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Archive for April 4th, 2011

2,000 Protesters March On Koch Industries’ D.C. Office

Think Progress Mobile- April 4th, 2011 at 3:03 PM by Alex Seitz-Wald

Though they don’t want you to know about it, the billionaire Koch brothers are bankrolling a massive campaign to roll back progressive achievements, and today, labor, civil rights, and climate activists turned out at dozens of rallies across the country to demonstrate against the Koch’s secretive influence in American politics and to stand up for labor and civil rights.

In Washington, D.C. today an estimated 2,000 protesters marched on Koch Industries’ Washington D.C. offices and attempted to give Charles and David Koch an invitation to come out and speak with the protesters. Not surprisingly, the building’s doors were locked and no one was allowed inside. However, a representative from the real estate company which managed the building told an handful of organizers who attempted to deliver the invitation, “I’d be here with you guys if I wasn’t working right now.” Noting that he works for the building, not Koch, he said, “I don’t want to be here.”

The events were scheduled for today because it marks the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, TN. King traveled to Memphis to support a strike by the city’s sanitation workers, and was an ardent supporter of workers’ rights. Dr. Earl D. Trent Jr., the senior pastor at the Florida Avenue Baptist Church in Washington, told ThinkProgress that if King “were alive today, he would be right here at the forefront, no doubt.” “And that’s why we have to carry this out.”

Watch ThinkProgress’ video report:

Last Thursday, tea party activists rallied on Capitol Hill to pressure Republican lawmakers to cut government spending. Crowd estimates ranged from “dozens” to “fewer than 200,” yet the event attracted dozens of reporters and significant media interest, producing hundreds of stories in local and national press. At today’s rally, which was ten times bigger than the tea party one, ThinkProgress spotted three reporters — none from mainstream publications.

SOURCE

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R)

Scott Walker Gives $81,500 Government Job To Top Donor’s 26-Year-Old College Dropout Son

Think Progress- By Guest Blogger on Apr 4th, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Since taking office in January, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has stripped public workers of their collective bargaining rights, proposed wage cuts to local government employees, and insisted that his “state is broke” and that its public workers are overpaid. But Walker applies a different standard to himself.

Today, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reveals that Walker is using state funds to pay more than $81,500 a year to the 26-year-old son of a major campaign donor with no college degree and two drunken-driving convictions.

Despite having almost no management experience, UW Madison college dropout Brian Deschane now oversees state environmental and regulatory issues and manages dozens of Commerce Department employees. After only two months on the job, Deschane has already received a 26 percent pay raise and a promotion.

Deschane’s father, Jerry Deschane was a major financial backer of the Governor’s campaign:

Jerry Deschane, executive vice president and longtime lobbyist for the Madison-based Wisconsin Builders Association…bet big on Walker during last year’s governor’s race.

The group’s political action committee gave $29,000 to Walker and his running mate, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, last year, making it one of the top five PAC donors to the governor’s successful campaign. Even more impressive, members of the trade group funneled more than $92,000 through its conduit to Walker’s campaign over the past two years.

Total donations: $121,652.

Deschanes’ father admitted that during the gubenatorial campaign he may have put in “good words” for his son with Walker campaign manager (and current chief of staff) Keith Gilkes. A state official has confirmed that Gilkes “recommended Deschane for an interview at the agency.” Michael McCabe, the executive director of the Wisconsin democracy Campaign, said the appointment had “all the markings of political patronage.”

In the coming months, we may be seeing more cases of Brian Deschanes. The anti-union law Walker signed last month also included provisions that would convert more than thirty-seven civil service positions into political appointees chosen by the Governor.

Kevin Donohoe

MORE HERE

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Dire Straits- Money For Nothing

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Collins, Lieberman Want Answers From DHS Over Anti-Muslim Counterterror Training

TPM MUCKRAKER

Ryan J. Reilly | April 4, 2011, 10:50AM

Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) are requesting information on the federal funding of counterterrorism training programs following a report on trainers who espouse anti-Muslim views during training sessions for local cops.

Collins and Lieberman wrote in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano that they “are concerned with recent reports that state and local law enforcement agencies are being trained by individuals who not only do not understand the ideology of violent Islamist extremism but also cast aspersions on a wide swath of ordinary Americans merely because of their religious affiliation.”

“Media reports cite some of these self-appointed counterterrorism training experts as engaging in vitriolic diatribes and making assertions such as ‘Islam is a highly violent radical religion’ and that if someone has ‘different spellings of a name… That’s probable cause to take them in,'” Collins and Lieberman wrote, citing the story in the Washington Monthly. “These comments, of course, are neither factually accurate nor consistent with our nation’s fundamental values and are not made by adequately trained personnel. It appears, however, that some of these so-called experts have neither the academic nor operational background in the material about which they train.”

(more…)

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