The recall election of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was a critical bellwether. A Walker loss would have guaranteed more ruinous, out-of-control government spending, where unions and their vested interests dictate terms through violence, thuggery and deceit. But the Wisconsin electorate rejected that path, handing Walker a resounding victory. This will embolden leaders in other states to tackle similar problems head on.
Governor Walker deserves our heartfelt thanks for his steadfast determination to do the right thing. But you will never know just how difficult this was if you get your news from the “mainstream” liberal media. While shamelessly championing the Democrats’ cause, they completely ignored the unprecedented, outrageous campaign of hate and lies promoted by those same Democrats and their public employee union allies. This shameless, naked, self-serving attempted power grab is a story in-and-of itself.
News reports of the union-orchestrated, DNC-backed, month-long occupation of the Wisconsin state capital last year were ubiquitous. This was followed by a flurry of recall efforts last summer and this winter against 16 senators (8 Republicans and 8 Democrats) – every senator that was eligible for recall - as well as Governor Scott Walker and Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. This recall was unprecedented. There have been only three times in history when more than one legislator has been recalled over any single issue.
What is less known is that the recall effort against Governor Walker – indeed, the entire attack – was far from spontaneous. Within days of his election the left began contemplating a recall, and it began in earnest in February of 2011, before his controversial budget bill was even passed. The left had him in its sights from day one.
Following the announcement of Governor Walker’s “Budget Repair Bill,” last February, unions went on a rampage. Beginning around February 15, 2011, protesters began massing around the state Capitol building in Madison.
On February 17th, all fourteen state senate Democrats fled the state to prevent a quorum for voting on the bill. AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka addressed the growing crowd the following day. By the 20th protesters were occupying the capitol building.
They were enthusiastically supported by the national news media, which compared Wisconsin protests to Egypt. ABC’s Christiane Amanpour said, “Populist frustration is boiling over this week, as we’ve said, not just in the Middle East, but in the middle of this country as well.” On NBC, Brian Williams exclaimed, “From the Mideast to the American Midwest tonight, people are rising up. Citizens’ uprisings are changing the world.” Ed Schultz broadcast live from the Capitol on February 17th.
An editor of the leftwing Buffalo Beast contacted Walker by phone, impersonating billionaire Walker supporter David Koch, who Walker had never spoken with before. He recorded and broadcast the call. The Society of Professional Journalists called it “underhanded and unethical... grossly inappropriate.”
Death Threats and AWOL Media
The occupation of the Capital building made front page news for weeks running, but the mass media somehow missed all the protesters’ outrageous, disgraceful behavior and thug tactics:
- Early childhood teacher Katherine Windels pled guilty in December 2011 to making death threats to Governor Walker and Republican senators following passage of the Budget Repair bill. E-mails made statements like: “Please put your things in order because you will be killed and your families will also be killed… This woman obviously had problems, but the tone set by the unions and their Democrat allies did nothing to discourage such behavior. The media silence was deafening.
- A suspect in Maine was arrested after sending letters to that state’s Republican U.S. senators suggesting that Walker should be killed and that all Republican governors resign. How do we know this? One blogger, Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit.
- Dozens of emails suggested Walker or legislators should be shot or hanged, watch their backs, look over their shoulders or resign. One man tweeted that he prayed an anvil would fall from the sky onto Walker. How do we know this? Hoft again.
- Police found 41 rounds of live ammunition near three separate entrances to the capitol building in early March. How do we know this? Fox News… in Memphis.
- A union agitator posted a photo of Governor Walker’s son, asking, “What’s it like having the most hated dad in Wisconsin? This kid knows.” How do we know this? The agitator's Facebook.
- The same agitator poured beer on state Rep. Robin Voss at a local restaurant. Five days earlier he had accompanied another agitator, who followed Vos, screaming at him and warning Vos that he had “five days to respond.” How do we know this? The agitator’s own Youtube video.
- Union members disrupted a Special Olympics award ceremony. Made up as zombies, they stood between the governor and award recipients, preventing them from receiving the awards. How do we know this? Gateway Pundit's Hoft, again.
- 2,000 union protesters demonstrated a Walker fundraiser; took pictures of attendees’ license plates. How do we know this? That’s right, yet again.
- Meanwhile at a leftwing “Fighting Bob” La Follette festival, celebrating Wisconsin’s famous “progressive,” one of the speakers said “If you’re going to pour beer on a Republican, you have to drink it first.”
Urinating on your opponents… All in good fun for the Democrats of course, but what would Ed Schultz say if the tables were turned? The New York Times?
Joining in the dignified celebration, fellow speakers included Democratic Congresswoman and US Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign’s Mike McCabe, former Congressman David Obey, US Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and others. A good time was had by all.
Do these people have no shame? That's a rhetorical question, of course.
Wisconsin’s firefighter’s union refused to participate in a 9-11 float depicting firefighters raising the flag on the World Trade Center grounds. The float’s creator was a union supporter of Scott Walker.
Peshtigo High School chorus teacher Rob Schneider resigned after sending the following e-mail to Republican state Rep. John Nygren:
“(Expletive) you!!! I pray that a semi-truck will run you over you piece of (expletive) (expletive)! If there is a God that (expletive) Governor Walker will be riding with you when the truck hits your sorry (expletive)!!!!!!!!!! Stop (expletive) sending me your (expletive)!!! You are a waste of human space!!!!”
On March 3rd, protesters were ordered out of the Capitol building. On March 9th, Republicans in the Wisconsin legislature passed the bill using a procedural move to bypass the still AWOL Democrat state senators. Spending bills require a quorum to be voted on, but by removing all spending elements, state legislators were able to quickly pass the measure without the missing Democrats.
One Democrat state senator supposedly “drove 80 miles per hour” in a failed attempt to return to the capital in time to impact the vote. On March 10th the bill was signed into law. Protesters remained around the capitol in dwindling numbers until June.
Crimes Committed in Police Absence
Hundreds of police were required around the clock when protesters occupied the capitol building, and the community was endangered as a result. One detective testified in court that he was unable to apprehend two robbery suspects because he was required to be at the capitol. The two have since been arrested for a murder that might have otherwise been prevented.
After hearing an early estimate of $7.5 million to clean up from the month-long protest, liberals were furious that anyone could beef when the maintenance cost was later estimated to be about $200,000. Total costs, including police overtime, actually exceeded $8 million. Media outrage over that? Crickets.
Lt. Governor's Incredible Story
In its abdication of honest journalism, the media has completely overlooked another story as well, the election and recall of Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. Kleefisch was a former news anchor who quit in 2004 to be a stay-at-home mom to her two children. Increasingly fed up with Wisconsin’s dysfunctional government, she announced her candidacy for Lieutenant Governor by webcam from her kitchen table in January of 2010.
Kleefisch was diagnosed with colon cancer in the middle of her campaign, underwent surgery, won her campaign, and went on to get chemotherapy just as the recall was beginning. Despite this amazing tale of courage and determination, or perhaps because of it, the Left's attacks on Kleefisch were unprecedented in their vile viciousness. One Leftist radio host said on air,
I’m Rebecca Kleefisch. I perform fellatio on all the talk show hosts in Milwaukee. And they endorse me and that’s how I became lieutenant governor.
He then went on to accuse her of “pulling trains…” Where was the media on that one? NOW?
According to Wisconsin law, since 1967, governors and their lieutenants run on the same ticket but there is no similar provision for recalls. Kleefisch said, “No one at that point in American history had weaponized the recall function. And that’s what we’re looking at in Wisconsin now – non-stop recalls.”
So what was this nonstop protest, endless recalls and vicious invective all about, mass executions of innocents, as was happening in the streets of Iran at the same time? Were the police shooting protesters, as they were in Egypt? Or worse, did the governor purchase a yacht with union pension funds?
Self-Serving War Against Responsible Government
Governor Walker’s modest “Budget Repair Bill” now known as Act 10, proposed that union members contribute a mere 12.6 percent to their health care premiums (they were paying between 4 and 6 percent), and 5.8 percent toward pensions, where they had previously contributed nothing. He also proposed curbs on some collective bargaining rights.
These modest changes – accomplished without raising taxes – reduced a projected 3.6 billion structural deficit inherited from the prior administration to a surplus of approximately $89 million now. Local governments and school districts were able to save over $220 million within a few months after the bill’s passage.
In passing the bill, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald stated:
“Before the election, the Democrats promised ‘adult leadership’ in Madison. Then a month and a half into session, the Senate Democrats fled the state instead of doing their job. ‘In doing so, they have tarnished the very institution of the Wisconsin state Senate. This is unacceptable.
“This afternoon, following a week and a half of line-by-line negotiation, Sen. Miller sent me a letter that offered three options: 1) keep collective bargaining as is with no changes, 2) take [the Democrats’] counter-offer, which would keep collective bargaining as is with no changes, 3) or stop talking altogether.
“With that letter, I realized that we’re dealing with someone who is stalling indefinitely, and doesn’t have a plan or an intention to return. His idea of compromise is ‘give me everything I want,’ and the only negotiating he’s doing is through the media.
“Enough is enough.
“The people of Wisconsin elected us to do a job. They elected us to stand up to the broken status quo, stop the constant expansion of government, balance the budget, create jobs and improve the economy. The longer the Democrats keep up this childish stunt, the longer the majority can’t act on our agenda.
The union protest against the Repair Bill was presented as a spontaneous reaction, but the Walker recall effort began over one year ago. A group called United Wisconsin initiated the recall a few days after Walker first proposed the Bill. One website, recallscottwalker.com, started in November 2010, within days of his election. None of what has happened in Wisconsin has been even remotely “spontaneous.” Governor Walker was in their sights from the beginning.
When the recall began in earnest, United Wisconsin was joined by a nationwide constellation of union, radical left and Democrat organizations. This group reflects an emerging labor/radical left/Democrat syndicate – encouraged by a sympathetic press – and behaved like one. Using the vote swamping method pioneered by ACORN, labor and democrat activists collected a claimed 1 million recall petitions in two months. These were submitted by the January 17, 2012 deadline.
Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board (GAB), is responsible for verifying the recall effort. Led by Democrat Kevin Kennedy, the GAB flatly refused to validate the petitions. They announced in a press conference that they would accept any petition with a valid address, even if signed by Adolf Hitler. They added “we will not strike them unless challenged.”
The process allowed 10 days to review petitions. A Dane County (Madison) judge extended that to thirty days at the request of the Walker administration, but denied further extensions. The thirty day window to review petitions began on January 28.
TRUE THE VOTE Comes to the Rescue
Two citizen groups, We the People of the Republic and Wisconsin GrandSons of Liberty, took up the challenge and created an organization for that purpose titled Verify the Recall (VTR). At that point there were 22 days remaining to evaluate the 1 million petitions United Wisconsin claimed to have submitted. The response is a story all to itself.
To facilitate this effort, VTR contacted Catherine Engelbrecht’s True the Vote. TTV created an online program for inputting and verifying petitions using a triple blind procedure. Volunteers would be able to input data from a computer anywhere in the U.S. By February 27th, the last day for challenging petitions, TTV had recruited 14,000 volunteers nationwide. They had entered and analyzed 92 percent of the records submitted.
VTR identified 819,233 discreet records, not the 1 million claimed by United Wisconsin. Of these, only 534,685, 65 percent, could be verified as legitimate. TTV continued to analyze the data past the due date, attempting to review all petitions. On March 21, they had analyzed 97 percent, a total of 860,155 complete records with 584,489 validated. More than the 540,208 needed, barely, but with a tremendous error rate. A total of 17,000 volunteers had participated.
As with ACORN’s now-famous voter registration drives, there were many blatantly bogus “Donald Duck” petitions, duplicates and incomplete records. One Democrat activist, Mark Demet, signed the names of family members and neighbors, including one neighbor’s dead husband, without their knowledge or consent. Demet was charged with seven counts of felony ID theft and two counts of vote fraud, with a potential 49 year prison sentence.
Despite GAB’s earlier insistence that private citizens verify recall petitions, they refused to examine or even acknowledge VTR’s efforts. Ultimately, the GAB certified all but 30,000 of the most egregious cases. Except to discredit VTR, the media largely ignored this story.
Verify the Recall published a searchable database on the recall petitions. Its revelations included:
- 571 petition signers owe a total of $17 million in back taxes.
- 20,000 felons signed the petition, including 11 murderers, 203 rapists, 53 child pornographers, 3,207 thieves, 1,526 for battery, 357 hit and run, and many others.
- 29 Wisconsin judges signed the recall petition, including Dane County Judge David Flanagan, who later placed a restraining order on a voter ID law passed by Walker and the Republican legislature.
- Deputy DA Lovell Johnson Jr, 19 attorneys and dozens of other DA employees signed. Some had been working on a heavily criticized “secret” John Doe investigation of Governor Walker at the time.
- NBC affiliate WTMJ issued a public apology that several of its news staff and editors had signed the Walker recall petition.
- 25 Gannett News journalists signed the petition, some in violation of the company’s code of ethical conduct. Gannett also apologized.
- 32 Post-Crescent journalists signed the petition, including six directly involved in reporting about the recall.
- School board members, four University of Wisconsin regents and the university’s chief spokesman also signed. The spokesman alone apologized.
Richard Niess, the same judge who had limited the petition review to thirty days also ordered a permanent injunction against the Walker voter ID law in March. The state will appeal.
True the Vote has also been on the ground in Wisconsin to train volunteer poll-watchers. This is a critical function that is being provided nationwide only by True the Vote. GOP are you listening? Perhaps the most critical function an activist can engage in this year, you should sign up. If you can't do that, support True the Vote, which has become one of the most effective grassroots groups out there today.
The press has made much of Walker’s “advantage” in recall campaign funds, but unions have spent over $14 million on Walker opponents in this effort. This does not include the rent-a-protester demonstrations, in which they bussed in people from out of state and held the capitol building hostage for almost a month.
Union Thugs Unrepentant - After All, They Are Thugs
The largest union contributor was Wisconsin’s main teacher’s union, the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC). They have spent $4.4 million on the recall effort so far.
Last year WEAC fought the dismissal of two public school science teachers fired for viewing and emailing porn from their work computers. Legal battles cost the district over $500,000 defending an open-and-shut administrative decision, a stark demonstration of the union’s priorities and attitudes.
Total spending on the Walker recall could reach $80 million. Walker claims unions alone could spend as much as $60 million. Walker campaigned on reducing out-of-control spending, won on that basis and kept his word. He shouldn’t have to be raising a penny.
It is interesting to note that Wisconsin’s famous Congressman and later governor, “Fighting Bob” La Follette, was the author of one of the first pro-public-employee union laws passed by Congress (in 1912). It negated an executive order preventing employees from soliciting “…an increase of pay, or to influence or to attempt to influence in their own interest any legislation whatever, either before Congress or its Committees,”
The passage of this law informed creation of the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) five years later, the first union to legally represent federal workers. La Follette’s law began the slow slide toward full acceptance of public employee unions. Significantly, Wisconsin was also the first state to allow collective bargaining by public unions. Perhaps Governor Walker was sent by the gods to set things right.
Walker’s challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, won the Democrat primary, although another Democrat, former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk received most backing from the major public employee unions. This may have been part of a deliberate deception, however. Barrett had distanced himself somewhat from unions, although he promised to repeal Act 10.
Here’s the rub. Did the unions really care which Democrat is elected? Barrett may have quibbled with them at the margins during his term as mayor, but would a Governor Barrett dare threaten the union/democrat franchise in Wisconsin?
When pigs fly.
AFL-CIO’s top thug, Richard Trumka appeared on C-SPAN before the Democrat primary to address this question, “After the [primary] election they’ll come together and they’ll take out, I think we’ll take out Scott Walker…" An interesting choice of words for a man whose union thugs murdered a non-union employee, Eddie York, during a United Mine Worker strike. As he said at the time, "I'm saying if you strike a match and put your finger in, common sense tells you you're going to burn your finger."
Trumka didn’t seem worried about challenges to union supremacy from other states either: “Would you like to take this fight on?” he asked the interviewer. “A year after you were in office would you like to be in the fight of your life, spending $25, $35 million to hold on to a seat you were supposed to have for four years and you lose a majority in the Senate? Would that embolden you? Not if you were sane and rational it wouldn’t.”
I wonder what he is saying now.
Despite massive vote fraud from the Democrats, including bussing people from out of state to abuse the same-day voting process allowed in Wisconsin, Walker won a resounding victory. This will return sanity to state budgeting in Wisconsin and demonstrate that public employee unions cannot continue to dictate outrageous terms of compensation through intimidation and thuggery. A loss would have legitimized the unions’ mob rule, Occupy tactics, and encouraged America’s own “Arab Spring,” the nationwide revolution that communists, anarchists and professional agitators have been contemplating for a year.
Say a prayer of thanks to God today for Scott Walker and our nation.
 Executive Order #163.
James Simpson is a former Office of Management and Budget (White House budget office) economist and budget analyst. He is currently a businessman and freelance writer. Best known for his exposé on the Cloward Piven Strategy of manufactured crisis, his writings have been published in American Thinker, The New Media Journal, Washington Times, FrontPage Magazine, Whistleblower, DefenseWatch, Soldier of Fortune and others. His blog is Truth and Consequences. Email James.