Tag Archives: Madison

First stupid white man’s head rolls in Wisconsin

There will be a recount, but the progressive female candidate is leading the stupid white male candidate in yesterday’s election for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Normally sedate elections, yesterday’s state Supreme Court election — in large part because it was the first statewide election following the attempt by the stupid white male administration of Repugnican Tea Party Gov. Scott “Dead Man” Walker to destroy the state’s public-sector labor unions — is a big deal in Wisconsin, and indeed, it sends ripples throughout the rest of the nation.

The candidates could not be more symbolic of what they stand for — and they couldn’t be (much) more diametrically politically opposed to each other than they are.

There is Repugnican Tea Party incumbent “Justice” David Prosser —

Dan Vrakas

Associated Press photo

— a stupid white man who in the state’s Legislature mentored Gov. “Dead Man” Walker, whose re-election to the state Supreme Court Sarah Palin endorsed (although, interestingly, Team Prosser declared that they hadn’t asked for the endorsement), and who once called state Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson “a total bitch.” (It’s OK if a white male wingnut calls a woman a bitch, but don’t you call Palin a bitch, because that would make you a misogynist.)

Prosser stands for Politics As Usual — stupid rich (or at least pro-rich) right-wing white men running the show, as they have done since the nation’s founding.

And then there is the Democrat JoAnne Kloppenburg

Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg, ...

Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg, ...

Associated Press photos

— an assistant attorney general and environmental law specialist who reminds me of Mother Nature Herself coming down to kick some stupid white male ass after the stupid white male has gone waaay too fucking far this time. (Which he has.)

While between one million and two million Wisconsinites cast ballots in yesterday’s state Supreme Court race, as I type this sentence Kloppenburg maintains a preliminary lead of only 204 votes, virtually ensuring a recount.

John Nichols of The Nation concludes:

There could be weeks, even months of wrangling over ballots and counts. But one result has already been confirmed: The referendum on Walker’s policies has sent an important signal. When a candidate who is not given a chance ties a senior justice on the state Supreme Court, when a newcomer ties one of the most entrenched political players in the state, and when these results can be linked to fury at a governor’s policies, that governor has nothing to celebrate.

Something is changing in Wisconsin. A new politics is taking shape. And JoAnne Kloppenburg has been a beneficiary — along with the battered but unbeaten state of Wisconsin.

Yup. If Kloppenburg emerges as the winner — which I predict she will — the state’s high court will lose its 4-3 slant to the right, not only making it that much harder for “Dead Man” Walker to continue his assault on the working class and the middle class in Wisconsin, but making other stupid white men elewhere (like Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, who in the name of “prosperity” wants to destroy Medicare, to name just one of them) think twice before they declare class warfare upon the middle and the working class.

And Kloppenburg’s victory is a Victory of The People Over Politics As Usual. Hers is a true grassroots victory, not a corporately funded astr0-turf effort like the efforts of the treasonous Repugnican Tea Party.

Ironically, it seems to me that the bogus “tea party” — a corporately sponsored group of wingnutty people ludicrously comparing themselves to the early American colonists who threw off their British oppressors when they side with our plutocratic overlords over their fellow members of the American working class and the middle class — has inspired a true Boston Tea Party-like pushback of the people against the monarch-like powers that oppress the people.

Only it’s Madison, Wisconsin, this time, intead of Boston, Massachusetts.

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Repug Tea Party traitors down in Wisconsin

Massive crowds gather to see 14 democratic senators ...

Reuters photo

Wisconsinites on March 12 celebrate the return to Madison of the state’s 14 Democratic state senators who had done their best to prevent Repugnican Tea Party traitors’ union-busting legislation from taking effect. The union-busting legislation that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors apparently illegally rammed through the state Legislature still remains in legal limbo, and today petition signatures to start the recall election process for one of the state’s Repugnican Tea Party senators who voted for the union-busting legislation were submitted.

There is so much that I could say, but this news story from The Associated Press today pretty much speaks for itself:

Madison, Wis. – A week ago, Wisconsin Republicans thought they’d won the fight over the state’s polarizing union-rights bill. They’d weathered massive protests, outfoxed Senate Democrats who fled the state and gotten around a restraining order blocking the law by having an obscure state agency publish it. They even started preparations to pull money from public workers’ paychecks.

But the victory was short-lived. A judge ruled [today] that the restraining order will stay in place for at least two months she while considers whether Republicans passed the law illegally. It was the second blow to Republicans in as many days after the same judge declared [yesterday] that the law hadn’t been properly published and [thus] wasn’t in effect as they claimed.

Republicans now must either wait for the case to wind its way through the courts or pass the law again to get around complaints it wasn’t done properly the first time. One GOP leader said [today] he didn’t see much point in that.

“We passed the law correctly, legally the first time,” Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said in a statement. “Passing the law correctly and legally a second or third time wouldn’t change anything. It certainly wouldn’t stop another activist judge and (a) room full of lawyers from trying to start this merry-go-round all over again.”

[In Repugnican Tea Party traitor lingo, an “activist judge” is a judge who does not rule the way that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors want him or her to rule. (A judge who rules in the Repugnican Tea Party traitors’ favor of course is a great fucking judge.)]

The law would force public employees to pay more for their health care and pension benefits, which amounts to an 8-percent pay cut. It also would eliminate their ability to collectively bargain anything except wage increases no higher than inflation.

Republican Gov. Scott Walker has said the law is needed to help schools and local governments deal with cuts in state funding he expects to make to address an estimated $3.6 billion shortfall in the next two-year budget. His spokesman referred questions [today] to state Department of Administration officials, who declined to comment.

Democrats have said the bill is meant to weaken the public employee unions that have been some of their strongest campaign supporters. Its introduction in mid-February set off a month of protests that drew up to 85,000 people to the state Capitol and sent Senate Democrats scurrying to Illinois to block a vote in that chamber.

Republicans eventually got around the Democrats’ boycott by removing fiscal provisions from the bill so it could be passed with fewer senators present.

Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi has been considering a lawsuit that claims Republican lawmakers violated the state’s opening meetings law when they met to change the bill. The lawsuit filed by Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne says the state’s open meetings law requires 24 hours notice of a meeting but Republicans provided barely two. Republican legislative leaders say proper notice was given under Senate rules.

Sumi heard testimony [today] from people who said they heard about the meeting only minutes before it began. They said they arrived to find long lines at the Capitol’s entrances and by the time they reached the room where the meeting was held, police wouldn’t allow them in….

Sumi gave the attorneys until May 23 to make additional arguments, delaying a decision for nearly two months and possibly longer. Even when she does rule, one side or the other is likely to appeal in an attempt to get the case to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The state has already appealed her restraining order to the high court, but it has not said whether it will hear the case and is under no deadline to do so.

Two other, separate lawsuits also have been filed, which could further drag out the matter.

Anger over the bill also has prompted recall efforts against 16 state senators, including eight from each party. [Today], Democrats announced they had collected enough signatures for a recall election against one of the Republicans. [Emphasis mine.]

Ah, The Associated Press saved the best for last. Yes, recall election proponents today were to have filed their recall election petition signatures against Repugnican Tea Party Wisconsin state Sen. Dan Kapanke, whom Daily Kos (via AlterNet) calls “the most vulnerable of all the eight Republican state senators” who are the targets of recall efforts in Wisconsin. Daily Kos notes that

Kapanke represents a district that [Barack] Obama won with 61 percent of the vote in 2008. Our Daily Kos/PPP poll shows him trailing a generic Democrat by a whopping 55 percent to 41 percent. An earlier MoveOn Survey USA poll showed Kapanke trailing a generic opponent by an even worse 57-percent-to-41-percent margin.

Kapanke is in a lot of trouble. He is also not alone. Last week, recall petition organizers against Republican state Sen. Randy Hopper announced they had enough signatures, too….

Hopper, a freshman who only won his seat by 163 votes, trails a generic Democrat 49 percent to 44 percent in our polling. In the MoveOn/Survey USA polling, he trails 54 percent to 43 percent. Both polls were taken before the scandal about Hopper’s mistress receiving a state job with a 35 percent raise exploded….

So the union-busting law in Wisconsin remains on hold, and the 33-member Wisconsin state Senate should return to a Democratic majority in the foreseeable future. (The Dems have to gain only three state Senate seats to get a majority of 17 to 16. While I have read about recall-vulnerable Repugnican Tea Party state senators, I have yet to read that any of the eight Democratic state senators who have been the targets of recall petitions actually are vulnerable.)

Why does Wisconsin matter? Why do I care? Why should you care?

Because Wisconsin was supposed to the be the first domino to topple in the treasonous Repugnican Tea Party’s war against the working class and the middle class. A victory for the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in Wisconsin would have emboldened the traitors elsewhere in the nation.

But rather than the quick, clear-cut victory against the working class and the middle class that Wisconsin Repugnican Tea Party Gov. Scott “Dead Man” Walker & Co. expected, they instead have met not only resistance by tens of thousands of citizens showing up at the state Capitol in Madison in protest for weeks, but all of them can expect themselves to be subjected to recall elections as soon as they can be.

Walker & Co. didn’t say anything about union busting when they campaigned because they knew that union busting wouldn’t fly at the ballot box. They had to shove their union-busting legislation through quickly and dirtily precisely because it’s against what the majority of Wisconsinites have wanted.

Now, they are paying the price, and not only has the Repugnican Tea Party experiment in Wisconsin failed, but it has stimulated the Democratic Party’s national base in a way that the Democrats couldn’t do themselves in the mid-term elections this past November, and 2012 is all over for the Repugnican Tea Party traitors except for the crying.

You can contribute to the recall election efforts in Wisconsin here. I have.

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Wisconsin Repugs won’t count Democratic 14’s votes in state Senate

The Repugnican Tea Party traitors in Wisconsin — who before Election Day last November never bothered to share with Wisconsinites their plan to destroy the state’s public-sector labor unions love democracy sooooo much that now they proclaim that any votes cast by the 14 Democratic state senators who have returned from their three-week exile from the state will not count.

Wisconsin’s state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, the other Scott who is cut from the same fascistic cloth as is Wisconsin Gov. Scott “Dead Man” Walker, has proclaimed that the Democratic 14 still are in contempt of the state Senate and therefore their votes in the Senate won’t count.

“They are free to attend hearings, listen to testimony, debate legislation, introduce amendments, and cast votes to signal their support/opposition, but those votes will not count, and will not be recorded,” Fitzgerald proclaimed.

It was just yesterday that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in Wisconsin were proclaiming that the Democratic 14, by having fled the state, were evading their democratic duty to those who elected them.

But if the Repugnican Tea Party traitors really have been so concerned about that, why would they now proclaim that the votes of the Democratic senators won’t count — thus denying those senators’ constituents a representative voice in the Senate?

The Democratic 14, contrary to the Repgunican Tea Party’s propaganda, have had the support of their constituents. The Dem 14 returned to an adoring crowd of tens of thousands in Madison on Saturday. Only the Repugnican Tea Party traitors complained that the Democratic senators wouldn’t cooperate with them in their destruction of the state’s public-sector labor unions — like good little lambs on their way to their own slaughter should.

The Democratic 14’s largest “crime” is that, by leaving the state, they refused to give a veneer of legitimacy to the Repugnican Tea Party’s immoral decimation of the state’s public-sector labor unions, and so now the Repugnican Tea Party traitors are exacting revenge.

Wisconsin’s Democrats will get the last word, though.

An unprecedented recall campaign is under way in Wisconsin, and pro-labor Wisconsinites hope to flip control of the state Senate from the Repugnican Tea Party to the Democratic Party as early as this summer. (Eight Democratic state senators as well as eight Repugnican state senators are the targets of current recall efforts, but state opinion favors the Democrats over the Repugnicans, so expect at least some of the Repugnicans and perhaps none of the Democrats to lose their state Senate seats due to the recall efforts.)

And “Dead Man” Walker can expect the recall effort against him to commence as soon as it legally can commence in January.

The Repugnican Tea Party traitors in Wisconsin took a gamble and fired the first shot in their war against the working class and the middle class. They will lose this war, and vindictive stunts such as denying the Democratic 14 a voice in the state Senate is only another nail in the Repugnican Tea Party’s coffin in Wisconsin.

And far from Wisconsin being the first domino to topple in the Repugnican Tea Party’s misguided, ill-conceived crusade against labor unions, Wisconsin will serve as a warning for Repugnican Tea Party traitors in other states:

DON’T TREAD ON THE WORKING CLASS!

You can financially support the Wisconsin state Democrats and the recall efforts against the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in Wisconsin here and here.

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Labor-union members: the new Jews

State workers, union members and others protest ...

Protestors to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's proposal ...

Protestors to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's proposal ...

Thousands fill the Capitol rotunda in Madison, ...

Associated Press photos

Little Egypt? Thousands of Wisconsinites protest, inside and outside the state’s Capitol in Madison, the plutocratic assault on labor-union members by their state’s plutocratic Repugnican politicians. The state’s Repugnican governor stupidly has threatened to call on the National Guard to stop the protests — just like a despot in the Middle East would do.

Come and get me with your pitchforks and torches, because I am — gasp! — a government employee. And a member of a labor union!

Indeed, we labor-union members are the Jews du jour.

Yup. Just as the Nazi Party blamed Germany’s economic woes on the Jews (and on other relatively powerless minorities), the Repugnican Party today blames the nation’s economic woes on unionized public/government employees.

In 2004, according to the Repugnican Party and its wingnutty allies, it was gay men and lesbians wanting equal marriage rights who were the largest threat to the nation. Then, it became the “illegals.” (With, of course, the “Islamofascists” being an omnipresent threat since the unelected Bush regime failed to prevent the events of Sept. 11, 2001.)

Now, it’s public/government workers, whose ranks include not just the stereotypical governmental bureaucrats but also teachers, nurses, cops, firefighters, doctors, custodians, construction workers, trash collectors, dog catchers, et. al., et. al., who are the cause of the nation’s problems.

Why public/government workers?

Well, they’re (we’re) unionized. Because they’re/we’re unionized, they/we tend to do better — have better working conditions, better pay and better benefits — than do those workers who aren’t in unions.

But is the solution to kill (what’s left of) the unions? No. The solution is to get every American worker in a union so that working conditions and economic conditions can improve for everyone.

The resources are there for everyone. It’s not a problem of a lack of resources. It’s a problem of the grotesquely inequitable distribution of resources. Labor unions help to level the playing field, which is why the pro-plutocratic Repugnican Tea Party fights against labor unions tooth and nail.

The assault on public/government employees works to some degree for the Repugnican Tea Party because:

  • There are many, many dipshits in the lower and working classes who gladly follow the corporately funded and corporately led assault on labor unions, who buy the right-wing propaganda that labor unions are the enemy — when instead they should be pushing for (more) union protection for themselves. (Although misery loves company, the solution to miserable conditions isn’t to help the plutocratic power elite to create even more misery for others, but to try to lessen your own misery. Duh.)
  • There are many, many dipshits in the lower and working classes who buy the plutocrats’ argument that privatization is the best thing (and that government is evil), even though privatized workers are the most miserable workers and government/public workers generally are happier than are their privatized counterparts. (The plutocrats of the Repugnican Party push privatization only because they want to squeeze profits out of everything, but they hide their agenda of profiteering by proclaiming that the private sector can do things better when reality demonstrates that whenever ever-increasing profits is the No. 1 goal, the operation, whatever it is, only gets worse — except for the plutocratic thieves and thugs at the top.)
  • There are many who don’t know any unionized public/government workers, who have no real idea of what it’s like to be a public/government worker, and who thus buy the right-wing noise machine’s myths about public/government workers, such as that all of them (us…) are lazy and enjoy benefits fit for royalty.

I, for one, can tell you that my decade as a unionized public/government worker here in California has not been what I would call glamorous. Last year, under Repugnican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who came to power only because of an unethical, right-wing-orchestrated do-over election in 2003, I took a 15-percent pay cut due to furlough days (forced days off without pay).

Now, I have what amounts to a 5-percent pay cut due to furlough days — and I’m very happy that California now is led again by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, who got the state’s workers unionized in the first place.

I had to pass state job examinations to get where I am (many if not most of California’s state-worker-haters couldn’t pass such an exam…), and for my education and my skills I am quite underpaid. But I cherish the fact that I cannot be fired unfairly, that I have actual rights as a worker, and I have benefits that no money-grubbing, employee-hating corporation would provide. (However, my benefits have been eroding, not increasing, due to the state’s budget crisis.)

I am a public/government worker mainly for the reason that I do not want to be treated like chattel, like a wage slave, by some fucking corporation. I would rather serve the public than make some fat-cat plutocrats even fatter with the fruits of my labor.

And before you whine that you pay my salary, well, I fucking pay state income tax, too, so I pay my salary as well!

If you are employed by a corporation and you find yourself miserable (and you probably do), the answer to your corporately caused misery is to join a union or fight to form a union and to combat abusive corporations, not to combat those of us who are unionized.

The way out of the nation’s mess is not to further weaken our labor unions, but to strengthen them. The super-rich among us need to be de-fanged, not empowered even further.

Just as I admire the people of Egypt for having steadfastly stood up to U.S.-backed dictator Hosni Mubarak for more than two weeks until he finally fled Egypt, I admire the people of Wisconsin for standing up to Repugnican Gov. Scott Walker, who is leading the right-wing charge to strip the state’s labor-union members of their collective bargaining rights that they achieved in 1959.

The Associated Press today reports that

The nation’s most aggressive anti-union proposal has been speeding through the [Wisconsin] Legislature since Republican Gov. Scott Walker introduced it a week ago. After clearing a major legislative hurdle [last] night, it was headed to votes in the Senate and Assembly.

Hundreds of protesters massed outside the Senate chamber on the second floor of the Capitol early [today], hours before the planned vote. Republican leaders said it has the votes to pass in both the Senate and Assembly.

The bill marks a dramatic shift for Wisconsin, which passed a comprehensive collective bargaining law in 1959 and was the birthplace of the national union representing all non-federal public employees

Thousands of protesters, including children and teachers from more than two dozen schools forced to close due to high [coordinated] absences [in protest], were expected in and outside the Capitol for a third day of protests. Schools in Madison, the state’s second largest district with 2,600-union covered employees, closed for a second day.

Hundreds of people, many of them students from the nearby University of Wisconsin campus, slept in the rotunda for a second night leading up to the vote.

They chanted “Kill the bill!” and “Recall Walker!” early [today]. But there appeared to be little doubt the bill would pass.

The AP also notes:

While other states have proposed bills curtailing labor rights, Wisconsin’s measure is the most aggressive anti-union move yet to solve state budget problems. It would end collective bargaining for state, county and local workers, except for police, firefighters and the state patrol. [Emphasis mine.]

Wisconsin has long been a bastion for workers’ rights. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees was founded in 1936 in Madison.

Gov. Scott Walker has threatened to call out the National Guard on the protesters. Note that plutocrats like Walker recognize that they need thugs to protect them from the angry masses (and firefighters to protect their private property from the angry masses) — thus, as the AP reports, the collective-bargaining rights of state and local police officers and firefighters in Wisconsin very conveniently are not threatened.

Walker is a fucking fool who just might find himself Mubaraked.

Speaking of which, Ted Rall is right, of course, that any revolution in Egypt has only just begun. Thus far, the people of Egypt don’t have a government by, of and for the people. But they’ve taken the first step by ousting their despot.

The plutocratic powers that be here at home aren’t used to massive uprisings of the American people. Among many other things, they got away with stealing two presidential elections in a row last decade and they launched a bogus war on Iraq — and they tell us now, after they’ve spent hundreds of billions of our tax dollars on their bogus war profiteering, that we don’t have the resources to take care of our own working class and our poor.

These traitors, who because of their disproportionate amount of wealth and power are far removed from the average American’s daily experience, obviously take Americans’ continued passivity for granted. I guarantee you that they are not prepared for massive uprisings here at home.

Who’s going to protect them? The same overworked, underpaid cops and soldiers whom they also shit and piss upon? Will these cops and soldiers accept the plutocrats’ bribes, such as exempting them from labor-union-killing legislation? 

How are these underpaid and overworked (and bribed…) cops and soldiers going to feel about being ordered by their plutocratic masters to turn upon their fellow Americans who are only fighting for better working and living conditions?

It might not be too long before our treasonous plutocratic elite find out.

P.S. I love this news photo that I came across. It was taken last month during Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s inauguration. In the poignant photo, a protester with a paper sack on his head makes his point, while a lone state cop apparently guards the Capitol from this “threat.”  

FILE - In this Jan. 3, 2011, file photo a protester ...

Associated Press photo

It doesn’t look all that much different from the images that we’ve been seeing out of the Middle East as of late, does it — the working-class thug protecting the status quo?

Again, I have to wonder how far our cops and soldiers will go to prop up their plutocratic masters.

Those cops and soldiers who ever do turn against the people who are fighting for their rights are despot-enabling traitors and need to be treated as such. They need to serve the will of the people — not the will of the overprivileged, treasonous few.

P.P.S. Rachel Maddow, one of the only actual journalists we have left, yesterday reported brilliantly on the right-wing phenomenon of assaulting public/government workers, of making them scapegoats for the nation’s ills. (This phenomenon, by the way, is not new but has been going on for a while now. Billionaire bitch Repugnican Nutmeg Whitman made blaming California’s state workers for the state’s problems a centerpiece of her failed bid for the governorship for which she spent more of her personal wealth [well, the wealth that she stole from her employees and from consumers, not really her wealth] than any other candidate in U.S. history.)

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