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.
Wisconsin "Governer" Scott Walker may have trouble spelling his job title in his latest email, but he has no trouble raising and spending money on ads to improve his image as the state braces for a high-stakes, high-dollar recall campaign.
One year ago this week, blogger Ian Murphy of the Buffalo Beastpranked Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker by posing as billionaire David Koch on a phone call. As the crowds at the Capitol protesting Walker's bill to end collective bargaining were increasing in size and volume, the fake Koch inquired how Walker's efforts to "crush that union" were going. Walker's fawning response helped rocket the Wisconsin protests into the national media limelight.
Now the real David Koch reveals that crushing unions is indeed at the top of his agenda. In an interview with the Palm Beach Post, Koch talks about Walker, unions and the historical importance of the Wisconsin recall fight.
Mitt Romney's 2010 tax returns show that in 2010, Romney and his wife, Ann, paid an effective tax rate of 13.9 percent on $21.6 million in income -- much lower than the 35 percent the country's top wage-earners pay -- and hold millions of dollars in multiple offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands, a notorious tax haven. The official spin is that the Cayman accounts provide no particular tax advantage, that they pay higher interest rates and help "attract foreign investors." Romney's campaign counsel, Ben Ginsburg, assured journalists that Romney was in full compliance with U.S. tax laws, and Brad Malt, who operates the Romneys' blind trust, said Romney's Cayman funds are fully taxable and reported to the IRS. That may be so, but Rebecca Wilkins, a tax policy expert with Citizens for Tax Justice, points out that the federal government loses about $100 billion a year to just such foreign tax havens. Wilkins affirmed that the primary advantage to investors of setting up funds in places like the Cayman Islands is to help people avoid taxes. Jack Blum, a Washington, D.C. attorney who specializes in offshore banking and tax enforcement, said offshore investment vehicles allow investors to "avoid a whole series of small traps in the tax code that ordinary people would face if they paid tax on an onshore basis."
So many signatures were delivered demanding the recall of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and other state officials, that one scribe dubbed it the "greatest popular democracy movement in Wisconsin history." Over 30,000 volunteers collected over 1.9 million signatures and delivered them to the state's nonpartisan elections board on January 17.
Volunteers exceeded all expectations, delivering 1 million petitions for the recall of Scott Walker, an amount equivalent to 46 percent of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial race. Never had so many, in the history of the United States, petitioned for the recall of a governor.