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The Wisconsin Dos-si-do


I have to smile. Only the LJWorld would completely ignore what happened in Wisconsin yesterday. The events in WI are not just "national" news, they are international. Every newspaper from Bangkok to Bangor is reporting on it but the LJW stays tight lipped.
I have a personal friend who lives in Madison. He's had a front row seat of the events for the past 25 days and has been blogging about it pretty regularly.
Recall efforts are already underway for eight of the Republican senators. The others won't be eligible for recall until November. Walker won't be eligible until November either but efforts are already being organized for his recall as it will be a much larger effort and will take more time. Once the intent for recall is filed they will only have sixty days to collect over 250,000 signatures so they want all prep work done and set up; office space, phones, forms printed, etc. All of this is coming from grassroots organizations within the state.
To quote a friend, "So this is what political suicide looks like."
Interestingly, a recall drive has been setup for the Democratic senators that have quit the state. The huge difference is that it's being set up and funded by a PAC out of Utah whose main source of funding comes from various corporations.
There are mutterings in the wind that national unions may call for a general strike in support of the WI unions, although I fully expect Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly to refuse to participate, despite the fact that they are card carrying members of AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists), an AFL-CIO union. There hasn't been a general strike in this country since 1934. It could get seriously ugly.
To quote another friend, "‎"One should keep in mind that if you push masses of people, you should expect that they will push back."
No wonder the LJW won't touch this with a ten foot cattle prod.


Flap Doodle 5 years, 9 months ago

So how'd that business of abandoning the legislature work out for the Democrats? Not so good, eh?

Scott Drummond 5 years, 9 months ago

Pretty well, actually.

The State's resident's have been alerted to the shameful actions of the republican legislators and people have taken to the street. Public opinion runs 65-70% against the right wingers' hijaking. Recall efforts are underway and are almost certain to suceed in paring back right wing control. The American public has seen the hypocricy of the right winger's agenda and argument on the need to slash spending. Wisconsin was going to be a tough State for Obama, now he is running quite favorably in the polling.

All in all a pretty big stumble for the repubs.

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 9 months ago

Actually, snap, they did what they set out to do; draw attention to and publicize what was going on in their state. They now have an international audience. By cutting the union provision from the budget bill and passing just the union provision Republicans have proven what people have been saying all along; that this had nothing to do with the budget but was a deliberate union busting measure. So yeah, I think it worked out for them pretty well.

sciencegeek 5 years, 9 months ago

If you want LJW to cover it, have them wear crimson and blue uniforms and dribble a basketball. Front page news!

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 9 months ago

No it hasn't. The protesters are still quite peaceful. The crowd itself still hasn't grown ugly, despite the fact that there are known, paid "agent provocateurs" trying to stir feces among them and get them riled up. You link to a blog that links to a blog with a purported "e-mail" that doesn't say who sent it or who received it. peers sharply If I didn't know better, Snap, I'd think that you were trying tor stir the nasty stuff. Your trigger finger itching?

Flap Doodle 5 years, 9 months ago

How dreadfully uncivil of you to suggest that I'd resort to the violence that is the hallmark of folks such as the SEIU thugs.

Scott Drummond 5 years, 9 months ago

Don't you mean the hallmark of scoundrels such as Gov. Walker who admitted he considered sending thugs in to the crowds of peaceful Wisconsin citizens to foment violence?

KSManimal 5 years, 9 months ago

This account of events appears dishonest.... It references the "windows of the cars we were in"....but there is video on YouTube clearly showing the entire group leaving by bus. Taxpayer-funded bus, I might add.

nepenthe 5 years, 9 months ago

I'm curious to see the blog your friend is keeping. Can you provide a link?

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 9 months ago

So what the AP is saying is that the Democratic representatives were themselves locked out of the vote? Interesting.

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 9 months ago

Same thing can be said of CEOs, son. Especially that last bit.

Liberty275 5 years, 9 months ago

LOL, How can a CEO conspire with himself, daughter?

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 9 months ago

They don't. They conspire with Boards of Directors and others in upper management..

Liberty275 5 years, 9 months ago

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it the job of a CEO to conspire with the BoD and upper management?

Scott Drummond 5 years, 9 months ago

Indeed,it is. It is what they are conspiring to do that is the problem.

Liberty275 5 years, 9 months ago

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it the job of a CEO to conspire with the BoD and upper management?

Kirk Larson 5 years, 9 months ago

The unions created the weekend and the vacation. They created the middle class. They first got health care into the compensation system. Unions made this country great while being continually subverted by the plutocrats. You wonder why union members get all worked up when their rights are threatened? Learn your history. People fought and died for the right to collectively bargain. Rich folk sent hired thugs and mercenaries to bust up unions. In the early days the Federal government would even send in troops. Those sacrifices are not forgotten among workers.

Kirk Larson 5 years, 9 months ago

The evident problem in you critique, productivity has soared in the last 30 years, but wages have stayed flat. What good is increased productivity if it conveys nothing to the people who produce. That's where the unions come in to see that the workers who create wealth get a fair share.

Liberty275 5 years, 9 months ago

"What good is increased productivity if it conveys nothing to the people who produce."

Lower prices for the consumer.

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 9 months ago

The union busting legislation passed yesterday is already being challenged in WI state court under two legal provisions: 1. It violated the states "Sunshine laws" and 2. it was illegally separated from the budget legislation as Walker has stated all along that it was based on budgetary concerns and was a result of the budget. We'll see how that goes. The one thing that separating the legislation did accomplish is that it proved it never had anything to do with the budget all along, as Walker claimed over and over again. He set out to bust public employee employee unions and was willing to use any means possible. I don't think they even understand now that what they did yesterday lost them a number of people that up to that time were still riding the fence. Their "dirty tricks" move may have been the wrong one.

BigPrune 5 years, 9 months ago

The Obama administration is behind the recall. The teachers make $100,000 a year. The union dues are taken out by the state department of revenue then sent on to the union. The Democrats ran and hid out of state, not doing their job.

To the victor go the spoils. The Democrats are obviously POOR losers.

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 9 months ago

Lies, lies, lies and, oh yeah. more lies. Keep telling yourself that BP. "Iwon'tbeafraid.Iwon'tbeafraid.Iwon'tbeafraid." Saw how well that worked for him, didn't ya?

manfred 5 years, 9 months ago

Where exactly are you getting the $100,000 / year figure? Ironically, I think you could really use a teacher -- you see, believing a mistruth doesn't make it true.

Liberty275 5 years, 9 months ago

"To quote another friend, "‎"One should keep in mind that if you push masses of people, you should expect that they will push back." "


"Among the threats the Justice Department is investigationg is one that was emailed to Republican Senators Wednesday night. Newsradio 620 WTMJ has obtained that email.

The following is the unedited email:

Please put your things in order because you will be killed and your familes will also be killed due to your actions in the last 8 weeks. Please explain to them that this is because if we get rid of you and your families then it will save the rights of 300,000 people and also be able to close the deficit that you have created. I hope you have a good time in hell. Read below for more information on possible scenarios in which you will die."

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 9 months ago

And Jared Loughner was a crazy who didn't just threaten to kill people he actually did kill people. What's your point? That there are crazies out there? I think we already know that. (And that's if this wasn't "planted" to begin with. The party you're supporting has already proven they aren't above "dirty tricks".)

Liberty275 5 years, 9 months ago

The point was obvious. We have an idea of what "push back" means to the union mob and it's thugs. I suppose it also means the same thing to crazies. They share a kinmanship of sorts, wouldn't you say?

Also, I don't support any party. I despise unions because they spring from a philosophy that devalues the individual and embraces the herd/mob. Politics has nothing to do with it..

gudpoynt 5 years, 9 months ago

You are absolutely correct. Nothing says "devalue the individual" like fighting for better working conditions, higher wages, and more comprehensive benefits packages for their "individual" members.

Herd/mob rule is exactly like collective bargaining because they both require a lot of people agreeing on something. You are so good at logic.

KSManimal 5 years, 9 months ago

It will probably be tracked back to scott walker or kochs for (their own) prosperity. After all, they're on record saying they considered planting "thugs" in the crowd. How hard would it be to send a simple email?

Liberty275 5 years, 9 months ago

Cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously. The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance. They do this by changing their attitudes, beliefs, and actions.[2] Dissonance is also reduced by justifying, blaming, and denying. It is one of the most influential and extensively studied theories in social psychology.


gudpoynt 5 years, 9 months ago

I like that you bring up cognitive dissonance. Republican politicians have become masters at capitalizing on the dissonance of their constituents. (HINT: that is what is the matter with Kansas).

Their policies seem to continually disenfranchise their constituents economically. But by conflating their supposedly fiscally conservative policies with socially conservative ideology, they provide their constituents with a mechanism by which to resolve their own dissonance.

The republican voter, while not necessarily understanding the complexities behind economic policy, can certainly understand that a man should not be allowed to marry a man, or that abortion is a sin, or that America is for Americans and not illegal immigrants... etc. etc..

And poof! Much of the cognitive dissonance that arises among the Republican constituency when faced with the actions of their elected representatives is resolved, because said representatives ALSO (supposedly) represent their conservative, social leanings.

Case In Point -- "Kansas House advances bill putting restrictions on sexually oriented businesses". What happened to limited government interference? What does a solid Republican voter have to say about this? Answer: morality trumps policy. The dissonance occurs in a discrepancy in policy preference between the voter and his/her representative. However, since the action proposed by the House is rooted in a conservative social ideal, the conservative voter can excuse that discrepancy, and the dissonance is reduced.

I may sound like an "elitist" who is unfairly categorizing KS Republicans.... but until I was 18, I lived in (very) rural KS. I still have family there, and visit frequently. This type of rationale not only exists -- it permeates. I've experienced a quarter lifetime of it first hand.

To be fair, the same is true of Democrats and their constituencies all over the US. But being a Democrat myself, it's much less apparent to me :-)

bad_dog 5 years, 9 months ago

Seems like a pretty stupid idea to send such a message that could be traced back to its origin. I wonder if that e-mail could have originated from a "hired thug". Nah, couldn't be. No one would stoop that low would they?

itwasthedukes 5 years, 9 months ago

They learned it from Washington and Obama. The difference is the Left can't handle a punch.

itwasthedukes 5 years, 9 months ago

They were elected by the people, they are doing the people will. It is the democrats who fled the state.

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 9 months ago

  1. The people didn't elect Walker to have him and his party turn around and slit their throats.They have a good idea of who and what he is now. He will be lucky if he makes it all the way through his one term.
  2. The Dems didn't run away from the fight, they ran away to start the fight. I think they did a pretty darn good job.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 9 months ago

Still with the violent rhetoric, cait? I fear for your mental wellbeing.

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 9 months ago

This is class warfare, Snap. Can't have warfare without violent rhetoric. At least my mob doesn't show up at their rallies with guns.

tbaker 5 years, 9 months ago

"Rights" to collectively bargain. There is no such thing. Someone tell me where in the constitution, state or federal, are these so-called "rights" conferred on unions. How about we start using the correct word:


The simple fact is this collective bargaining "privilege" has been abused by the public sector unions in collusion with largely democratic state politicians. Its a sweetheart deal, and in good economic times, it's easy to conceal because there is plenty of money to pay for it . The State passes a law requiring union membership; the unions collect dues from an indentured membership who have no choice but to see the money removed from their paychecks; the union spends the money supporting the political campaigns of the friendly politicians; the politicians reward the unions with pay and benefits far exceeding those of the private sector; the taxpayer picks up the bill. When times get tough however, sweet schemes like this get exposed and the people paying the bills end up electing politicians who promise to put a halt to it because there is no money to pay for it.

I think the phrase we're looking for is "Elections have consequences." If the good people of Wisconsin were all that worried about union "rights" then they wouldn't have voted for a historic republican victory where democrats lost both chambers of the state house and the governor's office, in an off-year election. The people of Wisconsin want to balance their state's budget more than they want to preserve union sweetheart deals. I don't blame the dem politicians for going AWOL, or the unions for trashing the capitol in protest. Their behavior is disgusting but I'd be upset too. The bottom line is they refuse to put the needs of their State over their own. This tells me all I need to know about these people.

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 9 months ago

"I think the phrase we're looking for is "Elections have consequences.""

Indeed, elections do have consequences. And given the polling in WI at this very moment, people aren't very happy with the bill of goods they were sold last November. Therefore they are exercising their state constitutional right to practice voter recall and return that "bill of goods" to the store that sold it to them because they sure as heck aren't happy with the purchase.

"The bottom line is they refuse to put the needs of the Koch Brothers over their own. This tells me all I need to know about these people."

There, fixed it for ya.

tbaker 5 years, 9 months ago

Polling...theres a poll that promotes every interest and you know it. We'll revisit this thread next fall. I'm pretty sure the union interests will collect enough signatures over the spring and summer to actually get the recall on the ballot, but passing it, several months from now, is another matter altogether. After this issue has been off the front page for a long time and tempers have cooled, and the new laws have had a chance to work, it will be very tough. But hey, if the will of the people is to un-elect the republican majority they voted into office last Fall - so be it. They can be thrown out with the same enthusiasm they were elected with in the first place, and Wisconsin can then become the first constitutional test case for whether or not a State can declare bankrupcy. As you know, bankrupcy abrogates all contracts, so the state will be right back to the starting point of all of this: they have no money. The difference is a "bankrupt" entitiy can wipe the entire slate clean and re-write every contract. At least going the route Gov. Walker has the unions retain something. They are way better off than they would be dealing with a officially "bankrupt" state.

bad_dog 5 years, 9 months ago

"Rights" to collectively bargain. There is no such thing. Someone tell me where in the constitution, state or federal, are these so-called "rights" conferred on unions. How about we start using the correct word:

The "rights" come from collective bargaining agreeements, AKA legally binding contracts. They are not constitutional "rights" per se, they are legal "rights". They were the result of negotiations between the parties. Along with those "rights" come obligations. Live up to them.

tbaker 5 years, 9 months ago

The real fight in WI was not about the so-called "right" to collectively bargain. It was about -you guessed it - money. Google a term called "dues check-off." Its a sweetheart system where the employer, in this case the government of WI, deducts union dues straight out of the workers paycheck before they actually get paid. The dues are then sent to the union. Unions bosses (of course) love this set up because they know that sometimes folks just aren't all that thrilled about paying their bills. Who is.

What Gov. Walker did that really torqued the unions is end this practice. Instead of "check-off" now unions will have to "collect" their dues. Workers will have to engage in the conscious act of writing a check every month. Now - perish the thought - workers will get to make up their own mind whether or not they want to pay the union dues.

Since many of us love to cite polling on this blog, there is some polling that about 50% of most union members - given a choice - wouldn't pay union dues. Now in tough economic times, do you think these government union members could find something better to spend their money on besides paying union dues? These are civil servants with the safest jobs of all. Short of a felony conviction, they know it's virtually impossible to be fired. Even with the governor's cuts they still enjoy pay and benefits that far exceed their private sector counterparts. Why on Earth would someone in their shoes pay union dues? What, exactly, are these dues buying for them?

Answer: Politicians. Wisconsin government employee unions made about 93% of their campaign donations to Democrats. Remember that 50% who would rather not pay union dues? Well, about half the union rank and file voted for Republicans. This practice may be fine and dandy for the members who supported the Democrats, but the other half of them who supported Republicans probably have better things to spend the money on.

Funny thing, I didn't see any union protestors carrying signs that read "Protect my right to have my pay taken from me before I ever see it."

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 9 months ago

Because the need to reduce the tax burden was manufactured to begin with. WI had no budgetary shortfalls until Walker played fast and loose with it giving tax breaks to various corporations (the biggest being the one that owns our own state). Let me put this in simple terms, LO. Walker robbed from the poor to give to the rich. I'm sure that you find nothing wrong with this in your Objectivist soul but most people find it rather abhorrent.

gudpoynt 5 years, 9 months ago

But Liberty, surely you can't deny that those with lots of money tend to influence politics tremendously. Where is the line between the political class and the economically influential?

Bottom line is that there is a very strong correlation between campaigns funding and election results. Upsets are exceptional, and just getting onto the final stage (nationally speaking) often costs more than most American's could make in 5 lifetimes.

While the dilemma between rich and poor is often oversimplified, it most certainly is not completely false.

In other words, your argument that "It's not rich versus poor, but rather political class versus civil class" is not very accurate considering how intertwined the political class is with the rich, and similarly the poor with the rest of civil society.

Scott Morgan 5 years, 9 months ago

I will admit I really do not have a pooch in this fight. We have a problem. We had a problem. Our nation from local to federal have been duped into paying luxurious wages in most cases for work demanding a much lower rate by public LOL servants. All levels of government, all pay scales.

We did have a problem which over the years was cured by unionized labor. At least we must face the problem of overpaying/benefits for public workers.

What do we do? Just keep paying more and more far outreaching the private sector?

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 9 months ago

I'm curious, Wiss. How is paying a teacher with a college degree (with time being spent toward an advanced degree) 14.50/hour "overpaying"? Truck drivers make more than that!

gudpoynt 5 years, 9 months ago

Agree, it's similar.

However, the resulting PPACA (aka Obamacare) that was passed into law contains numerous measures that were proposed by Republicans. It's called compromise, and despite the continued mantra that the PPACA was "rammed down throats", there was actually extensive debate lasting months and months, and a respectable amount of compromise (for instance, compare the final PPACA to some of the initial single-payer, public option, proposals put forth by Dems).

The difference between PPACA and the WI legislation is that in WI, the bill was put forth as a measure to fix a budget deficit due to union members not contributing enough to their pensions. At the same time, though, they slipped in this clause that would not only increase their contributions in the short term, but virtually eliminate their ability to bargain for lower contributions in the long term. This is what the union members found to be unacceptable.

Walker and WI Republican legislators (most of them anyway) lost a lot of credibility in their argument when:

a) an attempted compromise by the unions, where they agreed to contribute more into their pensions in exchange for keeping their bargaining power, was refused.

b) when all spending measures were removed from the bill, leaving only the part that strips unions of their bargaining power, in order to avoid the required quorum needed for it to pass. In my mind, this unmasks the measure as an effort to reign in spending, and exposes it as an effort solely to reduce union bargaining power.

The Republican rationale seems to be that if the bargaining power remained intact, then the increased contributions of public union members into their pensions would only be temporary, and the state would eventually wind up back in the situation in which they find themselves currently. This argument has some validity.

However, the tizzy that the public union members are in, comes from the long term nature of the restrictions on their bargaining power. If a Republican controlled legislature severely slashes funding for state run programs (education included), resulting in either widespread layoffs, furloughs, or drastic reduction in pay or benefits, then public workers have no recourse -- they just have to take the lumps handed to them by the legislature.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 9 months ago

What state will be the next stop on the Rent a Riot tour? Stay tuned.

cowboy 5 years, 9 months ago

The next states are indiana , new hampshire , michigan , florida , every where the Koch whores are initiating their agenda in state houses. This is war as Michael Moore has aptly defined it. The koch's and their republican ilk have declared war on the middle class , plain and simple. They have purchased minions to do the dirty work. Have you noticed that each "crisis" is preceded by a huge corporate tax cut ?
Evil , Evil , Evil

gudpoynt 5 years, 9 months ago

Liberty - I know! And the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research is pretty impressive too!

If only they would stick to these truly altruistic endeavors, instead of trying to get social conservatives elected to public office at all levels of government.

Then again, there's nothing wrong with individual billionaires being able to influence state and federal politics in the way that they, as individuals, think it should be influenced. Money is speech after all, and the freedom of expression thereof shall not be infringed upon.

Gee, I wish I had billions. I've got some really good ideas! I wonder if I sent 10,000 letters to my congressperson if it would have the same effect as $10,000?

gudpoynt 5 years, 9 months ago

Support of gay marriage? Really? On purpose?

That is interesting. Wasn't it the Koch's that founded AFP, an organization that is not only anti-gay marriage, but just anti-gay (insomuch as they will voice their opinions about Ugandan laws to make homosexuality punishable by imprisonment, and even death).

How much did they spend in support of gay marriage, where, and why? Seems to contradict their other messages.

Regardless, I never said they were social conservatives themselves. It just seems like they're intent on getting social conservatives in office. Most likely that's because social conservatism seems to go hand in hand with limited government, fiscal conservatism these days. (The reasons why that is the case is another discussion)

aa469285 5 years, 9 months ago

From the liberal playbook, page 5: "When the other side points our your hypocrisy, bring up Hilter. That always gets them to shut up. If in even more trouble, call them a Nazi."

jafs 5 years, 9 months ago

Can I get a copy of that book? You must have one.

I like the analogy - it points out that donating money to the arts doesn't contradict or devalue criticism on other grounds.

usnsnp 5 years, 9 months ago

Don't know which side is right, there is probably some truth comming from both sides. But what happens when what has been done does not work. Who will be blamed next, as it stands now it has been government workers, then it will be old people, after that all unions, then military retiries and last but not least the minimum wage. When all these things have been reduced to done away with, mabey we will be able to compete with China.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 9 months ago

In decades to come, scholars will be studying this thread and examining cait's many examples of progressive newspeak.

llama726 5 years, 9 months ago

snap, my favorite thing about you is how you carry on a rational intellectual debate about the issues at hand, and never try to distract.


georgeofwesternkansas 5 years, 9 months ago

This is what happens when you run out of other peoples money. Now it is yesterdays news, the press is on to Japan, and we will not hear any more about this.

This WI thing is nothing but left wing drivel, add up all the private sector jobs that have either been lost, wages/hours cut, benefits reduced, this crap would not even be considered a rounding number.

The democrat battle cry is always, we need more and we need to take it from someone else.

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 9 months ago

So tell me, George, how many acres of that farmland do you own out there in western Kansas? As for press action, CNN still has it up there on their front page. http://www.cnn.com/2011/POLITICS/03/13/wisconsin.budget/index.html?hpt=T2 I agree that thousands of people losing their lives is more important. But eventually that will die down as well. Look at Haiti. There are a lot of people working very hard to rectify the political mistakes they made in WI. When the recalls start rolling in it will be back up there on the front page. More insidious will be those people that start voting with their money and how they spend it. Many of the corporations that put our current pols into office are publicly held corporations. Do anything to start cutting into their bottom line and watch the investor panic flow.

georgeofwesternkansas 5 years, 9 months ago

Ok cait, give them everything they want, hell give everyone everything they want. Where are you going to get the money? Do you have enough to pay for it? I know I don't, my hands are full raising and educating my own children.

You must be one of those folks that gets to retire at 50 with full pay and benefits. I guess most of us will have to keep working and paying taxes to fund your retirement.

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 9 months ago

No and no. I worked for forty years as a floor nurse and it destroyed my body. But I haven't even drawn a cent from Social Security (which I paid into for those "40 years"), much less drawn any kind of taxpayer funded allotment. But even if I were drawing retirement from KPERS what difference would that make? Retired teachers don't deserve to draw from a retirement fund they paid into (many of them their entire working lives)? I do have to say I'm flattered you think I'm younger than I really am. As for "giving people what they want", I'm hard pressed to figure out how feeding babies is so threatening, especially since the people defunding the program are the same people fighting so fanatically against abortion. Personally, I find aborting a fetus before birth a heck of a lot more humane than starving a baby after it's born. What I find odd is that you don't seem to understand that I, and most others with my mindset, aren't really asking for anything other than that all people; including corporations, who were given "person" status by the Supreme Court, pay their fair share of taxes. When the specifically directed tax cuts and deliberate loopholes reach the point where corporations making billions pay absolutely nothing (a la Bank of America) in taxes, something is very, very wrong.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 8 months ago

The old protection racket, alive and well in Wisconsin. http://minx.cc/?post=313453 Remember to look for the union label.

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