By Rebecca Kemble on April 15, 2014

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker opened his 2014 reelection campaign this morning in typical fashion: at a campaign donor’s private business with a handpicked audience and select members of the press. Information about the location was not available to the public, nor was it made available to The Progressive, despite a request to the campaign for details of the event.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Walker spent 10 minutes at Dane Manufacturing early Tuesday morning touting his record as a tax cutter and job creator, even though he has failed to meet even half of his 2010 campaign promise of 250,000 new jobs. The donations given by Troy Berg, President of Dane Manufacturing, to Walker’s first gubernatorial campaign in 2010 fell just $25 short of the Federal Elections Commission limit of $2,600. Dane Manufacturing was also one of Walker’s first visits as governor-elect after the November 2010 elections to promote his tax cutting agenda.

As governor for the past four years, Walker has made a point of minimizing his exposure to the public. Police control public access to his first floor office wing in the Capitol building, which he usually enters and exits by means of restricted-access tunnels that lead to parking garages a block away.

Supposedly public occasions like lighting the holiday tree in the Capitol rotunda have been rescheduled from the noon hour to early in the morning just as the building opens. Significant bill signing events – like the budget bill or the crowning jewel of his jobs plan, a mining deregulation bill – are heavily stage-managed and take place at private businesses with limited access and tight security.

But who can blame him? The slash-and-burn policies he has championed – like eliminating meaningful collective bargaining for public workers, turning back billions in federal funds for high speed rail and Medicaid expansion, massive corporate tax cuts and catastrophic cuts to public education — have been wildly unpopular, generating sustained outrage and protest within the capitol and throughout the state.

After the uprising of 2011 when 200,000 people flooded the streets of Madison, people have hounded Walker wherever he goes. And in Walker’s own office building, an hour-long, daily singing protest of his policies has been going on for more than three years despite repeated attempts to suppress it.

In this memorable protest at a Beloit area rest stop in the summer of 2011, Walker maintains the constant stream of platitudes and sound bytes, playing to his real audience – out-of-state political backers and campaign donors — despite the intensity of the sentiment against him by the Wisconsinites actually present at the event.

At this point in his political career, Walker doesn’t even pretend to be a public figure, let alone a public servant who is concerned about the will of the people or the fundamental job of actually governing. He is a sharply honed political tool for whom campaign donations and skewed polling numbers trump all other concerns.

After the 2010 republican gerrymandering of legislative districts and the recent enactment of new state laws that restrict voter access to the polls, Walker is now even more free to curry favor with his out-of-state campaign donors, regardless of how the people of Wisconsin are faring under the massive deregulation and privatization of public goods and services over which he has presided.

Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, who accompanied Walker to Dane Manufacturing this morning, has been even more forthright in her kow-towing to corporate interests, famously telling a select group of business executives at an invitation only “listening session” on tax reform last December, “We want to know how we can love you more.”

In light of the recent McCutcheon vs. FEC decision that blasts the cap off of the number of campaign donations people can make to PACs, candidates and parties, the sky is the limit on how much his backers can invest in him. Their strategy so far has been tremendously successful, as Walker has crushed organized labor, eliminated legal and regulatory barriers to the all-out exploitation of the state’s natural resources and opened the state treasury to the school privatizers in the financial industry.

Earlier today the headline for the Wisconsin State Journal’s story about Walker’s campaign event read, “Gov. Scott Walker kicks off 2016 reelection campaign.” Though Walker continues to be cagey about whether or not he will run for President in 2016, perhaps the select group of media outlets that receive invitations to his private audience events know something to which the rest of us are still not privy.

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Comments

Walker, with the help of ALEC is the most pro-corporate, cunning, corrupt, divide and conquer, bait and switch governor that I can remember and I am 90 years old. His goal and that of his close ally, ALEC, he is abolishing democracy by limiting local control.His goal is to privatize all public entities and hand over our state to corporations. Then he can roll back environmental controls so that people like the Koch's can use our state power plants to destroy the health of our people. He wants to trash our public schools and privatize them so that parents will have to deal with corporations regarding their children's education, while corporate teachers paid by our taxes fill the minds of of children with the BS of the free market philosophy that is destroying the middle class. This is just a start on Walker. He is only interested in his own ambition--not the people of our state. I guess what I can not understand is how our electorate can be so dumb or uninformed as to not see the sneakiness and trickery in this self serving man.
Amen

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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