Greed is the Enemy
Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated? On the surface, there doesn’t seem a lot to be happy about in Wisconsin right now. So what have those crafty corporatists been up to during the last few days? (photos at end of post) The republican majority called an Extraordinary Session in order to pass a reprehensible budget with as little interference as possible. This budget is so one sided, it may as well be a Teahadist fantasy come to life. The budget puts in motion a plan to award $2.3 billion in tax breaks for corporations over the next decade, strips $834 million from already cash-strapped public schools, expands the school voucher program that does nothing more than lay the groundwork for Education, Inc, cuts $250 million from the UW System, and $71 million will evaporate from the Wisconsin technical college system. All of these cuts are necessary, says Governor Walker, because the state is broke. But it isn’t so broke that he’s willing to spend up to $2 Billion as a giveback to the Road Builders. To add insult to injury, the GOP snuck into the budget yet another special gift to private industry; James Rowan of The Political Environment Blogreports that:
…as the Joint Committee on Finance wound down towards the three-day Memorial Day weekend, it voted to add to Scott Walker’s proposed budget a fresh giveaway to the road-builders: a requirement that all 72 Wisconsin Counties hire private contractors for any job over $100,000. And the measure bars counties and other municipalities from performing such work for another unit of government – – so a village can’t contract with a County to get an intersection rebuilt, for example, if the cost exceeds $100,000. All this work is to be privatized – – even though the Wisconsin Department of Transportation has said and documented that private contracting for road-building costs the public more money. These items are in the Omnibus Transportation Motion, sections 18-20, which was sprung as motion #352 before Joint Finance Friday around noon, and was sponsored by the co-chairs, Republicans Robin Vos and Alberta Darling.
There is no question that republicans are endeavoring to make the rich wealthier while ensuring that workers get less of an education and remain subservient to monied interests. Make no mistake; this is not a class war, this is a full-on putsch orchestrated by groups and individuals such as ALEC, The Koch Brothers, Americans For Prosperity, corporate-backed think tanks, large banks and others to destroy democratic institutions in order to facilitate the creation of a permanent majority.
On Tuesday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, in record time, conveniently overturned Judge Marayann Sumi’s decision that voided the GOP’s attempt to remove collective bargaining rights for thousands of public employees. It is now clear that the open meetings law is pointless and the conservative majority on Wisconsin’s high court is more interested in pandering to right wing idealogues than exercising the rule of law. Justice David Prosser, the conservative incumbent who nearly lost to little known challenger JoAnn Kloppenberg, should be especially ashamed. It wasn’t long ago that he desperately tried to characterize himself as independent. Everyone knew it was a sham, and his actions just serve to prove it. On her conservative colleagues, Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson had this to say: “The majority justices make their own findings of fact, mischaracterize the parties’ arguments, misinterpret statutes, minimize (if not eliminate) Wisconsin constitutional guarantees, and misstate case law, appearing to silently overrule case law dating back to at least 1891”. How convenient that Assembly GOP Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald threatened to put the collective bargaining measure back into the budget if the Supreme Court didn’t act on the original measure by Tuesday. In Fitzwalkerstan, the Judicial Branch now serves the Legislative branch as evidenced by an e-mail obtained by WKOW- TV that suggests republican lawmakers knew the court would act ahead of the budget sessions.
Republicans Gone Wild – Encouraged shill candidates to run as democrats in order to force primaries.
The Republican party fielded Republican candidates to run as Democrats in all six of the recall primaries, with the purpose of giving their incumbents an extra four weeks to campaign before facing general elections. The state’s recall law would require general elections July 12 unless there is more than one candidate in either party, in which case the election would be a primary, with the final general election held Aug. 9. By engaging is such shenanigans, the self-described party of “ecomonic responsibility” will fleece taxpayers to the tune of more than $465,000 by running fraudulent candidates and forcing primaries. This figure comes from election clerks in the recall districts. So much for concern about the mostly manufactured budget crisis.
Here’s a list of the fake democrats who should be ashamed of themselves:
Senate District 2 Incumbent: Sen. Rob Cowles (R-Allouez). Challengers: Democrat Nancy Nusbaum of De Pere, fake Democrat Otto Junkermann of Green Bay.
Senate District 8 Incumbent: Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills). Challengers: Rep. Sandy Pasch (D-River Hills), fake Democrat Gladys Huber of Mequon.
Senate District 10 Incumbent: Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls). Challengers: Democrat Shelly Moore of River Falls, fake Democrat Isaac Weix of Menomonie.
Senate District 14 Incumbent: Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon). Challengers: Rep. Fred Clark (D-Baraboo), fake Democrat Rol Church of Wautoma.
Senate District 18 Incumbent: Sen. Randy Hopper (R-Fond du Lac). Challengers: Democrat Jessica King of Oshkosh, fake Democrat John D. Buckstaff of Oshkosh.
Senate District 32 Incumbent: Sen. Dan Kapanke (R-La Crosse). Challengers: Rep. Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse), fake Democrat James D. Smith of La Crosse.
This is further proof that these people will stop at nothing to hold on to power while making a mockery of the electoral process.
Tuesday’s Mass Rally on the Capitol Square.
Once again thousands of citizens massed in Madison to protest the corporate republican-backed horrendous budget and the war on working families. As expected, the calls for fairness and pleas for compassion went unheeded. Just before the rally started at 5pm, the Wisconsin Supreme Court announced that it had reversed Dane County Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi’s decision that voided the original measure. Instead of feeling defeated, protestors and activists were outraged and looked toward the upcoming recall elections as the next battle.
Marty Biel, Executive Director of AFSCME referred to the capitol as a “marble whorehouse” and announced to republican legislators that “we’re going to be spending our summer in your neighborhoods”.
Marty Biel, Executive Director of AFSCME Council 24.
Video of Reverend Willie Briscoe’s speech
Introduced by Mahlon Mitchell, Phil Nuenfeldt, Wisconsin State AFL-CIO President speaks.
Ellen Carlson speaks about budget impacts on education
Kim Hoffman, middle school teacher and 17 year veteran of the Wisconsin Army National Guard
Francisca Miras, member of Youth Empowered in the Struggle of Voces de la Frontera.
Mahlon Mitchell, President of Firefighters Union and Jackie Pokorney, SEIU member
We’re not going anywhere. We will fight, we will recall, we will keep the Wisconsin Idea alive until we successfully return a measure of sanity to the legislature, and ultimately, the governor’s mansion. The immoral actions of the republican majority will not be forgotten. What they’ve created is a new generation of activists, and ultimately a new national progressive movement. On Thursday, thousands of labor activists rallied at the NJ State Capitol to protest my home state’s bid to severely restrict collective bargaining rights. Just more evidence that this is a nationwide effort to destroy unions and advance a radical right wing agenda. Say goodbye to women’s reproductive rights, strong public schools, and critical social safety nets. Unless we organize and fight.
Photos from the Wisconsin rally on Tuesday.
Firefighters and supporters at the July 14th Wisconsin Capitol Rally
Phil Nuenfeldt, Wisconsin State AFL-CIO president.
Mary Bell, President of the Wisconsin Education Association Council
Ellen Carlson and Son, speaking about education
Middle School Teacher and Wisconsin Army National Guard Veteran
Mahlon Mitchell, President of the Firefighters Union.
Rev. Willie Briscoe
Francisca Miras, Voces de la Fronterra
Marty Biel, Executive Director of AFSCME Council 24
Mahlon Mitchell, Firefighters union president.
And finally…the inspiration for the article title: