Wis. night on Countdown not pretty

Viewers of Keith Olbermann's Countdown show on MSNBC are going to start wondering what's wrong with Wisconsin. Wednesday night's program included three Badger state stories, none of them flattering.

Republican Senate candidate Ron Johnson got the most attention, a 10-minute-plus segment for his opposition to the Child Victims Act, a bill removing the statute of limitations in cases of sexual abuse of children.

Johnson was a member at the time of the finance council of the Green Bay Catholic Diocese, which was being sued for covering up pedophilia by priests -- but he neglected to mention that in his testimony last January at the state capitol, which Olbermann aired its its entirety. Johnson's testimony had been reported earlier, but the video just surfaced. Johnson speed-reads his testimony, in what Olbermann described as "high speed sophistry," arguing that the law would hurt non-profit groups trying to do good, among other things. Olbermann termed it "some pretty mediocre arguments against protecting kids from pedophiles."

Todd Merryfield, one of the victims of a priest from the Green Bay diocese, appeared on the show and said he had been a "huge Johnson supporter" until learning of his position on the issue on Tuesday.

Ron Johnsons Bottom line on Abuse

After Years of Helping Diocese Keep Secret Names of Pedophile Priests, Candidate Johnson Now Whistling a Different Tune

Today, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) called on Ron Johnson to help in their efforts to release names of pedophile priest that the Green Bay Diocese is aware have committed sexual assaults, but keeps their identity secret.

Johnson attempted to defuse the situation by releasing a statement before the SNAP press conference, saying  that he would ask the Green Bay Diocese to release the names.  The media, of course, is only reporting that Johnson is asking the Diocese to release the names and ignoring the fact that Ron Johnson served on the Finance Council for years and was in a prime position to release the names, which SNAP has been demanding for nearly a decade!

The question of the day is: Why now, Ron?

The reason why SNAP wants these names released is to insure that pedophile priests have been brought to justice... in other words to insure that they are not still on the street and putting additional children at risk. Why didy't you work to right this wrong when you were in a prime position to fix it on the Finance Council? 

Too little, too late, and it's disgusting that Johnson is only now willing to do the right thing, now that he is running for office.

In fact, Johnsons culpability goes well beyond that.

Guess we know who won the first gov debate

WisPolitics.com reports that Tom Barrett has called for six or seven more debates, but Scott Walker says he's too busy not reading reports about the mental health mess in his Milwaukee County government.

Barrett has accepted invitations for more debates in Wausau, Green Bay, Eau Claire, Kenosha, Platteville, Superior and Milwaukee, but Walker has not.

Walker campaign manager Keith Gilkes said, "“We have already agreed to three statewide debates.”

That wasn't the question.

Peace/justicemakers of the year

The Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice, a statwide network of 170 organizations working for social change, makes its annual peacemaker of the year awards on Saturday.  This year, perhaps for the first time, none of their main focus has been on peace issues, but on justice.

The winners are Ed Steichen, Christine Neumann-Ortiz,  and eleven high school students from Prescott.  The awards will be given at 3:15 pm at the River Arts Center in Prairie du Sac, at 105 Ninth St, as part of WNPJ’s Fall Member Assembly.  More on the Assembly can be found online, here.

Christine Neumann-Ortiz is the founding Executive Director of the immigrant-advocacy organization Voces de la Frontera.

Vukmir: Too far right for GOP?

Is Leah Vukmir too conservative for Wisconsin Republicans?

It would be amazing, if true, that any right-wing whacko were too conservative for the GOP, but that's the premise of the cover story in this week's Shepherd Express, which we hear is too liberal for Wisconsin Republicans.

Vukmir, a state rep from the suburbs, is challenging State Sen. Jim Sulllivan in a race that could decide who controls the State Senate.  The seat was formerly held by another nut case, Tom Reynolds, until Sullivan ousted him in 2006.  Vukmir is smoother, but just as far out there, it appears.

Read it here.

Breaking: Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) to hold press conference RE Johnson

SNAP is going to be holding a press conference this afternoon in Depere, Wisconsin and will feature former victims of priest abuse demanding Ron Johnson, who formerly served on the Diocese's Finance Council, reveal any information he may have regarding the diocese's secret handling of past sexual assault perpetrators and for Johnson to work with SNAP in pressuring the Diocese to release all of their information on past perpetrators, which has never been disclosed. 

In a pre-emptive response, Johnson has released a statement, saying:

I call upon the Green Bay Diocese to provide the utmost transparency in order to answer any lingering questions or doubt among victims of child abuse and those who seek to prevent child abuse in the future.

At issue is simply this: Over the years the Green Bay Diocese has made lots of settlements in lawsuits with allegations of a priest or other Diocese clergy member sexually assaulting someone, ussually a child.  SNAP wants the diocese to release the information of every priest and paid clergy that has been accused of sexual assaulting people to verify that these perpetrators have been brought to justice.

Johnson Gives Feingold Huge Opening on Child Sex Abuse Law Suits

With Ron Johnson's new ad, he has chosen to make settling of law suits and lawyering an issue in this campaign:

There are 100 members of the U.S. Senate.  57 of them, including Russ Feingold, are lawyers.  That would be fine if we had a law suit to settle, but we have an economy to fix.

I love the goldfish memory of this campaign.  They just finished arguing tooth-and-nail that Russ Feingold was never an attorney and has always been a career politician.

Then, they have to temerity to not only bring up the topic of settling law suits, but then infer that Johnson had no experience in this area. 

Oh, that's rich, Ron!  I guess you're forgetting your time on the Green Bay Diocese Finance Council.

But, since you brought it up...

Professional pol Walker: 'I'm the original Tea Party'

"When people ask me, 'How do you appeal to Tea Party folks?' I say: I was the original Tea Party in Wisconsin." -- Scott Walker on CNN.

Who knew?

CNN is taken aback at the claim that Walker is an outsider running to take back the government. The intro to its online story and video -- headlined "Political insiders face off in Wisconsin," says, "It may be a year that favors political newcomers, but in Wisconsin, two longtime politicians are running for governor."

Scott Walker doesn't have the luxury of running as an outsider at a time when veteran politicians are on the firing line.

Walker has been in politics for 17 years, first elected as a state representative in 1993 and then to the post of Milwaukee County Executive in 2002, a position he still holds. But Walker claims the same people who are "jazzed up" about Johnson are jazzed up about him.

So he's the original Tea Party.

And I, of course, am the Prince of Wales.

Fox gov poll off message

After its owner donated $1-million to the Republican Governors Assn., which has been running nonstop negative TV ads against Tom Barrett, Fox News decided to see if it was getting its money's worth.

But its Wisconsin poll, just released, has Scott Walker and Tom Barrett running neck and neck, a 4-point gap, within the poll's margin of error.

Fox must not have gotten the memo. Republicans say Walker is way ahead, cruising to victory.

Maybe next time Fox will hire Rasmussen, which will make GOP donors feel a lot better, since it always has Rs way ahead early, if not at election time.

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