Economy

Lessons from the Original Occupation: Gina Ray, Wisconsin State Capitol Police

As Occupy Wall Street protesters and police face off in large cities and small towns across America, it is worth revisiting the positive policing relationship that was developed between protesters and law enforcement during the "original occupation" of the Wisconsin Capitol in the winter of 2011.

On February 11, 2011, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker introduced a bill that would limit the collective bargaining rights of public employees, require 100% voter participation in union recertification and end the state's practice of withholding and reimbursing union dues. The bill was perceived as a death blow to public employee unions and prompted massive, sustained and peaceful protests inside and outside the Wisconsin State Capitol in the winter of 2011.

Positive Policing From Wisconsin's "Original Occupation"

After two tours of duty in Iraq, 24-year-old Wisconsin native Scott Olsen managed to escape unscathed and with seven medals for valor. But Olsen was critically injured in an Occupy Oakland march last week by a police projectile. According to eyewitnesses, Olsen was acting as a human barrier between unarmed civilians and Oakland police in riot gear who were charged with keeping a public park cleared for sanitation purposes.

Whether this was a case of an inexperienced Mayor (check) or a historically aggressive police department (check), the incident underscored the potential for catastrophe as cops increasingly confront peaceful protesters with riot control weapons.

Lessons from the Original Occupation: Madison's Sheriff Dave Mahoney

On February 11, 2011, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker introduced a bill that would limit the collective bargaining rights of public employees, require 100% voter participation in union recertification and end the state's practice of withholding and reimbursing union dues. The bill was perceived as a death blow to public employee unions and prompted massive, sustained and peaceful protests inside and outside the Wisconsin State Capitol in the winter of 2011.

Recall On: Scott Walker's Campaign Coffers "Open for Business"

Wisconsin Gov. Scott WalkerPutting aside a laundry list of potential dates, calculations and concerns, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin announced last week that they will be joining with community groups to launch a campaign to recall the state's governor, Scott Walker. With a corruption scandal brewing behind the scenes, political activists decided there was no better time than now.

Hurdles for those wishing to recall Walker are high.

ALEC Politicians Spin Special "Interest" Bill to Protect Corporate Wrongdoers as "Job Creation"

For years, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), has been itching to protect big corporations from high interest rates charged in cases where corporations have killed or injured Americans. Now, Wisconsin politicians serving on key ALEC task forces are pushing a bill embracing this idea as part of ALEC alumnus Scott Walker's latest effort to force the ALEC agenda into law based on claims that doing so will help "job creators."

ALEC Tied to British Political Scandal

British Conservative Party defense secretary Liam Fox is in the midst of scandal that has grown deeper as ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) are revealed. Pressure has been growing on Fox in recent weeks after having been caught in a lie about unethical dealings with his friend and former flatmate, and more ethical problems arising from the operation of a recently-dissolved, ALEC-connected "charity" Fox founded.

Chicago to Wall Street: Pay US Back!

While the Occupy Wall Street movement is sweeping the country and peaceful arrests are mounting, Chicagoans took to the streets this week to hold the big banks accountable for crashing the economy and to demand city, state and federal policies that work for working families.

For many, the goal was stopping the foreclosure mill and telling the big banks it was time to Pay US Back! for the $4.7 trillion bailout. For others, the demands focused on the fallout from the financial crisis including contentious contract negotiations with the administration of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel.

For most, the range of issues were inextricably linked.

"Occupy Wall Street" Should Protest Wall Street Takeover of Health Care

The lobbyists for U.S. health insurers surely have to be feeling a little uneasy knowing that thousands of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators who have been marching and protesting in Washington as well as New York and other cities might target them in the days ahead. After all, the headquarters of the insurers' biggest lobbying and PR group, America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), at 601 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., is just blocks away from Freedom Plaza, where the demonstrators have set up camp -- and problems with health insurers appear to be near the top of the list of protesters' concerns.

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