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"An assault on unions is an assault on democracy itself"
February 13, 2011 11:25 AM   Subscribe

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker says the National Guard is prepared to respond to unrest among state workers: "Gov. Scott Walker says the Wisconsin National Guard is prepared to respond if there is any unrest among state employees in the wake of his announcement that he wants to take away nearly all collective bargaining rights." NY Times offers more reporting on Walker's proposals here. Notably, Walker is reportedly refusing even to negotiate with the public employee unions. Though Walker's carefully worded announcement avoided any specific commitments about how guard troops might be used much beyond noting the Wisconsin Governor's concern that "some union leaders will try to incite their members," a look back at the history of the labor movement in the US reveals that this wouldn't be the first time in US history the National Guard has been called upon to respond to labor unrest, and that the results haven't always been pretty.

These latest developments come at a time when many observers have been warning of a major assault on the labor movement for some time, both in the US and internationally. Commenters in the UK and US warn: "An assault on unions is an assault on democracy itself," and "As go the unions, so goes the nation." The New York Times, meanwhile, reports that states across the nation are taking steps to curtail collective bargaining rights in response to a nationwide state budget crisis. It remains to be seen if states are also prepared to renege on their contractual obligations to state bond holders, although politicians have quietly begun discussing the possibility of allowing states to declare bankruptcy for the first time in the nation's history, a move which critics have also cautioned might be used to provide anti-labor proponents further political ammunition against labor, alleging that current state budget shortfalls (which appear to be due more to poor state financial management than the recent economic downturn) have been part of a deliberate Republican strategy to force the politics of the situation to a crisis in order to justify its union busting efforts.
posted by saulgoodman (222 comments total) 57 users marked this as a favorite

 
And the DOUBLE Guard are coming for this FPP!
posted by ericb at 11:26 AM on February 13, 2011


This is a greatly enhanced replacement to my own previously deleted post on the subject, not really a double.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:27 AM on February 13, 2011


OIC --- the previous FPP you made was deleted with a suggestion to repost.

Carry on!
posted by ericb at 11:29 AM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Or, what you said!
posted by ericb at 11:29 AM on February 13, 2011


Saul, we need to find a way to get you, I dunno, a radio show or a newspaper column. Something.
posted by boo_radley at 11:31 AM on February 13, 2011 [9 favorites]


Wow, kudos on finding a major outlet like The Northwestern in Oshkosh, WI, to imply that the governor is planning something different and more nefarious from contingency plans to staff prisons and the like in the event that union workers don't show up.
posted by found missing at 11:32 AM on February 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


Kasich and Walker seem to be comparing notes.
posted by blucevalo at 11:33 AM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, kudos on finding a major outlet like The Northwestern in Oshkosh, WI, to imply that the governor is planning something different and more nefarious from contingency plans to staff prisons and the like in the event that union workers don't show up.

He also is linking the New York Times, another podunk outlet. What's your point?
posted by blucevalo at 11:34 AM on February 13, 2011 [15 favorites]


2011 will begin a new golden age of folk music.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:34 AM on February 13, 2011 [15 favorites]


thanks for this post. one silver lining would be greater attention to labor efforts in this country
posted by angrycat at 11:36 AM on February 13, 2011


found missing has this right, i think. I think he's just going to use the guard to staff prisons, etc..

Shitty policy, but not exactly what the headline implies.
posted by empath at 11:36 AM on February 13, 2011


My point is that this post is framed in a biased way that has no relationship with the facts. Flagged as op-ed.
posted by found missing at 11:36 AM on February 13, 2011


Ludlow was horrific. Buried Unsung is an interesting account of the massacre through the story of an individual union organizer.

It's depressing to think that that kind of violent repression might be coming back into fashion.
posted by enn at 11:37 AM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


okay, then flag it. k thx bye.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:37 AM on February 13, 2011 [23 favorites]


Maybe the answer is cryogenics. You know, like a 30 century man.
posted by box at 11:37 AM on February 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


The tags say it all.
posted by proj at 11:38 AM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Northwestern link is to an AP story, so whether or not Oshkosh's primary print news source is "major" is irrelevant.
posted by aaronetc at 11:39 AM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


My point is that this post is framed in a biased way that has no relationship with the facts.

You're wrong. If the mods disagree they can delete it.
posted by blucevalo at 11:40 AM on February 13, 2011


work those refs.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:42 AM on February 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


There is no factual basis for implying that the governor of Wisconsin is doing anything more than planning to use the National Guard for staffing prisons, etc., in the event that the unions balk at his disregard for them and their contractual agreements. The post is framed to imply that the Governor is planning to use the Guard to physically confront unions.
posted by found missing at 11:44 AM on February 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


Sending scabs up against a picket line is a physical confrontation. Especially when you are drawing your scabs from the ranks of the military.
posted by enn at 11:47 AM on February 13, 2011 [54 favorites]


My grandfather was near Ludlow when it happened -- colored a lot of my dad's politics, and mine as well.

Was discussing with some undergrads the need for unions and the argument comes up repeatedly that the things unions fought for are essentially done deals and couldn't be excised from the national fabric; unions have gotten too far from their roots and are just corrupt & etc.

It's weird to have people who are well educated this position that the fight is over and can't ever be restarted, as though union busting corporations aren't constantly lobbying for regressive changes to laws.
posted by boo_radley at 11:47 AM on February 13, 2011 [12 favorites]


Sending scabs up against a picket line is a physical confrontation.

Well, no, it isn't.
posted by found missing at 11:48 AM on February 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


found missing: " The post is framed to imply that the Governor is planning to use the Guard to physically confront unions."

That's from the first article, verbatim. If there's an issue in framing, it's the APs or possibly the Governor's.
posted by boo_radley at 11:49 AM on February 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


There is no factual basis for implying that the governor of Wisconsin is doing anything more than planning to use the National Guard for staffing prisons, etc., in the event that the unions balk at his disregard for them and their contractual agreements.

It's no secret that Walker despises the public employee unions and wants to dismantle and disembowel them. I disagree with your contention that there's no factual basis for the implication.
posted by blucevalo at 11:50 AM on February 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Okay, you win, carry on with the propaganda.
posted by found missing at 11:51 AM on February 13, 2011


And what you're spouting isn't propaganda. I see.
posted by blucevalo at 11:52 AM on February 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


I was raused to fest the National Guard. People in my family went into the Army or the Navy, never the Guard. This is because of what happened when the Guard was called out because of strikes or riots. They were young, not well trained and often very frightened. That is what nađe them scary.
Disater relief was another matter. The Guard does an excellent job in disaster relief and always did.
I was raised with the story of Ludlow and also of a May Day march my great grandfather took my mither to when she was a KUD. The Guard fired on the marchers, who kept going, arms linked. They sang 'Solidarity Forever' and marched right through the blood and brains of their fallen fellow marchers.
Back in the day, American workers were a force to be reconed with!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 11:56 AM on February 13, 2011 [8 favorites]


Walker said Friday that he hasn't called the Guard into action, but he has briefed them and other state agencies in preparation of any problems that could result in a disruption of state services, like staffing at prisons.

That seems to me that the range of actions he could have the National Guard undertake includes other things besides staffing prisons. So yes, there seems to be a factual basis for implying that the Governor might use the National Guard for something besides staffing prisons. Who knows what that could extend to?
posted by ofthestrait at 12:05 PM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


In other words, that's a pretty freaking huge 'etcetera' in your initial comment.
posted by ofthestrait at 12:06 PM on February 13, 2011


That seems to me that the range of actions he could have the National Guard undertake includes other things besides staffing prisons

There's a broad range of things the governor can do at all times, but I really doubt he's going to call the national guard to hose down striking school teachers.
posted by empath at 12:09 PM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


On what, basis, I wonder are critics of this post asserting that Walker's use of the National Guard will be limited to removing and replacing striking guards from prisons? Has Walker made any such promise?

The guard has been used to quash labor protest (and other forms of dissent) many times. By announcing this mobilization them before this move against public union worker, Walker's making a bid to intimidate workers with a show of power and a threat of military violence.

Not coincidentally, this is the sort of move that right-wing talk radio and Republican primary voters will find viscerally appealing.
posted by washburn at 12:11 PM on February 13, 2011 [14 favorites]


There's a broad range of things the governor can do at all times, but I really doubt he's going to call the national guard to hose down striking school teachers.

Well, it would be nice if he would actually SAY that, wouldn't it?
We have no idea what he would do, and in the absence of any clarification from him we (and the AP) been left to speculate.
posted by Floydd at 12:13 PM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sending scabs up against a picket line is a physical confrontation.

Well, no, it isn't.


Em, what the hell would you call it then? Dancing?
posted by Jim Slade at 12:18 PM on February 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Em, what the hell would you call it then? Dancing?

It could lead to dancing.
posted by Floydd at 12:19 PM on February 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm not a critic of the post, I just think there is a bit of hyperbole in the stories about this. Which is too bad, because what he is doing is bad enough without the national guard distraction.
posted by empath at 12:21 PM on February 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think all the people saying "no he won't" are either completely ignorant of just how radically slash-and-burn this fucker is. The moment he's stepped into office is the stuff that Teabagger wet-dreams are made of.

Will he do it? As Floydd says, we really don't know. But based upon the actions of this guy since stepping into office, I've a very bad feeling. I'm hoping I'm wrong. But it's not pretty. If you're in Wisconsin, there are some movements for a recall, but we have to wait a year and get half a million signatures, IIRC.

My GF lives in Ohio, and it's really shitty that both of us are in states that have elected complete right-wing douchebag assholes to Governorships and the state legislatures.

Scott Walker is up there with Bachmann and Palin in his strident right-wing belligerency, IMO.
posted by symbioid at 12:21 PM on February 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


I think the invocation of the National Guard is a pretty small-bore part of the program; Walker is just trying to pre-empt any criticism on "but state employees keep us safe from scary dudes!" grounds by exempting police from the changes and explaining why the prisons aren't going to go unguarded. I live in Madison, so perhaps don't have the most thorough global view of the Wisconsin polity, but I don't think Guardsmen hosing down teachers would play well here, and I seriously doubt the governor has any such thing in mind.

It's worth keeping in mind, when thinking about who "state employees" are here, that half the state's payroll is the University of Wisconsin. What an end to collective bargaining would mean here is that TA stipends will presumably lag further behind other big state universities than they already do, and class sizes will go up as we ask teaching assistants to oversee more students and grade more papers for the same salary.
posted by escabeche at 12:23 PM on February 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Love the "thenewgildedage" tag.

I have no idea what the Governor of Wisconsin will do, I don't think I've ever even been to Wisconsin, but goddamn if using the armed forces to control the unions isn't a literal jack-booted thug move.
posted by paisley henosis at 12:24 PM on February 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


His disdain for Public Employees is such that he mandated that during the great Blizzard of 2011 earlier this year that they ALL come in. The government offices were closed to the public, but government workers were forced to come in. Thankfully a lot them had the sense to stay home, regardless.

That action in itself shows the disdain he has for the State Workers.

This guy is bad bad bad news. escabeche, I, too, am in Madison, and sure it won't play well here, but we aren't the ones who got this guy voted in. He's playing to his base, pure and simple, and that base is certainly NOT in Madison.
posted by symbioid at 12:29 PM on February 13, 2011 [8 favorites]


saulgoodman: "alleging that current state budget shortfalls [...] have been part of a deliberate Republican strategy to force the politics of the situation to a crisis in order to justify its union busting efforts."

That chestnut about right-wing conspiracy theories being a form of projection for their own fantasies and anxieties seems truer every day. You know how Beck carries on about "Cloward-Piven" and how welfare is a socialist plot to intentionally overload and bankrupt the system in order to institute their dream communist state in the ensuing chaos? Well, what's the endgame of this relentless tax-slashing? "Starve the beast" indeed.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:31 PM on February 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


escabeche: What an end to collective bargaining would mean here is that TA stipends will presumably lag further behind other big state universities than they already do, and class sizes will go up as we ask teaching assistants to oversee more students and grade more papers for the same salary.

Someone mentioned that they might be dropping the tuition waiver, which would make their graduate programs utterly unable to complete with other programs for students. Either you wouldn't have any applicants at all or you'd be scraping the bottom of the barrel for them, and grad students teach labs and sometimes classes. Plus, do you think you'll get decent professors if they know they won't get decent grad students?

Not to mention that grad students (at least in the sciences) rarely take more than two classes at any given time and get the rest of their credits from their thesis. So you're charging someone who is probably teaching more classes than they're taking.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:34 PM on February 13, 2011


C+P from the last deleted thread:

The governor is attempting to enact his changes to state employee contracts through a suggested budget repair bill for the 2009-2010 biennium (this is technically possible because the 2010 fiscal year lasts until the end of June 2011). These changes will also presumably be incorporated into the 2011-2012 budget bill. By directly legislating the changes to employee contracts, Walker gets to circumvent collective bargaining.

However, Walker does not necessarily get everything that Walker wants. He's the governor, so his budget repair bill is merely a suggestion to the legislature. Someone in the legislature is going to have to introduce it, and it will go through the usual succession of committees before it gets voted on. The Republicans control both the Assembly and the Senate, but that doesn't mean that the specific provisions Walker wants in the budget repair bill are generally agreed on by everyone.

As an employee of a nonpartisan legislative service agency, I will not comment on the proposed budget repair bill itself. However, if you would like to make known your opinions on the budget repair bill (and specifically the provisions relating to state employee contracts), I suggest you visit WAML to determine who your state legislators are, and then contact them. From the WAML page, click on "Committees" on the right near the top. Your input is especially important if you note that your legislator serves on the Joint Finance Committee; while those people hold special influence over the bill, every legislator's vote will matter.

I have done extensive work on their constituent management software, so this is the information you want to be sure to include if you do contact them:
  1. Your name
  2. Your physical mailing address (even if you email them, tell them this; they need to verify that you live in their district)
  3. A summary of the issues you are concerned about and your positions on those issues. A simple list of issue-position pairs is okay. High rhetoric is fine but won't necessarily help. They will give more weight to your position if you have voted in many recent elections, but having voted in the last two is almost always enough to bump you into the "likely voter" category.
Walker recently sent out an email that enumerated his budget suggestions, but there are certain ambiguities in its wording that prevent me from accurately summarizing it. If people are interested, I will relay here what I find out later this week after the head of the agency I work for has had time to clarify with the administration what exactly is being proposed.
posted by Jpfed at 12:38 PM on February 13, 2011 [16 favorites]


Perhaps Walker could give them 21, 21, 21....
posted by Philipschall at 12:45 PM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Wisconsin National Guard has not been activated but it is on alert.

"Plan for the worst, expect the best," Gov. Scott Walker explained to a jam-packed press conference this morning in the State Capitol.

It was the official roll-out of his broad rollback of collective bargaining rights for unionized government employees, part of his budget repair bill, seeking to resolve a $150 million shortfall in the next five months.

Walker said he was well aware that "some union leaders will try to incite their members."
this is really nasty dog-whistle politics. he's both trying to intimidate the public sector unions and send a message to the tea partiers that he's not afraid to see some blood and brains if the unions don't roll-over.
posted by ennui.bz at 12:48 PM on February 13, 2011 [12 favorites]


After the entire world was riveted for 18 days while watching what went on in Egypt, I wonder what the reaction would be if the global news eye finds itself staring at anti-labor actions in the US that involve National Guard forces and the threat of violence in the face of non-violent protest.

Not say that's what the governor has in mind, but as ennui.bz points out, it's pretty much what the dog whistles are implying.
posted by hippybear at 1:03 PM on February 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


My theory with part of this is that Walker does hope that the prison workers do strike, and then he'll proceed to fire them and bring in a company along the lines of the one that runs prisons in Arizona (hiring back the former state workers at lower wages and less benefits).

I'm really hoping he misjudged how Wisconsin residents feel about unions and state workers.
posted by drezdn at 1:12 PM on February 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


After the entire world was riveted for 18 days while watching what went on in Egypt, I wonder what the reaction would be if the global news eye finds itself staring at anti-labor actions in the US that involve National Guard forces and the threat of violence in the face of non-violent protest.


it's interesting to note that even before the big confrontation in tahrir square, the protests in egypt had resulted in the deaths of (as I remember) at least two policeman ( i think in Alexandria where the crowd was a lot rougher.) can you imagine what would happen if this had occurred in the US? would the protest be described as 'nonviolent?' would the national guard shoot?
posted by ennui.bz at 1:27 PM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


seeking to resolve a $150 million shortfall in the next five months

Just found this, from March 2009: For the first time, the official estimate of unpaid taxes, fees and interest owed state government is more than $1 billion - about what it costs to run Wisconsin's prison, probation and parole system this year.
posted by -jf- at 1:37 PM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


There will be protests on the capitol square on Tuesday and Wednesday at noon.
posted by Jpfed at 1:48 PM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


This guy, like much of the right, is coming from a union-hate mindset. That he might have to tangle with unions here is probably sexually satisfying to him. He contends that unions might be a problem because they may fight back. I've got some news for you, dickhead. That's what unions are for.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:24 PM on February 13, 2011 [22 favorites]


The guard has been used to quash labor protest (and other forms of dissent) many times.

Many times.

The last two verses from Pete Seeger's Talking Union, which he started singing in the 30s:

Now, boy, you've come to the hardest time;
The boss will try to bust your picket line.
He'll call out the police, the National Guard;
They'll tell you it's a crime to have a union card.
They'll raid your meeting, hit you on the head.
Call every one of you a goddamn Red -
Unpatriotic - Moscow agents -
Bomb throwers, even the kids.

But out in Detroit here's what they found,
And out in Frisco here's what they found,
And out in Pittsburgh here's what they found,
And down in Bethlehem here's what they found,
That if you don't let Red-baiting break you up,
If you don't let stool pigeons break you up,
If you don't let vigilantes break you up,
And if you don't let race hatred break you up -
You'll win. What I mean,
Take it easy - but take it!
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:32 PM on February 13, 2011 [16 favorites]


As a local AFSCME member, if this happened in our state government, very few state workers would show up for any sort of rally. They never have in the past. Most state workers of my social circle are anti-union and would gladly keep the $40 that comes out of every pay check for the union. And, even though I am very pro-union, I can totally understand why they feel that way. The union can't even negotiate a wage that keeps up with inflation. In a state whose budget hasn't been affected by the economy, I see no reason for this other than a union who is willing to take my money and do nothing. I have asked my union for assistance twice in my career. Once when I was layed-off: "You're non-permanent so we take your money but you don't get anything for it." The other was when I had a bully supervisor who was threatening me with a bad review which impedes my ability to get out of the crappy situation: "We suggest you do what he tells you to do and you might want to find another job."

I don't know of a single person under the age of 45 who participates in our union locally or even attends a single union meeting a year. Should the unions go away? Hell, no! I make more than my position at the non-unionized university and I get my weekends off. But the union is resting on the rights won by them at least a generation ago. How about a wage I can live off of? How about daycare? How about offering new employees something better than a crappy 401k? Until the union figures out how to get people fired up about their rights or starts gaining back some of that ground won in the past, I doubt many of my local union members will give a shit.
posted by Foam Pants at 2:35 PM on February 13, 2011 [16 favorites]


Wow, kudos on finding a major outlet like The Northwestern in Oshkosh, WI, to imply that the governor is planning something different and more nefarious from contingency plans to staff prisons and the like in the event that union workers don't show up.

Dude, you don't need to search high and low to find a source that frames SCABS in a negative way.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:13 PM on February 13, 2011


So the government can't handle their own budget...so what they want to do is destroy other people's budget by getting rid of a protective union. Awesome.

Fucking Madison, do something before you become the Weird Austin of your Conservative Texas.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:15 PM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was raused to fest the National Guard. People in my family went into the Army or the Navy, never the Guard. This is because of what happened when the Guard was called out because of strikes or riots. They were young, not well trained and often very frightened. That is what nađe them scary.

It's not pretty when they call in the army to break union actions, either. (But, admittedly, a lot less frequent.) (Oooh, stirring old union music! *Confuses threads and looks up "Which Side Are You On?"*)

On the actual topic of Wisconsin and the present-day governor's threats, though - yeah, not quite the same, but I think my parents are still quite glad they were able to move back east this year.
posted by eviemath at 3:21 PM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


From the newspaper link comments:

[The governor said] He has nothing to offer. "The state is broke."

If that is true, then where are we getting the money to cover the tax breaks that Walker just signed into law?


That's the insanity we're living these days: cut taxes and then plead poverty. And unions are bad.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:26 PM on February 13, 2011 [10 favorites]


Until the union figures out how to get people fired up about their rights or starts gaining back some of that ground won in the past, I doubt many of my local union members will give a shit.

Unions and union members who don't give a shit? That's exactly what Scott Walker is counting on.
posted by blucevalo at 3:27 PM on February 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


If that is true, then where are we getting the money to cover the tax breaks that Walker just signed into law?

Even the local paper's political fact checker can't grasp that tax cuts cost money.
posted by drezdn at 3:36 PM on February 13, 2011


Serious question: what is the endgame here with the Republican class war? When the top .01% of the country controls 99% of all the wealth, and the Great Lords and Ladies must hold their noses whenever they venture outside, so as not to let the scent of dying poor people reach their nostrils, what then?
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:43 PM on February 13, 2011


The conservative media have been telegraphing the idea of scrapping collective bargaining in light of the budget problems of several states for several months now. Whenever they start working some talking points over and over you need to start looking at what they're doing which necessitates these type of PR campaigns. You can see it coming from a long way away if you pay attention to the fact that they're always campaigning for their policies, whether currently in effect or not. They're trying to push the idea that unions are standing in the way of the states' fiscal solvency to get the public behind them in cutting their power. I saw this coming a long time ago, although I always found this tactic a bit dubious in today's political climate, Tea Party notwithstanding. I don't believe for one minute that Walker isn't playing his part in this; whether he gets his way remains to be seen. What he's doing with the Guard is ominous, but this isn't an age of slow media, so it's far from certain that violence or threats of it will be effective.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:00 PM on February 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


drezdn: "Even the local paper's political fact checker can't grasp that tax cuts cost money."

I don't see the problem with PolitiFact's take on the situation. It's inaccurate to say that Republicans wanted to spend $80 million on boosting Google search results -- that makes it sound like they're paying SEO guys big money for something relatively trivial. The bill would add $80 million to the deficit, but that's apart from the improved search rankings its backers tout as an additional benefit. That's what PF is taking issue with -- suggesting $80 million is being spent on PageRank voodoo is simply dishonest.

Also, the article makes it clear several times that the bill will add to the deficit ("The bill would not spend any money; it would reduce state revenue by nearly $80 million"), so it's not like they're trying to whitewash the impacts.
posted by Rhaomi at 5:24 PM on February 13, 2011


T.D. Strange: Serious question: what is the endgame here with the Republican class war? When the top .01% of the country controls 99% of all the wealth, and the Great Lords and Ladies must hold their noses whenever they venture outside, so as not to let the scent of dying poor people reach their nostrils, what then?

Castles with moats and massive banquets inside while the little people huddle over a dung fire and eat hard bread?
posted by paisley henosis at 5:28 PM on February 13, 2011


See, here's another funny thing to me: Right now, Republicans in congress are threatening a total shutdown of the Federal government, right? It's not tinfoil hat stuff, it's public record and acknowledged fact that the Republicans in congress are threatening a total government shutdown and possibly even allowing the US to default on its debts as a show of protest. Now how would those same Republicans respond if someone threatened to send in the National Guard to respond in the event of any interruptions in Federal government services brought about by their own version of a government worker's strike?

Well, obviously, that seems like an absurd comparison on some levels; but on others, not so much. If potential interruptions in state government services are so potentially damaging to society that we may need to call in the National Guard to prevent them when they might happen at the state level, why are potential interruptions in service at the federal level not only kosher, but good politics?
posted by saulgoodman at 5:41 PM on February 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


escabeche writes "It's worth keeping in mind, when thinking about who 'state employees' are here, that half the state's payroll is the University of Wisconsin."

Who big is the University that it consumes half the state payroll?
posted by Mitheral at 5:53 PM on February 13, 2011


"The University of Wisconsin System is one of the largest systems of public higher education in the country, serving almost 182,000 students each year and employing more than 32,000 faculty and staff statewide.

The UW System is made up of

* 13 four-year universities,
* 13 freshman-sophomore UW Colleges campuses, and
* statewide UW-Extension."
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:04 PM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you're interested in data, here's a comparison of public and private sector employee compensation in Wisconsin. Here's solid data on public vs. private sector employees nationally [pdf].
posted by cushie at 6:21 PM on February 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Eviemath: "Which Side Are You On ?"*)

Amazing powerful frickin' song. Pete Seeger was a punk rock badass with balls of steel.
posted by Skygazer at 6:29 PM on February 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


From cushies' link:
To summarize, our study shows that Wisconsin public
employees earn 4.8% less in total compensation per hour
than comparable full-time employees in Wisconsin’s
private sector.
And Walker wants them to take at least the equiv. of a 5% paycut.
posted by drezdn at 6:36 PM on February 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Pete Seeger was a punk rock badass with balls of steel.

Pete Seeger is a badass with balls of steel. Still going strong at 91.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:37 PM on February 13, 2011 [11 favorites]


Apologies for this slight derail, but I have to add:

When you're talking about labor disputes and the use of violence by the US government to quell them, do not forget The Battle of Blair Mountain. US air power used against US civilians. And these days Massey Coal is trying to do mountaintop removal on the site of the battle. No better way to erase history.
posted by barnacles at 6:53 PM on February 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


(oops, I see that eviemath already linked Blair Mountain. That's okay, I regret nothing!)
posted by barnacles at 6:59 PM on February 13, 2011


This group has started airing ads that are designed to stir up anti-union sentiment.
posted by drezdn at 7:00 PM on February 13, 2011


I've sent emails to my Representative and Senator. I plan on following up on them with phone calls and physical letters, but does anyone know the best way to effectively communicate to your elected officials?
posted by drezdn at 7:01 PM on February 13, 2011


Just evil.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:13 PM on February 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hard to believe that just two short years ago all of the media was talking about the extinction of the Republican Party. Instead we get the extinction of the middle class. Obama really blew it when he decided that bipartisanship was more important than principles. By taking the side of business at every turn he allowed the perversion of Republicans being seen as populists.
posted by JackFlash at 7:26 PM on February 13, 2011 [15 favorites]


'Deliver us from the gathering storm,
unworthy though we are."


posted by clavdivs at 7:47 PM on February 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's easy to blame Obama, and it's probably fair to put some of the blame there, but the truth is, virtually all of Washington has had a hand in this, a new status quo that's been decades in the making, and the popular culture has, too. It doesn't hurt that no one ever puts up a real fight anymore when they get a raw deal; if the progressive era should have taught us anything, it was that the fight for a just political system is never truly over.

I half believe that Obama actually came into office expecting his supporters to back him up by taking to the streets now and then, like Egypt on a smaller scale, to disrupt business as usual and demand the changes we wanted to see out of Washington, because God knows, there's not much pressure we can apply through normal political processes anymore. The president's history as a community organizer would seem to suggest he'd be sympathetic to such community actions; and notably, the Dems under his lead didn't enforce "free speech zones" or make serious efforts to put down Tea Party protesters during the town hall fiasco (even when they showed up brandishing guns). Under FDR, massive public protests that disrupted commerce actually helped give FDR's administration the political support he needed to push through some of his most significant reforms.

We definitely bear some of the blame as Americans. Consider the phenomenon of so-called "Right to Work" states. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said:

"In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as 'right-to-work.' It provides no 'rights' and no 'works.' Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining...We demand this fraud be stopped."

Here we are years later, and people in Right to Work states rarely even think to question what was once popularly recognized as a raw deal for ordinary Americans.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:59 PM on February 13, 2011 [17 favorites]


(That is, in my experience in a Right to Work state.)
posted by saulgoodman at 8:05 PM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've sent emails to my Representative and Senator. I plan on following up on them with phone calls and physical letters, but does anyone know the best way to effectively communicate to your elected officials?

drezdn- any of the methods of contact you listed (phone, email, snail mail) will allow them to note your opinion. However, any communication you have with them should include your name and physical mailing address. Letters are kind of a pain in the butt for them to enter into the system, which depending on who you're contacting could be good or bad :)

It is unlikely that the specifics of your communication- any particular nuance of argument- will cause your communication with your representative or senator to hold any additional sway with them. That's because you're not actually communicating with the representative or senator; the phones will be answered and the messages will be read by staffers, not by the reps or senators themselves. Unless you somehow manage to blow away the staffer with the force of your argument or whatever, the rep or sen won't ever see your communication. As far as I can tell, what's important to them are the raw numbers of people that are in favor or are opposed.

These staffers are very much used to phone contact. Prior to a couple years ago, that was their main MO. Now, they can directly import an email into their system from their Outlook inbox, although it takes a little manual effort on their end to translate the substantive content of the email into the form the software can use. Not every office knows about this functionality or how to use it to its fullest potential. This software allows them to run reports like "Of such and such constituency, for such and such an issue, show me how many people are for/against.", which again if they know about it is very useful for them.

When in doubt, get on the phone.

Incidentally, because I know where you live (heh), there are a few more things I can tell you.
  1. Your particular state senator's office is very tech-savvy; they handle emails very efficiently.
  2. Phone your state representative, remembering to give them your name and mailing address.
  3. Both your sen and rep are already likely to oppose the bill. You will have more influence over the outcome if you can convince any contacts you have in West Bend, Sheboygan, Fond du Lac, or Menomenee Falls to phone their respective representatives; power in the Joint Finance Committee is disproportionately weighted to those communities.
posted by Jpfed at 10:04 PM on February 13, 2011 [9 favorites]


"...meticulous attention should be paid to the special relationships and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government ... the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service."
-FDR
posted by vorpal bunny at 10:46 PM on February 13, 2011


God does not play dice.

-Albert Einstein
posted by Zalzidrax at 11:42 PM on February 13, 2011


When I was a child in Madison, we drove down the street and looked at Guardsmen lined up about every six feet, both sides of the street.

Then one of them accidentally shot another one.

Just kids screwing around.
posted by dragonsi55 at 3:58 AM on February 14, 2011


vorpal bunny: Even if it mattered (FDR has never enjoyed some kind of presidential equivalent of papal infallibility), that quote from FDR (which I can't help notice is currently one of the main talking points that all the right wing blogs and other outlets are injecting into the discussion) was specifically about the unionization of federal workers, not state employees. In essence, he was saying that the role of Federal government services was too critical to allow for the possibility of interruptions.

And yet, here we find the Republicans in congress threatening to strike and shut down the Federal government. So call in the guard on them.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:19 AM on February 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


I mean, hell, FDR interred Japanese Americans during WWII--do you suppose that means we should all unflinchingly accept FDR's judgment in that case, too?
posted by saulgoodman at 6:28 AM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just because FDR was against organized federal employees doesn't mean he was against all organized employees:

It is one of the characteristics of a free and democratic nation that is have free and independent labor unions.

- Franklin D. Roosevelt

Republicans who think that being anti-union is the "correct" Republican position are sorely misinformed. Collective bargaining is a human right, not a political one. Past Republican stalwarts agree:

All that serves labor serves the nation. All that harms is treason. If a man tells you he trusts America, yet fears labor, he is a fool. There is no America without labor, and to fleece the one is to rob the other.

- Abraham Lincoln

It is essential that there should be organization of labor. This is an era of organization. Capital organizes and therefore labor must organize.

-Theodore Roosevelt
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:40 AM on February 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


The Catholic Church even sees unions as a fundamental right:
Natural Right to Join Unions: This right is established in 1891, but it is drawn together and fully
expressed at Vatican II in Guadium et Spes:

“Among the basic rights of the human person is to be numbered the right of freely
founding unions for working people. These should be able truly to represent them and to
contribute to the organizing of economic life in the right way. Included is the right of
freely taking part in the activity of these unions without risk of reprisal. Through this
orderly participation joined to progressive economic and social formation, all will grow
day by day in the awareness of their own function and responsibility, and thus they will be
brought to feel that they are comrades in the whole task of economic development and in6
the attainment of the universal common good according to their capacities and aptitudes.”
(Paragraph #68)

posted by drezdn at 6:54 AM on February 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


A corporation is accumulated capital. A union is accumulated labor. You can't have a fair negotiation between a corporation and an individual, but you can have a fair negotiation between the corporation and the union; or between a small business and an individual.

I'll be okay with breaking unions when we decide to break up corporations. I have a feeling that's not in the cards, though.
posted by empath at 7:17 AM on February 14, 2011 [12 favorites]


Who big is the University that it consumes half the state payroll?

Many state public university systems are huge. Wisconsin's is one. Others I can think of off the top of my head that are even huger are California (250,000 employees) and New York (88,000 employees).
posted by blucevalo at 7:54 AM on February 14, 2011


One of most egregious things about Walker's attack on the state's unions is that the rights he wants to remove will only still be available to police and firefighters unions, the two unions that endorsed him in the election.
posted by drezdn at 8:13 AM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Geez ... remember when WI was firmly in the Blue State column?

Anyway: I'd suggest Gov Walker to pay close attention to what happened when Gov Hosni tried that stuff.
posted by Twang at 8:16 AM on February 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Two minor notes:
1. For those of us who "work for" the state, don't use your government or .edu accounts for emailing politicians.
2. UW workers are "state employees," but that does not mean the state pays our salaries. I don't have the precise figures but state contribution shrinks every year.

Carry on.

posted by Mngo at 8:27 AM on February 14, 2011


Sending scabs up against a picket line is a physical confrontation. Especially when you are drawing your scabs from the ranks of the military.

This is the crux of the issue. Well said.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:43 AM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


For those of you who don't live in Wisconsin let me give you a little background.

This guy is a fucking idiot. Exhibit 1
posted by Bonzai at 9:47 AM on February 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Many state public university systems are huge.

No doubt, though California and NY both have much larger populations. But if UW payroll is half the state budget then that means they are spending more on wages then not only all wages for other state agencies combined but also all capital spending and procurement even for UW. The mind boggles.
posted by Mitheral at 9:47 AM on February 14, 2011


It looks like Ohio Republicans have a similar plan.
posted by drezdn at 9:49 AM on February 14, 2011


Where goes Wisconsin, there follows Ohio.

Ohio, if you haven't followed, also returned the federal Railway funds. Kasich and Walker must be madly in love with each other, at this rate...
posted by symbioid at 10:00 AM on February 14, 2011


A picket line is a physical confrontation.
posted by delegeferenda at 10:04 AM on February 14, 2011


A picket line is a physical confrontation.

No, a picket line at a government building is an exercise of both the Freedom of Assembly and the Right to Petition for a Redress of Grievances.

It's defined in that--you know, whatchamacallit there... That "Bill of Rights" thing some people still think actually means something.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:15 AM on February 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh, sorry, thought this was the empty slogan department.

Is crossing a picket line a physical confrontation? Is hindering a scab from crossing a picket line a physical confrontation?

Sorry, I'm a European social liberal, leaving me deeply divided on the whole issue.
posted by delegeferenda at 10:46 AM on February 14, 2011


Where goes Wisconsin, there follows Ohio.

Ohio, if you haven't followed, also returned the federal Railway funds. Kasich and Walker must be madly in love with each other, at this rate...


Can they just route the train through West Virginia instead? Maybe when people see their money and jobs sent out of state by their governor they'll think twice about electing these jackasses.

Maybe.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:24 AM on February 14, 2011


Is crossing a picket line a physical confrontation? Is hindering a scab from crossing a picket line a physical confrontation?

It can be. Traditional union philosophy is this: the only way to negotiate with a strong and organized management is with a strong and organized union. That's the only way to achieve any balance in power. Anyone who works as an individual - whether he's a non-union employee or a scab - is actively undermining that objective. When philosophy meets the physical world, lotsa things can happen.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:35 AM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


A boycott of Scott Walker contributors has been started.
posted by drezdn at 12:33 PM on February 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


Foam Pants: "As a local AFSCME member, if this happened in our state government, very few state workers would show up for any sort of rally. They never have in the past. Most state workers of my social circle are anti-union and would gladly keep the $40 that comes out of every pay check for the union. And, even though I am very pro-union, I can totally understand why they feel that way."

Me, too. I was raised in a union family on tales of the unionization of the auto industry. But, AFSCME sold my entire job classification down the river. We went from the full time with benefits and decent pay to part time, no benefits and barely above minimum wage. We were the only job classification that required a BA in the bargaining unit. They screwed us library aids to give the laborers, coronary assistants and janitors raises.

Now, the laborers, coronary assistants and janitors all deserved raises. But we didn't deserve to go from having a job you could pay the bills with to a job good only for pin money.

When we tried to go to the union meetings, they refused to tell us where and when they were.

I will never work for an AFSCME shop again.
posted by QIbHom at 1:20 PM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


No doubt, though California and NY both have much larger populations. But if UW payroll is half the state budget then that means they are spending more on wages then not only all wages for other state agencies combined but also all capital spending and procurement even for UW. The mind boggles.

Basically what Mngo said:

UW workers are "state employees," but that does not mean the state pays our salaries. I don't have the precise figures but state contribution shrinks every year.


I dug through some of the numbers The most up to date stats I could find real fast on the number of state employees in WI was from the BLS, pegging the number at 102k or so, but that was from 2002. According to the University they employee just under 32k people. So it's more like 30% of all state employees.

Now maybe professorial type jobs are higher paying, so those 30% make as much as the other 70% of the state employees, but I doubt it, and either way it is not directly relevant as the state doesn't fully fund the university.

According to the state budget, they supply $3.5 billion of the university funding with an additional $1.1 billion from federal government. The state's contribution has been pretty much steadily decreasing by over $100 million per biennium for most of the last decade. Currently the university's total operating budget is $7.1 billion, which means Wisconsin is now providing less than half the funding.

Nonetheless University employees are still state employees, simply because the UW system is a government system, even if all their pay comes from, say, federal grant money.
posted by Zalzidrax at 1:40 PM on February 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I plan on following up on them with phone calls and physical letters, but does anyone know the best way to effectively communicate to your elected officials?

I'm pretty sure the best way to communicate with Walker is a generous donation to his campaign fund. Just ask John Bergstrom, who got an entire bill just to exempt his wetlands property from mandated proceedings so he could fast-track a potential development - for only pennies on the dollar!

Unfortunately, the company he was working with had pesky "ethical issues" with building a retail store on wetlands, but don't worry, when you buy legislation from Walker, he'll do what it takes to get it passed - whether it makes sense or not.

Now that the election season is over simply show up with a briefcase of unmarked bills, or for smaller matters whisper in his ear and slip him a twenty at his next rally. Wisconsin: Open for Business.

My theory with part of this is that Walker does hope that the prison workers do strike, and then he'll proceed to fire them and bring in a company along the lines of the one that runs prisons in Arizona (hiring back the former state workers at lower wages and less benefits).

Like he already did with the courthouse in Milwaukee despite a veto by the legislature by declaring a 'Budget Emergency'? It was a contract with Wackenhut/G4S, who I believe are involved with Arizona's prisons. It also didn't work out very well - the savings were less than projected and the head of the force was fired after they found out he had past misdemeanors for inviting officers to his house to get drunk and watch porn with him *nudge-nudge**wink-wink*. In any case, this is a depressing probability I hadn't considered before. Walker has far exceeded my expectations for how awful his term could be - it's only been two months.
posted by nTeleKy at 2:25 PM on February 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


nTeleky, that Journal Sentinel story is horrifying. Some friends and I on Facebook were just theorizing that this whole collective bargaining attack has nothing to with the budget, its just one step in his plan to privatize the state and.... it's true. I sort of can't believe that this is happening to my state. Though its a "blue" state, I've always considered it to be "red" but that's mostly because I live in a rural conservative area. But even the conservatives weren't that horrible. I mean, Tommy Thompson brought us BadgerCare for crying out loud. But this past election was a turn to the right at warpspeed. I am afraid.
posted by greasy_skillet at 4:04 PM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Scott Walker is a shitheel.

He doesn't seem to understand that middle class jobs make business possible. Without a thriving middle class, nobody goes out to eat. Nobody buys Briggs and Stratton lawn mowers. They might shop at Wal-Mart, but more and more of them will shop at the Dig & Save and Family Dollar. John Bergstrom's car dealerships will go out of business if there isn't a middle class to buy cars.

Then what? We're all getting government assistance to live day-to-day? How does that save any money? Because in the last 40 years all income growth has gone to the top 10% of earners, while incomes have fallen for the bottom 90%.

People like Scott Walker want to accelerate this trend. He is the true product of the suburbs, somebody blissfully unaware of the struggles of the middle class, claiming to love a state that he secretly loathes, full as it is of moochers, loafers, ordinary people who cannot afford the good life, and therefore do not deserve it.
posted by rocketman at 5:12 PM on February 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


State and city workers are the backbone of a middle class economy. In bad times they're the ones who still have the funds to keep many businesses flush and who save money and neighborhoods from deteriorating.

Man. I always thought Wis. was a pretty cool place, what with it's community owned football team and Russ Feingold as its Senator. What the fuck happened? Did something evil infect the cheese and give the state brain rot??
posted by Skygazer at 5:26 PM on February 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Also: just raise my taxes already. You'd be doing me a huge favor.
posted by rocketman at 5:47 PM on February 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Man. I always thought Wis. was a pretty cool place, what with it's community owned football team and Russ Feingold as its Senator. What the fuck happened? Did something evil infect the cheese and give the state brain rot??

This fight isn't even in the general vicinity of over.

Where do I go for the riots?
posted by Bonzai at 8:49 PM on February 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Where do I go for the riots?

Egypt.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:14 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


JESUS FUCKING CHRIST...

Wisconsin turns down 23 million for broadband expansion.

I'm really really really starting to just get sad at this point.
posted by symbioid at 7:50 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can see from my window people holding signs and marching around the capitol square. There are a couple reasons why what they're doing won't matter:
  1. This is utterly commonplace. This is the second out of what will be tens of utterly ignored protests around the capitol this year.
  2. They're in the sidewalk, walking where people should walk, instead of blocking the streets. There is no actual disruption of anything, so there is no reason for anyone else to care.
If they really wanted to start something big (they almost have enough people to do this already, and it's not even noon yet), they would link arms across the isthmus at its narrowest point down Butler or Hancock (due to its geography Madison is eminently protest-able). That would be very disruptive, would guarantee some arrests, and then people would have to pay attention.
posted by Jpfed at 8:57 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


This fight isn't even in the general vicinity of over.

The JFC meets today, so this particular battle is moving fast. They're currently working on video accommodations for the overflow of people in the capitol building itself. Once that is ready, they'll be in for a long session.
posted by Jpfed at 9:17 AM on February 15, 2011


Jpfed: to be fair, the buses are being detoured, so theres at least as much disruption as the farmer's market.
posted by shesdeadimalive at 10:00 AM on February 15, 2011


Most state workers of my social circle are anti-union and would gladly keep the $40 that comes out of every pay check for the union. And, even though I am very pro-union, I can totally understand why they feel that way.

I'm not a union member, but I can understand the frustration from all the things I've seen/heard about failures of unions currently. But I have to ask your anti-union friends who would rather keep their $40 and support this bill...would they really rather be losing that money to fund their pensions and health care, which are certain to eat up far more than $40/month?

I can see from my window people holding signs and marching around the capitol square.
Hey! I live across the street from the Masonic Center! We're almost neighbors!
posted by shesdeadimalive at 10:37 AM on February 15, 2011


shesdeadimalive: "Most state workers of my social circle are anti-union and would gladly keep the $40 that comes out of every pay check for the union. And, even though I am very pro-union, I can totally understand why they feel that way.

I'm not a union member, but I can understand the frustration from all the things I've seen/heard about failures of unions currently. But I have to ask your anti-union friends who would rather keep their $40 and support this bill...would they really rather be losing that money to fund their pensions and health care, which are certain to eat up far more than $40/month?

I can see from my window people holding signs and marching around the capitol square.
Hey! I live across the street from the Masonic Center! We're almost neighbors!
"

Quisling?
posted by symbioid at 10:50 AM on February 15, 2011


Skygazer: "State and city workers are the backbone of a middle class economy. In bad times they're the ones who still have the funds to keep many businesses flush and who save money and neighborhoods from deteriorating.

Man. I always thought Wis. was a pretty cool place, what with it's community owned football team and Russ Feingold as its Senator. What the fuck happened? Did something evil infect the cheese and give the state brain rot??
"

I propose we name some future cheese-rot fungus after Ronald Reagan...
posted by symbioid at 10:51 AM on February 15, 2011


Quisling?
posted by symbioid


Note: Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the
issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at... OHH, WAIT!
Sorry I blew up....
posted by Floydd at 11:01 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


The JFC meets today, so this particular battle is moving fast. They're currently working on video accommodations for the overflow of people in the capitol building itself. Once that is ready, they'll be in for a long session.

I've emailed my representatives. I got an email from Obama urging me to call which I may yet do. Even if this passes it's a long way from over as it'll go to the courts.

You can't just shove something this big down our throats without debate.

I knew this prick was trouble when I didn't vote for him.
posted by Bonzai at 11:08 AM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Quisling Terrace Apartment Homes

Ha ha ha.

Oh no.
posted by Skygazer at 11:12 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Walker won't give budget address at Capitol

He's gotta show he's "serious" about creating jobs, so, ya know... he's doing this on private property.

Run and hide, motherfucker. Run and hide. Can I go one day without running into this asshole perpetratin' some new asininity?
posted by symbioid at 11:20 AM on February 15, 2011


Walker's office is taking a "poll" on the budget bill:
MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD: Governor Walker's office is taking a poll to gauge support for the Budget Repair Bill. The # is 608.266.1212. Call & let them know you Oppose the Bill!
The woman who answered when I called seemed like she really wanted me to say that I supported the bill.
posted by drezdn at 12:58 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


When I read about Walker turning away fed $ for high speed rail, I figured that was just as much of a fuck you to former repub gov for life/rail fan Tommy Thompson as it was everyone else.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 1:10 PM on February 15, 2011


Re my previous comment (i.e. these protests weren't disruptive) I should note that the JFC hearing was packed to the gills and the sen and rep phones have been ringing off their hooks.
posted by Jpfed at 1:24 PM on February 15, 2011


The Greenbay Packers have issued a statement supporting the unions.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:53 PM on February 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


From the Packer's statement:

The right to negotiate wages and benefits is a fundamental underpinning of our middle class. When workers join together it serves as a check on corporate power and helps ALL workers by raising community standards. Wisconsin's long standing tradition of allowing public sector workers to have a voice on the job has worked for the state since the 1930s. It has created greater consistency in the relationship between labor and management and a shared approach to public work.

Also: Wisconsin high school students have staged a walkout.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:56 PM on February 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't think the phrasing that "The Packers" have issued this statement is the proper phrasing.

It's more appropriate to say that *some* Packers have issued support of the workers. Though it does look like the Players Assocation as a whole (NFLPA not just Packers players) have stood out for the rights of the Union. So bully for them :)
posted by symbioid at 2:03 PM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


oops. you are absolutely correct symbioid. got carried away. still--good stuff.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:08 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was gonna say s'all good, man, saulgoodman. ;)
posted by symbioid at 2:17 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's still a huge crowd on the capitol square. @DefendMadison is suggesting bringing pillows and sleeping over, trying to make the hearing last all night.
posted by shesdeadimalive at 3:42 PM on February 15, 2011


There's still a huge crowd on the capitol square. @DefendMadison is suggesting bringing pillows and sleeping over, trying to make the hearing last all night.

They're calling it a "citizens filibuster." I hope there are enough people.
posted by drezdn at 4:18 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Koshary

SERVES 4—6

4 oz. ditalini or macaroni, cooked
2 oz. spaghetti, cooked
4 oz. brown lentils, rinsed
Kosher salt, to taste
1 cup cooked basmati rice (optional)
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained
2 cups canola oil
1/4 cup flour
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp. white wine vinegar

Combine ditalini and spaghetti in a bowl; set aside. Put

lentils and 4 cups water into a 2-qt. saucepan and bring

to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer,

stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender, 20

minutes. Season lentils with salt, drain, and transfer

to a bowl along with rice and chickpeas; set aside.

Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat until

hot but not smoking. Put flour into a bowl, add onions,

and toss to coat. Working in 2 batches, add onions to

hot oil and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned

and crisp, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon,

transfer onions to paper towels to drain; reserve oil.

Spoon 4 tbsp. oil from skillet into a 2-qt. saucepan

over medium heat. Add garlic, cumin, cayenne, and

ginger; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and

vinegar and bring to a simmer; cook for 5 minutes.

Season with salt and remove from heat. To serve, divide

pasta mixture between 4 bowls; top with lentil mixture

and fried onions. Spoon tomato sauce over each bowl.

Serve warm or at revolutionary temperature.
posted by Fupped Duck at 5:06 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Citizens continue to testify at the Capitol Wednesday morning against Gov. Scott Walker's plan to eliminate collective bargaining for public workers.

They've been there all night.
posted by Floydd at 6:29 AM on February 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


When I read about Walker turning away fed $ for high speed rail, I figured that was just as much of a fuck you to former repub gov for life/rail fan Tommy Thompson as it was everyone else.

Now Florida's new Governor Rick Scott has rejected the high speed rail money, too, even though it would have covered 90% of the cost of the project (because it would have included the sums that Wisconsin and other states have rejected as well).

What assholes.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:46 AM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


To be fair, Rick Scott was from the hood, yo. He understands what it's like to be poor and black (didn't all black people grow up in the ghetto? that's what he seems to think)... He knows what it takes to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, and taking federal handouts ain't it, dontcha know.
posted by symbioid at 7:50 AM on February 16, 2011


Oops. That first paragraph was a quote from here.

This is exactly what I expected them (state-level Republicans) to do: Deliberately thwart any economic development impact from the Federal funding to prevent the jobs market from picking up by whatever means necessary, then point the finger at the administration for not doing enough.

How much more pro-free market can you get than offering the private sector a chance to undertake a massive public works project with 90% of the costs subsidized? These jerks running the states now are not in the slightest interested in looking out for their citizens' interests. Unfortunately, Florida does not have a recall option, or else I think there'd be enough political momentum to make it a possibility already; there seem to be precious few folks left who Scott hasn't already rubbed the wrong way.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:51 AM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


He knows what it takes to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, and taking federal handouts ain't it, dontcha know.

(Heh. The irony in this comment is so sweet given Scott made his fortune misappropriating Federal Medicare money. Guess that's how he knows so viscerally that there's waste and abuse in the system: all those years experience in wasting and abusing it.)
posted by saulgoodman at 7:56 AM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


While Wisconsin's deficit situation isn't good, , it is better than that of Nevada, Illinois, Minnesota, Texas, Oregon, or California... though marginally worse than that of New York.

What this suggests to me is that Walker is doing this for ideological, not practical, reasons... and that this tactless attempt at union busting could backfire across the entire state, with strikes and slowdowns both inside and outside of the public sector.

The fact is, many state workers have already accepted big pay cuts, in exchange for not having their benefits slashed. They're even working over a week a year for free. Now they're supposed to eat what would be, in effect, a 12% pay cut on top of that, and permanent loss of basic collective bargaining rights?

There are only 7500 Wisconsin National Guard troops... and 800 of them are currently on active duty, serving in Afghanistan or Iraq. Others are set to deploy soon. Perhaps they should ask themselves... do they really deserve another crappy deployment?!
posted by markkraft at 8:49 AM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


What this suggests to me is that Walker is doing this for ideological, not practical, reasons

Procedurally, it may be inappropriate to include the union provisions in the budget repair bill. Walker's office has stated that the union provisions were included because there is not enough time to negotiate with the unions. However, since the unions won't have another contract until July 2011 at the earliest anyway, in the case that a budget repair bill was passed without the union provisions, he would still have another four months to introduce a bill that included them.
posted by Jpfed at 9:06 AM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


"When I read about Walker turning away fed $ for high speed rail..."

...I did a happy dance, because half of that money is now going to create more jobs here in California!

Let's put this in perspective, shall we?! Walker rejected $810 million that could've created thousands of new jobs in his state... an amount equal to about 1/3rd of the state's deficit!

Hell, he could've at least found some way to borrow against the funds once they were in state coffers, delaying the roll-out of high-speed rail until after the state had recovered somewhat. He said he'd rather take the money and use it for crumbling roads and bridges... but he didn't, because he was too fixated on ideological rejectionism!
posted by markkraft at 9:07 AM on February 16, 2011


Wisconsin high school students have staged a walkout.

I just got an IM from my daughter saying she participated. I told her I was proud of her, but she has to pay the $150 truancy ticket herself.
posted by rocketman at 10:28 AM on February 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


(Hopefully, the staff at the schools will waive the truancy tickets, in this matter... or at least be really, really, really slow in processing them.)
posted by markkraft at 11:03 AM on February 16, 2011


Walker gins up 'crisis' to reward cronies:
"[T]he nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau recently released a memo detailing how the state will end the 2009-2011 budget biennium with a budget surplus...the state will end the year with a balance of $121.4 million.

To the extent that there is an imbalance -- Walker claims there is a $137 million deficit -- it is not because of a drop in revenues or increases in the cost of state employee contracts, benefits or pensions. It is because Walker and his allies pushed through $140 million in new spending for special-interest groups in January. If the Legislature were simply to rescind Walker’s new spending schemes -- or delay their implementation until they are offset by fresh revenues -- the 'crisis' would not exist."

posted by Fin Azvandi at 11:30 AM on February 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


Jpfed, how big are the protests compared to average.

Crowd estimates are say 13,000 or so yesterday (not counting other protests).
posted by drezdn at 12:10 PM on February 16, 2011


It's a tossup. Today, the square around the capitol looks fuller, but yesterday, there were a LOT of people inside the capitol building itself.
posted by Jpfed at 12:16 PM on February 16, 2011


To answer your original question, this is bigger than an average protest. I really underestimated it with my earlier comment.
posted by Jpfed at 12:18 PM on February 16, 2011


I think I managed to get my parents to call their Republican reps.

It might just be bias on my part, but it seems like there are many people who supported Walker's election but are upset by this dramatic overreach on his part.
posted by drezdn at 12:21 PM on February 16, 2011


From Clarence Darrow:
I take it that in a free country ... every person has the right to lay down the tools of his trade if he shall choose. Not only that, but in a free country where liberty of speech is guaranteed, every man has the right to go to his fellow man and say, 'We are out on strike. We are in a great battle for liberty. We are waging war for our fellow man. For God's sake, come with us and help.' "

Gentlemen, I leave this case with you; here is Thomas I. Kidd. It is a matter of the smallest consequence to him or to me what you do; and I say it as sincerely as I ever spoke a word. No man ever entered this struggle for human liberty without measuring the cost, and the jail is one of the costs that must he measured with the rest; and if you see fit to send him there, he will take his punishment like a man, and ask no odds of any human being on the earth. But, gentlemen, I do not appeal for him. That cause is too narrow for me, much as I love him and long as I have worked by his side. I appeal to you, gentlemen, not for Thomas I. Kidd, but I appeal to you for the long line -- the long, long line reaching back through the ages, and forward to the years to come -- the long line of despoiled and downtrodden people of the earth. I appeal to you for those men who rise in the morning before daylight comes, and who go home at night when the light has faded from the sky and give their life, their strength, their toil, to make others rich and great. I appeal to you in the name of those women who are offering up their lives, their strength and their womanhood on the altar of this modern god of gold; and I appeal to you, gentlemen, in the name of these little children, the living and the unborn, who will look at your names and bless them for the verdict you will render in their aid.

Gentlemen, the world is dark; but it is not hopeless...
posted by drezdn at 12:30 PM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I hope the backlash on this revitalizes the Union movement. A lot of unions could use a dose of new (and younger) blood and forward thinking themselves to be honest, they have become a little removed from the workers.

Thankfully my parents union (1199 now SEIU) was a good one, a really vital one, and pretty much helped to make sure we had a decent wage, great benefits and even some money for college.

I'll be forever thankful, and I'm just looking for a march to go to support Unions in the face of these grotesque plutocratic GOP bastards.

Hell, I might even write a pro-Union folk song!!
posted by Skygazer at 12:32 PM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm not a union member, but I really really hate this shit and see this as a huge issue.

I have 2 roommates, one who collects disability, the other has to work 2 jobs to make ends meet. I make a decent amount, but don't have a huge savings, and certainly not enough to pay rent for another month.

If there's a general strike, what can I do? I WANT so bad to send a message to my staunch Republican boss (who is otherwise a mostly decent person, politics aside) that I won't stand for this shit as a worker. But I also don't want to fuck over my job/current situation nor my roommates. Do I just donate to a fund if something gets to that point? How can I make it clear besides that, that I stand with them?
posted by symbioid at 12:54 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Symboid, it would seem from your comment and mine that there's a dearth of understanding of how to use the Web 2.0 Social App world and just how powerful it can be to aggregate workers in common goal. Strikes can go asynchronous and de-centralized. People in NY should be able to support the events in Wis. and vice versa. Funds could saved, war chests, so people can take a day off and not lose wages and/or get information on how to apply for Unemployment if they go on strike (Yes, I'm pretty sure that's allowed). And the great thing with organized labor and unions is that, a little bit from a LOT of people can have a MASSIVE effect.

Anyhow, this is all to say it's seriously way past time for the union movement to hit reset for the 21st Century and establish: UNION 2.0.

And if Scott Walker, and the rest of the Tea Steepers, are either going to have to begin back-pedaling or they will have roused a seriously huge sleeping dog.
posted by Skygazer at 1:13 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Actually I hope they don't back-pedal. Let them feel what a REAL populist movement is like. They will not know what hit them...
posted by Skygazer at 1:15 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Looks like we need Wobblies 2.0 :)
One big-ass union not to fuck with.
posted by symbioid at 1:17 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can you imagine how even more exponentially powerful the labor movement(s) would've been in the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s if they'd had access to half the socializing tools we have at our disposal now pretty much for free!!

The mind boggles.

Obama's web folks raised a fortune by tapping into those tools and that real populist energy.

It's no wonder the GOP needs Citizens United to fund their elections now. The need to balance out "the people" (as in "we the people") with modern day aristocracy/plutocracy.

i.e., the Corporatist's and their cronies.
posted by Skygazer at 1:37 PM on February 16, 2011


Wobblies 2.0 sounds awesome! I want a t-shirt that says that. Let the profits for it go to a digitalized, Union 2.0 social media site.
posted by Skygazer at 1:39 PM on February 16, 2011


The Wobblies might not want that term taken (considering they still exist, though)

But Union2.0 hmm... At the same time how much of that is just duplicating similar efforts and how do you make sure it's not taken over by the giant forces that already dominate (moveon, etc...)???
posted by symbioid at 1:45 PM on February 16, 2011


What can we learn from the Egyptian movement, that might be a good question to start with... Obviously it's different, but still, there's surely lessons to be learned. Even if it fails in Wisconsin these attacks against workers are gonna ripple across the states (Ohio and Florida are two names I've seen bandied about in this thread for various reasons)...

I think we've gotta work on being a step ahead. We can't let them be the ones to determine the terms. We have to react, since it's their actions, but we should really focus on preacting.
posted by symbioid at 1:50 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes, the terms, Walker must know he's taking a calculated risk here. And to what end? Yeah, sure, weaken the unions, go in for the death blow, but also, who's rulebook is he following? Who owns this guy? Who's attention does he want?

This has put him squarely in the national spotlight. I'm sure the Koch Bros., Wall Street, Walmart, Dick Armeyand etc... have taken notice and await with very very deep pockets available to him and, Rubio, and Kasich.

Just another reason Citizens United is heinious.
posted by Skygazer at 2:01 PM on February 16, 2011


Here is what appears to be a good collection of links related to Organized Labor and Social Media at New Labor Media.
posted by Skygazer at 2:06 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Looks like a couple Republican legislators are making amendments for compromise.

We'll see...
posted by symbioid at 2:26 PM on February 16, 2011


The New York Times weighs in with a pro-Walker editorial -- oh, sorry, I mean "news story" -- applading Walker's "No more apologies, no half-measures" stance, and suggesting that the governor was "forced" to take away from state and local employees the collective bargaining rights that every private worker in the state enjoys. Funny how he was only "forced" to remove those rights from the teachers union that opposed his campaign, and not from the police and fire unions that supported him.
posted by escabeche at 3:24 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


This article sums up the situation pretty well.
Through the Huffington Post, Joseph McCartin, a labor historian at Georgetown University said, "If it had simply to do with the budget there doesn't seem to be a need to eliminate collective bargaining. In other states where state's municipalities have faced difficult times, unions have helped negotiate the way forward."

Here, however, is the most interesting tidbit, again through the Huffington Post, " The share of corporate tax revenue funding the state government has fallen by half since 1981 and, according to Wisconsin Department of Revenue, two-thirds of corporations pay no taxes."
posted by drezdn at 3:40 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Huge rally at the capital today. I had students emailing in, missing class because they're camped out in the rotunda. The TAA is calling for a campus-wide teach-out at the Madison campus tomorrow.

Meanwhile, in related news, there's discussion about splitting the UW-Madison off from the rest of the UW system in the name of "flexibility." Our Chancellor clashes with the Regents on this.
posted by Mngo at 4:29 PM on February 16, 2011


Budget "Repair" Bill would cost the state $47 million in federal transit funds.
posted by drezdn at 6:26 PM on February 16, 2011


The NYTimes article has now been revised to remove the phrasing I complained about.
posted by escabeche at 6:38 PM on February 16, 2011


A bunch of school districts are closed tomorrow to allow teachers' voices to be heard.
posted by drezdn at 8:04 PM on February 16, 2011


I'm sure that talk radio will spin it as "the teachers don't care" but won't mention that the days will be made up at the end of the school year.
posted by drezdn at 8:14 PM on February 16, 2011


Walker to propose $1 billion cut to education: MPS [Milwaukee Public Schools] would lose up to 25% of its funding
posted by desjardins at 8:28 PM on February 16, 2011


We won't back down.
posted by drezdn at 8:30 PM on February 16, 2011


Desjardins, the worst thing about that is, if I understand it right, is that it's federal money that doesn't cost the state.
posted by drezdn at 8:31 PM on February 16, 2011


Meanwhile, in related news, there's discussion about splitting the UW-Madison off from the rest of the UW system in the name of "flexibility."

From the stories I've heard about Walker, I wouldn't be surprised if he's messing with Madison solely because he's a Marquette grad.
posted by drezdn at 8:32 PM on February 16, 2011


Gene Sharp - American founder of non-violent protest movement : for the world’s despots, his ideas can be fatal.

Unions must arm themselves with this knowledge to fight these plutocratic tyrants.
posted by Skygazer at 8:52 PM on February 16, 2011


My sister is driving me bugfuck crazy on Facebook with her ranting about Democrat whiners, so I'm venting here in order to keep the peace. Actually I'm just barely coherent right now. Our father was a union member... does she think that his company gave him a pension out of the goodness of their hearts?

My husband and I are supposed to go to dinner with her and her husband this weekend and I'm not sure how we're going to get through it, especially considering that my husband was raised by public school teachers...
posted by desjardins at 8:54 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


drezdn - I heard he didn't even graduate (will go look for a cite)
posted by desjardins at 8:55 PM on February 16, 2011


cite - he didn't graduate with a degree and his GPA was 2.59
posted by desjardins at 8:57 PM on February 16, 2011


My husband and I are supposed to go to dinner with her and her husband this weekend and I'm not sure how we're going to get through it, especially considering that my husband was raised by public school teachers...

Tell her you don't want to talk about politics. If she insists, indulge her. Honestly.
posted by Bonzai at 8:57 PM on February 16, 2011


From the stories I've heard about Walker, I wouldn't be surprised if he's messing with Madison solely because he's a Marquette grad.

Not quite. Walker did go to Marquette, but dropped out with a C average and no diploma.
posted by escabeche at 9:00 PM on February 16, 2011


I am not all that quick in a debate, but my husband is like lightning, so if she wants to bring it, it's ON. She's a good person with a great kid, but oh my god does she believe some really stupid shit when it comes to politics.
posted by desjardins at 9:03 PM on February 16, 2011


Milwaukee Public Schools may be closed tomorrow (largest district in the state)
posted by desjardins at 9:05 PM on February 16, 2011


You can watch the vote live here (Windows Media Player, sorry)
posted by desjardins at 9:10 PM on February 16, 2011


Warning, if you watch the discussions live you might put your fist through your monitor. EIther because of the Republican jackass or because Windows Media Player sucks.
posted by desjardins at 9:15 PM on February 16, 2011


Not quite. Walker did go to Marquette, but dropped out with a C average and no diploma.

Oops, I knew he never graduated, but mistyped.
posted by drezdn at 9:32 PM on February 16, 2011


OMG Glenn Grothman... "well, if my boss told me he was cancelling my pension, I'd get over it in about 10 minutes"

FFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

I'm going to bed.
posted by desjardins at 9:39 PM on February 16, 2011


Here's hoping MPS closes tomorrow. If it does, my family will be headed up to Madison to protest.
posted by drezdn at 9:39 PM on February 16, 2011


Madison schools will be closed again tomorrow, and with the throngs of people packing the Isthmus, my commute to work promises to be trying.

Unfortunately, we're in the spot we are in because the Democrats have been feckless and have a noted and demonstrated lack of leadership and ability to follow through on even the simplest of initiatives.

These changes will go through, and Scott Walker will get everything he asks for. No real political fallout will result. This will happen to be because the Democrats excel at only one thing - squandering any political opportunity that presents itself.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:57 PM on February 16, 2011


Well, here we are. The assembly passed it, it's to the State Senate.

Ugh. Tomorrow is payday at work. Hrmph. Well - I guess if it passes Senate tomorrow - I call in Friday in protest? I dunno. UGH.
posted by symbioid at 11:12 PM on February 16, 2011


<pedant>The JFC passed it, so it goes to the Senate. After the Senate, it will go to the Assembly.</pedant> The JFC, composed of members from both houses, is kind of a big deal because iirc almost every bill passes through them.

Both the Senate and Assembly votes are expected to happen today.
posted by Jpfed at 3:38 AM on February 17, 2011


proposed meetup in madison
posted by g.i.r. at 4:20 AM on February 17, 2011


Van Wanggaard said he's going to vote for it. He hasn't even read the whole thing.
posted by drezdn at 4:20 AM on February 17, 2011


Walker wants to turn down Federal Title I funding (mentioned in desjardins link above), this doesn't even cost the state, but will dramatically hurt every poor district in the state.
posted by drezdn at 4:23 AM on February 17, 2011


Just sent this to Sargento:
I love cheese and Sargento products in particular (if you saw me, this would be obvious), but I'm writing to let you know that myself and others will be boycotting your product for the financial support your company provided Gov. Scott Walker.

This boycott will continue as long as Governor Walker takes away collective bargaining rights from public employees. If he won't listen to the thousands who've already protested his actions, maybe he'll listen to his contributors.

If you want, I'll send you pictures of me buying Crystal Farms and other brands of cheese.

Remember, Democrats buy cheese too, just not from you now.
posted by drezdn at 4:49 AM on February 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


drezdn writes "Walker wants to turn down Federal Title I funding (mentioned in desjardins link above), this doesn't even cost the state, but will dramatically hurt every poor district in the state."

Maybe next he'll turn down federal highway funds and Wisconsin will repeal the lower the drinking age and raise the speed limit.
posted by Mitheral at 4:59 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Republican Wisconsin Senators eligible for recall: Rob Cowles, District 2; Alberta Darling, District 8; Sheila Harsdorf, District 10; Randy Hopper, District 18; Dan Kapanke, District 32; Luther Olsen, District 14

I don't have time now, but I'm curious which one won by the slimmest margin.
posted by drezdn at 5:13 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just got this from a friend:

Senator Randy Hopper, District 18 only won by 163 votes and is eligible to be recalled.
posted by drezdn at 5:38 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you or a relative live in Hopper's district, here's how to contact him...

(608) 266-5300
Sen.Hopper@legis.wisconsin.gov
posted by drezdn at 5:44 AM on February 17, 2011


Recall Scott Walker is growing pretty quickly...
posted by markkraft at 6:52 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I walk into work to hear my boss's wife using the whole "we didn't get ours, you don't get yours" logic. I just said "If they got paid the same wages as the private sector, then maybe..." she said "Exactly" UGH. YOU DON'T GET IT.

I slammed the door behind me as I made coffee. My boss isn't in everyday, but guess who's gonna be in today in a few minutes? I swear to god if he says SHIT about this, I don't know what I'm gonna do. I'm not an aggressive type, and I don't wanna act out without support, but this rage is all gonna go inward and I'm just gonna be depressed if it's forced to be stifled.

Help? General Strike now?
posted by symbioid at 7:23 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think we need a general strike nationwide, not just statewide, this assault is going to happen like dominoes, and we need to nip it in the bud, not just state by state but as a country...
posted by symbioid at 7:30 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hell, I might even write a pro-Union folk song!!

Over on MeFi music there's one I wrote a while back.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:30 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Speaking of music - my rotation today will consist of Propagandhi, RATM and Atari Teenage Riot. :)
posted by symbioid at 7:33 AM on February 17, 2011


Looks like experienced teachers are announcing their retirements, so that they can get the benefits they were promised.

I'm thinking that there should be a national effort to fund a recall election, frankly.

There's been some newspaper polls -- unscientific, but still... -- which indicate some pretty strong opposition to several of Walker's policies. His rejection of hundreds of millions of dollars and singling out of teachers and unions is not popular. A recall election would force him to defend -- not run away from -- bad policy decisions. It's a lose-lose situation for him, regardless of the outcome, and it would send a message to anyone who would follow in his footsteps that reality trumps destructive ideologies, and that there are measurable political costs for going down that route.
posted by markkraft at 8:02 AM on February 17, 2011


The problem with a recall is that we need a full year before we can do it- we can start to build a movement, but that's 10 more months of damage! Recall is one thing, but we've gotta do shit now to build the movement and to stop more reckless damage from occurring before a recall can even happen.

And the problem with focusing on Wisconsin is that this isn't a Wisconsin thing. This is national, and we need to be prepared for this nationally.
posted by symbioid at 8:04 AM on February 17, 2011


Occupy the town square, and don't leave until he resigns. Seems like a tactic that works.
posted by empath at 8:08 AM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Online polls don't vote for much, but voting no on this is the least one could do.
posted by drezdn at 8:31 AM on February 17, 2011


it's closed? or did i already vote on it?
posted by symbioid at 8:42 AM on February 17, 2011


Biggest protest yet occurring now on the square.
posted by Jpfed at 8:45 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Midwestern Tahir: Workers refuse to leave Wisconsin capital over Tea Party labor law
posted by homunculus at 8:54 AM on February 17, 2011


In more choo-choo news, looks like Florida's Republicant governor rejected $2.4 billion in federal funds, scrapping his state's plans to have the first major high-speed rail network in the country.

After the most recent fund rejections, California's high-speed rail line's initial construction would be from Fresno to about 15 miles short of Bakersfield. Florida's very large rejection of funds should allow California to proceed fully from Fresno to Bakersfield... and further still, towards either Gilroy or Merced in the north, or Palmdale in the south.

Basically, the leg of the route through the Central Valley will be pretty much wrapped up, while we'd be tantalizingly close to having an L.A. to S.F. Bay Area corridor... one that could favorably compete against the many San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland to Los Angeles flights that happen every day.
posted by markkraft at 9:11 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


All Democratic State Senators have walked out in solidarity.
posted by Floydd at 9:15 AM on February 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


Chomsky on Democracy Now! about this.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:40 AM on February 17, 2011


reality trumps destructive ideologies

There are too many people who, post-Bush, still vote Republican for this to be true. Yes, Obama won, but the right has just solidified their destructive ideologies in response. Reality has nothing to do with it.

In other news, Russ Feingold launches Progressives United (HuffPo link, sorry). I <3 that guy.
posted by desjardins at 10:24 AM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


More on the Democratic senators' walkout

The local NBC station is apparently reporting that they've left the state to avoid being brought back by state troopers.
posted by Vibrissa at 10:25 AM on February 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


A small bit of humor: "braving the Wisconsin February" (from homunculus' link) made me laugh. It's like 50 degrees out there. The warmth is a blessing; I'm not sure we'd see near this many protesters if it were typical February weather.
posted by desjardins at 10:28 AM on February 17, 2011


Damn, that made me choke up, Vibrissa. That is the awesomest thing I've seen a politician do in awhile.
posted by desjardins at 10:29 AM on February 17, 2011


Vibrissa: "More on the Democratic senators' walkout

The local NBC station is apparently reporting that they've left the state to avoid being brought back by state troopers.
"

So - the Repubs are acting like Texas Republican thugs, and apparently the Dems are acting like Texan dems?
posted by symbioid at 10:31 AM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


FYI, I appreciate any breaking news updates to this thread. I can't trawl the news or keep a close eye on Twitter right now.
posted by desjardins at 10:42 AM on February 17, 2011


If you're still watching this thread, you'll want to watch this new one too.
posted by echo target at 10:48 AM on February 17, 2011


Fitzgerald said at some point, if needed, Republicans will use the State Patrol to round up Democrats to bring them to the floor.

Unbelievable.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:51 AM on February 17, 2011


Thanks echo target, I hadn't made my way to the front page today. I'll see y'all in there.
posted by desjardins at 10:52 AM on February 17, 2011


ditto - heading there too :)
posted by symbioid at 10:54 AM on February 17, 2011


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