HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN:

HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN - city of big bottoms and small minds.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

THE SUN IS OUT, THE SKY IS BLUE, THERE'S NOT A CLOUD TO SPOIL THE VIEW

Yesterday I got a call from my friend and "marketeer", Liz Fischer, and it looks like I just nailed a last minute gig for a private birthday party at Draganetti's restaurant here in Eau Claire this coming Friday evening.

I ain't gonna lie. at this point, ANY gigs that come in, last minute or not, are gifts from God!

In addition to doing a 45 minute set, it has been requested that I write a little "birthday ditty" for the guest of honor so I have spent most of today using e mails sent to me from the celebrant's friends to put into verse. I just sent out a first draft a bit ago to get reaction from my employer.

Now I am going to be spending the rest of the week going over song lyrics and some of the most recent jokes I have written so that my show isn't rusty come Friday night.

Looking back on my blogs I see I haven't written much since returning from Mexico. That is a sure sign that my "change of season" fibromyalgia and accompanying depression have hit me very hard, knocking the wind out of my sails.

I know I am depressed when it takes me three attempts t get my ass out of bed in the late morning and when the sight of yet another fresh snowfall makes me downright ill.

That coupled with all the horror stories of tsunamis, earthquakes, nuclear melt downs, reports of at least two nuclear plants in this country having been built in the 1970's directly over not one but TWO faults in the earth are not conducive to a bright outlook on life.

Then several days ago I received an in-depth e mail from somebody wanting me to invest in something other than the dollar as this entity firmly believes that the dollar is going belly up within the year and we will see food rioting, mass murder by released prison inmates, no fuel, and in general a chaos in this country never experienced before.

Pretty hard to "put on a happy face".

But the sun is shining today, temperatures will be above freezing, my wife and cats still love me, and although bread cost three times what it used to, we are still eating, paying for fuel, heat, and electricity - so far.

So gather ye rosebuds why ye may.

One consolation? We all only die once. And even if there is nothing beyond this life, going back to nothingness could be a definite improvement over being left behind.

Another consolation. All these son of a bitching greedy "mothers" who have brought us to this point will all die with us, too.

Maybe they have already established an underground living space for themselves. In a way, I hope so. Then they could get down to business and tear each other apart. I certainly would not want to share a space with Scott Walker or the Fitzgeralds. Just to name a few fuckheads.

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Wow. I just re-read! Did I say I was feeling better??

Here's something that the little bit of positivity left in me clings to. Please don't forget to vote on April 5th!! In fact, you don't have to wait. I didn't. I voted last week before Asshole Westrate decided we NEED him on the school board. Ignore that write in Teabagging son of a bitch!

Vote for Trish Cummins and Carol Craig. They are doing a great job. And read this:

We are United Wisconsin, the non-partisan grassroots Political Action Committee dedicated to the successful recall of Governor Scott Walker and Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch.

In this defining moment for the direction of Wisconsin's future. United Wisconsin is formally endorsing JoAnne Kloppenburg for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice.

Working as Wisconsin's Assistant Attorney General since 1989, Kloppenburg has worked under four Attorneys General, both Democrat and Republican. JoAnne Kloppenburg has demonstrated the capacity to work as a non-partisan judge in legal matters.

"Supreme Court Justices should not act as advocates for any cause or group nor as legislators. Rather, Wisconsin residents deserve to have confidence that judges are impartial and independent decision-makers who apply the law fairly and clearly based on the law and the facts," Kloppenburg said. "That is what my backgound and broad legal experience have prepared me to do."

Her commitment to judicial integrity and code of conduct are welcome attributes for the standard Wisconsin citizens expect from their Supreme Court Justices.

For these reasons, United Wisconsin endorses JoAnne Kloppenburg for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice. Vote April 5th. Don't know where to vote? Find out here.

Forward this email to your family and friends to spread the word about JoAnne Kloppenburg.

To support the Kloppenburg campaign visit http://www.KloppenburgForJustice.com
Get information to volunteer or endorse Kloppenburg here.

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You really need to get every one of your personal friends to understand how REALLY important this election is. If Dipshit Prosser defeats Kloppenburg our state is royally screwed! VOTE! And take committed Kloppenburg voters with you when you go!

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Oh - and long as I have you voting on something. Might as well vote on something FUN. Go to this URL:

http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/post/_/id/6076097/which-team-really-america-team


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I will never forget Asshole Scotty for spoiling the afterglow of winning Super Bowl XLV

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

SOMETHING'S ROTTEN IN THE STATE OF WISCONSIN - AND IT AIN'T THE CHEESE!

I guess nothing in Republican politics should surprise me anymore. Still ...

There's Wisconsin State Senator Kate Obeirne who thinks that kids who need school lunches are victims of child abuse. O’Beirne, talking at a Republican strategy session sponsored by the Hudson Institute, went on a rant about children who need school lunches and the parents who rear them:

"The federal school lunch program and now breakfast program and I guess in Washington DC, dinner program are pretty close to being sacred cows… broad bipartisan support. And if we’re going to ask more of ourselves, my question is what poor excuse for a parent can’t rustle up a bowl of cereal and a banana? I just don’t get why millions of school children qualify for school breakfasts unless we have a major wide spread problem with child neglect.

“You know, I mean if that’s how many parents are incapable of pulling together a bowl of cereal and a banana, then we have problems that are way bigger than… that problem can’t be solved with a school breakfast, because we have parents who are just criminally… ah… criminally negligent with respect to raising children.”

Obviously she never met Jaelithe, who relied on the school lunch program to survive because her mother was young, single and poor, struggling to raise her daughter and get an education to better herself. Are these the words of an abused child, or just one raised in a world where the only outstretched hand was the government's? Exactly what part of Jaelithe's mother's "self" should have given more?

But going hungry — that is a different story. That's waking up in the morning hungry. Feeling, throughout the day, hungry. Lying in bed not able to sleep just yet because you are hungry. Dreaming about feeling hungry.

And there is not any trip to the taco place down the street and not a trip to McDonald's instead and not a trip to the farmer's market or the grocery store, either, because there is no money for those things. There is not even the option of a trip to the backyard for some homegrown tomatoes or cucumbers or strawberries because there is no yard when you live in a run-down apartment or a shelter or a car.

There is only your hollow-eyed mother who is hungrier than you are dividing the last stale crackers to make them last. Assuming that you are lucky enough to have a mother. And crackers.

This goes so far beyond the sacred right-wing cow of personal responsibility. It's outright cruelty. These pigs are out there shouting to give zillionaires a fat year-end bonus and extend it for a couple of years while sticking it to poor people who rely on programs like the school lunch and breakfast program to survive. Lest you think this was just a slip of the tongue,go here for more of her teabagging nonsense:

http://www.alan.com/2010/12/06/national-review-editor-kate-obeirne-thinks-kids-who-need-school-lunches-are-victims-of-child-abuse/

Maybe she should shut up and listen to what's going on around her for a change. If she did, she might not miss the fact that food banks are struggling to meet demand as more and more families struggle to keep roofs over their heads, sacrificing other necessities like food and clothing. Since 2006, the need for some form of assistance has tripled. Tripled.

Here's an example of someone O'Beirne considers a child abuser:

Elizabeth Brown looked tired.

When her husband, "the main money-maker" died three years ago, she was left with a 10- and a 5-year-old. She worked part time at Allegheny General Hospital in housekeeping with help from her family, "but they couldn't help that much. They're having hard times themselves."

She couldn't afford child care on her earnings, so she left the job and is now, at 40, raising a 13-year old and 8-year old on food stamps worth $550 a month.

There's a profile of a child abuser for Ms. O'Beirne.

Only in her little imaginary world. That's the only place that everyone has enough to eat and to feed their children. Anyone who doesn't must be a child abuser, because they should be able to slap together a banana and cereal in the morning.

If they had cereal. Or a banana.

Or the money to buy cereal and a banana.

This is the world of the heartless and the selfish, the teabagger. They trot through life making pronouncements on others with mighty conviction without ever having walked in the shoes of the poor and likely profiting from the sacrifices yanked from the vanishing ranks of the middle class. There is no humanity, no compassion, no understanding. Just a pair of bootstraps to beat up anyone less fortunate.

If, after reading this, you are feeling the need to make a donation to a nearby food bank to offset this woman's evil, there's a tool to find one near you, should you feel the same way. It's called GOOGLE.




Then there's our fine Wisconsin state Senator Randy Hopper, who left his wife for a 25 year old lobbyist, who, oddly enough, has now found a much better job.

This from blogger Rock Strongo at the Daily Kos:

"Sometimes looking way too much at google search can pay dividends. In this case it turns up a blog post from yesterday from the Madison, WI ABC affiliate that doesn't seem to have been reported anywhere else, including on the stations newscast.

Anyhow, it turns out in the world of coincidences that Wisconsin Republican Senator Randy Hopper's 26 year old mistress last month got a job with the Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing as a "limited term communications specialist."

That is especially interesting since up until last weekend she was still being reported as a member of the lobbying firm Persuasion Partners.

From the post:

Sen. Randy Hopper (R-Fond du Lac) told WKOW27 News he played no role in the recent hire of a state employee.
Sources told WKOW27 News the employee is the same woman Hopper’s estranged wife, Alysia Hopper referred to as Hopper’s mistress in a public statement and in a letter to a radio station.

Department of Regulation and Licensing spokesperson David Carlson said the woman, 26, was hired in February as a limited term communications specialist.

Carlson said he had no details on whether the woman was hired to a newly-created position or a vacant, existing slot. Carlson said he also had no details on the hiring process or the woman’s salary.

There are many interesting issues that this raises. Hopper claims he played no role in the hiring. I would think a Freedom of Information Act request may be able to prove if that is true or not. Or what the process was for her being hired.

There is also the issue of if the mistress was in fact still working for the lobbying firm at the time she was working for the state.

Additionally I believe that her salary should be public record.

Something smells funny in Wisconsin, and it isn't the fromage!

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Friday, March 18, 2011

KLOPPENBURG WHISTLE STOPS IN EAU CLAIRE, GATHERS ENTHUSIASTIC CROWD




Late yesterday afternoon Kim and I went down town Eau Claire to greet candidate for Wisconsin Supreme Court JoAnne Kloppenburg. I was really glad that we got an early start because by 5 PM, there was an overflow crowd.

Ms. Kloppenburg made her entrance shortly after 5 and was greeted by a standing ovation, the applause of which went on for at least two minutes. People are really fired up about this race because we know how important it is.

JoAnne spoke of her opponent's willingness to already state that he is a Walker backer, and how it is less than ethical to be running for a judgeship and announcing sides. How can that person make an impartial judgement on anything political when he has already openly proclaimed whose camp he is in?

Along that line, JoAnne stressed how important it is for any candidate, including herself, to remain totally impartial and to weigh each case on it's merits.

She then told us a little about herself. She graduated from Yale, did graduate work at Harvard, married, and then she and here husband joined the Peace Corps and worked in Botswana. She then returned to the United States, and while beginning to raise a family, went back to school in law.

Since she started campaigning she has logged over 8,000 miles criss- crossing Wisconsin in her mother-in-law's Buick. (That line got a hearty laugh).

We came away from the meet and greet with a strong feeling of knowing we had just met someone who would be a great Supreme Court Justice as she will be hard but fair in her decisions, and not along party lines.

If you would like to learn more about her, go to her web site at : www.kloppenburgforjustice.com. I know I discussed this already in yesterday's blog, but it is very very important that all of us get out the vote and elect JoAnne. By so doing we will send a loud and clear message to Governor Walker that Wisconsin is a freedom loving progressive state and we intend to remain just that!

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

STATE, TOWNS, COUNTIES FLOODED WITH PUBLIC EMPLOYEES LETTERS OF RESIGNATION, RETIREMENT

Ever since Governor Walker announced his intention to strip every public employee in Wisconsin of their collective bargaining rights there has been a lot of activity. The protests and recalls have garnered national attention and a lot of love and support from Kossacks. However, there is activity which no one but insiders have noticed.

Retirement offices in every state, county, city, town, and village have been flooded with public employees who want to retire before the bill goes into effect. Nearly everyone eligible to retire wants to lock in their retirement before the loss of collective bargaining takes its toll on their retirement benefits. Without collective bargaining, public employees will not be able to negotiate the sustainment of their current retirement benefits and they can be unilaterally changed at any time.

We know that Walker isn't done peeling wages and benefits away from state workers. Stripping their collective bargaining rights is only the first step. Without unions, Walker will be able to dictate wages, pensions, and benefits for every state worker. Other public employees, who will be able to negotiate wages only (up to the cost of living and no more), can have their pensions, benefits and working conditions reduced at the whim of their municipal officials. Some mayors and county executives might be more than happy to balance their budgets, too, on the backs of their employees.

As a result, the retirement offices are very, very busy. Then the blowback begins.

State and municipal employers will be losing a large number of experienced staff in one fell swoop. Certainly they will still have employees in the workforce who are not eligible for retirement, but imagine losing a third of your staff that is the most experienced and knowledgable and losing them at the same time.
As an aside to those public employees who are retiring in Wisconsin, I want to let you know that while you are locking in your retirement benefits before they become unilaterally changed, you are not completely safe from future changes. Municipalities have tried to change benefits for retirees in the past, but have been prevented from doing so by a Wisconsin State Supreme Court decision that no changes can be made for those already retired. You may have noticed the major effort to pack right wing judges onto the Wisconsin State Supreme Court over the past several years. Should there be success in tilting the court, I wouldn't put it past Scott Walker or others to try to get that decision reversed.

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PROSSER WOOS TEA PARTY AND IN BED WITH KOCHS AND WISCONSIN MANUFACTURERS & COMMERCE


Stripped of their ideological cloak of trickle-down economics, flawless market efficiency and deregulation utopia, right-wing leaders have resorted to a bare-naked power grab. A small group of plutocrats seek to slash our rights to the bone - whether it means eliminating our freedom of union association, our right to choose abortion or our right to make safe alternative energy choices.

As we look to the near future, it’s obvious that something has got to give. Just a few months ago, prospects for a tangible, justice-based movement were dark. However, it feels and sounds like real change is afoot! In Wisconsin and around the country, people are speaking their minds on the streets and in public forums, calling out the plutocrats and demanding an end to the abuse of the many for the sake of the few.

That's why it is imperative that you circle April 5th, 2011, on your calendar and write in big letters VOTE! The election for Wisconsin State Judge, in my opinion, is more important an election than any that has come down the pike.

That is because if EVERYONE gets out and votes (I am setting my alarm clock for 7 AM and doubt that I will get much sleep the night before) we can unseat David Prosser, who, to put it mildly, is in Scott Walker's pocket.

Paul Soglin, a name everyone should be familiar with in Wisconsin politics had this to say about the upcoming election:

"Should a candidate for reelection to the legal equivalent of a referee declare in advance that he'll make all his calls for his political hometown team?

Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg has blasted Supreme Court Justice David Prosser for his campaign manager's recent statement that his job would:

... include building an organization that will return Justice Prosser to the bench, protecting the conservative judicial majority and acting as a common sense complement to both the new administration and Legislature.

Kloppenburg suggests we should be outraged:

The Prosser campaign's suggestion that as a Justice, Prosser sees his role and the work of the Supreme Court as a "complement" to the political and policy agenda of the Governor and a legislature is deeply disturbing.

For a sitting judge to promise that he will work to further the ends of the other two branches of government shows an enormous disregard for the separation of powers and the role of the court as an independent, impartial body that ought to promise just one thing: to decide cases on the law and the facts brought forth in those cases."


And in a recent news story headlined:

Thousands Drawn to Tea Party Convention in the Dells


WISCONSIN DELLS, Wis. (AP) -- Republicans and conservative tea party members railed against health care reform, global warming legislation and government spending at a convention Saturday that attracted about 2,000 people.

The meeting, organized by the conservative group Americans for Prosperity and dubbed an unofficial tea party convention, brought together numerous Republican officeholders, party leaders and candidates in addition to national speakers like "Joe the Plumber" and Michael Reagan, the son of former President Ronald Reagan.

Speakers said they were defending America's freedoms by opposing cap-and-trade energy proposals, tax increases, health care reform and economic stimulus bills backed by Democrats.

"We are not the party of no," said Tim Nerenz, a Libertarian candidate for Wisconsin's 2nd Congressional District, which covers Madison. "We are the party of hell, no. Do you want to give them your money? Hell, no! Do you want to give them your gun? Hell, no! Do you want to give them your health care?"

The crowd, picking up the chant, yelled, "Hell, no!"

Anti-tax zealot Grover Norquist said seeing Republicans vote for tax increases was like finding a rat head in a soft drink can.

"They damage the brand for everyone else," he said.

The meeting came roughly a year after the first tea party rallies in the state and nationwide. Wisconsin tea party organizers say they have no interest in starting a third political party and instead want to work closely with Republicans.

Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus thanked convention attendees for giving GOP candidates a chance to rebuild the party.

"I know we've got a long way to go," he said.

No Democratic officeholders or candidates spoke at the meeting or had booths, while there were numerous Republicans. Republican state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., were among the speakers, while U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., appeared in a videotaped message.

A number of Republican candidates also were there, including candidate for governor Scott Walker, in addition to officially nonpartisan state Supreme Court justices Michael Gableman and David Prosser. Prosser, a former Republican state lawmaker, spoke out against changing the state's system for electing Supreme Court justices to having them appointed.

Americans for Prosperity national president Tim Phillips urged convention attendees to work together to oppose health care reform and what he called President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's "radical agenda."

Liberal muckraker Scot Ross, who is director of the advocacy group One Wisconsin Now, dubbed the convention a "Republican Rally for Failure." Ross said the tea party movement is an anti-Obama effort that was designed to obstruct and ensure the failure of the president's agenda.


"This was never anything more than rallying Republican base members," Ross said.

Tea party followers are an independent force that kowtows to no political party or interest group, said Mark Block, president of Americans for Prosperity in Wisconsin.

Nancy Milholland, 47, an unemployed sales manager and organizer of the Racine County Tea Party, said tea party followers were frustrated conservatives.

"We are about smaller government, less spending, national security," she said. "If the Democratic Party decided that was their route, we would be for them."

And in Ed Garvey's blog of March 10th, he states:


The problem is David Prosser


What's next? Well, pause and ask if the Republicans violated the Open Meeting laws with the slick maneuver yesterday. Assume they did. Who will ultimately decide? The State Supreme Court, and that means David Prosser will decide as the swing vote on the 7-person court.

You know Prosser as the "WMC Justice." Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce put about $6 million into his campaign. They spent like drunken sailors on leave. But they were not drunk; they knew what they were purchasing and so do you. When the Walker bill is tested in the Courts, who will ultimately decide if it violates the Wisconsin Constitution? David Prosser! Did the attorney for DOA and the secretary perjure themselves when they told Judge Albert that demonstrators caused $7.5 million in damage to the Capitol? (No sensible person could have suggested that amount, so someone lied.) Who will ultimately decide? Yup! The state Supreme Court, and that means David Prosser will decide if his pals in the Walker administration lied in court to advance their cause.

I have seen Prosser in the Legislature where he often "lost it" in debate. I have seen him on the Court and I saw him charge the Speaker of the Assembly waiving his fist. Yes, David Prosser is as predictable as the sun rising in the east.

What's next? April 5 is next. If Prosser loses the election almost everything will change in state government. So, get the recall moving, keep demonstrating, but remember April 5! "

And finally, there is this from Dave Zweifel, editor emeritus of The Capital Times, Madison:

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser’s temperament has raised a few eyebrows over the years.
There was the time back when he was speaker of the Assembly that he threw a temper tantrum on the Assembly floor, pounding the podium and screaming at other representatives, because a film crew was there documenting debate on a health care bill. Prosser felt it was all about getting film for political purposes.
Then there was the contentious Supreme Court administrative hearing in 2009 when he not only blew up at Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, but launched into a tirade against witnesses who were there advocating tough rules for judges to recuse themselves when principals in a case had contributed big bucks to their election campaigns.
According to sources, turns out it was not the first time for a Prosser tantrum while he was serving on the high court. The only difference was that this time the hearing was open to the public for all to witness.
Prosser and his three conservative colleagues on the seven-member court had come under fire for adopting recusal rules written by the big business lobby, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, which is far from a disinterested party. WMC has spent more than any other group on recent Supreme Court races, dropping millions most recently to elect conservatives Annette Ziegler and Michael Gableman. And Prosser, who is now up for re-election this spring himself, did not take kindly to the criticism.
Now some are questioning Prosser’s actions on the campaign trail. One of his opponents in the Feb. 15 primary, Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg, is appalled that Prosser’s campaign manager said that the Prosser campaign was putting together an organization to return the justice to the bench, “protecting the conservative judicial majority and acting as a common sense complement to both the new (Walker) administration and (Republican-controlled) Legislature.”
“For a sitting judge to promise that he will work to further the ends of the other two branches of government shows an enormous disregard for the separation of powers and the role of the court as an independent, impartial body that ought to promise just one thing: to decide cases on the law and the facts brought forth in those cases.”
Further, Mike McCabe, executive director of the nonpartisan campaign finance watchdog Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, released a letter his organization received from a prominent attorney who, for fear of reprisal, asked for anonymity.
The attorney said he was at a board meeting of the Wisconsin Association for Justice (formerly the Trial Lawyers Association) in early December when Prosser appeared to ask for its support.
“Justice Prosser indicated that he wished the trial lawyers to know that if the race led him to being attacked from the ‘left,’ he would move to the right and the trial lawyers would suffer for it. He said it would be in the best interest of the trial lawyers if he stayed in the middle.
“It should be noted that Justice Prosser’s comments to the WAJ had been made privately to other individuals who reported that he was contacting them for support. In his contact, he would indicate that if he was not supported by those on what he considers the ‘left,’ he would move to the right in his decision-making if he were to be re-elected.
“These are clearly questionable campaign tactics for someone who seeks to sit on the Wisconsin Supreme Court,” the lawyer concluded.

No kidding.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

EXERCISE YOUR AMERICAN RIGHT AS A VOTER - WHILE YOU STILL HAVE IT



Circle Tuesday, April 5, 2011 in red ink! Put APRIL 5 on your calendar and get out to vote for Joanne Kloppenburg for State Supreme Court. Right now it is the most important action in which to partake to help put a stop to the arrogance of the Wisconsin Republicans!

Do not take this election lightly! Our future hangs in the balance.

WALKER JUST A LITTLE MAGGOT IN THE BIG PICTURE


Every day I wake up thinking maybe I have mellowed a bit about what is happening in what used to be the great progressive state of Wisconsin but by the time I have finished my first cup of coffee I am totally pissed off again!

And that's a good thing.

Wisconsinites need to stay angry for the entire next year so that we can get the work of recalling these bastards finished. Personally I can't wait to get my assigned area to canvass area residents not only because of the importance of the project but to get a chance to visit with fellow voters and get a feel for what everyone thinks.

I am certain I will run into those who voted for Walker and because they did, no matter what he does, he can do no wrong. In my way of thinking these people are not people - they are "sheeple", willingly following the orders of the wealthy on their way to the slaughter house.

And here is another piece of truth:

If educators in the state of Wisconsin are guilty of anything, public schoolteachers have failed miserably by producing the most incompetent, mean-spirited legislators in U.S. history.

And of course the left blames that on the teachers. When are we going to realize that the first line of education is in the home where parents should be teaching their children the principles of true democracy all the while they are growing up, including competence, fair-mindedness, and good will?

But just as with everything else these days, the only ones who have the responsibility to teach are the teachers! I witnessed that way back in 1976 and it one of the principal reasons i bailed when I did.

I am proud to say that I and my former spouse did a very good job of instilling in our offspring the importance of learning to think for themselves and actually do some READING. They are now capable of carrying on intelligent discussions of current events and what is right and wrong.

Still, with the horrific events in Japan, I can't help but wonder if it is going to make any difference what any of us think. There are a number of nuclear power plants in California located right on the fault line and we have been repeatedly warned that the west coast is way overdue for major earth quakes.

One would think that there would be major concern in our senate over the situation and that instead of pouring trillions of dollars into wars, that the money would be used to put people to work, making these plants totally impervious to the worst earth quakes possible.

This will never happen because of one thing. AMERICAN GREED. We will continue to give oil companies huge tax breaks and bail out banks to maintain the top two per cent of wealthy Americans.

I used to think that all the talk of the world ending on December 21, 2012, was claptrap. Now I am not so sure. With the recent disasters in New Orleans, the increase in virulent storms, earth quakes in areas that have never had them before, extreme changes in climate, and now four nuclear reactors in near meltdown in Japan, humanity is in great danger of extinction.

The consolation? At least the rich bastards will die with us, clutching their money bags.

There, I said it.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

IN ONLY 3 DAYS CANVASSERS COLLECT 45% OF SIGNATURES NEEDED TO RECALL 8 REPUBLICAN SENATORS

Today this article needs to be shared with all working class Americans who "get it" and will take it no longer:

Massive Protest in Wisconsin Shows Walker's Overreach
Tuesday 15 March 2011
by: Lindsay Beyerstein | The Media Consortium | News Analysis

About 100,000 people gathered in Madison, Wisconsin to protest Gov. Scott Walker's new anti-collective bargaining law. The state Senate hurriedly past the bill without a quorum last Wednesday. Roger Bybee of Working In These Times reports:

The rally featured 50 farmers on tractors roaring around the Capitol to show their support for public workers and union representatives from across the nation, stressing the importance of the Wisconsin struggle. Protesters were addressed by a lineup of fiery speakers including fillmaker Michael Moore, the Texas populist radio broadcaster Jim Hightower, TV host Laura Flanders, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, and The Progressive editor Matt Rothschild, among others.

The bill is law, but the fight is far from over. The Wisconsin Democratic Party says it already has 45% of the signatures it needs to recall 8 Republican state senators. So far, canvassers have collected 56,000 signatures, up from 14,000 last weekend. The surge in signature gathering is another sign that the Walker government's abrupt push to pass the bill has energized the opposition.

Polling bolsters the impression that Walker overreached by forcing the bill through with a dubious procedural trick. Simeon Talley of Campus Progress notes that, according to a recent New York Times/CBS News poll, Americans oppose efforts to limit the collective bargaining rights of public employees.

Jamelle Bouie of TAPPED notes that the enthusiasm gap that helped elect Scott Walker last year has disappeared. In June 2o10, 58% of Democrats said they were certain to vote compared to 67% of Republicans. In March 2011, 86% of Democrats and 85% of Republicans surveyed said they would certainly vote.

At a time when it's often tough to tell the difference between the corporate news and its advertisements, it's essential to keep independent journalism strong. Support Truthout today by clicking here.

Firefighters Shut Down Bank

Wisconsin firefighters found a way to get back at one of Scott Walker's most generous donors, Madison's M&I Bank, Julianne Escobedo Shepherd reports in AlterNet. Firefighters Local 311 President Joe Conway put a call out to his members who banked with M&I to "Move Your Money." Firefighters withdrew hundreds of thousands of dollars of savings in cashiers checks. The beleaguered bank closed its doors at 3pm on March 10.

John Nichols of the Nation reports that other unions got in on the act. He quotes a pamphlet distributed by Sheet Metal Workers International Association Local 565:

“M&I execs gave more money than even the Koch Brothers to Governor Walker and the Wisconsin GOP,” the message goes. “M&I got a $1.7 billion bailout while its CEO gets an $18 million golden parachute. Tell M&I Bank: Back Politicians Who Take Away Our Rights (and) We Take Away Your Business.”

Nichols explains that the next big step in the fight to overturn the bill will be the Wisconsin Supreme Court election, set for April 5. Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg is challenging conservative state Supreme Court Justice David Prosser. Legal analysts have raised serious questions about the bill and the process by which it was passed. A court challenge to Walker's law might stand a better chance if a liberal justice replaces the conservative pro-corporate Prosser.

Guess What? We're Not Broke

Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly takes on a GOP talking point, the myth that the United States is broke. It's a convenient claim for those who wish to make massive cuts to popular programs without having to justify taking them away. If we don't have the money, we don't have the money. If it's a choice between cuts and bankruptcy, cuts suddenly seem not only acceptable, but inevitable.

But the United States has a $15 trillion economy, immense natural resources, a highly educated workforce, and countless other economic advantages. The problem isn't a lack of resources, it's extreme inequality of distribution. Over the last 20 years, 56% of income growth has been funneled to the top 1% of the population, with fully one third of that money going to the richest one-tenth of one percent.

Benen notes that the Republicans didn't think we were broke when they were advocating for a $538 billion tax-cut package, which wasn't offset by a dime of cuts.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the economy by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Audit for a complete list of articles on economic issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, health care and immigration issues, check out The Mulch, The Pulse and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

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Monday, March 14, 2011

PLAYA GRANDE A WELCOME RESPITE FROM BOTH THE COLD CLIMATE AND THE CORPORATE MINIONS OF THE MASTER OF THE BIG LIE



Looking through the myriad of photographs I took last week brings back the warmth and joy of the very special week we spent out of the country.

I had some trepidation about Mexico, having read about the increase of violence lately between drug lords and law enforcement but that was quickly forgotten after several days of the great hospitality we found on the beaches, in the restaurants, and the market where we spent a leisurely afternoon bargaining on clothing and jewelry.
I arrived at the airport wearing the protective plastic boot that I had been issued for stability of the ankle for the duration of stay. However, by the middle of the week I no longer felt that I needed the boot as the warmth of the Mexico sunshine seemed to have healing powers. The swelling and pain around my ankle began dissipating and although I missed some of the activities (Kim and Kristi went whale watching one morning) by the weekend I was able to get around well enough that I could walk down town to the open market and the marina.

Throughout our stay we had excellent food and we were adamant in ordering dishes that were authentic to the area.

Pictured here are the two dishes that the three of us shared at a quaint open air restaurant just off the marina itself. Today of course, I cannot remember the name of the restaurant but the open air atmosphere was condusive to good appetites.

We decided to order two different dishes and then share them among the three of us. The shrimp burritos pictured, served with a tasty guacamole and the chicken enchiladas accompanied with a Spanish pilaf were absolutely heavenly.

Adding even more to the sunny atmosphere and great food was the arrival of two very adroit musicians, both of whom played spanish guitar and sang. They sang a Santana tune for us before moving on to another table.

As neither Kim nor Kristi are consumers of alcohol, I took it upon myself to be the assigned taster of beer and tequila. I ordered a bottle of Negra Modelo, a brew I was familiar with thanks to the Castro Brothers Eau Claire restaurant. I also told our waiter to bring me a shot of the establishment's very finest tequila.

Again, I don't recall the brand, but it was the smoothest tequila I have ever imbibed in and I sipped it slowly to savor it.
That afternoon was spent by one of the many swimming pools right below our time/share.

My wife and sister-in-law were kind enough to let me know when a particularly well built, bronzed beauty came into view in the skimpiest of bikinis.

I can attest that the old saw is true: Men, no matter how old they get, never tire of admiring the female form!

However, I must admit that the last night we slept over, I didn't sleep very well as I was in excited anticipation of returning home to our kitties and the comfort of our own house and bed.

The plane arrived in Minneapolis at 6:30PM (right on schedule), and after clearing customs, we went outside to see if we could find Patty, who arrived in my car with her brother driving.

Within fifteen minutes, they found us at the Delta gate number 6 and we were on our way home.

It was a great vacation! And I want to thank Patty Stangel very much for not only taking us up to the airport and then picking us up when we got back, but for taking such good care of our "children"



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Saturday, March 12, 2011

VACATION DAMPENED BY EVENTS IN OUR HOME STATE CAPITOL

So it is Saturday night and Kim, her sister, Kristi, and I are busily repacking our suit cases as we prepare to catch a shuttle bus from the Wilsons' time share here at Playa Grande, a beautiful set of apartment buildings right on the beaches facing the Pacific Ocean.

We left home at 5 am last Sunday. Driving up to Minneapolis with us was Patty Stangel who in addition to being our delivery person, has been mother to our kitties Hammy and Stella all week long.

She will be meeting us at the main doors of the Minneapolis airport when we get in tomorrow and we will be heading for home as soon as we get in.


this has been a wonderful week of sunshine, great Mexican food, and a chance to interact with the natives of the area, all which are very friendly and helpful.

The only rain on our parade was the announcements on television concerning the ongoing war in Madison between Herr Walker and his goose stepping goons.

Both Kim and I were sorry to have missed out on the chance to gather together with the hard working unappreciated public sector workers who have been treated so poorly.

We watched as Scott Walker was exposed as a big time liar who kept repeating the bigl LIE "It's all about balancing the buget" "It's all about balancing the budget!"

The truth? IT'S ALL ABOUT BREAKING THE UNIONS



But the time has come to put down the protest signs and take up the clipboards and pens and throw the bastards out through RECALL.

I only hope I can help!

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Friday, March 11, 2011

FIREFIGHTERS TARGET M&I BANK FOR EXECUTIVE SUPPORT OF WALKER

Firefighters in Wisconsin marched to the M&I bank earlier today in Madison and withdrew their money. In total they took an estimated $192,000.

They asked others to follow their lead. Apparently others did. Just updated:

A call to M&I's Capitol Square branch confirms the bank is closed for the rest of the day.

This is how you protest.

Anyone that has any money in this bank, no matter how little, should withdraw it ASAP. Make them feel the pain that they are causing the little people.

Of course it might be difficult to withdraw today, as they've had to close their doors to prevent a run. This story should continue to get out. The success of closing a bank even temporarily, will inspire other groups to continue their efforts.

When the firefighters arrived at the Capitol this morning they started the chant "MOVE YOUR MONEY!" Firefighters Local 311 President Joe Conway told the audience they should move their money out of M&I Bank. The bank was one of the leading contributors to the Walker campaign due to contributions by current and former executives and board members.

The Madison Fire Chief says he doesn't have the authority to force the Capital police to remove the cuffs from the door, but he is concerned, as it violates State Fire Code.

Not that violating State Fire Code is any big problem for Walker and his minions!

In other news, the much anticipated recall has been introduced by e mail and will proceed this weekend. In a message from the Service Employees International Union this afternoon plans were laid out:

Earlier today Governor Scott Walker signed the odious anti-worker bill into law.

And after weeks of deception, Walker and his Republican cronies in the State Senate have finally come clean about why they are taking away rights from hard-working Wisconsinites: politics. The Republican Senate Majority Leader told Fox News, "President Obama is going to have a much difficult, much more difficult time getting elected and winning the state of Wisconsin" when unions are weakened.

The best antidote to this assault on Wisconsin families is what we've seen in the streets of Madison for almost a month: democracy. That is why we're working hard to recall eight Senate Republicans who voted against the middle class this week.

Support the efforts of Wisconsin workers by attending a canvass this weekend to gather signatures for the recall:

http://action.seiu.org/page/s/wisconsinrecall

The battle Scott Walker and Republicans have started in Wisconsin will only escalate in the ensuing days. We can turn up the heat by getting out on the doors this weekend and adding even more energy to the recall.

Please, attend a recall canvass in Wisconsin this weekend:

http://action.seiu.org/page/s/wisconsinrecall

In solidarity,
Brandon Davis, SEIU Political Director

In another notice I received yet this afternoon, strategy was clearly laid out:

VOLUNTEER: Help recall Wisconsin Republicans
Join the recall efforts in three ways!

1. Join a canvass event near you

Click here to find events in Robert Cowles's district (R-2, Green Bay)
Click here to find events in Alberta Darling's district (R-8, River Hills)
Click here to find events in Sheila Harsdorf's district (R-10, River Falls)
Click here to find events in Luther Olsen's district (R-14, Ripon)
Click here to find events in Randy Hopper's district (R-18, Fond du Lac)
Click here to find events in Glenn Grothman's district (R-20, West Bend)
Click here to find events in Mary Lazich's district (R-28, New Berlin)
Click here to find events in Dan Kapanke's district (R-32, La Crosse)

2. Collect signatures on your own

Can't make an event? Click here to download a recall form and collect signatures on your own.


3. Donate to the recall efforts

Click here to chip in and donate to the PCCC's recall efforts.



Only Wisconsin residents represented by this Senator can sign this recall petition, but any Wisconsin eligible voter or out of state person can volunteer to collect signatures!

NOTE: Wisconsin law says elected officials must be in office a year before they are recalled. The entire state assembly, Gov. Walker, and the rest of the Republicans in the state senate not listed above were all last elected in 2010 and sworn in January, 2011, so none of them can be recalled until January 2012.


Since you obviously cannot "click here" on my blog, go to:

boldprogressives.org and join some 700,000 (and growing) members in our concerted effort to take back our dignity and our democracy before it is too late!

_______________________________________v

Do Republicans like having a governor who couldn't take yes for an answer when unions agreed to benefit concessions(in public as he wouldn't talk to them at the negotiating table)and seeks national attention for himself when WI has less severe budget challenges than most states, and lower unemployment? Who cuts programs for the most needy and wants to sell off the people's state resources while offering tax breaks to wealthy campaign donors? Leaders negotiate solutions through compromise-they don't alienate half of the electorate with divisiveness to seek the national spotlight. Don't believe it? Watch Walker for future ambitions. He had three press conferences for every "discussion" his staff had with the Democrats.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

WALKER REVEALS HIS TRUE SELF: KOCH SUCKER!


The late night hours of March 9, 2011 will go down in Wisconsin history as "The Ash Wednesday Massacre." But as with the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Koch Brothers and their minions, the state republicans, "have awakened a sleeping giant". Here is what Senator Jauch, one of the courageous "Wisconsin 14" had to say this morning:

It is a dark moment in Wisconsin history. Senate Republican swift and possibly illegal action to end collective bargaining was political thuggery in its worst form. The moment will be recorded as the time the lights went out on democracy in Wisconsin.

The manner in which they so quickly rammed the bill through without explanation was more like a political coup that you would see in a third world country than in the Wisconsin statehouse long revered throughout our great state. They brought shame upon the institution and exposed the Governor and Republican lawmakers as frauds.

The dramatic parliamentary maneuver to strip collective bargaining from the fiscal bill shows that the debate was never about fiscal responsibility, but was always about eliminating bargaining rights for workers. In their desperate attempt to attack unions they lied to the citizens of Wisconsin.

As one who had been actively working to achieve a compromise to protect collective bargaining I am appalled by the shameful conduct of the Governor and Republican lawmakers who showed contempt for the citizens of Wisconsin. Republicans turned a deaf ear to the hundreds of thousands of citizens who passionately believed that their voice would be heard.

Predictably, the Senate Republicans will try to blame someone else for their reprehensible behavior. They may have had the votes to exercise this abuse of power, but they have lost in the eyes of public opinion.

Everyone watching this mockery of democracy is appalled by the Republican behavior that once again stifled the voice of the Assembly Democratic leader in their rush to end worker rights.

Following the vote several Republican lawmakers were seen exchanging high fives and cheering as though they had scored a touchdown. Their gleeful celebration demonstrates a cynical disregard for their duty to serve the people instead of radical ideology.

Their action doesn’t end the debate, it intensifies it. The Republicans may think they have stifled workers rights, but they can’t silence the hundreds of thousands of voices who begin today to restore those rights.



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I was going to attempt to put my feelings about these events into a blog today until I received a forwarded e mail written by one of the Chippewa Valley's own, Mr, John Rasmussen. He said it much better than I ever could:

Wisconsin lost something real important yesterday.

Wisconsin was sold out in the name of GREED.

The people of this State are much poorer today.

The state government no longer represents the people.

The state government is representing the wishes of a group of wealthy rich folks who are hiding in the shadows and pulling the strings and controlling the working folks of this state.

I used to be a radical when i was young, then i got dumber, now i am a radical again.

Who says Folks can't change? I did yesterday.

I dare you to tell me this budget will grow jobs in this State.

I dare you to tell me that defunding the schools and universities will help the people of Wisconsin.

I dare you to tell me that defunding Medicaid and other medical assistance will help folks be healthier.

I dare you to tell me that deregulating or eliminating air, water, and environmental regulation in the State will help the people of this State

I dare you to tell me that selling of our public infrastructure to corporations will make the State better.

I don't think it would be a good idea for Scott Walker or his crooked keepers to stop by my house today for a chat as i am all done chatting.

Reasonableness only resonates within a group of folks who listen.

I am all done listening to their lies.

I also am more than a little bit unreasonable today.



So what now? Republican Senator Grothman, who was chased around the capitol building today by upwards of 200 people, locked out by capitol police, repeated the same disdainful rhetoric he used last week on the Rachel Maddow show:

For his part, Grothman says the whole thing didn't faze him. When it comes to the protesters, he says, "their bark is worse than their bite." And that extends beyond what happened to him, he said, predicting that soon the protests will fizzle. "I love Madison," he says. "I went to school here. I love the Sushi restaurants, but people in Madison think differently. Back home, people are not on their side."

Of the protesters, Grpthman said: "They're loud, they'll give you the finger, and they yell at you, but I really think deep down inside they're just mostly college kids having fun, just like they're having fun sleeping with their girfriends on air mattresses. That's the guts of that crowd."

This guy is definitely delusional. Take a close look at the picture. Do the people surrounding him all look like students having fun?

Here's an e mail I received from One Wisconsin Now just today. You tell me if this sounds like "fizzling"!


Dear Larry:

With the possibly-illegal actions in the last 12 hours by Republicans in the Assembly and Senate, there is a massive mobilization at the state capitol in Madison this Saturday.

Everyone who opposes Gov. Walker and the Senate and Assembly Republicans’ massive attack on our way of life in Wisconsin needs to come to Madison on Saturday and be a part of history -- the largest public demonstration Wisconsin has ever seen!

AFSCME Wisconsin has a list of buses that will be running to Madison from communities all over the state. Check out the schedule at http://www.wiafscme.org/index.cfm?action=article&articleID=fd9884e9-33e6-4219-9f2a-ef60cea9eb9f

Saturday’s protest at the Capitol in Madison promises to be the largest demonstration yet against Governor Walker and the Republican’s assault on Wisconsin’s middle class. The One Wisconsin Now team will be there. Firefighters and police officers will be there. Teachers and their students will be there. Farmers and their families will be there. College students, single moms, retirees and working families will be there.

Will you?

There are activities planned throughout the day, starting with the Farmer Labor Tractorcade running from 10am to noon, followed by the statewide rally to begin at 2pm.

If you can, please make it to Madison this Saturday and join in our massive demonstration against Governor Walker and the Republican’s attacks on Wisconsin’s middle class.

Thanks for all you do,

scot

P.S.--We are so honored and thankful that so many of you have stepped up to support our efforts in organizing the fight against these attacks on Wisconsin's working families. If you haven't yet ordered your 'Fighting for Wisconsin' button, now's the time to get one before they're gone -- you can get one with a $20 contribution today at https://secure3.convio.net/pn/site/Donation2?df_id=3120&3120.donation=form1



One Wisconsin Now is a new-media online network of citizens from across Wisconsin committed to advancing progressive policy, leadership, values and ensuring equal economic opportunity for all.


If at all possible, get to Madison Saturday!

This battle is just beginning!

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

GOVERNOR AND REPUBLICAN SENATORS ARE BEGINNING TO FEEL THE HEAT - TIME TO POUR ON THE COAL!

Today I received the following e mail from Senator Jauch, one of the Wisconsin 14:

Thank you for writing. I am glad you took the time to write and enable me to offer an explanation of my efforts to find common ground to protect the taxpayers and preserve collective bargaining. I am sorry for the delay in getting back to you, but the massive number of calls and emails has prevented an earlier response.

I am doing my job in representing the citizens of northern Wisconsin who have overwhelmingly expressed opposition to Governor Walker's plan to eliminate collective bargaining. Thousands of citizens have contacted my office to oppose Governor Walker's plan and they have asked me to seek a solution. Statewide public opinion polls indicate that over 67% of the public strongly disapprove of his proposal.

My colleagues and I took the decision to leave the state seriously. We had to take unprecedented action to respond to the unprecedented and unjustified assault on workers rights. Our decision to leave the state was to slow down the process and allow the public a chance to better know the harmful consequences of the budget repair bill and provide the public a chance to engage in the deliberation process.



Since we left the state hundreds of thousands of citizens have traveled to Madison to voice their displeasure regarding the bill. The more the public knows about the legislation the stronger the opposition to the measure.



The Governor, Senate Democrats and the unions are in the heat of an agreement regarding the plan to increase pension and health care employee contribution. If Governor Walker is serious regarding the fiscal concerns of the state then he should accept our offer to adopt the fiscal matters that will save $845 million and remove the collective bargaining provisions that are so strongly opposed by the public.

Since Governor Walker introduced this legislation every day I have talked with Republican lawmakers and former Thompson Cabinet officials to seek a pathway to find common ground. Those conversations revealed that 6 or 7 Republican Senators hated the collective bargaining provisions but felt pressured by Governor Walker to vote for the bill.

The reality is that there is a strong majority of legislators who don’t want to get rid of collective bargaining but voted against the wishes of the constituents because they were compelled to vote with Governor Walker. Recently Representative Stone, a Republican candidate for Milwaukee County Executive, admitted that he voted for the budget repair bill but did not agree with getting rid of collective bargaining. I have spoken with a number of Republican representatives who voted for the bill and are hoping the Senate will adopt compromise language.

Yesterday Governor Walker said that he had been working day and night to find a solution to the issue. The fact is that he has held more press conferences blasting Democrats than there have been meetings. It took his Administration 18 days before a request was made for a meeting.

Last Wednesday evening my colleague and I received a call inviting us to a meeting in Kenosha with two members of his staff. Along with Senator Miller we met at 9:00 in Kenosha for an hour and half discussion.

We had a candid and professional conversation regarding several issues that may be concepts for an agreement, however, there was no agreement on either the process or the areas under consideration.

The following day I drafted some additional details for further discussion but upon receiving the memo my computer crashed as a result of a virus. I contacted his staff to call me so I could explain the memo. Unfortunately, they took it into Governor Walker and he held yet another press conference angrily denouncing the Democrats.

At my request the Governor’s staff met Senator Cullen and me at a meeting in South Beloit to consider possible agreeable items. After our two hour discussion I sent them a summary of those items which I hoped would be the basis of an agreement.

Governor Walker’s statement that Senator Cullen and I were working for an agreement so that he and I and a couple more legislators could come back to Wisconsin was an absolute lie. As leaders it is our obligation to find solutions to problems that constitute a win for the citizens of Wisconsin and Senator Cullen and I dedicated considerable time to meet that obligation. We had many conversations with his staff to indicate our desire to pursue solutions that would heal the deep divisions within the State Legislature and hopefully bind the wounds that divided Wisconsin.

Any serious leader does not negotiate contentious issues by press conference. His public announcement of what were supposed to be confidential discussions is a serious breach of faith. Furthermore, Governor Walker’s identification of Senator Cullen and me was intended to use us as a wedge in public opinion and showed he was not seriously interested in achieving a meaningful solution.

An election determines winners and losers. Governing requires leadership by public officials to develop policies that are considered a win for the state. Wisconsin was the first state in the nation to offer collective bargaining for public employees and public opinion soundly opposes the effort to become the first state in the nation to eliminate collective bargaining.

The Archbishop of Milwaukee said it best, “hard times do not nullify the moral obligation each of us has to respect the legitimate rights of workers.” As Pope Benedict wrote in his 2009 encyclical, Caritas in veritate:

Governments, for reasons of economic utility, often limit the freedom or the negotiating capacity of labor unions. Hence traditional networks of solidarity have more and more obstacles to overcome. The repeated calls issued within the Church's social doctrine, beginning with Rerum Novarum [60], for the promotion of workers' associations that can defend their rights must therefore be honored today even more than in the past, as a prompt and far-sighted response to the urgent need for new forms of cooperation at the international level, as well as the local level. [#25]


This has become a protracted fight about unions when we should not lose sight that the ultimate goal is to protect workers rights as a moral imperative. These hard working citizens contribute to the public good and should not be considered the public enemy. They are hard working teachers, bus drivers, prison guards, snowplow operators, nurses, firefighters, clerks, and police offers whose contributions to the commonwealth make Wisconsin a great state.

This is an historic moment. We didn’t plan for it, but citizens have seized the opportunity to protect the values, traditions and rights that make Wisconsin special. I stand by my decision to leave Wisconsin to go to the Land of Lincoln to protect these values. When history records our time I wish to be on the right side of protecting workers and not on the wrong side of eliminating workers’ rights.

I hope that the Governor and the Republicans will soon realize that their obligation is to listen to the overwhelming majority of the citizens of our wonderful state and not adhere to the rigid ideologues who don’t care about good government in our state.

Wisconsin policies have always been a beacon to the rest of the nation. It is my hope that we can find a resolution that protects worker rights and taxpayer and preserves collective bargaining. Such an agreement can lead to unity instead of division and enable us to then work together to improve our economy and move Wisconsin forward.

Thank you for contacting me.



Bob Jauch

State Senator


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AND THIS SOUNDS LIKE A VERY GOOD PREMISE FOR THE TELEVISION SHOW -


Have you heard about the next planned "Survivor" show?

Three businessmen and three businesswomen will be dropped in an elementary school classroom for one school year. Each business person will be provided with a copy of his/her school district's curriculum and a class of 20-25 students.

Each class will have a minimum of five learning-disabled children, three with A.D.H.D., one gifted child, and two who speak limited English. Three students will be labeled with severe behavior problems.

Each business person must complete lesson plans at least three days in advance, with annotations for curriculum objectives and modify, organize, or create their materials accordingly. They will be required to teach students, handle misconduct, implement technology, document attendance, write referrals, correct homework, make bulletin boards, compute grades, complete report cards, document benchmarks, communicate with parents, and arrange parent conferences. They must also stand in their doorway between class changes to monitor the hallways.

In addition, each month they will complete fire drills, tornado drills, and Code Red drills for shooting attacks.

They must attend workshops, faculty meetings, PTA meetings, and curriculum development meetings. They must also tutor students who are behind and strive to get their two non-English speaking children proficient enough to take the SOLS tests. If they are sick or having a bad day, they must not let it show.

Each day they must incorporate reading, writing, math, science, and social studies into the program. They must maintain discipline and provide an educationally stimulating environment to motivate students at all times. If all students do not wish to cooperate, work, or learn, the teacher will be held responsible.

The business people will only have access to the public golf course on the weekends, but with their new salary, they will not be able to afford it. There will be no access to vendors who want to take them to lunch, and lunch in the school cafeteria will be limited to thirty minutes, which is not counted as part of their work day. The business people will be permitted to use a student restroom, as long as another survival candidate can supervise their class.

If the copier is operable, they may make copies of necessary materials before, or after, school. However, they cannot surpass their monthly limit of copies. The business people must continually advance their education, at their expense, and on their own time.

The winner of this Season of Survivor will be allowed to return to his/her job.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

3 BIGGEST LIES: AMERICA/WISCONSIN IS BROKE, IRAQ HAS WMD'S, PACKERS CAN'T WIN SUPERBOWL WITHOUT FAVRE

Today I am reporting from Playa Grande, Mexico, where I am in a very nice time-share apartment with Kim and Kristi, the Wilson sisters, who just now left to meet with Raphael, a very nice, smooth talking representative from yet another huge development here on the seashore, to try and convince them that next year they should transfer out of the present time share and into one that he is hawking. We met him on the bus that brought us to the building we are staying in.

We were the first to get on the bus so Kim and I took the first seats to the right and Kristi took the first seat to the left. Shortly after we were seated, a very wrinkled little old lady and her dog entered the bus and told Kristi that she was sitting in her seat. Now Kristi is a strong-willed individual who doesn't take shit from any body.

She informed the woman that there are no assigned seats and that the woman had lots of choices further back in the bus. No - the witch made it very clear that she was going to sit in front. So Kristi got up and told her she could have the inside seat - again the woman told her to get out of the way -that seat was for her dog.

Then she began yelling at the bus driver to drive faster and not to make any stops. Undaunted, we got to a small groceria, and the bus pulled over.

It was announced that anyone who wanted refreshments could get them here. By now I was ready to throw the bitch off the bus myself, but I figured I could at least make her trip a bit more miserable by slowly exiting and going in to buy a beer, which I and several others did.

We finally reached her destination and were rid of her.

Today I am not doing much for most of the day as I am suffering mightily with this severely sprained ankle that I incurred way back on December 18 with a slip on ice that cracked my right fibula and laid waste to all the muscle and soft tissue of the right foot and ankle.

Yesterday I attempted to keep up with the girls and planned activities but by mid day I was really hurting. However, there is a benefit to being in Mexico. You don't need a doctor's prescription to get some pretty heavy duty pain killers so today my ankle is still swollen and sore but I don't seem to care.

I sat out in the warm sun and read this morning, feeding the birds that land at your feet. I am looking forward to going out to dinner tonight. I asked where I could find some really good barbacoa (roast goat) and was told we should go to Mi Casa.

So tonight I shall partake of too many margaritas and a nice serving of barbacoa.

_________________________________________

Both Kim and I were some what hesitant to leave Wisconsin with all that is going on with the state government and Pinocchio Walker. We had wanted to show up at the rally against him at the Holiday Inn on Monday morning but our travel plans made it impossible.

I did receive an e mail from Patty Wieseler about the results of the rally. It was written by her brother in-law, Jim Ganrude:

I was at the Holiday Inn in Eau Claire yesterday, along with Kevin and 1500+ other people protesting Governor Walker. The Koch Brothers tour buses came into the parking lot. Two people got off of the one bus while 12 people got off the other. The pro-Walker supporters numbered a few dozen inside the Holiday Inn. In the couple of hours we were outside I saw a total of 3......three.....Walker supporters. One of the 3 made the newspaper and also the local TV13 news. The news reported "Joe" the Plumber's view and gave much coverage to the few dozen people inside the Holiday Inn, while not once even panning the street (Craig Road) which was lined with protesters form Hi-way 37 to Clairemont Ave. I have not witnessed a protest this large in Eau Claire, and I was 19 back in the Vietnam protests. Pass this on.

_____________________________________

So what's up with our local TV stations? Oh, that's right -they are all owned by "THE MAN" and so they must do their bidding and not show the truth of what actually happened. Had I been home, I would have fired off a letter to the television stations and told them I am all done watching them.

I would also write to the Leader-Telegram and relay the truth of what happened that day.

Last night, I read what Michael Moore had to say while in Madison this past week end. It is worth posting here:


Speech delivered at Wisconsin Capitol in Madison, March 5, 2011

America is not broke.

Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that you'll give up your pension, cut your wages, and settle for the life your great-grandparents had, America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It's just that it's not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich.

Today just 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined.

Let me say that again. 400 obscenely rich people, most of whom benefited in some way from the multi-trillion dollar taxpayer "bailout" of 2008, now have more loot, stock and property than the assets of 155 million Americans combined. If you can't bring yourself to call that a financial coup d'├ętat, then you are simply not being honest about what you know in your heart to be true.

And I can see why. For us to admit that we have let a small group of men abscond with and hoard the bulk of the wealth that runs our economy, would mean that we'd have to accept the humiliating acknowledgment that we have indeed surrendered our precious Democracy to the moneyed elite. Wall Street, the banks and the Fortune 500 now run this Republic -- and, until this past month, the rest of us have felt completely helpless, unable to find a way to do anything about it.



I have nothing more than a high school degree. But back when I was in school, every student had to take one semester of economics in order to graduate. And here's what I learned: Money doesn't grow on trees. It grows when we make things. It grows when we have good jobs with good wages that we use to buy the things we need and thus create more jobs. It grows when we provide an outstanding educational system that then grows a new generation of inventers, entrepreneurs, artists, scientists and thinkers who come up with the next great idea for the planet. And that new idea creates new jobs and that creates revenue for the state. But if those who have the most money don't pay their fair share of taxes, the state can't function. The schools can't produce the best and the brightest who will go on to create those jobs. If the wealthy get to keep most of their money, we have seen what they will do with it: recklessly gamble it on crazy Wall Street schemes and crash our economy. The crash they created cost us millions of jobs. That too caused a reduction in revenue. And the population ended up suffering because they reduced their taxes, reduced our jobs and took wealth out of the system, removing it from circulation.

The nation is not broke, my friends. Wisconsin is not broke. It's part of the Big Lie. It's one of the three biggest lies of the decade: America/Wisconsin is broke, Iraq has WMD, the Packers can't win the Super Bowl without Brett Favre.

The truth is, there's lots of money to go around. LOTS. It's just that those in charge have diverted that wealth into a deep well that sits on their well-guarded estates. They know they have committed crimes to make this happen and they know that someday you may want to see some of that money that used to be yours. So they have bought and paid for hundreds of politicians across the country to do their bidding for them. But just in case that doesn't work, they've got their gated communities, and the luxury jet is always fully fueled, the engines running, waiting for that day they hope never comes. To help prevent that day when the people demand their country back, the wealthy have done two very smart things:

1. They control the message. By owning most of the media they have expertly convinced many Americans of few means to buy their version of the American Dream and to vote for their politicians. Their version of the Dream says that you, too, might be rich some day – this is America, where anything can happen if you just apply yourself! They have conveniently provided you with believable examples to show you how a poor boy can become a rich man, how the child of a single mother in Hawaii can become president, how a guy with a high school education can become a successful filmmaker. They will play these stories for you over and over again all day long so that the last thing you will want to do is upset the apple cart -- because you -- yes, you, too! -- might be rich/president/an Oscar-winner some day! The message is clear: keep your head down, your nose to the grindstone, don't rock the boat and be sure to vote for the party that protects the rich man that you might be some day.

2. They have created a poison pill that they know you will never want to take. It is their version of mutually assured destruction. And when they threatened to release this weapon of mass economic annihilation in September of 2008, we blinked. As the economy and the stock market went into a tailspin, and the banks were caught conducting a worldwide Ponzi scheme, Wall Street issued this threat: Either hand over trillions of dollars from the American taxpayers or we will crash this economy straight into the ground. Fork it over or it's Goodbye savings accounts. Goodbye pensions. Goodbye United States Treasury. Goodbye jobs and homes and future. It was friggin' awesome and it scared the shit out of everyone. "Here! Take our money! We don't care. We'll even print more for you! Just take it! But, please, leave our lives alone, PLEASE!"

The executives in the board rooms and hedge funds could not contain their laughter, their glee, and within three months they were writing each other huge bonus checks and marveling at how perfectly they had played a nation full of suckers. Millions lost their jobs anyway, and millions lost their homes. But there was no revolt (see #1).

Until now. On Wisconsin! Never has a Michigander been more happy to share a big, great lake with you! You have aroused the sleeping giant know as the working people of the United States of America. Right now the earth is shaking and the ground is shifting under the feet of those who are in charge. Your message has inspired people in all 50 states and that message is: WE HAVE HAD IT! We reject anyone tells us America is broke and broken. It's just the opposite! We are rich with talent and ideas and hard work and, yes, love. Love and compassion toward those who have, through no fault of their own, ended up as the least among us. But they still crave what we all crave: Our country back! Our democracy back! Our good name back! The United States of America. NOT the Corporate States of America. The United States of America!

So how do we get this? Well, we do it with a little bit of Egypt here, a little bit of Madison there. And let us pause for a moment and remember that it was a poor man with a fruit stand in Tunisia who gave his life so that the world might focus its attention on how a government run by billionaires for billionaires is an affront to freedom and morality and humanity.

Thank you, Wisconsin. You have made people realize this was our last best chance to grab the final thread of what was left of who we are as Americans. For three weeks you have stood in the cold, slept on the floor, skipped out of town to Illinois -- whatever it took, you have done it, and one thing is for certain: Madison is only the beginning. The smug rich have overplayed their hand. They couldn't have just been content with the money they raided from the treasury. They couldn't be satiated by simply removing millions of jobs and shipping them overseas to exploit the poor elsewhere. No, they had to have more – something more than all the riches in the world. They had to have our soul. They had to strip us of our dignity. They had to shut us up and shut us down so that we could not even sit at a table with them and bargain about simple things like classroom size or bulletproof vests for everyone on the police force or letting a pilot just get a few extra hours sleep so he or she can do their job -- their $19,000 a year job. That's how much some rookie pilots on commuter airlines make, maybe even the rookie pilots flying people here to Madison. But he's stopped trying to get better pay. All he asks is that he doesn't have to sleep in his car between shifts at O'Hare airport. That's how despicably low we have sunk. The wealthy couldn't be content with just paying this man $19,000 a year. They wanted to take away his sleep. They wanted to demean and dehumanize him. After all, he's just another slob.

And that, my friends, is Corporate America's fatal mistake. But trying to destroy us they have given birth to a movement -- a movement that is becoming a massive, nonviolent revolt across the country. We all knew there had to be a breaking point some day, and that point is upon us. Many people in the media don't understand this. They say they were caught off guard about Egypt, never saw it coming. Now they act surprised and flummoxed about why so many hundreds of thousands have come to Madison over the last three weeks during brutal winter weather. "Why are they all standing out there in the cold? I mean there was that election in November and that was supposed to be that!

"There's something happening here, and you don't know what it is, do you...?"

America ain't broke! The only thing that's broke is the moral compass of the rulers. And we aim to fix that compass and steer the ship ourselves from now on. Never forget, as long as that Constitution of ours still stands, it's one person, one vote, and it's the thing the rich hate most about America -- because even though they seem to hold all the money and all the cards, they begrudgingly know this one unshakeable basic fact: There are more of us than there are of them!

Madison, do not retreat. We are with you. We will win together.


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Saturday, March 5, 2011

SCOTT WALKER'S TOP TEN MYTHS, LIES, AND FABRICATIONS

Scott Walker’s top 10 myths, lies and fabrications
What the governor says isn’t always true

1. Press conference, February 21: “We’re broke. We don’t have any more money.” WRONG Governor Walker has repeatedly claimed that the state is “broke” and “we don’t have anything to offer” as reasons that state and local employees should not have any say in their working conditions. But the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the website PolitiFact quote experts agreeing that “the state isn’t broke” and has many options at its disposal to balance the budget. Wisconsin does face difficult economic challenges, and that is why public-sector workers have agreed to concessions Walker is proposing. But know this: Walker is clearly out to attack workers. His agenda is not about money – experts say the state isn’t broke and employees have agreed to fiscal concessions.
http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2011/mar/03/scott-walker/wisconsin-gov-scott-walker-says-wisconsin-broke/

2. CNN, February 18: “It’s a very modest request of our government workers all across the state.” WRONG. Light years away from “modest,” Walker’s campaign against working families has created a system of chaos for public schools. That chaos includes some districts – Freedom, Granton, Harford Union, Kiel, Monticello, New London, New Richmond, Northern Ozaukee, and Westby – sending non-renewal notices to their entire teaching staff. Other districts have issued preliminary non-renewal notices to 10-40 percent of their staff. Remember, a non-renewal notice is basically a firing, and it’s not how staff reductions are generally handled by districts in typical years. How are families supposed to plan their child’s education when Walker is sending their children’s schools into turmoil?
http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1102/18/sitroom.02.html
http://www.weac.org/news_and_publications/11-02-28/Non-renewal_notices_add_to_chaos_in_communities.aspx

3. Radio interview, February 18: Under his bill, “collective bargaining is fully intact.” WRONG. Walker has been claiming that civil service protections cover local employees such as educators – but they don’t. Actually, what Walker won’t say is that no school district or technical college has a civil service system in place. Civil service protections specify certain employee rights, but the terms are set by the employer – employees have no right to bargain or negotiate over these items. Collective bargaining has been a success for the last 60 years of Wisconsin’s history – and Walker wants to completely destroy the collective bargaining system.
http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2011/feb/18/scott-walker/wisconsin-gov-scott-walker-says-his-budget-repair-/

4. TV commercial supporting Scott Walker, February 22: “State workers haven’t had to sacrifice.” WRONG. Again and again, educators have been making salary concession to maintain health insurance packages – that means savings for local districts. Wage freezes have been commonplace in districts across the state because educators have been at the table negotiating with local administrators. In fact, Wisconsin teacher pay has not kept up with the rise in inflation for nearly 20 years now and is at its lowest level in 50 years. Everyone has made sacrifices in this economy; educators have been doing it for two decades.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYEgoxdxzA0&feature=player_embedded

5. Fox interview, February 21: “I don’t want a single person laid off in the public nor in the private sector.” REALLY? This is what he told someone posing as an out-of-state oil billionaire: “The other thing is I’ve got layoff notices ready. We put out the at-risk notices. We’ll announce Thursday, and they’ll go out early next week. And we’ll probably get 5 to 6,000 state workers will get at-risk notices for layoffs. We might ratchet that up a little bit, you know.” “RATCHET THAT UP A LITTLE BIT” – those are the words of someone who is using the lives of hardworking people to further his political goals. Walker isn’t interested in helping working families; he’s interested in hurting them.
http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/02/21/wisconsin.budget/index.html
http://host.madison.com/wsj/article_531276b6-3f6a-11e0-b288-001cc4c002e0.html

6. Press conference, February 18: “To protect our schools, to protect our local governments, we need to give them the tools they've been asking for.” WRONG. The executive director of the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators says that group “never sought to eliminate collective bargaining rights” and the executive director of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities – which represents 190 cities and 393 villages – says Walker’s bill goes far beyond anything that group has ever talked about. In fact, more than 200 local officials signed a petition opposing the bill, with school boards, city councils and county boards continuously passing resolutions supporting continuation of collective bargaining for their employees.
http://www.thedailypage.com/daily/article.php?article=32392

7. Press conference, February 21: “The simple matter is I campaigned on this all throughout the election. Anybody who says they are shocked on this has been asleep for the past two years.” WRONG. Walker never mentioned during his campaign that he would try to strip away the rights of working families. He mentioned he would seek health insurance concessions from ALL state workers, but he NEVER said he would restrict negotiating only to salary (a subject he also is proposing limiting in itself).
http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2011/feb/22/scott-walker/wisconsin-gov-scott-walker-says-he-campaigned-his-/

8. “Meet the Press,” February 27: “And as I mentioned repeatedly, I don't think we can take that 5 and 12 percent (concessions) to the bank … because unions have shown us the last two weeks that, that they're not going to do it.” WRONG. A coalition of labor representatives for state and local workers have agreed to concessions in health insurance and pension packages. In fact, they’ve agreed to the very same concessions Walker is proposing. And on top of that, some of the public workers Walker didn’t include in his onerous bill – firefighters, particularly – have agreed to increased contributions to help out the state and stave off limits on collective bargaining. This isn’t about money anymore – Walker has tossed aside the concessions public workers are willing to make. He is interested only in taking away the rights of working families.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41781178/ns/meet_the_press-transcripts

9. “Meet the Press,” February 27: “We have, in many of our school districts, a requirement through collective bargaining contracts that they have to buy their health insurance from a company that's owned by our state teacher's union, WA Trust.” WRONG The health insurance Walker refers to – actually called the WEA Trust – is far from a “requirement.” According to the nonprofit organization of which Walker can’t even get the name right: About 35 percent of public school employees in Wisconsin are covered by the Trust. Milwaukee, Madison and Green Bay are self-insured or purchase from companies other than the Trust. Furthermore, Trust insurance premiums have increased at a rate LOWER than the national average, saving districts money.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41781178/ns/meet_the_press-transcripts

10. Phone call to “David Koch,” February 23: Walker said he’s been telling people protesters “are in from other states today.” WRONG. WEAC members have been down to the Capitol. AFSCME members, SEIU members, Madison police and firefighters, teaching assistants from UW-Madison – they’re just some of the Wisconsinites protesting this shortsighted legislation.
http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2011/feb/23/scott-walker/wisconsin-gov-scott-walker-says-out-staters-accoun/

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Posted at 1:01 PM ET, 03/ 4/2011
Will Walker layoffs backfire on Wisconsin Republicans?
By Greg Sargent

It's been widely assumed that once Governor Scott Walker starts sending out pink slips to public employees, it will increase pressure on fugitive Dems to return to Wisconsin and vote on Walker's measure rolling back bargaining rights.

But what if the opposite is true? What if the layoffs will actually increase pressure on Republican Senators to reach a deal with Dems and labor?

I'm told that Wisconsin Dems are mapping out an aggressive plan to make that happen, if and when layoffs start happening -- one designed to pin the blame for them direcly on Republican Senators.

"We don't think Republicans want these layoffs to happen," Graeme Zielinski, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Democratic Party, told me this morning. "They're going to eat this, and it's dawning on them."

Pressed on whether the layoffs would increase pressure on Dems to return, Zielinski said Dems strongly regretted the impact layoffs would have on communities, but rejected the idea that it force Dems to come back.

"The public is not going to blame us for these layoffs -- when they're on a totally arbitrary timetable and have nothing to do with the fiscal solvency of the state," Zielinski said. He added that Dems would respond aggressively, characterizing the Dem pushback as follows:

"This was totally preventable. Walker gave $140 million in tax breaks to corporations that don't need it, and yet he's laying off teachers in your own back yards and ending the summer recreational program in your neighborhood."

"They will own these policies," Zielinski said of Repubicans.

The basic idea here is that polls suggest that Wisconsinites have already made up their minds about the ongoing standoff. On the core issue of bargaining rights, they side with labor and Dems, and against Walker. Dems think layoffs won't change that dynamic; if anything, if Dems can persuade the public that the layoffs are the fault of Walker's unreasonable insistence on an unpopular and extreme proposal, that dynamic could be exacerbated in their favor.

Also: One labor official tells me that if and when layoffs start, they will aggressively highlight the moment on the fake Koch call in which Walker explicitly said he'd use the threat of layoffs to ratchet up political pressure on Dems. I'd say it's very possible the politics of layoffs will backfire on Wisconsin Republicans in a big way.

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BREAKING! New Poll shows Scott Walker is toast.

A new Rasmussen poll in Wisconsin shows Governor Scott Walker, who won with 52% of the vote just four months ago, has become incredibly unpopular, with 57% of likely Wisconsin voters disapproving of Walker. And that's Rasmussen, the most Republican leaning polling outfit on earth!

48% of these voters strongly disapprove of him, while only 43% approve of the job Walker has done. This may be one of the most dramatic reversals in public opinion we've ever seen.

Jon Terbush of TPM reports that almost 80% of public union members disapprove of the Governors strong-arm approach to governance. 67% of families with children in school disapprove, with 54% disapproving strongly.

I have felt that this would be a victory for Unions and for Democrats, but I am shocked by how fast Governor Walker's political ship is sinking.

Hallelujah for those brave protesters, marching and standing in the bitter cold of a Madison winter. We must do all that we can to help them, and ourselves, to press onward in this fight for human rights and the dignity of working people.

There is no time to rest on our laurels. We must destroy this anti-labor virus in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana before it spreads to other parts of the country. This is a battle between the people and the oligarchs. At this moment, the people appear to be winning.

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Just how nervous is Scott Walker feeling in Wisconsin? The Washington Post's Greg Sargent alerts us to a Wall Street Journal article and a local news item in Wisconsin suggesting that two more Republican state senators may be on the verge of rejecting Walker's budget repair bill. Republicans have 19-14 majority in the state Senate, and with one senator already on record in opposition, two more nay votes will kill the bill.

I'll believe it when I see it, but now that even conservative polling outfits have started reporting that significant majorities of Wisconsin citizens voters disapprove of Walker, it could be time to call it a day. Amazing as it might seem to anyone who still remembers the midterm elections, it's looking more and more like Democrats are coming out ahead in this battle, a fact that could have enormous political implications going forward. Even if Walker does get his bill passed, Republican governors are likely to pause before copying his tactics. The recall efforts in Wisconsin are for real. Politicians are starting to run scared.

Two things to note about Stephen Moore's hand-wringing in the Wall Street Journal.

First, there's the brilliant headline, "The Wisconsin Wobblies." Whoever came up with the idea to smear wavering Republican senators with a name that immediately recalls the infamous radical union activists who joined together under the name Industrial Workers of the World (a.k.a The Wobblies) -- should get a special award. A sane person might argue that Republican senators are actually paying attention to the will of the people, but to the Wall Street Journal, their lily-liveredness is cause for a total blacklist. Why not just call them Bolsheviks and be done with it?

Then there is this panicked quote, along with accompanying analysis from Moore:


"Republicans can't turn back in Wisconsin," says Mark Mix of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This will only embolden the unions and weaken efforts at reform all over the country." It's foolish to believe that backing down will satisfy the unions. If history is any guide, more than 90 percent of union money will be used to defeat Republicans no matter what happens.


I have to echo Jonathan Chait here: Wait just a minute -- wasn't this fight supposed to be about balancing the budget? Aren't Republicans supposed to be a little more discreet about admitting that the real goal in Wisconsin was to break the knees of a political opponent?

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21. More: Andrew Leonard
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Jonathan Chait
It's Possible Wisconsin Republicans May Have Slightly Overreached

Jonathan Chait

March 4, 2011 | 4:05 pm
WSJ editorialist Stephen Moore, in the course of urging Wisconsin Republicans to hold firm, gently acknowledges that things have not gone exactly as planned, politically speaking:

On Wednesday, Republicans held a "unity" press conference that was attended by all but one senator, Dale Schultz. But a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll showing that 62% of respondents oppose curtailing collective-bargaining rights for public-sector workers over health care, pensions or other benefits suggests that the GOP position may be losing some support among independent voters.
I love all the qualifications: a poll showing the the public siding against you 2-to-1 suggests that the party may be losing some independents. That's one way to put it! Also, Scott Walker is looking at 57% disapproval. According to Rasmussen, no less.

As Emperor Hirohito put it on August 15, 1945, "the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage." Of course, Hirohito was arguing for surrender. Moore's conclusion, on the other hand:

"Republicans can't turn back in Wisconsin," says Mark Mix of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This will only embolden the unions and weaken efforts at reform all over the country." It's foolish to believe that backing down will satisfy the unions. If history is any guide, more than 90% of union money will be used to defeat Republicans no matter what happens.
You mean the budget, right? It's about the budget, and preventing bankruptcy and saving the children, and so forth. Not crippling Democratic fund-raising. You almost forget there for a moment.


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Governor, Open the Doors

Tom Giffey / editorial page editor Leader-Telegram

In his short tenure as Wisconsin's governor, Scott Walker has shown a noticeable fondness for quoting the state constitution, specifically, Article I, Section 22. In his inaugural address, in his State of the State speech and again in his budget address this week, Walker referred to the passage, which reads as follows:

"The blessings of a free government can only be maintained by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality and virtue, and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles."

Unfortunately, while searching for the perfect quote that coincided with his conservative philosophy, Walker apparently breezed past another important part of the constitution, Article I, Section 4: "The right of the people peaceably to assemble, to consult for the common good, and to petition the government, or any department thereof, shall never be abridged."

That clear-cut constitutional standard was ignored by Walker's administration in recent days, as it has clamped down on the large but peaceful protests in and around the Capitol. And the passage definitely applies to the Capitol itself: According to the annotated version of the constitution, a prior opinion from the attorney general's office stated, "The legislature cannot prohibit an individual from entering the Capitol or its grounds."

It's true that normally sedate halls of the building aren't accustomed to the thousands of citizens who have come -- and some of whom have stayed. But, then again, the Wisconsin people are unaccustomed to the radical steps that Walker has proposed, namely his unyielding approach to crippling public employee unions. That approach has applied to the protesters and other members of the public as well. Visitors have been barred from entry, and seemingly arbitrary instructions have been given to lawmakers whose constituents want to visit them.

"I have personally been refused entrance into the Capitol multiple times, in some cases where I refused to show my identification card; in other cases where I did show my identification card I was still refused entrance," state Rep. Kelda Roys, D-Madison, told WUWM radio of Milwaukee. "I haven't been able to get constituents in the building, my interns and staff have not been able to sometimes get in the building themselves or bring constituents in. And in one instance, I actually had to climb through a colleague's window to get back into the building."

Earlier this week, some frustrated lawmakers took the extraordinary step of holding office hours outside the building, lugging their desks to the Capitol grounds. For their trouble, they were scolded by Secretary of Administration Mike Huebsch (a former Republican lawmaker and Walker appointee) for daring to take state property (their desks) out of the Capitol.

Furthermore, for several days the Walker administration defied a court order issued Tuesday by Dane County Judge Daniel Moeser, which said the doors to the Capitol must be open to the public during regular hours. On Thursday night, another Dane County judge, John Albert, rules that the Walker administration had "closed the Capitol impermissibly" and, beginning Monday, must allow the public access. (However, he also banned protesters from staying in the building overnight.)

It may be inconvenient for the governor and lawmakers to have so many people tramping through their workplace, but no one ever said democracy was supposed to be convenient. The Capitol is the people's house, and it should be as open as possible to the people for whatever reason -- even and especially when they are there because they disagree with elected officials. The Walker administrations attempts to keep the public out of the Capitol have flown in the face of the state constitution and common decency.

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