On the ground in Madison, fighting for the American middle class

    murphfeb2011marchbAll over the nation today, at noon, people held rallies in support of the men and women of Wisconsin’s public unions. The folks at MoveOn, who were helping with the logistics, where calling it “The Rally to Save the American Dream.” The photo accompanying this post comes from my friend Murph, who spent the afternoon marching in Lansing. (Here’s hoping, in the spirit of solidarity, he doesn’t mind my using the photo.) And he wasn’t the only local person doing good work this week. Aaron Stark, an Ypsilanti-area resident who grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, spent the last few days on the ground in Madison. He’s his first-person report:

    I attended the Madison “Kill the Bill” rallies on Tuesday 2/22 and Wednesday 2/23, when I was in town for an impromptu family visit. (Full disclosure: one of my family members works for the State of Wisconsin.) Mark has already discussed the overall political context of these events, so I’ll just focus on the events in Madison that I took part in.

    The rallies in front of the Wisconsin Capitol, and the Capitol presence itself, were pretty amazing. The participants were by no means all old Madison ‘60s hippies, as Governor Walker has claimed. Entering the Capitol for the first time around 6 PM on Tuesday, I saw a lot of Madison teachers coming in after work (this was the first day that they had been ordered back to school). I saw parents with their kids. I saw University of Wisconsin students, some unofficially representing the UW Marching Band (the next day, one young woman played “Solidarity Forever” on her trombone upon the request of a passer-by). I saw many UW-Madison Teaching Assistants, faculty and staff, as well as nurses and other health-care workers. On the Wednesday lunch hour, I saw many private-sector union members—people from a Harley-Davidson plant, union pipefitters, and retirees from many fields. I also saw several signs indicating that some people not in a union supported the rallies too. For example, one sign read: “Non-union contractor who supports collective bargaining.” On Wednesday, a contingent of teachers from Los Angeles arrived and marched around the Capitol square. Call them “outside agitators” if you want, but wherever people were from, they recognized that variants of Walker’s union-busting tactics are being spread to other states, with the help of both Republican and Democratic politicians, and that Wisconsin’s fight was their fight too.

    The inside of the Capitol, or at least the public portions that I had access to, were decorated with a panoply of signs, fliers, and political art. There were political slogans—many of the creative and humorous variety that have already been posted around the web. These were not just about Walker and labor: there were also a fair number of signs and fliers about Bush’s and now Obama’s wars, and about the neoliberal takeover of the last 30 years. I saw several people reading many of the signs carefully—it was kind of like an art exhibition. The atmosphere was energetic and fun, not menacing. Official politicos in suits walked here and there, including probably some of Walker’s staff, without harassment as far as I could tell. There was also mutual aid: free food and drink with signs asking people to take only what they need, toiletries for those staying the night, and many signs (made by the protesters) asking people to pick up after themselves. Somehow despite the deafening noise, people felt safe enough and/or tired enough to rest in sleeping bags tucked into random corners of the Capitol at all hours of the day. Relations with the police were cordial at least when I was there, although there were rumors now and then that the occupation was about to be cleared by state troopers. Gov. Walker had originally tried to split off the police and the firefighters from the rest of the public sector workers, by not having the budget repair bill apply to police/firefighters. But they sided with the rest of the public sector workers. Accordingly, the firefighters’ union always got huge cheers whenever they marched in full gear playing their bagpipes, and the police got many “thank you’s” from protesters as well. It truly was an educational venue, a people’s building, in as non-ironic a sense as possible. This Facebook group has been putting up videos which give a sense of what it is like in the Capitol.

    The overall presence in the Capitol was not coordinated by anyone. TAA-Madison (the AFT local for UW-Madison TAs) was coordinating a lot of the legislative work– requesting people to come to various rooms in the Capitol to testify, to serve on phone banks, etc. But as far as I know, the occupation of the Capitol started and was maintained by rank-and-file union members and students. It surprised the union leadership and the Democratic leadership as much as it surprised everyone else. Sure, big national speakers have come to Madison since it started, but I get the sense that they were responding to what was happening on the ground, rather than leading it. So far this has worked, but I think this may become problematic as the struggle goes on longer and takes a more national scope. I would not be surprised to see tensions growing in the days to come between the union/DP leadership and the people on the ground: the leadership may be more conciliatory to the Governor than the people in and around the Capitol.

    Even outside the Capitol, the atmosphere was highly politicized. As I walked down Madison’s State Street from the Capitol to the UW-Madison campus, I noticed lots of people talking about this, not just those heading to or from the rallies. There were anti-Walker, pro-collective-bargaining signs along State Street and in the windows of many small businesses along State Street (whose clientele are mostly state workers). One slogan, which I wish I had seen in entrepreneur-hyping Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti, was “Smart innovators are happy to pay fair taxes for good government”. Admittedly, I didn’t have time to go many other places other than downtown on this visit, and the atmosphere may have been different there.

    Now for a little speculation as to why this began in Madison. Although Madison is a liberal college town comparable in some ways to Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor is smaller and richer than Madison. My impression is that Ann Arbor does not have as much of a labor base as Madison does. Being both the state capitol and the site of the state’s flagship university, as well as the site of large plants like Kraft-Oscar Meyer, Madison is not as much of a one-industry town as Ann Arbor, and it has much more “class diversity” than Ann Arbor. My high school (Madison East, the one whose students walked out early on in the rallies) includes neighborhoods with large working-class Black, Hmong, Laotian, and Latino populations; in addition to white working-class neighborhoods, the old 60s radical areas along Williamson Street, and (oddly) also one of the richest areas in Madison, Maple Bluff. As I mentioned above, the idea of Madison as a paradise for old rich liberals is off-base. The grain of truth to this is that there are left institutions that have survived in Madison which have died out in many other U.S. cities. One example is WORT-FM community radio, a non-NPR, non-profit, community-run radio station that has provided crucial support for left and labor movements—including the anti-Walker protests– for 35 years. The state’s history also plays a part: a Democratic Socialist mayor of Milwaukee, Frank Zeidler, was in office from 1948 to 1960; Governor and then Senator “Fighting Bob” LaFollette pushed many early 20th century progressive reforms (workers’ compensation, direct election of Senators, women’s suffrage…), and in the 19th century Wisconsin was a center of abolitionism in the Upper Midwest. Left commentator Doug Henwood, in a recent blog post on Wisconsin, asked UW professor Joel Rogers “[how the] same state could have spawned Joe McCarthy and Robert LaFollette, or Scott Walker and Russ Feingold. Rogers explained that politics in Wisconsin has historically been driven by an alliance of industrial workers and capital-intensive dairy farmers on the left, opposed on the right by a mainly Catholic rural population. They’re pretty evenly divided, thus the contrasting figures and tight elections.”

    Given the energy that I saw on the 9th and 10th day of the protests, I don’t see this ending any time soon. As just one example, on Friday a disability rights group occupied the Madison GOP headquarters to protest another portion of the budget repair bill– what appears to be a power grab intended to drastically change Wisconsin’s Medicaid program with little legislative oversight.

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      45 Comments

      1. Posted February 26, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

        The public sector unions are not fighting for the middle class – they are fighting for the right to continue to take “their fair share” from taxpayers working in private sector jobs which pay less and do not offer gold-plated healthcare and retirement benefits.

        At some point this will morph into a union civil war, with the public sector union “takers” on one side and private sector union “producers” on the other.

      2. wetdolphinmissile
        Posted February 26, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

        wrong dr…the workers, private sector, public sector are the workers; workers and the taxpayers both…we need solidarity…solidarity

      3. Atinknocker
        Posted February 26, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

        Government workers, represented by public sector unions who are in collusion with Liberal lawmakers they help elect – vs – Taxpayers, a “captive” audience controlled by government decree……who’s rights do you think will get trampled in “collective bargaining”? Government employees are supposed to “serve the public”….. the current practice of “serving up the public” to government employees, through public sector unions must end.

      4. Glen S.
        Posted February 27, 2011 at 3:40 am | Permalink

        @ DR

        Do you think this stuff up yourself, or was this your morning talking-point from the Koch Brothers?

        Are you really suggesting that teachers don’t “produce” anything, but only “take” from society? What about the firefighters and police officers who keep our community safe? What about the folks who’ve been busy plowing all this snow we’ve had all winter — so “producers” like you can get to work every day?

        If we do end up having a “union war,” as you suggest, it will be because people like you insisted on spouting propaganda that encourages people to see public-sector workers (whether in a union or not) as “takers” and parasites on society — rather hard-working neighbors who, like you, are just trying to do the best they can for themselves and their families.

      5. Glen S.
        Posted February 27, 2011 at 3:49 am | Permalink

        @ DR

        One more thing: I am a public-sector worker – but I’m not in a union – and I pay a sizable (and increasing) out-of-pocket share each month to maintain my “gold plated” health and retirement benefits.

        So, does that make me a “taker” or a “producer?”

        I’m just asking so I’ll know which side to join when the class war breaks out … thanks.

      6. wetdolphinmissile
        Posted February 27, 2011 at 8:17 am | Permalink

        The Police have joined “the people” in Wisconsin
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVE_rLjxnfU&feature=player_embedded

      7. Ez Marsay
        Posted February 27, 2011 at 10:04 am | Permalink

        Rodney,

        If you scroll down and glance at the pie charts:

        http://www.truth-out.org/nine-pictures-of-the-extreme-incomewealth-gap67743

        it should become clear to you that the distribution of wealth in our country—and not organized labor—is the root of much of what ails not just the U.S., but the entire planet.

        What do you suppose your God would make of all this? A glance through the book of Matthew makes it clear he would want every single human being to be paid not only fairly, but equally. In other words, there would be no possibility for any kind of pie chart. The CEO of Goldman Sachs would earn precisely the same as pipefitter in Akron, OH, who would earn precisely the same as a dishwasher in Ypsilanti Township.

        Organized labor is a way of striving to ensure that everyone be paid a fair wage for a day’s labor.

        The more you post these screeds, the more you dishonor your Lord, brother. You displease him further by being an online pit bull for a Republican right that would just as soon see you hang as take your paycheck and hand it over to News Corp. and/or Georgia Pacific.

      8. lorie thom
        Posted February 27, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

        http://www.epi.org/publications/entry/6759/

        http://blogs.forbes.com/rickungar/2011/02/25/the-wisconsin-lie-exposed-taxpayers-actually-contribute-nothing-to-public-employee-pensions

      9. TaterSalad
        Posted February 27, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        Barack Obama’s Socialism and what is the problem:

        http://biggovernment.com/uknowledge/2011/02/27/obamas-socialism/

      10. TaterSalad
        Posted February 27, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

        Wisconsin’s average teachers salary:

        http://www.youtube.com/v/9x2N4bDmzdc

      11. TaterSalad
        Posted February 27, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

        $74,843.55 – Average Teacher Pay (Salary plus Benefits) Across 425 Districts

        All 425 Districts… Find your district…

        http://usataxpayer.org/url.asp?Show=58383663

        American Taxpayer Shakedown…

        http://usataxpayer.org/htm/vids.asp?A=59362595

        Wisconsin’s average teachers salary:
        http://www.youtube.com/v/9x2N4bDmzdc

      12. Andrew Jason Clock
        Posted February 27, 2011 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        Oh, god Tater, you’ve been right all along. How stupid I’ve been to look for a decent paying job with benefits and retirement. I should be happy if I can make it to $30K with no benefits and be secure in the knowledge that the company CEO takes home $3Mil and all the shareholders are happy.

        Just because you are trying to make due with the wages you make from a high school education working at Walmart doesn’t mean every one should be required to.

      13. Ez Marsay
        Posted February 27, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

        I agree, Andrew. He’s a fuckstick who needs to have his gun cabinet and stolen hotel Bible donated to Goodwill. But rather than be angry at the frightened and ignorant, we need to ignore them, and hope in due time they’ll become aware of economic, i.e., sociopolitical reality.

        La lutte continue.

      14. Posted February 27, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

        I also happened to be in Madison last weekend, and I also got to go to the Capitol. What an awesome and inspiring scene! Here’s what I wrote about it.

        http://a2schoolsmuse.blogspot.com/2011/02/public-workers-are.html

        And I’m also a public worker, but not in a union–nonetheless, I know that my benefits are very much tied to whatever the unions negotiate. And I thank them for my paid holidays! But I’ve also got 8 furlough days–unpaid–that non-union staff got, after union staff negotiated banked leave days as a concession.

      15. Knox
        Posted February 28, 2011 at 7:53 am | Permalink

        Another great picture.

        http://i.imgur.com/WQCFh.jpg

        Anonymous in Wisconsin.

      16. 'Ff'lo
        Posted February 28, 2011 at 11:04 am | Permalink

        CUT DEFENSE
        TAX THE RICH

      17. Edward
        Posted February 28, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

        It’s a shame that people don’t get educated about the issues and angry about them until they personally start to feel the threat. Nothing against the people protesting, but I would have liked to have seen the same enthusiasm during the campaign, or when it became evident that Bush lied us into a war of aggression.

      18. Ez Marsay
        Posted March 1, 2011 at 7:12 am | Permalink

        For those of us who want Bank of America to pay up:

        US Uncut

        “It’s working in the UK. Let’s do it here! Next Saturday (Feb. 26th) meet at the Bank of America on Grand River in Novi at 12PM. At 1PM, we sit down in front of the entrance and shut it down. No one comes in.

        Why Bank of America? It received $45 billion in government bailout funds while funneling its tax dollars into 115 separate offshore tax havens. (source: http://www.thenation.com/node/158719)

        Our new governor Rick Snyder has made several proposals to:

        -Transfer funds from Universities and Community Colleges to fund other priorities. [Your college goes broke, your tuition goes up, fewer scholarships]

        -Tax Senior Pensions (public and private). [Your grandparents become even more broke]

        -Cutting Public Schools by $470 per student more than the previous cuts. [Your school can't pay for decent teachers anymore.]

        -End the State Tax Credit for the Working Poor. [The poor get taxed instead of the rich]

        -Asks State Workers for about $180 million more in concessions. [No more benefits, lowered salaries for government workers]

        (Above proposal summaries are copied from Lansing, MI US Uncut page)

        Let’s show him that cuts are not the only way. Let’s have his rich friends pay up instead. Taxes are like membership fees for civilized society. No business for them until they pay their dues.

        And you’ll get free brownies, too.”

      19. Fred Tims
        Posted March 1, 2011 at 9:02 am | Permalink

        Has Rick Scott elaborated at all on the fact that he, in his own words, considered sending trouble makers in among the peaceful demonstrators?

      20. Carroll B.T. Merriman
        Posted March 1, 2011 at 10:15 am | Permalink

        Maybe you have thought about putting advertisements for cock lengthening devices in your RSS feed? It appears as though you have a great deal of traffic here at markmaynard.com. I understand some visitors don’t care for ads very much, however it might help cover your web hosting fees, plus it might give some of the people in your audience longer cocks, which could prove useful. Just a choice to consider, Mark. And my cock happens to be sufficient, so I wasn’t asking for myself.

        Best of luck to the men and women of Wisconsin.

      21. Mr. X
        Posted March 1, 2011 at 10:35 am | Permalink

        EZ, speaking of the Brits and whether or not we could do it here, you might want to reprint your comment in this thread as well.

        http://markmaynard.com/?p=11890

      22. Ez Marsay
        Posted March 1, 2011 at 10:55 am | Permalink

        I’m eager for the Leak on tax dodgers, who I gather will—shockingly, unshockingly?—include Apple Computers, Target, among other more-knowns. But I wonder if the tax Leak won’t happen until Assange is cleared. For now, let’s put B of A out of business.

        Anyone here in the ‘Slant who hasn’t already, should consider moving accounts from B of A to a credit union, Bank of Ann Arbor, or other local banking institutions. That’s the best and easiest first step.

      23. TeacherPatti
        Posted March 1, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        Glen S…thanx. I’m having a crappy day (threatened to be kicked off of a yahoo group cuz I used the word asshole…they should read me on here for fuck’s sake) and your “just so I know which side to be on” comment was awesome :)

        I’ve said this before but dagnabbit, I’ma say it again…if you are stuck in a cube job making $35,000 a year and you’re watching teachers make over $50k or over $60k, I get that you are bitter. I understand this b/c I used to work legal aid and never made a dime over $38,000 per year, no vacation, shitty benefits. I understand. But the solution isn’t to bitch on mm.com or aa.com or fuckmewithastick.com but to organize. Yes, I know this is easier said than done.

        And I will say this–OMG I’m going to get creamed for this–but we teachers haven’t done ourselves a favor either. Too many teachers run around and bitch about what an awful and hard job we have. It’s not hard–it’s exhausting but it’s not any harder than any other job (to me anyway, and you probably know where I work) and it CERTAINLY isn’t harder than my dad busting his ass on the line at Chrysler for 12 hours a day or my grandpa busting his ass from age 10 on up. When you are off for 10 weeks in the summer, people don’t want to hear how hard your job is. (If I’ve EVER said it’s awful and hard, then please forgive me for I was in a Mood…sorry). So we haven’t helped ourselves in that way. I know I’m going to get yelled at but remember YMMV, my 2 cents, etc.

        And just as a reminder, if you are tempted to leave a group just because TeacherPatti in Ann Arbor says the word asshole, then the internet isn’t for you.

      24. TaterSalad
        Posted March 1, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

        Maybe Wisconsin taxpayers want to pay more in taxes to get out of debt. How about 65% of your wages then moonbats? Is that enough to make you happy? Seems the AFL-CIO communist President who goes to the White hOuse 3 times a week wants you all to pay more.

        http://www.theblaze.com/stories/afl-cio-boss-raising-taxes-is-best-way-to-create-jobs/

      25. Maria
        Posted March 1, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

        So it’s not class warfare, it’s corporatism hijacking the conversation for their own gain. Those Koch brothers really know a deal when they see one, and that Walker will do much for a biscuit, no union man is he.
        Teachers have a good deal, no doubt, and those who have a worse deal will not want to fund the teachers. That’s life in the public sector. But people should be wary about getting used by corporate types who are going to basically sack the village after they set everyone against each other.

      26. Gene
        Posted March 1, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

        Caught most of this doc the other day, can watch online now, I don’t know if the timing was intentional or coincidental, but interesting to watch in light of our current day struggles. No opinion or insight from me, I was just struck by the contrast along the workers’ rights spectrum…from nothing all the way to “entitled” – can’t say where the balance between the two should lie.

        http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/introduction/triangle-intro/
        It was the deadliest workplace accident in New York City’s history. On March 25th, 1911, The Triangle Factory after the firea deadly fire broke out in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York’s Greenwich Village. The blaze ripped through the congested loft as petrified workers — mostly young immigrant women — desperately tried to make their way downstairs. By the time the fire burned itself out, 146 people were dead. All but 17 of the dead were women and nearly half were teenagers.

        After the strike had continued for 11 weeks, the Triangle owners finally agreed to higher wages and shorter hours. But they drew the line at a union. Back on the job, the Triangle workers still lacked real power to improve the worst conditions of the factory floor: inadequate ventilation, lack of safety precautions and fire drills — and locked doors.

        In the days that followed, a temporary morgue near the East River was set up for families to identify the bodies of their loved ones. Nearly 400,000 New Yorkers filled city streets to pay tribute to the victims and raise money to support their families. The ensuing public outrage forced government action. Within three years, more than 36 new state laws had passed regulating fire safety and the quality of workplace conditions. The landmark legislation gave New Yorkers the most comprehensive workplace safety laws in the country and became a model for the nation.

      27. TaterSalad
        Posted March 1, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

        Hard to argue with these facts:

        http://www.theblaze.com/stories/stubborn-fact-public-employees-paid-more-than-private-workers-in-41-states/

      28. Glen S.
        Posted March 1, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

        I hear the Koch Brothers both gave this film “five stars.”

      29. TaterSalad
        Posted March 1, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

        And more………………. http://sweetness-light.com/archive/public-workers-earn-more-in-41-states

      30. John Galt
        Posted March 1, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

        What “historians” don’t tell you is that the women working at the Triangle Factory loved it there, even as they were dying. They loved having jobs, and making money. They loved the free market. That’s why the came to this country. They came for the opportunity. “Academics” like to throw around the word “sweatshop,” but it would be more apt to call it a “factory of dreams.” Those women died proud and happy. Their only regret, I’m quite confident, is that they couldn’t keep working as the burned. People today are soft and lazy. Give me workers like that any day.

      31. Ez Marsay
        Posted March 1, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

        It should be noted that some of our RUM (Republican, Unemployed, and Mormon) comrades have put out a call for folks to visit this site and “comment.”

      32. Kim
        Posted March 1, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

        A cool photo of a protest in Ohio today.

        http://www.plunderbund.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/sb5-pano.jpg

      33. Ez Marsay
        Posted March 2, 2011 at 9:41 am | Permalink

        From Molly Ivins:

        “Although it is true that only about 20 percent of American workers are in unions, that 20 percent sets the standards across the board in salaries, benefits and working conditions. If you are making a decent salary in a non-union company, you owe that to the unions. One thing that corporations do not do is give out money out of the goodness of their hearts.”

      34. Posted March 2, 2011 at 9:44 am | Permalink

        Ez Marsay,

        It’s good to know you read my stuff, but it’s a bummer that you spout such ignorance in anonymity. Don’t you know that Pres. Obama declared the Great Recession over back in ’09 – no one is “unemployed” anymore don’t you know?

        You ought to be proud enough of your clever turn of phrase to put your name on it.

      35. Ez Marsay
        Posted March 2, 2011 at 10:01 am | Permalink

        Rodney,

        Anonymity is a way of foregrounding ideas, and of removing ego from their presentation.

        Good of you to ask other conservatives to come here and comment; dishonest to not also encourage them to collaborate towards discovering common truths.

        “How I do love to hear the wolves howl!” —Joseph Smith

      36. TaterSalad
        Posted March 2, 2011 at 11:08 am | Permalink

        Telling Us All We Need to Know About Wisconsin Senate Democrats

        I’m just going to hand off this section to Moe Lane, who brings up another dang-I-wish-I-had-written-that bit of analysis:

        Just found out about this from Fox Nation (via Hot Air), as part of a breaking story that possibly the hiding Wisconsin state senators are starting to crack under the strain of not doing the jobs that they were elected to do:

        “State Sen. Julie Lassa (D) is pregnant and ‘extremely unhappy’ about being on the run.”

        Those twisted, sadistic FREAKS in the Wisconsin Democratic party really and truly made a woman with child go into interstate exile for two weeks? So that union bosses could keep unlimited access to funds to fuel their politician (and other prostitutes) habits? That is sick. That is disgusting. But, you know . . . that is pretty typical for the Democratic party leadership, too. Heck, we should probably be grateful that they didn’t drop Sen. Lassa off at a Planned Parenthood clinic, complete with a meaningful look.”

      37. Glen S.
        Posted March 2, 2011 at 11:24 am | Permalink

        Wow, Tater. This is indeed a stunning indictment of Wisconsin Democrats, and Liberals, in general.

        I mean, even thought Ms. Lassa is a STATE SENATOR, unfortunately, she is also a mere WOMAN — and a pregnant one, at that — and therefore, clearly unable to think or make any important decisions for herself … leaving her defenseless against the diabolical schemes of her (male) colleagues.

        What’s worse is that they’ve forced her into INTERSTATE exile … i.e., staying at hotel in Illinois. I mean, what if she goes into labor while there? Do they even know how to boil water? Do they have a wooden spoon handy for her to bite down on?

      38. Ez Marsay
        Posted March 2, 2011 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        I suspect the religious right disdains football, given all the people of color who play it, but this just in:

        “Writing that the NFL enhanced ‘long-term interests at the expense of its present obligations,’ U.S. District Judge David Doty overturned a special master’s ruling and backed the NFL Players Associaton’s claim that the league illegally secured a potential $4 billion revenue stream for 2011 to wield against the union as lockout protection.”

      39. Ez Marsay
        Posted March 2, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

        Punish workers, but fellate the Rich:

        “House Republicans voted in lockstep this afternoon to protect corporate welfare for Big Oil, even as they call for draconian cuts to programs that everyday Americans depend on each day. As the House of Representatives moved toward approving a stopgap resolution to avert a government shutdown for another two weeks, Democrats offered a motion to recommit that would have stripped the five largest oil companies of taxpayer subsidies, saving tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer funds. The motion failed on a vote of 176-249, with all Republicans voting against (approximately a dozen Democrats joined the GOP). A similar vote two weeks ago to recoup $53 billion in taxpayer funds from Big Oil was also voted down, largely along party lines. The former CEO of Shell Oil, John Hoffmeister, recently said Big Oil doesn’t need subsidies ‘in face of sustained high oil prices.’ From 2005 to 2009, the largest oil companies have made a combined $485 billion in profits.”

      40. TaterSalad
        Posted March 2, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

        Democrats are blowing wind with the wrong facts:

        http://sweetness-light.com/archive/wi-state-pension-fund-owns-koch-stock

      41. Posted March 2, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        “Anonymity is a way of foregrounding ideas, and of removing ego from their presentation.” – Ez

        Nice try, Ez Marsay. Anonymity is the way to remove responsibility, not ego. Your ego remains in full view. Anonymous comments are like crap thrown at the wall – no one can know to whom the crap belongs.

      42. Glen S.
        Posted March 2, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

        … said someone who uses the nickname “Designated Republican.”

      43. Posted March 2, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

        Yes, Glen. That’s because I am. And as Ez Marsay has shown so well, it is not as if I am hiding behind the title. I take responsibility for every word I post – just as you do. That’s why I’ve always enjoyed our online discussions, no matter how much we may disagree on an issue.

      44. Ez Marsay
        Posted March 3, 2011 at 8:34 am | Permalink

        This piece wonderfully demontrates the fallaciousness of Walker’s trumpets:

        http://tax.com/taxcom/taxblog.nsf/Permalink/UBEN-8EDJYS?OpenDocument

      45. Andrew Jason Clock
        Posted March 9, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

        According to Michael Moor’s Twitter feed and MSNBC, Wisconsin’s senate Republicans separated the union busting measure from the budget, which they say allows them to vote without a quorum. They have passed the measure.

        This seems to prove it was all about union busting and had nothing to do with saving money.

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