Wisconsin workers fight on for their rights

This video is called Wisconsin workers protest Budget Repair Bill.

USA: Hundreds of firefighters came to join the demonstrations of Wisconsin workers at the state capitol on Monday. The firefighters came from Madison, Janesville, Sheboygan, Milwaukee and other Wisconsin cities, and were joined by a delegation of 45 firefighters from Chicago, 125 miles away. They were blocked from entering the state capitol by police and marched around the building to protest the attack on public employees: here.

William Rivers Pitt, Truthout: “If I hear one more person talk about the ‘liberal media’ in America, I will probably vomit on them. It was a stupid and ridiculous thing to say last week – take a long look at which mega-corporations own which news networks, and you won’t find a ‘liberal’ entity anywhere on the list – but the events in Wisconsin have further underscored the absurdity of the statement”: here.

Lee Fang, ThinkProgress: “Koch Industries, the international conglomerate owned by Charles and David Koch, is not only the second largest private company in America, it is the most politically active. As ThinkProgress has carefully documented over the last three years, Koch groups have spent tens of millions to influence government policy – from financing the Tea Parties, to funding junk academic studies, to undisclosed attack ads against Democrats, to groups promoting climate change denial, to a large network of state-based and national think tanks. In an opinion column for the Wall Street Journal today, Koch Industries CEO Charles Koch fired back at his critics, who have grown more vocal as it has become clear that Koch groups are providing the political muscle for Gov. Scott Walker’s (R-WI) union-busting power grab”: here.

Lindsay Beyerstein, The Media Consortium: “On Monday afternoon, the Capitol Police in Madison, Wisconsin refused to enforce an order to clear the Capitol building of hundreds of peaceful protesters who have been occupying the site to protest Governor Scott Walker’s plan to eliminate the collective bargaining rights of public employees”: here.

Social security staff joined pickets across the US today against a Republican plan to slash $1.7 billion (£1bn) from the $11.4bn (£7bn) federal welfare budget: here.

4 thoughts on “Wisconsin workers fight on for their rights


    What if the alphabet only had the letters “A” and “B”?

    In that case, Scott Walker would be a champion speller because, although he could offer a full alphabet of options for a state budget, he seems to have forgotten the rest of the letters beyond “A” (destroy the unions) or “B” (fire state workers).

    BuzzFlash/Truthout staffer Dan DiMaggio wrote a commentary about Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, who offered another option: taxing the super rich:

    But across the border from Wisconsin in Minnesota, Democratic Governor Mark Dayton has proposed an alternative idea: Raise taxes on the rich to help close the budget gap. Dayton’s budget plan would increase taxes to 10.95 percent on Minnesota families earning over $150,000 a year (or single adults earning more than $85,000). He would also add an additional 3 percent surtax on the superrich – those earning more than $500,000 – for the next 3 years.

    Dayton would still make some workforce and social service cuts, but he is putting more than two options on the table. The Republicans, as they did with the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, have basically limited the alphabetic choices to two, and neither of them require sacrifice for the wealthy and corporations. In fact, Walker is cutting taxes for that privileged group.

    But what if the wealthy of Wisconsin paid their fair share for the services and abundance that democracy offers them?

    Mark Levine, founder of the Center for Economic Development at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, wrote an op-ed in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel proposing a modest fair share contribution from the super wealthy. Levine also notes this stunning statistic: “Moreover, as a study by the Institute for Wisconsin’s Future documented, Wisconsin corporations underpay state and local taxes by more than $1.3 billion annually: This is the difference between what businesses actually pay in state and local taxes and what they would be contributing if paying at the average national rate.”

    We had a president, George W. Bush, who had trouble with language, now we have a governor of Wisconsin who only knows two letters of the alphabet.

    Mark Karlin
    Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout



    Was Scott Walker asleep at the wheel as chief executive of Milwaukee County when it came to pension reform?

    According to a 2007 article in Milwaukee Magazine, the answer is an emphatic yes: “Walker always seems to drag his feet when it comes to cleaning up the county’s pension system.”

    Non-Wisconsin readers should know that Walker was elected in the backlash reaction to a pension scandal in the county in 2002, and has been riding the pension reform issue ever since. But talking pension reform and implementing it in a timely manner are two different things – and Walker is a very good talker.

    At the heart of the huge pension budgetary increase that propelled Walker into county office as a reformer was a consulting firm, Mercer Human Resources. Of course, it would be contrary to Walker’s privatization ideology to blame a “free market” firm for any extra costs to the taxpayers, so this assessment from Milwaukee Magazine portends some ominous developments for the people of Wisconsin:

    It was nearly three years after he was elected that he finally got around to planning a legal suit against the actuaries at Mercer Human Resources Consulting for the advice they gave officials who passed the pension plan. Compounding this delay, Walker continued to use Mercer as fiscal adviser, which has left the county in the position of arguing that an expert it kept rehiring is guilty of flagrant malpractice.

    But how he handled the pension debacle that got him into office gets even more worrisome for taxpayers in the Badger State:

    He declined to pursue legal action against the Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren law firm for the advice it gave county officials on the pension plan. The head of the firm, back when Walker made this decision, was then state Republican chair Rick Graber, who had donated campaign money to Walker.

    And what of Walker’s “outraged concern” about the abuse of pensions:

    He hired outside counsel, attorney Charles Stevens, to advise the county on its legal options, and to draft waiver forms for non-union employees to file a waiver of the extra pension benefits. Stevens put in a grand total of 25 hours work on an issue with huge financial implications, yet of apparently little interest for Walker.

    There you have it. Walker, a man in a hurry to get elected, but whose word to taxpayers is about as credible as Nixon saying, “I am not a crook.” Not that Walker is a crook (as far as we know at this moment); he just leaves the taxpayers to pick up the costly tab for his ambition and ideological excess.

    Mark Karlin
    Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout


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