Be strong, brothers and sisters!
Wisconsin's newly-elected "Tea Party" governor, Scott Walker, dished himself up a whole plateful of "oops" with his ill-advised attempt to strip state workers of their collective bargaining rights.
Ensconced in the governor's state budget proposal, which calls for state workers to contribute more to their pension and health benefits, is language that strips these workers of their collective bargaining rights. So, under the guise of being a tough fiscal conservative, Governor Walker is attempting to bust Wisconsin's government workers unions.
Governor Walker, it has been revealed, is supported by deep-pocketed plutocrats including the infamous laissez faire capitalist Koch Brothers. Charles and David Koch took full advantage of the newly-awarded, Supreme Court sanction of their ability to pollute the political airwaves with as much money as they might wish. In last year's midterm elections, they gave $212 million to the Karl Rove political machine to help elect "fiscal conservatives," as they are sometimes called. ("Oligarchs" and "plutocrats" are what I call them.) Now, fresh off their electoral successes, the Brothers K have jumped right in to the Wisconsin fight, tossing money around like candy to support Walker's union-busting attempt. It is rumored that the brothers are paying people to manufacture counter-demonstrations of so-called "Tea Party" citizens.
Well, the people of Wisconsin are having none of it. Upwards of 30,000 people descended on Madison and occupied the state Capitol. Wisconsin has never seen anything like it. And reports this morning are that protests are spreading to Ohio, where that state's new governor, freakish John Kasich, is attempting a similar union busting maneuver.
Governor Walker has stated that he's ready to call out the Wisconsin National Guard, if necessary, in response to the demonstrations. Straight out of the Hosni Mubarak playbook, eh? And probably not a smart move. But what else does he have left? He already attempted to split the union coalition by exempting police and firefighter unions from the new measure. But that didn't work. Firefighters have reportedly joined the protest movement in solidarity with their union brothers and sisters. State-wide, schools are closing as teachers and students call in "sick" to show support. Wisconsin's cherished Green Bay Packers have also released statements in support. Some of the players have even joined the protests.
Democrats in the state senate have left the state to deny a quorum, without which, the bill cannot come to a vote. There are rumors that one or two Republicans in that body are wavering in their support of the measure, which could be enough to block passage.
Worker's rights are on the line today. The front line is Madison, Wisconsin.
Fight on, brothers and sisters! Fight on!