Franklin County Democrats

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Browsing Posts tagged Wisconsin

Last night’s disappointing win by Scott Walker is being spun by FOX and friends as the end of the left in America.  That’s a pretty strong statement for a victory made up of an 8 to 1 spending advanatage, dirty tricks such as targeted robocalls telling people that if they already signed a petition to recall they don’t need to vote, and a steady diet fo corporate financed misinformation.

This assessment also fails to look at two very important facts.  First, Wisconsin Democrats regained control of the Senate which will effectively block Walker and the Koch Brothers from pushing radical legislation like the budget /end collective bargaining bill through in the middle of the night.  Second, exit polls reveal that President Obama is leading the “Job Cremator” by 6 points! 

Another point of spin by the righties is that union members defected in large numbers to support Walker.  I love to disappoint so here’s the facts from the exit polls.

While some right-wing pundits and media outlets have claimed that Walker won significant support from union families, an election night poll of Wisconsin union members by Hart Research Associates for the AFL-CIO shows a huge majority of union voters backed Tom Barrett. Overall union members supported Walker’s recall by a 75 percent to 25 percent margin, with public-sector union members coming in at 85 percent to 15 percent for Barrett. Union members, says Hart’s Guy Molyneux:

are not climbing aboard the Walker agenda.

Union voters also stood strongly for Barrett despite the multimillion-dollar barrage of TV and radio ads. Some 69 percent of union members say they saw and heard far more ads for Walker than Barrett during the course of the campaign.

I would love to see Walker face the justice he deserves but as Meatloaf would say “Two out of three ain’t bad.”

 

It’s not just happening in Missouri. It’s happening in all other Republican-controlled State Legislatures across the nation — and it’s scary as hell. Out-of-state, moneyed special interests with a for-profit motive are drafting model legislation that, if enacted, will further enrich their respective industries at taxpayer expense. The draft legislation is funneled to state lawmakers through the corporate-run American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Lawmakers then copy that text, in many cases word for word, put their names on it, and then pretend the ideas are originating from them. But don’t be fooled. They’re not.

We are seeing this exact process unfolding before our very eyes in Missouri’s Capitol right now. But it’s happening everywhere. Here, Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison) explains how the process is playing out in his state.

At best this demonstrates how lazy, complacent and unimaginative GOP lawmakers have become. They can no longer be bothered to think critically about the needs of their state and do the hard work of drafting original legislation that serves all people. It’s easier to just copy and paste ALEC model legislation and take the campaign contributions that come with it. At worst it’s more evidence that we are moving towards unchecked plutocracy in which laws are created by corporations, for corporations.

The Washington Post, no liberal friends there – or competent economists, published this opinion piece on yesterday’s recall elections in Wisconsin.  Dems took back two Senate seats but failed to take control of the Senate by one seat.

But nonetheless, what they failed to accomplish does not diminish what they did successfully accomplish. The fact that all these recall elections happened at all was itself a genuine achievement. The sudden explosion of demonstrations in opposition to Walker’s proposals, followed by activists pulling off the collection of many thousands of recall signatures in record time, represented an undiluted organizing triumph. At a time of nonstop media doting over the Tea Party, it was a reminder that spontaneous grassroots eruptions of sympathy and support for a targeted constituency are still possible and can still be channeled effectively into a genuine populist movement on the left. At a time when organized labor is struggling badly and GOP governors earn national media adulation by talking “tough” about cracking down on greedy public employees, what happened in Wisconsin, as John Nichols put it, amounted to “one of the largest pro-labor demonstrations in American history,” one that carried echoes of the “era of Populist and Progressive reform in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.”

What’s more, no matter how many times conservatives falsely assert that labor and Dems subverted the popular will by fighting Walker’s proposals, in reality precisely the opposite happened.

 

Just two days after Democratic Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General, JoAnne Kloppenburg’s historic victory over incumbent Republican David Prosser for state supreme court justice, Waukesha County Clerk, Kathy Nickolaus, held a press conference to announce she found 14,000 more uncounted votes on her personal computer, which would give Prosser a 7,500 vote lead.

None of this would sound too suspicious if it weren’t for that fact that Nickolaus stored the election results on her personal laptop in a lightweight database program called Microsoft Access. Nickolaus claims she entered the data but “inadvertently forgot to hit the save button” when she closed the database file. There’s just one problem with that story. You don’t have to save in Access. The program’s default behavior automatically stores data as you enter it and when you close the database file.

There’s more.

continue reading…

The people of Wisconsin have spoken! The defeat of conservative incumbent Supreme Court Justice, David Prosser, by the Democratic Assistant Attorney General, JoAnne Kloppenburg, is as  rare as it is telling.

According to the National Journal this is only the fifth time since 1852 a Wisconsin Supreme Court justice has been unseated since the court’s establishment.

Prosser would have easily cruised to victory under orindary circumstances. But the fervor over Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s assault on the collective bargaining rights of public workers energized Democrats and made this otherwise unremarkable election one to watch.

That this was even close is a humiliating repudiation of Walker’s anti-union policies and a shot across the Tea Party’s bow. But a win is a direct hit with a tomahawk cruise missile and a harbinger of things to come.

Sure, there will most likely be a recount (Kloppenburg only won by a few hundred votes and Republicans are notoriously sore losers). But that’s academic. Kloppenburg’s victory gives the ongoing recall effort of Republican state senators who voted to strip public service union members of their bargaining rights even more energy, and Democrats across the country a huge boost heading into 2012.

Michael Moore on the three major lies of the last decade …

Wisconsin is broke. There are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and the Packers need Favre to win the Super Bowl.

Watch Moore’s entire speech in Madison, WI on March 5 here.

Yesterday I posted how Canadian regulators refused to roll back a law that prohibits news networks from lying, preventing the Fox Network from exporting its brand of snake oil to the north. Today Fox gets busted lying about the “Violent Wisconsin Protests” in order to demonize the opposition and keep its phony storyline alive.

Take a look at the video playing in the background while Bill O’Reilly interviews Mike Tobin:

This is one way in which Fox distorts the news. Notice the palm trees lining the streets that appear in the video at the 15 second mark. And where’d all the snow go? Hilarious. The video clearly wasn’t even shot in Madison but it fits their narrative so what the hell … it makes for good TV.

This is probably completely unrelated to the election of Scott Walker as Wisconsin’s governor and his ongoing assault on organized labor, but …

The billionaire brothers whose political action committee gave Gov. Scott Walker $43,000 and helped fund a multi-million dollar attack ad campaign against his opponent during the 2010 gubernatorial election have quietly opened a lobbying office in Madison just off the Capitol Square.

The fact that the Koch Company registered its public sector office with the state on January 5, two days after Walker’s inauguration, is pure coincidence.

Scott Walker may have a little Koch problem. From TPM

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s office has confirmed that it fell for a prank call from a liberal blogger who was apparently posing as David Koch. A blogger at buffalobeast.com posted audio of a call he claimed was with Walker earlier on Wednesday. At time of writing, buffalobeast.com appears to be down.

You can listen to the audio at TPM or read a transcript here. If this turns out to be true, the conversation Walker has with the person he thought was billionaire oil tycoon, David Koch, is simply devastating.

by Mark Sumner (used by permission)

There’s a word in the very first line of the Constitution of the United States that describes the instrument through which freedom is held. It’s a term for people acting in concert to secure their liberty and hold those rights against any opponent. That word is union.

From its founding, the story of this nation has been the story of union. It is the story of two centuries spent in building up the ability of ordinary citizens to treat with wealthy, powerful, politically connected entities. That story contains instances of tragedy. Thousands died in the struggle, many thousands more suffered poverty or were outcast from communities. But the story of union also contains far-reaching triumphs. Every paid vacation, every weekend, every overtime dollar, every protection from arbitrary dismissal and unfair treatment, everything that makes your working life tolerable, came because people stood together in union at risk to their own livelihoods and often their own lives. Some of those laws exist only because workers stood in union when not only corporations but their own government attacked them not just with guns, but with bombers. They paid the price. You reap the benefits.

When we talk about “the greatest generation” that brought the nation through World War II and built America into a post-war powerhouse, we’re speaking of a population where nearly a third of workers were union members. It’s no coincidence that the peak period of growth and progress coincides with the peak period of union membership. When people act in union, there’s nothing they can’t accomplish. When people cannot join in union, when everyone must face the powerful alone, all rights are nothing more than words.

Whether in a union of states and nations or a union of workers and citizens, only by working in concert can rights be wrested from oppressors and held against despots. That’s why tyrants quake at the sound of union. That’s why the right to act in union is the ability that the downtrodden most desire and authorities first attack.  Union is the measure of freedom.

The outlawing of independent unions is the clearest and most consistent marker of despotism around the world. When Gaddafi seized control of Libya in 1969, his first speech proclaimed the end of labor unions. No sooner had he secured control of Cuba than Fidel Castro banned the ability of unions to strike or to bargain over salary and benefits, saying such demands were detrimental to “the national economy.” In Colombia today, right-wing militias work together with corporations to keep down costs and demands for decent working conditions in the most effective way they know–they execute union leaders.

There’s a good reason why governments and corporations alike show trepidation when people are able to organize. Union is effective. For all the pretty speeches and all the ham-handed threats, the signal that the Iron Curtain was finally rising didn’t come in Berlin or Washington, D.C., it came in the shipyards of Gdansk, when men dared to wave the flag of an independent union. Want to determine where governments are actually concerned about the rights of their people? You only have to look at how free people are to organize for a cause. Without that, no other rights matter. With it, all other rights will follow.

The First Amendment to the Constitution enshrines a number of freedoms including religion, speech and the press, but this amendment should not be read as a random list of disconnected items. Everything in it directly depends on the liberties held out in the closing words: the ability of the people to peacefully assemble and to petition for redress. When the Constitution extends the right of assembly, it’s not just giving us the right to gather together for no purpose.  What’s protected is the right to join together in common cause, and to seek as a group to move institutions that would not respond to individuals acting alone.

The American dream—the dream that an average citizen can enjoy a decent life, raise a family, and hope for the future—was created in union, sustained by union, and is dependent on union. That dream stands on a knife edge. Already the forces that oppose union have torn away the hopes of many Americans. As union membership has fallen, decent pensions have disappeared. As union membership has fallen, health care costs have increased. As union membership has fallen, pay for workers has stagnated. As union membership has fallen corporate profits—and executive pay—have soared. The decline of union is the birthplace of inequity.

At this moment, the same forces that have ripped union away from most workers are acting against those few who still share the ability to speak with a collective voice. They want to wreck this last bastion, burn it down, stomp it, bury it, extinguish it forever, so that they can sleep safe knowing their power will not be challenged. They want to erase the work of two centuries, turn the American dream into a subject for nostalgia, and make the Bill of Rights into a sheet of paper.

That is what’s on the line in Wisconsin.

Nothing has changed since the time that first line of the Constitution was written. Union is not just a means to oppose tyranny, it is the only means.

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