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A Koched Up Walker


John Nichols: Walker says budget repair bill written to serve 'vested interest' of Koch brothers

Read this.

Mary Bottari: Koch Brothers “Prank” No Laughing Matter

And this.

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"Billionaire Right-Wing Koch Brothers Fund Wisconsin Governor Campaign and Anti-Union Push"

Feb. 24, 2011

www.democracynow.org/2011/2/24/billionaire_conservative_koch_brothers_fu...

In Madison, Wisconsin, record numbers of protesters have entered the eleventh day of their fight to preserve union rights and collective bargaining for public employees, inspiring similar protests in the states of Indiana, Ohio and Michigan. The protests have also helped expose the close ties between Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and David and Charles Koch, the billionaire brothers who helped bankroll the Tea Party movement. On Wednesday, blogger Ian Murphy revealed he had impersonated David Koch in a recorded phone conversation with an unsuspecting Walker. We play highlights of the recording and discuss the Koch brothers’ influence in Wisconsin with Lisa Graves of the Center for Media and Democracy.

According to that interview, Walker is even sending State Police to homes of Dem. Senators in order to try to intimidate them, though they apparently all left the state in order to avoid or escape from intimidation, or needing to respond to Walker's proposal or bill, or both reasons and/or other ones related to this bill. One way or another, they apparently don't want to respond about this bill.

But why wouldn't they want to respond to this bill? Is it because they are too few to be able to stop its passage even if they all voted "neh", while staying away means that the bill can't be voted on, or what? This interview doesn't say that the bill can't be voted on while they're away, but I think it's another video at Dem. Now! of probably Feb. 22nd, or maybe it's the GRITtv video interview posted in another page here today, which says that if the Dems are not present to vote, then the bill can't be voted on at all.

Maybe they are too few to be able to stop passage of the bill if they were present to vote on it, so by leaving the state and staying away, they hope that protesters will come to finally cause the bill to be dropped, or changed so that collective bargaining rights are not diminished. That's apparently all the protesters are really concerned about, while they accept the financial cuts or sacrifices. They just refuse to sacrifice collective bargaining rights and are evidently very determined about this.

Wall Street link:

"Matt Taibbi: "Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?" (Complete Interview)"

Feb. 22, 2011

www.democracynow.org/blog/2011/2/22/matt_taibbi_why_isnt_wall_street_in_...

"Nobody goes to jail," writes Matt Taibbi in his the new issue of Rolling Stone magazine. “This is the mantra of the financial-crisis era, one that saw virtually every major bank and financial company on Wall Street embroiled in obscene criminal scandals that impoverished millions and collectively destroyed hundreds of billions, in fact, trillions of dollars of the world’s wealth." Here is the complete interview from which we played an excerpt on our Feb. 22 show. Taibbi explains how the American people have been defrauded by Wall Street investors and how the financial crisis is connected to the situations in states such as Wisconsin and Ohio.

Not related to Koch brothers:

The article by Jeremy Scahill lead me to check the related links page at Madison.com and there are plenty of articles. The following one seems to be a good one.

"Assembly agrees to deal ending debate; Senate Dems still absent"

by Scott Bauer and Todd Richmond, AP, Feb. 24, 2011

http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_fd34b27...

Wisconsin state troopers were dispatched Thursday to find at least one of the 14 Senate Democrats who have been on the run for eight days to delay a vote on Republican Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to strip collective bargaining rights from nearly all public employees.

It's apparently worse than that.

(snip)

But Democratic Sen. Jon Erpenbach, who was in the Chicago area, said all 14 senators remained outside of Wisconsin on Thursday morning and would not return until Walker was willing to compromise.

"It's not so much the Democrats holding things up, it's really a matter of Gov. Walker holding things up," Erpenbach said.

(snip)

Democrats, who are in the minority, don't have the votes to stop the bill once the vote occurs.

Passage of the bill in the Assembly would be a major victory for Republicans and Walker, but the measure still must clear the Senate. Democrats there left town last week rather than vote on the bill, which has stymied efforts there to take it up.

The battle over labor rights has been heating up across the country, as new Republican majorities tackle budget woes in several states. The GOP efforts have sparked huge protests from unions and their supporters and led Democrats in Wisconsin and Indiana to flee their states to block measures.

Republicans in Ohio offered a small concession Wednesday, saying they would support allowing unionized state workers to collectively bargain on wages - but not for benefits, sick time, vacation or other conditions. Wisconsin's proposal also would allow most public workers to collectively bargain only for wages.

(snip)

That's sick. Workers should have the right to collectively work on bargaining in all of the above respects; wages, benefits, sick time, vacation, et cetera. The right to collectively bargain is the most crucial of the rights, but there is no valid reason for workers to not have the right to collectively bargain for wages, benefits, and so on. If they go overboard in their demands, then employers are not to be treated as slaves of the workers, but workers also aren't to be treated as slaves of employers. If workers want 5 weeks vacation a year, then they should be able to get this, for or with employers that really can afford it, that is. For sick time, workers should be able to have at least 3 days a year and 5 would be better as well as just; when a person is sick, the person is sick and if the person is too sick to be able to go to work, then the employer should be humane; but that also depends on what an employer can afford. Not all employers could afford the cost of 5 sick days a year, but many certainly can. Et cetera.

It used to be common in Europe for workers to have 5 weeks vacation a year and it didn't make the employers less productive; the extra vacation time helped the workers to be more productive. This has been reported many times, though perhaps not over recent years, years of regression to Great Depression period because of extremely corrupt financial elites and politicians. I once learned that vacation isn't really beneficial until after a person has been on vacation for two weeks. The third week kicks in and then the person really begins to benefit. It's recreative, in a sense. During the first two weeks, a worker's mind is still like the person was "on the job", but the mind adjusts after a couple of weeks. This permits real vacationing and that helps people to be only more productive when returning to work.

It benefits both workers and employers, but the culture in the US is "rat race" culture, super-capitalist, et cetera. It's a culture of people who don't really know what [living] is; they become like robotons almost only existing to work, rather than working to live. It's a society very much out of touch with reality while thinking to be among the most educated people in the world.

If workers exaggerate in their collective as well as individual demands, then employers should not give in, but workers should not be treated as slaves. The US is a country where top management people earn as much as 400x more than workers, so these employers can certainly afford to make these companies much more fair than they are. They're extremely disproportionate in how they determine compensation.

Nevertheless, Wisconsin public sector workers are accepting enough financial sacrifice, cuts, and only refuse to give up their collective bargaining right or rights. And if the country is to be democratic, then workers must have collective bargaining rights; they must have the right to collectively bargain. It should be for more than only wages though.

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