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  1.  (9554.1)
    I'm sure it isn't on many people's radars here, but I just wanted to pass along a little of what is going on here in Madison, Wisconsin. This state, like most is in financial trouble and decided to elect a rightwing, crazy eyed college dropout new Governor. He has immediately put forward a bill that he plans to shove through the newly elected legislature, which is now all right wing as well, by the end of the week. The bill effects all 180k state employees except specific Fire and police agency in which endorsed him in the election. The immediately financial damage makes everyone take a 10% take home pay cut, with more surely on the way, but the most important factor is that his bill will immediately strip collective bargaining rights away from all employees. He, like many new Governors in the coming months, will use the deficit as a basis for busting all the state unions. There is a lot going on with the bill and its effects that I won't go into here or Ill be typing a book.

    So, yesterday when they had a public hearing on the bill, we had 13k protestors march to and into the capital, keeping the hearing going all night, with protestors still sleeping inside the capital today. Now today it all starts again and I will be heading down soon, as will all the teachers in Madison, as they have closed all public schools here due to mass sick-outs from the teachers. I am not the most articulate on the stuff going on, but wanted to let people know whats up and to be ready to do what you can to stop it if and when it starts in your state. I know Ohio is pushing a similar bill next week. Once the union is busted here, I really need to leave the state, so anyone have any suggestions of decent liberal areas to look into moving to?

    Most of the videos aren't uploaded yet, but here is the view from inside the capital (3k inside and another 10k outside)



    I hope things get little more ugly today. Oddly enough, the police tasked with keeping the protestors in line are the EXACT police that the Governor cherry picked to take from, while protecting every other police force in the state. Have no fear though, the Gov has the National Guard on call, as he has already made contact with them.
  2.  (9554.2)
    Oh, I forgot. Obviously the Governors first bill after entering office was a tax break for the wealthiest 2%, then he went after the state workers, many of which are making a meager 20-30k. A republican immediately giving the tax cut when the problem is a budget deficit is a given, but still makes no sense.
  3.  (9554.3)
    also forgot, check madison.com for the local news coverage of it all.
    • CommentAuthorKelind
    • CommentTimeFeb 16th 2011 edited
     (9554.4)
    @thinwhiteduke

    Thanks for this post. It's pretty scary what's happening in that part of America, and I think we should all be aware.

    This is what's happening in South Dakota, which is one state away from Wisconsin.

    South Dakota Moves To Legalize Killing Abortion Providers">
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeFeb 16th 2011
     (9554.5)
    If you want to get national attention, make sure 95% of the crowd is white, dress up in tight-fitting revolutionary war costumes, and carry around signs that look like they were written by ignorant racists.
  4.  (9554.6)
    It has been pretty spectacular to see all the high school students marching to the capital and bringing a TON of energy in defense of their teachers. Isn't it ironic that the Governor here who has no college degree doesn't value education? It was also nice to see many of the firefighters who are safe from the cuts (for now) out in uniform on the side of the other state workers.
  5.  (9554.7)
    @Kelind, The South Dakota deal is fucking ridiculous and terrifying. Isn't the south supposed to be the crazy part of the country?
  6.  (9554.8)
    Light on specifics, but it seems some in the UK are covering the ordeal. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/feb/16/wisconsin-republicans
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeFeb 16th 2011
     (9554.9)
    The protests are now a second-string item on the New York Times website.

    Is the governor crazy enough to actually call out the guard?
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeFeb 16th 2011
     (9554.10)
    TPM is saying that, in light of the protests, he's starting to talk about scaling things back in some regards but that the major changes are still going to go through.
  7.  (9554.11)
    He is crazy enough. I knew the first time I saw him speak that he had Giuliani-like armageddon eyes. He is going into this like a kamikaze pilot. I think he believes that if he busts the unions that he will become a Republican golden boy and be taken care of even after being run out of this state.
  8.  (9554.12)
    Thing is he said he was going to do this. Glad there are some people protesting it, but clearly enough people in Wisconsin wanted to vote against their own self interest--I wonder if it will cost him much politically at all there.
  9.  (9554.13)
    He said exactly what he was going to do from the beginning, but your statement above assumes people inform themselves before voting and know what the people they vote for stand for. sadly this isn't the case in most instances. People in the state are SHOCKED and angry. I'm angry, but obviously far from shocked and expect much more raping of Wisconsin residents.
  10.  (9554.14)
    AP says 30k at protests today. Lots of coverage on MSNBC Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz shows
  11.  (9554.15)
    nevermind.
  12.  (9554.16)
    James, I care about the RIGHT to collective bargaining. I don't believe in taking that right away. I fully understand the problems with Unions led by crooks and the importence of having good leaders in Unions or elected positions etc. I can tell you I currently am a state employee who works full time and takes home just 21k per year. With this specific Bill, I would take home a little over $7 an hour, which is obviously not enough money to live and work in a relatively expensive city like Madison. Maybe it is your belief that 21k a year is plenty, but I disagree. For people that make 21K a year to be the target when the budget needs to be balanced, while immediately giving a tax break to the top 2% is disgusting. I'm sorry you feel differently.
  13.  (9554.17)
    Unions represent fight for and obtain reasonable pay and benefits. It's the lack of representation that has allowed the vast majority of the workforce to be squeezed for every penny and the middle class pushed to the edge of extinction.

    Blaming unions for any state financial issues, despite their internal excesses, is uninformed at best.

    ~R
    • CommentAuthorRyan C
    • CommentTimeFeb 16th 2011
     (9554.18)
    I live in Chicago and read/watch the news and this is the first I heard of it. Thank you for the update, you are better than the Trib.
  14.  (9554.19)
    It seems it has taken 6 days of protest before it has gotten much attention. 2k protestors mon, 15k tues, 30k weds, All the schools are cancelled again thurs, so hopefully many come again. I'd like to see some national leaders come out in our favor. I know Ed Schultz is bringing his MSNBC show to Madison tomorrow. Where is my guy Ralph Nader and our only Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders? Whitechapel Meet-Up in Madison?? hah
  15.  (9554.20)
    The attacks against union-backed civil servants are severe, yet no cutbacks for government contractors, who operate with very little oversight, and often end up costing the government much more money in the long run. It's easy to point the finger at unions, and state & federal workers and say they're overpaid, etc, but it's hard to back it up with real facts.

    Another discrepancy I have is people saying civil servants are overpaid compared to private sector when in fact the private sector has nickel & dimed their employees to the point where they are not earning a comparable wage. It's not that civil servants are earning too much, it's that private sector has been paid far too little. The solution is not to cut hard working people's pay, but to bring the private sector's pay UP. Maybe then people won't have to work 2 jobs to support their families.

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