governor, is running a write-in campaign for governor in the general election. Although Hulsey isn’t going to get anywhere near the number of votes (51,830) he received in the Democratic primary, he’ll pull more votes from Burke than from Walker.

Hulsey’s recent move to jump into the gubernatorial race as a write-in candidate has alarmed some on the left, including Jud Loundsbury, the lead author of Uppity Wisconsin, who wrote a blog post claiming that Hulsey is suffering from some kind of serious mental illness and blasting the corporate media in Wisconsin for giving someone like Hulsey credibility. I’m suspecting that Hulsey’s write-in candidate is a Republican dirty tricks operation of some kind to try to pull enough votes from Burke to help Walker get re-elected, especially since Republican insiders in Wisconsin are becoming increasingly worried about Walker’s re-election chances.

While all of the third-party and write-in candidates in the Wisconsin gubernatorial race will probably get several thousand votes combined, given how close the polls are and that the third party and write-in candidates as a whole would likely pull more votes from Mary Burke than from Scott Walker, that could be enough to allow Scott Walker to win re-election with only a plurality of the vote, which would be a terrible thing to happen.


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