Pay-to-Plale update: Anyone for a Koch?

The hits just keep on coming from Jeff Plale's finance report. We call it Pay to Plale.

Lisa Kaiser of the Shepherd Express  discovers a donation from a lobbyist for Koch (say Coke) Industries. We'll let her tell it:

Why is this so important?

Well, Koch is the biggest privately owned oil company in America. It also owns Georgia Pacific.

The profits from the Koch conglomerate also fund Americans for Prosperity, the nutty Astro-turf group hyping the tea parties. (Well, I'm not so sure the various tea party "patriot" groups want to be linked to AFP, but AFP's doing its damnedest to do it to look legit.)

Koch is also a primary funder of climate change-denying think tanks and other free market outfits like the Cato Institute.

Greenpeace reports:

Billionaire tycoon David Koch likes to joke that Koch Industries is, "The biggest company you’ve never heard of".

Harley: Soaring profits, squeezing workers

A somewhat edited version of a recent NY Times story, which you can read here in its entirety. I've highlighted a few things to ease your reading experience. And here's a link to a relevant Stuart Carlson cartoon,

By most measures, Harley-Davidson has been having a rough ride.

Motorcycle sales are falling in 2010, as they have for each of the last three years. The company does not expect a turnaround anytime soon.

But despite that drought, Harley’s profits are rising — soaring, in fact. Last week, Harley reported a $71 million profit in the second quarter, more than triple what it earned a year ago....

Many companies are focusing on cost-cutting to keep profits growing, but the benefits are mostly going to shareholders instead of the broader economy, as management conserves cash rather than bolstering hiring and production. Harley, for example, has announced plans to cut 1,400 to 1,600 more jobs by the end of next year.

Quote, unquote

"As chairman, I have the obligation to bring this supplemental before the House to allow the institution to work its will. But I also have the obligation to my conscience to indicate - by my individual vote - my profound skepticism that this action will accomplish much more than to serve as a recruiting incentive for those who most want to do us ill." --Rep. Dave Obey, House Appropriations Committee chair.

Obey voted against a new appropriation for the Afghanistan war Tuesday, as did three Wisconsin colleagues -- Tammy Baldwin, Gwen Moore, and Steve Kagan.  Democrat Ron Kind and Republicans F. James Sensenbrenner, Tom Petri and Paul Ryan voted yes.  The bill passed 308-114, with 102 Democrats voting no -- 70 more than on last year's appropriation.

Pay to Plale: Special interests line up

State Sen. Jeff Plale, a South Milwaukee Dixiecrat, has a serious challenge in the Democratic primary for the first time since he won the seat in a special election in 2003.  And his friends are digging deep to contribute to his campaign and help him stay in office.

Those friends are not the working folks of Cudahy, South Milwaukee, or Bay View, however.  They are, by and large, the special interests that he has served so well in the legislature.

Blogging Blue noted that a huge chunk of the $35,452 Plale reported raising in the last six months came from people connected to cable television and energy utilities, both of which he has served well at the expense of his constituents. But Zach Wisnieski's tally omitted some of the special interest money that came in smaller donations through conduits.

If you add in the conduit money, $8,100 of the $35,500 -- 23 per cent -- of the money Plale raised came from people connected to electric utilities.

Frontiers of legal advocacy

I am not a lawyer  and I know everyone is entitled to a defense, but I don't  think this one will fly:

His lawyers also defended the hiring of prostitutes for employees and board members [with company money], arguing in court papers that it represented a legitimate business expense “if Mr. Brooks thought such services could motivate his employees and make them more productive.”

Read more, and about his $100,000 belt buckle, here.

MMAC opens money laundry for members

The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) has added a new service for its corporate members -- a laundry for political contributions.

MMAC, a fancier name for the Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce, has contributed heavily to the Republican Governors Assn.(RGA), which has been running vicious ads attacking Tom Barrett as a monster, a guy who's raised taxes even more than Jim Doyle.  Horrors!

The RGA's latest report showed $115,000 in contributions from MMAC, and some hefty donations from MMAC board members as well -- $25,000 each from Ted Kellner of Fiduciary Management and Paul Jones of A.O. Smith, $20,000 from Jack McKeithan of Tamarack Patroleum and his wife Patty.  Those individual donations are in addition to the $115,000 reported as being from MMAC -- except that the $115,000 really is from some MMAC members.

Ron Johnson, politician of the worst kind

Ron, Ron, Ron.

What are we to think?

Ron Johnson tells WisPolitics in mid-June, when asked about Great Lakes drilling, that we have to get the oil where it is.

Weeks of criticism ensue.  Bloggers write about it, his opponent criticizes him, the media cover it.  Johnson says nothing.

Russ Feingold makes a TV commercial highlighting Johnson's statement.

Hours before the commercial is to begin airing, Johnson issues a press release saying he opposes drilling in the Great Lakes -- and always has (!)

Feingold's aid airs. 

Johnson runs his own false ad trying to make it appear Feingold opposed a ban on Great Lakes drillilng, when in fact he has been a leader to ban drilling.

Which brings us to today's Journal Sentinel:

On Friday, Johnson said he did not think he ever heard the Great Lakes portion of the question.

Johnson: I didn't say Great Lakes, I said ANWR; Well, no I didn't, actually, but I meant what I didn't say

Senate candidate Ron Johnson steps through the looking glass in Hudson and finds what's up is down:

... [Johnson] has also been criticized for allegedly supporting drilling for oil in the Great Lakes.

“There is no way I would support drilling in the Great Lakes,” said Johnson, who still wonders what that accusation is based on. “I never said Great Lakes, and I never said drill in the Great Lakes.”

He says he did say the nation should look at drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska.

“I think we need to realize we’re an oil-based economy,” said Johnson. He said the country has to look at the most environmentally friendly ways of producing oil.

At the risk of getting repetitive, this is what Johnson was asked, and what he replied:

Asked, "Do you want to open up more of the United States - the continental United States - to drilling. I mean, would you support drilling like in the Great Lakes for example, if there was oil found there, or using more exploration in Alaska, in ANWR, those kinds of things?" Johnson said:

"Yeah. You know, the bottom line is that we are an oil-based economy.

Johnson doesn't disagree as Obama is called a lying, Marxist criminal

An exchange from a Republican meeting last month in Outagamie County, courtesy of Forward Lookout, which also has the video.  (The photo will make sense when you get to the end.)

Audience Member: Today I am very, very worried about this country, where it is going. As I study history and look at the historical thing I see right now a liar, a cheat, a criminal, a dishonest person who lied his way into the White House; and we are sitting with a Marxist anti-American, American-hater sitting in the White House, who seems bound and determined to destroy this nation.

Moderator: Rich, is that your question? (Laughter)

Audience Member: Yes. Do you agree? Let me finish. My point, I guess what I’m saying it is so important for people like Mr. Johnson who understands this [inaudible] to be elected. It’s important for the people who are out there who don’t understand what this whole thing was about, that they begin to understand so that a Reagocrat[?] like Feingold, ah…Dumocrats like Kagen and others out there are removed from office so that this country gets back on a…gets back on its path.

JS gives Johnson a total pass on Great Lakes oil

You may be surprised to hear this, but Senate candidate Ron Johnson is a big environmentalist who's totally opposed to drilling for oil under the Great Lakes. Always has been.

At least that's the line the Journal Sentinel editorial board swallowed and is now peddling to the public.

To help Johnson make his case that he opposes drillling and Russ Feingold is lying about him, the newspaper even cleans up Johnson's quote for him, rewriting the history that began the dispute over the issue.

You may recall this:

 Asked, "Do you want to open up more of the United States - the continental United States - to drilling. I mean, would you support drilling like in the Great Lakes for example, if there was oil found there, or using more exploration in Alaska, in ANWR, those kinds of things?"  Johnson said:

"Yeah. You know, the bottom line is that we are an oil-based economy. There’s nothing we’re going to do to get off of that for many, many years, so I think we have to just be realistic and recognize that fact.

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