Weekly Audit: Massive Protest In Wisconsin Shows Walker’s Overreach

 

By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger

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.

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.

 

ATTN: Call for Sex, Gender & Body Bloggers and Writers.

I am beginning a new blog that deals with individuals and communities that identify around some aspect of Sex, Gender or Body.  I have pasted a copy below of a post I just published on my blog.

I hope that it is not in bad form to announce it here on an existing community blog.  Since this blog focuses on politics, and my new one will only deal with politics as it pertains to the larger body of conversations on SGB, I do not believe that I am undermining this blog's reader base.  If anyone has an objection to my posting this, please let me know and I delete this entry.

- gadfly

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Prop 8 Arguments will be heard on March 5th

On Thursday, March 5th the CA Supreme Court will hear oral arguments regarding the overturning of Prop 8.

Tomorrow, those interested will be able to watch live streaming of the court proceedings on the California Channel, link here:

http://www.calchannel.com/

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A Funny Thing Happened On My Way To The Polyamory Movie

This week, I attended Clarisse Thorn'sSex+++ Film Series at Hull House in Chicago.  This feature was a film on polyamory, entitled: When Two Won't Do.  The film is a documentary created by two people exploring polyamory for themselves.  There was a discussion group afterward.  The response to this film series has been overwhelming and Tuesday was no exception, with upwards of 70 people crammed into a room that expected maybe 40.

(Cross-posted at The National Gadfly)

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Labor Unions Want Overturn of Prop 8

50 labor unions (according to the Sacromento Bee) will file an amicus brief on Friday asking the California Supreme Court to overturn Proposition 8.

The list is a who's who of labor unions including the AFL-CIO, SEIU and Teamsters.

"It was United Health Workers-West President Sal Rosselli who explained why labor is interested in seeing the measure overturned:

  There are fundamental constitutional rights that cannot be abolished by ballot initiative. Our organizations stand for fairness and equality for working people--not only in the workplace but in all aspects of society. Today we are standing up for all California families in asking the court to overturn..."

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