On Memorial Day, Wisconsinites are honoring those men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. This year, Memorial Day is taking place in the context of a historic recall election that is just eight days away, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is facing criticism from veterans and others over his handling of veterans affairs. An editorial in the Capital Times, reminds us that two of Walker's associates from his days as Milwaukee County Executive have been charged with embezzling money from the "Operation Freedom" charity for families of fallen soldiers. Tim Russell, a former Walker top aide, and Kevin Kavanaugh, a Walker appointee, were charged earlier in the year with embezzling over $62,000 from the veterans fund. Russell used the money to take expensive cruises and vacations with his boyfriend, Brian Pierick, who was also charged with child enticement. All three men are awaiting trial. The charity had been run by a local Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Milwaukee County, with no complaints. But Walker took control of the "Operation Freedom" charity away from the VFW and handed it over to his aide Russell, a decision still deserving of an explanation says the Capital Times.
Thousands of nurses from around the world descended upon Daley Plaza, in the heart of Chicago on May 18, to demand that the richest nations in the world put an end to austerity politics and start asking the people who collapsed the global economy to do more to "heal the world."
Wearing red National Nurses United (NNU) scrubs calling for "an economy for the 99%" and zippy green Robin Hood hats, made for them in Europe, the nurses were joined by Occupy Chicago and thousands of community activists in what may be one of the most colorful demonstrations in days of protests marking the G8 meeting at Camp David and the NATO Summit in Chicago.
Sentencing for Key Former Walker Aide In John Doe Criminal Probe Delayed Until July
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinelis reporting that sentencing of Darlene Wink, a former county aide to Governor Scott Walker, has been delayed until July 17 so Wink can continue to help prosecutors. Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf asked for a long delay, noting, "the prosecutions are not yet closed." Wink was caught Facebooking comments, while at work, about Walker and his opponents during his 2010 race for governor. She was one of two Walker staffers later charged with spending a great deal of time fundraising and working on the gubernatorial campaign while on the public payroll as part of a wide ranging John Doe investigation being run out of the Milwaukee District Attorney's office. The probe has resulted in 15 felony indictments against a number of former Walker staff and associates, prompting Walker to hire two sets of criminal defense attorneys and to set up a criminal defense fund. Learn more about the John Doe investigation, and charges against Walker's former staff here.
Video was obtained and released by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel less than a month before the June 5th recall election for Wisconsin governor that shows newly elected Governor Scott Walker in a frank conversation with one of his biggest supporters.
The banner headline in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this morning "State posts largest percentage job loss in U.S. over past year" underscores a serious problem that folks living in Wisconsin are already familiar with. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Wisconsin was the only state in the country to have statistically significant job losses in the past year. Wisconsin lost 23,900 jobs between March 2011 and March 2012. The majority were government jobs, but that number included 6,100 private sector jobs, the most private sector jobs lost in any state.
Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) was on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace talking about his new GOP budget plan. After the disastrous roll out of last year's budget plan, widely panned for its $6,000 Medicare voucher, Ryan has polished up his approach. He says the new plan would simplify the tax code, "broaden the tax base," and close tax loopholes. You can watch the interview here.
Jill Stein, a doctor and activist from Massachusetts, is running for the Green Party nomination for President of the United States. Stein is the frontrunner for the party's nomination, running against comedian Roseanne Barr and veteran Green Party activists Kent Mesplay and Harley Mikkelson. Stein's campaign, headed up by Wisconsin native Ben Manski, is focusing on getting enough delegates in each state to win the party's nomination at the July 2012 Green Party convention in Baltimore and on securing November ballot lines in all 50 states.
Jill Stein is a physician, author, environmental health advocate, and mom. She has been particularly active on the issue of toxic chemicals and their effects on children and on campaign finance reform. She ran for Massachusetts' Green-Rainbow Party for Governor in 2002, for State Representative in 2004, and for Secretary of State in 2006.
A federal court ruled yesterday that new election maps drawn by Wisconsin Republican lawmakers last year violated the Voting Rights Act and must be redrawn.
A panel of three judges ruled that Latino communities on the Southside of Milwaukee were disenfranchised by the overly partisan maps. The maps for Assembly districts 8 and 9 must be redrawn by the state legislature, which is now split 16-16 in the Wisconsin Senate, or the court will redraw them. However, the judges upheld all the other legislative and Congressional districts that Republicans drew last year stating that even though the maps caused problems for some one million voters and disrupted long-standing political relationships, the resulting population deviations were not large enough to permit judicial intervention under the law.
Governor Scott Walker is currently running a million dollar TV ad campaign on "Promises Kept," but after misleading the public on his plans to radically reshape collective bargaining in the state, Walker can't even be bothered to negotiate with the few unions who played by the new rules and are coming to the bargaining table in good faith.
Recall elections for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and four Republican senators are likely to be held on June 5 under an agreement presented in court by lawyers for the recall committees, the state Government Accountability Board (GAB) and lawyers for the state officials.