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20 Feb 2012 14:34


Politics: Koch thinks Walker recall is all that’s standing between trade unions and Highlander status

  • If the unions win the recall, there will be no stopping union power.
  • Billionaire David Koch • Speaking about the Wisconsin recall efforts against Gov. Scott Walker. Koch made the comments during a recent speech after a benefit dinner, and were quickly backtracked by his spokeswoman, who clarified, “[Koch Industries thinks] the best workplace relationships are fostered when the employer works directly with its employees. It is a mischaracterization of our principles to say this means we oppose unions or want to dismantle all unions.” The Koch brothers find themselves under ever-increasing scrutiny for supporting political causes around the country, most notably the recall campaign of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. source

16 Nov 2011 14:18


Politics: WI Gov. Scott Walker says he didn’t cause recall effort

  • Walker to state: Who, me? As the recall push against Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker heats up, Walker has pushed back, denying he incited such action: “…we wouldn’t have to spend a penny of that if there weren’t recalls. This is not something we brought on.” To refresh the memory, Walker and the state GOP passed a law stripping union rights from public sector employees earlier this year. Despite the unions agreeing to accept Walker’s benefit cuts if he’d leave collective bargaining alone, Walker wanted the whole hog (he also admitted to a David Koch impersonator that he’d considered planting troublemakers at the Madison protests). source

09 Nov 2011 13:53


Politics: Ohio referendum brings good, bad news for President Obama

  • good “Issue 2,” on which a yes vote meant approval of the Ohio state GOP’s stripping of public employees’ collective bargaining rights, was resounding defeated with 63% voting no. Gov. John Kasich’s chastened reply: “The people have spoken clearly.”
  • bad Ohioans also passed an amendment to their state constitution, saying they can’t be forced to buy health insurance. So while a union-backed Obama looks stronger now in Ohio, the health care mandate seems to irk voters in the critical swing-state. source

06 Oct 2011 01:17


U.S.: Occupy Wall Street: The crowds get bigger, the police more violent?

  • Switching gears a little bit, tonight’s Occupy Wall Street rallies hit a new peak, in part thanks to fresh support from unions such as AFL-CIO, the United Federation of Teachers, the Communications Workers of America and District Council 37. (According to one estimate, the crowd hit 20,000, but an exact number couldn’t be narrowed down — either way, it was large.) But the new peak in attendance came with a price — police brutality, some of which hit journalists covering the march. “I don’t know what sparked it, but people started tossed about, and I did see people getting beaten with clubs, and I personally was pepper sprayed,” said Flux Rostrum, a journalist and videographer for Mobile Broadcast News. Above is a clip of one of the more violent scenes tonight — the way that they’re throwing around those batons is nothing short of frightening. In all, at least 28 people were arrested. (thanks usualchatter for the kick in the pants; this take on the evening’s events is also worth a read) source

01 Oct 2011 16:43


U.S.: Labor unions slowly latching onto Occupy Wall Street

  • I think it’s a tactic and a valid tactic to call attention to a problem. Wall Street is out of control. We have three imbalances in this country—the imbalance between imports and exports, the imbalance between employer power and working power, and the imbalance between the real economy and the financial economy. We need to bring back balance to the financial economy, and calling attention to it and peacefully protesting is a very legitimate way of doing it.
  • AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka • Talking on C-SPAN Friday about mass protests in general and Occupy Wall Street in particular. Trumka’s endorsement of the protests shadows the growing support the movement is getting from such labor unions as the Transport Workers Union. If the movement grows among labor unions, that will help swell the growth of the movement significantly. source

29 Aug 2011 17:42


Politics: House Republicans plot major deregulatory push

  • Deregulation = jobs: A memo obtained by ShortFormBlog contains details of an upcoming Republican effort to push massive deregulatory legislation through the House of Representatives, in hopes of unshackling “costly bureaucratic handcuffs” faced by businesses. The letter, sent today by Eric Cantor to the House Republican caucus, details the “Top 10 Job-Destroying Regulations,” and how Republicans plan to address them. “By pursuing a steady repeal of job-destroying regulations,” Cantor wrote, “we can help lift the cloud of uncertainty hanging over small and large employers alike, empowering them to hire more workers.” Some key proposals:
  • Weakened emission limits  The TRAIN (Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation) Act, along with the EPA Regulatory Relief Act, would delay implementation of EPA standards intended to limit air pollution.
  • Limiting union power The Protecting Jobs From Government Interference Act would limit the National Labor Relations Board’s power, rescinding its ability to influence relocation of manufacturing plants.
  • Farm dust for all The Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act would, as expected, restrict the federal government’s ability to regulate farm dust, allowing it to do so only within state and local regulations. source
  • » In keeping with Republican orthodoxy, Cantor also proposes to two tax cuts (one for government contractors, another for small businesses), and the repeal of unspecified provisions of the Affordable Care Act. What do you all think of Cantor’s plan? Read the whole thing at the link. (AP Photo)

18 Jul 2011 23:02


Politics: A quick-ish update on the Wisconsin situation

  • plan Democrats in Wisconsin are pushing hard to recall Governor Scott Walker for the draconian anti-union bill he pushed through the legislature this past Spring.
  • problem The recall election could fall on the same day as the GOP presidential primary, ensuring a large Republican turnout and possibly carrying Walker to safety. source
  • The Details: Stick with us here. In order to recall Walker, Democrats need to gather around 540,000 signatures (that number being 25% of the total votes cast for Governor last year); once this process starts, they’ll have sixty days to hit that target. If and when they do, state election officials will likely schedule the recall on the same day as the next major statewide election. The question is: When should Democratic operatives start gathering signatures?
  • on the one hand…This fall, recall elections against several state senators (of both parties) will have wrapped up. Some Democrats want to ride that momentum directly into the signature-gathering process, ensuring that they’re able to collect enough. The thing is, if they do it within that timeframe, the recall will most likely fall on the same day as the GOP presidential primary.
  • on the other hand…Democrats could also wait longer to gather signatures, timing it so that the recall falls the same day Obama faces re-election. This would result in a much higher voter turnout for Democrats. However, Walker’s anti-union antics may have faded from the public consciousness by then, jeopardizing the Democrats’ ability to get enough signatures.
  • » The kicker: State Republicans, who would prefer the first scenario, are said to be considering launching a fake “Recall Walker” signature-gathering campaign in the fall, in order to force an early recall. Seriously, guys—who ever said politics was boring?

17 Jul 2011 11:01


Politics: Scott Walker: Yeah, we made mistakes on handling that union thing

  • The mistake I made early on is, I looked at it almost like the head of a small business: identify a problem, identify a solution and go out and do it. I don’t think we built enough of a political case, so we let … the national organizations come in and define the debate while we were busy just getting the job done.
  • Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker • Discussing, during the National Governor’s Association meeting in Salt Lake City, the whole anti-union saga that has engulfed his state for a good four or five months now. Walker has faced tons of criticism from the left over the law, which passed in a sneaky behind-the-back way at the end of a lengthy holdout by numerous Democrats in the state senate — and was later upheld in court after a proxy battle over a judge’s election favored Walker’s law. Many Republicans who voted for the measure face a recall vote in August, and Walker could face one of his own in 2012. source

06 Jul 2011 22:04


Politics: Connecticut mandates sick leave for employees, first in nation to do so

  • YES every worker in CT will receive paid sick time source
  • » Bucking the trend: 2011 hasn’t been a great year for worker’s rights; for further information on this, Google “Scott Walker.” However, Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy reversed the tide this week, signing a bill that grants all employees, public and private, one hour of mandatory paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked. This is the first real political victory workers have enjoyed all year, at least at the state level; in addition, Connecticut is the first state in the nation to pass such a law. The only thing proponents of the law didn’t get? A signing ceremony for the bill. (Note: the law only applies to companies with more than 50 employees).

15 Jun 2011 10:25


Politics: Scott Walker: We always knew we could ignore open meetings law

  • I think it was something that we just believed that the legislature has always had the ability to do no matter if it was Democrats or Republicans in charge.
  • Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker • Reacting to the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision (read it here) allowing Walker’s collective bargaining bill to go through because the state’s opening meetings law doesn’t apply to legislators. What did they have the ability to do, Scott, ignore the spirit of the law by holding a vote with two hours notice, because they felt it didn’t cover them, and wait for the state Supreme Court to prove them right? As you might guess, Democrats aren’t exactly thrilled by this decision. Not only the decision itself, but the fact that a law designed to prevent things like this essentially doesn’t apply to legislators, and now the Democrats will have to rewrite the state constitution to put that protection back in. Republicans on the other hand, are thrilled. This situation is a total mess, no matter what way you look at it. source