Daily Archives: March 8, 2011

Scott Walker Budges!

This just in from Talking Points Memo:
clipped from tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com

Governor Walker and Senator Cullen

Gov. Scott Walker‘s (R-WI) office has now released documents from its negotiations with two of the 14 state Senate Democrats who had left the state in order to block budget quorum — state Sens. Tim Cullen and Bob Jauch — in an effort to demonstrate that he could give up some of his proposals that have been widely derided as union-busting of public employees.

As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, one of the Dem point men is now only slamming Walker for releasing the e-mails:

Cullen characterized the talks as “discussions” rather than negotiations since he and Jauch weren’t speaking on behalf of other Democrats. Jauch also cautioned that the two sides had never reached a final deal.

“I’ve never seen negotiations be done successfully in public,” he said. “I thought they were bargaining in good faith.”

Some collective bargaining rights would be restored, relating to workplace safety.

• Other issues such as classroom size and mandatory overtime would be bargainable — but both labor and management would have to agree to discuss it in order for bargaining to happen.

• A provision that salary increases would be bargainable — but could not rise above inflation unless subjected to a local referendum — would be removed.

The Journal Sentinel has the e-mails here.


North Dakota solved the Wisconsin problem and made it profitable…

Map of USA with North Dakota highlighted

North Dakota is not that far from Wisconsin

… and it did it by turning pension funds into an Investment Bank. No layoffs, no Union destruction, only a predetermined shift in types of equity.
Here’s the start of an article by Ellen Brown that Truthout reprinted from YES! Magazine. Start here then go to Truthout and read the whole thing. You’ll find the solution gratifying:
clipped from www.truth-out.org

How Wisconsin Could Turn Austerity Into Prosperity: Own a Bank

As states struggle to meet their budgets, public pensions are on the chopping block, but they needn’t be. States can keep their pension funds intact while leveraging them into many times their worth in loans, just as Wall Street banks do. They can do this by forming their own public banks, following the lead of North Dakota—a state that currently has a budget surplus.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, whose recently proposed bill to gut benefits, wages, and bargaining rights for unionized public workers inspired weeks of protests in Madison, has justified the move as necessary for balancing the state’s budget. But is it?

President Obama has charged Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker with attempting to bust the unions. But Walker’s defense is:

“We’re broke. Like nearly every state across the country, we don’t have any more money.”

That’s what he says, but according to Wisconsin’s 2010 CAFR (Comprehensive Annual Financial Report) the state has $67 billion in pension and other employee benefit trust funds, invested mainly in stocks and debt securities drawing a modest return.
Read the rest of it HERE. blog it

By setting up a State-Controlled Bank with their investment funds, which is what North Dakota did, cutting out the Wall Street investment firms’ profits and making their funds in house (created some new jobs, too.) When you read the whole article you will see why someone should give this idea to Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Republicans.

Quote of the Day from a Conservative Republican Retiree

Paul Craig Roberts was the Chief Architect of Reaganomics at the Treasury Department. He has edited and written for the Wall Street Journal, been a fellow at the Hoover Institution and is now a syndicated columnist at age 70.

But he did not support George W’s wars and doesn’t support the wars we are currently in. Dan Froomkin has done a piece on him today on HuffPo, called A Reagan Republican Makes A Case Against The War — And His Own Party. Here’s a quote from Roberts:

The GOP has changed. Under the influence of the neoconservatives, the GOP is becoming a Brownshirt party.

I am a constitutionalist, a civil libertarian who believes that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are the FIRST things to be defended, not the last to be defended or that can be pushed aside in the name of “national security.” Without the Constitution and the civil liberties that it guarantees, there can be no security.

When it comes to the market economy, I am a realist. I understand that, compared to a nation of farmers and artisans, a market economy–especially under free trade, jobs offshoring globalism–subjects people to massive economic insecurity and requires a strong social safety net. The idea that Republicans are espousing that the social safety net can be sacrificed in the name of deficit reduction in order to pay for wars of hegemony is insane, inhumane, and evil.

I wonder if any Republicans listen to their own former Party leaders?

When the Milwaukee paper said there were fewer people outside the Capitol Building yesterday…

…it was because  the protesters were at the Wauwatosa , WI, Town Hall protesting Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R) as he supported Scott Walker:

Sensenbrenner had to shut down the meeting.

Show support for the Wisconsin 14…

Andrew Leonard pointed out in a Salon article today that the real value of the 14 Democratic State Senators in Wisconsin who are carrying out their Northern Illinois stall is that they have given the whole country time to see what is really happening in the US Economy. Here’s a clip from his article:

Andrew Leonard in Salon:

The question of who has won or lost Wisconsin, ultimately, will await the next election. But after mulling Hall’s McClatchy article, it’s clear that no matter what the outcome, those renegade senators did achieve a very real thing. They gave the entire nation the time to take a close look at what’s happening — to really examine the figures on pension funds and the role of unions, both private and public, in the U.S. economy. We have the chance now to compare the Republican political agenda with reality. Will we take it?

If you want to thank these heroes for their ongoing stance in support of collective bargaining with public employee unions… with the preservation of unions themselves… here are their e-mail addresses. Let them know they have the support of the majority of Americans.

Sen.carpenter@legis.wisconsin.gov, Sen.coggs@legis.wisconsin.gov,
Sen.Cullen@legis.wisconsin.gov, Sen.erpenbach@legis.wisconsin.gov,
Sen.hansen@legis.wisconsin.gov, Sen.Holperin@legis.wisconsin.gov,
Sen.jauch@legis.wisconsin.gov, Sen.Larson@legis.wisconsin.gov,
Sen.lassa@legis.wisconsin.gov, Sen.miller@legis.wisconsin.gov,
Sen.risser@legis.wisconsin.gov, Sen.taylor@legis.wisconsin.gov,
Sen.Vinehout@legis.wisconsin.gov, Sen.wirch@legis.wisconsin.gov

Tom Tomorrow’s This Modern World is Hysterical Today…

If you’re not a Salon reader and don’t see Tom Tomorrow’s comic strip, you are really missing out on something terrific… take today’s visit with the Gloxians for example (amazing how similar their world is to our own!)

Click on the sample frame and read the whole thing:

Have a good time.

The Story of Stuff – Season 2

We directed you to the original Story of Stuff last year when the Supreme Court decided that Corporations were People in the Citizens United decision.

Now we’re pleased to direct you to:

Click on the picture and then settle back and enjoy. Then get ready to support the organizations behind it. There’s at least one petition and lots of contribution areas.

– Bill