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Archive for the ‘Wisconsin Labor Uprising’ Category

What KO Said: “Suicide of the Republican Party

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Chris Bowers comments on the latest Republican crime against democracy in Wisconsin:

Wisconsin Senate Republicans have passed a bill stripping collective bargaining rights for state workers. This was done by removing everything except the portions concerning collective bargaining rights from the “budget repair bill.” The bill passed 18-1, with all Democrats absent, and only Senator Dale Schultz voting no.

In one of the most anti-democratic procedural moves of all times, it passed out of committee only 14 minutes before it passed on the floor of the Senate. The way it was done was possibly illegal, too.

As I wrote earlier tonight
, changing the bill in this way has laid bare the Republican lie that the bill could no longer be changed. It revealed Republicans were lying all along when they said collective bargaining rights were a budgetary matter, and as such had to be passed through a budget bill that required 20 Senators to be present.

Olberman reacts to the Wisconsin outrage:

This is not to try to mitigate the disaster for Wisconsin and its public servants and its immediate future. Governor Scott Walker, the cross-eyed Koch-sucker, will make inchoate sounds of celebration, like a seal with a rack of horns before it. The Right will claim victory. Good workers who were under the illusion that their public service earned them just as much protection from irresponsible and uncontrolled management as any private employees, will have their lives and families damaged and risked. But the Republicans have overplayed their hand in a way that seems startling even for them, and they shall inherit the proverbial wind. They have taken another step, neither to be retraced nor erased, towards their political suicide – an event that cannot come a minute to soon for the real America of fairness, the sanctity of a contract, rules, and equal opportunity.

Written by slothropia

March 9th, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Badger State Update

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The standoff, phony war and stalemate (choose your inappropriate martial metaphor) drags on in Wisconsin. The Governor continues to refuse to negotiate in good faith and the 14 Democratic State Senators and the entire labor movement and supporters thereof continue to refuse to give up basic human rights.

Last Saturday was another protest rally inside and out of the capitol building. the crowds mat be smaller (not everyone has the resources of a Koch brother that wpould enable them to give up time and treasure to go to Madison) but the cause remains just. Michael Moore thinks so.

(Thanks, TPM for the video)

Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has asked Wisconsin residents what they think of the Governor’s performance:

So how long can the GOP hold out? Will walker accept the invitation from the Wisconsin 14 to meet at the state line and negotiate?

Written by slothropia

March 7th, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Walker Delivers Budget Address and Wi Capitol Reopened

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A judge in Madison has ordered the Wisconsin Capitol be reopened:

A Dane County judge on Tuesday ordered Wisconsin officials to open the Capitol to the public during normal business hours, reversing a temporary policy that restricted access to people who had appointments or other specific business.

Judge Daniel Moeser issued a temporary restraining order to reopen the building until a trial court could schedule a hearing, according to court documents. The order said the Capitol must be open during business hours and when “governmental matters, such as hearings, listening sessions, or court arguments are being conducted.”

Police were still limiting access to the building as of early afternoon.

Also today, Temporary Governor Walker delivered his budget address, loaded with bad news for ordinary Badgers and good news for the rich. Also threats and mendacity.

Could it be that Walker ordered access to the Capitol restricted until he could sneak in and out with his budget. Nah. Too obvious.

Written by slothropia

March 1st, 2011 at 8:52 pm

So That’s Why Walker is Welding the Windows Shut

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Found this at the AFL-CIO NOW Blog (with some help from the guy who runs Eschaton):

This from AFL-CIO Political Communications Director Eddie Vale who’s on the ground in Madison, Wis.

As we speak, Gov. Scott Walker & the Senate R’s are literally having the windows of the capital welded shut to keep people from passing food into the building to the people inside.

Our attorneys are collecting affidavits from the people who witnessed this, along with people who have been illegally denied access to a public, government, building.

We will be filing for a TRO [temporary restraining order] to open the Capitol.

It is a sad for democracy when Governor Walker and his R Senate allies are locking the people of Wisconsin out of their own state capitol.

Written by slothropia

February 28th, 2011 at 10:57 pm

Capitol Police Blocking Wi Protestors from Capitol Buliding: Firedog Lake

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This was posted earlier this morning by David Dayen at Firedog Lake:

Just got an alert from the Capitol City Leadership Committee (which is what the protesters who held the building last night have taken to calling themselves). The Capitol Police were supposed to open the building to the public at 8am. Two hours later they are still not letting anyone into the building. It’s particularly cold out in Madison today, with big crowds outside trying to enter. The media relations person for the CCLC, Thomas Bird, told me that one lady, who has been coming to the Capitol from the beginning, has colon cancer, and it took a long time for them to finally persuade the police to get her in.

Crowds outside the Capitol are chanting “Let them in!” as the police block the entrances.

The Department of Administration released new rules this morning about building access…

(see the post at FDL for detailed list of new access rules)

As you can see, they are really cracking down on access, and particularly what can be brought into the building. They have tried to make it very uncomfortable for people to stay, forcing them to sleep on jackets or the bare floor. They have restricted medical supplies and slowed the supply of food. But according to the CCLC, they are going well beyond these rules and basically blocking access to the building. And this comes after the police told protesters that they would be allowed back in at 8am.

Blocking access to the Capitol building is illegal under the Wisconsin state Constitution:

Article I, §4 – ANNOT.
The legislature cannot prohibit an individual from entering the capitol or its grounds. 59 Atty. Gen. 8.

Article I, §4
Right to assemble and petition. Section 4. The right of the people peaceably to assemble, to consult for the common good, and to petition the government, or any department thereof, shall never be abridged.

This is all tied to the joint legislative session on the budget on Tuesday. Governor Walker really doesn’t want to have to deliver the budget in a building under occupation. I think initially he planned to move locations, but that would not have been legal under Wisconsin state law. So instead of mass arrests and the negative publicity that would have went with it, Walker is going for the slow squeeze.

Local union leaders and the ACLU are working on the issue as we speak. More when I get it…

Written by slothropia

February 28th, 2011 at 11:01 am

More Madison Musings from Krugman, Lakoff and Rich

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Here’s what Krugman had to say today about the Wisconsin uprising:

Last week, in the face of protest demonstrations against Wisconsin’s new union-busting governor, Scott Walker — demonstrations that continued through the weekend, with huge crowds on Saturday — Representative Paul Ryan made an unintentionally apt comparison: “It’s like Cairo has moved to Madison.”

It wasn’t the smartest thing for Mr. Ryan to say, since he probably didn’t mean to compare Mr. Walker, a fellow Republican, to Hosni Mubarak. Or maybe he did — after all, quite a few prominent conservatives, including Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Rick Santorum, denounced the uprising in Egypt and insist that President Obama should have helped the Mubarak regime suppress it.

In any case, however, Mr. Ryan was more right than he knew. For what’s happening in Wisconsin isn’t about the state budget, despite Mr. Walker’s pretense that he’s just trying to be fiscally responsible. It is, instead, about power. What Mr. Walker and his backers are trying to do is to make Wisconsin — and eventually, America — less of a functioning democracy and more of a third-world-style oligarchy. And that’s why anyone who believes that we need some counterweight to the political power of big money should be on the demonstrators’ side.

I laughed when I saw Paul Ryan compare Madison to Cairo, clearly trying to pant both with an unflattering brush. Progressives should always be grateful when the Right helps make their case for them. Why, it’s almost as if Congressman Ryan and his party are hostile to democracy. Which in fact they are. As I and many others have said many times before, the raison d’etre of the modern Republican Party is to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of a small number of plutocrats.

George Lakoff has written recently about conservative rhetoric in an article titled “What Conservatives Really Want”:

Conservatives really want to change the basis of American life, to make America run according to the conservative moral worldview in all areas of life.

Conservatives believe in individual responsibility alone, not social responsibility. They don’t think government should help its citizens. That is, they don’t think citizens should help each other. The part of government they want to cut is not the military (we have 174 bases around the world), not government subsidies to corporations, not the aspect of government that fits their worldview. They want to cut the part that helps people. Why? Because that violates individual responsibility.

But where does that view of individual responsibility alone come from?

The way to understand the conservative moral system is to consider a strict father family. The father is The Decider, the ultimate moral authority in the family. His authority must not be challenged. His job is to protect the family, to support the family (by winning competitions in the marketplace), and to teach his kids right from wrong by disciplining them physically when they do wrong. The use of force is necessary and required. Only then will children develop the internal discipline to become moral beings. And only with such discipline will they be able to prosper. And what of people who are not prosperous? They don’t have discipline, and without discipline they cannot be moral, so they deserve their poverty. The good people are hence the prosperous people. Helping others takes away their discipline, and hence makes them both unable to prosper on their own and function morally.

With all due respect to Professor Lakoff, what he is describing is the rhetorical means by which the ruling elites intend to enhance their power, the world view of rank and file conservatives who do the dirty work of getting elected and abusing political power.

Frank Rich thinks he sees cracks in the GOP armor resulting from rhetorical and political overreach:

THE G.O.P. has already reached its praying-for-a-miracle phase — hoping some neo-Reagan will emerge to usurp the tired field. Trump! Thune! T-Paw! Christie! Jeb Bush! Soon it’ll be time for another Fred Thompson or Rudy groundswell. But hardly had CPAC folded its tent than a new Public Policy Polling survey revealed where the Republican base’s heart truly remains — despite the new civility and the temporary moratorium on the term “job-killing.” The poll found that 51 percent of G.O.P. primary voters don’t believe that the president was born in America and that only 28 percent do. (For another 21 percent, the jury is still out, as it presumably is on evolution as well.)

The party leadership is no less cowed by that majority today than it was pre-Tucson. That’s why John Boehner, appearing on “Meet the Press” last weekend, stonewalled David Gregory’s repeated queries asking him to close the door on the “birther” nonsense. (“It’s not my job to tell the American people what to think,” Boehner said.) The power of the G.O.P.’s hard-core base may also yet deliver a Palin comeback no matter what the rest of the country thinks of her. In the CNN poll nearly two weeks after Tucson, Republicans still gave her a 70 percent favorable approval rating, just behind Huckabee (72 percent) and ahead of Romney (64 percent).

An opposition this adrift from reality — whether about Obama’s birth certificate, history unfolding in the Middle East or the consequences of a federal or state government shutdown — is a paper tiger. It’s a golden chance for the president to seize the moment. What we don’t know is if he sees it that way. As we’ve learned from his track record both in the 2008 campaign and in the White House, he sometimes coasts at these junctures or lapses into a pro forma bipartisanship that amounts, for all practical purposes, to inertia.

Obama’s outspokenness about the labor battle in Wisconsin offers a glimmer of hope that he might lead the fight for what many Americans, not just Democrats, care about — from job creation to an energy plan to an attack on the deficit that brackets the high-end Bush-era tax cuts with serious Medicare/Medicaid reform and further strengthening of the health care law. Will he do so? The answer to that question is at least as mysterious as the identity of whatever candidate the desperate G.O.P. finds to run against him.

I think we are at least all agrees that the crisis represented and signified in Wisconsin is growing more acute. The stakes for the 98% of U.S. resident not in the ruling elite are growing higher with each right wing outrage. Been a long time coming and the end is not in sight.

Bonus factoid: This was posted in one of the comments to Krugmans’s column, cited and quoted above:

Only 5 states do not have collective bargaining for educators and have deemed it illegal. Their ranking on ACT/SAT scores:

South Carolina – 50th
North Carolina – 49th
Georgia – 48th
Texas – 47th
Virginia – 44th

Wisconsin is currently ranked 2nd. Welcome to the race to the bottom.

Written by slothropia

February 21st, 2011 at 9:55 pm