Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics


He can run but he can no longer hide …

It appears that the lies that Scott Walker has told for his entire career, and his uncanny ability to stay one election ahead of any inquiries into his activities, have finally caught up with him.

Scott Walker won the Wisconsin governor’s race in 2010, in a low turnout election year, after lulling people into thinking that both parties were essentially the same. He did not bother to mention to the voters what he was telling his donors: that he intended to crush unions in Wisconsin, starting with the public employee unions. And he never shared his plan to cut $900 million from state aid to K-12 education. Gov. Scott Walker beat a recall in 2012, an election that 900,000 Wisconsinites signed petitions to force, by blanketing the airwaves with ads bought using out-of-state money he got by gaming the campaign finance laws. Scott Walker then won reelection in 2014, in another low turnout election, by flat out lying in campaign ads and public statements about his position on abortion and on unions and by glossing over his job creation record and the impending budget deficit.

In all three of those elections, he was able to get away with the lies because the captive press in Wisconsin was too lazy to investigate and report with any rigor: on his malfeasance in the Milwaukee County Executive’s office, his sleazy 2010 gubernatorial campaign activities which led to some of his staff being convicted of felonies, and, in 2014, the facts that put a lie to his boasts about job creation, the truth about the pending budget deficit, his plans for private-sector unions, and his disregard for the election financing laws of the state.

So Scott Walker won and was able to launch his presidential campaign in 2015 from the Wisconsin governor’s mansion based on the myth of his electability: “Three elections in 4 years in a state Obama won! They love me!!”

Gov. Walker forgot one little thing: once he entered the national arena, he had to dupe the entire country and he could no longer count on the Wisconsin press to print his words without investigating his deeds.  

Don’t let a minoritea choose our government

If you harbor any doubt as to how the Republicans prefer to hold onto power in states like Wisconsin, look no further than the comment by Wisconsin State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R):

“… high turnout elections have typically favored Democrats while low turnouts favor the GOP …”

Fitzgerald is correct … but he will never be right. It can never be right to want to govern without the consent of those being governed, to wish that democracy fails so that you can ignore the will of the majority of the people.

Republicans all over the United States, like Fitzgerald, are glad when fewer people vote because they know that most people reject their puny vision of America.

I am reminded of what happened as the result of a low-turnout midterm 4 years ago. In February 2011, Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) fulfilled his secret promises to his campaign donors and ended collective bargaining for public employees. People protested and the Democratic state senators left the state to deny Sen. Fitzgerald a quorum. Those were heady times for small d democracy as Walker discovered that winning an election with 32% of the registered voters of a state (25% of the voting age population) did not give him a mandate. He won the election but he lacked one very important thing: the Consent of the Governed.

Specifically, this consent, from Thomas Jefferson:

“Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

It is time to stand up and be counted as one of the governed who does NOT consent to Scott Walker’s governance, one who rejects his minoritea rule.

There is no excuse to not vote today. No excuse to not take our state back from the special interests and elect a governor who cares about Wisconsin and wants to make life better for Wisconsinites. Mary Burke will have one focus: moving Wisconsin Forward.

There is no place for voter suppression in a democracy. Period.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the largest circulation paper in Wisconsin and the paper of record for the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County, penned a scathing editorial calling out the Republican legislature for their attempt to disenfranchise those who would vote for Democrats.

The editorial is in response to the blistering opinion from 7th Circuit Court Judge Richard Posner about that court’s big sloppy kiss to Gov. Scott Walker and his re-election campaign.

From the Journal-Sentinel editorial:

Five appeals court judges gave their colleagues the what-for Friday in a bark-peeling attack rarely seen in the legal genre. Led by Judge Richard A. Posner, himself a convert to the idea that voter ID equals voter suppression (good for him), the judges called the idea of voter fraud by impersonation “a mere fig leaf for efforts to disenfranchise voters likely to vote for the political party that does not control the state government.”

Which is precisely what is afoot in Wisconsin.

It has been clear from the day this rancid idea began working its way through the state Legislature that this was all about winning elections and not about the integrity of those elections. Voter ID makes it harder for certain classes of voters to exercise the franchise, including minorities, the elderly and the young. The fact that those categories of voters tend to favor Democrats should tell you all you need to know about the motivations of Republican legislators.

It’s about winning, baby, which is about integrity only in the sense that up is about down or that white is about black.

The editorial goes on to call out Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen who is contemplating an end around the Supreme Court’s ruling that Wisconsin’s voter id law cannot be used in the November 4th election. How, pray tell, does one defy the Supreme Court of the United States of America? Maybe J.B. stand for Jefferson Beauregard and he will rally the other crazee Republicans who wanted to include secession in the Wisconsin GOP platform this past summer to foment rebellion? Or maybe he is simply an idiot.  

More …

Supreme Court Watch: Voting Rights, UPDATE: North Carolina voters lose; WI voters win; Texas next?

This week we are watching for news out of the Supreme Court.

UPDATE 2: Emergency Stay Granted to Stop Implementation of Wisconsin Voter ID

… the basis was the Purcell objection, the proximity to the upcoming election and the risk of electoral chaos.

PDF of order (“Justices” Alito, Scalia, and Thomas dissented) is here:

the Seventh Circuit’s stay of the district court’s permanent injunction is vacated

Texas: A federal district court struck down the Texas Voter Id Law. The ruling issued an injunction, Texas said that they will appeal, so now we watch again.

UPDATE: 4th Circuit overturned by SCOTUS, extended registration in NC cancelled

… the full slate of changes passed by North Carolina this year, increasing restrictions on the voting process, is now back in effect for the election.

Justices Ginsberg and Sotomayor dissented (PDF) noting that the courts removal of pre-clearance in the VRA led directly to this outcome:

These measures likely would not have survived federal pre-clearance. The Court of Appeals determined that at least two of the measures – elimination of same-day registration and termination of out-of-precinct voting – risked significantly reducing opportunities for black voters to exercise the franchise in violation of §2 of the Voting Rights Act.

There are two important election related emergency requests that are pending. One is for North Carolina and is in the hands of Chief Justice Roberts. The other is for Wisconsin and is in the hands of Justice Kagan. Both matters have been fully briefed. Court watchers expect the North Carolina ruling to go in favor of the state and the Wisconsin ruling to go in favor of the voters. But tea leaf readers are really just guessing because as they say, the law is an ass, and the Supreme Court does whatever the heck it wants.

More below …

Today in Voting Rights: A Win in North Carolina; UPDATED: WI voter id to SCOTUS

Why is this man smiling?

Federal Appeals Court Blocks North Carolina Voting Restrictions in Time for Midterm Election

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals today reversed a lower court ruling that had allowed provisions of North Carolina’s restrictive voting law to go into effect before the midterm election. Today’s order restores same-day registration and reinstates out-of-precinct provisional voting on Voting Rights Act grounds. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice are challenging those provisions, as well as the elimination of a week of early voting.

“The court’s order safeguards the vote for tens of thousands of North Carolinians. It means they will be able to continue to use same-day registration, just as they have during the last three federal elections,” said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project.

“This is a victory for voters in the state of North Carolina,” said Southern Coalition for Social Justice staff attorney Allison Riggs. “The court has rebuked attempts to undermine voter participation.”

The ruling

Judge James Wynn, an Obama appointee, begins his opinion with a simple declaration – “[t]he right to vote is fundamental.” He then holds that two provisions of the new voter suppression law, the provision eliminating same-day registration and the provision calling for a voter’s ballots to be tossed out if they vote in the wrong precinct, must be suspended pending a full trial of this case on the merits.

Judge Wynn’s opinion reverses the decision of a George W. Bush appointed judge who allowed the entire law to take effect.

PDF of the ruling is here (PDF): NC-Opinion

The Reverend William Barber III deserves credit for not letting up on demanding the right to vote.


UPDATED: October 2, 2014 8:20am CDT

The ACLU has requested an emergency stay of the voter id requirement for next month’s election


Yesterday’s Marquette University Poll of the Wisconsin governors race included polling on voter id. Roughly 30% of those polled did NOT realize that the voter id law was going into affect for this election and 1.2% of registered voters, about 44,000, do not have an id.

On Thursday, Justice Kagan asked for a response brief from the State of Wisconsin, due Tuesday, 10/7 at 5pm.

More good voting news below …

Michelle Obama: “They’re assuming that we won’t care … and only we can prove them wrong”

First Lady Michelle Obama was in Milwaukee on Monday at a campaign rally for Democratic candidate for governor, Mary Burke.

She spoke to a packed house at the Wisconsin Center and challenged us to Get Out The Vote:

“We all need to be as passionate and hungry for this election as we were in 2008 and 2012,” Obama told a packed crowd at the Wisconsin Center Monday.

“When the midterms come along, too many of our people just tune out, and that’s what a lot of folks on the other side are counting on this year,” she said. “They’re assuming that we won’t care, they’re assuming that we won’t be organized and energized – and only we can prove them wrong.”

Transcript: Remarks by the First Lady at a Voter Mobilization Rally — Milwaukee, Wisconsin

This rally was for Mary Burke but the words should be repeated at every Democratic campaign rally in the country between now and election day.

Elections Matter — for Future Elections! UPDATED

The ruling by the anti-voter judicial activists on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, the ruling which implemented newly developed and completely untested voter id rules for Wisconsin’s general election on November 4, 2014, will not be reviewed by the full panel.

ACLU Comment on Federal Appeals Court Ruling on Wisconsin Voter ID

CHICAGO – The full Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals today declined to rehear a three-judge panel’s order reinstating Wisconsin’s voter ID law prior to the midterm election. The vote was split evenly, 5-5, meaning the panel’s order stands. Neither the panel nor the full court has yet ruled on the actual merits of the law, which was found unconstitutional by a federal judge in April. The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging the law, and petitioned for a full appeals court review following the panel’s order on September 12 allowing the law to take effect. The ACLU presented oral arguments to the panel that day asking the court to uphold the April decision striking down the law as unconstitutional and in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

The following is a statement from Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project:

“Allowing this law to take effect so close to the midterm election is a recipe for chaos, voter confusion, and disenfranchisement. The court could have avoided this pandemonium and given Wisconsin voters a chance to cast their ballots free of obstruction. It failed to do so, and we are evaluating our next step.”

In the News: John D’OH!

Found on the Internets …

Perhaps things have turned out badly


John Doe prosecutors accuse Scott Walker of running ‘criminal scheme’ during recalls

Schmitz cited a May 2011 email from Walker to prominent Republican strategist Karl Rove saying that Johnson would lead the coordination.

“Bottom-line: R.J. helps keep in place a team that is wildly successful in Wisconsin. We are running 9 recall elections and it will be like 9 congressional markets in every market in the state (and Twin Cities),” Walker wrote to Rove on May 4, 2011, according to the filing.

Johnson, a Walker campaign consultant, is also a top adviser to Wisconsin Club for Growth, a conservative group that was active in the recall elections. Prosecutors allege Johnson used Club for Growth as the “hub” for coordination between the Walker campaign and conservative groups engaged in issue advocacy.

Prosecutors: Walker’s Campaign ‘Tacitly Admitted’ Breaking The Law

In a court filing responding to motions from the targets of the investigation, Schmitz countered arguments from Walker’s campaign, which goes by the name Friends of Scott Walker (FOSW), and the outside groups about what kind of coordination was allowed under Wisconsin law.

“Movants argue that ‘coordination’ of political activities that do not arguably involve express advocacy cannot be a crime under Wisconsin law,” he wrote. “These arguments fail to recognize or misinterpret Wisconsin statutes, administrative rules, and G.A.B. formal opinions. Movants have also ignored controlling Wisconsin case law. Indeed, in their submissions, movants – FOSW, Citizens for a Strong America, Inc. (CFSA), Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, Inc. (WMC) and Wisconsin Manfacuturers & Commerce-Issues Mobilization Council (WMC-IMC), and Wisconsin Club for Growth (WiCFG) appear to have tacitly admitted to violating Wisconsin law.” […]

Walker’s campaign declined to directly address the contents of the documents released Thursday.

“Two judges have rejected the characterizations disclosed in those documents,” Alleigh Marré, the campaign’s press secretary, wrote.

Oh, is this one of the judges?

“I am persuaded the statutes only prohibit coordination by candidates and independent organizations for a political purpose, and political purpose, with one minor exception not relevant here … requires express advocacy,” [state Reserve Judge Gregory] Peterson wrote in an order included in documents released Thursday. “There is no evidence of express advocacy.”

In the alternate right-wing universe, “elections” have no “political purpose”. I suspect this is the other judge.


Datamining from BlueCheddar

The [Journal Sentinel] article says there are 12 conservative groups that are suspected of illegally coordinating with Scott Walker and his “close confidants”:

“The governor and his close confidants helped raise money and control spending through 12 conservative groups during the recall elections, according to the prosecutors’ filings.”

So this is why Walker could maintain a placid demeanor through all the turmoil and upheaval that he caused us. It must really ease a man’s worried mind to have a powerful, monied team in the wings doing whatever it takes, laws be damned.

As prosecutors state in Exhibit C of the released documents:

“No court has ever recognized that secret, coordinated activity

resulting in “undisclosed” contributions to candidates’ campaigns and used to circumvent campaign finance laws is protected by the First Amendment. Accordingly, the purpose of this investigation is to ensure the integrity of the electoral process in Wisconsin.”


More news …

The Party of Lincoln? Er, no.

On Sunday morning, the above-the-fold headline in the Wisconsin State Journal, the paper of record for the State of Wisconsin, declared “Assembly members against secession”.

Let’s ignore for a moment how low the bar for political sanity has been set if the paper is reporting as NEWS(!) that the Republican caucus in the state assembly is not in favor of Wisconsin seceding from the Union.

Let’s also ignore the fact that not all of the Republicans in the state assembly signed the letter that Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) sent to the delegates meeting this weekend at the Wisconsin State GOP Convention. Because it makes me cringe to think that my fellow Wisconsinites would elect state representatives who don’t even believe in the United States Constitution.

It’s time WI started paying attention

On November 4, 2014, Wisconsinites will have the opportunity to take back our state and undo a terrible mistake made in November 2010.

Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice? WI won’t be fooled again.

In a low-turnout midterm election, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker (R-Talk Radio) was elected governor of Wisconsin. He ran with money from national Republicans – including the Koch brother’s Americans For Prosperity (AFP) – and ideas from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), quietly promising his donors that he would do their bidding and destroy unions (and the family supporting jobs they represent), despoil our natural resources (and sell what’s left to the highest bidder), and defund our educational systems (and use that money to pay for tax breaks to the wealthiest): all things that Wisconsinites would never have consented to had they known.