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Archive for the ‘Wisconsin Protests’ Category

“Palin Was Practically Booed Back to Wasilla” By Pro-Union Protesters in Madison, Wisconsin

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH FOR TRUTHOUT

Submitted by mark karlin on Wed, 04/20/2011 – 9:32pm.

Why do Tea Party rallies get so much media attention, even when their gatherings appear to be shrinking in size?

That is because the corporate mainstream media has a bias toward covering protests from the right, but virtually ignores progressive crowds. This was recently evidenced by the scant national coverage given to the unprecedented anti-Scott Walker protests of up to 100,000 people in the relatively small city of Madison.

So, when Sarah Palin appeared in Madison on Saturday, April 16, it was not surprising that CNN described her as “energizing” the crowd, even though she could barely be heard much beyond the “feed” mike – the boos and chants of disapproval were that loud from the protesters.

Matthew Rothschild, editor of The Progressive (which is located in Madison) attended the Palin event and estimated that the protesters were double the size of the Koch brothers’ “Americans for Prosperity” crowd:

There were about 1,500 tea partiers, many bused in by Americans for Prosperity, the rightwing group funded by the Koch brothers.

The tea partiers were surrounded by about 3,000 or more pro-labor supporters, who let their presence be felt with raucous chants and boos and cries of “Shame, shame, shame!”

“Recall Walker,” the protesters chanted over and over again, as well as, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Scott Walker has got to go.”

In fact, Thom Hartmann points out in a television report that Andrew Breitbart (former Drudge protege and current right-wing “pundit” and provocateur) was so incensed by the chants of the protesters that he shouted, “Go to Hell!” (three times) at them from the podium. And that was before Palin even spoke.

Hartmann also trenchantly dissects how the corporate media frames its reports to give an inaccurate account of events with a slant that favors the right wing and status quo.

The true story of Sarah Palin’s appearance in Madison was that, according to Hartmann, “Palin was practically booed back to Wasilla.”

But you wouldn’t know that from watching the cable or evening news.

*****

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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.

MORE HERE

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Judge blocks contentious Wisconsin union law

By JASON SMATHERS, Associated Press via: Salon

Friday, Mar 18, 2011 12:20 ET

The move will put an immediate halt on the law that was meant to go into effect on March 25th

A Wisconsin judge issued a temporary restraining order Friday blocking the state’s new and contentious collective bargaining law from taking effect, a measure that drew tens of thousands of protesters to the state Capitol and sent some Democrats fleeing to Illinois in an tempt to block a vote on it.

The judge’s order is a major setback for Walker and puts the future of the law in question.

Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi issued the order, which was requested by that county’s District Attorney Ismael Ozanne, a Democrat. Ozanne filed a lawsuit contending that a legislative committee that broke a stalemate that had kept the law in limbo for weeks met without the 24-hour notice required by Wisconsin’s open meetings law. The Republican-controlled Legislature passed the measure and Gov. Scott Walker signed it last week.

Secretary of State Doug La Follette planned to publish the law on Mach 25, but the judge’s order will prevent that from happening, at least for now.

A spokesman for Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald declined to comment, citing the legal fight. Messages left for comment with Walker’s spokesmen, as well as Democratic legislative leaders, were not immediately returned.

The bill was part of Walker’s solution for plugging a $137 million state budget shortfall. A part of the measure would require state workers to increase their health insurance and pension contributions to save the state $30 million by July 1. Other parts of Walker’s original proposal to address the budget shortfall were removed before the bill passed last week. The Legislature planned to take those up later. Lawmakers are not scheduled to be in session again until April 5.

People opposed to the law converged on the state Capitol over the past month with massive demonstrations that went on for days on end.

SOURCE

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Scott Walker And Wisconsin Republicans Face Legal Battles Over Bill

Politicususa- By Sarah Jones
March 17, 2011

In the aftermath of his Draconian power grab, Governor Scott Walker has been smirking his way though celebratory dinners and being slapped on the back by national Republicans who whisper “Vice Presidential material” to him through the decayed orifices of their corporate mouths. Scott’s pleasure with himself is evident to all who are forced to watch this soulless Koch logo preen his way through a press conference.

But back in his home state, things don’t look very good for Scotty. Numerous lawsuits have been brought against Walker’s anti-union bill, the most important one of which calls for the bill to be voided. After reading numerous complaints, the Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne believes the Republicans violated the open meeting law of Wisconsin. He further requests a stay on publishing the bill until the court can hear these matters. In addition, several other suits have been brought against the Republicans for violating open meeting laws and passing a financial bill without the necessary quorum.

After receiving at least five complaints regarding the Republicans’ alleged violation of the open meeting law, the DA filed a lawsuit. The suit alleges that in the March 9 meeting during which Republicans passed Walker’s anti-union bill, killing collective bargaining, the special legislative committee (consisting of Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau, Senate President Mike Ellis of Neenah, Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald of Horicon and Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder of Abbotsford) violated the Wisconsin Open Meeting Law in several ways.

Firstly, the Republicans claimed they were in an emergency meeting and thus exempt from giving notice as required by open meeting law, but the DA found they do not meet the requirements for an emergency meeting. Secondly, Republicans claimed that Senate rules overrode the state law, but the DA determined that because they had both the assembly and the Senate in the meeting, the Senate rules do not apply. Thirdly, the Republicans held the meeting at a time when they restricted access to the Capitol to the public (as well as lawmakers) as well as holding it in a tiny room where there was no room for the public.

MORE HERE

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Madison Firefighters union President Joe Conway says a general public strike would be an appropriate response to the Wisconsin Senate voting to strip public workers of their collective bargaining rights. The union members would need to approve it by Conway is advocating walking off the job.

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Labor Vows To Step Up Recall Effort Against Wisconsin GOP, Challenge Anti-Union Bill In Court

Addicting Info- Posted in: News

Knowing that their bill would never pass with the 2/3 support it needed, Wisconsin Republicans drafted a second bill, primarily to strip unions of their collective bargaining rights, which only needed a simple majority to be passed. Labor unions vow to fight it, and to recall GOP Senators.

Via The Huffington Post

WASHINGTON — Dealt a major setback Wednesday night in a high-stakes battle over union rights in Wisconsin, labor leaders nevertheless insisted that they would emerge from the three-week long saga energized and eager to continue fighting.

Hours after Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) and his Republican allies in the state Senate took nearly everyone by surprise and pushed through a stand-alone bill stripping public employees of their collective bargaining rights, labor officials pledged to ramp up efforts to recall Republicans and challenge the legislation in court.

Only shortly before the vote took place, local news outlets reported that Republicans were splitting Walker’s budget repair bill into two. While the Senate requires a quorum of 3/5 of its members to vote on fiscal statutes, just a majority is needed for other matters. Therefore, Senate Republicans broke off the most controversial portions — including a proposal to strip away the collective bargaining rights of public employees — into a separate piece of legislation that could be passed without Senate Democrats, who were still out of state.

Labor officials quickly lambasted Republicans, calling what they did the “nuclear option.” Last month, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) had said he would not pass any portions of the budget repair bill without Democrats’ participation.

“Senate Republicans have exercised the nuclear option to ram through their bill attacking Wisconsin’s working families in the dark of night,” said Wisconsin AFL-CIO President Phil Neuenfeldt in a statement. “Walker and the Republicans acted in violation of state open meetings laws, and tonight’s events have demonstrated they will do or say anything to pass their extreme agenda that attacks Wisconsin’s working families.”

Neuenfeldt’s comment that the GOP may have violated state laws hints at a possible court challenge should the legislation be passed by both legislative chambers and signed by the governor. Later in his statement, Neuenfeldt also said that what Republicans did “is beyond reprehensible and possibly criminal.”

A clearer indication came from Madison Teachers Inc. (MTI), the union representing public school teachers in the city.

MORE HERE

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Dems File Complaint Against Walker For Threats, Intimidation of Public Employees

Crooks & Liars- By Susie Madrak

March 08, 2011 07:00 AM

The Plum Line’s Greg Sargent has a copy of the complaint Wisconsin Dems are filing against Gov. Scott Walker during a call he thought was from David Koch, and he says it builds a persuasive case:

The complaint, which reflects a sense among Dems that all bets are off in this standoff, makes an interesting argument. By any reasonable standard, it says, Walker’s conduct should undermine “public trust” and fell well short of standards designed to ensure “the faith and confidence of the people of this state in their state public officials and state employees.”

The complaint focuses on several aspects of the prank call, but I think these two may be the most interesting:

16. Respondent states during the Call that he has the Attorney General’s office “looking into” strategies to force the Democratic senators to return. This constitutes a misuse of the independently elected office of the Attorney General for primarily political motivations.

And:

19. Respondent states during the Call that he will send out 5,000-6,000 layoff notices to public sector employees in an attempt to “ratchet up” pressure on the Democratic Senators. This use of threat against, and intimidation of, public sector employees for political purposes constitutes an unfair labor practice in violation of Wis. Stat. Section 111.84.

The complaint also alleges that it was improper for Walker to suggest to Koch that Republicans in swing areas might need shoring up, since this smacks of illegal coordination, though to my mind it isn’t clear what he was asking for. It also says that Walker’s claim that he “thought about” planting troublemakers in the crowd “constitutes a conspiracy to recklessly endanger public safety,” though here too it’s not quite clear what Walker really considered doing.

That said, even those examples were eyebrow-raising, and the complaint is worth reading, because it’s a reminder that taken together, Walker’s shenanigans on the call add up to conduct that by any reasonable measure should raise serious questions about Walker’s judgment and approach to his office. Some in the national media were quick to exonerate Walker after the call, but reading the complaint, the Wisconsin Democratic Party’s claim that his conduct risks undermining the public trust in state government doesn’t seem particulary unreasonable.

SOURCE

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