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Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive

Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive

Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive. Before moving to Green Bay in 2008, he was the Assistant Director of Human Resources for Milwaukee County. A graduate of UWM in 1971, he moved to Madison, where he was Executive Personnel Officer and Technology Manager for the State Department of Employment Relations. He is a former Vice Chair of the Democratic Party of Brown County, Director at the Human Resources Management Association of S.E. Wisconsin (now SHRM), and Technology Commission Chair for the City of Franklin. Bob is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force (1965-1971).

Blog entries categorized under Wisconsin

Walker's State of the State 2015 Is Lacking

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
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on Friday, 16 January 2015
in Wisconsin

scottwalker-dreamMADISON – On Tuesday night, Governor Scott Walker had a chance to be a leader and bring our state together. Instead, he chose to give a self promoting campaign style State of the State speech that sounded more like a kickoff to a national run for President.

Like all Governors before him, Scott Walker claimed "The state of the state is strong." Walker clearly wants to campaign for president on his claim that he turned a $3.6 billion budget deficit into a surplus, but the state’s actual financial situation is grim.

The current budget has a $132 million deficit and the next biennium looks even worse, with a staggering $2.2 billion deficit that’s only expected to get larger. As other states enjoy surpluses thanks to the nationwide economic recovery that has come after the Great Recession, Wisconsin is slated to be one of the few with a deficit headed into the next budget.

On the education of our next generation, Walker said "I have a vested interest in high standards." But in fact, public education has been public enemy number 1 for Scott Walker. In his first budget, Walker made a $800 million cut to direct state spending on public education and mandated new limits on local school districts that left many schools scrambling just to fund their operations for the next school year. At the same time, he has funneled approximately $124 million into unaccountable voucher schools.

Clearly wishing to launch his national aspirations as a "tax cutter", Walker claimed that "My pledge to you is that property taxes 4 years from now will be lower than they were in 2014." But the record is different. Contrary to his tax-cutting rhetoric, Walker’s first budget raised taxes on nearly 140,000 seniors and working class families to the tune of $69.8 million, while dishing out $610 million in tax breaks to businesses.

Scott Walker’s tax policy has been fiscally irresponsible and prioritized those at the very top instead of working Wisconsin families. In an election year stunt, Walker made the rash and misguided decision to spend a projected surplus on a lopsided income tax cut that puts individuals making $21,760 a year in the same tax bracket as those making $239,600. As a result, the state is faced with a staggering $2.2 billion budget deficit.

peter_barcaAssembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) reacted to Walker’s State of the State Address by saying:

“Governor Walker had a solid ending on standing against terrorism but could have been more candid and acknowledged the unfortunate reality – that the State of our State is falling behind our neighbors on nearly every key economic issue. Wisconsin workers and middle-class families must be put first in order for our economy to thrive."

Barca goes on “On every major issue, Wisconsin is in a weaker position than we would expect given the national recovery and the success of our surrounding states. Because of Republican policy failures, Wisconsin faces a staggering budget deficit, lagging job and wage growth and an educational system that is clearly underfunded."

An Audio of Rep. Barca's full response can be found here.

dave-hansenIn reaction to Governor Walker’s State of the State Address, our local leader Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) said in a statement issued Wednesday:

“Preparing his presidential run, Governor Walker tried to make a case that his plan is working but while the rich keep getting richer the average family is taking a beating losing ground to their neighbors in Minnesota due to stagnating wages, struggling under the weight of skyrocketing student loan debt, and finding it harder and harder to find a good paying job.

"Meanwhile the state is facing a $2.2 billion deficit and a $751 million shortfall in the transportation fund because of his irresponsible policies. And while his wealthy friends and donors get rich the middle class continues to shrink because under this administration the wealthy are allowed to take our money right out of our pockets instead of having to work for their money like everyone else.

"Instead of giving even more handouts to the wealthy and corporate special interests at the expense of average families we should be focusing on those policies that promote greater economic freedom and security for all Wisconsin families and that provides each person the ability and opportunity to succeed and achieve their version of the American Dream.”

eric-genrichFinally, State Representative Eric Genrich (D-Green Bay) said “This evening, Governor Walker delivered his fifth State of the State speech outlining his goals for the upcoming year. This edition was notably light on new plans for Wisconsin and heavy on attempts to put a positive spin on the real and troubling issues facing working people in our state for a national audience.”

Genrich ends by saying “Wisconsin deserves a new vision focused on preserving our hard working middle class roots and ensuring that the next generation has the opportunity to learn, grow, and compete on a global scale. Now is not the time for small thoughts or plans, and certainly not the time for a lack of focus. Wisconsin needs to be bold and to embrace policies that have helped neighboring states outpace us in economic growth and recovery.”

We understand that Walker is looking to the national stage for his future, but what about ours here in Wisconsin?

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Public Questions GOP Bill That Could Lead to Takeover of Eleven Schools in Green Bay

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
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on Wednesday, 14 January 2015
in Wisconsin

school-studentsA public hearing in Madison Wednesday makes clear that this most recent GOP effort to take over public schools and further privatize public education is fatally flawed, casting doubt on the bill’s future.


MADISON - A controversial bill that, if enacted, could lead to the takeover of eleven schools in Green Bay met with broad-based opposition at a public hearing today, casting doubt on the bill’s future.

Among the schools that could be turned over to private operators under the bill are: Danz, Doty, Eisenhower, Fort Howard, Howe, Lincoln, Nicolet, and Sullivan Elementary Schools, Washington Middle School, and East and West High Schools.

Current law directs the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to annually publish a school and school district accountability report to set performance standards and gives the state superintendent of public instruction authority to withhold state aid from a school district that fails to comply.

The GOP sponsored Assembly Bill 1 (AB 1) replaces the school accountability system with an academic review system, to be created by an appointed Academic Review Board (ARB) and also gives the ARB the authority to establish an independent charter school or initiate a contract with an individual or group to operate an independent charter school without approval from the DPI.

eric-genrichAssembly Education Committee member Rep. Eric Genrich (D-Green Bay) said, “Today’s hearing has made clear that this most recent effort to take over certain public schools and further privatize public education is hastily and poorly crafted. This legislation is being rammed through the legislative process without giving deference to or seeking real input from the educational professionals and local school boards who serve our school kids every day.”

Signs of the bill’s trouble began to emerge as critics from across the political spectrum began pointing out the bills flaws and as a conflicting senate bill was introduced. Additionally, at the start of today’s hearing, the bill’s author informed the committee and the public that a significant portion of Assembly Bill 1 (AB 1) would be discarded. However, those changes were not made available at the time of the hearing.

dave_hansen“This is what happens when legislators try to solve complicated and controversial issues on their own without talking to all the stakeholders,” said Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay). “Some of the special interests in the Capitol might not like that fact, but a lot of the problems we’re seeing with AB 1 could have been avoided if a more inclusive effort had been made by the author.”

With many tough questions about AB 1 still unanswered, it is unclear what the contents of the legislation will be when it goes before the full Assembly, as expected, later this month.

“I am opposed to this effort to punish and stigmatize public schools and remain committed to supporting public policies that put Wisconsin children in a position to succeed inside and outside of our schools,” continued Genrich.

“With a $2.2 billion deficit, taxpayers cannot afford to pay for an expansion of separate private school system. And they shouldn’t be asked to,” said Hansen. “Trying to force them into paying for the voucher system by privatizing our local public schools through the backdoor like Rep. Thiesfeldt wants to do is not only dishonest but goes against the very tradition of educational freedom that is the foundation of our state.”

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Senate Democrats Push for Real Accountability for Voucher Schools

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
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on Wednesday, 07 January 2015
in Wisconsin

teaching-studentsMADISON - Senate Democrats announced today introduction of legislation to protect voucher schools students, and their parents as well as taxpayers by requiring real accountability measures for schools that participate in the taxpayer funded private voucher school program.

The legislation being introduced by Senators Nikiya Harris-Dodd and Chris Larson would require voucher schools to hire licensed teachers, conduct criminal background checks on their teachers and administrators, meet basic graduation standards and be based in Wisconsin.

dave-hansen“For too long we have seen how the lack of strong accountability standards for voucher schools has cost students, families and taxpayers,” said Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay). “We can no longer afford to keep investing tax dollars into a private school program that is unaccountable to taxpayers and that has produced so many expensive failures.”

Taxpayers gave over $139 million dollars to fifty voucher schools that ultimately were barred from receiving taxpayer support after they failed to meet minimal existing requirements. Still others have closed costing state taxpayers millions and leaving families who put their trust in them out in the cold.

Just last month, the Travis Technology High School closed after failing to meet existing minimal state requirements In 2013, the LifeSkills Academy in Milwaukee closed in the dead of night leaving behind 66 students who were not proficient in math or reading.

Hansen concluded: “We shouldn’t be taking money from our public schools and giving it to private schools at a time when we are forcing our public schools to make difficult and painful cuts. But if the Governor and Republicans are going to force taxpayers to fund a separate, private school system then the taxpayers have a right to expect that that their teachers will be able to teach, the students able to learn and that the schools will be safe.”

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Audit Shows Walker Jobs Agency "Too Busy" to Talk to Unemployed

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
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on Tuesday, 16 December 2014
in Wisconsin

joblessWalker’s DWD blocked the calls from almost 1.7 million Wisconsin workers seeking unemployment assistance. As a result thousands of unemployed workers appear to have been forced to wait for or did not receive much-needed benefits.


MADISON - A new state report released today says the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) call centers were too busy to answer almost 1.7 million calls from people looking to claim unemployment benefits in the year that ended June 30. The Legislative Audit Bureau issued findings showing that DWD placed people in a hold queue when call center staff were busy.

Despite being last in the Midwest for job growth, Governor Walker’s DWD blocked the calls from Wisconsin workers seeking unemployment assistance. As a result thousands of unemployed workers appear to have been forced to wait for or did not receive much-needed benefits they paid for.

dave-hansen“At a time when families are at their most vulnerable the state should not be forcing them through an endless frustrating loop of delays and dead-end phone calls simply for trying to get the benefits they earned and paid for,” said Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay).

In response to an increasing number of calls received from constituents who were having trouble getting through to the DWD last February, Senator Hansen and several Democratic senators wrote to Governor Walker urging him to take action to fix the problem.

“We wrote to the Governor after hearing from constituents, many of whom had been calling dozens of times per day and others spending entire days trying to get through so they could access the benefits they paid for. The audit conducted by the non-partisan Legislative Audit Bureau shows just how badly the department failed so many Wisconsin families when they needed help the most.”

According to the audit since 2011 over 3.6 million calls were blocked and another million callers hung up out of frustration after being put on hold. Although the number of people filing claims declined last year the problem got worse leading to 1.7 million calls being blocked.

“This was not an unknown problem. They had years to fix it. Combined with the Governor’s failure to create the jobs he promised, the fact that they didn’t bother to fix the problem suggests an appalling lack of concern for the average family.”

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GOP “Right-to-Work” Bill is Wrong for Wisconsin

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
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on Friday, 05 December 2014
in Wisconsin

union-members-at-capitolGOP State House Leaders are considering so-called "open shop" legislation to prohibit employers from striking deals with private-sector unions to require workers to pay dues. The move, called "right-to-work" legislation, reopens the public sector Act 10 confrontation of 2011.


MADISON – In a complete shift from the general election rhetoric of then candidate Scott Walker and state Republicans in recent months, who have said that the issue is a distraction and not a priority, the top leader in the state Senate made clear Thursday that lawmakers in his house would debate the issue of so-called "right-to-work" legislation within weeks and bring the volatile issue of union law back into the statehouse.

According to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report today, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) told conservative talk radio host Charlie Sykes of WTMJ-AM (620) Milwaukee that he was considering so-called "open shop" legislation to prohibit employers from striking deals with private-sector unions to require workers to pay dues. He said he was considering making Wisconsin the first state in the nation to attempt to exempt certain private workers such as the operators of earth movers who have supported Wisconsin Republicans in recent years.

His comments come as conservative state Rep. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield), a longtime activist in the state with ties to national groups that have started an organization to promote the legislation, vowed this week to introduce a bill to do just that.

As recently as Wednesday, Walker said in a stop in Milwaukee that he did not want to take up a “right-to-work” bill at this time.

"As I said before the election and have said repeatedly over the last few years, I just think right-to-work legislation right now, as well as reopening Act 10 to make any other adjustments, would be a distraction from the work that we're trying to do," Walker said, according to Wisconsin Public Radio.

But as with other election promises like creating 250,000 new jobs, it appears times have changed.

Gov. Scott Walker and GOP lawmakers already banned such requirements for most public employees in Wisconsin, but their 2011 law known as Act 10 didn't affect private-sector unions or police and firefighters. Tens of thousands of workers protested for weeks and Walker later became the first governor in the nation to win a recall election because of it.

After the Republicans in Madison stuck it to the public sector workers, their counterparts in the private sector did little to come to their aid. Now it appears to be their turn, as many Democrats said at the time.

dave-hansenAccording to Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) in a statement released today:

“Despite the Governor denouncing Rep. Kapenga’s legislation as a distraction he does not want, legislative Republicans appear poised to fast-track this extremely divisive and controversial legislation at a time when our economy is still reeling from the harmful effects of their Tea Party agenda.

“This legislation isn’t about protecting anyone’s rights or freedom. Real freedom is about having a workplace that allows people to balance their work with those things that are important in their lives like being able to make time for their children, spend time with their spouse or take a parent to the doctor.  Their idea of right-to-work is nothing more than a way to stack the deck against the workers who actually create the profits so CEOs can get bigger bonuses and line the pockets of their shareholders.

“Not only is this legislation harmful to the economic freedom and wellbeing of Wisconsin families everywhere, it violates the rights of employers to decide how to run their business.  It is anti-American and wrong for Wisconsin.

“Governor Walker is correct when he says this is a distraction we cannot afford.  Unfortunately, by not stating publicly that he will veto this legislation, Governor Walker himself is creating the very distraction he said he wants to avoid.  If he truly does not support this attack on Wisconsin families he needs to state publicly that he will veto it.”

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Today is Veterans Day

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
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on Tuesday, 11 November 2014
in Wisconsin

iraqVeterans leave the service much older and wiser than they entered. They don’t want a parade. They want a good job and respect and their dignity. They hope the girl or family they left behind will still be there. To honor them, you must do more than talk.


GREEN BAY - We used to call it Armistice Day, to mark the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of 1918 when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect to stop the bloodshed of World War I. The Treaty of Versailles, which officially ended “The Great War” or the “War to End All Wars” was not signed until seven months later.

Many historians regard the Treaty of Versailles as the first event leading to World War II, since it put into place many of the social and economic factors in Europe that lead to that bloody event. It seems like we have been fighting ever since.

Today we observe Veterans Day to remember and honor the courageous men and women who have served our country in all of our wars. It is fitting we do that, at least. We owe them all our gratitude for a job well done.

But many veterans struggle to reenter civilian life after their service, whether it be finding a job, accessing health care, or finding the other services available to them.

Veterans leave the service much older and wiser than they entered. All the claims of patriotism and glory that they heard on TV before they entered are dulled now by the reality of war and the loneliness of deployment. Most now just want to go home.

But they don’t want a parade. They want a good job and respect and their dignity. They hope the girl or family they left behind will still be there. Many would like to go to college and better themselves. They hope for what all of those lucky enough to stay behind in civilian life take for granted.

So today is Veterans Day. Give them a parade if you like. But tomorrow, do something. Open some doorways to those good jobs or college educations. Be there for them, just like you would be there for your own son or daughter, husband or wife, if they were returning home.

That’s what veterans day should really be about.

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Burke is the Best Choice for Wisconsin

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
User is currently offline
on Monday, 03 November 2014
in Wisconsin

mary-burkeIf you put aside all the political ads and smears and judge them on their resumes, sitting before you in the final job interview are two candidates, Scott Walker the politician and Mary Burke the businesswoman. Past performance is the best indicator of the job they will do in the future.


GREEN BAY - The long Wisconsin Governor’s race will finally end tomorrow, Tuesday, November 4th 2014. We are selecting a chief executive officer to run the largest single business entity in our state, a company with a multi-billion dollar budget and over 65,000 employees, and you are a member of the evaluation panel that is being asked to pick just one for the job.

As the Wisconsin State Journal, typically a conservative newspaper, said in it’s endorsement of Mary Burke today “State politics is far too divisive under Gov. Scott Walker. Wisconsin lags on jobs and faces its third largest budget shortfall in two decades.” The State Journal goes on to say “Mary Burke, a former Trek Bicycle executive and state Commerce secretary, offers our state decades of business experience on a global scale.”

If you put aside all the political ads and smears and judge them on their resumes, sitting before you in the final job interview are two candidates, Scott Walker the politician and Mary Burke the business woman.

You look at their resumes and see Scott Walker is a college drop out. Burke earned a finance degree from Georgetown, ranking number one in her class, and a master's degree in business administration from Harvard.

After graduating from Harvard, Burke quickly becomes an entrepreneur, launching Manhattan Intelligence, a service for consumers in New York City. Later on, Burke joins Trek Bicycle, her family's growing Wisconsin company in Waterloo. She serves as director of European operations for three years, living in three different countries and opening offices in five. Trek reports that its European sales soared during her tenure. She later serves as director of forecasting and strategic planning for nearly a decade.

Meanwhile Walker has never held a significant job in his life outside of elective political office. He works at getting himself elected, first to the State Assembly and then as Milwaukee County Executive. At Milwaukee County, he directly supervises a staff of 19 in the Executive’s office, at least 4 of which later end up being convicted of misconduct. He says he doesn’t know what they were doing. He encourages labor strife among county employees by breaking their contracts and hiring outside temporary employees to do their jobs. He throws out the employment contracts of nearly 300 top level managers and forces many to resign or retire. He can offer no evidence that his administration did anything exceptional to improve the business climate in Milwaukee County as a whole during his six years in office.

Walker then goes on to four years as Wisconsin’s Governor, pledging to foster private-sector job growth and balance the state budget. Walker fails on both. He again encourages labor strife by trying to break the unions with ACT 10. He cuts $800 million  out of revenue sharing to our local schools and governments, passing the discord on to them. The record of Walker’s signature jobs agency, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC), has been sloppy and disappointing. State exports slipped last year, and job growth has been slow, less than half what the governor promised and trailing the rest of the states in the Midwest during the national recovery. The budget faces a 1.8 billion dollar deficit.

The Wisconsin State Journal says “Our editorial board met with both candidates for governor, and we've closely followed their public lives and careers. Our endorsement of Burke isn't a prediction of who will win. It’s who we believe is best to lead Wisconsin forward.”

The State Journal concludes “Mary Burke is that candidate”.

You have to decide who gets the job offer and who gets that nasty rejection letter, and you have to live with your selection for the next four years. In Human Resource Management, “past performance is the best indicator of the job they will do in the future”.

For Wisconsin Governor, do you want more of the same or a change? All the polls still say the race is a toss up. Tomorrow is your last chance to vote, to make your selection heard.

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Don't Believe GB Media Blitz - WI GOV Race is Still a Dead Heat

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
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on Saturday, 01 November 2014
in Wisconsin

voteLocal Press and TV media claims of a huge Walker lead in the area and Statewide based only on Marquette's "likely voters" are suspect. A conclusion based on same results could easily be "still tied with Burke closing".


GREEN BAY - Last Thursday, the local Green Bay press and TV media had a field day reporting that the Final Marquette Poll showed Governor candidate Scott Walker with a 17 point lead in the area and a 7 point lead statewide among "likely voters" over challenger Mary Burke. Last 2 minutes of the 4th quarter, Packer fans, and game over, right?

Well, not so fast. There are serious problems with that interpretation of the Marquette Poll results and there are other polls.

If you look closely at the Marquette poll, you may have noticed that among all "registered voters", Walker received 46 percent to Burke's 45. That shows a 2 point improvement for Burke over the previous Marquette Law School Poll, conducted Oct. 9-12, which had Walker with a 48-45 lead over Burke among these same voters. Based on these results, the conclusion could be still tied with Burke closing.

So the real shift in the Marquette poll was only among those they declared to be "likely voters". The Poll's director, Charles Franklin, even said as much, and that's where the results become suspect. Marquette defined "likely voters" as those who said they were extremely likely to vote when polled. Most polls we are familiar with traditionally use an actual record of voting in similar elections to define "likely voters". While this method can have problems of it's own, such as including new voters, it is generally more trustworthy than the method Marquette used.

Said simply, the Marquette poll "likely voters" might just have lied about, or at least exaggerated, their intention to vote.

The conclusion that the race is still tied is also supported by other final polls. With just three days until Election Day, the two final public polls in the Wisconsin governor's race both show the race between embattled Gov. Scott Walker and Mary Burke is a dead heat.

The final poll from Public Policy Polling (PPP), released yesterday, shows a statistical dead heat, with  Walker holding a 48 - 47 lead over Burke. The poll was taken over three days and surveyed 1814 likely voters. PPP has been one of the consistently most reliable polls both in Wisconsin and nationwide.

Also released yesterday was the final poll from YouGov, which surveyed 1494 voters, showing another dead heat with Walker leading Burke 42-41.

When asked for comment, Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Saturday "The final public polls released over the last few days confirm what we've known for months -- the race between Scott Walker and Mary Burke is all going to come down to turnout". He went on "Wisconsin voters need to know this race is incredibly close and their vote will make a difference between four more years of Scott Walker's failed policies or a new direction with Mary Burke."

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Walker Supporter Gary Ellerman Tries to Smear Mary Burke on TREK Record

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
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on Thursday, 30 October 2014
in Wisconsin

ellerman-walkerA Green Bay Press Gazette story gave legs to a false report that Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Mary Burke was fired by TREK, questioning her business credentials just before the election. Our sources say the reported firing was made up by Walker friend Gary Ellerman, Chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party and fired by TREK himself.


GREEN BAY - Several days ago we predicted that the Republican “dirty tricks” people supporting Scott Walker would save one or two of the best smear shots at Mary Burke until the closing days of the campaign. That’s how it’s often done in the dirtier regions of Milwaukee County politics. You drop the dirt bomb just before the final weekend of the campaign so it has time to sink in with the electorate while still not giving your opponent enough time to counter it.

On Thursday morning, in a front page article entitled “Burke on report of being fired from Trek: `ridiculous'” by Adam Rodewald, the Green Bay Press Gazette gave legs to a false report that “Burke was fired by her family, who founded Trek Bicycle, following financial losses and low morale among staff.” Damage done, the seed of doubt about Burke's business credentials is planted, even if there is no truth to the story. Continued on page 10.

Of course when we get to page 10, the Press Gazette goes on to say 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.”

We've dealt with the Wisconsin Reporter for years, and know it to be a Madison Republican front posing as a news source. And our sources say Gary Ellerman is the man behind the latest campaign to smear Mary Burke. Ellerman is the Chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party and is known for posing as a Democrat during the recalls to force the real Democrat into a costly primary.

Ellerman is also known for enjoying a bad joke or two at the expense of Democrats. A visit his FaceBook page by a Democratic source turned up a October 19 share of a faked picture of Michelle Obama holding a sign saying such things as “My Family is a Fake”, “Husband is a Homo”, “Kids are adopted”, and “I am a man”.

Finally FaceBook also reveals that Gary Ellerman is a friend and committed supporter of Scott Walker. The July 2, 2012 picture above that Ellerman posted of himself posing “With the Governor and a few friends Sunday” provides the evidence.

Trek President John Burke released a statement Wednesday saying the report was inaccurate and noted that it was actually Gary Ellerman who had been fired from Trek in 2004, according to the Wisconsin Radio Network.

When asked for her comments, Burke said “I read the report. It’s ridiculous,” and then “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.”

If anyone asks him, Scott Walker will probably say he didn't know what his friend was up to. Of course, he said he didn't know what the six convicted members of his staff at Milwaukee County were up to either.

That's how it goes. You throw something out, anything, and see if it sticks. It seems to be a way of life for politician Scott Walker and businesswoman Mary Burke is new to the game. Maybe we can do a little to clarify the story here.

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Shifting Turnout Intentions, Gender Gap Put Walker in Lead Says Final Marquette Poll

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
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on Wednesday, 29 October 2014
in Wisconsin

walkerMILWAUKEE - The shifting winds of who says they are most likely to vote and the different realities of men and women voters appear to have turned back in Scott Walker's favor according to the Final Pre-election Marquette Law School Poll released today. The new poll finds Republican Scott Walker leading Democratic challenger Mary Burke 50 percent to 43 percent among likely voters in the Wisconsin governor’s race.

mary-burkeThe previous Marquette Law School Poll, conducted Oct. 9-12, found the race tied among likely voters, with the candidates holding 47 percent each, while 48 percent of registered voters supported Walker to Burke’s 45 percent support.

In Wednesday's poll, 3 percent say that they are undecided or that they do not know whom they will support, while 1 percent say that they will vote for someone else. Likely voters are those who say that they are certain to vote in the November election.

“Shifting turnout intentions have provided most of the dynamics of the race this fall,” said Marquette Law School Poll director Charles Franklin. “While the results among all registered voters have varied between a tie and a 3-point Walker edge, the likely-voter results have ranged from a 2-point Burke advantage to the current 7-point Walker lead.”

In the current poll, 93 percent of Republicans say that they are certain to vote, while 82 percent of Democrats and 75 percent of independents say the same. Two weeks ago 82 percent of Republicans, and 80 percent of both Democrats and independents, said that they were certain to vote. By comparison, in the final Marquette Law School Poll before the 2012 gubernatorial recall election, 92 percent of Republicans, 77 percent of Democrats and 84 percent of independents said that they were certain to vote.

Among registered voters this time, Walker receives 46 percent and Burke 45 percent, with 4 percent undecided and 1 percent saying that they will vote for someone else.

The poll interviewed 1,409 registered voters, including 1,164 likely voters, by landline and cell phone Oct. 23-26. For the full sample of 1,409 registered voters, the margin of error is +/- 2.7 percentage points. The margin of error for the sample of 1,164 likely voters is +/- 3.0 percentage points. This is the final Marquette Law School Poll before the Nov. 4 election.

Another factor in the final poll result is the return of the large gender gap among likely voters. After narrowing to just 2 percentage points in the previous poll, the gender gap in vote choice has returned.

Among registered voters, Burke leads 50-40 among women and Walker leads 53-39 among men. Among likely voters, Burke’s lead among women is 49-43 while Walker’s lead among men is 58-36. In the six Marquette Law School Polls since July, Burke has averaged a 49-42 lead among women and Walker a 52-40 lead among men for registered voters. Among likely voters, Burke has averaged a 52-42 lead among women and Walker a 55-40 advantage among men.

Another factor in the results may have been the deluge of negative ads launched by the Walker campaign and their allies to muddy the image of Mary Burke.

Burke’s favorability ratings have turned down in the latest poll, with 38 percent of registered voters viewing her favorably while 45 percent have an unfavorable view. In earlier polls in September and October, her favorable-unfavorable ratings were 36-35, 36-37 and 40-43. Among likely voters, her current favorable-unfavorable rating is 39-49, with the ratings in the three earlier polls since the beginning of September being, oldest to newest, 41-39, 40-44 and 44-44. Among registered voters, 17 percent lack an opinion of Burke, down from 69 percent in January. Among likely voters, 12 percent say they haven’t heard enough or don’t know their view of Burke.

Walker’s favorable rating in the latest poll is 48 percent, with 47 percent unfavorable, among registered voters. His previous ratings since the beginning of September are 49-45, 47-47 and 48-48. Among likely voters he is currently seen favorably by 51 percent and unfavorably by 46 percent. His ratings among likely voters in the three most recent polls are, in chronological order, 52-46, 52-46 and 50-48.

Given the wide swings in the last three polls, this race is still up for grabs. Early voting and absentee voting have begun and people who have already voted are much more likely to "say that they are certain to vote". Democratic voters are legendary for showing up at the polls after 6 PM on election day. Many factors could cause the wind to shift back in Burke's favor.

But this poll is not good news for the Burke campaign and the Democrats will have to double their efforts in the final days to get their supporters to the polls.

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Walker's Involvement In Real Estate Scandal Raise Troubling Questions About Rush To Sell State Property

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
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on Monday, 27 October 2014
in Wisconsin

walkerMADISON - Senate Democrats are alarmed at new revelations about Governor Scott Walker's role in providing insider information to a personal friend and campaign donor in a Milwaukee County real estate scandal. Democrats said the new allegations of “bid-rigging” and "pay-to-play" politics raise troubling questions about Gov. Walker’s rush to sell state property.

“Giving inside information to close friends and campaign operatives to help them circumvent the public bidding process not only cheats the other businesses bidding on projects but the taxpayers and our open form of government,” said Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay). “No matter how you look at it, it’s wrong and raises serious questions about whether Scott Walker has taken other similar liberties as Governor.”

dave_hansen“As Republicans rush to sell state property, we need to ensure that similar backroom deals for special interests aren’t cheating our taxpayers,” said Sen. Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse). “Gov. Walker’s administration has already failed to disclose the fair market value of property they are looking to sell as required by state law. The rush to sell state property to the highest bidder without having adequate safeguards in place puts taxpayers at risk and has been troubling since day one.”

Gov. Walker has recently come under fire for several high-profile scandals including a $700,000 campaign contribution from GTAC – an out-of-state mining corporation – which successfully lobbied to change state open-pit mining laws. An investigation also revealed that Gov. Walker’s Economic Development Corporation has funneled millions of taxpayer dollars to businesses and special interests with close personal ties to Gov. Walker.

“Despite Scott Walker’s denials, all of these actions have taken place since he became governor and they give the public every reason to question his ethics and what else he’s been doing that we don’t know about,” added Sen. Hansen. “Wisconsin citizens deserve answers and it’s is time for the Governor to come clean about his actions.”

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Walker and Republicans are Lying About the Budget Crisis

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
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on Wednesday, 22 October 2014
in Wisconsin

scott_walkerNon-partisan Politifact exposes political cover-up.


MADISON - Today’s analysis by the non-partisan Politifact shows that Governor Walker and Republican leaders have been caught lying about the state’s financial condition rather than acknowledge that the policies they have pursued have created a $1.8 billion budget crisis.

We reached a trusted local source, State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) for comment.

dave-hansen“Over and over Governor Walker and Republican leaders have tried to convince people that we do not have a budget crisis despite data from the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau that shows the state is facing a $1.8 billion deficit heading into the next budget cycle” said Hansen. “If they had said it once or twice and acknowledged their mistake it would be one thing. But despite being called out on their fiction they continue to tell the people something they know is not true. They’re lying plain and simple.”

Using a long-established method that has been accepted and used by governors and members of both political parties Politifact concluded that Wisconsin is in fact facing a $1.8 billion structural deficit going into the next budget cycle.

Hansen went on: “Giving away billions in tax breaks to their rich and corporate friends at the expense of our kids’ education, wasting millions in tax dollars on failed and suspect private voucher schools and steering millions in tax dollars to their campaign contributors under the guise of economic development has created not just a budget crisis but also a jobs crisis and income crisis for Wisconsin families. It is shameful behavior and lying about it only makes it worse.”

Under Governor Walker Wisconsin is facing a $1.8 billion deficit, is dead last for job growth in the Midwest since he took office, Wisconsin families have seen their yearly incomes fall by over $2,700 and Wisconsin workers are now earning $5,000 less per year than their counterparts in Minnesota.

Finally, Hansen said: “Instead of cherry-picking statistics, using false numbers and trying to spin the facts, Governor Walker and the Republicans owe the people of this state an apology—both for the economic disaster they’ve created and for not being honest about it.”

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Scott Walker Eliminated Funding for ShotSpotter Program

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
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on Monday, 20 October 2014
in Wisconsin

policeMILWAUKEE - Sometimes, when you are a career politician like Scott Walker, you just claim credit for a sexy sounding program whether you supported it or not. That's apparently what Walker did when pressed on his Public Safety record in last Friday's debate with Mary Burke.

Scott Walker cited the Milwaukee Police Department's ShotSpotter program as one of his major accomplishments. The technology, in use in high-crime areas in the city, uses sensors to detect gunshots. According to Milwaukee's Democratic mayor Tom Barrett, "This is a very effective law enforcement tool".

Unfortunately, when Barrett asked for state money to run the program back in 2013, Walker was not that supportive. Scott Walker eliminated funding for the ShotSpotter program in Milwaukee - $445,400 in the 2013-2015 budget.

Walker defended his cut by lauding his signature of the bill with reduced funding for the program. The governor called Mary Burke’s comments denouncing his cuts as “hogwash.”

Only after intense pressure from the public and law enforcement officials did Scott Walker and the Republican-controlled legislature partially restored funding by $175,000.

That's the real story.

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Where Does Walker Stand?

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
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on Wednesday, 15 October 2014
in Wisconsin

walkerGREEN BAY - Every few days, as I drive over to the Piggly Wiggly in Howard, I pass a yard sign that proudly proclaims “We Stand With Walker”. It’s a Scott Walker campaign sign and I guess it makes these people believe they are heroically standing up against something or other.

Anyway, this morning in my email I received a interesting link from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel entitled Watch live: Walker meets with Journal Sentinel editors, reporters. I wanted to see how Scott Walker answered their questions.

Now, I'm no Walker fan, but at least I was willing to listen. What I heard truly shocked me. I listened to the reporters ask him some fairly specific questions in “Walker on jobs pledge”, “Walker on his abortion stance”, and “Walker on the minimum wage” and saw nothing but a politician intent upon dodging the questions.

Really, where does this guy stand, exactly, on any of these issues? Does he think he should be held accountable on his failure to meet his 2010 pledge to create 250,000 jobs in Wisconsin during his first term? Does he personally believe all abortions should be banned, even in cases of rape or incest, after 20 weeks, or never because its a hard choice? If you don't raise the minimum wage here in Wisconsin, how exactly will everyone get these new higher paid jobs that he says will become available?

I challenge any of my neighbors, who “Stand With Walker”, to listen to these video links and honestly tell me what he and they stand for on each issue.

My parents, proud members of the “Greatest Generation”, born in 1905 and 1912, saw a lot of politicians in their lives and had one major rule - “it doesn't matter what they stand for, so much as that they stand for something”. “Wishy washy” politicians, who you couldn't pin down, were the worst kind.

I listened to these reporters, some of which I know, try to pin Walker down and saw their frustration grow. Is this all we expect of our governor?

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United States Supreme Court Blocks Wisconsin's Voter ID Law for November

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
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on Friday, 10 October 2014
in Wisconsin

supreme-court-2013WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Thursday night blocked Wisconsin from implementing the Walker Administration's voter identification law on the eve of next month's election.

In a related action, a district court judge in Texas ruled that state's voter ID law is racially discriminatory and violates the Voting Rights Act. The Texas attorney general's office said it would appeal.

Both Wisconsin and Texas had claimed the new rules were intended to crack down on instances in which voters impersonate others at the polls. Such incidents are extremely rare, courts have found.

The court gave no reason for its action, as is routine for such emergency orders. But Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented, arguing that the court cannot block an appeals court ruling unless the lower court "clearly and demonstrably erred in its application of accepted standards."

The Wisconsin law requires voters to produce a photo ID at the polls based on a 2011 law that was rolled out in time for low-turnout primaries the following year. Because of early problems, a state court blocked further use of the law.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Advancement Project, a civil rights group, contended that the law jeopardizes the votes of some 300,000 residents, mostly racial minorities, seniors, students and people with disabilities and that imposing the photo ID requirement on such short notice "will cause chaos at the polls".

Although the Supreme Court has wavered in the past, such as allowing discriminatory practices like the southern poll tax to stand during Jim Crow years, as a general trend it has supported of the right to vote as the fundamental constitutional right of each citizen that should not be superseded by administrative convenience.

State officials argued that they had been implementing the photo ID rule since early September. "Plaintiffs are asking this court to pinball state and local election officials between enforcing and not enforcing the law with November elections dgless than four weeks away," their brief said. "Voters would get the pinball treatment, too."

Thursday's ruling blocks, for now, the vision of large numbers of registered voters, mostly racial minorities and seniors, being turned away from polls. If that were to happen, the result of the election might have to be blocked or reversed by the courts.

The Walker Administration, through it's Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, has pledged to continue the fight to implement the law.

But, at least for now, it's off again.

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Senators Demand Answers to Walker’s $1.8 Billion Budget Deficit

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
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on Tuesday, 09 September 2014
in Wisconsin

walker_tells_big_oneThe Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) on Monday estimated the budget for state government will face a nearly $1.8 billion shortfall for the next two-year budget.


MADISON - The expected shortfall for the next two-year state budget starting in July has risen to nearly $1.8 billion, the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau reported Monday. The report paints a dire picture of Wisconsin's finances under the leadership of Governor Scott Walker.

These new budget numbers prove that Gov. Walker has not been honest with us.

Despite having had budget surplus that came at great expense to our public schools and local communities in the form of reductions to shared revenue and local road aids, and the thousands of Wisconsin residents who find themselves without health care, Walker’s Administration has squandered that surplus leaving us with both an actual and structural deficit.

As noted in the LFB Memo, the $115 million shortfall exceeds the 0.5% statutory trigger requiring action by the Secretary of the Department of the Administration and possibly the Governor and the Legislature. Unless corrective action is taken the structural deficit is likely to reach or exceed $1 billion.

Because this budget deficit will have short-term and long-term implications on the residence of Wisconsin, on Monday four Wisconsin Senators, including our Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay), demanded in writing that Gov. Walker address this crisis and outline all the decisions he might make that will impact Wisconsin families and communities.

The memo asks Walker: "Will our neighborhood schools take another funding hit? Will our streets be plowed so people can go to work? Will more students be denied financial aid to attend the UW or State technical College? These questions need to be answered sooner rather than later."

The Senator’s memo went on to request “that you provide us with the specific actions you intend to take to resolve this fiscal crisis including but not limited to which programs you intend to cut, by how much, how your cuts will impact the services they receive from their government and when you intend to act?”

The memo concludes “There is no positive way to spin our state’s perilous financial position. Despite the claims made by the Walker Administration and others a deficit that exceeds the trigger for emergency action and sets the stage for a billion plus structural deficit is not good news.”

The Walker campaign continues to run glossy ads trumpeting the "success" of the Walker Administration and Walker himself continues to dodge responsibility for the crisis, saying that "increased revenue" could erase the deficit.

dave_hansenAccording to Senator Dave Hansen of Green Bay:

“With what seems like each passing day the economic news for Wisconsin under Governor Walker and the Republicans seems to get only worse:

  • 37th in the nation for job creation.
  • Last in the Midwest for job growth.
  • $281 million revenue shortfall.
  • $115 million budget deficit.

"And now this:

  • A nearly $1.8 billion structural deficit.

"When Governor Walker ran for Governor he promised to get rid of the structural deficit, balance the budget and create 250,000 jobs.

"Instead we got some of the biggest cuts to public schools in the entire country, deep cuts to our UW campuses and state technical colleges and cuts to local communities to help fund police and fire protection and repair local roads.

"In return Wisconsin’s economy is failing and we’re facing a nearly $1.8 billion structural deficit that will cost the average family $1,200 over the next two years.   With this latest news from the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau the results are in: Governor Walker and the Republicans have not only broken their promises, they have failed Wisconsin.”

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State’s Own Tax Collectors Undercut Walker Balanced Budget Claim

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
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on Saturday, 30 August 2014
in Wisconsin

scott-walkerThe Walker Administration tried to hide the bad news by delaying the release of the final revenue numbers putting the Fiscal Year 2014 budget on a pace to be $115 million in the hole by next June 30.


MADISON - Wisconsin tax collections for the past year came in 2 percent short of estimates, the state Department of Revenue reported Thursday, news that puts the state's budget on track to be out of balance next year.

The figures show the state collected $281.2 million less for the fiscal year that ended in June than was anticipated by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau. That puts the two year budget to be on a pace to be $115 million in the hole by June 30.

The Walker Administration tried to hide the bad news by delaying the release of the final revenue numbers for Fiscal Year 2014. The delay lead to several State Senators, including Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay), to demand release of the numbers in a letter to Mark Huebsch, Walker’s Secretary of Administration on August 25.

A shortfall of this size will have a significant impact on the State Budget process, beginning with the agency budget proposals which are already being developed, and could lead to cuts in existing services. Such budget shortfalls also have a magnified impact on the long term structural deficit already run up by Walker. For example, a $100 million shortfall could lead to a structural deficit of $1.042 billion over time.

Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-controlled Legislature have cut taxes by nearly $2 billion since Walker took office in 2011, including $500 million in March, a fact they've trumpeted on the campaign trail. Walker has also repeatedly claimed credit for ending the deficit in his ads as the justification for many of his actions against public workers and schools.

dave-hansenIn a statement on the new State Budget Crisis, Senator Hansen said on Friday:

"This is the worst possible news. The size of the shortfall is even worse than expected-far worse.

Under the Governor's and the Republicans' failed leadership we now have a $281 million deficit, we are lagging our neighbors in job growth and family incomes are falling behind.

Not only are we dead last in job creation in the Midwest since the Governor took office, but he and the Republicans have driven our state finances into the ground while our neighbors pass us by.

Minnesota for example has a $168 million surplus, they eliminated their structural deficit and they are leading us on job growth.

Under Governor Walker and the Republicans Wisconsin is clearly not moving forward."

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Can a Company Have Religious Beliefs?

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
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on Monday, 30 June 2014
in Wisconsin

supreme_corporate_courtGREEN BAY - The Supreme Court ruled today that private corporations can deny contraception to workers, in violation of the insurance requirements under Obamacare. (Hobby Lobby vs. Sebelius). The owners at Hobby Lobby argued that their religious beliefs trump the rights of their 13,000 employees and the ruling opens a pandora’s box that employers may use to discriminate against individuals in one way or another.

One wonders, by what legal gymnastics, did the conservative justices on the court convince themselves that one individual or group gets to impose their personal prejudices on another and still stay within the intent of our constitution?

Are all of us equal or are some of us more equal than others, as the phase from Animal Farm goes?

If you work in some else’s household do you have to attend the church of the masters? If you live in a town where the majority of the city council is Christian, do you have to be the same? What exactly is the difference?

The Supreme Court conservatives tried to hedge around the issue by saying only “closely held” corporations get to discriminate. But what exactly does that mean? You can be sure that the lawyers at thousands of companies are checking out ways right now to use this ruling for their own benefit.

And finally, where exactly does the constitution say that a company can have religious beliefs? And if so, whose beliefs are they? The one or five owners? The majority of the workers in the company? The people in the central office? It goes on and on.

Unless you accept the logic, as the Supreme Court conservatives apparently did, that the owners get to impose their beliefs on everyone within their domain, perhaps under the divine right of kings.

Wasn’t that what we fought a revolution and wrote a constitution to end?

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Why Can’t Scott Walker Just Give A Straight Answer?

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
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on Wednesday, 04 June 2014
in Wisconsin

scottwalker-questionGREEN BAY - I was watching Governor Scott Walker last Sunday morning on Up Front with Mike Gousha and was struck by a repeated question. Can’t this guy just give a straight answer?

When Gousha tried to tie him down on his repeated 250,000 job creation campaign promise, he said we were doing better than Illinois. When Gousha pointed out that Illinois was the only one of 10 Midwestern states that we surpassed, Walker changed the subject to the last three months.

I was struck most by his answer on the John Doe investigations into illegal activities by himself and his staff at Milwaukee County. “Those who know can’t talk” Walker said, and “those who don’t shouldn’t talk”. I really don’t know what that was supposed to mean.

Back in February, I went on record in this blog, under my own name, saying Scott Walker knew as far back as 2002 about the “secret network” in the Milwaukee County Executive’s office. I knew because I helped his staff, namely Tim Russell, set it up.

What was most interesting was the reaction from the Governor’s staff. Scott Walker wouldn’t talk about it, and they said the charge came from a known Democrat. They didn’t deny it, they just implied it was only politics and that seemed to satisfy folks.

Only, I wasn’t a Democrat in 2002. Back then, I was running around with a group of Milwaukee County inner ring suburban Republicans called the Franklin Citizens for Responsible Leadership. Scott Walker and Tim Russell most likely thought I was one of their own.

But by 2014 the story changed and it was all politics.

We should not accept these evasions. That there is no real truth in politics, that it is all just spin from one side or the other. To do so demeans ourselves was well as the standards we set for our political leaders.

Mike Gousha tried to get a straight answer from Scott Walker, and you could tell he was getting frustrated. But for a guy like Walker, the answers he gave to Mike and me will be good enough unless we show him we are not buying it any more.

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Walker Knew about “Secret” Email System at Milwaukee County

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
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on Wednesday, 19 February 2014
in Wisconsin

courthouseGREEN BAY - According to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report, included in more than 27,000 emails unsealed today is one that for the first time directly ties Gov. Scott Walker to a secret email system used in his office when he was Milwaukee County executive.

Court documents have previously showed Walker's aides set up a secret wireless router in the county executive's office and traded emails that mixed county and campaign business on Gmail and Yahoo accounts.

I can report that Walker knew about this system as far back as 2002. How do I know? I helped Tim Russell set it up.

Back in 2002, I was called to the newly elected Walker’s office to meet with Tim Russell, who was being promoted at the time as the “technology expert” for the new County Executive . Russell wanted to know how he could set up a private computer network within that office which would have its own link to the internet.

Former County Executive Dave Schultz had such an office system with Apple Computers back in 1988-92, but F. Thomas Ament had dumped it when he became Executive because too many of Schultz’s emails had found their way to the pages of the Journal Sentinel. Ament and his top Administrators tended to distrust the new technology and were more secretive than the Schultz people.

During the 1990s, I was responsible for technology in the Department of Human Resources (DHR) and had set up a departmental network with email and a web site with it’s own ISDN line link to the internet. We were one of several county departments who had moved in this direction in the 90s in advance of a countywide system later developed by the central Information Management Services Division (IMSD).

DHR was only one floor below the County Executive’s Office in the Courthouse, and Tim Russell wanted to know how I did it. During our meeting in 2002, I told him.

As I remember, Russell told me that Scott Walker was very appreciative of my help and wanted to thank me personally. Russell took me over to Walker’s office for the meet and greet, but he turned out to be busy and only smiled and waved from his desk as we stood outside his office door.

I have no doubt that Walker knew what he was smiling and waving about. Russell had certainly made it clear that we were doing this at Walker’s bidding.

I have not really talked much about that day over the years and was not contacted about this information during the recent John Doe inquiry. That I assisted other departments within the county on technology issues during this period was certainly no secret at the time.

But I can tell you one thing, if Walker continues to deny knowledge of this email system and its usage, he is giving you a line of baloney.

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