February 21, 2011

Gov. Walker awakens Madison, WI

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg in cheeseland @ 2:05 pm

Author’s note:

It’s been a while since I have published anything. Perhaps Scott “Hosni” Walker has awkened me as well. Since the epicenter of what may become a populist movement is my hometown, I had to write something. I have several friends who were at the protest and all have said that it was completely peaceful. The Teabaggers were largely silent and vastly outnumbered. While mainstream media alluded to their numbers being in the thousands, everyone that was there on Sat. the 19th assured me that could not have been more than 200. The total number of people present was estimated at 68,000. The article I am posting a link to has a slide show of photos taken on that day.


After the successful attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese Admiral Isoroko Yamamato said, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

The new Republican Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, may want to keep those words in mind as he wages a war on Wisconsin public employees and the middle class of America. Approximately 68,000 Wisconsinites were awakened last weekend and showed up at the state capitol to protest Walker’s budget plan (see slide show).

Wisconsin has many creamy traditions that go far beyond milk, cheese, beer, brats, and the Green Bay Packers. One of those is organized labor and the right of public employees to collectively bargain.

Like most states and middle class citizens, Wisconsinites are struggling in the recession, but the state government is not bankrupt. The so-called budget “crisis” was not handed to Gov. Walker, it was created by him. Walker claims his power grab is an attempt to close a budget gap, but the budget “crisis” was engineered by Walker as soon as he got into office.

The state legislature’s fiscal bureau estimated the state would end the year with a $121 million balance. Walker claims there is a $137 million deficit, but it is not because of an increase in worker wages or benefits. According to the Capital Times, it is because “Walker and his allies pushed through $140 million in new spending for corporate and special-interest groups in January.”

A number of the big business interests standing with Walker are beneficiaries of his administration’s tax giveaways. The greatest ally to Walker, however, is the dirty energy company Koch Industries. In response to the growing protests in Madison, the Koch front group, Americans for Prosperity, bused in Tea Party protesters to support Walker and his union-busting campaign.

Koch Industries is a major player in Wisconsin: Koch owns a coal company subsidiary with facilities in Green Bay, Manitowoc, Ashland and Sheboygan; six timber plants throughout the state; and a large network of pipelines in Wisconsin. While Koch controls much of the infrastructure in the state, they have laid off workers to boost profits. At a time when Koch Industries owners David and Charles Koch awarded themselves an extra $11 billion of income from the company, Koch slashed jobs at their Green Bay plant:

Many people do not follow politics, but many hate corporations – and for a good reason.

A common refrain against the public employees under siege in Wisconsin is that if private sector workers cannot have the same benefits, then public sector workers should not get them. The truth is that hurting public workers will not get you a better job. It is not true that public workers are better off. They usually get lower salaries in exchange for better benefits.

More important, though, is the idea that we should try to bring one another up, rather than continue this race to the bottom. Perhaps anger should be directed at the companies that are downsizing and outsourcing jobs, not at teachers and the lunch lady.

What is happening in Wisconsin is more than what is apparent on the surface. What happens this week in Madison has national ramifications.

It is more than about unions, collective bargaining, contributions to pensions, health care and worker’s rights. This is about public education, affirmative action and basic human rights. This is about how much the Radical Right thinks they can get away with. This is about drawing a line in the sand between what amounts to corporate fascism and the future of your children – if first they come for the unions, who will they come for next? If they can force this through relatively progressive Wisconsin, your state could be next.

The real Badgers of Wisconsin have drawn the proverbial line in the sand. It is our state, our lives, and once again, our moment in history to proudly stand up and change the course of this nation.

Read more, get links, video and a slide show here: Madison Independent Examiner.


  1. Greg, glad to see you’re back. What’s happening in WI is consistent with Rove’s philosophy of attacking his enemies at their strong point. Wisconsin is a big union state and, if Walker and the Kochs can intimidate the public employee unions there, the rest of the country will be a cakewalk. Of course, cops and firefighters may not be so well-disposed toward conservative Republicans as they have been, but they either don’t care about that, or have a plan in mind.

    BTW, I read a brief item that Russ Feingold was beaten through some typical GOP chicanery in Milwaukee and elsewhere that ‘caged’ black and young voters. Is this how Walker got in, as well?

    Comment by RS Janes — February 21, 2011 @ 6:49 pm

  2. Hi RS,

    Good to be back! This is exactly the type of event I needed to inspire writing.

    As for your question, in a nutshell, yes. The GOP used every method in their dirty playbook to steal the elections in WI. The Koch brothers invested thousands of $’s, perhaps even millions through front groups, to get their puppets elected in WI. The payback? Part of Walker’s budget proposal is the selling off of Wisconsin’s publicly-owned power plants, both coal and nuclear, to the private entity of his choice in no-bid contracts. One guess which private company will probably end up owning them. Walker is nothing but a tinpot puppet dictactor doing the bidding of Koch Industries. I don’t even think he cares if he’ll get elected again, because he will surely get rich working in the private sector after he sells out the people of Wisconsin.

    Comment by Greg in cheeseland — February 22, 2011 @ 12:17 pm

  3. Glad you’re posting news directly from Madison, and the pix, of course. Thanks.

    Heard on Thom Hartmann about Ayatollah Walker’s pernicious scheme to sell off publicly-owned nuke plants, as well as water rights, et al, and that he would have the power, under this bill, to appoint his cabinet, meaning his toadies would be able to act without legislative or popular interference. Unfortunately, the Big Media is playing this story as ‘The Governor vs. the Unions’ without the background context you’ve covered, or the revelation that Walker had pulled this kind of stunt before when he was a Milwaukee County board supervisor. He fired all the janitors and security guards and hired none other than Wackenhut to replace them, supposedly to save money. He was sued for overstepping his authority and, while the case worked its way through the courts, Wackenhut did a sub-standard job, even hiring an ex-con to run the court guards. Ultimately, a judge ruled Walker did overstep his authority, and ordered that the union janitors and guards be rehired and recompensed for the time they were out of work. It ended up costing the county more money, but Walker didn’t care about that — he just wanted to bust the union.

    I figured if the GOP did so well in the Great Lakes states, there had to be electoral fraud. I won’t hold my breath, but it would be nice if some MSM outlet did an investgative report on why voters would cast their ballots for trogs like Scott Walker, John Kasich and that Republican idiot in Michigan whose name I can’t recall at the moment. They all have solid records of siding against prosperity for the people and for the wealthy elite. Its’ incredible, but I hope the folks in Madison and elsewhere — there will be marches in Ohio and Michigan — stay strong, as well as the Dems. I heard on Democracy Now this morning that Walker’s approval rating in WI has taken a nosedive in a week — 49 percent are now against him — and the statehouse GOP are looking for a way to quietly back away from the bill. Like Hosni, Walker talks tough but, at the end of the day, I think he’ll cave.

    Comment by RS Janes — February 22, 2011 @ 6:38 pm

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