Quote, unquote

The loan program is run by the government. Johnson applied for the loans with the government. Government approved the loans for Johnson. Government issued the bonds and loaned the proceeds to Johnson’s company. Government signed an agreement for the loans with Johnson. Government subsidized the loans at below market rate for Johnson.

Johnson paid government back for the loan. And had Johnson defaulted on the loan, his agreement with government gave government the authority to take control of the company, operate it, and apply the profits to the amount owed.”

 -- John Kraus of Russ Feingold's campaign, on Johnson's claim that a taxpayer-subsidized industrial bond his business received is not a government program.

The Tea Party's corporate populism

Wisconsin's Tea Party movement, while presenting itself as a populist groundswell of people who are fed up with government, taxes, and helping anyone else, is actually a well-funded corporate enterprise with an experienced career political operative running the show.

Michael Horne writes about it at length for Milwaukee News Buzz. Here's a brief excerpt:

[Americans for Prosperity] wants to be seen as a grassroots group, but its lobbying arm pays its leader, Mark Block (pictured), to operate as a high-powered lobbyist. Mark Block has served as its sole Madison lobbyist since January 2009. In the last legislative session, he billed AFP $56,967 for lobbying issues.

Block has lobbied on issues – most of which never find their way into legislation – and which are often rallying points for tea partiers and the candidates who rise from their ranks to run for public office. According to The New Yorker, a Republican campaign consultant who has done research on behalf of the Koch brothers, says of the Tea Party, “The Koch brothers gave the money that founded it. It’s like they put the seeds in the ground.

Wisconsin AFL-CIO Labor 2010 Program Reaching Tens of Thousands of Wisconsin Workers Each Week

Wisconsin labor unions are mobilizing hundreds of union volunteers across the state, as part of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO Labor 2010 Program, to educate tens of thousands of workers each week about their choice in the mid-term elections.  The Labor 2010 Program – launched by the Wisconsin AFL-CIO and participating unions in July – is one of the largest voter mobilization efforts in the state, reaching union households daily through telephone, direct mail and worksite leafleting. 

“Union members have really stepped up to the plate to help get the word out on the choice Wisconsin workers face in November,” says Wisconsin AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Sara Rogers.  “Our hope is to reach every union member in the state of Wisconsin.” 

The Wisconsin AFL-CIO currently has multiple call centers located around the state, making hundreds of calls a week to union members.  Volunteers are also knocking on thousands of union member doors across the state and handing out flyers at worksites in order to communicate with fellow members what is at stake this election season.



Statewide Mail Targeting Ron Johnson on his record of anti-worker, anti-union policies.

Milwaukee, WI- The Wisconsin AFL-CIO is beginning its direct mail effort to its membership this week with a massive statewide mailing targeting Senate candidate Ron Johnson.  The mailing points out that Johnson is wrong for working families.  It highlights Johnson’s history of anti-union policies in his own business, his desire to gut worker pensions and his refusal to extend unemployment benefits. Click here to download the piece.

Thousand of union volunteers across the state are mobilizing through the Wisconsin AFL-CIO Labor 2010 Program, to educate tens of thousands of workers each week about their choice in the mid-term elections. The Labor 2010 Program - launched by the Wisconsin AFL-CIO and participating unions in July - is the largest voter mobilization efforts in the state, reaching union households daily through telephone, direct mail and worksite leafleting. 

The Wisconsin AFL-CIO represents 250,000 workers across Wisconsin to fight for working families, economic justice in the workplace, and to achieve social justice for all Wisconsin workers.

How Can Johnson Be a "Job Creator" If he Didn't Create PACUR?

In a comedy of errors, Johnson's campaign is now distancing itself from a 1979 government grant (about a quarter of a million dollars in today's dollars) that paid for a rail line to be built from a new plastics facility in Oshkosh to the nearest rail road. 

The new company would be built by Johnson's brother-in-law, Pat Curler, with the strong backing from his father, billionaire plastics titan, Howard Curler.  The company would be named after company President Pat Curler and be called PACUR and the company's primary customers would be others businesses controlled by the Curler family-- something that hasn't changed in the 30 year life of PACUR.

Humorously, at the same time Johnson is running an ad attacking Feingold for "never being a job creator" he is at the same time saying that he never created PACUR-- "the job creator" -- and, therefore, cannot be held accountable for getting the government loan that helped build PACUR:

This grant was secured in March of 1979 by Wisconsin Industrial Shipping Supplies in exchange for a substantial business investment for the City of Oshkosh.  Ron Johnson moved to Wisconsin in June of 1979.

Of course what the Johnson campaign does not mention is that Wisconsin Industrial Sh

'The government is not the government'

This just in: Two former Republican state commerce secretaries, one of whom (Dick Leinenkugel)  wanted to run for the Senate himself and the other (Bill McCoshen) who wanted to run for governor, will join anti-government candidate Ron Johnson for a press conference to argue the following:

 -- a government loan program that they ran isn't a government loan program

-- the government issued the loan but its not a government loan

-- government approves the loan but its not a government loan

His Own Words

Mountaineers join Pay to Plale

Pay to Plale -- the money from special interests who love State Sen. Jeff Plale and what he does for them -- continues right up to primary day (and no doubt beyond, if he wins.)

Monday, he revealed another $20,750 in late donations, mostly in the maximum $1,000 increments.

It's chock full of oil and gas money -- and, most notably, $8,500 from West Virginia coal interests.

Why would they be giving to the sponsor of a clean energy jobs bill in Wisconsin?

Gee, could it be because he killed his own bill?

How do you spend that much money in the last few days of a legislative campaign?  It's almost impossible -- unless, of course, you knew the last-minute money was coming, too late for anyone to find out, so you could go ahead and spend it in advance.

Tuesday's primary election day, when we find out whether voters in my State Senate district think Plale's behavior is OK.  Hard to believe, but they may send him back to Madison for four more years of wheeling and dealing.

Is this a great system or what?


Johnson's "Citizen Legislator" Meme is Actually Exact Opposite of What Founders Wanted

Ah-Ha!  Ron Johnson has found a loophole from none other than "our Founders" that the people serving in the U.S. Senate should be "citizen legislators" (such as Johnson) and that the Founders especially disliked the idea of "career politicians" (such as Feingold).  Here's how he explained it to the NYT:

I would be going to Washington as a citizen legislator.  I think that’s really what our founders had envisioned: somebody who’s lived a full life and you take that lifetime of experience and try to apply it to the problems of the nation. Then you go home.

The problem with this Tea Party-inspired argument is that it is not only not true, but the exact opposite is true:  The founders wanted well-qualified, experienced, long-serving people in the U.S.


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