Wisconsin's unemployed are being subject to a double attack by the state legislature. In the state that fell to 44th in the nation in job creation in March, a bill introduced to the Wisconsin State Assembly on May 24 would make it more difficult for jobless workers to collect unemployment benefits. Then, in what Representative Chris Taylor (D-Madison) called the "ultimate bait-and-switch," a hearing on that bill occurred at the same time as a meeting of the Joint Committee on Finance that passed yet more changes related to unemployment insurance, which critics called even more extreme than the first.
This article is an extraction of material contained in "Dissent or Terror: How the Nation's 'Counter Terrorism' Apparatus, in Partnership with Corporate America, Turned on Occupy Wall Street," published by DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy.
Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, a nationwide "homeland security"/"counter terrorism" apparatus emerged. Components of this apparatus include the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the National Counterterrorism Center, and state/regional "fusion centers." Fusion centers, by and large, are staffed with personnel working in "counter terrorism"/ "homeland security" units of municipal, county, state, tribal and federal law enforcement/public safety/"counter terrorism" agencies. To a large degree, the "counter terrorism" operations of municipal, county, state and tribal agencies engaged in fusion centers are financed through a number of U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant programs.
An odd couple made an appearance on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus recently: Tea Party Senator Ron Johnson and Madison's progressive Congressman Mark Pocan.
State Senator Glenn Grothman, Assistant Majority Leader of the Republican Caucus, is leading the charge to protect consumers from Wisconsin's rapacious rent-to-own industry. Governor Scott Walker's $68.2 billion budget bill contains provisions that would rollback common sense regulation of the industry, which has been in place since 1985.
An array of right-wing organizations in North Carolina are arguing loudly for Governor Pat McCrory to radically alter how corporations and people pay taxes in the state -- and the not-so-hidden hand behind the effort is North Carolina millionaire Art Pope, a close ally of the Koch brothers, who funds the groups and has been appointed as North Carolina's Budget Director.
A team of economists at the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at UMass Amherst broke a huge story this week that was promptly picked up by the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, and newspapers around the globe. The economists proved that the essential underpinning "of the intellectual edifice of austerity economics," as Paul Krugman put it, is based on sloppy methodology and spreadsheet coding errors.
In 2010, Governor Scott Walker ran for office on a simple message, that he would turn Wisconsin's economy around and create 250,000 jobs. There was good news for Walker in the Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs numbers released April 2013. Although Wisconsin still ranked 44th in the country in terms of job creation, the staggering economy had created 64,500 more jobs since Walker took office than previously known. There was a large upward correction in the BLS jobs data stretching back more than a year that not only impacted Wisconsin, but many states.
Journal Communication's right-wing talker Charlie Sykes (WTMJ Radio 620), delights in stirring controversy. But last week he went too far. In a segment discussing whether food stamp recipients should be allowed to buy unhealthy food, Sykes played a clip of an incredibly offensive video that is a favorite of neo-Nazi websites.
-- Dean Baker, Center for Economic and Policy Research
The effort to blame the awful plight of the young on Social Security and Medicare is picking up steam.