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Huff Post – First Posted: 02/ 2/2012  1:25 pm Updated: 02/ 2/2012  5:09 pm

By- John Celock

Arizona could become the next Wisconsin as plans for protests, Capitol sit-ins and a potential effort to recall the governor get underway in an effort by progressives to block the passage of sweeping legislation to ban collective bargaining.

State Democrats and union leaders said that plans are in place to launch Wisconsin-style measures in an effort to block the collective bargaining ban measures currently headed to a vote in the Republican-dominated Senate. Among the plans being considered are rallying large groups of public employees around the Capitol complex in Phoenix, lobbying moderate Republican legislators and potentially exploring a recall campaign against Gov. Jan Brewer (R). With Republicans’ large majorities in both legislative chambers, Democrats believe rallies and public pressure may be the only way to block the passage of the bills.

“You may wake the sleeping giant of Arizona, between attacks on the schools, unions and the Latino population,” state House Minority Leader Chad Campbell (D-Phoenix) said.

Republican lawmakers have proposed bills that would prohibit all public employees — including police and fire personnel — from collectively bargaining, ban the automatic deduction of union dues for public employees and prohibit the compensation of public employees for work done with the union. The bills were approved by the Senate’s government relations committee Wednesday.

“These bills are an all-out assault on workers and the middle class,” said Senate Minority Leader David Schapira (D-Tempe).

Arizona AFL-CIO Executive Director Rebekah Friend said the unions are currently planning the rallies, but did not give a timeframe for when the events would actually take place. She said the labor movement was prepared for the payroll deduction bill and Brewer’s previous announcements on collective bargaining, but were surprised by the scope of the current bills, including the addition of public safety workers.

“They over-reached this time,” Friend said of the state’s Republican leadership. “The people who have been their friends are against them.”

VIDEO & MORE HERE

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Newly Released Wisconsin Emails Show GOP Considered Ways To Punish Democrats

By SCOTT BAUER 03/23/11 06:22 PM   AP via: HuffPost

MADISON, Wis. — Everything from taking away computers to denying a year of service in the state retirement system was considered to punish the 14 Wisconsin Democrats who fled to Illinois for three weeks to block passage of a bill taking away union bargaining rights, newly released emails show.

Members of Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald’s staff bounced ideas off one another and the Legislature’s attorneys for days about how to penalize the Senate Democrats for leaving and pressure them to return, according to records released Wednesday by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

The watchdog group obtained the emails from Fitzgerald’s office under Wisconsin’s open records law.

The emails show Fitzgerald’s staff members were as worried about the public relations campaign as they were actually figuring out a way to get the Democrats to come back.

“I would just be somewhat cautious in whatever we do so that it doesn’t end up creating sympathy for the Dems,” Tad Ottman, a Fitzgerald aide, wrote to his chief of staff John Hogan on Feb. 20. “The more directly we can tie whatever action we take to what they are doing the better it will be.”

Democrats left the state on Feb. 17 to deny quorum in the Senate and block passage of Gov. Scott Walker’s bill that took away all collective bargaining rights, except over salary, for Wisconsin’s public employees.

Their departure helped fuel protests in opposition to the bill that grew to more than 75,000 people. Senate Republicans finally used a maneuver to pass the bill without the Democrats present on March 9, a move now being challenged in court. Democrats returned after the bill passed.

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Wisconsin GOP Senators Pass Stand-Alone Anti-Union Bill Without Democrats Present

HuffPost- Sam Stein & Amanda Terkel

First Posted: 03/ 9/11 07:45 PM Updated: 03/ 9/11 07:57 PM

WASHINGTON — In a bold gambit to put an end to the weeks-long budget standoff in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker (R) split his controversial budget-repair bill in two on Wednesday, allowing the Senate to pass the most hotly contested provisions while their 14 Democratic colleagues remained out of state.

The parliamentary maneuver, first reported by local press, allowed the anti-collective bargaining measure to pass with just Republican support. Under Wisconsin law a 3/5s quorum is needed for a statute that is fiscal in nature. No such quorum is needed for non-fiscal matters.

It was also a 180-degree reversal by Walker and state Senate Republicans, who have insisted for the past three weeks that the collective bargaining provision was designed to help alleviate the state’s budget problems. State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) had previously said he would not attempt to pass any portions of the bill without Democrats present.

Wisconsin Democrats decried the move as an unprecedented and blatant end-run, but it was clear that they were powerless to stop it. Indeed, it took the conference committee only a matter of minutes to pass the severed off measure by a four-to-two vote. Minutes later, the same bill passed through the entire Senate by an 18-1 margin, with Sen. Dale Schultz, a Republican moderate who had proposed a compromise measure, lodging the only no vote.

Justin Sargent, a staffer to Senator Chris Larson (D-Wis.) called the maneuver completely unexpected. It showed, he added, that this “obviously wasn’t about any kind of financing, it was an attack on working families.”

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Madison protesters allowed by police to stay overnight

JSOnline Feb. 27, 2011

By Bill Glauber of the Journal Sentinel

Faced with several hundred drum-beating, dancing and chanting demonstrators who refused to leave the state Capitol after the doors were shut at 4 p.m. Sunday, police decided to let the crowd spend the night and continue the protest against Gov. Scott Walker’s budget-repair bill.

“The people who are in the building will be allowed to stay,” Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs said Sunday night. “There will be no arrests unless people violate the law.”

It was unclear how long the protesters might be able to maintain their nightly vigil. The policy will be reviewed, Tubbs said.

The state’s Department of Administration had sought to bring a sense of business-as-usual to the Capitol by establishing regular hours.

Officials said they were trying to clean the building after nearly two weeks of continuous protests.

Tubbs announced the decision to let the protesters stay after he saw how they moved aside while work crews went about cleaning the Capitol, including mopping and polishing floors.

“People are very cooperative,” Tubbs said. “I appreciate that.”

It was yet another surreal moment in the continuing saga of political chaos at the Capitol.

“We delivered a message to Gov. Walker. We’ll continue to be here to kill this bill,” said Peter Rickman, 28, of Neenah, during a news conference held shortly before the doors shut.

Protesters said they were prepared to be peacefully arrested to make their point that the Capitol should remain open.

UPDATE:

The agency outlined rules for Monday:

* Visitors to the Capitol will enter only at the King St. entrance.

* Visitors will be admitted to meet with legislators and other officials, to attend committee hearings and to observe the state Assembly and Senate if they are in session.

* Protesters will be allowed in the building, but crowd size will be adjusted to accommodate the cleaning crews, the preparation for Tuesday’s joint legislative session and the number of protesters who remained in the building.

* Police will continue the practice, begun on Saturday, of disallowing sleeping bags, blankets and animals (other than service animals) into the building.

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After rushed procedure, vote, Democrats shout ‘shame!’ at leaving Republican members

Badger Herald
Thursday, February 24, 2011 11:59 p.m.
Updated Friday, February 25, 2011 1:59:55 a.m.

by Andrew Averill

Republicans resorted to a surprise vote at 1:09 a.m. Friday morning to pass the governor’s controversial budget repair bill as Democrats leapt out of their chairs shouting “Shame! Shame!” at the exiting representatives.

Republicans had attempted the quick vote at least two other times earlier in the night, but Democrats, under the vocal leadership of Rep. Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, protested and demanded the speaker renounce the votes. The move came after around 61 hours of debate had taken place, largely due to Democrats taking liberty with the length of their speeches. The final count of the vote was 51-17.

Gov. Scott Walker introduced the bill two weeks ago today to address the $137 million budget shortfall. It contained provisions that would provide more executive control over medical assistance, increase state worker contributions to their pensions and health care premiums and severely limit public union members’ rights to collectively bargain.

Union leadership protesting around the Capitol and observing the rallies from across the state over the past two weeks have said they would accept the budget bill provision requiring them to pay more toward pensions and health care premiums, but would not accept losing collective bargaining rights for work conditions and benefits.

“Unions agreed to pay. It’s obvious this isn’t about money. This is about union busting plain and simple,” Rep. Christina Sinicki, D-Milwaukee, said.

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How John Birch Society Extremism Never Dies: The Fortune Behind Scott Walker’s Union-Busting Campaign

Think Progress- By Lee Fang at 10:00 am

Over 68,000 people have mobilized in Madison and progressive organizers are planning solidarity efforts across the country to denounce Gov. Scott Walker’s (R-WI) radical attempt to bust Wisconsin’s public sector unions. So far, Walker has refused to compromise, even though Wisconsin labor leaders are already coming to the table with large concessions. How can Walker press on, even with public opinion beginning to turn against him? Much of Walker’s critical political support can be credited to a network of right-wing fronts and astroturf groups in Wisconsin supported largely by a single foundation in Milwaukee: the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, a $460 million conservative honey pot dedicated to crushing the labor movement.

Walker has deeply entwined his administration with the Bradley Foundation. The Bradley Foundation’s CEO, former state GOP chairman Michele Grebe, chaired Walker’s campaign and headed his transition. But more importantly, the organizations lining up to support Walker are financed by Bradley cash:

The MacIver Institute is a conservative nonprofit that has provided rapid-response attacks on those opposed to Walker’s power grab. MacIver staffers produced a series of videos attacking anti-Walker protesters, including one mocking children. Naturally, the videos have become grist for Fox News and conservative bloggers. In addition, MacIver created studies claiming that Wisconsin teachers and nurses are paid too “generously” and other reports claiming that collective bargaining rights hurt taxpayers. The Bradley Foundation has supported MacIver with over $300,000 in grants over the last three years alone.

– The Wisconsin Policy Research Institute is a major conservative think tank helping Walker win support from the media. The Institute has funded polls to bolster Walker’s position, and like MacIver, produced a flurry of attack videos against Walker’s political adversaries and a series of pieces supporting his drive against the state’s labor movement. Over the weekend, the Institute secured a pro-Walker item in the New York Times. The Wisconsin Policy Research Institute is supported with over $10 million in grants from the Bradley Foundation.

– As ThinkProgress has reported, the powerful astroturf group Americans for Prosperity not only helped to elect Walker, but bused in Tea Party supporters to hold a pro-Walker demonstration on Saturday. In 2005, the Bradley Foundation earmarked funds to help Koch Industries establish the Americans for Prosperity office in Wisconsin. From 2005-2009, the Bradley Foundation has given about $300,000 to Americans for Prosperity Wisconsin (also called Fight Back Wisconsin).

It should be no surprise that Walker’s radicalism is boosted by Bradley money. Today, the Bradley Foundation is controlled by a group of establishment Republicans, along with Washington Post columnist George Will. However, the Foundation’s agenda still reflects the extremist views of its founder, Harry Bradley. Although he passed away in 1965, Harry, a member of one Wisconsin’s most powerful families and a key financier of nationalist hate groups, would have eagerly applauded Walker’s union-busting agenda.

MORE HERE

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Democratic Strategy In Wisconsin: Kill The Bill, Then Recall Republicans From Office

HuffPost- Amanda Terkel

First Posted: 02/19/11 05:39 PM Updated: 02/19/11 07:13 PM

MADISON, WIS. — Final passage of Gov. Scott Walker’s (R-Wis.) controversial proposal to strip away collective bargaining rights from public employees is currently stalled, thanks to Senate Democrats who left the state in order to prevent their GOP colleagues from reaching a quorum needed to move forward.

But many remained worried that once they come back, Republicans will push through the legislation anyway. Democrats, however, haven’t given up yet and say they have a two-pronged strategy for moving forward.

In an interview with The Huffington Post on Saturday, freshmen Democratic Assembly Member Brett Hulsey said that until the legislation passes, they’re trying to put as much grassroots pressure as possible on Republicans.

“What we’re telling people is to call people you know in Republican districts,” said Hulsey. “Tell them to call their senators and Republican members at home. When you see them at church and at the grocery store, tell them to kill the bill.”

The second strategy will come only if Republicans decide to stick with Walker. According to Wisconsin law, voters can recall any elected official in the state, as long as they’ve been in office for at least a year. This process involves collecting signatures for a recall position and then holding an election with the incumbent against any other candidates who jump in. As ThinkProgress’ Ian Millhiser has reported, there are eight Republicans who could currently be recalled.

“We’ve seen what happens when Scott Walker and the Republicans have total control: You get dictatorial power,” said Hulsey. “The tyranny of the majority, as [James] Madison spoke of in the Federalist Papers.”

“Recall Walker” is a popular chant amongst protesters in Madison, although Walker just took office in 2011 and therefore is not eligible to go through the process yet. (Most protesters who talked with The Huffington Post admitted that they knew about this technicality but wanted to join in the chanting anyway.)

MORE HERE

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                    DOUBLE FEATURE TODAY

                              WITH CARTOON

G:
Union blood is stronger than tea, but the corporate masters believe that if a Tea Bagger carries a gun, he is a patriot. If a Union supporter carries a sign, he is a Socialist.

Is there really any reason that the so called, Tea Party Patriots should be concerned about what is happening in Wisconsin? Well, maybe if they are local, but most of them are being bussed in by such organisations as Freedom Works, which is a cooperative of Dick’s Army and Gland Beck.

~o~

Here’s an exerpt from Therearenosunglasses Weblog

It’s happening in Wisconsin. Its Labor–vs- anti-labor. It’s Ronald Reagan–vs- Mondale…It is the basic right to organize to defend one’s rights and to improve working conditions–vs- the corporations and their mobs for hire, like the Tea Party gang, or whatever they are called. It may be true that much of the anti-union opposition is real (the “unions have killed this country” crowd), but, I would think that many of them are there because someone with either money or power asked them to attend. Believe it or not, people, it is a fight between corporations and the rest of us. If you are not a paid part of some corporation, then you are part of the general population being targeted for some great rip-off. Unions and the fights for workers’ rights (which they have waged for all of us, down through the decades), are the reason that you cannot be worked like an abused animal, and your children cannot be forced to labor hard hours at dangerous jobs, whenever you can no longer work, or find work….and believe me, that day is just around the corner.

The rest of the story on No sun glasses excellent weblog.

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