Dead People and Dirty Tricks: The Wisconsin GOP’s Desperate Plan

Jun 08 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

Remember the accusations of activist courts when a judge ruled against the Wisconsin Republicans illegal passage of the anti-union bill? Those same Wisconsin Republicans are now suing again, after their first lawsuit was dismissed, to have the recall petitions against them blocked and they’re using the same reason as they used in their May suit. Don’t feel bad about the wasted money, they’ve added two or three paragraphs of extra whipped cream to their lawsuits this time around. Their additional argument seems to be that if the GAB can delay certifying the recalls against Democrats, then the recalls against the Republicans should be blocked. This only makes sense if you buy that fairness is cutting down the middle regardless of the veracity of what lay at the either end.

So you’re asking, why? Well, see, the Government Accountability Board certified the six recall petitions against the Republicans but hasn’t certified the three recall petitions against the Democrats. This is the same GAB that certified the Wisconsin Supreme Court race, so Republicans can’t very well scream political bias here, but when did reality ever stop a corporation from coming for power?

The truth is that the recall petitions against the Republicans were more successful than the recall petitions against the Democrats, for obvious reasons. The Republicans were violating laws as they gunned for constitutionally protected rights and freedoms of Wisconsinites. They said they had to kill collective bargaining because of the budget, but the unions had already made financial concessions and to make matters worse, since then it was discovered that in spite of Walker’s tax give aways to his corporate buddies, Wisconsin actually has a surplus – a 600 million dollar surplus.

We then learned that Republican governors were coming for collective bargaining rights across the land, in tandem, seemingly based on ALEC legislation. This rubs people the wrong way since the governing of states is supposed to be a local, in house deal. It’s odd that the Republicans natter on about the “Feds” and yet have no problem secretly inflicting a national agenda to benefit corporations coordinated at the state level. It’s one thing to have a party platform, it’s quite another to have an outside interest group drafting legislation for individual states. Talk about a take over.

No matter, the Republicans still want to take away the right to bargain as a group because nothing says democracy like having individuals with no power bargain man against corporation. Naturally, this anti-people agenda made the people mad, since a lot of people are educated enough to know that states with collective bargaining rights show a higher wage across the board for the middle class and also show a dramatic increase in work place safety.

For an idea of just how loathed the Republicans are right now, allegations have surfaced repeatedly that the Republicans gathering signatures to get Democrats recalled told voters that they were signing recall petitions against Republicans instead of Democrats. Some of them even claimed it was a recall petition against Walker. I’m sure that got them lots of signatures.

The Wisconsin State Journal reported:

Three more Republican state senators likely to face recall elections on July 12 went to court Tuesday to try to block the elections over alleged irregularities in the filing of recall petitions.

State Sens. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills; Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls; and Robert Cowles, R-Green Bay, alleged in nearly identical lawsuits against the state Government Accountability Board that signatures collected against them on recall petitions are invalid.
They joined state Sens. Dan Kapanke, R-La Crosse; Luther Olson, R-Ripon; and Randy Hopper, R-Fond du Lac, who filed similar actions in court last week.

Kapanke, Olson and Hopper also re-filed their lawsuits on Tuesday, adding three paragraphs to include new information about court-authorized delays in the certification of recall petitions against Democratic Sens. Dave Hansen, Jim Holperin and Robert Wirch, along with the denial of a request to push back recall elections of Republican senators to July 19.

Last Friday, Dane County Circuit Judge John Markson granted a GAB request to extend the deadline for certifying petitions against Hansen, Holperin and Wirch until the end of this week. The GAB said it needed extra time to investigate objections to the petitions.

The reason the certification for the recall petitions against the Democrats is taking longer is because there were real problems found in the collections of the signatures. First, out-of-state circulators Kennedy Enterprises (out of Colorado) came in to collect the signatures because there was no grass roots movement of the people to recall the Democrats. If the name is ringing a bell and it’s not Paul Revere coming to warn the British, it’s because they were investigated in Indiana in 2000 for placing the names of four people who had been dead for quite a long time on a petition. The Democrats also had the help of outside organizers, but they had more door-to-door grassroots volunteers than even the Obama campaign had. The fact that the Republicans did not having homegrown manpower reflects outside interests are at play instead of the will of the people.

Then several dead people’s names showed up on the Republicans sheets leading to this charge, “The Republican forgery of dead names on recall petitions represents a new low for Wisconsin. It is voter fraud at its most abhorrent and it must be investigated and explained. In coming days we doubtless will learn more of the Republican plot to use the signatures of dead names, but we said at the outset that their recall efforts were dangerously unethical and dangerously fraudulent. Here now is the fruit of that poisoned tree.”

And lastly, the Republicans got busted systemically misleading voters about what they were signing. One WWII veteran who was tricked by the Republicans called the sheriff’s office once he discovered he’d been duped. He insisted his name be removed from the recall petition against a Democrat, and eventually the Republicans told the sheriff’s office that they’d remove the gentleman’s signature. But later, when their signature sheets were turned in, his name was on the sheet plain as day.

This is an old Republican trick made most infamous during the lead up to the 2008 election when a GOP hired firm, “Young Political Majors”, in California told people they were signing a petition against child molesters but they were really signing to change their registration to Republican.

If you want a real laugh, this same man, Mark Jacoby, owner of a firm hired by the state GOP, was later charged not just with election fraud, but with voter fraud as well. Why did Mark lie about where he lived so he could appear to be a registered voter in California? Because voter registration gatherers must be registered voters in the state. Beware Jacoby’s “Young Political Majors” company. I know, you’re thinking ACORN! And you’re right, except ACORN was never found guilty of any such thing. ACORN was being duped by individual registration gatherers; ACORN was not duping voters. And yes, it wasn’t just California. YPM was also investigated in Florida, Massachusetts and Arizona where they were accused of the same tricky dicky tactics.

The Republican challenges against the recall petitions are based on allegedly misfiled paperwork and not rampant fraud, as is alleged and backed up by numerous personal accounts of citizens in the recall petitions against the Democrats. This is perhaps due to the prohibitively large amount of signatures collected for the Republican recall campaign.

If you’re wondering just how desperate the Wisconsin Republicans are, remember Republicans selling the recall petition at a bar, offering shots for signatures:

Republican signature gatherer: “It’s for the bullcrap they did!”
Drunk Voter: “What are we signing again?”
Republican signature gatherer: “It’s for the bullsh*t that they left then you get a shot out of it.”

This is what democracy looks like? The problem isn’t one of “both sides do it” because inherently, the Republican Party has become the party of corporations and such a party can’t sell its ideas honestly to the people. Hence, they have to trick people into voting for them and when that works, and the people get angry about the way they’re governing, they have to resort to trickery again in order to maintain power.

No party is perfect, and no party is devoid of political trickery. But only one party has to rely on tricks in order to get elected and maintain power. That party is the same party telling you that they aren’t trying to “kill” Medicare when they privatize it, which is like saying a social safety net can be run by for profit corporations. We have serious fiscal problems, but being lied to about proposed solutions is not helpful in addressing those issues. We no longer have two political parties; we have the corporate party and the semi-corporate party. Neither is of the people and only one of them is for the people.

The season of lawlessness continues in Wisconsin.

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