Something that’s been bugging me

By now I’m sure some of you know about the “difficulties” Lisa and I have had with James Wigderson and Brian Fraley of the right-wing MacIver Institute, and if you haven’t been following, you can get up to speed HERE and HERE.

What’s curious about everything that happened this week is that Lisa and I seem to have been specifically targeted (at least in my opinion) for posting an opinion column which can STILL be found in its entirety on Citizen Action Wisconsin’s “No Sacred Cows” blog, in addition to having been posted in a second location on Citizen Action Wisconsin’s website. It’s worth noting that Lisa posted the opinion column in question here on Blogging Blue a day after the folks at Citizen Action Wisconsin posted it twice on their site, and yet as I write this I’m not aware of any attempts made by Brian Fraley or James Wigderson or anyone else at the MacIver Institute to contact the folks at Citizen Action Wisconsin to demand retractions/corrections to the very same opinion column we posted here. I checked with the folks at Citizen Action Wisconsin, and they hadn’t had any contact with Brian Fraley or James Wigderson, both of whom wasted little time contacting me when Lisa posted the column in question.

It’s curious to me that the folks at the MacIver Institute seem to take umbrage with certain aspects of an opinion column posted here at Blogging Blue, while they seem to have none of the same concerns about an identical opinion column posted for a day longer on the site of a much larger organization than Blogging Blue.

Curious, to say the least!

At any rate, given the volume of emails I’ve received from Brian Fraley and James Wigderson over the past week, as well as the amount of attention they seem to have been paying to Blogging Blue (at least in my opinion), I’d like to thank them both for being such avid readers of Blogging Blue!

Thanks guys….and keep reading!

A series of FACTS about the MacIver Institute & its employees/associates

Here’s a series of FACTS about the folks working for (or associated with) the John K. MacIver Institute:

FACT #1: Brian Fraley, the Communications Director for the MacIver Institute, is a former national insurance industry lobbyist who was director of the Senate Republican caucus during part of the time of the “Caucus Scandal” in which lawmakers illegally used taxpayer-funded employees to do campaign work. In fact, during the “Caucus Scandal,” Fraley actually retained the services of an attorney, services that he billed taxpayers for (from the 3/14/2002 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel):

Besides Esser, three Senate GOP caucus staffers billed taxpayers for legal fees: former director Brian Fraley, $2,128; John Schulze, $2,720; and Gina Ward, $2,940. Investigators sought documents from Fraley, but attorney invoices for the three provide no other details regarding services rendered.

FACT #2: According to page 9 of the criminal complaint alleging former Scott Walker staffer Kelly Rindfleisch engaged in illegal campaign activities on taxpayer time during the 2010 Lt. Governor race, Rindfleisch was employed by the Senate Republican Caucus (SRC) from March 2000 to December 2001. According to the criminal complaint in Rindfleisch’s pending felony case, on December 16, 2002 Rindfleisch was interviewed by State Department of Justice Agents who were investigating the Caucus Scandal. During that interview with DOJ Agents, Rindfleisch “gave statements regarding her work on political campaigns as directed by Brian Fraley.”

FACT #3: Brett Healy, the President of the MacIver Institute, is the former longtime chief of staff to disgraced former Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen – the same individual who was charged with several felonies for his role in using taxpayer-funded staff for political campaign operations. While it’s unclear what exactly Jensen’s role is with the MacIver Institute, he was found to have authored at least two press releases for the MacIver Institute – see HERE and HERE (right click on the press releases, then click on “document properties”)

FACT #4: In 1997 James Wigderson, a regular contributor to MacIver’s “Perspectives” section, was involved in activities that violated Wisconsin’s election laws, as noted by the Wisconsin State Journal on March 7, 2001 (emphasis added):

In settling a lawsuit filed by the state Elections Board, Wilcox agreed to pay $10,000 for his campaign committee. The lawsuit charged Wilcox’s committee and his campaign manager, Mark Block, with colluding with another group to evade campaign finance laws in his 1997 race for the state’s highest court.

Prompted by an investigation by the Wisconsin State Journal, the board charged the committee and Block with working with the Wisconsin Coalition for Voter Participation and its leaders, Brent Pickens and James Wigderson, to run an illegally funded $200,500 voter turnout effort for Wilcox in his race against Milwaukee lawyer Walt Kelly. The postcard and telephone effort was later linked to school choice advocates, most of them from out of state.

FACT #6: In addition to his “efforts” to help Jon Wilcox win a State Supreme Court race, James Wigderson has served as a paid consultant, a campaign manager, and a volunteer on the campaigns of Republican elected officials dating back to 1992. Additionally, after graduating from UW-Milwaukee in 1991, “Wigderson continued his education in 1992 at a National Republican Campaign Committee campaign management college.”

FACT #7: James Wigderson supports Wisconsin’s Republican-implemented Voter ID law, writing, “So far, so good. The law is working just fine[…]” Notably, Wisconsin’s Voter ID law was recently struck down and ruled unconstitutional, while the ACLU has cited specific examples of Wisconsinites for whom the requirement to provide a suitable voter ID “imposes a severe burden on the right to vote in violation of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause and in violation of the 24th and 14th amendments because it effectively imposes an unconstitutional poll tax on eligible voters.”

FACT #8: The Maciver Institute is staffed by veteran Republican campaign operatives and political insiders, and its board looks like a “Who’s Who” of Republican politics in Wisconsin, including Laurie McCallum, former First Lady of Wisconsin (wife of Republican Gov. Scott McCallum). Among the MacIver Institute’s past board members is Mark Block, a Republican operative best known lately for his blundering work managing GOP candidate Herman Cain’s presidential campaign, but also widely known here in Wisconsin for his involvement in an effort to evade campaign finance laws in the 1997 race for the State Supreme Court (outlined in FACT #4 above), involvement that resulted in Block being fined and barred from working in Wisconsin political campaigns for a period of time.

FACT #9: In 2009 and 2010 the MacIver Institute received $310,000 in funding from the Bradley Foundation, “one of the most powerful philanthropic forces behind America’s conservative movement” according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

And now here’s my opinion….

The MacIver Institute has the right to advocate for or against any ideas or policies it chooses, but it is far from being “nonpartisan;” in fact I’d argue it’s as partisan as any “non-profit” organization I’ve come across. One look at the staff and board members of the MacIver Institute should make that abundantly clear to any reasonable person. In my opinion, the MacIver Institute is little more than an extension of the Bradley-funded, Republican-enabled efforts in Wisconsin to enact policies that disproportionately benefit corporations and the wealthy at the expense of lower income and middle class citizens, as opposed to being an honest broker of nonpartisan ideas and policies.

So there you have it folks…..nine facts and one opinion. Libelous? Hardly, but sometimes the truth hurts.

MacIver Outs Themselves!

The MacIver Institute bills itself as the “Free Market Voice For Wisconsin” As a matter of fact they are so proud of this they have it plastered on their website next to a picture of Dick Van Patten.

The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy is a Wisconsin-based think tank that promotes free markets, individual freedom, personal responsibility and limited government.

Imagine my surprise when I saw their “news report”(Term used VERY loosely) about the Schultz/Jauch Bipartisan compromise on the mining bill.

Well this turned out be an expose becuase it exposeD the lies and partisan fervor of Mr. MacIvor’s Institution…

The very first line of this expose says:

“On the Surface, the Schultz/Jauch mining bill contains nothing iron mining companies asked for…”

Huh? After a quick facepalm I finally had to come to the realization that Brett Healy and Brian Fraley have not been honest with the people of Wisconsin. Say it ain’t so! Next think you will tell me is that taxpayer dollar sucking extreme partisan attorney Jim Troupis is on their board of directors. Nevermind I do not even want to know.

Back to their massive fail. A couple quick definitions:

FREE MARKET: A free market is a market where prices are determined by supply and demand. Free markets contrast with controlled markets in which governments actively regulate prices and/or supplies.

LIMITED GOVERNMENT: Individuals differ in their concept of a limited government, but one common interpretation is that a limited government is one that levies just enough taxes to provide for national defense and police protection and otherwise stays out of people’s affairs.

So what kind of “free market, limited government” institution would advocate for a single mining company to write legislation getting everything they asked for? Why the correct answer would be none of course.

In reality the MacIver Institute is just a far right extreme partisan hack to advance legislation protecting their koch/Bradley masters while in the end harming the good people of Wisconsin.

More here, and here and here!

Pot Meet Kettle

The Wisconsin State Journal had this story about some protestors wearing their welcome thin. This story was meant to take a serious look at the protestors actions at the Capitol, after the latest BeerGate Scandal. The barley and hops shampoo of Robin Vos has left all of the republicans suffering from (no not a 12% forced paycut) but PTSD.

This article has turned out to be one of the funnier ones to have been written in quite some time as there are three rib cracking money quotes:

1. But until the beer incident, Kristan never actually invaded the Republican leader’s personal space.

“It was only a matter of time,” said Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau. “To many of us, this is an expected escalation.”

Ummm Wasn\'t it Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald who had to have the police called on him for threatening a woman? Why yes it was!

2. The conservative MacIver Institute, which employs reporters(editors note: when did they start with reporters?) to cover news at the Capitol and posts stories and videos online, has had several run-ins with the constant protesters.

“The truth is these guys have been useful idiots for the left for a long time, and now they’re not,” said Brian Fraley, MacIver spokesman.

MacGyver Reporters/Brian Fraley/ useful idiots??? Hello Pot Meet Kettle!

3. “My biggest concern is the prosecutors have not acted swiftly enough and now things are getting worse,” said state Rep. Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc. “Do we have to wait until things turn physical?”

Hey Joe, in case you were busy fishing, things have turned violent, again and again! All of that right wing hatred and violence and it is amazing that Walker did not actually plant “troublemakers” in the protest like he so badly wanted too!

Yes I am also worried about the lingering threat of violence at the Capitol while the republicans remain isolated and unhinged!!! So everyone who goes to the Capitol, be on a watchful eye for a republican to snap!!!