Feb. 22nd, 2011

jackshoegazer: (Fear/America)
As you may have seen in the media, there's fire-and-brimstone shitstorm brewing up here in Wisconsin. Our newly-elected Governor Scott "Teabag" Walker is trying to push through a "Emergency Budget Repair Bill". So, he gives out millions of dollars in tax breaks to multinational corporations, and then tries to fill the breach by fleecing public workers by demanding not only a 6% increase in their contributions to their pensions, but also by paying 12% of their health care which is averaging out to about a 20% pay cut for teachers, prison guards, university faculty, grad students, and just about every other public employee in the state, ignoring the fact that public sector employees already make between 4 and 8 percent less than their private sector counterparts. The only unions not affected - firefighters and police officers who, coincidentally, are the only unions that supported him in his election. Which makes it all the more powerful that fire fighters and police officers have joined in this fight on our side.

However, these wage cuts are not the main issue. In this bill he also guts collective bargaining rights, basically eradicating unions. This bill would make it so that the only thing unions could do is bargain for cost-of-living increases. It would also prevent unions from collecting dues and it virtually eliminates the ability to strike. The right to collectively bargain is not only part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but it is a long-standing tradition in Wisconsin and the nation. Never forget that collective bargaining, unions, and the labor movement in general are what brought you weekends, the 40-hour work week, child labor laws, and a slew of other protections that keep your job safe and sane.

This isn't just a Wisconsin problem - this is going to happen nation-wide. The governors of Ohio and Florida are already pushing through similar measures. Since the Citizens United casein the Supreme Court gave corporations personhood and the ability to spend unlimited amounts of money in elections, and with corporate America firmly on the Right, the only balancing force left in politics was union support from the Left. And with the Right basically outlawing unions, that absolutely clears the way for an unstoppable Republican/Tea Party/Fascist take-over of this county. As Pulitzer Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman said, they're turning the United States of America into a third-world oligarchy.

Also tucked in this bill is the ability for Scott Walker to sell off state-owned properties and interests without bids to whomever he feels like. Considering that the Koch Brothers (who have almost single-handedly been funding many of the Tea Party groups) donated heavily to Walker's campaign ($43,000 directly, and another $65,000 which was filtered through the Republican Governors Association, and more yet through other PACs), Walker could (and will) sell them Wisconsin's energy assets for pennies on the dollar.

This bill was being pushed, there were ads on the radio asking for listeners to support it (from a right-wing thinktank/lobbying group) BEFORE the bill was even given to legislators. This is a 144-page bill, announced on a Friday and the governor and the Republican leadership in the Senate and Assembly were primed to vote on in on the following Tuesday. No public hearing, no public testimony, nothing. They tried to ram it through in the most un-democratic way possible.

Because this bill is so odious, tens of thousands of people have been gathering at the Capitol every day since the bill was announced. That's where I've been Monday through Saturday, until I caught the flu (my fever peaked at 102F), which I am only just now recovering from.

Here are some photos I took over the week I was up at the Capitol.

There's a ton more on my Facebook, along with articles concerning this topic. )


jackshoegazer: (Default)

February 2012

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