February 28, 2011
Another great day!
Walker tried to boot the "residents" of the Capitol out the door yesterday. Demonstrators said, "Hell no we won't go," and the police said "Fine. You can stay." (It must drive control freaks nuts--people willing to risk jail to maintain the right of free assembly.) Poor Fitzgerald--he just doesn't get it.
Another day of protest another victory. (No thanks to Meet the Press. What a joke.)
The People's Legislature met, listened to news from Mark Pocan, John Nichols, Peg Lautenslager, MTI president Mike Lipp, Nino Amato, and the Mazomanie grass roots organizer Nate Timm. Ideas for our unicameral Legislature flowed. People signed up for committees including a solution to the unfair taxes we pay; protecting public radio and TV; opposing the Walker-Biddy Martin nonsensical splitting of the UW. Delighted that Laura Flanders came to give support. Flanders and others gave credit to Fighting Bob Fest for creating the progressive battle.
Dave Zweifel got a thunderous greeting. It was a great event. (Shh! Don't wake the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.)
The crowd endorsed the concept of our own legislature designed to provide alternatives to Family Fitzgerald and the WMC. We enjoyed Ken Lonnquist's music. A good day.
With help from a friend in Minnesota:
A union teacher, Governor Walker and David Koch sit at a table. In the middle of the table is a plate with a dozen cookies. Koch reaches across the table and takes 11 cookies. Then he looks at Walker and says, "Look out for that teacher...she wants a piece if your cookie!"
Stay tuned. Week three begins now.
February 27, 2011
Great quote from a friend, "They only call it class warfare when we fight back!"
Read Dave Obey's new FightingBob.com article for some great insight about the class warfare Walker is engaging in.
Something is happening and no one knows exactly why. Walker hit a nerve. No one knows where the energy leads, but if you had been asked a month ago, "Can you foresee 100,000 protesters on the Square?" there would have been only one answer: "no." But yesterday it happened. Now the question remains, Where does the energy take us?
I don't know, but the genie is out of the bottle. Today we will hear, at the People's Legislature, from former Attorney General Peg Lautenslager regarding possible legal trouble for our governor related to his phone call confession ("I thought about that"). And John Nichols and Mark Pocan will report on the situation in the dome.
Plans for going forward without a functioning Senate will be high on the People's agenda.
Listen to the arrogance of an angry Scott Fitzgerald on Here & Now. No amendments will be allowed if the Fab 14 returned because "they had their chance." And Family Fitz goes on to say the union concessions are not enough for local elected officials. (Shh! Don't wake the Journal-Sentinel) Hey Scotty, would a head on a platter be enough?
Wisconsin will never be the same. Thousands around the country demonstrated on our behalf! History is happening folks. See you later today.
Saving public TV and radio, saving our children's education and our teachers, what to do about Senior Care. It's all on the table starting at 10 a.m. at the Crown Plaza on East Washington Avenue in Madison.
See you there.
February 26, 2011
The governor wants to get demonstrators out of the dome today. Why? Why else? Shocked that citizens would camp out on the hard floors of their Capitol for two weeks, he will now use Capitol police to keep out sleeping bags and pillows and to close the building every night--just wait. (They may be trying the undisclosed plan to place trouble makers in the crowd.)
Typical Walker; not telling the truth again, one can almost hear him, "C'mon out--you demonstrators can go back in..." Yah, sure Ole! Just like his admission to the prank caller about how he would trick the FAB 14 back to Wisconsin. "Said the spider to the fly..."
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, firmly on the side of Walker/Koch/Grebe and Sykes (recall that as soon as the Sentinel merged with the Milwaukee Journal the union leaders were sacked), wrote that I misquoted Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald. Nonsense. Fitzgerald, as if to refute MJS, repeated on Here and Now that he and Walker believe local officials need the flexibility of establishing budgets without unions. Odd when Fitzgerald quickly clears the record on MJS's claim. (Note to MJS: Go to the shouting match on Friday night's Here & Now. See for yourself if Fitzgerald made it clear that unions must go.)
Another missed investigation by MJS appeared in, of all places, Forbes.com. Catch this: "The Wisconsin lie Exposed. Taxpayers Actually Contribute Nothing to Public Employee Pensions." The author points out that the so-called pension is really deferred compensation not an extra benefit in the form of a pension from the employer. "Out of every dollar that funds Wisconsin's pension and health insurance plans for state workers, 100 cents comes from the state workers." How's that, MJS? Too complicated? Read the Forbes article and the comments. If investments go bad, it may be a different story.
See you tomorrow at the People's Legislature. The situation is always fluid. So, time to catch up.
February 25, 2011
The People's Legislature
Perfect concept, perfect timing.
As Wisconsin's Legislature grinds to a halt, it is time for a Citizen's legislature to deal with complex issues and economic justice.
We have a great lineup of speakers--but you will be the featured speakers--Mark Pocan, Kaja Rebane, Mike McCabe, Mike Lipp, John Nichols, perhaps--Supreme Court candidates, Nino Amato, Anne Sayers, and Jack Mitchell (creator of All Things Considered) will discuss the threat to Public Radio and TV; Peg Lautenshlager; music--humor--resolve.
See you at the Crown Plaza at 10:00 Sunday--room for 600 or so--raise your voice--raise hell.
Questions? Call Lily or me at 608-256-1003.
Trust the governor?
Imagine the howling had a Democrat fallen for the Koch call. Egad. "Throw the bum out," would be the cry. But Scott Walker, who said he thought about sending thugs into the crowd to stir the pot, acts like Chauncey Gardner in the movie Being There. He thinks he is presidential timber and we think he must resign after courting violence from the governor's office. He can never be trusted again. Imagine the governor trying to blame Senate Democrats hunkered down in Illinois for massive layoffs! He says, I hate lay offs but...
Yah, sure Ole! Think unions were the only target? Think again, as one million people's health care is now jeopardized by Walker's so-called repair bill.
MoveOn.org says, "Whatever you've got planned for Saturday afternoon, reschedule it." Massive protests coming nationwide. So, we rescheduled the People's Legislature from Saturday to Sunday at 10:00 a.m. Crown Plaza on East Washington Avenue. If our elected Legislature can't function, the people will step in.
By the way, a Koch-inspired move to recall some Democrats in the Legislature will, I predict, backfire. Why? The people overwhelmingly want to keep the unions. This ain't Texas!
Watch the UW: Will the Regents do the right thing? Fire Biddy Martin and keep the UW unified!
No plans for Obama to come to Wisconsin, Ohio or Indiana. Not even a speech! Third-party time?
UW-Lacrosse faculty voted by secret ballot to join the union (AFT)! Take that Scott!
Speakers on Sunday will also listen. Plenty of time and mics. Jack Mitchell will talk about public TV and radio; Mike McCabe and Kaja Rebane on Citizen's United. John Nichols, Nino Amato, Mark Pocan...and Mike Lipp of MTI. Music from Ken Lonnquist--reports from the battleground. We invited Supreme Court candidates as well.
See you Sunday at 10:00. Crown Plaza.
February 24, 2011
Can you top the faux Koch-Walker conversation? (Walker was real, Koch/Murphy was faking it.) But Walker said so many incredible things, while thinking he was talking with billionaire Koch, one of the fathers of the Tea Party and a major contributor to candidate Walker, that he should resign. How could anyone in Wisconsin trust Walker after he volunteers that he considered placing trouble-makers in the peaceful demonstrations outside the dome? Walker is now the laughing stock of the nation.
Think about it. Our governor was considering whether causing violence was a good idea! "We thought about that," he said.
And he admits that if the 14 senators return he will listen but "not negotiate" and then slam dunk the unions. He reminds me of the old saw: "It is not that he lies. Rather he has such a high regard for the truth he uses it sparingly."
Nancy Unger reminds us of Fighting Bob's support for labor and rights. She compares La Follette and Walker--one a giant in Wisconsin's history, the other...well you fill in the blank. La Follette wanted to distribute the nation's wealth and power more equitably--Walker wants it all!
SUNDAY--People's Legislature: 10 a.m. until we adjourn--no later than 4:00. Crown Plaza hotel on East Washington Avenue in Madison. Why? To formalize the opposition to the Walker budget--to fight back.
February 23, 2011
Ian Murphy, posing as David Koch, dupes the Gov! Here's the Transcript, Enjoy!
Walker: Hi; this is Scott Walker.
“Koch”: Scott! David Koch. How are you?
Walker: Hey, David! I’m good. And yourself?
“Koch”: I’m very well. I’m a little disheartened by the situation there, but, uh, what’s the latest?
Walker: Well, we’re actually hanging pretty tough. I mean—you know, amazingly there’s a much smaller group of protesters—almost all of whom are in from other states today. The State Assembly is taking the bill up—getting it all the way to the last point it can be at where it’s unamendable. But they’re waiting to pass it until the Senate’s—the Senate Democrats, excuse me, the assembly Democrats have about a hundred amendments they’re going through. The state Senate still has the 14 members missing but what they’re doing today is bringing up all sorts of other non-fiscal items, many of which are things members in the Democratic side care about. And each day we’re going to ratchet it up a little bit…. The Senate majority leader had a great plan he told about this morning—he told the Senate Democrats about and he’s going to announce it later today, and that is: The Senate organization committee is going to meet and pass a rule that says if you don’t show up for two consecutive days on a session day—in the state Senate, the Senate chief clerk—it’s a little procedural thing here, but—can actually have your payroll stopped from being automatically deducted—
Walker: —into your checking account and instead—you still get a check, but the check has to be personally picked up and he’s instructing them—which we just loved—to lock them in their desk on the floor of the state Senate.
“Koch”: Now you’re not talking to any of these Democrat bastards, are you?
Walker: Ah, I—there’s one guy that’s actually voted with me on a bunch of things I called on Saturday for about 45 minutes, mainly to tell him that while I appreciate his friendship and he’s worked with us on other things, to tell him I wasn’t going to budge.
“Koch”: Goddamn right!
Walker: …his name is Tim Cullen—
“Koch”: All right, I’ll have to give that man a call.
Walker: Well, actually, in his case I wouldn’t call him and I’ll tell you why: he’s pretty reasonable but he’s not one of us…
“Koch”: Now who can we get to budge on this collective bargaining?
Walker: …I think the paycheck will have an impact…secondly, one of the things we’re looking at next…we’re still waiting on an opinion to see if the unions have been paying to put these guys up out of state. We think there’s at minimum an ethics violation if not an outright felony.
“Koch”: Well, they’re probably putting hobos in suits.
“Koch”: That’s what we do. Sometimes.
Walker: I mean paying for the senators to be put up. I know they’re paying for these guy—I mean, people can pay for protesters to come in and that’s not an ethics code, but, I mean, literally if the unions are paying the 14 senators—their food, their lodging, anything like that…
Walker: …I’ve got layoff notices ready…
“Koch”: Beautiful; beautiful. Gotta crush that union.
Walker: [bragging about how he doesn't budge]…I would be willing to sit down and talk to him, the assembly Democrat leader, plus the other two Republican leaders—talk, not negotiate and listen to what they have to say if they will in turn—but I’ll only do it if all 14 of them will come back and sit down in the state assembly…legally, we believe, once they’ve gone into session, they don’t physically have to be there. If they’re actually in session for that day, and they take a recess, the 19 Senate Republicans could then go into action and they’d have quorum…so we’re double checking that. If you heard I was going to talk to them that’s the only reason why. We’d only do it if they came back to the capital with all 14 of them…
“Koch”: Bring a baseball bat. That’s what I’d do.
Walker: I have one in my office; you’d be happy with that. I have a slugger with my name on it.
Walker: So this is ground zero, there’s no doubt about it. [Talks about a “great” NYT piece of “objective journalism.” Talks about how most private blue-collar workers have turned against public, unionized workers.]…So I went through and called a handful, a dozen or so lawmakers I worry about each day and said, “Everyone, we should get that story printed out and send it to anyone giving you grief.”
“Koch”: Goddamn right! We, uh, we sent, uh, Andrew Breitbart down there.
Walker: Good stuff.
“Koch”: He’s our man, you know.
Walker: [blah about his press conferences, attacking Obama, and all the great press he's getting.] Brian [Sadoval], the new Governor of Nevada, called me the last night he said—he was out in the Lincoln Day Circuit in the last two weekends and he was kidding me, he said, “Scott, don’t come to Nevada because I’d be afraid you beat me running for governor.” That’s all they want to talk about is what are you doing to help the governor of Wisconsin. I talk to Kasich every day—John’s gotta stand firm in Ohio. I think we could do the same thing with Vic Scott in Florida. I think, uh, Snyder—if he got a little more support—probably could do that in Michigan. You start going down the list there’s a lot of us new governors that got elected to do something big.
“Koch”: You’re the first domino.
Walker: Yep. This is our moment.
“Koch”: Now what else could we do for you down there?
Walker: Well the biggest thing would be—and your guy on the ground [Americans For Prosperity president Tim Phillips] is probably seeing this [stuff about all the people protesting, and some of them flip him off].
[Abrupt end of first recording, and start of second.]
Walker: [Bullshit about doing the right thing and getting flipped off by “union bulls,” and the decreasing number of protesters. Or some such.]
“Koch”: We’ll back you any way we can. What we were thinking about the crowd was, uh, was planting some troublemakers.
Walker: You know, well, the only problem with that —because we thought about that. The problem—the, my only gut reaction to that is right now the lawmakers I’ve talked to have just completely had it with them, the public is not really fond of this…[explains that planting troublemakers may not work.] My only fear would be if there’s a ruckus caused is that maybe the governor has to settle to solve all these problems…[something about '60s liberals.]…Let ‘em protest all they want…Sooner or later the media stops finding it interesting.
“Koch”: Well, not the liberal bastards on MSNBC.
Walker: Oh yeah, but who watches that? I went on “Morning Joe” this morning. I like it because I just like being combative with those guys, but, uh. You know they’re off the deep end.
“Koch”: Joe—Joe’s a good guy. He’s one of us.
Walker: Yeah, he’s all right. He was fair to me…[bashes NY Senator Chuck Schumer, who was also on the program.]
“Koch”: Beautiful; beautiful. You gotta love that Mika Brzezinski; she’s a real piece of ass.
Walker: Oh yeah. [story about when he hung out with human pig Jim Sensenbrenner at some D.C. function and he was sitting next to Brzezinski and her father, and their guest was David Axelrod. He introduced himself.]
“Koch”: That son of a bitch!
Walker: Yeah no kidding huh?…
“Koch”: Well, good; good. Good catching up with ya’.
Walker: This is an exciting time [blah, blah, blah, Super Bowl reference followed by an odd story of pulling out a picture of Ronald Reagan and explaining to his staff the plan to crush the union the same way Reagan fired the air traffic controllers]…that was the first crack in the Berlin Wall because the Communists then knew Reagan wasn’t a pushover.
“Koch”: [Laughs] Well, I tell you what, Scott: once you crush these bastards I’ll fly you out to Cali and really show you a good time.
Walker: All right, that would be outstanding. Thanks for all the support…it’s all about getting our freedoms back…
“Koch”: Absolutely. And, you know, we have a little bit of a vested interest as well. [Laughs]
Walker: Thanks a million!
JOBS, JOBS, UNION BUSTING?
Walker is telling a whopper when he says he campaigned all over the state on the theme of union busting. Balderdash! He campaigned on the theme that he had a plan to create jobs and lots of them--250,000 to be precise. (To do that he would have to create 177 permanent family supporting jobs every day! Every day.)
At the end of January he needed 12,390 new jobs to keep pace. How many did Scotty Houdini create? Well he killed thousands of jobs in turning down hig-speed rail; but he did create one job--"deer czar" so that is something. And Oshkosh Truck said they might add 750 jobs under a contract with Defense Department. While Walker had nothing to do with that decision, let's give him credit for 750 new jobs in Oshkosh.
As of February 23 he would have created 12,390 jobs--plus the deer Czar position. By my count he is between 12,390 and 11,640 (counting Oshkosh jobs) behind schedule!
Fireside chat baloney. Why does Wisconsin Eye give Walker free time without a response from labor or the Democrats? Had he articulated his position we would really be shouting, but instead he was not good. Pathetic. Let's get Glenn Grothman on again. Wonder why the people of Wisconsin oppose Walker's union busting by a margin of 2-1? Watch Grothman and Walker!
Obama was in Ohio and MSNBC asked why he said nothing about Wisconsin, Ohio, Tennessee and Indiana's efforts to kill unions. Good question. (No FightingBob.com article from the Wisconsin Dems yet.)
People's Legislature on Sunday? Assuming no conflicts, be in Madison this Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.for second People's Legislature. Place: Crown Plaza hotel on East Washington Avenue. Agenda: What next? How to stop power plant give-aways; how to protect Public Radio and TV; how to stop Biddie Martin and Walker from splitting up the UW system. Lots to do--this is part of giving voice to you. E-mail us if you can be there.
Happy Birthday Fighting Bob.com. Today we celebrate birthday number 8. And last week we had more than 36,500 visitors to our site. We are getting there.
February 22, 2011
The Koch that does not refresh!
As if to announce that the right-wing agenda is clearly to destroy unions, the Koch brothers let it be known yesterday that they support Governor Walker. The anti-union movement is infecting people in Ohio, New Jersey, and Indiana, and if the Koch boys have success it will sicken the entire nation.
The Koch brothers are simply trying to destroy the middle class.
The NY Times is reporting that private sector employees are "jealous" of the public sector unions based on a few interviews. Nonsense!
Yesterday thousands again filled the dome and last night firefighters called to say they would sleep on the floor next to the Fighting Bob Follette bust!
The NY Times also reported that the White House is not happy with accusations they are stirring the pot in Wisconsin. I have commented on that lack of courage, and asked why prominent national Dems have not been in the streets of Madison. The Reverend Jesse Jackson will march with Madison East High School students today. I hope Mike Tate will join Jesse.
I also pointed to a conversation I had with Democratic Party chair Mike Tate. Tate's PR guy claims Tate was misquoted, so I have invited him to respond on Fighting Bob.com.
Fitzgerald and Walker, out-maneuvered by the "Senate 14," whine "Come home, face the firing squad. You will get a last meal!" A lot has been placed on the Senate Dems plates. They will always be remembered for saving Wisconsin from the Bradley Foundation and the Koch brothers.
I bumped into a lawyer who opposes unions. This time he said, "Walker has gone too far." He wondered about mediation to help Walker out of his hole. Good idea.
The battle continues. There may be down moments, but the demonstrators are dedicated. Losing is not an option!
Tomorrow is Fighting Bob.com's 8th birthday! Last week we had 36,500 visitors. How about that? We are a little short of cash and doubt that the Koch boys will send a contribution. Can you help?
February 21, 2011
Heck of a weekend!
If Walker/Talker thought that the protest would peter out and die, he must have hated this weekend. The protesters are like cornered animals--they have no choice but to fight. lose and there won't be another fight. Lose and thousands of sick are in trouble. Lose and unions are busted. Lose and people will die. Lose and the streets will not be plowed. Lose and Public Radio and PBS will be gone. Lose and a new chancellor of the UW Madison will be in place--another Fitzgerald possibly.
I had a thrill yesterday listening and speaking to a couple thousand teachers and other MTI members. They have been in the leadership from the get-go and they won't give up! They inspired me, I can assure you.
The storm? A temporary problem. The Mazo crowd was on their feet in thanking the "Badger 14." The fight for integrity continues!
February 20, 2011
And on and on and on!
The quick news: The 14 Senators, called "heroes" in Mazomanie yesterday, at the 'Lil Bob Fest, are holding firm. They once again exposed Walker as a liar along with Fitzgerald. AFSCME put Walker/Fitzgerald to the test when they said they would take the cuts if the GOP dropped the death threat to public employee unions. Walker said, No way!
Fiscal crisis? Only the GOP and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel believe that now. Fitzgerald said, and I am not making this up, "The elimination of collective bargaining for public employees is necessary if local governments are to balance their budgets." Aha Scott! You were lying all along. You ginned up a "crisis" to cover your union-busting tactics. Walker has been exposed by Ed Schultz nationally and thousands of protesters locally.
Fifty thousand said police--8,000 in the building- 70,000 was NBC's estimate-Tea Party? Hardly noticed them.
Mazo: Great event. Four hundred by my count--standing ovation for the Badger 14 in Illinois.
Biddy, who are you? Who in hell hired Biddy Martin? She is working with Scott Walker to break-up the great state University of Wisconsin. Why? She thinks that corporations should be in control! Good lord! Let the corporations establish the entry rules, decide on research, set costs. Whoa Biddy! Time to have a real conversation.
Latest bumper sticker: A VOTE FOR PROSSER IS A VOTE FOR WALKER. April 5 is the Supreme Court election.
Mazo: Got to congratulate Nate Tim and all the organizers for pulling off another successful "Grassroots Festival." Stiff competition--the demonstration at the Capitol but Dave Newby, Mike McCabe and others were up to the task!
I must comment on Herb Kohl , who finally issued a statement on the union-busting-middle-class attack in Wisconsin. He said, and I am not kidding:
"Public workers deserve fair treatment and their interests should be taken into account as these issues are resolved. I'm concerned about the well-being of their families and hope these matters can be settled in a respectful and balanced way."
For god's sake, Herb. Walker and the GOP have admitted they will kill the unions the minute they have a quorum and you isssue a statement that treats this as a little tiff? Time for you to retire.
February 19, 2011
The big lie!
Thanks to Ed Schultz, John Nichols, John Matthews, Rachel Maddow, and Jesse Jackson, the battle for Wisconsin's soul has become a national story. Even the Dems in Washington, Durbin, Pelosi, Hoyer are now visible on our side. The excuse for union-busting is the Walker-Gundrum lie told over and over and over--"this is about our fiscal crisis!" Bull feathers! It is union-busting plain and simple.
Woke up thinking how much "Grannie D" would have loved this bottom-up revolt!
Mazo: We can't be everywhere at once, so some of us will gather in Mazomanie starting at 9:15 this morning. Then, after the program, we will head to the Capitol to make sure the Tea Partiers don't disrupt the demonstration. They will try now that Fox News has turned its attention to Madison. Glenn Beck now saying Madison is linked to Muslim Brotherhood!
They are nutso.
Hooray for the Senate Democrats--hope they stay united, and know we salute them. When we look back on this week, the move to Chicago may be the key to success.
Walker sounds like he is on the edge. Now questions the courage of the Senate Dems. "C'mon, let me devour you."
He was not ready for a hard, fast one up high!
February 18, 2011
Escape to Illinois!
The crowd loved it! The chant began: "No quorum, no bill; no justice, no peace; no quorum, no bill."
The chant filled the over-crowded rotunda. No one could remember such a large demonstration. Walker's henchmen looked glum. Mike Ellis in the chair looked as if he had aged 10 years, the crowd was loving it all and soaking it up. (I had to wonder what Ellis was thinking. My bet--he was mad as hell that Walker's boys put him where he will be blamed for breaking unions.)
Classes will be called off again today and it seems obvious that there will not be a return to business-as-usual until Walker stops his petty attacks on people he seems to hate: working class union members who believe in the rule of law! He had the champagne on ice at the Madison club--a bit premature!
Ah, that pesky quorum! The bad guys need the Dems to conduct the execution but the Dem Senators out-smarted the Walkerites! Off to Illinois! For my money they should remain out of the state--the Walkerites, Fitzgeralds and Grothmans will not compromise. Period. The University of Wisconsin will be split into many parts, the unions for public employees will be dead; unions in private sector--dead! This is a battle the middle class must win. Losing is death, and life is better.
Democrats blink: As if on a cloud, the Democratic Party leaders have been MIA. Mike Tate, chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, gave the line of the week: "We didn't want to make it partisan"!
I am not making this up. Republicans, foot on throat, ready for funeral dirge, but Dem leader wants bi-partisan support! Yikes, Whoa Nelly, and Yikes again.
Off to Mazomanie in the morning. See you around noon. Demonstrate your heart out today. The momentum is with us.
Supreme Court: Insiders say David Prosser appears nervous. His pal Walker may have ignited the electorate to vote and throw Prosser out no matter how many millions of dollars WMC and Club for Growth pour into the April election. One said, "A vote for Prosser is a vote for Walker." Not too far off.
Former Justice Bill Bablitch died. RIP, William. He would have loved the battle on the square. We will miss him.
February 17, 2011
Letter from Madison Metropolitan School District
A great letter from the Board of Education in response to Walker and in support of the MMSD staff:
"As members of the Madison School Board we are taking the unusual step of responding to the budget repair bill proposed by the Governor. This legislation is intended to address the state's budget shortfall for this fiscal year. None of the changes that the legislation would impose on school districts will do anything to help balance the state budget this year.
"The Governor's proposals are a damaging blow to all our public services and dedicated public employees. The legislation's radical and punitive approach to the collective bargaining process seems likely to undermine our productive working relationship with our teachers and damage the work environment, to the ultimate detriment of student achievement.
"The rush to push radical changes through the legislature in a matter of days before anyone has a chance to consider their ramifications in a careful and balanced way shows lack of respect for our
employees and the democratic process. We will work to urge the Governor to reconsider his position and bring all parties to the table in order to reach a more collaborative solution to our state's financial problems.
"We support our MMSD staff and stand by them."
Maya Cole, President
Beth Moss, Vice President
Ed Hughes, Clerk
James Howard, Treasurer
Lucy Mathiak, Member
Arlene Silveira, Member
Marj Passman, Member
Wyeth Jackson, Student Representative
February 16, 2011
Day 7! Here we go!
Walker's staff said the crowd was less today. He is lying or his people are. Rachel Maddow said 30,000, and most say 30,000 is about right. Great spirit, determination, friendship--the battle is now national!
The Ed Schultz Show is coming to Madison tomorrow (Thursday). Thank god for Big Ed--he cares. He asked, "What is the Democratic Party doing?" One had to feel sorry for One Wisconsin Now's Scott Ross when Ed pressed the point. Scott blinked. Not Ross's fault--the Democratic Party has been very quiet.
Walker is following the script written by Karl Rove. First Wisconsin, then New Jersey, Ohio, the nation! They believe that if successful it will cripple Democrats in 2012! Rove said so.
Meanwhile, what is the Democratic Party doing? Big Ed called Pelosi and others--no response. Wisconsin Dems are involved but few leaders have said boo.
Obama, wishy-washy support. Hey, Mr. President, remember when your campaign was in trouble and Wisconsin rallied for you? Time to show your gratitude. Mr. President, if you won't support right of collective bargaining in Wisconsin, skip us in 2012.
Saturday: Mazomanie--Grass roots lil' bob Fest. Mazo high school 8:30--4:00. PROGRESSIVE GRASSROOTS FESTIVAL. I will speak at noon.Tammy, Newby, McCabe, Amato starting at 9:00. Good tie to plan the future.
SCHOOL OUT AGAIN TOMORROW. SEE YOU ON THE SQUARE AT NOON! WEAC calls for all teachers and students to come o Madison to be part of this struggle for Wisconsin's soul! Good going WEAC. Madison Teachers lead, state follows. You never know when you are making history. Let's do it
Bye bye Mike Ellis--now you are just another Republican union-buster. Shame on ya Mike--you once had a conscience.
Feingold announces new organization to reverse Citizens United---stop corporate control of our electoral system. Good for Russ. I hope all groups working on reversal will work as one.
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!
Mike Ellis is on the spot
Senate President Mike Ellis will write his epitaph this week. Is he, as he has always maintained, a union supporter whose father was a union man in the paper mill, or is he a Frank Lorenzo-style union-buster who would bring shame to the Ellis legacy? What would union man Ellis say to his son?
Statesman or political hack? If his Senate passes this incredible so-called "repair" bill, a union-busting effort that blows my mind, it will be on Ellis' back because no one expects the paranoid governor to do the right thing. He is Tea Party, Ellis has always been mainstream Republican. If not mainstream, at least we have been able to talk issues with Mike. If he lets the arrogant Tea-types set his table, I will be surprised.
What's the hurry.? Robin Vos gave up early in the morning without hearing 150-200 people registered and patiently waiting to testify at JFC. He was tired! Poor guy. Question: What's the hurry? A bill that would discard decades of bargaining history is on the table. OK, why the big rush for something this important? You don't start the two minute drill the first time you get the ball!
Thousands will return to the Capitol today to continue the protest. The message to Ellis and the Fitzgerald Family: We will defeat this travesty this week, or next week, or the following week. We will not go away! This anti-middle-class piece of nonsense will not be part of Wisconsin's proud progressive history.
More Glenn Grothman--please. Grothman is the most outrageous doctrinaire ideologue in the room--any room. He appeared as the governor's surrogate on the "Ed Show" on MSNBC. He was pathetic. Give him as much air time as he will take because he advances our cause with his ignorance and anti-working family bias. As reported the other day, he says, "The bill does not go far enough"!
The crowd erupted as hundreds of East High School kids marched into the rotunda chanting against Walker. West High joined, and hundreds or even thousands of UW and UWM students marched. This is a life-altering event. I almost want to thank Walker and his buddies at the Bradley Foundation for waking this giant. Wisconsin will be a better place thanks to Walker's sucker punch. The Republicans are making permanent enemies of young people who are marching to the Capitol. The GOP has the majority now but it won't last. Some Republicans apologized to demonstrators yesterday. Better late than never.
See you in the Rotunda.
February 15, 2011
Hell of a show!
So 15,000 to 20,000 union suporters filled the Capitol rotunda in suppport of "vote no" on budget repair. The spirit was tremendous. There are more Capitol rallies tomorrow, starting at noon. See you there! Great statement by Packer players in support of the union.
Packers Support Public Employees
A statement released by current and former Green Bay Packers in support of public workers! Aaron Rodgers and Charles Woodson are union reps themselves...
"We know that it is team work on and off the field that makes the Packers and Wisconsin great. As a publicly owned team we wouldn’t have been able to win the Super Bowl without the support of our fans.
"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.
"The right to negotiate wages and benefits is a fundamental underpinning of our middle class. When workers join together it serves as a check on corporate power and helps ALL workers by raising community standards. Wisconsin’s long standing tradition of allowing public sector workers to have a voice on the job has worked for the state since the 1930s. It has created greater consistency in the relationship between labor and management and a shared approach to public work.
"These public workers are Wisconsin’s champions every single day and we urge the Governor and the State Legislature to not take away their rights."
Signers of the statement include: Curtis Fuller, Charles Jordan, Bob Long, Steve Okoniewski, Brady Poppinga, Jason Spitz and Chris Jacke.
Sunny but cold
The group 9-to-5 held a Valentine's rally in Milwaukee outside the state office building. It was chilly but the message to Walker was hot. People have never been this angry in my experience. Never have been so ashamed to be a Badger.
Walker may get away with his union busting this week, but voters are ready for a long-term battle. We don't sell our integrity on the cheap. (Be sure to read a post this morning from Pat Takamine. Good stuff.)
Candle light vigil in Janesville; high school students in Stoughton in a walk-out in support of teachers; great rally at the Capital: 600-700 yellers who will not permit a vote to declare war on the middle class. Walker is in for a fight. There are only two sides--choose now.
February 14, 2011
Walker the bully II
Of all the nonsense I have seen in Wisconsin politics, nothing rises to the level of Scott Walker wagging his finger at state employees and warning them he will send National Guard troops into the prisons and into the streets of Wisconsin. Whoa Nelly!
Think about it. A national guardsman, now active in Afghanistan or Iraq, would be asked to run a prison in Boscobel? Are you kidding me? Walker has lost his mind. Dan Quayle once said "A mind is a terrible thing to lose--if you have one."
Today a small rally but a good one in Milwaukee: Sponsored by 9-5, at the State Office building 819 N. James Lovell Street at 11:30. I will be there for the presentation of an award to Walker on Valentine's day.
Demonstrations all over the state. Bottom up. We must resist this anti-democratic plot.
Lombardi and Packers: Scott Walker probably never played sports in school, so he naturally envies those who did and especially those who excelled. In his State of the State address he quoted Vince, had former shop steward Mark Murphy, Packer president and former union leader, appear via big screen. He did his best to sneak into the Packer tent. Maybe, just maybe, he helped the Packers!
Well, Scott--the QB for the Packers is Aaron Rodgers and he is the union leader as well. He was eleted player rep,and the alternate is Charles Woodson. Two stars who were elected to help the team! Imagine if the coach called the National Guard to play QB in Dallas. Learn your labor history, Scott. Bart Starr supported the union. Lombardi encouraged his team to lead the union. Want some quotes, Guv? Grow up!
Headache for Prosser: The New York judges adopted a rule against outside influence. If a litigant gave $2,500 in campaign contributions that judge would be disquallified from hearing the case. Prosser opposes such a rule no matter if the candidate got a dollar or ten million dollars. It is up to the Justice and no one else. Yikes!
February 13, 2011
Farce or force?
It is almost unbelievable that Governor Bradley-Walker-Talker notified the National Guard that they might be called on to run the prisons if state employees refuse to work without rights. Makes me wonder if he needs help--as in an "intervention." At a minimum, I conclude, he has never been inside a prison. If he thinks the National Guard could manage any prison, let alone Super Max in Boscobel, he is inviting disaster.
We returned to Boscobel last week and whatever grievances exist the guards and staff are professionals who know how to run a prison. Would an untrained National Guardsman know how to manage this facility? How would they deal with a suicide attempt?A joke without laughter. If Walker actually took over Super Max a disaster is not likely it is a certainty!
Would the Guard know how to manage other less explosive parts of government? How about the crime lab or riot control, or the university system, or the UW Hospitals?
He is inviting anarchy rather than cooperation. And one must ask about his academic credentials if he thinks we are dumb enough to believe that his attempt to impose his will through force rather than negotiation will be accepted in the long-run. One can almost hear Sykes, Klauser and Grebe whispering in his ear that if there is disobedience the employees can be fired or disciplined.
OK. Then what Fridley?
Carry this forward. Recall that job creation was the primary theme of Walker the anti-intellectual candidate. He must know that his goal of 250,000 jobs was always delusional. He has yet to create 25 jobs not to mention 250,000! Now comes the diversion. It is the employee's fault! Imagine that thousands of state employees defy the governor/dictator and they are fired. Can you imagine the chaos? How many corporations will come to tranquil Wisconsin with state government not functioning, not to mention schools closing? Without adequate police protection? None! If anarchy is the order of the day, Wisconsin returns to the 1800s. We become Egypt or Tunisia or pre-La Follette Wisconsin when corporations held all power.
Walker presents us with a great challenge. Buckle to his orders and the state of Wisconsin is deader than Kelsey's nuts.
We will not accept his threats but we must figure out how best to force him to follow the Constitution and our laws. He is a scofflaw and we must act. This is the crisis that must be addressed. I suspect that his power grab is even too much for the State Journal.
February 12, 2011
First let's kill the unions!
One can clearly see the hand of Charlie Sykes, Mark Belling, Wisconsin Manufacturing and Commerce (WMC) and the creeps at the Bradley foundation. This is their moment! This is their chance! First, defy Shakespeare--first kill the unions not the lawyers! Too many of the far-right surge to drown government in Grover Norquist's bathtub are lawyers! So keep them around.
Second thought this morning--thanks that we have www.Fighting Bob.com--your response has been overwhelming. Keep sending your comments.
Third--Hip, hip, hooray for Egyptians. Bob Herbert said it best,"The Egyptians want to establish a viable democracy. Americans are in the mind-boggling self-destructive process of letting a real democracy slip away!" (Or has it already slipped into the night?)
Fourth, Did you imagine the day when a remarkably intellectually challenged governor would warn workers "Obey or be replaced" by the National Guard? And we thought Tommy was limited! Whoa Nelly.
Final note this morninng--the bad guys are going to eliminate Public Broadcast if possible. Action alert from Steinbach and Mike Crane--call your congressman. May be too late--"EPA and Public Broadcasting on GOP list for deep cuts"--I say eliminiation is the goal.
They think this is their moment. So did Mubarak!
Face it. No voter thought Walker would pull this nonsense. No one! Time for action. Ideas please.
February 11, 2011
Walker the bully!
Wisconsin led the way toward peaceful collective bargaining in the public sector. AFSCME got started in Wisconsin. We were the model state and soon others followed. The underpinning of our protections for public employees was the understanding that public employees should enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as private sector employees covered, since 1936, under the National Labor Relations Act.
Today, Governor Walker announced that he will, in essence, cut the heart out of the public employees by eliminating their unions. (He would, at the same time, castrate the unions in the political process.)
In perhaps the most cynical move in Wisconsin's history of fair play, Walker will exempt fire fighters and police because their unions endorsed his gubernatorial bid! Whoa Nelly! Walker hopes to divide and conquer and it could happen unless public and private sector workers take on this battle for survival. If the favored few--police and firefighters--think they are buying loyalty then they should recall the cry in WW II that "first they came....When they came for me..."
Bare bones. So-called unions under Walker's plan could only negotiate salaries, but wait--wage increases would be limited to Cost of Living increases. And, every free-loader would get any and all benefits the dues-paying members get! Walker might as well replace Christmas with Free Loader day!
And what did the state's largest union do? WEAC jumped out of the ring in anticipation of the bell! (That would be Mary Bell.) WEAC dumped Milwaukee teachers and all friends of public education out of the bus! Seriously! And "when they came for me...there was no one left..."
Glenn Grothman, a guy who would be put in the nut drawer by Republicans like Dreyfus and Knowles, said the union-killers didn't go far enough! (Public hangings, Glenn?)
A once proud state, that blazed a trail for justice in the the public sector, now joins the Glenn Beck and Sarah Palins and Michelle Baachmans. It is time to organize. You never thought it would come to this--now we must pay the price for falling asleep on the job of protecting democracy. The bullies--the anti-Democrats--cannot be allowed to succeed.
February 10, 2011
The battle for Wisconsin's soul starts Monday
The forces of darkness: Mike Grebe, Charlie Sykes, Scott Walker, Family Fitzgerald, and governor Talker have declared war on our history, our citizens, our values. A sampler: eliminate any tax deduction for stem cell research; kill all public unions; eliminate same day registration for voting; kill public funding of elctions. I'm not making any of this up.
As early as tomorrow, Governor Walker will announce his budget repair plans that will be rubber-stamped by the mean-spirited troops in the Legislature.
Under the banner "I am not kidding" Walker will eliminate all positive aspects of Wisconsin's Family Leave Act and then next week announce that he will kill the public employee unions; kill public pensions; make deep cuts in local aid, schools, etc.
Walker won't even tell Dems in the Legislature what he has in mind, so how would you know what is happening not to mention have input in the process? No discussions, no hearings, just batten down the hatches.
An immediate response will come Monday--Valentine's Day--in Milwaukee at 11:30 in the morning--with a presentation of the "Heartless" award. See you at 819 James Lovell Street, at the state office building.
Get ready for a strong response to this divisive and destructive attack. We want to remain Wisconsin not Mississippi!
February 9, 2011
Need a good job? Change your name
OK, so you are linked to your family name; grandparents, uncles and aunts, mom and dad...but if you want a good, family-supporting job, go to court and change your name to Fitzgerald!
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald; and now leader of the State Patrol, daddy Fitzgerald, or call him Steve. Now daddy is making quite a sacrifice. He is coming out of retirement for only $105,678 salary plus benefits. (A half-million-dollar job before its over. Why worry about social security with that name?)
But don't be too cynical. "Pops" said cronyism played no role for this former Chicago cop. He assured us his sons had nothing to do with him getting the nod from the governor. He said, "I have my own focus and my own agenda and they have theirs." If he believes that he is delusional.
Again. Hire a lawyer named Fitzgerald, and get to court for that name change. Could be gold in your pocket and mom and dad will forgive!
Primary next week: Don't forget. Supreme Court hangs in the balance; county exec jobs in Dane and Milwaukee; lots of important decisions. Get ready.
What is Obama talking about? I conclude he still wants everyone to like him. He spoke to the Chamber of Commerce and they are still laughing. "The sensitive center" should be able to reason together. What? Think about it. They opened the floodgates of campaign money to defeat the Dems; they are out to get him! His response--"Hey, guys, let's be pals."
Then there was the disgrace of the Bill O'Reiley interview where Bill interrupted the president every 19 seconds. Who do they think they are?
Packers are dangerous. Before a Packer story, let's check the Walker-talker job meter. As of today the only job created, that we know of, is "Deer Czar" so he is 10,443 behind in his promise to create 250,000 in 4 years.
Packers are a menace. No owner, no shareholders looking for a merger or take-over, non-profit. The NFL and the other 31 owners hate the Packers. Darned near anti-American! Watch someone try to privatize them. Can't happen? Can they privatize Social Security, the UW, Mitchell Field? Keep your eyes open.
February 8, 2011
Don't wake me!
So the Packers, community-owned Packers, won the Super Bowl? Impossible! And the NFL picked a singer who does not know the words to the National Anthem to perform in front of a billion or so people including all those in uniform in Iraq and Afghanistan? The NFL that loves the military (so long as none of the owners or league officials serve) that always arranged for a fly-over and lots of patriotic fervor---who else but Roger Staubach to give the Lombardi trophy? Well, how about Bart Starr?
What was the sports headline in the normally pro-owner NY Times? "League's Greed Left No Room for Fans." I can tell you, because I was there, that no major sporting event has ever been so poorly executed. It was dangerous, mud-filled, and dark. There were few directions, almost no light at the end of the game as tens of thousands of leaderless sheep moved as fast as possible without knowing where they were going. Had it rained...I don't want to think about it.
All of this was blamed on Jerry Jones as 100,000 fans and onlookers slogged through the thick muck outside the gargantuan stadium. But, says Roger Goddell, the Country Day poster boy, don't blame Jones--blame the League.
OK. Have it your way, Roger. Resign for the good of the game.
In 1982 the players union published a booklet on the bargaining demands. On the cover was a question: "Why a percentage of gross revenues? A. Because we are the game." And Sunday was all the proof needed!
The players spent all week on fan events. On Sunday they put on one hell of a game. The owners? Had Jerry starred in a Broadway production it would have closed at half-time. But did I have a great time with my grandson at the game? You bet!
More great news: The DLC is folding its tent. No money. No more Al From. The group formed by Clinton, Gore, Sam Nunn, Chuck Robb, et al was on a mission to drag the Democratic Party to the right. They did. In fact some would argue the Democrats, with DLC pushing, out-flanked the GOP on the right. We called it "Democrats for the Leisure Class." Bye-bye, Al From.
But don't get out the party hats. The executive director of DLC will be chief of staff for Joe Biden--the DLC's Joe Lieberman.
February 4, 2011
Ryan the cruel
Paul Ryan is an earnest man who tries to impress the listener that he is, indeed, an "egg head" but a practical one. He wants you to know that he is smarter than Scott Walker, Charles Grassley, and John Kyle--smarter than the Speaker of the House, but he is also tougher.
With a warm smile he wants us to like him. "How much is that doggy in the window?" That will be his Achilles. He looks warm and cuddly but he is a pit bull not a poodle and people will see through the smiley face.
Progressives run for office to provide housing for the homeless, economic justice, good public education, health care as a right of citizenship. Not Paul Ryan.
No sir. Earnest Ryan is out to demonstrate that he is tough, hard, and ruthless. You know, he is a man of commerce and free markets, and he has lots of advice: pull yourself up by your bootstraps. While he might shy from literally showing up on his neighbor's porch with eviction papers on Christmas eve, he doesn't flinch at the thought of throwing millions of Americans into the street. Tears do not well when he is told that repeal of health care would literally kill thousands of people, that young people will die who could be saved.
Tough guy that Ryan. I wonder if he has visited the GM plant in Janesville to see how it looks closed. So as he hurried out of Marquette Law School he didn't have time (courage?) to list the programs he would cut in order to curry favor with the nuts in the Tea Party by cutting $84 billion from the current budget. Whoa Nelly.
Guys like Ryan spend us into poverty with wars we should never have fought, weapons we should not have built, ships that should have remained in port. Ryan will shove grandparents into poverty because he lacks the courage to tax the wealthy! Talk about profiles in courage. Ryan's book should be entitled Get Out of the Way, Old-timer.
February 3, 2011
Take comfort as you dig out. No need to worry, say GOP Senators. Climate change might be good--open up new shipping lanes, longer summer in the Midwest, snow-shoveling jobs open...
You must read Dave Zweifel's post this morning for his insights on the regressive thinking of Scott Walker-the-talker.
Did you see the TV spot opposed to food taxes? I was suspicious and went to Americans Against Food Taxes.com. Know who they lean on for support for the specious claim? Tom Coburn and loony-tune Chuck Grassley.
This is simply an industry-sponsored series of "warnings" without substance. Confusion might confuse the already confused into thinking that liberals want to tax food!
Time for Mubarak to leave. His troops are hurling tear gas cannisters stamped, get this, "Made in United States." Thanks a lot! Wonder what Palin and other experts are thinking.
February 2, 2011
We are Wisconsin. Really!
Well, we got the State of the State message last night. Competition for Walker from the storm of the century outside and UW vs. Purdue inside at the Kohl center guaranteed a less-than-full house. Somehow it seemed sillier than normal. Hoo-haa at Illinois for raising taxes. Jobs will pour in from Chicago but not on high speed rail!
If you missed it don't worry, there was nothing said that will be remembered for long. Same'ol, same 'ol. We are Open for Business. We love the Packers; public employees have it too good. Did I mention we love the Packers? I mean really love them!
The gov is trying hard to slip out of the promise of 250,000 new, permanent, family-supporting jobs. As we point out in blog after blog, he would have to create 177 jobs per day. Now he says he can't create any jobs: he can only set the stage! Yah sure, Ole. To be fair, he has created one job: deer czar.
The good news? Well, nothing said about the homeless in this blizzard. Nothing on the awful property tax burden; nothing on pay day loans; nothing on...anything. It was not one for the ages! But, "We are Wisconsin!" And we will lead the nation, indeed the globe, in an economic upturn.
I say--Walker to Egypt!
February 1, 2011
Create jobs? Moi?
All of a sudden, Scott Walker-talker is explaining that he is not going to create new jobs. "Only the private sector does that," says Scott's flak. When he ran on the theme of "creating 250,000 new, family supporting jobs in 4 years" he did not provide these weasel words. But that was then and this is now. Time for his Tommy moment--the State of the State address. Will his hot air defuse the winter storm? Check it out.
The only job he has created that we know of is that of "Deer Czar," so I anticipate lots of bloviating about creating the atmosphere for companies to move here not creating anything while kissing 810 million and thousands of jobs good-bye as he killed the high speed train project.
Prosser the model citizen. Legislative leader, gubernatorial adviser, Supreme Court Justice. Wow! He can do it all, or so he says. (Could he also become a sheriff or a DA? We could save lots of money if citizen David takes all jobs available.) But on Here and Now Prosser pulled a fast one. He will accept public money under the public financing law, including the limits, even if it hurts him. What he did not address was the millions of dollars WMC will put into the race outside the limits on public financing to ensure members that they will face a friendly justice in Court. He wanted, or so he said, to set the example.
Prosser is given credit for the nasty attitude among the justices. His career path almost convinces me--but not quite--that an appointed justice might be better. Ah, but then I see Scott Walker--no way!
Paul Krugman took Paul Ryan to the woodshed on economics. Obviously Ryan needs some time to learn economics.
Egypt: Yikes. Looks like we may be in for some rough times. Keep our troops out of Egypt!