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Archive for February, 2011

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.

More

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Hmm, does this look like a non news item? Well, it is for the main stream media. Take a look at this google search for…. Ray McGovern dragged out of Hillary Clinton “Freedom Speech”

Here’s an excellent post on this from BradBlog

By Brad Friedman on 2/17/2011 2:03pm
Ray McGovern, Former Sr. CIA Analyst, ‘Bruised, Bloodied’ While Dragged From Room During Hillary Clinton Speech on ‘Freedom of Expression’
We’ve interviewed former senior CIA analyst Ray McGovern, on the air and off, many times over the years. We’ve come to consider him not just a source, but a friend and a national hero for his tirelessly non-partisan fight for truth and justice.

The man who once briefed Presidents directly, from Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton, had long ago earned our great respect — from his courageousness in famously confronting then-SecDef Don Rumsfeld in 2006 about lying about Saddam and WMD (watch the classic confrontation on video here) to his calling out CNN on air for their abysmal failures in accurately reporting on WikiLeaks (video here) last December to his arrest weeks later at the White House with other vets and national heroes for “refusal to obey a lawful order” while protesting against the Obama Administration’s wars around the world — all while overcoming some enormous personal health issues at the same time.

More on this from the BradBlog

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AFL-CIO poll: Scott Walker overreaching in WI, respondents side with unions

by– DemFromCT  for Daily Kos

Tue Feb 22, 2011 at 09:30 AM EST

A new pair of AFL-CIO polls out from GQRR show support for the protestors and dropping numbers for Gov Scott Walker.  Mark Blumenthal covers the issue:

New polling conducted for the AFL-CIO and shared with The Huffington Post shows Wisconsin voters siding with the state workers, unions and protestors by large majorities and expressing net disapproval of Republican Governor Scott Walker.

While Mark covers some of the confounders (partisan poll, union sponsored), he also notes

In this case, however, the ratings of Walker and his budget and collective bargaining proposal are roughly comparable to an automated survey conducted in Wisconsin last week by WeAskAmerica, a for-profit subsidiary of Illinois Manufacturer’s Association (an organization that has endorsed Republican candidates for state office in Illinois).

Also of interst is this tracking poll:

MORE HERE

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By Robert Scheer | TruthDig | Posted on Feb 17, 2011

Editor’s note: The following excerpt from Robert Scheer’s book “The Great American Stickup” details the perversion of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This is especially relevant given news that the Obama administration is abandoning those institutions, as explained in Scheer’s column here.

 

Chapter 7: Poverty Pimps

It’s the same the whole world over
It’s the poor what gets the blame
It’s the rich what gets the pleasure
Ain’t it all a bloomin’ shame?

That chorus of the nineteenth-century Cockney ditty “She Was Poor But She Was Honest,” detailing the travails of a poor lass whose life is ruined by the deflowering advances of a rich man, best captures the mainstream Republican response to the banking meltdown. Their defense has been to blame “bleeding-heart” liberals concerned for the poor for a debacle that occurred unmistakably on their watch, and in response to their antiregulatory ideology, but for which they shuddered to take responsibility.

More…

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By Kathy Malloy | OpEdNews | February 21, 2011 at 18:26:30

There’s a lesson to be learned, Truthseekers, from our former countrymen in Great Britain. The media here isn’t covering this, for obvious reasons, but England is experiencing a very different kind of Tea Party uprising and we would do well to take notice.

Unlike the bizarro backward movement here, where otherwise normal Americans are taking to the streets to protest policies that would further cut their wages, benefits, health care coverage, and public services they rely upon, in England the protests are against (gasp!) the corporations and pro-corporate government policies that are ravaging their economy.

Now, doesn’t it make more sense to speak out against tax-evading Big Corporations who have created the recession than attack the very progressive policies that attempt to improve our standard of living?

Johann Hari thinks so, and that is the topic of his very thoughtful, very important article How to Build a Progressive Tea Party, which appears in the current issue of The Nation magazine. Please read it. In light of President’s Day, Thomas Paine couldn’t have said it better himself.

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Bahrain/Libya Update

Firedoglake- By: David Dayen

Monday February 21, 2011 7:50 am

Let’s play a little catchup on the two most deadly flashpoints in the Arab uprising right now. In Bahrain, scene of a dastardly attack on protesters while they slept in Pearl Square, the attempt at repression backfired almost immediately. The Shiite al-Wafiq movement left the Parliament and demanded the resignation of the government. Protests grew in size. Sen. Patrick Leahy called for the application of a law he wrote to deny aid to Bahrain for violating human rights. And the protesters took back the square, with police and the Army withdrawing.

The latest is that the government is being pressured to negotiate:

Bahrain’s Sunni Muslim ruling family came under increased pressure to open in-depth negotiations with the Shiite-led opposition, as protesters erected more tents on the capital’s Pearl Square.

Dozens of workers also joined the protesters, and more than 1,000 medics marched on the square to demand the resignation of the health minister, whom they accused of slowing aid to protesters during a deadly police crackdown.

After nightfall, an AFP correspondent reported thousands more people converging on the roundabout, which has been the focal point of demonstrations that have rocked the small but strategic Gulf kingdom since February 14.

The opposition has also called a large protest for Tuesday afternoon in the hope that tens of thousands of people will converge on Pearl Square, according to the INAA, Bahrain’s main Shiite opposition group.

Crown Prince Salman, the heir to the throne in Bahrain, is supposed to be leading reconciliation talks. Bahrain has a Sunni minority in power over a Shiite majority, with predictable results. This is a really good backgrounder from Foreign Policy. In an epic example of bad timing, the State Department praised Bahrain just a few months ago for its movement toward democracy.

Then there’s Libya, where it’s hard to really get a full picture, with most foreign media unable to enter the country. We know there has been a massacre; the extent is not well known. Moammar Gadhafi’s son went on state-run television and vowed to “fight until the last man, the last woman, the last bullet.” He gave a long, rambling address, blaming Islamists for the provocation, saying that the country was on the brink of civil war, which threatened their oil output and risked colonization by an invading force, summoning up images of Iraq. Protesters have apparently taken control of Benghazi, the country’s second-largest city, and were clashing with police in the capital of Tripoli.

The latest can be found at Al Jazeera’s live blog. Foreign service personnel and even the minister of security have resigned their posts. Protests have become widespread throughout the country. This is the town of Misurata:

MORE HERE

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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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Wisconsin Democratic Senators: We’re Staying In Illinois Until Gov. Walker Agrees To Negotiate

HuffPost- Amanda Terkel
First Posted: 02/20/11 09:33 PM Updated: 02/21/11 10:32 AM

WASHINGTON — It’s day four of exile for Wisconsin’s Democratic state senators, who crossed state lines in order to stall the expedited passage of Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) budget proposal. Although many of the governor’s supporters have called on them to come back to Madison, Democrats are ready to stick it out in Rockford, Ill. until Walker agrees to negotiate.

(Scroll down for the latest updates)

“We’ll be here until Gov. Walker decides that he wants to talk,” said state Sen. Tim Carpenter (D) in an interview with The Huffington Post on Saturday. He added that so far, the governor refuses to meet with them or even return the phone calls from members of the Democratic caucus.

“He’s just hard-lined — will not talk, will not communicate, will not return phone calls,” said Carpenter. “In a democracy, I thought we were supposed to talk. But the thing is, he’s been a dictator, and just basically said this is the only thing. No amendments, and it’s going to be that way.”

“Clearly, we offered a viable compromise at the end of last week,” said state Sen. Robet Wirch (D), who is in northern Illinois, but not in Rockford with other members. “We wanted the clergy to come in and mediate this thing. But the governor just has his feet in cement.”

Walker’s office did not respond to The Huffington Post’s request for comment.

On Friday, union leaders in Wisconsin agreed to the part of Walker’s bill that would require public employees to double their health insurance contributions and contribute 5.8 percent of their salary to their pensions. Walker has argued that concessions by public workers are necessary in order to help the state’s financial situation.

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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