Cutbacks in the USA

This is a video about workers’ demonstrations in Wisconsin, USA.

A Wisconsin judge ordered state politicians on Tuesday to bin a law that would strip public-sector staff of most of their collective-bargaining rights: here.

Trade unionists rallied in London on Monday night in support of embattled workers in Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana fighting a bitter battle to keep their collective bargaining rights: here.

USA: In Costa Mesa, California, city maintenance worker Huy Pham jumped to his death shortly after officials announced that they were going ahead with the sacking of nearly half the city workforce: here.

South Carolina legislature plans more cuts to health care and education: here.

Sam Dillon, The New York Times News Service: “School authorities across the nation are warning thousands of teachers that they could lose their jobs in June, raising the possibility that America’s public schools may see the most extensive layoffs of their teaching staffs in decades. Though many of the warnings may not be acted upon – school systems, their budget outlook unclear, routinely overstate their likely layoffs at this time of year – when layoffs do occur, they cause a chaotic annual reshuffling of staff members”: here.

The government estimates that 25 percent of American children will soon be in poverty and 1.5 million children are homeless: here.

Shamus Cooke, Truthout: “Obvious political truths are sometimes smothered by special interests. The cover-up of the Democrats’ national anti-union agenda is possible because to reveal it for the ruse it is would cause enormous disturbances for the Democratic Party, some labor leaders, liberal organizations and, consequently, the larger political system. Here is the short list of states with Democratic governors where labor unions are undergoing severe attacks: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Oregon, California, New York, Illinois, Washington, Hawaii, Minnesota, Maryland and New Hampshire. Other states with Democratic governors are attacking unions to a lesser degree”: here.

21 thoughts on “Cutbacks in the USA

  1. Stand Up and Be Counted

    Let’s work together to repel the Republican attack on labor.

    The labor movement was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress. Out of its bold struggles, economic and social reform gave birth to unemployment insurance, old age pensions, government relief for the destitute, and above all new wage levels that meant, not mere survival, but tolerable life. The captains of industry did not lead this transformation; they resisted it until they were overcome.

    – Martin Luther King, Jr., October 1965


    All across this country, hardworking Americans are under attack.

    In Wisconsin, Republicans broke the law to ram through legislation designed to rob state workers of their collective bargaining rights. In Michigan, Republicans want to slash the education budget by 15 percent. They’ve even given their “emergency” appointees the power to tear up union contracts. In Maine, the Republican governor ordered the removal of a 36-foot mural depicting the history of the labor movement.

    And in Washington, DC, things are even worse. House Republicans are determined to destroy collective bargaining. During the recent budget fights, Republicans attempted to defund the National Labor Relations Board and leave workers at the mercy of their bosses. The Republican chair of the House Transportation Committee wants to change aviation labor laws to break down collective bargaining rights in that critical sector of our economy. Next week, the House Oversight Committee will spend its scarce time second guessing the US Postal Service’s new labor agreement.

    These are not the only attacks that the House GOP has planned in our nation’s workers. In one of the most callous legislative proposals I have seen in years, House Republicans have even introduced a bill to deny food aid to children of workers that exercise their right to strike against unfair or unsafe working conditions. What mother should have to choose between fighting for decent treatment at work and having enough food to feed her children? And what kind of political movement would force children to go hungry to score political points in this way?

    As someone who has stood with labor for decades – and served as General Counsel to three Detroit locals before entering Congress – I simply will not tolerate this outrageous assault on working people. That is why I warned the nation’s assembled press corps two weeks ago that the coming assault on labor rights in Michigan could be more draconian than what embattled Governor Scott Walker forced on Wisconsin.

    Labor has fought with us for all these years. As Martin said so many years ago, it is labor that pressed American industry to pay its workers a living wage, to provide relief from the ravages of unemployment, and to ensure that workers could retire from the mines and the lines and all the other places of work with dignity and respect.

    Will you stand alongside me?

    Please give whatever you can and join me in this fight. No amount is too small.

    Thank you for your support.

    John Conyers, Jr.



    Scott Walker isn’t just trying to privatize public work; he is also trying to remove accountability for the costs and quality of projects contracted to consultants by the state of Wisconsin.

    A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article reveals that the Walker administration is trying to remove a cost-benefit analysis requirement for “outsourcing” state jobs:

    Governor Scott Walker’s budget proposal eliminates a state law requiring state agencies to study the costs and benefits of outsourcing work.

    Current law says agencies must compare the costs of having private contractors do work costing more than $25,000 against what it would cost to have state workers do the job.

    So, first Walker defiantly declares that state union workers are ripping off the state, then he removes a requirement that reveals whether outside contractors would cost more and do a worse job than public employees. A pretty good scam if you are looking to channel taxpayer money to the firms of campaign contributors without disclosing excessive costs and poor workmanship.

    One Wisconsin Republican state senator isn’t buying Walker’s gambit. Sen. Luther Olson complained, “Can you explain why when we’re in a time of serious fiscal trouble, why we would not want to do a serious cost-benefit analysis?”

    The answer, Senator Olson, is that Walker’s intentions are not to save the taxpayer money or fix budget holes; his goal is to privatize state work and assets.

    Mark Karlin
    Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout



    Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg holds an extremely narrow lead over incumbent pro-Scott Walker State Supreme Court Justice David Prosser. The eventual winner – and there will be a recount – will likely be the swing vote when Walker’s union-crushing legislation comes before the state’s highest court.

    It’s a testament to the strength and vitality of the progressive and pro-union forces that Kloppenburg ran such a strong race. Beating an incumbent Supreme Court justice in Wisconsin is a rare occurrence.

    As we await – and it may take weeks – the final outcome of the Supreme Court election, let’s not forget that Walker received a decisive proxy rejection by the voters of Milwaukee.

    As Truthout notes, Republican state Rep. Jeff Stone – a Walker protege – was trounced by Democrat Chris Able for the office of Milwaukee County chief executive. Just a few weeks ago, Wisconsin political pundits had pegged Stone as a shoo-in. What makes this so politically significant is that Stone, who is a supporter of Walker’s policies, was vying to fill the position left vacant by Walker when he became governor.

    The landslide 61 percent to 39 percent victory of Able for Walker’s former political job – which he held for many years – was a stinging rebuke to the policies, statements and actions of the current governor of Wisconsin. It should not go unnoticed.

    Mark Karlin
    Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout



    The Madison Cap Times is calling for a federal probe into the two-day delayed “discovery” of 7,582 votes for David Prosser, just enough to put the election out of the range of a state-funded recount for the “presumptive” winner Joanne Kloppenburg.

    Without a federal investigation – given that Gov. Scott Walker loyalists would control an administrative State Board of Elections review – we can only maintain the deepest suspicions over what is occurring, and that it may be another theft of an election by the Republicans.

    You have to go back to the 2000 Florida standoff to find a figure who so matches Katherine Harris as does Waukesha County clerk Kathy Nickolaus, who claims to have made a “mistake” unheard of before in the Badger State.

    As the CapTimes and other Wisconsin outlets have noted, Nickolaus kept election results on her personal computer, even though she had been formally warned not to do so. She was given immunity from prosecution in 2002 for campaigning for Republicans on taxpayer’s time. Furthermore, as the CapTimes notes, Nickolaus is “a former Republican legislative staffer who worked for Prosser when he served as Assembly speaker and with Gov. Scott Walker when he was a GOP rising star.”

    The Republicans have already brought in the lead attorney for the GOP in Bush v. Gore to ensure Prosser gets reseated on the high court.

    But nothing short of the immediate impounding of the Nickolaus personal computer in question and the ballots of Waukesha County will ensure an untainted federal investigation – that is assuming the Obama administration has the resolve to ensure that election crimes were not committed. The email from Nickolaus’s personal computer – if not yet removed from the hard drive – would be valuable enough in and of itself to see if there was coordination of this 48-hour “mistake.”

    BuzzFlash at Truthout was publishing during the 2000 Florida election – and we can say that, based on that experience, only the full force of a federal investigation can resolve the highly suspicious emergence of 7,582 votes for Prosser, after a considerable delay, by a county election chief with a history of not following vote-counting security measures and has personal relationships with both Prosser and Walker, not to mention an ongoing history with the Republican Party as an operative.

    If the White House and the Department of Justice get weak-kneed about this one, it will be like letting Bush get anointed by the Supreme Court all over again.

    Let the investigation into vote fraud in the Waukesha County election clerk’s office begin with experts from DC.

    Mark Karlin
    Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout



    Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, who represents the Madison, Wisconsin, area may have read the BuzzFlash at Truthout commentary, “Impound the Private Computer of the Katherine Harris of Wisconsin and Bring in the Feds.”

    That is because Baldwin wrote to Attorney General Holder to launch a federal investigation into the election counting of the vote for Wisconsin Supreme Court justice, and curious two-day late emergence of approximately 7500 votes for Scott Walker’s candidate, David Prosser.

    Utilizing social media, Baldwin tweeted, “To assure public confidence in our election process, I have asked AG Holder to investigate the handling of vote records in Waukesha County.”

    Baldwin posted her letter to Holder on Facebook, in which she writes:

    I share the concern of my constituents that these reports [about election count disparities] raise serious doubts as to the integrity of the electoral process in Waukesha County and, by extension, our entire state.

    To ensure that the April 5th election for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice is free, fair, and transparent, and to uphold faith in our democracy for ourselves and future generations, I ask for your immediate assistance in investigating these election inconsistencies in Wisconsin.

    Specifically, I urge you to immediately assign the Justice Department Public Integrity Section, which oversees the federal prosecution of election crimes, to investigate the questionable handling of vote records….

    Every election, the Republicans clamor that there is massive voting fraud among minorities, which has proven to hardly exist. But the Department of Justice should be particularly vigilant in overseeing those who count the votes, particularly when they have a history of partisan bias and election counting irregularities.

    Mark Karlin
    Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout



    The Republicans in Wisconsin know how to embrace GOP incompetence, likely electioneering manipulation and cronyism, but denounce Democratic voter fraud that barely exists.

    In fact, Wisconsin is just a mini-model of the Republican creation of a lie to keep minorities and the poor from voting (the myth of massive illegal voting, when it can actually be counted on a couple of hands, if that, in any given election.) This was the big lie that took down ACORN, among other organizations that worked to register disenfranchised voters.

    Then, you have someone like Kathy Nickolaus come along as an elected election chief in Waukesha County, Wisconsin – with a veritable rap sheet of partisan shenanigans, legal immunity from prosecution, defiance of transparent election counting practices, employed at one time by both David Prosser and Scott Walker, and, among other corrupt practices, a person who sent out, in her official capacity, sample ballots awhile back marked with votes for Republican candidates.

    Do you hear even a whimper of condemnation from the state or national Republicans about the integrity of the election process in the hands of someone like Nickolaus? No, and we didn’t here any complaints from the Republican Party about the partisan maneuvering of Katherine Harris back in 2000.

    As noted on BuzzFlash at Truthout, Madison Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin detailed just some of the improprieties and questionable practices surrounding Nickolaus in a letter requesting that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) launch an investigation into the vote counting in the Wisconsin Supreme Court election.

    It may or may not end up that the approximately 7,500 votes for Prosser that went missing are valid, but a full state recount is in order considering the conduct of Governor Walker and Prosser, as well as GOP election officials such as Nickolaus, during the recent election.

    More importantly, the Feds should – as BuzzFlash has called for – seize the personal computer of Nickolaus on which she kept the “official” vote count in Waukesha, against directives not to do so. Whether or not the “found” votes for Prosser are accurate, it is almost universally agreed that her explanation that Microsoft Access was at fault is a virtual impossibility.

    Furthermore, there is a strong possibility that there are incriminating emails on the hard drive of that computer that can explain why these votes – if valid – were held out for two days, or there might be correspondence pointing to a broader election counting “enhancement strategy” that was coordinated for Prosser.

    Greg Palast did tremendous investigative work in revealing how emails and relationships with Harris’s office played a decisive role in decreasing the Gore vote count in 2000.

    The federal investigation should go much wider than Nickolaus because, as in Florida in 2000, something smells very fishy in Wisconsin. But, for the moment, it looks unlikely that the timidity of the DOJ when it comes to the GOP will lead to any formal attempt to get at the truth.

    When it comes to election integrity, Democrats are guppies in a pool filled with sharks.

    Mark Karlin
    Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout



    ILWU 10 Defense Committee Formed — Meeting April 14, 2011 7:00 PM

    “The San Francisco Labor Council has called for the full support of ILWU Local 10 after it was sued for the participation of its members in a solidarity action for the Wisconsin workers on April 4, 2011.”

    The following resolution was passed unanimously at the San Francisco Labor Council on April 11, 2011 and the first organizing committee to organize for action and solidarity will take place on Thursday April 14, 2011 at 7:00 PM on the 2nd Fl at the Henry Schmidt Room, 400 North Point St/Mason St. San Francisco.

    Please come if you can and get your union/organization to support.


    Whereas, the delegates meeting of the Council voted unanimously on March 14 that “in the event that a Council affiliate votes to engage in an industrial action on April 4, the San Francisco Labor Council will call on all its affiliates… support such action……” and

    Whereas, International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10 and its President Richard Mead are being sued in court by maritime employers of the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) for a 24 hour shutdown of the Port of Oakland on April 4 a National Day of Action called by the AFL-CIO and a day for which ILWU International President McEllrath on March 8th called for mobilizing in solidarity with the workers of Wisconsin; and

    Whereas, each rank and file member of Local 10 made this selfless choice on their own to stand up for public workers in Wisconsin and for all workers in the best tradition of the longshore union, as they have done since the Big Strike of 1934 and the historic San Francisco General Strike which built the foundation for the trade union movement in this city and on the West Coast, and

    Whereas, these same maritime employers were unsuccessful in their attempt to use the slave labor Taft-Hartley Act to stop the ILWU from carrying out a Local 10-initiated coastwide shutdown of all ports on May Day 2008 to demand an end to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, a first-ever in U.S. labor history, and

    Whereas, Local 10, the heart and soul of the San Francisco labor movement, is now under attack for implementing the principled labor slogan “An Injury to One Is An Injury To All”,

    Therefore be it resolved, that the San Francisco Labor Council, consistent with its March 14th resolution, initiate a broad defense campaign of ILWU Local 10 by setting up a defense committee in collaboration with Local 10, by contacting and mobilizing the Labor Councils and AFL-CIO of the Bay Area, California and nationally and

    Be it further resolved, that the first step in this campaign will be to call for a mass mobilization of all Bay Area Labor Councils and the California AFL-CIO to rally in front of PMA headquarters in San Francisco on Monday April 25th to demand that the court suit be dropped and that the vindictive lynch mob procedures against the union in the arbitration be halted immediately, and

    Be it finally resolved that ILWU Local 10 be commended for its solidarity action and that we request that the state and national AFL-CIO do likewise.

    “Hands Off Local 10” Says ILWU Local 10 Leader Clarence Thomas at 4/10/2011 SF Anti-War Rally

    At an San Francisco anti-war rally on 4/10/2011 ILWU Local 10 past Secretary Treasurer and Executive Board member Clarence Thomas called for full support to the ILWU Local. The local has been sued by the Pacific Maritime Association PMA for stopping work on the national day of action for Wisconsin workers on April 4, 2011. Thomas called for full support to the local in its battle with the PMA.

    More information on ILWU Local 10 at ILWU Struggles 1984-2010, The Struggle Continues



    Although the dispute over the vote count in Wisconsin for a State Supreme Court position is of key anxiety to many progressives, it is perhaps overshadowing a promising trend: the nonviolent pro-worker movement is spreading across the nation.

    In the past week, for example, the crowds standing up for economic justice have been growing in Ohio, where Republican Governor Kasich has passed an anti-union bill.

    According to the Columbus Dispatch:

    With chants of “We are Ohio,” an estimated 11,000 union supporters rallied at the Statehouse yesterday to launch the effort to overturn the law that would weaken public workers’ bargaining power.

    The crowd was the largest since the debate over Senate Bill 5 began in February. Many also signed up to help collect the 231,000 signatures needed to get a referendum on the November ballot.

    And in the State of Washington, pro-worker supporters conducted a three-day sleep-in in the state capitol in Olympia, according to Northwest Cable News:

    Thousands of union members from all over Washington poured into the state Capitol Friday, calling on lawmakers to “put people first” by ending corporate tax breaks and painful cuts to public programs.

    The protest was by far the largest of four days of boisterous demonstrations in Olympia over spending cuts legislators are considering in order to help close a looming $5 billion budget deficit for the next two-year cycle.

    It is invigorating to see Americans vibrantly express their rights as citizens in a democracy, and to peacefully assemble on behalf of a “fair share” economy as the Wisconsin moment moves across the nation.

    Mark Karlin
    Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout


  9. Defend Longshore Workers Right to Support Wisconsin Public Workers and Commemorate Dr. King Jr. April 4 —

    Hands Off ILWU Local 10! Demand the Pacific Maritine Association Drop the Anti-Union Suit!

    SIGN the E-LETTER below to PMA President & CEO James C. McKenna circulate it widely —

    SEND your resolutions and messages of solidarity to the ILWU and to the Million Worker March Movement

    On April 4th longshore workers joined tens of thousands of workers in more than 1000 cities and towns across the country. They heeded the call of the AFL-CIO for ‘no business as usual’ to show support for embattled Wisconsin workers on the anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination as he supported Memphis, Tenn. sanitation workers’ strike for collective bargaining and dignity forty-three years ago.

    The San Francisco and Oakland, Calif. port workers themselves stood up and made their slogan “an injury to one, is an injury to all” a reality. In a rank-and-file act of resistance to the bosses’ war on workers, they each voluntarily withdrew their labor from the docks that day! Nothing moved on the waterfront for 24 hours.

    They acted bravely and with conscience!

    But more than that they showed the way.

    If all of us did as they did on April 4th — both union and non-union, workers, community members and students, documented and undocumented (that would take a lot of organizing, but it is possible) — there would be no more union busting, budget cuts, racism, war and all of the other things that we need to change so badly. Like the workers’ anthem “Solidarity Forever” says, “without our brain and muscle not a single wheel would turn.”

    That is the power that we have as workers!

    Now ILWU Local 10 needs our support!

    This e-message says:

    To: James C. McKenna, President and CEO of the Pacific Maritime Association

    We the undersigned — union and community members — young and old — students and jobless — join with the longshore workers to demand that the PMA drop all retaliatory actions including it’s suit against ILWU Local 10 and it’s members for exercising their right to show support for Wisconsin’s public workers and to commemorate Rev. Dr. King Jr.’s assassination in the AFL-CIO’s National Day of Action on April 4th.

    We commend the brave longshore workers who showed the way by acting with conscience on April 4th.

    We believe that An injury to one, is an injury to all!

    In addition to the President and CEO of the Pacific Maritime Assoc., your message will be copied to Pres. Obama, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, to alert the Congressional Black Caucus and the media.

    Send resolutions and support letters to:

    ILWU International Pres. Bob McEllrath
    1188 Franklin Street, 4th Floor
    San Francisco, CA 94109-6800
    MWM West
    PO Box 5092
    Richmond, CA 94805

    send copies of all resolutions and letters of support to:



    Calling much of contemporary political rhetoric coming from the right “Orwellian” has become a cliche, but that’s only because it is so true.

    Take the recent “shock doctrine” tactics of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who bullied through legislation denying collective bargaining to unions almost exclusively on the claim that it was vital to reducing a future state budget deficit.

    The House Republicans thought that this made Walker a hero and invited him to testify before a GOP-controlled committee on April 14. But what Walker must have thought would be a hero’s welcome turned out to be a grilling that unmasked his deceit.

    After claiming that he was accomplishing something “truly progressive,” Dennis Kucinich got Walker to admit that his union-busting legislation would not save the State of Wisconsin any money at all.

    According to the Madison CapTimes:

    When Walker failed to address how repealing collective bargaining rights for state workers is related to state debt or how requiring unions to recertify annually saves money – one of the provisions in Walker’s amended budget repair bill – Kucinich tried one more time.

    “How much money does it save Gov. Walker?” Kucinich demanded. “Just answer the question.”

    “It doesn’t save any,” Walker said.

    Furthermore, as BuzzFlash documented in an earlier commentary, Walker confirmed that despite his claim of a voter mandate to repeal collective bargaining for public employees, he had never once mentioned the plan when he campaigned for governor, not once.

    If you define Orwellian as language uttered that is the opposite of reality, then Walker is a master Orwellian politician.

    Mark Karlin
    Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout



    We talked about Scott Walker’s Orwellian rhetoric yesterday, but Michigan Tea Party Gov. Rick Snyder leaves Walker in the dust when it comes to turning the book “1984” into a reality.

    Snyder recently signed a bill that gives him powers to unilaterally take over local governments by appointing “emergency financial managers” with near absolute powers to supersede decisions made by democratically elected officials.

    If this strikes some as an example of the type of governmental tyranny that the Tea Party deplored (but never existed before in a state as far as we know), that is because it is.

    The Tea Party – and the Republican Party – have shouted to the rooftops that local government and individual liberties are the true “patriotic” freedoms in America.

    Yet, they elect a governor in Michigan who – as one of his first pieces of legislation – empowers himself to take those rights away, nullifying the will of the voters in a given town or city.

    Snyder just made Orwellian Tea Party history when his appointed “emergency financial manager” for Benton Harbor, Michigan, prohibited elected officials of that city from making any decisions or otherwise carrying out their duties.

    As an outraged Michigan blogger observes:

    This is a complete disenfranchisement of an entire community, an entire city in my state. The voters are now denied the ability to be governed by the people they elected in a democratic election.
    This is nothing short of an abridgment of democracy in raw form.

    So where are the Tea Party’s “Down With Tyranny” signs when you need them?

    Mark Karlin
    Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout



    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder are the two Great Lakes Tea Party autocratic leaders who owe more to the ruling style of past Soviet and Chinese leaders than anything that resembles George Washington.

    Yesterday, BuzzFlash at Truthout wrote that “Tea Party Michigan Governor Rick Snyder adopts Soviet-style authoritarian powers over Michigan cities,” and has already implemented these powers in Benton Harbor, Michigan, removing all authority from the elected leadership of the voters in that city.

    Forbes blog columnist Rick Ungar – in an article entitled “Gov. Scott Walker Reportedly Planning Financial Martial Law In Wisconsin” – reports on an alleged Walker plan:

    Following the lead of Michigan GOP Governor Rick Snyder, Walker is said to be preparing a plan that would allow him to force local governments to submit to a financial stress test with an eye towards permitting the governor to take over municipalities that fail to meet with Walker’s approval.

    According to the reports, should a locality’s financial position come up short, the Walker legislation would empower the governor to insert a financial manager of his choosing into local government with the ability to cancel union contracts, push aside duly elected local government officials and school board members and take control of Wisconsin cities and towns whenever he sees fit to do so.

    Such a law would additionally give Walker unchallenged power to end municipal services of which he disapproves, including safety net assistance to those in need.

    Moreover, Ungar points out that if true about the Walker planned assumption of dictatorial powers, this supports the notion that GOP Tea Party governors and Republican-dominated legislatures want to “take control of local governments by replacing elected officials with appointees, both corporate and individual, of the state’s highest executive officer.”

    That’s scary stuff, the kind of autocratic rule that inspired colonists to rise up and begin the American Revolution.

    Mark Karlin
    Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout


  13. Stop the attack on Bay Area port workers!

    Pacific Maritime Association, Drop all charges!

    Defend ILWU local 10!
    Your Solidarity Is Needed! An Injury to One Is An Injury to All!

    The Bay Area’s International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10 is under attack by the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), after the rank and file dock workers’ voluntary action on April 4, in solidarity with the national “We are One” action, for the Wisconsin public workers.

    The PMA is suing the ILWU Lo. 10 because of the Union members’ shutdown of the ports in Oakland and San Francisco. This is a serious attack on the right of workers to withhold their labor to support other workers. Local 10 members understand that what is taking place in Wisconsin and Ohio — the state governments’ attack on collective bargaining rights — could affect workers across the United States.

    The San Francisco Labor Council representing 87,000 union members, is in full support of Local 10. A resolution was passed unanimously at the S.F. Labor Council.

    Monday, April 25, 11:00 am 555 Market St., San Francisco

    Committee to Defend ILWU Local 10
    For more information, please contact the Committee at



    These are not the glory days that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was envisioning as he assumed his Napoleonic reign.

    Walker, for instance, is openly complaining that the apparently successful effort to initiate recall elections for at least five Republican state senators who have sided with him, well, that such exercises of democracy are making it difficult for him to govern in a “republic.”

    That may explain why the Wisconsin legislature – otherwise known, perhaps, as the rubber-stamp body of the autocratic ruler of the state of “Walkerstan” – is going to try to make it extremely difficult for university students to vote. Shrink the pro-union and progressive vote and win elections by making sure that older white Republicans get the privilege of casting a ballot.

    Walker is also hoping to rely on the Koch brothers and other wealthy sources, such as the Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee, to keep the public misinformed. As BuzzFlash first reported, the Kochs are putting quite a bankroll into a Facebook campaign to recruit right-wing advocates for “conservative think tanks” around the nation.

    And as evidence of the rather suspicious, unsavory and unethical relationships among Walker, David Prosser and Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus continue to mount, Walker has been reduced to taking claim for creating jobs that were already announced by his Democratic predecessor.

    As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on April 24:

    Little did anyone know that Gov. Scott Walker was such a huge fan of recycling.

    Just look at his latest jobs announcement.

    Walker recently took credit in a widely reported press conference for creating 125 jobs at a state manufacturing plant, even though then-Gov. Jim Doyle announced the same new jobs back in December.

    About now, Walker may be remembering that he personally can be recalled after a year in office.

    You probably won’t hear the governor of “Walkerstan” playing Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days” any time soon.

    Mark Karlin
    Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout



    Scott Walker and his fellow Republicans, such as Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, are implementing antidemocracy “Daddy States.”

    What happens in a “Daddy State”?

    The first rule is that your vote is taken away and “Daddy” decides for you. This applies if you have personally voted, with the majority, a policy into law via the referendum process. It also means that “Daddy” governors, such as Walker, can take away the rights of municipalities to decide regulations that govern their employees.

    In Wisconsin, Walker is likely to sign a law that would nullify a 2008 City of Milwaukee referendum mandating paid sick leave for workers. It passed by a margin of 69-31 percent, a landslide by any standard.

    “Who are we as a legislative body to question 69 percent of the voters of the City of Milwaukee?” asked Milwaukee Democratic Assemblymember Chris Sinicki.

    The Superior Telegram newspaper notes that the law “would also ban similar ordinances from being passed elsewhere in Wisconsin.”

    So, in Walker’s or Snyder’s “Daddy State,” your vote doesn’t count in terms of local and community rule.

    “Daddy” decides what’s best for you, even if Daddy doesn’t know best.

    (Special thanks to Mark Crispin Miller for the tip.)

    Mark Karlin
    Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout



    “Wisconsin Set to Disenfranchise Thousands on Eve of Recall Elections”

    That’s the headline of a commentary posted on the web site Care2.

    The bill, which is being rushed through the Wisconsin Republican legislature, is part of a long-term strategy by Republicans to deny voting rights to nonwhites and the poor. This goes back to the Jim Crow era, but is accelerating again with the control of many legislatures and governorships by GOP majorities.

    As Jessica Pieklo wrote in Care2:

    The law restricts absentee voting, lengthens residency requirements and requires state-issued photo ID at the polls. The absentee and residency requirements will go into effect before the recall elections, while the photo ID requirements go into effect next year.

    Supporters of the measure insist they are necessary to prevent voter fraud. But those supporters have yet to produce any evidence of widespread voter fraud. A study of the 2008 election conducted by the Wisconsin Justice Department turned up two instances of “double” voting, six people engaged in voter registration fraud and 11 ex-cons who violated the prohibition on felons voting.

    It shouldn’t be forgotten that the Jeb Bush administration in Florida hired a firm to “cage” (disenroll) thousands of primarily minority voters (many of them indeed eligible to vote) before the 2000 presidential elections. Denying Americans the right to vote – poor nonwhite Americans – is still very much part of the Republican strategy to “win” elections.

    Wisconsin is just one of many states following in that infamous tradition this year.

    Mark Karlin
    Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout


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