Wisconsin Protests, Friday, March 4, 2011



The Center has issued a new report debunking the misleading robo-calls unleashed in Wisconsin this week and providing readers with information to get off LAV's call list and other actions they can take. CMD/PRWatch has also issued a detailed report on who the DC-based group is and what their connections are to the moneyed interests, including to a FOX "analyst." Click here to read the full report.

And, below is an excerpt from our separate report by Lisa Graves debunking LAV's robo-calls:

"Citizens from across Wisconsin have been calling the Center for Media and Democracy to complain about robo-calls they received pushing Scott Walker's agenda against public workers. The robo-calls have been bought and paid for by a shadowy Washington, DC-based group that calls itself the "League of American Voters" (LAV).

"As the Center has reported previously, LAV has one employee, a failed politician from West Virginian named Bob Adams, and is the pet project of FOX "analyst" Dick Morris, a pollster who was fired in disgrace in 1996 for conducting phone calls with the President while conducting business with a prostitute serving his foot fetish at DC's Mayflower Hotel. After Morris' falling out with Democrats in the aftermath of the scandal, he became a frequent talking head on FOX and a serial author of books bashing Democrats. The latest book he is pushing is one that praises the reactionary positions of some of the politicians elected last year: "Revolt! How the Governors Are Changing American Politics ... Permanently." His pulp pieces are peddled on LAV's website as rewards for donations.

Wisconsin residents are complaining about the misleading script LAV is using in its effort to prop up Walker." Follow this link to see LAV's script debunked and to find concrete actions you can take to get off LAV's call list and push back.


Post-it notes adorn statehouse door (Photo by Jonathan Rosenblum)5:10 pm -- Gov. Scott Walker today sent notices to state employee unions warning them of the possibility their members will be laid off as early as April 4.

The letters inform the unions that state agencies have to cut expenses because of the delay in passing the guv's budget repair bill. They note the number of each local's employees who may be laid off is not known and agencies will notify employees individually according to collective bargaining agreements. According to the guv's office, individual employees will get a notice at least two weeks before their layoff takes effect.

4 p.m. - Rev. Jesse Jackson, Jr. honors King's legacy at Friday afternoon rally

Erica Pelzek reports:

Diverging from the now-routine march down State Street to the Wisconsin State Capitol, the acclaimed Rev. Jesse Jackson, Jr. led a rally for public workers' rights at the City-County Building on—you guessed it—Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard in Madison Friday afternoon.

In another inspirational march singing out for the peoples' rights to organize, several hundred people congregated outside Madison's City-County Building, cheering and chanting, "Recall Walker!" They clambered on top of benches outside the building to better see the Reverend and take photos and videos of his speech. Slipping and sliding on the marble benches, one woman extended a hand to a reporter who was, literally, stuck in the mud and pulls the reporter onto the bench she's occupying--a physical act of solidarity.

"For those 14 senators who stood up—give them a big hand!" Jackson proclaimed to an enthusiastic crowd, who found out this morning that the Reverend would be rallying again in Madison this afternoon. "When you crush workers…you threaten democracy," he shouted, encouraging the workers of Wisconsin to keep fighting for their collective bargaining rights. "Don't let them break your spirit. You stand tall!"

Upon the ending of Jackson's brief speech, the 300-400-strong audience burst into cheers and applause, gathering up their cameras, drums and signs to march the two blocks back to the Capitol to "stand tall" and resist the crushing of their democracy.


3:10 p.m. - From Lisa Graves:

More winning: Over 350 state legislators representing all of the other 49 states have now signed the open letter of solidarity with Wisconsin senators: http://bit.ly/solidarityWI

Suited up for a New Orleans-style parade down State StreetThe list of signers continues to grow.

2:12 p.m. - Americans For Prosperity has launched a bus tour across the state of Wisconsin. Click here to find a counter-rally in your area.

1:20 p.m. - Walker sends layoff notices, gives Senate ultimatum

From Channel 3000:

Gov. Scott Walker said layoff notices went out to public employees' unions on Friday, and that the state Senate has 30 days to pass a budget repair bill before the layoffs will go into effect.

11:41 a.m. - Lynn Welch reports from the Capitol that the public was being allowed access today via North and South entrances. Airport-style mandatory security checks still in place for security. Capitol Police Chief Tubbs mingling with dozens of on-duty police, shaking hands, thanking them. Protest area restricted to ground floor rotunda, but public allowed access to all public spaces. About 100 protesters are inside.


  1. In the Senate, Republicans approved a resolution authorizing Senate Dems to be taken into custody for being in contempt.
  2. Statement from Sen. Fitzgerald: Summary of Senate powers to compel attendance of absent members.
  3. The Senate has issued an Order to Detain for each of the 14 Democratic Senators.
  4. Cullen Weston Pines & Bach: Senate lacks authority to hold members in contempt and order their arrest.
  5. Statement from Department of Administration Secretary Huebsch: Memo regarding building entry procedures.
  6. Marc Pocan released a memo: An Open Letter to Whoever is Calling the Shots on the Lockdown at the State Capitol


Walker's Yellow Brick Road Leads to the Wicked Rich protest signFrom Mary Bottari. Read the full article here.

The Wisconsin State Capitol has erupted in a torrent of lawlessness this week that schoolchildren will be reading about for years. No, I don't mean rowdy protests resulting in mass arrests. Even though some 300,000 people have visited the capitol in the last two weeks, the crowds have been peaceful and fun; no arrests have been reported. I mean the convulsion of lawlessness that has seized Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and the republican leadership -- a track record that would make Richard Nixon proud.


Lynn Welch reports on yesterday's media conference at the Orpheum Theatre:

Wisconsinites and many across the nation have received a wake-up call in the past two-plus weeks with the labor protests in Madison, the state and in 50 states.

"This movement is one we will look back on as a brand new awakening for our nation," said Center for Media & Democracy Executive Director Lisa Graves, speaking as part of a panel on Media & the Wisconsin Labor Struggle. "This awakening has been long in coming and it's going to need to be sustained."

Graves was among the panelists for the free public forum held Thursday night (March 3) at the Orpheum Theater in Madison, and organized by the The Labor & Working Class Studies Project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Haven's Center. Graves said the eyes of all have been opened to how little corporations pay in taxes and how it has shaped the divisive budget debate in Wisconsin and elsewhere.

For the past 30 years, business concerns have poured money into media interests to grow their ideas and a political system that would advance their corporate agenda. Meanwhile, unions of all stripes have gotten ill covered, according to Frank Emspak, founder and producer of Workers Independent News.

"The last nation-wide labor radio show went off the air in 1955. There's 100 percent censorship in labor news. We deal with this bias by creating our own voice," Emspak said.

But if main-stream media doesn't cover a movement, does that make it irrelevant? Noted Matt Rothschild, editor of the Progressive Magazine, "Something is happening here and corporate media is missing it. This is the largest sustained labor rally that this country has seen in decades and it may be the single most sustained rally for workers in U.S. history. Scott Walker and the Koch brothers thought people would continue to take it lying down and they're fighting back, and it's spreading. And the fight started here."

Graves explained what the Center and its PRWatch.org website has done to inform the public of how corporate leaders including David Koch, Koch Industries and groups they bankroll, spend millions of dollars seeding movements and can dates – including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker – that advance their cause. She noted that a surprising number of corporations pay little or nothing in corporate income taxes.

The Club for Growth, which has been running pro-Walker ads across the state in recent weeks, reported $3.5 million in revenue in 2009, according to records obtained by Graves. The Club for Growth Wisconsin reported a separate $3.5 million in revenue for that same year. R.J. Johnson, formerly one of this organization's main consultants, became one of Walker's political strategist.

"We vote. They invest in candidates and they expect a return," Graves said. "The budget Walker unveiled is a return on that investment."


Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Hiding senators held in contempt; layoff notices to go out today

Walker said he would seek the layoffs of up to 1,500 state employees in an attempt to save $30 million to help address the state's fiscal problems. He said he would try to protect workers in around-the-clock jobs such as prison guards and medical staff.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Lobbyist group forms to back UW-Madison split from system

On Tuesday, the newly formed group Badger Advocates had 11 lobbyists - the majority of them Republicans - register to lobby in favor of the change for UW-Madison in the state budget bill. The non-profit group, a 501(c)(4) organization, was formed on Feb. 16 and so far has a limited website.

Protesters wore costumes to a New Orleans-style parade down State StMilwaukee Journal Sentinel: Overnight protesters leave Capitol

Earlier Thursday, in a historic ruling after three days of testimony, Dane County Circuit Judge John Albert issued an interim order calling for the immediate removal of overnight demonstrators and putting state officials on notice that improved access to the building has to be in place by Monday morning.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: State Officials Back Off Capitol Damage Claim

State officials charged with overseeing the state Capitol are now backing away from their estimate that demonstrators did more than $7 million in damage to the building.

"I think that's more of a worst-case scenario," said Jeff Plale, the former Democratic state senator who is now the state facilities administrator. "There are other estimates."

Touring the Capitol Friday morning with state architect Dan Stephans, Plale said he had not immediately observed any damage from demonstrations over Gov. Scott Walker's budget-repair bill, though the pair was just starting their tour. Plale said that he didn't believe the state had had any experienced contractor provide the quote on the damages.

A brass band accompanies the New Orleans-style parade down State StCapital Times: Guess why Walker wants to freeze self-supporting State Life Fund

If you need a prima facie example of how this extremist Republican governor is taking the side of the big guys against the little guys, I've got one for you.

Hidden in the 1,300 or so pages of his 2011-13 budget is the dismantling of Wisconsin's little-known State Life Fund, a small state-operated life insurance plan that was enacted 100 years ago this year by progressive Republican legislators in the wake of insurance scandals that rocked the state back then.

The Capital Times: Like Reagan, GOP here should compromise

The Constitutional Convention in 1787 was beset with two seemingly intractable challenges: 1. How to solve the large state/small state congressional representation disagreement. 2. How to solve the emerging north/south split on slavery. Differences nearly derailed the convention, as had happened the previous year in Annapolis.

The Capital Times: Brave governors are cutting programs and raising taxes too

WASHINGTON — If you want to get national attention as a governor these days, don't try to be innovative about solving the problems you were elected to deal with -- in education, transportation and health care. No, if you want ink and television time, just cut and cut and cut some more.

The Capital Times: WMC's vision for future: $30,000 jobs

Finally someone has attached a salary figure to the 250,000 new jobs Gov. Scott Walker has vowed to create over the next four years.

Here's a hint: it won't support a family of four unless everybody's eating cat food and sleeping in a van.

New York Times: Wisconsin Governor Says He Will Begin Issuing Layoff Warnings to Unions

Nothing too new on the Wisconsin front, but Indiana has just approved a higher fine for their AWOL Democrats, $250-a-day. Also mentions Dems moving desks onto capitol lawn.

New York Times: Police Tackle Lawmaker as he Enters State Capitol

(AP)Police tackled Democratic Representative Nick Milroy of South Range in northwestern Wisconsin was trying to retrieve some clothes from his office in the Capitol Thursday night.

New York Times: The Hollow Cry of "Broke" (editorial)

"A country with a deficit is not necessarily any more "broke" than a family with a mortgage or a college loan ... a substantial part [of deficits] was caused by deliberate decisions by state and federal lawmakers to drain government of resources by handing out huge tax cuts, mostly to the rich. As governments begin to stagger from the self-induced hemorrhaging, Republican politicians like Mr. Boehner and Mr. Walker cry poverty and use it as an excuse to break unions and kill programs they never liked in flush years.... A New York Times/CBS News poll published on Tuesday showed that Americans oppose ending bargaining rights for public unions by a majority of nearly two to one. And the poll sharply refutes the post-Reagan Republican mantra that the public invariably abhors all tax increases. Nearly twice as many people said they would prefer a tax increase to cutting benefits of public employees or to cutting spending on roads."


According to the Department of Administration, beginning at 8:00 a.m. on Friday morning, the following procedures will be in place:

  • Visitors to the Capitol must enter and exit at the North and South Hamilton doors. Employees who display their ID's may enter at the MLK entrance.
  • Members of the public can enter the Capitol for meetings, committee hearings, tours or other purposes.
  • Members of the public participating in a rally or protest must remain in the ground floor rotunda area.
  • Carry-ins including sleeping bags, mattresses, musical instruments or noisemakers, cooking appliances and other items prohibited by the administrative code will not be allowed in the building.
  • Visitors are prohibited from affixing or removing signs taped inside the Capitol. The Capitol is a National Historic Landmark and removal of tape and the restoration of the building must be handled professionally.


  • 3:00 p.m. - Reverend Jessie Jackson will meet with workers outside the Madison City-County Building

Wisconsin Protests photo gallery

Live report


A reduction in force should not equal a reduction in quality. If that is the case then the workforce should be replaced. Interesting that college students think raising taxes on other people or corporations is the answer to the problem. The issue is we spend too much. I wonder why I wasn't polled, maybe because I support the reduction in benefits and pension, not the unions. Announcement for public employee union members: The taxpayers have had it with your out of line benefits and pensions. You're cut off. Get your benefits, pay and pensions in line with the private sector and then we'll talk. Want to bet John aspray didn't even read the <a href="http://cashadvancesus.com/wisconsin-payday-advance-loans/"><b>Wisconsin</b></a> bill??