January 2, 2012 by Barbara With
Last week, Governor’s Journal, a little-known online publication focusing on all things gubernatorial gave Scott Walker the Governor of the Year Award. Dean Pagani, editor and sole proprietor of this one-man shop sat down to an interview with Wisconsin Reporters to explain the intention behind the honor. [See video below]
Pagani is former chief of staff for Republican Governor John Rowlands of Connecticut, who resigned in 2004 during a corruption investigation. Rowlands later pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit several kinds of fraud and served ten months in federal prison. Pagani claims Rowlands misled him. “I have mixed feelings about my time working with him. By the time I left his office, I was barely speaking to the governor. I never defended him in the press, I only defended his right to make a case for himself.”
Pagani, who Governor’s Journal Facebook page claims only 183 likes, says he was taken slightly off-guard when his innocent end-of-the-year promotional gimmick worked too well. Facing a flood of nasty emails from irate Badgers, Pagani, living in Washington DC, apparently hasn’t been paying attention to the ground game in Wisconsin.
Last winter Wisconsin Democrats fled to Illinois to call out Walker and his Republican Tea Party regime as tools in a hostile corporate takeover of the state government. Wisconsin recognized and responded instantly: 100,000s flooded the capitol for weeks protesting the ALEC-inspired “budget repair bill” and a sleeping badger awoke. The seriousness to which the citizens of Wisconsin acted on this takeover is a testament to what they stood up so passionately to protect: a high priority on open government, education, peace and justice, and support for communities, workers, families and the constitution.
Ever since February when Fox News was caught running footage of Sacramento and claiming it to be Madison, the state has been the victim of media fraud. During the protests, Walker’s regime used lies like “union thugs,” “slobs” and “out-of-state agitators” to distract from the crimes they were committing. Shamefully and in full view, state Republicans crossed over into fascism when they illegally signed their union-busting bill in the middle of the night, violating Wisconsin open meeting laws. Walker continued breaking the law, literally locking the public—including Democratic legislators—out of the capitol. When the court ordered him to open it, he ignored them—twice.
Judge Sumi issued a restraining order preventing the publication of the bill until a court could rule if the laws indeed had been violated; Walker’s regime insisted they would publish the bill anyway. “It’s published. It’s law. That’s what I contend,” said Scott Fitzgerald (R) as if issuing a press release denying the truth of checks and balances would make them go away. Sumi eventually found Fitzgerald in violation of the law, but Walker’s propaganda continued to prop up a debate as if they weren’t acting like the equivalent of mafia bosses.
With corporate media in on this public relations blitz, uncredentialed citizen writers have been forced to replace the lost Fourth Estate. Politiscoop is one that has earned a reputation as a cutting-edge investigative citizens media group, uncovering such stories as Walker’s hijacking of employee pensions to pay crony UnitedHealth (properly labeling it racketeering), the corruption of WEDC, and their four-part marathon laying out the tangled web of Walker’s corruption. Badger Democracy, Blue Cheddar, Root River Siren, Cognitive Dissidence, and Segway Jeremy Ryan are others who arose to report the truth beneath the lies of the propaganda echo chamber.
In May, a Supreme Court recount revealed ample evidence of tampering, swiftly swept beneath the rug to get Republican Prosser back on the bench in time to overturn the ruling and put the takeover back on track. Walker’s regime told us all about voter fraud while openly committing election fraud—ignoring the findings from the recount, passing the most onerous voter suppression bill in the country, redistricting without input from the Democrats or the public, but freely consulting the Republican National Committee, running “fake” democrats in the summer recalls—with no sign of justice in sight. The one-two-three of media-election-judicial fraud packed a powerful punch and sent the takeover lurching onward.
Walker’s award got the attention of corporate news right in the middle of a recall against him. He took the opportunity to use Fox News, WKOW-TV, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, WEAU-Eau Claire and other mainstream media outlets as legal cover to continue more criminal activity: his thinly-veiled “It’s Working” TV ads, email promotions, highway billboards and YouTube videos could and should easily be investigated as yet another violation of the Public Purpose Doctrine, which makes it illegal for elected officials to use taxpayer money and time to campaign.
This wouldn’t be the first time. When Walker was county executive in Milwaukee, a group of citizens filed a complaint against him for using taxpayer time and money to campaign for a specific referendum. In fact, the entire John Doe investigation swirling around Walker today is based on continuing documentation from his over-reach in Milwaukee; add to this that one of Walker’s newest political appointees, Communications Director Jocelyn Webster has a history of the same questionable behavior while working for Karl Rove in George W’s White House. With millions of untraceable, out-of-state dollars flooding Walker’s coffers to fund his non-campaign, it’s not a stretch to assume Pagani will quietly be rewarded for his end-of-the-year promotion in the middle of the recall. In fact, here in Walker’s Wisconsin, it’s sadly to be expected.
Ironically, when Politiscoop announced Walker had won their Joe McCarthy Renaissance Award, not one major news outlet blinked. So despite their record of actually investigating stories, Wisconsin’s own Politiscoop was all but ignored in favor of an out-of-state Republican journalist with a record of working for a corrupt governor and a background of public relations whose only advertiser is a lobbyist.
In a follow-up email, Pagani says his experience working for a felon is an advantage. “If anything, my experience with Governor Rowland has made me highly sensitive to any signs of corruption in government. Some of the most critical writing I have done in the past year has been focused on governors who I feel are not being honest with voters or the press, because that is often the first sign of corruption.”
Welcome to Wisconsin, Mr. Pagani. Our governor is misleading us, too. We are long past “the first signs of corruption.” Wisconsin is in the throes of pushing back multiple levels of RICO-type fraud. We are deep into a struggle for our very lives. Here is evidence galore of Scott Walker not being honest with the voters or the press. If you are who you say you are and Rowlands really did teach you, then isn’t it your duty to help us bring Walker to justice?
I invite you to come to Wisconsin and walk the beat with Wisconsinreporters.com. Get yourself arrested for holding a sign. Watch the corruption at work in the legislature, right before your eyes. Experience the inside of the propaganda echo chamber. Before long, you’ll be the loudest singer at the Solidarity Singalong.
I ask you the question on all our minds in Wisconsin, Mr. Pagani: which side are you on? What we’re learning here, as you learned in Connecticut, is that sooner or later, time will always tell.
Here is Dean’s response to my follow-up emails on that topic:
Would you mind a few follow-up questions via email?