Posted June 20, 2013 at 8:00 am, in Videos
Posts Tagged ‘Wisconsin’
Posted February 19, 2013 at 8:00 am, in From the USW International President
Rig the Vote is the evil opposite of Rock the Vote. Rock is the campaign by a nonprofit to increase political engagement and register young people. Rig is the campaign by the GOP to suppress political engagement and subvert balloting.
The GOP rigged the vote by limiting registration, demanding specific photo ID at the polls and creating hours-long waits in poor and minority districts. The GOP also connived to re-apportion state electors to the Electoral College. And if six key states had adopted the change, President Obama, who received the majority of the popular vote by a margin of nearly 5 million, would not be president.
All of this was calculated to stifle and sabotage voting by those who lean Democrat, particularly the 47 percent of Americans who Republicans disdain. Republicans, who grovel to the 1 percent, realized they weren’t going to win if they played fair and square by those pesky old American tenets of one-person-one-vote and majority rule. They figured the more Democrats they could prevent from voting, the weightier Republican ballots would become. In this scheme, Republicans wouldn’t have to bother winning the hearts and minds of the majority. Instead, this bull-dozing of democracy would enable rule by the minority.
The minority – specifically Republican Mitt Romney who received only 47 percent of the popular vote – would, in fact, be ruling had the GOP’s Electoral College rigging plot succeeded. Currently, the Presidential candidate who receives the majority of popular votes in a state receives all of its electors, except in Maine and Nebraska. The GOP wanted to change this system, but only in blue states – those that traditionally have voted for Democrats.
Here’s GOP Chairman Reince Priebus endorsing it:
“I think it’s something that a lot of states that have been consistently blue that are fully controlled red ought to be looking at.”
“Controlled red” are those states with Republican governors and Republican majorities in both houses of the legislature. In vote-blue-controlled-red states, which happen to be large and densely populated – Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin – the GOP wanted to apportion electors by congressional district. Those districts that voted Republican would get an elector for Romney; those that voted Democrat would get one for Obama. Under this plan, Michigan would have given Romney the majority of electors, 9, while awarding 7 to President Obama, although President Obama won the popular vote in Michigan by nearly 10 points. This enables the loser to win; it facilitates minority rule. (more…)
Posted November 10, 2012 at 8:00 am, in Videos
Election 2012 Results: The 50-year-old Democrat defeated Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin Senate race.
Last week’s ruling by Dane County Circuit Court Judge Juan Colas striking down the Wisconsin law (Act 10) that eliminated public employee collective bargaining rights, “Shows as we have said from day one,” says Wisconsin State AFL-CIO President Phil Neuenfeldt:
Scott Walker’s attempt to silence the union men and women of Wisconsin’s public sector was an immoral, unjust and illegal power grab. Now, a court has ruled that the essential provisions of Act 10, Scott Walker’s draconian attack on public worker’s right to collectively bargain, is unconstitutional.
Marty Bell, executive director of AFSCME Council 24 said that after the news was received, a crowd that had gathered for a solidarity rally in Madison for striking Chicago teachers cheered the news, “There was huge excitement there. Every public employee ought to be excited about this.”
We’ve now had a federal and state judge say this law was unconstitutional and that it violated not only the state constitution but the U.S. Constitution as well. The working men and women from across this state deserve to have their rights, which Scott Walker stole from them, restored and today’s ruling gave them hope. (more…)
Are American unions history?
In the wake of labor’s defeated effort to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) last week, both pro- and anti-union pundits have opined that unions are in an all-but-irreversible decline. Privately, a number of my friends and acquaintances in the labor movement have voiced similar sentiments. Most don’t think that decline is irreversible but few have any idea how labor would come back.
In the three decades after World War II the United States dominated the global economy, but that’s only one of the two reasons our country became the first to have a middle-class majority. The other is that this was the only time in our history when we had a high degree of unionization. From 1947 through 1972 — the peak years of unionization — productivity increased by 102 percent, and median household income also increased by 102 percent. Thereafter, as the rate of unionization relentlessly fell, a gap opened between the economic benefits flowing from a more productive economy and the incomes of ordinary Americans, so much so that in recent decades, all the gains in productivity — as economists Ian Dew-Becker and Robert Gordon have shown — have gone to the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans. When labor was at its numerical apogee in 1955, the wealthiest 10 percent claimed just 33 percent of the nation’s income. By 2007, with the labor movement greatly diminished, the wealthiest 10 percent claimed 50 percent of the nation’s income. (more…)
Thank you, Mitt Romney, for this: “[Obama] wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more fireman, more policeman, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.”
It was easily the biggest Romney gaffe yet. Actually, I hesitate to call it a gaffe since a lot of Republicans agree with what he said and Romney was simply so jittery and undisciplined that he unknowingly blurted it out in public. Not only did Romney say something universally positive about the president (framed as something negative), but he also illustrated one of the most glaringly obvious conservative contradictions regarding government programs.
There are several layers to this, so let’s begin with what many conservatives secretly believe.
While they insist they’re the party of “first responders,” “law and order” and so forth, Republican leadership really doesn’t like the idea of police and firefighters working for state and local government — in other words, they don’t like law enforcement and the like working directly for We The People. As we’ve seen in privatized neocon utopias like Iraq, they’d prefer that these services be run by corporate profiteers. Republicans prefer that every government service be handed over to private industry. Let the marketplace handle the services, allowing unaccountable corporations to charge a fee to either the government or to the people on, say, a pay-per-arrest or pay-per-fire basis. What could possibly go wrong? Can’t afford to have your burning house extinguished? Sorry. Get a job, freeloader. (more…)
Posted June 15, 2012 at 8:00 am, in Videos
Last year, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker passed a law requiring citizens to show identification at the polls. While two state judges have blocked the law from going into effect, if the injunction is lifted the law would likely disenfranchise thousands of voters. The Center for American Progress visited the state during the contentious recall election to investigate.
Posted June 15, 2012 at 8:00 am, in Free Speech Zone
It is disappointing that the recall of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was lost, but what makes it more disappointing is the fact that people actually voted against their own self-interest.
After all the damage Scott Walker has done to Wisconsonites while giving his rich cronies more of the state’s (the peoples’) wealth, they still went ahead and voted for him.
Everything they voted against (and for Walker) has to be publicized over and over again so they can realize just how foolish they were. Not only will the people who voted for him will see the error of their vote, but it will dampen the right-wing’s crowing about their “hollow” victory.
In taking over the framing of just about every major issue, conservatives have hidden major truths. Democrats need to speak those truths from their own moral perspective. To show how, we have just published The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide for Thinking and Talking Democratic. Here is how the book applies to the Wisconsin Recall:
The Wisconsin recall vote should be put in a larger context. What happened in Wisconsin started well before Scott Walker became governor and will continue as long as progressives let it continue. The general issues transcend unions, teachers, pensions, deficits, and even wealthy conservatives and Citizens United.
Where progressives argued policy — the right to collective bargaining and the importance of public education — conservatives argued morality from their perspective, and many working people who shared their moral views voted with them and against their own interests. Why? Because morality is central to identity, and hence trumps policy.
Progressive morality fits a nurturant family: parents are equal, the values are empathy, responsibility for oneself and others, and cooperation. That is taught to children. Parents protect and empower their children, and listen to them. Authority comes through an ethic of excellence and living by what you say, rather than by enforcing rules.
Correspondingly in politics, democracy begins with citizens caring about one another and acting responsibly both for oneself and others. The mechanism by which this is achieved is The Public, through which the government provides resources that make private life and private enterprise possible: roads, bridges and sewers, public education, a justice system, clean water and air, pure food, systems for information, energy and transportation, and protection both for and from the corporate world. No one makes it on his or her own. Private life and private enterprise are not possible without The Public. Freedom does not exist without The Public. (more…)
While hardly surprising to anyone who read the polls, yesterday’s victory by Republican Governor Scott Walker was a body blow to Wisconsin unions and to American workers. Within Wisconsin, Walker’s victory ensures that his law repealing collective-bargaining rights for public employees will stay on the books, and if Republicans maintain their hold on the state senate—four of their senators faced recall elections, and as I write this at least three have survived—they will, at least in theory, be able to go forward on other parts of their Social Darwinist agenda. Whether they will—and whether they opt to go after private-sector unions, too, with right-to-work legislation—remains unclear. Such a move on Walker’s part, coming on the heels of the most divisive 18 months in the state’s history, would only escalate what is already a political civil war. Even Walker may think it the better part of valor to pass on that for now.
But the damage already done by Walker’s anti-union legislation, which eliminated public employee unions’ ability to automatically collect dues from its members’ paychecks, is vast. A May 30 article in the Wall Street Journal reported that membership in the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), a union founded in Wisconsin in 1936, had declined in state from 62,818 in March 2011 to 28,745 in February of this year. Membership in the American Federation of Teachers had declined in-state from 17,000 to 11,000, the article reported. The membership numbers for Wisconsin’s largest public-sector union, the National Education Association, are not available.
Added to the prohibition on their ability to bargain over wages and conditions of work, what the dramatic drop in union membership means is that workers’ power to win a decent life either at the workplace or at the ballot box will be weakened. Union treasuries will grow smaller, as will the level of resources they can devote to election campaigns. That means not just less money to campaign for union-specific issues, but for the whole panoply of causes (and the candidates who back them) that unions routinely support—women’s and minority rights, affordable higher education, financial regulation, the works.
The larger question coming out of Wisconsin is whether the result will embolden other Republican governors to go down this path. Some, of course, have already tried and been soundly rebuffed, most particularly Ohio’s John Kasich, whose own law repealing his state’s public employee bargaining rights was overturned by referendum last November by a 61-percent-to-39-percent margin. I’ve attempted on this blog to analyze why the outcomes were so different, especially since Wisconsin is by every measure a more liberal state than Ohio. I’ve noted that Ohio union activists had the ability to wage a timely referendum campaign, while Wisconsin law has no provision for referendums, and the recall—a more complicated question—had to wait more than a year before being put before state voters. (more…)