By Rebecca Kemble on August 30, 2014

By Rebecca Kemble

A tough week in the news didn’t stop Scott Walker from doing what he does best: fundraising. On Friday he held a $500/plate luncheon fundraiser at the Nakoma Golf Club in Madison. People for the American Way called for a protest outside the club to let Walker and his supporters know what they think of the outsized influence of money in politics, and of the inhumane and unjust policies that this influence buys.

Several dozen people showed up across the street from the golf club with bullhorns and signs ready to sing, chant, and get their message out to the Walker donors. Two members of the Raging Grannies passed out lyrics to their version of “My Country Tis of Thee” entitled “My Country Has Been Sold” and kicked off the event in song:

 

My country has been sold

To those with corporate gold

It’s them I fear.

With our elections stacked

Our civil rights attacked

And corporate-written laws a fact

Their path is clear.

 

They balk at climate rules

While pushing fossil fuels

That rape our land.

They miss the Gilded Age

With workers in a cage

Inciting, then ignoring rage

Let’s take a stand.

 

Walker, who is notoriously averse to appearing in public and enters his office in the Capitol by means of secret tunnels, managed to arrive at the venue through a back entrance, unseen by the activists on the street. But the country club set who came to see him were not afforded that same privilege. Arriving in Audis, Cadillacs, Mercedes Benzes, BMWs, Acuras and Saabs, they were exposed to a minute or two of the rabble’s opinions as they pulled into the parking lot and rushed inside.

Outside the club on the street, drivers of a postal service truck and a taxi gave the “democrabeep” to the rhythm of the chant “This is what democracy looks like,” while other passers-by extended a solidarity fist or a thumbs up to the crowd.

One golf club member exiting the parking lot was downright apologetic, making a point of telling folks that he supports Mary Burke for Governor, while another was defensive, shouting across the street, “You know Jon Erpenbach’s father golfs here.” Erpenbach is a Democratic state senator.

The signature wit and creativity of Walker’s opponents was on full display with the Raging Grannies’ catchy tunes, and posters depicting Walker as Marie Antoinette saying, “Let them eat cake,” and as the farmer in American Gothic who had just sold the farm in a no-bid sale against the better advice of his partner.

Here's a short video of the protest at the golf club:

The week was a bit of a nightmare for Walker following the release of documents from a secret investigation into potentially illegal campaign activities leading up to his 2012 recall election.

National news outlets picked up the story about how Walker solicited funds for the Wisconsin Club for Growth in 2011 and 2012, speculating that the appearance of corruption would hurt his chances for a presidential run.

The BBC even asked the question, “Is Wisconsin’s Scott Walker in Trouble?”

Among the documents released by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals was an affidavit from one of the investigators alleging that a $700,000 donation by Gogebic Taconite (GTac) to the Wisconsin Club for Growth amounted to a pay-to-play scheme. A comprehensive mining deregulation bill that was written with GTac’s controversial open pit mine project in mind passed the state legislature and was signed by Walker in early 2013.

On Monday following the document release, GTac announced that it would not be able to complete the necessary environmental fieldwork in time to prepare a license application by next spring.

Then on Wednesday Marquette Law School released poll results showing Walker and his Democratic Party opponent Mary Burke running virtually even. Burke polls slightly better than Walker among likely voters (48.6% - 46.5%), while Walker bests Burke among registered voters (47.5% - 44%).

On Thursday the Department of Revenue reported a $281.2 million shortfall in revenue collection for this past fiscal year. On top of the $2 billion in tax cuts the Walker administration has enacted since he took office in 2011, this sets the stage for a potential budget shortfall of more than $700 million.

Walker spent the week refuting and spinning the information, calling the document release part of a “political witch hunt” against him. Walker denied knowing about the GTac donation, blamed the press for lazy and sensationalist reporting aimed at bolstering readership, and tweeted, “We will end the 2013/2015 biennium with a balanced budget.”

Also on Thursday, the Court of Appeals ruled that more documents from the investigation may be released after review by the legal teams from both sides.

The decision about whether or not the investigation can continue is still under consideration by the court.

Section: 

Comments

Credit for the lyrics sung by the Raging Grannies should go to Granny Sheila Plotkin :)
How can I get a copy of that poster or PDF? rick@kissell.org
"to let Walker and his supporters know what they think of the outsized influence of money in politics" Will you all also picket Mary Burke for accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from those "outsized influence" donors known as Unions? I won't hold my breath while I wait for that news story to come.
It's OK, though, for Obama to demand a $32000 a plate! You political Hypocrites.
Yeah, unions are really "outsized spenders" on Mary Burke's campaign. We all know how the working class is just another special interest to republicans, but to the rest of us that live in the real world, its the only thing standing between us and the corporate scum trying to eliminate or freeze rises in working class pay.
The Gogebic Taconite Company sent $700,000.00 to Wisconsin Club for Growth to "advocate" for less restrictive environmental protections prior to opening up what may become the largest open pit mine in America. The word "Gogebic" comes from an Indian word that translates to "the place where rising trout make ripples on the water". Maybe they should have named their company: The Place Where Rising Trout USED TO Make Ripples on the Water Taconite!!!

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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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