January 23, 2012 by Barbara With
Koch Lobbyist & Wisconsin ALEC Co-chair Amy Boyer Caught Perpetrating Mining Propaganda
The media blitz being waged by state Republicans to convince the public that we all can’t wait for the mountaintop mining removal is becoming downright Machiavellian. The results out of the Hurley public hearing showed 62% against the mine; the 10-hour hearing in West Allis December 14th produced almost twice as many against than for. At the public hearing in October for AB24, another in the trio ALEC-inspired Water Destruction bills meant to remove protections from our wetlands, 175 people registered against, to the six for.
And yet we continue to hear fabricated reports that claim “80% of the people of northern Wisconsin” want the mines, that we can’t have an advisory group because Senator Kedzie (R-ALEC) deems it “too much government,” and that are giving Rep. Jeff Fitzgerald the gumption to announce that the bill will be passed through the Assembly on Thursday, January 26th, despite the fact that they stomped all over democracy and will be breaking International Treaty Law.
Where are these lies coming from, aside from the Republican Fascists and GTAC’s commander-in-chief Bill Williams?
One such mining propagandist is a man named Todd Rongstad, self-proclaimed promotional guru out of Milwaukee who started the front group Gogebic Taconite Mine Advocates. Posing as a “citizens organization,” Rongstad’s crew is anything but.
Rongstad counts among his pals right-wing radio host Charlie Sykes. In 2003, Rongstad was sued by Julie Lassa for defamation and Sykes spent a week depicting him as a hero. Hired gun for Alex Paul, a wealthy young man who was worried that Lassa might run against him in a primary, Rongstad produced and mailed a postcard that used sexual innuendo and computer graphics to accuse her of committing crimes. Lassa ended up beating Paul, even though he broke the state Senate’s primary spending record. Rongstad was apparently so uncooperative in court he was found in contempt and fined $1000 a day.
Another member of Rongstad “citizens” mining group is Tom Fonfara, a partner in Arrowhead Strategies LLC, a government relations organization that, according to their website, “goes beyond government relations to integrate grassroots action, media relations, crisis management and, where necessary, paid media into an effective, targeted campaign aimed at winning every effort, every time.”
Member Brian J. Nemoir is the owner of Full Impact Communications, located in the heart of Walker country, Delafield, the very place where Kathy Nickolaus “found” the 14,000 votes for David Prosser two days after Joann Kloppenburg won the Supreme Court election. And guess what? Nemoir was also Prosser’s campaign manager. Despite the overwhelming evidence of fraud found at the recount of that race, Prosser was allowed to go back onto the bench just in time to overturn the lower court’s ruling that the Republicans violated the open meeting laws by trying to pass Act 10—designed to dismantle the state’s collective bargaining—behind closed doors in the middle of the night. Sen. Erpenbach called this out as the first step to their Goebbel-designed plan to the hostile takeover: drop the bomb, crush the unions, launch a hate diatribe against teachers, and rush through every last bit of ALEC legislation possible before We the People discover their fraud.
One member of the “grassroots coalition” Gogebic Taconite Mine Advocates, however, holds an altogether more controversial position in the hierarchy of mining cartel. GTMA member Amy Boyer happens to be the Wisconsin Co-chair for ALEC—American Legislative Exchange Council—funded by a cocktail of corporate money led by Koch Industries. Through ALEC, behind closed doors, corporations hand state legislators the bills that will change our laws to directly benefit their bottom line at our expense.
Additionally, “grassroots activist” Boyer also happens to be a lobbyist at Hamilton Consulting, whose clients include Koch Industries, Xcel Energy, Manitoba Hydro, and The Wisconsin Mining Association. Lest we forget, the timber that will be harvested if the mine goes in will go directly to Koch-subsidiary Georgia Pacific.
This is what the good and real people of northern Wisconsin are up against: a full-blown Propaganda Echo Chamber campaign, complete with fabricated figures and fake front groups, backed by the most notorious organization around, ALEC, funded by the Kochs, Walker’s real bosses. Our county boards are being bamboozled and corrupted, inspired to believe the false fronts of environmental safety and the fake promise of jobs. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
And how is it that the wife of the president of the Hurley Chamber of Commerce, who also happens to be president of the Wisconsin Mining Association, Bill Stutz, can advocate for a boycott of Bad River Casino, the area’s largest employer?
As the tribes prepare to deal with the fact that International Treaty Law has been broken, Stutz continues to use his family to spread more propaganda. A Facebook Page Boycott Bad River was created the same day as these comments, and features a Rongstad-produced PR video that continues to broadcast false information and conveniently overlooks that Wisconsin legislators have broken the law by not including Bad River in the shaping of the bill.
We already have proof Walker is replacing state workers with prison labor when we saw inmates decorating the Capitol Christmas tree, and currently there is an investigation into other businesses who are making deals to use prison labor for $2 an hour, one I cannot yet comment on. But stay tuned as we discover if any of that $2 is even going to the prisoners who are replacing union workers.
Judging from the list of members of Gogebic Taconite Mine Advocates, it’s time to ramp up the education of our friends and neighbors, batten down the hatches and prepare for a wild ride.
Make no mistake: there will be no mines in northern Wisconsin. The more we prolong the process, the more and more citizens will wake up to the hostile takeover of Lake Superior and the Penokee Mountains. Together, we still stand strong, and the corporatocracy’s rape and destruction of our state ends here.
And if anyone can stop the collusion of these big money humpers, corporate lackeys, patsy politicians, phat-cat lobbyists and other arrogant high-ranking offenders in its tracks and set these yahoos back on their well-oiled heels—it’s Wisconsin. And the whole world is watching.