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Posts Tagged ‘Wisconsin protests’

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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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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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