Posts Tagged ‘Wisconsin’

 

 

Labor unions and leftist activists are expected to once again descend upon the Captiol in Madison, WI on Tuesday. They plan to protest Governor Scott Walker’s first 2-year budget proposal, which seeks to cap entitlement programs and make cuts in education while expanding school voucher programs, in an attempt to close a $3 billion budget deficit. Republicans also expect to add the collective bargaining provisions that were passed in March, unless the State Supreme Court issues a ruling before then.

Opponents of Walker’s proposal view their side as an issue of human rights and a statement against corporations, and have not surprisingly ratcheted up the rhetoric. On its website announcing Tuesday’s protest, the Wisconsin state AFL-CIO posted:

Debate will be limited, democracy will be circumvented and the balance will greatly tip in favor of ramming through an anti-worker, anti-family, anti-community agenda. Come bear witness to this denial of democracy… Please take part in democracy and bear witness to the extreme attack on the people of Wisconsin. Join us tomorrow, Tuesday, June 14, as we continue to stand strong against a budget that guts public schools, attacks health care, raises taxes on workers and seniors, and jeopardizes public services like police and fire. All while handing over $300 million a year in tax breaks to the rich.

Oh, the drama….

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by Liberty Chick

If you want to take a pulse on the political vibe in this country, one need only look at Wisconsin.  The state has become the barometer for judging not just the public’s appetite for political battle, but the competitive landscape as well.  The spotlight on anything that has six degrees of separation from a Koch brother has been great drama for Wisconsin’s ongoing soap opera, but audiences in the state and nationwide might get a better show by turning their attention leftward.  Few have examined the strange pattern of money and favor trading that’s been pervading Wisconsin’s beloved circle of progressive politics.

The activity in Wisconsin over the last few months becomes crucially pertinent as the state gears up for the 2012 Wisconsin Senate race.  It’s worth looking at the financial innards  of the Supreme Court race and the protests against Governor Scott Walker in order to assess what the fight for the Wisconsin Senate seat, soon to be vacated by retiring Democratic Senator Herb Kohl, will look like.  What many don’t realize is that this race could have broader implications – not just in national politics, but in specific policy areas, like health care and your personal medical records, for example.  Lots of money, fueled by liberal business interests and an ever-growing progressive movement in Wisconsin, has already been freely flowing.

But is anyone watching? Who are some of these donors?

Let’s start by looking back at the recent Wisconsin protests and the Supreme Court election, and then dissecting some of the money trail.

The hostility stemmed from the union reform bill signed by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker on March 11th as a stand-alone portion of the overall budget repair bill.

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In North Carolina, collective bargaining in the public sector has been banned by the state for over 50 years.  A statute implemented in 1959 declared collective bargaining by state and local government employees “to be against the public policy of the State, illegal, unlawful, void and of no effect.

To unionists, it seemed like a drastic and unfair law, but for years it has protected the individual’s right to choose whether or not to join a union and the right to work without being forced to pay union dues as a condition of employment.  In addition, it has protected the interests of the taxpayers of the state of North Carolina.

But a 2007 decision issued by a United Nations agency against the North Carolina law is back in the spotlight today, as labor unions are gearing up to use the argument in a mass campaign to repeal all currently existing Right to Work laws in response to Wisconsin’s collective bargaining outcome.

In an Emergency Labor Meeting that occurred last week in Cleveland, Ohio, nearly 100 labor leaders and activists met to construct an emergency action plan and strategy for the future to deal with what they say is an “assault on the unions.”  The meeting produced plans to hold a National Day of Action on March 12th and again on April 4th, as well as a “Perspectives” document that will serve as a framework for 15 key objectives.

Within the framework document are two specific objectives that are of special concern to supporters of the worker freedom movement and Right to Work laws. Labor unions and solidarity federations in the US and across the globe intend to use the UN-based International Labor Organization (ILO) decision to put pressure on US government officials and the public to repeal the Right to Work laws that exist in 22 states.

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You may remember President Obama’s recent call for civil discourse this past January.  Well, it appears that the Left is still very much struggling with the #newtone online.  Unless, of course, you consider a persistent stream of steady death threats against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker a display of etiquette straight from the Emily Post Etipedia of manners.

Here’s but a small sampling from the #caring Tweeters:
(I prefer to view the video with this music as accompaniment…)

Initially, I’d written a summary here of some of the details around Gov. Walker’s proposal, including some of the positive highlights, like granting employees the right to choose whether or not to contribute dues to a labor union.  But then I decided, “nahhhh….why bother?”  Agree or disagree with some, all or none of the Governor’s proposal, everyone has something to contribute to the conversation.  But death threats are NOT an acceptable part of ANY conversation.

I’d thought we’d learned that by now, after documenting the same exact behavior in January.  With all the Big-Brother Twitter monitoring the Soros flunkies are doing out there, you’d think they would have posted and condemned this by now.

So much for that #newtone.

Video h/t Joe Haas and Kim Hedum.

State public employees protested today in Wisconsin against Governor Scott Walker’s proposal to help close an immediate $137 million budget shortfall and a two-year budget at $3.6 billion beginning on July 1st.  Under Walker’s plan, state employees would:

  • Contribute 5.8% toward pension funds
  • Contribute 12.6% to health care premiums
  • See pay increases capped at the rate of inflation; however, larger increases may be voted upon via voluntary referendum
  • No longer have union dues automatically deducted from their paychecks, as they’ll gain the ability to opt out of paying union dues (once current contracts expire)
  • Lose some collective bargaining rights:  State government cannot currently touch any elements of the public sector union contracts in an effort to make budget adjustments; therefore, reducing some elements of collective bargaining such as hours and expanded benefits (those outside of health/pension) will give the state more flexibility in the future to reduce spending without being forced to cut jobs or enforce any furloughs.   Police, fire and various emergency/safety workers would be exempt from this provision.

Apparently, that triggered the Myan Apocalypse.  Or maybe Woodstock.  I can’t really tell the difference.

As you can imagine, Democratic allies flipped out.  Organizing for America and the Democratic National Party got right to work, ginning up the rhetoric beyond what the plan really entails and organizing the protests for this week, including many that closed schools all across the state.

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[original post 6/9/2010]

Yesterday’s story on the “Cry Wolf” project has exposed a dangerous pretense that has been prevalent, yet well disguised, for some time in our institutions of higher learning. It’s an important post.  A small committee of professors and academic professionals, normally held in high regard, have blatantly betrayed the trust of the public and quite possibly smeared the reputations of all colleges and universities nationwide.  By soliciting “paid activists” to create research papers that are intentionally designed to silence opposing viewpoints, they have undermined the political system and manipulated the governmental policy making process.  And in the meantime, they’ve also implicated all of academia in the manufacturing of their propaganda.

It is an abuse of their power, and an abuse of the institutions they represent.  It is appalling and repellent.  Perhaps even against their employers’ rules or the industry’s ethical code. Consider it an ominous warning — this will have a dire impact on our political and economic system in the future, if we remain apathetic in the face of such a rhetorical and intellectual assault.

college

In fact, both the rhetoric and the intentions demonstrated in Peter Dreier’s email are a classic example of much of what is wrong with today’s educational institutions: hypocrisy, bias, recklessness, and a blatant disregard for differing beliefs and viewpoints.

As Americans, we place an enormous amount of pride in the quality of our nation’s system of higher education.  In our country, colleges and universities have long been the bastions of research, the sources to which we turn for information that is expertly developed; for data that is honestly mined, analyzed, reviewed and responsibly published by noted researchers so that individuals, business people and policy makers can make well-informed decisions.

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[original post 2/11/2010]

First, they came for the Babysitter.  Then, they came for the Eagle Scout.   Now, they’ve come for the Crossing Guard.

afscme-guard

Warren Eschenbach, an 86-year-old a retired Wausau Water Works employee volunteers his time as a crossing guard at the Riverview Elementary School in Wausau, Wisconsin.  After the Wausau School District built an area just outside an intersection at the school’s location for parents to pickup their kids from the school, the intersection became busier than usual for a short time every day.  So, Eschenbach did a noble thing.  He went over to the school and spoke with parents, kids and administrators, and he volunteered to patrol the area at pickup time to make sure kids got to their parents’ cars and that others crossed the streets safely.  After all, he worked for five years as a crossing guard at the Franklin Elementary School up until three years ago.  He lives two doors down and it’s for a half hour every day.  Who could take issue with that?

Well, apparently union bosses can.

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