Wisconsin Protests

Wisconsin Protests, Sunday, February 20, 2011

1:00 a.m. - From Ben Manski: Police have stopped removing materials after TAA and other activists talked to them. Officers who were removing signs, etc were from new jurisdictions. New signs and materials, banners, etc, will be needed tomorrow.

8:00 p.m. - The Associated Press is reporting that Ian's Pizza in Madison has received 40 calls as supporters across the nation have sent $2,500 worth of pizza to the capitol. Where are the cheese curds? The Huffington Post reports that some of the pizzas were sent from supporters in Egypt.

5:06 p.m. - Brendan Fischer reports that pizza, water and bagels are still being handed out, and that rally leaders are reiterating the message that the protest must be kept peaceful, and that the Capitol must be treated with respect.

Wisconsin Protests, Saturday, February 19, 2011

8:00 p.m. - Signing off.

Saturday's rallies were the largest yet! News reports have put the number of Walker protesters at the Capitol today at 70-80,000 compared to 3-5,000 for Tea Party participants.

Tea Party crowd5:00 p.m. - TEA PARTY RALLY

Brendan Fischer reports on the Tea Party rally:

In what appears to be the largest day of protests yet, opponents of the budget repair bill filled the capitol square and paraded through packed streets while Walker supporters, Tea Party members, and conservative activists congregated in the state capitol's East spur. Approaching the spur at the height of the noon rally (organized by the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity), a deafening mix of competing chants ("Kill the bill!" "Pass the bill!" "Si se puede!" "What's disgusting? Union busting!") made it difficult to hear the speakers.

Breitbart & Americans for Prosperity President Appear at Tea Party Rally in Support of Walker's Bill, Sat. Noon-3pm

Tea Party groups are planning to attend a rally on Saturday, February 18 to show support for Scott Walker's effort to dismantle over fifty years of collective bargaining rights in his "budget repair bill." The rally is planned by the Koch brothers- funded Americans for Prosperity, the Sam Adams Alliance-funded American Majority, and several Wisconsin Tea Party groups.

Wisconsin Protests, Friday, February 18, 2011

10:30 p.m. - Mary Bottari: WI Congressional Rep. Paul Ryan who was far from the protests in Washington this week, said disapprovingly that WI was beginning to look a lot like Cairo. Today, one person responded with a sign in 20 degree weather: "I thought Cairo would be warmer."

10:00 p.m. - ASSEMBLY'S ABRUPT ADJOURNMENT CAPS CHAOTIC DAY IN CAPITOL

A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter gives a dramatic account of what happened on the Assembly floor today:

The Assembly teetered on the brink of chaos Friday evening but then adjourned peacefully after Republicans rescinded a vote on Gov. Scott Walker's budget-repair bill that the GOP lawmakers took without Democrats present.

In the Wisconsin Assembly on Friday, Republican leaders had called lawmakers to the floor at 5 p.m. to take up Walker's bill to fix a budget shortfall by cutting public worker benefits and bargaining rights. But they began business just before that hour, when Democrats were not yet on the floor.

The Koch Connection in Scott Walker's War on Working People

Wisconsin's embattled Governor Scott Walker took large donations from Koch Industries in the run-up to the 2010 election that swept him into office. OpenSecrets.org reports that Koch Industries donated a total of $43,000 in two separate contributions -- $15,000 on July 8, 2010 and another $28,000 on September 27, 2010 -- to the Friends of Scott Walker Political Action Committee (PAC), to help get Walker elected governor.

Firefighter Support

Firefighters at the Wisconsin State CapitolDespite Governor Scott Walker's exemption of unionized public safety workers -- firefighters, police officers and the like -- from his union-busting budget "repair" bill, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) wants to make one factor clear: Wisconsin firefighters are on the side of labor rights.

"We've got firefighters at the Capitol right now," said 5th District IAFF Vice President Joseph Conway.

Loud cheers met all firefighters and police officers joining the national news-making protests at the Wisconsin State Capitol earlier this afternoon.

Freedom Inc. Joins the Protest

Photo from the Wisconsin Capitol of Freedom IncThis week's protests are a revolt in defense of the right of public employees to self-organize. But not all the protesters here are public sector workers, or their family members. Many have recognized the role of college and high school students in initiating and energizing these protests. But few journalists have yet noted the efforts of Hmong, African American, Latino, and other activists of color to deepen and broaden the protests.

Monica Adams of the Madison-based community justice organization, Freedom, Inc., is one activist who has tried to add some color to the standard portrayal of this uprising. In an unpublished submission to the Wisconsin State Journal, earlier this week, she wrote that:

Where is the Budget Crisis?

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker alleges that dismantling public sector collective bargaining rights is made necessary by a $3.6 billion deficit in the next budget, and a $137 million shortfall this year. Setting aside the fact that the ability to negotiate shifts, seniority, benefits and conditions of employment would have a negligible impact on the deficit, and looking beyond Walker's deceptive claim that the alternative to union-busting is to kick 200,000 children off Medicaid (called "false" by Politifact), how deep is the state's economic crisis?

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