If you have "no place to go," come here!

Will Madison be our Cairo?


[Leaving this stick again. Readers, please post updates in comments. --lambert]

[Readers, Votermom asks What can we do? Please post numbers to call, things to do in the comments. Thanks! --lambert]

You won't find it on its front page section "Protests for Democracy", but CNN is reporting that 15 more school districts will close today [#104] as teachers make their way to Madison, WI to join the protest against Gov. Walker's anti union bill. Wisconsin teachers call in sick

At least 15 school systems in Wisconsin canceled Thursday's classes because teachers and other public employees will continue protests at the state Capitol over a bill that would strip them of most of their collective bargaining rights and increase their contributions for benefits.

From MSNBC we get a report noting some Green Bay Packers weighing in: Madison protests

"As a publicly owned team we wouldn't have been able to win the Super Bowl without the support of our fans," reads a statement signed by seven current and former players. "It is the same dedication of our public workers every day that makes Wisconsin run. They are the teachers, nurses and child care workers who take care of us and our families. But now in an unprecedented political attack Governor Walker is trying to take away their right to have a voice and bargain at work."

I heard a trucker on a show on Sirius Left radio say he was disconnecting his trailer and taking his cab and driving from Kentucky to Madison to join the protests over union busting.

Will Madison be our Cairo?

No votes yet


Submitted by Lex on

that is, of course, being studiously ignored by American media.

From what i've read, there's no actual budgetary reason for this. It's union busting plain and simple, and the WI governor is ready to use the national guard to break the unions/replace the union workers.

That's right, he's talking about mobilizing the national guard to take over the work of public employees...and yet nobody's crying "Socialism! Socialism!" over that plan.

Here's to the union workers in WI who may actually understand that more than a century of labor organizing is in terrible danger and they're the ones on the front line.

Also, interesting about the trucker. I talk to a fair number of them and they're often really upset about labor issues. Unfortunately they're mostly independent, but should they ever get together and fight, they're the ones most likely to bring America to its knees in a week or less by strike. (And nobody gets in a truck and drives it around quickly, so scabs aren't even a possibility...)

Submitted by MontanaMaven on

But believes in unions and called for other truckers to join him.

And yes, Anderson Cooper et al should get to Madison. I'm going to be checking flights myself.

Submitted by regulararmyfool on

Much more importantly, he has the Koch brothers funding the experiment in how to destroy unions. They bought his seat and the Republican legislators for chump change. That is all it is, just another Koch experiment. They run a lot of experiments to see how much they can get away with.

When they own the legislatures, the tea party, and cooperate with Murdock and the propaganda people, they try to go as far as possible as fast as possible.

Just plain evil trash that should be arrested and sent to Gitmo to be questioned about their treasonable activities and all of their co terrorists. Then be tried under the RICO laws and have all asset seized.

These people have no rights, they only have money. Break them and the gridlock in politics will soon unravel as more of the conspirators are off to the pen and bankruptcy.

Not going to happen, Obama is too big of a coward to even think of doing the right thing. He will order American civilian's murdered but he hasn't got the guts to take on his fellow criminals.

With the blatantly unconstitutional Patriot Act, he could order the arrest and incarceration of hundreds of co conspirators just in politics, much less the gangsters in banking and insurance. No charges filed, just incarceration and torture.

Hey, he's OK with the treatment of Bradley Manning, but then again he sort of despises the little people. He's got a streak of yellow that is a mile wide. He feels that if a half breed can become president, then anyone who isn't "successful" is a slacker.

Eureka Springs's picture
Submitted by Eureka Springs on

Al Maven!

Submitted by MontanaMaven on

I might not be able to leave work to go to Madison or get a flight, but we should see what we can do for the protesters. We have some bad bills here in Montana, but we have a Democratic governor. I should try to get people her to at least go to Helena.

affinis's picture
Submitted by affinis on

I think the most important thing right now is probably warm bodies.
Wisconsin is ground zero for labor at this point. I'm a WI state employee (at University of Wisconsin-Madison).
Housing availability Facebook page: Madison Protester Housing Available.
Also, if you're willing to crash on a couch (or to use a sleeping bag) some of the Madison Community Coop houses might be an option.
The protests have continued to grow in size (police estimated 40,000 for the 5:00 rally tonight, but having been there, I think that's a substantial underestimate - I would guess at least 60,000). Many protestors are staying in the capital building around the clock (i.e. overnight).
Analysis of provisions of the bill relating to collective bargaining.
A few of relevant labor websites here, here, and here.
Wisconsineye has some good testimony from a listening session about the bill (though some people have difficulty getting video from this site to play) - under search enter "Budget Repair Bill Listening Session".

Submitted by gob on

Yes, the Times is covering the story . I love this quote from Gov. Walker:

“Obviously there is a lot of protest out there, but in the end, it’s the right thing to do,” Mr. Walker said, adding, “We didn’t get elected to worry about the politics.”

Let's see now, the people assemble peacefully in protest, the political system we call "democracy" is supposed to translate the people's will into action, politics is a dirty word, so the "right thing to do" is ignore their protests.

No, you didn't get elected to worry about the welfare of the people,, that's plain to see, Mr. Walker.

zot23's picture
Submitted by zot23 on

It is the right thing to do, the underlining question is "right for whom?"

Sure as hell ain't the 25,000 sitting outside the capitol building.

Submitted by jawbone on

They're in fundraising mode, which means extra time with Amy Goodman. Today, Noam Chomsky was on and offered some pithy analyses.

Yes, this a very good place to donate money, if you can. Possibly the only real news organiztion being broadcast, in limited outlets but on some local public radio stations as well as Pacifica.

1) Just follow the money. Studies have shown government policy follows the source of political funding. (Forgive me for ever listening to and believing Clinton saying it was important to bring corporations on board, to get some of their money in order to fight against the power of the Right. Either he didn't get it, or he was also complicit. And I was bamboozled.)

Hence the war on the middle class by the Uberwealthy. They get it. If the middle class has disposable funds, it can influence governmental policy. The wealth redistribution upward not only gives the Uberwealthy more money to play with, it gives more ability to leverage power and control.

2) The wealth disparity is a direct result of government actions, either through legislation or, since Reagan, government failure to enforce laws on the books. Reagan's breaking of the air controllers' union led to the private sector trying the same thing -- and getting no pushback from Reagan. Or Bush I, little from Clinton, none from Bush II, bringing us to Obama who ditched his promise to support check off union formation.

3) Obama's naming a GE exec to create more jobs in the US is not going to lead to more jobs. Obama named as the head of his study group on creating new jobs the head of GE -- a corporation has excelled at moving its jobs, about 50%, off shore. Do not expect him to be very effective at creating jobs within the US. (Do not expect anything good for the middle and working classes from Obama. My take.)

4) The huge exec compensations are a result of the government changing corporate governance rules (CEO's can appoint most of the members of their corporations' boards and thus have direct control over their compensation). Again, the political funding came from the corporations and their extremely highly paid execs. The corporations' leaders do not work for their shareholders as much as for their own enrichment and increase in power.

5) Elections: Vote strategically. Chomsky wrote about what Obama was really like before the primaries even began. Here too, follow the money -- the big money, the early money--Obama as we now know was the Banksters' man from before the gitgo.

He rec'd in '08, if in a swing state vote against the extreme conservatives, but know the altervative will disappoint and do what his or her money suppliers want him or her to do. Otherwise, vote as left as you can find on the ballot. Same advice now.

What is imperative is continued actions such as are happening in Madison.

7) A wage freeze is essentially a tax increase. Obama.s freeze on wages of Federal employees has placed a tax increase on hundreds of thousands of middle and lower middle class workers -- at the same time Obama negotiated one the biggest tax reductions and tax giveaways to the Uberwealthy. What a guy, this conservative neo-lib corporatist (my comment)!!

8- The ginned up attacks on public employees is a deflection from the crimes of the economic sector players and the enabling of that by government. The attacks on public employees themselves, their wages and pensions, their health benefits, and especially their unions are all part of the Uberwealthy and Big Corporations' efforts to deflect attention from the outright theft of monies from taxpayers by the Big Banksters and others who enabled the economic meltdown. Chomsky said that while it is based on long term Republican attacks on public employees, the breadth of those now taking part in that assault in the past few months is breathtaking. The knock on benefit is that the last remaining strong unions will be weakened or knocked out of commission.

Public employee bashing -- it's not just for Republican rightwingers anymore! Come on down, Obama! Come on down, Andy Cuomo! Come on down, Dem politicians!

Lots more to hear on this Democracy Now! program -- and most of their programs, of course.


Today's actual news and discussion time was about an hour and a half--audio and video, plus transcript soon, available at Democracy Now!. (I can't find a URL for the current show, so possibly getting to this show, Thurday, February 17, will require going into the archives going forward.)

PS - DemNow! is followed on WBAI in NYC by a homeopathist, but today he has on a doctor who is breaking down how the Chamber of Commerce has been undermining American workers. They're discussing how the CofC began working against FDR, against Rachel Carson, etc., and, now, against WiliLeaks and any to all of their supporters. At least ChamberGate is getting wide coverage on WBAI.

Submitted by MontanaMaven on

Fighting Bob

He says Ed Schultz is showing up today. He also says that national unions are putting money into Wisconsin. For what? He also says that the Democratic Party in the state has been pretty quiet as has the National Democrats. Surprise. Surprise.

Alex Bennett said on his radio show this morning that Gov Walker put a whole bunch of tax cuts in the budget creating a crisis so that he could then break the state employee's union. I haven't found a source for that. Maybe by exploring the Wisconsin blogs.

Submitted by jawbone on

MTM links to!

Other Targets: Walker is not asleep. He is also trying to break-up the UW system so the Madison campus would be private! Guess who supports him--"Biddy" Martin! Good god Biddy, read the history of this great state institution!

Can he or any state do that with a landgrant college?

With a few exceptions (including Cornell University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology), nearly all of the Land-Grant Colleges are public. (Cornell University, while private, administers several state-supported contract colleges that fulfill its public land-grant mission to the state of New York.)

Cornell has a tie to Wisconsin, btw:

Under the act, each eligible state received a total of 30,000 acres (120 km2) of federal land, either within or contiguous to its boundaries, for each member of congress the state had as of the census of 1860. This land, or the proceeds from its sale, was to be used toward establishing and funding the educational institutions described above. Under provision six of the Act, "No State while in a condition of rebellion or insurrection against the government of the United States shall be entitled to the benefit of this act," in reference to the recent secession of several Southern states and the currently raging American Civil War.

Morrill Hall, on the campus of the University of Maryland, College Park (a land-grant university), is named for Senator Morrill, in honor of the act he sponsored.After the war, however, the 1862 Act was extended to the former Confederate states; it was eventually extended to every state and territory, including those created after 1862. If the federal land within a state was insufficient to meet that state's land grant, the state was issued "scrip" which authorized the state to select federal lands in other states to fund its institution.[5] For example, New York carefully selected valuable timber land in Wisconsin to fund Cornell University.[6] The resulting management of this scrip by the university yielded one third of the total grant revenues generated by all the states, even though New York received only one-tenth of the 1862 land grant.[7] Overall, the 1862 Morrill Act allocated 17,400,000 acres (70,000 km2) of land, which when sold yielded a collective endowment of $7.55 million.[8] The state of Iowa was the first to accept the terms of the Morrill Act which provided the funding boost needed for the fledgling Ames College (now Iowa State University.) (My emphasis)

So, who knows what someone like Walker could do....

Submitted by admin_hipparchia on

fascinating piece of history.

land grant colleges [or t least have been] hugely important in providing higher education for the masses. it doesn't surprise me at all to see these crooks going after them.

Submitted by jawbone on

in Egypt (also Iraq, elsewhere).

There was much more to building the protest numbers than Facebook and Twitter. Much, much more.

Link to The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC. Very good day of programming.

Tweeting the Revolution
Thursday, February 17, 2011

Moustafa Ayad, former Pittsburgh Post-Gazette staff writer and native of Egypt, talks about his work training journalists and activists in Egypt and Iraq to use social media, and also discusses the protests in those countries and throughout the region.

This could be very important for us here, but the US gov't is paying for this kind of work in other countries. Mention was made of 5 years (iirc) work in Egypt. How to use use new media, but also the importance of on the ground, in people's living rooms meetings and discussions.

Ayad talked about protests going on in Iraq -- protesters being killed for protesting.

I caught tail end, and audio will not be up for a little while, but this could be really useful for those of us who view our nation as being almost as information deprived as place like Egypt. Not "state" TV here, just almost completely state subservient (totally corporation subservient!).

I've got to hear this whole segment.

(Right now Phil Angelides is on speaking about the misleading info about Fannie and Freddie. He's on every Thursday this month. Brian Lehrer is asking the Repub talking point questions about F&F's role in the Big Shit Pile. As if he doesn't know they're lies! He was better in the Egypt segment; must be some kind of group pressure on everyone in broadcasting.

Angelides was accurate and fair in his discussion of what role the F&F's did play. )

Submitted by MontanaMaven on

She's a software designer and marketing person. When I lamented that no one was protesting the creepy birthed bill and home guard bill, she said, "Let's use social media." Don't know if that will work in Montana with an old population but I'm willing to figure this out because the corporate media will not give us the time of day.

Submitted by lambert on

See #180 for some recent history (more coming).

I think that the social media can be excellent as a front medium, but I'm extremely wary of them as a way of creating social capital. For one thing, both Facebook and twitter are wired up the yin yang from the usual suspects; that makes them utterly unsuitable for planning. For another, they're very susceptible to disinformation and trolling (see under 2008, D primaries). I really think that social capital is built the old-fashioned way, by face to face contact (or by writing together, as here, for such a long period as to seem face to face). It's the human network that counts, and not the social medium, as shown by the Egyptians effortless shift from medium to medium as Murbark clamped down.

Submitted by MontanaMaven on

Found it. Walker Can't Game System Without Budget Crisis

Capital times Excerpt:
To the extent that there is an imbalance -- Walker claims there is a $137 million deficit -- it is not because of a drop in revenues or increases in the cost of state employee contracts, benefits or pensions. It is because Walker and his allies pushed through $140 million in new spending for special-interest groups in January. If the Legislature were simply to rescind Walker’s new spending schemes -- or delay their implementation until they are offset by fresh revenues -- the “crisis” would not exist.

Submitted by jawbone on

will just say it's "opinion." Nothing to see there....

My relatives in WI just say "Walker is evil."

That seems to be a term being applied quite a bit nowadays.

But this is incredibly glaringly obvious -- but he'll get away with it if the Repub backing media cover up that aspect of the story.

What slimey crook! How dare he? How DARE he?

Yeah, I know: Because he's a Republican. A very conservative rightwing Republican.

Rangoon78's picture
Submitted by Rangoon78 on

"Some of what I’ve heard coming out of Wisconsin, where you’re just making it harder for public employees to collectively bargain generally seems like more of an assault on unions," Obama said in an interview with the Milwaukee-based news station TMJ.

Asked about Obama, [ local union president, Jeff] Moats recalled a speech last year in which the president expressed support for a Rhode Island school board that had voted to fire teachers at a struggling school. Subsequently, the Central Falls High firings were rescinded. But he and others here said Obama's words still rankled.

Administration officials say Obama's policies have spurred progress on a host of fronts, leading states across the country to take steps toward performance pay, charter school expansion and tenure reform.

Many Republicans say they applaud elements of Obama's reform agenda that are at odds with union traditions.

Submitted by MontanaMaven on

Obama starts out by saying: "As a general proposition that everybody has to make some adjustments to new fiscal realities. If we want to avoid lay offs....we had to impose a freeze..those kind of adjustments are the right things to do."
Then he goes into "On the other hand" this is an assault on unions and these folks, folksy, folks are our friends, yadda yadda.

No not everybody needs to make some adjustments. No, this need not be the new fiscal reality. Congress could revise the Federal Rserve Act as they did in 1934 to allow the Fed to give money to the states to keep people at full employment.

This is the Shock Doctrine and he knows it.

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

including cease to issue debt and simply deficit spend without it. The main point is that it costs the Government nothing to create and distribute money. It can revenue share every State out of its current trouble. It can employ everyone who wants to work. It can fund Social Security without any FICA payments.

We need to tell our Reps that we know that and that if they don't do these things we're going to primary them out of office.

wuming's picture
Submitted by wuming on

Ultimately the solution lies in D.C.

Submitted by jawbone on

Hillary's speech on internet freedom for standing with his back to her while she spoke.

He was removed, beaten, and jailed.

Photos, write up.

As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave her speech at George Washington University yesterday condemning governments that arrest protestors and do not allow free expression, 71-year-old Ray McGovern was grabbed from the audience in plain view of her by police and an unidentified official in plain clothes, brutalized and left bleeding in jail. She never paused speaking. When Secretary Clinton began her speech, Mr. McGovern remained standing silently in the audience and turned his back. Mr. McGovern, a veteran Army officer who also worked as a C.I.A. analyst for 27 years, was wearing a Veterans for Peace t-shirt.

Blind-sided by security officers who pounced upon him, Mr. McGovern remarked, as he was hauled out the door, "So this is America?" Mr. McGovern is covered with bruises, lacerations and contusions inflicted in the assault. (My emphasis)

This is what happens in this nation when there are not sufficient numbers to intimidate the Powers That Be and their enforcers.

Via Susie Madrak at Suburban Guerrilla.

votermom's picture
Submitted by votermom on

during the beginning of the speech. Was that him?
Sounds like he's going to sue - good.

Submitted by Lex on

McGovern turned his back on Clinton for the speech, was then confronted by the security guys/cop, and then forcibly removed. That's when he started talking, saying "This is America(?)"

Submitted by jawbone on

uniformed men.

I don't believe he was heckling; it seems he was making one statement before being removed and temporarily disappeared.

"So this is America, this is America" he said. I didn't quite catch the last few words.

Heckling? I see it as just not going quietly into that good...detention.

Submitted by jawbone on

did not do anything as McGovern was being dragged out. He feels, since she was talking about respecting peaceful protest in other countries, she could have asked the guards to leave him be, that his was an example of non-violent protest.

It would have been a US example of how authority can react....

I agree.

Eureka Springs's picture
Submitted by Eureka Springs on

Just what one should expect from Madeleine Albrights successor.'WORTH_IT‘
Just what one should expect from an SOS who in recent days supported Mubarak then Suleiman the torturer. The very same SOS who warned US college students if they want a job in government someday they best not discuss wikileaks at all on places like facebook. Don't exercise free speech if you want to work for meeee!

Step down, Hillary… right now, today!

Submitted by jawbone on

one example of what happens when people in this nation, ruled by hypocritical leaders who claim to admires protests in Egypt and especially Iran, then stifle, corral, permit out of existence protest in this nation.

"Will Madison be our Cairo?" Without sufficient numbers, it will be Egypt 2008, hopefully without the disappearances....

A single person, standing with a message on his t-shirt, at a speech is hauled away forcefully by the police or whatever the guards were. Since he ended up in jail, most likely police.

To protest here, there must be huge numbers. In WI right now, there are some pretty impressive numbers. But, just wait, Walker will get try to get the police or Nat'l Guard involved if this continues.

Right now, no Dems would attend the state Senate session where a vote is scheduled on Walker's anti-collective bargaining legislation; the police are "out trying to find the Democratic senators," per NPR hourly news round up. At least one Dem is needed for a quorum. It's 19 R's to 14 D's. I doubt five R's will break away from Walker's legislative assault on workers' rights.