Archive for February 2011 – Page 2

Proof! "The situation in Wisconsin is not really about finances."

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The Maddow Blog has proof of what they-- and we here at TPC-- have been saying for a very long time:

As we've been saying for days now, the situation in Wisconsin is not really about finances. Governor Scott Walker calls his union-busting legislation a "budget repair bill," but what he and the national Republican Party are really about is trimming the power of labor unions to organize voters, gather campaign cash and swing elections.

To see what that proof is, go here. I have a sneaking suspicion that we'll be seeing this on the Rachel Maddow Show this very evening.

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UPDATES, PhotOh! AFL-CIO filing for temporary restraining order to open WI capitol. Windows bolted.

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UPDATE, With  thanks to VNDNBRG:

Staffer Inside Wisconsin Capitol Details What Happened

Well now, the restroom windows, as of today, have all (including the first floor, which is one level up) have been secured shut with screws on either side of the windows, rendering them impossible to open, the screw heads lopped off. I witnessed the maintenance dudes who were told to do this.

It sickens me to see this happen at our capitol. I love this building and all that it stands for.

UPDATE (h/t: Symbolman), via Shamane Mills at Wisconsin Public Radio, who has much more:

The Department of Adminstration says protestors are being allowed into the capitol. Crowd size will be managed to accommodate cleaning crews and preparation for Governor Scott Walker's budget address on Tuesday.

UPDATE, With  thanks to VNDNBRG:

If this is true, someone is in a heap-o'-trouble, and it looks as if it is, indeed, true. Via 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. [...]

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

Their attorneys are getting affidavits from witnesses. However, one correction: The windows are being bolted, not welded (see below).

The people are being locked out of their own capitol, or as the protesters chanted yesterday, "our house." This is an effort to "silence the debate", or as I like to call it, a power grab. In other words, this is political, it's about taking away citizens' rights, not about the budget.

According to his Twitter bio, Eric Ming is a St. Norbert College graduate and a progressive, organizer from the great state of Wisconsin.  He is was in the capitol building and has posted some photos, including this one:

Apparently, the firefighters are demanding to be let in. Photo at this link:

Hundreds of firefighters at Capitol entrance, demand to be let in #wiunion

Via the grassroots organization TheWayForwardWI:

David Dayen has this and more over at Firedoglake, including:

Senate Republicans have stepped up their pressure to try to get the Democrats to return. Now the Senate Majority Leader is basically holding their staff hostage:

Madison — Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald is clamping down on absent Democrats by seeking to take control of whether or not their staffers get paid.

Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) would have to review and approve timesheets for Democratic staffers, under a proposal put before a legislative committee Monday morning. Previously, Democratic lawmakers had signed off on their staff’s hours.

And this:

Defend Wisconsin reports that there are now metal detectors (that’s brand new) for access into the building, and bags are being searched. People are being let in via one entrance with three lines: one for constituents with appointments, one for protesters, and one for public hearings. Some Assembly Democrats are making appointments with people to help them obtain access.

I suppose we owe Walker a thank you for energizing the labor movement.

H/t: Shondi99

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VIDEO- Pres. Obama addresses the nation’s governors: Public employees shouldn’t be “denigrated, or vilified, or [have] their rights…infringed upon.”

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Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

If you missed it, here 'tis.

And here is my favorite part:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

"I don't think it does anybody any good when public employees are denigrated, or vilified, or their rights are infringed upon."

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Orrin Hatch: Affordable Care Act is "an awful piece of crap."

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Orrin Hatch opened his big, unprofessional mouth at an event sponsored by the Utah State University College Republicans. He *gasp!* used a four-letter euphemism for a four-letter-not-euphemism! Why, the very idea!

He must have been trying to impress the GOP youth of America with his awesome vocabulary and soul-stirring imagery.

The Moment of Civility since the Tucson shootings is long gone, and apparently Toddler Talk is the new "passion".

Hatch, on the Affordable Care Act, or as he likes to call it, "an awful piece of crap":

"Every state has different demographics, every state has different problems," Hatch said, according to a Utah Statesman report published Monday. "It's good to allow them to work out their own problems rather than a one-size-fits-all federal government, dumb-ass program. It really is an awful piece of crap."

Hatch apologized for swearing, according to the Statesman. Hatch explained that "he does not swear often. He said he is passionate about the health care debate and would repent for using the words that he did," the Statesman wrote.

You know, I don't recall "crap" or "dumbass" getting bleeped on the airwaves. Come on, Orrin, if you're gonna swear, swear. "Piece of sh*t" would have gotten you way more media attention.

What a dumbass.

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George Lakoff: Democracy as We Know It at Stake in WI Protests. How Long Can We Afford to Subsidize the Rich?

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This piece hits on a thing or two (the ultimate Republican goal of single party corporate rule, abysmal media coverage, democracy being at stake) that I've stated and restated in post after post. Please read the whole thing, but meantime, here are a few excerpts.

Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin, with permission.

George Lakoff:

The Wisconsin protests are about much more than budgets and unions. As I observed in What Conservatives Really Want, the conservative story about budget deficits is a ruse to turn the country conservative in every area.  Karl Rove and Shep Smith have made it clear on Fox: If the Wisconsin plan to kill the public employees' unions succeeds, then there will be little union money in the future to support democratic candidates. Conservatives will be effectively unopposed in raising campaign funding in most elections, including the presidential elections. This will mean a thoroughly conservative America in every issue area.

The media, with few exceptions, is failing to get at the deeper issues. [...]

Quorum rules are an inherent part of democracy. They are in the Wisconsin Constitution for a reason. When an extreme move by a legislative majority would be a disaster, patriotic legislators can, like Lincoln, refuse to allow the disaster if they have the power to stop it. That is their democratic duty, not only to their constituents, but to the nation. [...]

Yet the media keeps reporting on them as "fleeing" and refusing to do their jobs.  [...]

I turned on CNN that day and heard Anderson Cooper introduce the Wisconsin protest story as a battle between taxpayers and unions. These are massive distortions, but they are what conservatives want the public to believe.

The real issue is whether conservatives will get what they really want: the ability to turn the country conservative on every issue, legally and permanently. Eliminating the public sector unions could achieve that. [...]

The real point of collective bargaining is the idea of fairness inherent in democracy. ...Unions help to even the playing field, enabling workers to have a fair chance against wealthy, powerful large organizations - whether corporations or governments. [...]

Unions, through their political contributions, support the basic freedoms, protections, and resources we all require to have a decent life and live in a civilized society.  If those unions are destroyed, American life will become unrecognizable in a remarkably short time.

Democracy as we know it is at stake in the Wisconsin protests, not just budgets and union

Please read the whole thing here. I left out a lot.


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AFSCME Members File Unfair Labor Practice Complaint Against Walker

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It's heartening to see such a huge response to Scott Walker's self-serving, corporate lunacy. Whether or not the media insists on ignoring the gigantic, numerous, peaceful crowds, whether or not they choose to ignore the real story about this being a hit on unions, Democratic voters, and democracy itself-- not budget issues... on which Wisconsin union members have compromised-- there is a lot of good coming out of this.

Voters are paying attention, and they're becoming aware of what unions mean to Americans.

Walker's ridiculous demands are losing support, and now, a complaint has been filed against him:

Wisconsin public employees who are members of AFSCME Council 24 have filed an unfair labor practice complaint against Gov. Scott Walker. [...]

In a press release, Council 24 Executive Director Marty Beil said:

This governor has never made any attempt to contact the unions he is attacking, much less negotiate in good faith as required by law.

Instead of trying to find real solutions to the challenges facing the state, the governor is attempting to dictate terms.  This not only in ineffective, it’s against the law.

[...] If he continues to ignore the public, we have no choice but to turn to the courts,” Beil said.

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Wisconsin Protests, Update: Republican Sen. Dale Schultz's office is denying he pulled support for the bill.

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HuffPo's David Vines is on the Thom Hartmann radio show. Liveblog, nearly verbatim with some paraphrasing:

Right now, protesters are still in the capitol, but people are not allowed in for safety reasons. Nobody is being ejected. They're saying it's because they're cleaning the building, because Scott Walker has to speak from there tomorrow about his budget.

Police officers, risking arrest, slept overnight with the protesters. Firefighters are marching with them, the police officers have been respectful, helpful, it's a mutual admiration.

Yesterday's events were "organized by the people". Saturday was a day used to inform everyone of intentions to occupy the capitol once they were told to leave at 4 pm.

Late Friday night, 80% of the people inside voted to stay inside, risking arrest. This was a democratic vote by the people, for the people. Yet, where is the coverage on the major networks? It's as if there is a blackout going on.

What happened last night "was nothing short of amazing"... about 1000 people were still there. At about 3 pm, they let everyone know about staying inside. Suggestions were made: No going limp, no violence, they were instructed. Some wanted to leave, and did, to the disappointment of many.

They finally got word that they could stay, and that Republican Sen. Dale Schultz pulled his support for the bill. Via Thom: His office is denying it, and he has not yet taken a position.

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