What a week it’s been in these United States. I’ve been itching to write about what’s been happening, but I’ve been too engrossed in following it. I’ve been glued to the twitter stream with occasional dashes into the NY Times, Slate, Mother Jones, Huffington Post and the assorted links shared by the twitter collective. I have avoided the television as I have since the end of the World Series. From what I’ve read, I didn’t miss anything as the main stream media focused on the uprising in the Middle East and ignored the uprising in the Midwest.
I thought I’d try something new with this post. I was very active on twitter regarding the Wisconsin union busting bill attempt, as well as the responses to it, the protests and the background of the story. Rather than have my tweets lost forever in the twitter stream (yes I know, they’re preserved in the Library of Congress) I thought I’d try to bring them together here, along with all the other political tweetage I engaged in, to bring the story to life as it unfolded from my perspective.
My first inkling something was up came from a few tweets I saw go by. This one from ClaraJeffrey:
- WI Union: it’s not about a budget crisis. It’s not even about unions. It’s about destroying any counterbalance to corporate oligarchy.
And then this one from RepJackKimble:
- It’s OK that 2/3 of WI corps don’t pay taxes.They support state in other ways like sponsoring little league teams.
When I saw this tweet, I started getting the sense something big was happening:
- Wisconsin state police endorsed Walker during election, have now apologized for doing so and turned on him:
I then began actively debating the need for unions with a few twitter friends. I learned a lot from this 15 minute video, which I highly recommend:
This tweet includes a clip of Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello playing Guerilla Radio for the protesters in Wisconsin!
- Get updated & see vid of Tom Morello doing Guerilla Radio ‘NO ROOM TO NEGOTIATE‘: Walker Rejects Compromise Proposal.
At this point I got fired up, really fired up. I realized this was a powerful political moment, started in a state I knew little about, but deep with meaning and impact on the future of our politics, our economics, our country. I changed my Twitter profile picture to this, and warned my friends to Mute me for a few days if they preferred their twitter stream apolitical.
- Wage War: State Employees vs everybody Else
- Follow the money. The Fortune Behind WI Gov Scott Walker’s Union-Busting Campaign:
Then I started cranking the tunes, because all good protests need good protest music. I shared this most apropos piece with my twitter friends, and I’ll share it with you now. Listen while you read the rest why don’t you?
I tweeted this link to a PolitiFact article where they fact checked Governor Walker’s claims:
- Politifact: WI Gov Walker says bill would leave collective bargaining “fully intact.” True? Nope, ridiculously false.
Then things got really interesting when I found out two other states with newly elected Republican Governors were doing the same basic thing.
- Copycat Republicans. Tennessee teachers fight bill to end collective bargaining | The Raw Story
- Copycat Republicans. Tensions Rise As Indiana Legislators Plan to Put Collective Bargaining to a Vote
With my political radar up and fully engaged, I picked out a few interesting tweets and forwarded them along.
From Alexandershee: If we cut Planned Parenthood, the money saved could sustain the war for 3 hours 51mins. $75 million for 800 clinics a year = 4 hours of war.
From OtooleFan: In the late 1970s, the top 1% got 9% of total income. Now they get more than 20%. Those damn Unions! Oh, wait…
From TheNewDeal: While You’re on Your Lunch Break Today, Remember to THANK A UNION for the Fact That You Get One.
And a few of my own:
- We’re spending billions building Afghanifuk while US crumbles. Thousands of US Dams susceptible to failure
- 2011 may be the year of the protest. NFL Labor Dispute Plays Out on Twitter
- What the Wisconsin debate is really about: Wisconsin Power Play.
- Supreme Court has declared Corps are people & can spend as much as they want to support their candidates. What might Corp interests be?
- Put your $ to work! Boycott Koch Industries
- There are 112K contractors in Afghanifuk building schools, roads. U know who pays them? YOU DO. SC kids go to schools built in the 1800’s
- Did You Know: YOU pay $528B a year to keep US Troops in 80 Countries around the world? Every. Year.
- Despite Walker’s Claims, Wisconsin’s Pension Fund Among Nation’s Healthiest
- GOP’s Threats To Block Increase In Debt Limit Could Backfire / Call their f’n bluff.
- What a fuckin thug. WI Governor Threatens to Start Layoffs Next Week on Slate
I started noticing a theme from the Republican side of the aisle, one which I’d pretty much expected if you read my recent post about the GOP victories in 2010.
- Holy motherf’n asshole. GA Republican’s new bill would make abortion murder & require investigations of miscarriages.
As the Republican Governors moved to bust the public unions in their states, under the guise of being too broke to allow unions to negotiate, I came across this article:
- How Corporations Have Mastered the Art of not Paying Their Fair Share of Taxes.
This really blew me away. The Koch brothers who bankrolled WI Governor Walker’s campaign and spent millions advertising against his opponent, getting Walker a 5 point win in the election, actually opened a lobbying office across the street from the Capital building while the protestors were in the streets.
- The billionaires funding WI Gov Walker join the fray openly! Open an office near capital
I want to give Mother Jones and Slate their props. These organizations have done an excellent job covering this issue while it has been almost completely ignored by the large corporate owned media organizations.
- I smiled broadly through the whole article. Power to the People. The Cheddar Revolution on Slate.
Here’s a perfect example of why I’m not a Democrat. Not only did the President ignore the battle for worker’s rights happening right under his nose until today (I’ll post my thoughts on that in a moment) but here’s what the Senate leader decided to work on in the midst of the labor crisis and House Republicans shredding spending on anything that isn’t war:
Which prompted this tweet from yours truly:
- Dude, cinch up the Magic Underwear & go work on something meaningful.
After playing Bruce Springsteen music for most of the day, this thought came to mind:
- Just realized that for once, GOP can’t use 9/11 in their propaganda since it was union heroes that died trying to save their fellow man
Some of what we are seeing in our country during this battle for the rights of workers to organize and negotiate as a group for pay and benefits (that doesn’t sound so awful does it?) is just shocking:
- WTF is going on?! Indiana Official ‘No Longer Employed’ After Reportedly Urging Wisconsin Police To Shoot Protesters.
This should tell you everything you need to know. The Governor was prank called by a blogger pretending to be billionaire David Koch, one of Governor Walker’s campaign contributors. The entire phone call was recorded. Listen for yourself:
- The entire phone call between a blogger pretending to be David Koch & WI Gov Walker. Walker lays out his whole plan.
If you still think this is all about budget issues in the state of Wisconsin, read this:
- Buried in WI Gov Walker’s bill is ability to sell govt power plant assets w/no bids. Govt sold to Corporate America.
One place to look to help solve our budget problems:
- Large multinational corporations stash their cash in overseas operations & avoid paying $37 Billion a year in taxes.
Democratic Senators in Wisconsin fled the state to prevent this bill from coming to a vote where the Republicans would rubber stamp Walker’s plans and the bill would become law. Walker is now being investigated for improper use of state assets:
- Gov Walker To Be Investigated For using State Troopers to go to political opponents home.
More Republicans addressing the economic issues they were elected to address:
- South Dakota bill to legalize killing of abortion providers reappears…in Nebraska
- A devout Christian Senator introduces a bill justifying murder to prevent harm to a fetus. Christianity is f’d up
- S Dakota passes law requires ‘counseling’ for women seeking abortions
- OK Gov accepts $54M in Fed $ for the Health Care Reform she is suing the Fed Govt over
Here’s a few articles I shared that really sum up the issues well:
- You want to understand WI union battle? PLEASE read this: Public Enemies Nos. 1 and 2 on Slate.
- Read it & weep kids. The War Against the Republic: The Battle Of Madison
- Are These People Overpaid? A look at the WI union workers & how much they earn.
- Gov Walker is flat out lying about who pays for govt workers pension. Liars f’n suck, Get Informed.
I wasn’t all doom and gloom though. Here’s a solution for the exploding deficits we’re dealing with:
- A sensible pro-growth deficit reduction plan by Joseph Stiglitz, Prof of Economics @ Columbia & a Nobel laureate.
One of the most shocking aspects of this story is the media blackout from the major news outlets. When I read the piece from Anonymous I just had to share it. This may be my favorite of the wild and wacky week:
- Please read the Anonymous #OpWisconsin piece. Epic: Power to the People.
As if ignoring the powerful battle between government and their wealthy corporate supporters and the workers who face their rights being stripped wasn’t bad enough, CNN added insult to injury:
- As Protesters Rally Nationwide to Support Wisconsin Workers CNN Features the Two Year Anniversary of the Tea Party
A nice, short but potent video from PunkPatriot:
- If you want a Cliff Notes version of what’s going on in WI.
I finally got as active as I’ve gotten on this issue; I emailed two Republican Senators who were believed to be candidates to vote against the union busting bill. I urged my friends to do the same and provided the info they needed to get it done:
- Here’s the email form to reach Senator Olsen from WI to let him know u support WI unions.
- Here is WI Senator Michael Ellis’ email address. Please write him to urge him to vote NO on WI union bill.
I don’t know how this will end, but I remain fully engaged in the struggle. Here are my last few thoughts on the subject, all tweeted tonight a few hours ago. If nothing else, I hope I’ve shown what a powerful information sharing platform twitter is, showed you where you can find in-depth coverage of issues, demonstrated that watching cable news is a waste of your time, and maybe stirred you a bit into taking a stand for what you believe in, wherever you may fall on the political spectrum.
- A government of the Corporations, by the Corporations, for the Corporations. As the preeminent philosophers, RATM famously said: WAKE UP
- $200B spent on contracts & grants since ’02 to support reconstruction & other US operations in Iraq & Afghan. BUT we’re broke
- Obama: “I recently froze the salaries of federal employees for two years.” I also extended tax cuts for the wealthiest citizens for two. See?
- Obama: “I believe that everybody should be prepared to give up something in order to solve our budget challenges.” Except the wealthiest.