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Walkerville tent city up and running

Crooks and Liars
By scarce
June 06, 2011 05:13 AM

MADISON (WKOW) — The makeshift community of protesters against Governor Scott Walker’s biennium budget is up and running.

The two-week long “Walkerville” tent city began Saturday with a kickoff event at 7 pm.

“This is all part of the anger and frustration at politicians that aren’t listening to working class folks from around this state,” said organizer Peter Rickman.

Protesters are calling it “Walkerville” after the “Hooverville” towns set up during the Great Depression.

Overnight camping is allowed along certain streets on Capitol Square, but not on Capitol grounds.

“If the people’s house is going to be closed down we’ve gotta have a presence known,” said Walkerville organizer Peter Rickman.

Rickman hopes to bring back the presence everyone remembers in February.

“We want to hold the politicians accountable for the bad choices they’re making,” said Rickman.

Each day will have a theme. Sunday – a rally was held for K-12 education.

“We’ll take this message of dignity for all workers across this state,” said Peggy Coyne, MTI President during a speech.

“It’s the impact of those dollars across the state that really indicate how bad the choices are going to be,” said Mary Bell, President of the Wisconsin Education Association Council.

“This budget is going to have a long lasting devastating impact on the kind of life we enjoy in Wisconsin,” said Bell.

VIDEO AND MORE HERE

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Let’s go back in time to this great article:

The powerful Koch boys from Kansas

Bill Berkowitz

WorkingForChange

02.09.06

Last year, in a move that does not bode well for the nation’s forests, the Koch brothers of Kansas engineered a $13.2 billion buyout of forest products producer Georgia Pacific Corporation, making their company, Koch Industries, the nation’s largest privately held company.

According to the Toronto Globe and Mail, Koch’s purchase of Georgia Pacific would vault Koch past food producer Cargill Inc. as the largest privately held company in the United States, with $80-billion in revenue and 85,000 employees in 50 countries.

The Koch Boys from Kansas are smart, focused, and incredibly wealthy. For years they’ve been pushing both a libertarian and free-market agenda through tens of millions of dollars in contributions to conservative causes, candidates and organizations.

In a way, the Georgia Pacific acquisition “completes the circle” for Koch, Scott Silver told me in an e-mail interview. “The ideologues running the land management agencies are the product of the think tanks created by, and funded by, the Koch family,” Silver, the executive director of the environmental group Wild Wilderness, pointed out.

“Those ideologues are now in a position to permit Koch’s newest acquisition, Georgia-Pacific, to further rape and pillage the public’s lands. These think tanks promote the Free-Market ideal when it serves their interests to do so, but in reality, they are firmly committed to the ideal of enriching private interests at enormous direct cost to the American taxpayer.”

The Koch (pronounced “coke”) brothers, Charles, David, William and Frederick are sons of Kansas. Thirty-eight years ago, Charles took over the company from his father, company founder Fred Koch. According to a recent piece in Business Week, Charles, 70, and David, 65, now “own the bulk of the company after elbowing out their other brothers … in 1983,” buying out William and Frederick for $470 million and $320 million, respectively. In 1998, in a chilling display of family disunity, “the two sets of brothers walked silently past one another in court as William and Frederick lost a lawsuit to extract more money from Charles and David.”

In 1940, Fred Koch founded the company as an oil refiner. A graduate of MIT, he was an original member of the anticommunist ultra-conservative John Birch Society, founded in 1958. The sons did not fall far from the tree: Both Charles and David graduated from MIT and have been deeply involved in conservative politics.

According to “Axis of Ideology,” a 2004 report by the National Committee on Responsive Philanthropy, the two dominant Koch boys have “a combined net worth of approximately $4 billion, placing them among the top 50 wealthiest individuals in the country and among the top 100 wealthiest individuals in the world in 2003, according to Forbes.”

MORE HERE

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And, this article:

Koch’ed Up

2011 March 12
by Cowboy Dre

Koch Brothers Increased Wealth by $9 Billion Last Year As They Fund Laws to Make Working Class Poorer | Buzzflash

Based on a recent Forbes survey, Rachel Maddow revealed that while Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is stripping away the financial security of workers, the Koch brothers increased their wealth by $9 billion last year. Together, Maddow notes, they would rank as the fourth-wealthiest person ($44 billion) in the world.

Meanwhile, the Koch brothers and Karl Rove, among others, are using front organizations to pit working people, who are being exploited, against unions. It’s the ultimate in class warfare: make the working class fight each other over an increasingly smaller piece of the financial pie, as the super wealthy run off with the bakery.

That’s why ads in Wisconsin – and stories on Fox – are trying to get Wal-Mart low-wage workers to resent that union members receive better benefits, which of course – on a logical level – reinforces to many of us exactly why unions are needed: to prevent the impoverishment of people who labor for a living.

What’s not mentioned in these ads, or the right-wing media echo chamber, is why the government is subsidizing the wealthy who don’t pay their fair share.
More…

SOURCE

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“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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Wisconsin Judge Declares Union Law Not In Effect

TODD RICHMOND and SCOTT BAUER   03/31/11 11:33 AM ET   AP via: HuffPost

MADISON, Wis. — A Wisconsin judge ruled Thursday the state’s divisive new collective bargaining law had not taken effect, and officials in Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s administration say he plans to comply with the ruling and to halt preparations to begin deducting money from public workers’ paychecks.

Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi issued her declaration a day after Walker’s aides said they believed the law was processed correctly and that they would continue efforts to enact it, despite the judge’s warning to halt such efforts.

Two Walker administration officials who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the governor hadn’t publicly announced his plans said he would announce later Thursday that he would comply with Sumi’s ruling.

The law would require most public sector workers to contribute more to their health care and pensions, changes that amount to an average 8 percent pay cut. The measure also strips them of their right to collectively bargain any work conditions except wages.

Walker signed the proposal into law earlier this month after weeks of large pro-union protests in and around the state Capitol, prompting Democrats to file several lawsuits challenging its legitimacy.

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.

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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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.”

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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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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