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This went out in an email to previous supporters of
Alan Grayson this morning. 

Dear Linus,
I know why House Speaker John Boehner walked out of debt ceiling talks with President Obama on Friday.
It’s because Boehner can’t deliver.
It doesn’t matter what terms the President offers. It’s that simple. Boehner can’t deliver the votes.
The President might as well be negotiating with Tiger Woods; Tiger can’t deliver the votes, either. But at least Tiger has a better swing.
On Friday, the President said, “I think that one of the questions that the Republican Party is going to have to ask itself is, can they say yes to anything? Can they say yes to anything?”
The answer to your question, Mr. President, is no. The national Republican Party can’t even says yes to yes. And Boehner can’t do anything about that.
In May 1935, Pierre Laval, then the Foreign Minister of France, and also the once and future Prime Minister of France, met with Josef Stalin, the Soviet dictator. Laval, a Catholic, urged Stalin to stop persecuting Catholics in the Soviet Union. Stalin asked Laval why it mattered. Laval replied that continued persecution could provoke a quarrel between Stalin and the Pope.
Stalin replied, “The Pope? How many divisions does he have?”
I don’t think that anyone could confuse John Boehner with the Pope, but nevertheless, at this point, President Obama might ask the same question about Boehner. How many divisions does John Boehner have?
Fifty-nine House Republicans abandoned Boehner on the “compromise” appropriations bill. Even though Boehner depicted it to them as a Republican victory on par with, say, the Battle of Stalingrad.
And now, Fox News has reported that between 80 and 120 Republican members of the House will vote against any bill to increase the debt ceiling, no matter what else is in it. You can be sure that Fox News knows what Republicans in Washington are thinking – because Fox News tells them what to think.
So somewhere between a third and a half of all of the Republicans in the House of Representatives are going to vote against increasing the debt ceiling, no matter what Boehner puts in front of them. Boehner is a general with no troops. The coach has no players. The teacher has no students. The chief has no Indians. The bride has no bridesmaids.

That’s why Boehner is always crying.

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Truthout Tuesday 5 July 2011
by: Gerald Friedman, Dollars & Sense

Why only a single-payer system can solve America’s health-care mess.

America’s broken health-care system suffers from what appear to be two separate problems. From the right, a chorus warns of the dangers of rising costs; we on the left focus on the growing number of people going without health care because they lack adequate insurance. This division of labor allows the right to dismiss attempts to extend coverage while crying crocodile tears for the 40 million uninsured. But the division between problem of cost and the problem of coverage is misguided. It is founded on the assumption, common among neoclassical economists, that the current market system is efficient. Instead, however, the current system is inherently inefficient; it is the very source of the rising cost pressures. In fact, the only way we can control health-care costs and avoid fiscal and economic catastrophe is to establish a single-payer system with universal coverage.

The rising cost of health care threatens the U.S. economy. For decades, the cost of health insurance has been rising at over twice the general rate of inflation; the share of American income going to pay for health care has more than doubled since 1970 from 7% to 17%. By driving up costs for employees, retirees, the needy, the young, and the old, rising health-care costs have become a major problem for governments at every level. Health costs are squeezing public spending needed for education and infrastructure. Rising costs threaten all Americans by squeezing the income available for other activities. Indeed, if current trends continued, the entire economy would be absorbed by health care by the 2050’s.

Read article at Truthout

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Breaking: Wisconsin Dems throw their weight behind drive to recall GOP Senators

Washington Post- The Plum Line- Greg Sargent

Posted at 2:34 PM ET, 03/ 2/2011

By Greg Sargent

The Wisconsin Democratic Party has decided to throw its weight behind a nascent grassroots drive to recall a number of GOP state senators, a move that will considerably increase the pressure on them to break with Governor Scott Walker, the Dem party chair confirms to me.

“The proposals and the policies that Republicans are pushing right now are not what they campaigned on, and they’re extreme,” the party chair, Mike Tate, said in an interview. “Something needs to be done about it now. We’re happy to stand with citizens who are filling papers to recall these senators.”

Previously, Wisconsin Dems had not publicly supported talk about recalling GOP Senators, in hopes of privately reaching a negotiated solution to the crisis. The Wisconsin Democratic Party’s decision to support the recall drives represents a significant ratcheting up of hostilities and in essence signals that all bets are off.

Eight Republican Senators are eligible to be recalled right now, and various groups around Wisconsin are beginning to file papers to make it happen. Tate told me that the party would throw its organization behind such efforts

“We’re an aggressive, on-the-ground group and we’re going to be looking to aid these citizens in any way we can,” he said.

Tate said he couldn’t say whether such a recall drive would result in GOP Senators breaking with Walker, given their solidarity so far, but he vowed that a number of them would pay the price by losing their own jobs.

“There are Republican senators today that will lose their seats in a recall election in the next few months,” he said “We’re happy to assist.”

Asked if Wisconsin Dems would drop their push to recall senators if they abandoned the drive to roll back public employee bargaining rights. Tate said he couldn’t guarantee that, arguing that Walker’s proposed budget cuts yesterday took this fight to a whole new level.

“In the past 24 hours, this has gotten so much larger than the rights of our public employees,” he said. “This is much larger now than it was a week ago.”

UPDATE, 3:08 p.m.: Ian Millhiser has some detail on the slim vote margin some of these Republicans won office with, and on how a recall would work.

And Sam Stein notes that Wisconsin Dems are already raising money to support the recall effort.

UPDATE, 3:43 p.m.: The SEIU is now soliciting support for the recall drives, suggesting labor may join the push to collect the required signatures necessary to make them happen.

UPDATE, 4:19 p.m.: We now have a total of four national polls all showing solid support for public employees.

By Greg Sargent  | March 2, 2011; 2:34 PM ET

SOURCE

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Wisconsin Democrats Launch Recall Effort Against GOP Senators

HuffPost- Sam Stein

First Posted: 03/ 2/11 02:39 PM Updated: 03/ 2/11 02:50 PM

WASHINGTON — The Wisconsin Democratic Party has launched a fundraising campaign to recall state Senate Republicans who have supported the budget bill by Gov. Scott Walker (R) that would strip collective bargaining rights from the state’s public employee unions.

The email the party sent out on Wednesday afternoon is excerpted below:

In 60 days you can take Wisconsin back. It’s that simple.This morning citizens from around the state took the first steps by filing recall papers against key Republican Senators who have stood with Scott Walker and pushed his partisan power grab that will strip thousands of middle class teachers, nurses, librarians and other workers of their right to collective bargaining. And we learned just last night that their disastrous budget that will cut millions from our schools and universities.

In 60 days you can take Wisconsin back by recalling the Republican Senators who have decided to push Scott Walker’s divisive attack on the rights of workers and his assault on schools, universities and local communities. Can you contribute $60 today to support the Democratic Party’s recall efforts?

Make no mistake, these Republican Senators are vulnerable to recall for their radical partisan overreach. Senator Randy Hopper won his last election by just 184 votes. And Alberta Darling won her last race by only 1,007. By recalling just three of the eight Senators we are targeting, we can regain control of the Senate.

But we need your help today. The clock is ticking and we have just 60 days to collect the signatures we need to force a recall. Every day and every dollar counts.

[snip]

If we can recall at least three Senators and regain control of the Senate, we can end the ugly games Republicans in the legislature have played in the last few days — unplugging phone lines, bolting windows inside the Capitol shut, and withholding the paychecks of Democratic legislators.

MORE HERE

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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.

More

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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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