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Old 02-25-2011, 01:14 PM   #151
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Madison Police Chief Noble Wray said Thursday that he found comments by Gov. Scott Walker made about protesters at the state Capitol during a prank phone call “very unsettling and troubling.” In a statement, Wray said he spent time overnight thinking about the comments Walker made during a 20-minute conversation with a Buffalo, NY, blogger who posed as a major Republican donor during the call.
Similar comments from the Madison Mayor, Dave Cieslewicz:

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"But I find it disturbing that Governor Walker apparently considered disrupting the protests. A transcript of a faux call to the governor from a man he believed was conservative icon and top Walker donor David Koch finds "Koch" offering to help Walker out by, "planting some troublemakers" among the demonstrators. Walker's reply:
'We thought about that....'

"Really, Governor, you thought about that? The governor of Wisconsin actually thought about planting people in the crowds who might turn these peaceful protests into something ugly? [...]

For the governor of our state to suggest that he even considered disrupting these peaceful protests is a serious thing. We need to hear more from him on exactly what he meant. I hope the media will keep after it."
Governor Walker is a pathetic and corrupt bureaucrat.
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Old 02-25-2011, 01:24 PM   #152
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The words of the former Republican in this video make me smile. I respect his views previously, but I am glad to know there is room to realize the facts and not let pride get in the way as so many of my Rep. friends and family do.

We Are Wisconsin on Vimeo
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Old 02-27-2011, 12:46 PM   #153
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A good editorial from a Door County news site. Raises many excellent questions and just makes me more frustrated.

Locked Into The Wrong Debate

Why is it that any mention of taxing the wealthiest Americans is shouted down as class warfare, but cutting wages and benefits of middle-class Americans working in public service is not?
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Old 02-27-2011, 05:12 PM   #154
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^ It's a good response to the scapegoating of public sector unions for shortfalls well beyond their power to create, though from a fiscal standpoint it offers little in response to the the question of, So what should Wisconsin do now?

I'm surprised how little of the coverage I've read on this crisis mentions Medicaid, which accounts for half of Wisconsin's projected shortfall. Federal stimulus funds supplementing Medicaid have kept a lot of states afloat during the last budget cycle, but when those run out in June, a lot of states are going to be totally f*ed (if they weren't already).
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Old 03-01-2011, 11:09 AM   #155
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just a small observation, and this probably isn't as relevant in Wisconsin, and it is anecdotal and it comes from a small window, but i'm noting some distinct racial resentment towards those "freeloading" civil servants.

in the south, or even the mid-Atlantic, what color are the people who, say, work at the post office, generally?
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Old 03-07-2011, 12:53 AM   #156
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Ugh.

Burning Down Wisconsin: The Hidden Budget Bill Item Even Worse Than Union Busting | The Awl
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Old 03-08-2011, 06:55 PM   #157
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Anger brews over government workers' benefits


By GEOFF MULVIHILL, Associated Press

When Erin McFarlane looks at public workers, she sees lucrative pension benefits she doesn't ever expect to get. And it makes her mad.

"I don't think that a federal employee or government employee is worth any more than anybody else who does their job and does it well," said the Slinger, Wis., woman. She's been working a couple of bartending jobs since January, when she was laid off from her job at a Harley Davidson plant after almost a decade.

She's not alone in seeing public servants as public enemies in some ways. For some everyday Americans, it's a case of pension envy.

For McFarlane, 36, it's part of a ubiquitous discussion, at the bars where she works and on Facebook. And it's the center of some of the biggest political battles playing out in state capitals across the country as governors say their states can no longer afford the benefits that public employees have been promised.

Government workers in McFarlane's state have rallied for weeks against Gov. Scott Walker's efforts to take away many collective bargaining rights, saying that would amount to killing the middle class.

A USA Today/Gallup poll last month found that Americans largely side with the employees, though about two in five that want government pay and benefits reined in.

Tony Christoff, a 38-year-old stay-at-home dad in Perrysburg, Ohio, said he believes public workers such as police officers and teachers — including his wife — should be rewarded.

"They go over and above and deserve the pay they get," he said.

That's not a unanimous view, though.

Barbara Davis, a retiree from Cherry Hill, N.J., has been watching public workers in rallies in Madison, Wis., as well as Trenton. She says the protesters are wrong about tightening benefits hurting the middle class.

"I'm sorry, but what they're doing is telling off the middle class," said Davis, 76, and a co-chairwoman of the Cherry Hill Area Tea Party. "The middle-class people don't get all the goodies that they do."

At its heart, the issue is this: Some public workers get a sweet deal compared to other workers. And it's taxpayers who pay for it.

That's set off resentment in a time when economic doldrums have left practically everyone tightening their belts. Many people have found their tax bills rising even if their earnings haven't.

In Davis' case, it's the property tax that smarts. She and her husband pay about $12,000 per year for the house she describes as a three-bedroom "tract home." That's a high tax even in New Jersey, where the average property tax bill tops $7,000 and where the Tax Foundation has found homeowners pay three and a half times the national median.

A half century ago, industrial jobs at car and steel plants provided high salaries and rich benefits. But as manufacturing moved overseas, many formerly well-paid workers had to take lower-paying jobs. By the end of the Great Recession, the economic order was undeniably changed.

"It's the government sector worker who's the new elite, the highest-paid worker on the block," said David Gregory, who teaches labor and employment law at New York's St. John's University.

For instance, most non-uniformed public employees who have worked in New Jersey for 30 years with an ending salary of $85,000 can look forward to retiring at 55 with an annual pension of about $46,000. Working until age 60 and a salary of $90,000 can bring a pension of $57,000. And many of the New Jersey's public-sector retirees have no or low premiums for their health insurance.

For a private-section worker who retires at 55, relying solely on a 401(k) without an employer match, it would take a $100 contribution to a plan every week for 30 years and getting an annual return over 7 percent to get to the same level of pension benefit as the public worker retiring at that age. Those benefits would run out after 25 years for the 401(k) retiree.

To be fair, most public-sector retirees don't get such rich pensions. New Jersey's Treasury Department says the average annual pension due state workers who retired between July 2009 and June 2010 was just over $30,000 per year; for local government employees, it was about $20,000.

And the members of the state's two biggest public employee retirement systems are required to pay 5.5 percent of their base salaries into the pension funds.

St. John's Gregory says the rest of the benefits are deferred compensation promised to workers instead of better salaries.

National data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms that public-sector workers do better when it comes to pensions and benefits.

As of last September, professional and management workers in the private sector were making $34.91 in hourly salary; public sector professionals made $33.17 an hour.

The government entities spent 1.7 times as much on health care per employee-hour worked and nearly twice as much on retirement costs. Public-sector workers — who are more often represented by unions — are far more likely to have defined-benefit pensions with promises to pay for the retirees' whole lives.

Olivia Mitchell, a professor of insurance and risk management at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, says the data aren't perfect. They don't compare workers with the same education or experience levels, and they cover a broad range of jobs. Also, she said, they don't take into account that about one-fourth of public workers aren't covered by Social Security.

There's one clear downside for the public employees: "We also know that the public-sector pensions are in deep trouble financially," Mitchell said, pointing to studies that suggest that they're underfunded by a total of $3 trillion, largely because governments have skipped payments. "Exactly what will be done about that, nobody knows."

Unchanged, those retirement systems could eventually stop paying entirely.

"One way or another, if we don't make changes, the government will collapse," said Abel Stewart, of Toledo, Ohio.

Stewart, 36, the director of contemporary worship at a Methodist church in suburban Toledo, says he has a hard time conjuring sympathy for the government workers he's seen protesting because of all the time he has spent working with struggling immigrants.

"These are middle-class people who have a house, who have enough food, who are complaining they don't have enough," he said. "Instead of fighting for their piece of the political pie, they'd be better looking at how to live within their means."

Jeff Nash, a Democrat elected to the county freeholder board in union-heavy Camden County, N.J., has come to believe that public employees need to sacrifice.

"The days of government workers receiving free benefits and pensions without risk, those days are coming to an end because everyone else who pays for government services is paying more for their health insurance, like myself, and running the risk of a 401(k) as part of their retirement savings. Government is changing to match what the rest of middle-class America is enduring today."

"It's not a matter of fairness," he said. "It's a matter of evolution."

Hetty Rosenstein, the New Jersey director of the Communications Workers of America, which represent New Jersey government workers in several fields, says she gripes about her members' pensions are misplaced.

"There's pension envy because people who are working in the private sector, they're being denied pensions," she said.
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Old 03-10-2011, 02:24 AM   #158
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Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, March 10
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With Democrats still in Illinois, the state Senate abruptly voted Wednesday night to eliminate collective bargaining provisions for most public workers that have stood for decades, sending a flood of angry protesters into the Capitol. The bill, which has drawn international attention, is to be taken up at 11 am Thursday by the Assembly. That house has already passed a nearly identical version of the wide-ranging bill, which Gov. Scott Walker introduced last month to address a budget shortfall.

The new version passed the Senate 18-1, with Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) voting no.

From Feb. 17 until Wednesday, the Senate Democrats were able to block a vote on the original version of the bill because the state constitution requires 20 senators to be present for bills that authorize spending money. Republicans control the house 19-14. Republicans devised a plan to get around the impasse and hurriedly approved the bill late in the day after meeting for hours behind closed doors. Walker met with them for more than half an hour at the start of the private meeting. Just before the Senate vote, a committee stripped some financial elements from the bill, which they said allowed them to pass it with the presence of a simple majority. The most controversial parts of the bill remain intact. That committee, formed just two hours earlier, quickly approved the bill as the lone Democrat at the meeting screamed that Republicans were violating the state's open meetings law--a claim Republicans disputed.

"This is a violation of law!" bellowed Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha). Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) ignored him and ordered the roll to be taken. Minutes later, the Senate took up the bill and passed it without debate.

"Shame on you!" protesters cried from the viewing gallery.

Schultz--the only one to vote against the bill--said in a statement collective bargaining should be kept intact because it has preserved labor peace for decades. He said the two sides should have been able to work out a deal. "I've had the honor and privilege of representing folks in southwest and south central Wisconsin for 28 years, and where I come from 'compromise' isn't a dirty word," he said.

In an interview, [Senate Minority Leader Mark] Miller warned that passing the measure increased the chances of recalling Republicans and said there was a "distinct possibility" Democrats could take control of the house. They would need to win three seats to do that. Recalls are now under way for 14 senators--eight Republicans and six Democrats. Miller also said the fight over collective bargaining is soon to leave the domain of the Legislature but is likely to be taken up in the courts.

...The measure would also give Walker broad powers over the state's health care programs for the poor and turn 37 civil service jobs into political appointments.

...The school and local aid cuts will be at the center of the next major fight before the state Legislature. Fitzgerald said he is expecting such huge crowds at budget hearings next month that he is considering holding them at large sports arenas, such as the Bradley Center in Milwaukee and the Kohl Center in Madison.

Walker has seen a steep drop in his poll numbers between his Nov. 2 election and the controversy over his budget-repair bill.
He was steadfast in saying he would not negotiate over the bill for weeks, but starting last week dispatched aides to meet with Senate Democrats who have spent the past three weeks in Illinois. Democrats and labor groups said Walker was offering little.

Demonstrations have rocked the Capitol for weeks, but had quieted somewhat in recent days. That changed as word of the conference committee meeting spread and thousands of people flocked to the Capitol. They refused to leave well after the building officially closed. Outside the Senate chambers, protesters chanted "Shame!" "This is not democracy!" and "You lied to Wisconsin!"
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Old 03-10-2011, 03:48 AM   #159
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I wonder whether there will be a larger backlash against the new Tea Party candidates, especially after Walker going "full-retard".
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Old 03-10-2011, 09:23 AM   #160
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It's about the budget deficit.


(or making harder for Obama to carry Wisconsin in 2012)
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Old 03-10-2011, 10:20 AM   #161
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(or making harder for Obama to carry Wisconsin in 2012)


the overreach may have just put this state in solid blue territory.
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Old 03-10-2011, 11:28 AM   #162
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the overreach may have just put this state in solid blue territory.
I can't find the quote online from the Republican WI state senator, but he went off-message and admitted that suppressing the unions will hurt Obama financially in WI in 2012.

Obviously the people of Wisconsin are energized. I just hope it's a majority of the people and that they stay energized.
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:50 PM   #163
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I can't find the quote online from the Republican WI state senator, but he went off-message and admitted that suppressing the unions will hurt Obama financially in WI in 2012.

Obviously the people of Wisconsin are energized. I just hope it's a majority of the people and that they stay energized.
I think that they will. Recall efforts and court challenges are already being prepared - not to mention similar bills being considered in Ohio and Indiana - so this whole fiasco is going to remain in the public eye well into the 2012 election season. There's no sweeping this under the rug for Walker.
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Old 03-10-2011, 01:13 PM   #164
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This is so great! I love MM! He is inspiring.
He was also on Rachel last night.
YouTube - 'America Is NOT Broke': Michael Moore Speaks in Madison, WI -- March 5, 2011

This is the article on his website about how he showed in Madison! Great read when you have time!


http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/mi...ison-wisconsin
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Old 03-11-2011, 10:41 AM   #165
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I can't find the quote online from the Republican WI state senator, but he went off-message and admitted that suppressing the unions will hurt Obama financially in WI in 2012.
YouTube - WI Leader Admits His Union-busting agenda is intended to hurt Obama reelection

ThinkProgress � WI Senate GOP Leader Admits On-Air That His Goal Is To Defund Labor Unions, Hurt Obama’s Reelection Chances

This is not about any budget crisis. It is about weakening Democrats politically.
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