Wisconsin Republican recall drive gathers steam, WI GOP senator leaves his family for a young lobbyist; anti-Dem campaign is led by anonymous, out-of-state anti-immigration activists

The drive to recall the Wisonsin senators who helped pass the bill that took away state workers' collective bargaining rights is going great guns:
Dems have now collected over 56,000 signatures supporting the recall drives, according to party spokesman Graeme Zielinski, after another surge in organizing activity over the weekend. That's up from rougly 14,000 after last weekend. This means Dems are well ahead of schedule: In each targeted district, Dems need to amass the required signatures -- 25 percent of the number who voted in the last gubernatorial election -- by a deadline of 60 days after first filing for recalls, which happened nearly two weeks ago.

In other words, Dems are reporting they are nearly halfway to the finish line, with roughly three-fourths of the alloted time remaining.

Though the national media has largely treated the Wisconsin story as resolved, now that Republicans used a procedural maneuver to pass Scott Walker's measure, the new signature numbers suggest the GOP's maneuver may only be giving more momentum to the recall drives. The recall fight has drawn the attention of national Dems, who are keeping attention on the battle in hopes that it will have ramifications in the 2012 Congressional and presidential elections, by galvanizing the Dem base, persuading independents that the GOP has overreached, and reawakening the affection of blue collar whites for unions.

(Thanks, Cowicide!)

In related news, Wisconsin state Sen. Randy Hopper, R-Fond du Lac, reportedly left his wife and children for a lobbyist 20 years his junior and moved out of his district to the state capitol. His constituents discovered that he no longer lived in his district when protestors went to his house and discovered that his wife and maid were ready to sign the recall petition.

Hilariously, Hopper had previously declined to appear in his district's St Paddy's day parade because he was worried about "death threats" -- but now it appears that the only threat to Hopper was the possibility that his estranged wife might confront him about his infidelities in front of the voters. (via Reddit)

You might have heard that there was a drive on to recall the Democratic senators who hid out in Ohio Illinois in order to prevent a vote on the Scott Walker budget. It's true: the newly formed American Patriotic Recall Coalition in Utah has targetted these senators. These out-of-staters are a little odd, though -- for one thing, they're run by Dan Baltes, a freelance paralegal who also serves as director of Americans Against Immigration Amnesty. The rest of the APRC's board is anonymous, identified only by first names. Smells like astroturf to me -- I wonder what they've got to hide? Possibly the source of their funding?



  1. Pretty sure they went to Illinois…

    A conservative leaving his wife and family for a young mistress?

    Say it ain’t so!

    1. > The title has an extra, unwanted “is” in there.

      It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.

  2. Yesterday Wis. GOPer Scott Fitzgerald issued a letter reminding Dems that they are still in contempt and are not allowed to vote in committees, continuing the GOP support for political brinkmanship instead of actual governance.
    via TPM

    Today Scott Fitzgerald issues decree and puts Wisconsin Senate on Double Secret Probation. The Dean Wormer of the GOP.

    1. Can I be the first to say “F” Scott Fitzgerald?

      It’s the little things that make my life bearable.

  3. Funny how Cory criticizes “out-of-state anti-immigration activists”. I don’t recall Cory ever residing in Wisconsin, but hey if it’s for a “good cause”, pot/kettle loses all meaning, right?

    Fully expecting this comment to disappear because I’m not 100% in the groupthink,

    1. If Cory was the chairman of a recall committee, it’d be weird. But bills striking down collective bargaining, using the same wording, all pushed by Koch brother funded politicians, are being enacted all around the country. These have the stated aim of destroying the Unions so the Democratic party is weaker in 2012. And how Wisconsin votes affects my life, though I’m out of state. And unless you live on a separate planet where climate change and American policy does not effect you, this effects you as well.

    2. So, Cory’s not allowed to have an opinion?

      It’s fascinating that you can’t tell the difference between having a legitimate opinion as opposed to starting an out-of-state recall effort.

      I should very much like to study you. Your brain seems capable of a beautiful myriad of inconsistent logic and irrationality.

      Also, pmh, why are you commenting on BoingBoing when it’s clear you are not a contributor to BoingBoing? Pot/Kettle loses all meaning, right?

    3. What ‘groupthink’, Mr. Defensive? Perhaps you’ve confused the happy mutants with the Huffpo trolls.

    4. Fully expecting this comment to disappear because I’m not 100% in the groupthink,

      You might want to have that paranoia looked at, kemosabe. It clashes with your pinstripes.

    5. Pmh — but don’t you think this story is worth reporting on and reading about? Do all writers and reporters have to live where the action is in order to have legitimacy? What about the BBC reporters in Libya, for instance? I’m very grateful for their work, and they’re not Libyan.

      On the other hand, I live in California and was very angry to hear about all the out-of-state contributions to get the ban on gay marriage passed. The people who defended banning gay marriage mostly didn’t have the pair to admit that they were anti-gay; they said that they didn’t like the idea of gay marriage being made legal by judges rather than voters. Local voters. California voters. So they’re being completely inconsistent.

  4. this is a disturbing trend, imo. there is already a procedure in place for removing officeholders – elections.

    1. The disturbing trend is the executive acting well beyond what is was elected to do. Things like re-calls are a correction of this excess, not an excess of their own. They ensure the will of the people is still represented, not just checked every few years.

  5. When I first heard about the Tea Party a few years ago, I thought that maybe they’d be a decent libertarian-style group. Haha, fat chance. The bible thumpers and oligarchs make sure of that.

    As one who’s generally libertarian, though, I *DO* support unions! The right to assembly and the freedom of speech are completely obvious. Organized labor is nothing more than those two inalienable rights combined.

  6. “I wonder what they’ve got to hide?”

    Since when is anonymous political organizing something to be derided? I’m a bit surprised at you, Cory. You’ve turned the “I haven’t got anything to hide so whatever abuse you people are complaining about is illegitimate” argument on it’s head.

    These right-wing recallers have as much right in America to anonymously organize and fund their recall campaign as those seeking the recall of Walker and his buddies. Privacy isn’t about hiding wrongs.

    1. What is very likely that they’re hiding is that they work for the Koch brothers and other oil/gas/coal companies. There is a huge giveaway to energy interests in Walker’s bill. Walker was well funded by the Koch brothers. So it’s kind of important.

    2. They may as much of a right to hide as we do but there’s a subtle difference. We (the folks behind the recall efforts) aren’t hiding. The Wisconsin Democratic party has come out in the open about this.

      And frankly, as resident of the state of Wisconsin, I feel that I have an intrinsic right to know who these fuckers from Utah are. Just as I would assume the same about them were I to attempt to meddle in their own state politics.

    3. No, Bill. The entire point of a board of directors is to put an accountable face on an organization; it is to the board that the public must look if there are irregularities or improprieties in the conduct of the organization they oversee. I have served (and do serve) on a number of commercial, noncommercial, volunteer and activist boards, and I have never encountered an “anonymous board.”

      Indeed, this is as weird as the time I spent three days talking on and off to an official Newscorp/Rupert Murdoch spokesperson, only to be told that she didn’t want to be quoted by name on the piece — how can you be both a) anonymous and b) the official spokesperson of a large corporation?

      The board members in this recall aren’t members of the Provisional Libyan Authority who fear reprisals against their family in Gadaffi-held territory. They are the governing body of an American non-profit institution that solicits funds and carries out public activities. It is wholly improper for them to be unnamed.

      1. I agree that the Newscorp thing is pretty weird. I don’t think we have enough details, and I can’t find the regulatory filings to show, that these folks are the Board of Directors for any 527 organization or or just a “Board of Directors”. In any event, these folks must not have that much to hide, they’ve plastered their photographs, first names, and states of residence on the internet. Some one out there must recognize them. ;)

        My main point, which I didn’t state clearly at all, was that the “what have you got to hide?” tactic is itself improper and threatening. Anonymous political speech is protected in the US for precisely this reason. I thought that you could do better than using a tactic that you often fight against in other contexts (eavesdropping, internet privacy, etc.) and that it was appropriate to call you out on it. You could have made the same point about the impropriety of an anonymous board of directors without asking what they were hiding. Perhaps, a complaint to the IRS or FEC is appropriate.

        1. Anonymity in political speech is protected? You must be confusing it with the anonymity of a vote, because there’s no such protection for political speech in general.

  7. As a current resident of WI, I am no fan of Walker or what the Republi-baggers are doing, however the constant “Koch brother’s” theme is a bit misplaced. From what I have read, Walker received $43K from the Koch Brothers. Now, the problem is tracking PAC money and out of state special interests that buy heavily into TV and print attack ads. It’s no secret that the Tea Party movement, co-opted by the Repubs have done a fine job at playing on fear. Fear works.

    1. 43K is “just the tip”. I’m sure we are not as naive as to believe only publicly disclosed funds are actually moved around. Even so this link is a hint of the extent (http://www.prwatch.org/news/2011/02/9958/koch-connection-scott-walkers-war-working-people). It also reminds us how Walker cost the state $810 million in high-speed rail funding (http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/12/09/feds-pull-high-speed-rail-funds-from-wisconsin-ohio/). Tell me as a WI resident, was $810 million so distasteful yet Walker is tolerable? because he seems to be happy denying WI millions while pocketing thousands (publicly) for himself.

  8. It’s “Democratic senators” not “Democrat senators.” If this error isn’t fixed the terrorists win.

  9. I am surprised Boing has nothing better to do than repackage halve truths.
    Its ok for unions thugs from California, Colorado, and Illinois to be bused in and organize but not for anyone else? I dont see any flag waving about all the abuses of unions.
    What happened to the Boing fight for Net Neutrality? Oh wait, since it is Obama Administration’s policy against neutrality then must not be to bad but saving public sector union shameful acts is:
    While the Green Bay Emeritus Program actually requires teachers to at least show up for work 10 days, the Madison Emeritus Program doesn’t even require that. In addition to their pension payouts, retired Madison public school teachers receive annual payments of at least $9,884.18 per year for enrolling in the Emeritus Program, which requires ZERO days of work.

    When this program began, 20 days of work per year were required. Through collective bargaining, the union successfully negotiated this down to zero days.

    Get real Boing and get back to what matters on the Internet, not saving some union thugs ability to have absurd “work rules.”
    Interesting that nothing is mentioned that the Unions actually invest in the Koch corporation through their pension.
    Do some independent thinking for a change on this subject (or maybe go back to stuff that matters).

    1. I fail to see how the official web page of the Governor, who has a proven track record of lies, constitutes “original thinking.” Perhaps you should take your own advice?

    2. Since the Kochs own a disproportionate amount of the economy, it’s hard not to invest in them. Go get a teaching job, since it’s so cushy and lucrative. Maybe in the process you’ll learn the correct usage of the word “halve”. Police have stated that the protesters where amazingly polite and gentle on the property, no one outside the Faux sphere has claimed otherwise.

      1. Pls tll m y r nt tchr n Wscnsn. f s, thn gss thy dnt tch dms nymr.

        Wht prtn f th cnmy d th “Kchs” wn?

        1. His problem isn’t the idiom. The correct idiom is “Half- truth” and you wrote “halve truth”. Half is a measure and halve is a verb. Back to school, or at least a grade 8 english class for you. Also, if this is a budget bill and they are concerned with cushy contracts and benefit packages is there also a bit inthere about reducing the benefits packages of senators and governors in there? Or was it just a group who, while not living in poverty, are hardly driving their BMWs home to watch their 63″ 3D LED screens either. The fact that the Walker camp has been caught in more than just a couple blatant lies about what the benefits packages actually are doesn’t exactly make me want to side with them on this.

        2. It’s “half truths”, not “halve truths”. That’s one reason we’re mocking you.
          The Kochs own:
          The Governor of Wisconsin
          Most of the Cato Institute
          Millions of votes through their orchestration of the Tea Party
          The Republican Governors Association
          Organizations devoted to fighting restrictions on pollutions
          Organizations devoted to promoting unscientific beliefs about climate change
          More than enough money to pay 1,000 Wisconsin teachers salaries for 500 years
          Organizations devoted to fighting taxes for people as wealthy as themselves
          PR firms that hire commenters to post on blogs.

          They likely own:

          The powerplants poised to be given away by their pet governor

          Apparently, your tiny mind

    3. Jzam – What a load of shit!

      What does Net Neutrality have to do with this issue?

      Keep using the term “union thugs”, it really shows how you are trying hard to understand all sides of the issue.

      What I recall is that the “union thugs” were willing to compromise on a number of key budget issues (this was originally a budget bill was it not?), whereas Mr. Walker’s government has been completly unwilling to compromise at all.

      Now the GOP members of the WI state government are going have to face the consequnces of their stubborn unwillingness to compromise.

      Why do you have a problem with this?

    4. So jzam, you like to rail about “halve truths” but the first thing you bring up is the half truth about “union thugs” being bussed in from California, Colorado and Illinois. I’d like to see some proof of that. Have you been to Madison and interviewed people from CA, CO and IL? Have they actually been bused in by the Union? If so which Union?

      Oh and speaking of buses, Americans for Prosperity have been doing lots of busing around the state. They are even paying to rent out hotel ball rooms and the Coliseum in Madison to promote their pro-Walker agenda. In case you don’t know, AFP is a Koch brothers funded astroturf organization that is supporting the governor. Just like the American Patriot Recall Coalition, AFP is an out of state organization sticking their fingers into WI state politics. Tea Party thugs are being bused in from Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois and Michigan. (See I can do hyperbole too)

      As far as your link about abuse of the pension system, well I say go after the abusers, ALL abusers. Go after the people who are getting pensions they shouldn’t but also go after the Banks that took TARP money and then gave out bonuses, go after tax cheats both corporate and personal, go after BP for abusing our environment. I’m betting that we’ll get a LOT more of our tax money back by going after the corporations or the wealthy who dodge taxes than by stopping a teacher from getting an extra $10k from her pension.

      Back on topic, there is one person on the APRC board who is named, one-term Idaho Congressman Bill Sali. He is connected other recall drives (http://www.recalldupnik.com/home/item/william-sali-has-agreed-to-serve-in-an-advisory-capacity). Here’s his open secrets page if you want more info: (http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.php?cid=N00027644&cycle=2008)

      1. That’s cruel, fladriss!… all those facts…. hurt…. jzam’s…. head…. pain… stop…. no… more… facts….

  10. Coming from a union “thug” (aka pharmacist) who resides in Wisconsin, I think this recall movement might have some traction.

    A lot of people I know voted Republican in the last election on single push-button issues and didn’t understand what they were signing up for. Now, no matter the spin put on it, the blatant “let’s do as much damage as we can now so people forget by the next election” maneuvering by the Wisconsin Republican’s is biting them in the ass. I mean, come on, who demonizes public school teachers? Christ, what assholes!

    A year is a long time though. I have complete faith that my Democrat brethren will screw it up and drop the ball on this one. But we’ll have fun doing it. Yay!

    1. A public union pharmacist really hurting with the common folk, paying more for health care, living at or below the poverty line. Nice, you seem more of the problem then the solution.
      Using quotes to make it seem as though the republicans actually said that – nice, I see what you did there.
      Give some examples of your so-called “demonizing public school teachers.”
      As you see this issue is more for a political debate, not an Internet/Gadget blog. Sadly, my point is missed Business Cat is unimpressed

      1. Hi Mr. Sockpuppet. It’s certainly nice you created an account just to argue. If all you can bring to the conversation is re-hashed talking points, perhaps you should just fade back into the green, green astroturf.

    1. Senator recall. Not Governor recall. The governor can’t be recalled until his first year is over. Efforts are being focused on recalling the senators.

    2. They’re not recalling Walker (a recall can’t begin for governor until he’s served a full year). They’re recalling the GOP state senators. They’ve already got more than 50% in several of those senators’ districts.

  11. Jzam is clearly Walker’s ‘social media secretary’. My bet, he’s twentysomething, libertarian at heart, wears a three-piece suit with a full-Windsor tie every single day, and thinks that if he plays by their rules, the Koch brothers will let him into their country club some day. Of course, they laugh at such aspirations of the “little people”

    I say let them have their way. The filthy rich of America want to aspire to be Romanoffs, or Gadaffis, or the French Aristocracy of 1789, and be murdered in their beds, let them. It will be their loyal servants that do it, so no amount of security will protect them.

    It seems only starvation motivates people. Since the end goal of the American plutocracy is only enough poor people to be their personal servants, they are going to motivate the American population, all right.

  12. Don’t the legislature realize that if people have less money to spend they also are going to pay less taxes. They won’t be paying as much sale tax, gasoline taxes, etc.With less tax dollars coming in the budget problem will only get worse. dah. How Stupid do people have to get . You know a saying from Forest Gump is Stupid is as Stupid does. When the shoe fits wear it. As I have been saying all along Collective Bargaining has nothing to do with balancing the budget. Denying it only makes things worse. The real problem is in the high paid politicians, administration personnel, college professors, etc. who don’t belong to the unions. Wake up American this is the Fox (Republicans) pulling the wool over the eyes of the chicken ( general public). Their only interest is to get you to argue and concentrate on things that allows them not to fix the real problem. It is Lack of Jobs – jobs bring in the tax dollars needed to balance the budget. Hey Private Businesses you laid these people off now hire them back put them to work, Quit hanging on to your money and invest it in the lives of people who can pay taxes and help with the budget problems. If you keep more people working for private businesses then the Government will not keep getting bigger. Oh by the way you will also have to pay them better so they have an incentive to work in the private sector rather than for the government.

  13. 2 small points:
    1. He moved to the capital, not the capitol. The capitol is a building in the capital.
    2. There’s no ‘St.’ in Paddy’s Day. It’s either St. Patrick’s Day or Paddy’s Day. Nothing else.

  14. What did these people expect would happen when they voted in republicans? DUH. Think before you vote!
    Anti-illegal immigration? The repubs allow a few of their members to run on that platform where it looks like that will carry them into office. What you’ll never see is either side make a whole-hearted effort to fully address the issue. Never. Too much at stake with the cheap labor. Check out the positions of the Chamber of Commerce and National Assn. of Manufacturers, and you’ll see where this is going. Nowhere.

  15. Funny… jzam asked for any falsehoods by Walker and I was in the process of responding with a list and pooF that post went bye-bye. I guess he saw what was coming. Just for the record:

    …and this is the right leaning Politifact.

    Scott Walker (mis)statements
    * Pants on Fire (1)
    * False (10)
    * Barely True (6)
    * Half True (2)
    * Mostly True (3)
    * True (4)

  16. Thanks again, Boing Boing, for covering what’s going on here in Wisconsin. I have posted every post about this travesty on my Facebook (shared with everybody, not just my ‘friends’) and hope that people read them and learn the real truth of what’s going on here. Again, thank you. :3

    Yes, solidarity. We are all in this together, like it or not.

  17. I guess this is a hobgoblin of yours, Cory, but I am getting tired of the Wisconsin articles…BoingBoing now brings me equal parts enjoyment and annoyance…

    And in response to Anon, commenter #9, who noted “The right to assembly and the freedom of speech are completely obvious. Organized labor is nothing more than those two inalienable rights combined.”

    If that’s true, then so are corporations.

    Both are creatures of the state. No one has taken away the right to speak or the right to assemble. They have changed the rules on a state-created creature, as the state is allowed to do.

    1. BoingBoing now brings me equal parts enjoyment and annoyance…

      If you’d like a refund, I’m sure that, if you bring your receipt to the register, Cory would be more than happy to accommodate you.

      Given your bizarre assertion that unions and corporations are “creatures of the state”, I’m not surprised you feel alienated around here.

      1. I don’t see what is bizarre about asserting that both corporations and unions are creatures of the state (and neither, apparently, does Anon, who I was replying to). I suppose I should have used the word creation, to be more precise. If they weren’t, then the state government could not have made/changed the requirements governing their certification and rights. Any group of people seeking recognition in a fashion other than the power of their votes must be recognized by the state in order to realize that recognition (except maybe in a class action suit, and even then, the court must be certified). It goes to my point about whether or not unions are the embodiment of “two inalienable rights combined.”

    2. Though you have no right to censor here, I would like to address your claim re: creatures of the state.

      Unions were created by groups of industrial workers who were sick of losing people all the time due in part to zero protection from companies and governments, and overwork. The state only supported them when it became clear they had a voting bloc.

      Corporations do hide under government protection skirts. Their mantra is “limited liability”, under the guise of “innovation”. This was an excellent trick — since true inventors (dreamers) are lousy at business (schemers) then if you couldn’t buy them (quite common) you could profit from their work and avoid the fallout.

      This is not a John Galt / Ayn Rand argument — most inventors want to gift their work to the world while getting nothing more than a barely-middle-class existence.

      Corporations are built on rent-seeking; while they may help the world, their primary function is to inflate stock price (public) or avoid liability (private)

      Both are supported by government — the important question is WHY? in each case

      1. I don’t follow you, regarding my “right to censor here.” Did I mention anything about censorship? Not that I see…

        And I guess, reading your comments, you agree with me about them being recognized by the state.

        I guess I just had a quibble with the way you phrased things, as a combination of inalienable rights, which I felt portrayed unions as some sort of human right, and I don’t see the state’s preferential treatment of any organization as a human right, though of course people should have the right to join any organization they wish.

        I just don’t believe the state should be acting as bill collector from the employees of a union, when almost every other organization is responsible for collecting dues on its own. If the union is serving its members well, they should have no problem collecting their dues.

    3. “Both are creatures of the state. No one has taken away the right to speak or the right to assemble. They have changed the rules on a state-created creature, as the state is allowed to do.”

      Correct. However the nature of the change is to take power from one creature, that represents the interests of a large number of people, while giving more to another, that represents the interests of a small minority.

  18. A couple of thoughts–I wonder how many teachers have maids. I know that I can’t afford one nor can any of the teachers at the two schools I work at. The other thing-why is anyone surprised? Tommy Thompson did the same thing. Just another one of those Republican family values. I’m just glad I’m from a different family since those definitely are not my family’s values!!

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