Friday, March 11, 2011

Wisconsin update


If you've "been in a coma," to quote WI's Governor Walker, the past month, you can take a look at this article which explains what's been going on in my dear Dairyland state:

In one sense, it's over. Legislation was passed yesterday that not only compels me, a public employee, to take a pay cut of about $250 a month but also strips me of all the collective bargaining rights that WI legally gave to public employees over 50 years ago. There are a number of other important issues in the bill as well which basically sell our state to moneyed interests. Granted, the Gov. hasn't signed the bill yet--I hear that he's huddling with his lawyers to figure out if the thing is constitutional or not. There are complaints filed with the Attorneys General of the state and of Dane county alleging that there were violations of the Open Meetings laws. We'll see about that in days to come.

In another sense, the struggle continues. There are recall petitions to circulate and to sign and we have an election coming up on April 5 for a Supreme Court justice. The incumbent has openly stated that he's a "judicial conservative" and he sees the role of the Supreme Court to "compliment" the legislative and executive branches of our government. However, I think the state's constitution likely does not state that since the 3 branches of government generally are seen as "checks and balances" on each other so no one or two take over control. The other candidate has been very careful to not state her political philosophy, as an honorable candidate for a judgeship should. I will be campaigning for her as I believe we need an independent court to hold the other branches in check.

Neither of my representatives are up for recall but I know where their businesses are and will likely make a big sign and spend some of my free time walking back and forth in front of their stores.

If you think this is only about "spoiled public employees" who are crying about having to pay for health insurance and pensions, think again. The way the events unfolded this past month, it's very clear this is about union busting in order to decrease the monetary impact they will have in upcoming elections. Also, remember that Gov Walker's first action in office was to pass legislation which gives about $140 million in tax breaks to corporations and wealthy individuals, thus "creating" the budget shortfall that he then said public employees have to fill with our wages. He also declared that the unions had to be done away with so local governments would have the "tools" needed to deal with the huge cuts in state aid he was sending their way ("Tools" mean firing staff, to be blunt.)

Now that he's emasculated the public employees' unions, he will push through legislation limiting access to voting. There is a bill pending which would require picture ID at the polls in order to vote. Guess who is most likely to not have this kind of ID? Poor and elderly. Guess who's most likely to vote liberal? Yep, you guessed it. In about 30 states there are movements to limit access to voting by the conservative movement, otherwise known as teabaggers," and yes, I know what that means and it accurately describes their lust for personal satisfaction.

To me, everything that's happened in this state is the prelude to the diminishing of democracy in this country in order to further the agendas of the wealthy and powerful. I'm pretty naive since I still believe the PEOPLE of this state and country should make the decisions, not the folks with enough money to buy the government. So, the struggle continues.

What makes this my FTF is that so far, democracy is still alive and breathing despite the threats to kill it.

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