When Dave Schumacher, 51 years old, lost his job in 2009 in U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan's hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin, he wasn't alone. Schumacher drove trucks for a supplier company that served the General Motors SUV plant, the economic heartbeat of this blue-collar town. GM consolidated production in Texas and Mexico.
The entrance to St. Mary Elementary School in Janesville, Wisconsin has two identical archways with contrasting inscriptions. One entrance says, "For God." The other says, "For Country." That is where Mitt Romney's vice presidential running mate, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, first merged his studies of government and religion as a young student.
In the 14 years that Paul Ryan has been a Congressman from Southeastern Wisconsin, he has never had a challenger of any stature or a race of any significance. Janesville, his hometown and the heart of the district, has no TV stations and only a handful of small, scrappy newspapers. What an opportunity for a man of the people to take the highroad!
At a time when the gap between the ultra-rich and the rest of us is reaching historic heights across the globe, at least $21 trillion (with a "t") in unreported private financial wealth was recently discovered sitting in secret tax havens.
As the race for Wisconsin's open U.S. Senate seat heats up, China has taken the spotlight. Republican candidate Eric Hovde has launched an ad blaming the outsourcing of U.S. jobs on the corporate tax rate.
The ad appears to be in response to Democratic candidate Tammy Baldwin's recent ad on China. Baldwin slams China, for violating trade rules by dumping paper on the U.S. market and harming the Wisconsin paper industry, which employs some 50,000 workers.
On June 12, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker held the "Beer and Brat Summit," touted as an effort to bring lawmakers from both parties together, although some lawmakers from both sides of the aisle found reasons not to attend this PR event. Brats are a Wisconsin tradition but even they have become politicized over the past year with one of the major brat makers financially backing Walker's political campaign.
Walker's PR Plan to Use Beer and Brats
Ninety-eight state lawmakers -- 60 Republicans, 37 Democrats and one independent -- said they planned to attend the event, which offered a spread of beer, brats, and other specialties from the Dairy State.
Walker and Barrett Clash: Dead Child, John Doe and New Jobs Numbers Dominate Debate
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and his recall challenger Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett met in Milwaukee last night for their second and final debate. The structure of this debate, moderated by one of Wisconsin's leading newsmen, WISN's Mike Gousha, allowed for more back and forth between the candidates and led to heated moments as underdog Tom Barrett went on the offense. Barrett slammed Walker for cutting a campaign ad that features a dead child in an attempt to criticize Barrett for the Milwaukee Police Department's under-reporting of crime. There is no evidence that Barrett knew about the under reporting or the tragic death of the child. Barrett defended his police department: "Milwaukee police arrested that man and put him in jail, but did not use the right code when reporting the crime... you should be ashamed of that commercial, Scott Walker," Barrett charged. Walker did not apologize.
Walker's Record on Veterans Under Fire
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 Sentinel is 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.