Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Standoff in Madison



As the standoff in Madison continues, protests spread throughout the nation including some unlikely places like Arkansas.  Americans at this point seem to overwhelming favor the civil servants of Wisconsin, with nearly two-thirds of those polled supportive of collective bargaining rights.  In the process we have learned where the Republicans get much of their money.  Governor Walker revealed in a telephone sting that he answers more to the infamous Koch Brothers than he does the people of Wisconsin.  No problem, as far as Fox News is concerned, doing its best to slant their news in favor of conservative corporate interests.  Whether President Obama likes it or not, we now have a full blown class war and it is time for him to decide which side he stands on, not continue to cave into conservative interests, while paying lip service to liberal interests.  As usual, Mother Jones provides some of the best media coverage.

Meanwhile, Ohio Republicans are pushing through much of the same legislation, as the focus remains on Madison.  We can expect to see more such legislation in other Midwest states, which swung Republican in the midterms.

26 comments:

  1. Obama seems to have detached himself from domestic politics, much like JFK, but maybe this crisis in Madison will bring him back down to earth. So far he has shown little more than sympathy. Yet, we are talking about individual liberties being stripped by the Wisconsin and Ohio Republican legislatures. If nothing else, I would think the civil servants of these states would have the right to appeal this legislation through the state and federal courts.

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  2. I hope these protests spread across the country. Maybe then people (other than the right wing) will finally get off their behinds and get involved in elections. As they say, elections have consequences, and we are starting to see the real consequences now.

    As someone who is guilty of this comment myself, we need to get beyond the idea that the Democrats and Republicans are the same. They may dance to the tune of the same piper to get their election funds, but they do pursue different agendas once they are elected.

    I'll be working hard for Jon Tester in Montana next year, even though I'm not crazy about all of his politics.

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  3. This is a great story (Democrats find a spine):

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/ns/msnbc_tv-rachel_maddow_show/#41879822

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  4. Will listen to Maddow's take on events. It is time for Democratic leaders to rediscover their political base.

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  5. This may be making the rounds on the Internet, but just in case you haven't seen it yet, here's the joke:

    A CEO, a Tea Party member, and a unionized public employee are sitting at a table. There are 12 cookies in a dish on the table.

    The CEO grabs 11 of the cookies and then says to the tea party member: “You better watch out–that union guy wants your cookie!”

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  6. That just about sums it up, although in this case you can insert "Koch Bros." for "CEO."

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  7. Gintaras, hope you watched that clip. She had another good one last night on Ohio. (The nice thing about the internet is that you can watch the stories you're interested in without having to watch an entire show)

    It's very heartening to see the Democrats finally get a spine, as she refers to it, and the more positive press the Democrats get, the more they seem to (finally!) be willing to speak out.

    I recently resubscribed to the NY Review of Books. This short article by Krugman and a colleague gets at the point you also made. If Obama isn't willing to lead, then he needs to get out of the way:

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/jan/13/where-do-we-go-here/

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  8. This is grabbing attention all over the Internet:

    Fox uses videos of people in Florida to 'prove' there is violence in Wisconsin:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/video/item/fox-news-fake-footage-for-wisconsin-protest-violence

    Once again, Faux lies are exposed!

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  9. ~~ "Koch Bros." ~~

    Koch family betrayal:

    http://jack113.net/kochfamily.html

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  10. Another good overview of Madison from Rachel Maddow last night -- first two clips. The second clip about Walker's experiences in Milwaukee is almost unbelievable:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/

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  11. Plus, I've been transfixed by what is unfolding in Madison. It gives one hope, in spite of what the republicans are trying to do (in some cases very successfully). Maybe now people will start to get involved with elections because these days they really matter. Even the so-called Reagan republicans may be having second thoughts.

    Rachel Maddow has really come through on this story. She had Naomi Klein on Tuesday -- this really is the Shock Doctrine writ large.

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  12. I see Walker and the Republicans found a way to bypass the Democrats. Walker seems to think Americans will fall in line behind him. Talk about an oversized ego!

    The ball is now in the Democrats' court. They have to take this issue to the people and find a way to re-energize their base.

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  13. Interestingly, though, the polls are not with him in the state or nationwide by a large margin. He doesn't seem to care because he can't be recalled for a year.

    I think the Republicans in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and elsewhere are starting to finally make their real constituencies clear to those who voted them in. Let's hope the democrats can build on that "ah-ha!" moment. I've certainly become a democrat overnight!

    And to think Wisconsin could have been represented this year in Congress by Russ Feingold.

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  14. For something entirely different, check out these election results:

    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/files/elections/2011/by_county/WI_Supreme_Court_0405.html?SITE=AP&SECTION=POLITICS

    It had been 45 votes -- now it's "up to" 200 votes difference, of 1.5 million votes cast!

    They were calling this a referendum on the Republican overreach in Wisconsin and I think it still is. Of any electorate, Wisconsin knows now what is at stake. And they are still split exactly down the middle. Amazing when you think about it! Sounds like we're in for a wild ride until November 2012.

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  15. This will be great if Kloppenberg wins. She is a relatively unknown entity and is winning purely on the anger over Walker.

    I think the Republicans have shot their wad. No one expected them to go after collective bargaining and domestic programs the way they have. Clearly ideological. It has nothing to do with balancing budgets. Now Ryan (a Wisconsin representative) is proposing major cuts in Medicare, oblivious it seems to the gaps that already exist in Medicare. I just hope voters have taken good note of all this, and will retain it when they go to the polls in 2012.

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  16. Not major cuts -- as I understand it, Ryan wants to eliminate medicare and give people "vouchers" to help them find insurance on the "free market." As if any insurance company is going to insure someone 65 or 80. The republicans really want us to go back to social darwinism.

    I made get out the vote calls for the Kloppenberg campaign through Democracy for America and Bold Progressives. They organized 97,000 calls that last week.

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  17. Here's a really good analysis of the plan -- it's from a PDF linked here:

    http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2011/04/dean_baker_gut/

    Under Mr. Ryan’s plan, Medicare would pay a fixed amount – $8,000 a year in 2022 dollars for a beneficiary age 65 – towards the purchase of an insurance policy. The beneficiary would then have the option of buying a plan from a range of options that met minimal standards. The premium support payment would be age-adjusted but otherwise only rise in step with overall inflation. This means that increases in health care costs in excess of the rate of inflation would be absorbed by the beneficiary.

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  18. It is so cynical the way the Repugs are going after health care. All too obvious who they represent. I read one analysis, and the budget plan Ryan is proposing would barely cover the projected tax cuts, not deal at all with the budget shortfall. We would still incur budget deficits of $400 bil on average through these ten years based on our current spending.

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  19. Yes, I think that's right -- I think I read that the deficit will actually go up because of the tax cuts in Ryan's proposed budget.

    And on the Wisconsin front, now it appears that the Republican County Clerk, who used to work with Prosser (sometimes you can't make these things up), just found 7500 votes for Prosser, which is apparently just enough to put him over the recount limit. It is probably a simple (stupid) error, but it sure sounds fishy given all that's going on in that state right now.

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  20. I'm sure there will be a recount. That sounds mighty suspect to me. Sadly, the Republicans have wrestled the control of most state governments which is going to make 2012 an exceptionally difficult year.

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  21. I am certainly in for the Labor discussion, especially as we are facing two major industrial confrontations in the airline and shipping industries. This will be a real test for the Right Wing Labor government.

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  22. Can we tackle the old argument: Why isn't there a Labor Party in the USA?

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  23. George, the Democratic Party represented labor for many years, but it seems that ever since Reagan labor no longer seems to be prominent part of the Democratic platform.

    We are doing Triangle: The Fire That Changed America starting April 20,

    http://am-perspectives.blogspot.com/2011/03/remembering-triangle-shirwaist-fire.html#comments

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  24. There are many of us who hope that this standoff in Wisconsin will be a new awakening.

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  25. Great to see you here, George. Some argue that the Triangle Fire was one of many big events that moved us toward stronger protection of workers.

    The Democrats used to be the party of labor generally, but Reagan convinced working people that it was in their best interest to de-fund any programs that helped poor black people, who weren't working people. So a large block of (white) workers turned Republican and they've sort of stayed there -- plus they love all those wars -- which I think is why we've ended up with this 50/50 split which is reflected (even with the "found votes") in Wisconsin. These are not all rich people voting for conservatives.

    I'm with Gintaras, hoping that Wisconsin may be a wake up call to workers and others that ... guess what? The Republicans really don't represent your best interests. I'm also hoping they take over the Democratic party from the ground up since the Democratic party appears to have been bought off (or running scared of the NRA) at the top down.

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  26. I even heard the head of the police union -- which has always been strongly republican -- say that he was going to Ohio to help with the referendum there. He wouldn't out and out say his union wouldn't support republicans in the future, but said it would support those who support them. That would be a huge shift.

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