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Member since: Thu Apr 29, 2010, 03:31 PM
Number of posts: 53,475

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Wisconsin Republicans want your opinion on Right to Work!

They even have a web page to make it convenient for you. Let's tell them what we think.


Scott Walker's other qualifications.

Now that Squatty Wanker has certified himself as qualified to deal with terrorists because he "stood up" to the Raging Grannies in Madison, it's time to examine some of his other qualifications.

Of course we've all heard about his Masters Degree in union busting. Here's some others I've found this morning. Feel free to add.

Walker would be qualified to take on North Korean hackers because he once got his earbuds untangled.

Walker would be able to take on Vladimir Putin because he saw all the Bullwinkle and Rocky episodes with Boris Badenov and Walker is almost as smart as Bullwinkle.

Walker should be drafted by the Packers, because he's very experienced at punting.

Walker is an climate scientist, because he once shovelled his own sidewalk.

Bangladesh: The Ultimate Right to Work State


Scott Walker, the Club for Growth, The McIver Institute, ALEC, the Heritage Foundation and other 'Free Market' think tanks continue to make villains out of unions and pressure states to become “right-to -work” states. Walker did promise Diane Hendricks (one of his Plutocrat co-owners) that he would “divide and conquer” the Wisconsin's middle class in his determination to make Wisconsin a “right-to-work” state. He has done this successfully, with the help of right-wing radio, and now Wisconsinites are pitted against each other, private employees are pitted against public employees and rural against urban dwellers. But, no reduction in wages and workers rights will satisfy the plutocrats who own Walker. As long as there is a 14 year girl in Bangladesh who they can force to work for $38 a month, these billionaires will not be happy with American workers making anything more than minimum wage. In fact, Ron Johnson, our Senior Senator recently told a constituent that he supports the lowering of the minimum wage as a stimulant to job creation. Just as there is no end to their greed and no amount of money or profit that will satisfy the free market folks, there is no limit to the sacrifice that they will expect from labor and workers to increase their profits.

Look at the label in any recent garment you may have purchased. If it is from Bangladesh it is from a “Right-to-Work” state. Bangladesh has 3.5 million workers in 4,825 garment factories. These workers produce goods for export to the global market, principally Europe and North America. The Bangladeshi garment industry generates 80% of the country’s total export revenue. However, similar to the United States, the wealth generated by the workers has led to few improvements in the lives of those same workers, 85% of whom are women.

The majority of garment workers in Bangladesh earn little more than the minimum wage, set at approximately $38 a month. Remember those pesky American Labor unions and their greedy demands for decent salaries, the eight hour day, safe working conditions, week-ends off. These unreasonable demands have no place in Bangladesh, and for that matter, in Ron Johnson's America.

A recent report by the 'War on Want” NGO reveals; “As well as earning a pittance, Bangladeshi factory workers face appalling conditions. Many are forced to work 14-16 hours a day seven days a week, with some workers finishing at 3am only to start again the same morning at 7.30am. On top of this, workers face unsafe, cramped and hazardous conditions which often lead to work injuries and factory fires. Since 1990, more than 400 workers have died and several thousand more have been wounded in 50 major factory fires. Sexual harassment and discrimination is widespread and many women workers have reported that the right to maternity leave is not upheld by employers. Factory management also take steps to prevent the formation of trade unions, a right protected under the Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining ILO Conventions, which Bangladesh ratified in 1972.”

The Progressive: Scott Walker: Big, Bold, and Wrong


But don’t expect a repeat of the historic protests of 2011. Walker’s successful drive to effectively do away with collective bargaining by public employees is having one very visible effect: teachers—who led the massive rallies against Act 10—can no longer get out of school for a day to march in protest. Nor can they attend hearings on the destruction of unions, or, for that matter, on Walker’s massive budget cuts to schools.

“Most of our members can’t take a personal day now to stand up for their partners in labor, because it’s a one-sided situation in our schools,” says Christina Brey of the Wisconsin Education Council (WEAC).

“Even for hearings on budgets, in the past, educators could have a union day or a personal day to testify,” says Brey. “Now they are doubly removed from the process. They are no longer at the bargaining table, and they can’t get to Madison to testify. This was the plan all along—to disempower workers.

Union membership in Wisconsin has plummeted on Walker’s watch, which weakens labor’s political power. That’s good for Republicans, since unions are the only significant financial and organizing power pushing back against the corporations and billionaires who bankroll Republicans like Walker.

The Progressive: Black girls matter, too


“Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected” was released in early February by the African American Policy Forum and Columbia University’s Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies. It “endeavors to shine a spotlight on the various factors that direct girls of color down dead-end streets while obscuring their vulnerabilities.”

The report observes that “black boys and girls were subject to larger achievement gaps and harsher forms of discipline than their white counterparts.” It harshly assesses punitive disciplinary measures. “Increased levels of law enforcement and security personnel within schools sometimes make girls feel less safe and less likely to attend school,” it states. The report is also critical of how ineffective schools often are in stopping the sexual harassment and bullying of girls.

The study is largely based on interviews with girls directly impacted by such policies. It makes a number of recommendations.

We need to “expand existing opportunities to ensure the inclusion of black girls and other girls of color in policy research, advocacy, and programmatic interventions” and “ensure an equitable approach to funding that supports the needs of women and girls as well as those of men and boys,” it says. And, it states, we must make sure to “develop ways to help girls feel safe without an overreliance on punitive interventions,” as well as “develop robust protocols that ensure that school personnel enforce all students’ rights to learn in an environment free of sexual harassment and bullying.”

Said on the TeeVee

Seth Meyers

A new CBS News poll shows Chris Christie is ranked ninth out of all Republican presidential candidates. He's just behind Bobby Jindal and just ahead of a gun wearing a cowboy hat.

Jimmy Fallon

New Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said that he is open to letting transgender people serve in the military. He said there’s no reason to prevent people from being generals just because of their privates.


For the fifth year in a row the Academy Award for best animated short went to Tom Cruise.

Jimmy Kimmel

Alaska today officially legalized marijuana for recreational use. I think they did this years ago. That's how the Palin kids ended up with those names, right?

Right to Work is Wrong for Wisconsin: The Wreck of the Walker Fitzgerald (pic report from 2/25/15)

Tuesday and Wednesday marked new protests in Madison, Wisconsin as the Republican-controlled state government rammed Right-to-Work (for less) legislation down our throats.

Many unions were represented here this week, and the crowd numbers, while far below those of the 2011 protests, were still significant.

Songs were sung, prayers were led, speeches were given, and there were calls for a general strike.

We got support from our brothers south of the border, despite them having their own problems.

As always, Wisconsinites showed both creativity and political awareness in making protest signs.

Labor Rally In Madison Today and Tomorrow


A rally to oppose the Republicans Trash Work (RTW) bill is set for Tuesday and Wednesday at noon at the Capitol:

See you there tomorrow!!

Democratic Party of Milwaukee County asked to expel Cty Exec Abele for attack on pensions

We really need more efforts like this to get these Republican shills out of our Party

from my email ...

Democratic Party of Milwaukee County
170 S. 2nd Street Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53204

Dear Executive Board Members:

I am writing to request that the Democratic Party of Milwaukee County and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin act under Article VIII of the Milwaukee County Party Constitution to either expel or censure Milwaukee County Executive and Party member, Chris Abele, for his decision on Monday, February 16th to veto the 14-2 vote by the Milwaukee County Board to protect the pensions of over two hundred Milwaukee County retirees. This decision demonstrates Abele’s true colors and reveals that his personal platform is fundamentally at odds with the beliefs of the Democratic Party.

The 2014 Democratic Party Platform states that “[o]ne of the primary jobs of government is to ensure that everyone can lead dignified, healthy and fulfilling lives.” It states that the Party will ensure that everyone receives “fair and equal treatment under the law” with an explicit understanding that “senior citizens . . . face formidable challenges.” Specifically, the Platform clearly requires that “pension and other retirement funds must be strictly safeguarded and responsibly managed through regulation.”

Over the last ten months, Chris Abele has violated these Party pillars and upended the lives of over 200 retirees by unnecessarily threatening to take away their pensions despite the fact that some of his victims had been retired for over two decades and were living on a fixed income. For example, over 40% of the affected retirees relied on the County’s advice to invest in a pension program using their retirement savings. Had they opted to use cash instead, like hundreds of other retirees, their pension benefits would have been the same, but they would not have been threatened by Abele’s attack. Instead, Abele used the County’s accounting error as an opportunity to collect over $26 million in past pension payments in a self-created pension scandal.

Chris Abele was caught with his hand in the Milwaukee pension scandal cookie jar, but the media coverage regarding his actions has been extremely biased due to the history of pension scandals in Milwaukee and the overwhelming influence of Abele’s family fortune; however, the facts below will demonstrate that Abele’s actions exhibit a fundamental rejection of the principles of the Democratic Party in a naked attempt to catapult himself politically on the backs for elderly retired County workers a la his ally, Scott Walker.

Back in April 2014, Chris Abele was notified of an unresolved pension issue that was left over from the Scott Walker regime. The issue had been dormant since 2007 as the County was awaiting instructions from the IRS about how to resolve their accounting error. Upon this revelation, County Executive Abele directed a letter to be sent to the over 200 affected retirees informing them of imminent changes to their pensions. No further information was provided and retirees were informed that more information would be provided in September, five months later.

Along with the letter, Chris Abele did an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which led to the April 23rd article entitled, "Milwaukee County Demands Pension Repayments Because of 'Buyback' Errors." For those retirees, that article added context to the cryptic letter they received that week. That context horrified the retirees because Abele was essentially threatening to send a debt collector to recoup pension money that had been spent decades ago.

After receiving no additional information from the County Executive or the Pension Board, a group of retirees went directly to Chris Abele's office to demand answers. Their action can be seen here or in this MJS article. The County Executive purposely cancelled his appearance that evening to avoid meeting the retirees.

There was practically no contact or new information provided to these retirees between the May Finance Committee meeting and the December Milwaukee County Finance Committee meeting except for a letter sent in September notifying them that a resolution had been delayed with no future timeline provided.

It was revealed in July, but not explained to the retirees until December, that the County had two options for resolving the buy-in/buy-back situation: Option 1 would be to change three ordinances to retroactively put the pension investments in compliance with the IRS rules.

Option 1 would have no cost to taxpayers and had been endorsed by the Pension Board because the fund had already included the retirees in their actuarial calculations so continuing to pay them would have no impact on other County retirees. Option 2 would be to collect past pension payments and cut the future benefits of over 200 retirees, some of whom have been retired for literally decades.

Option 2 was endorsed by Chris Abele when he stated in the April 23rd article that "I'm going to aggressively try to recover whatever I can." He went on to say that collecting the payments was "important to taxpayers and other retirees."

However, Abele's initial plan to collect over $26 million in past pension payments would have harmed taxpayers because over $20 million of that $26 million would have been uncollectible based on a 6-year statute of limitations on the collection of pension payments and the County would owe the Pension fund the full $26 million if they couldn’t collect that money from the elderly and even the estates of deceased retirees! Therefore, Abele's initial position would have cost taxpayers money when an alternative existed that would do no harm to any of the affected parties and would have allowed the County to honor its obligations. With his expressed reason for supporting the pension cuts debunked, the only logical reason for Chris Abele’s position is his political ambition.

Since the absurdity of Abele's initial plan was revealed last month, the County Executive has proposed a “compromise” plan that would limit the pension theft to only future pension payments. However, his new plan fails to address the contractual liability of the County due to the fact that the benefit was offered to employees by the County and the fact that the IRS mistake was the cause of an oversight by the County's accountants, not the retirees that were given the improper advice. His new “compromise” plan would cause 12 retirees to lose their pensions altogether and more than 25% of the retirees would lose over 20% of their future pension benefits.

Abele’s plan was unanimously rejected by the Milwaukee County Finance committee and “Option 1” was adopted unanimously by the Committee and approved by a vote of 14 -2 by the full Milwaukee County Board, including radical conservative Deanna Alexander.

Chris Abele’s pension theft plan has been completely exposed by the Milwaukee County Board, but his “compromise” is still considered reasonable in the eyes of the public due to the comments of Chris Abele and the biased reporting on the issue by pension scandal profiteers from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Dave Umhoefer) and Urban Milwaukee (Bruce Murphy).

Thankfully, the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors voted to override Chris Abele’s veto, but the threat remains of an influential elected Party member willing to damage the reputation of the Democratic Party by actively advocating for positions that are in fundamental opposition to the Party’s Platform.

I urge this Executive Board to vote to expel or censure Chris Abele due to his failure to ensure that Milwaukee County government treats their retirees fairly and equally under the law. Chris Abele has failed to allow over 200 retirees to continue to lead dignified, healthy, and fulfilling lives. He has instead put their lives on hold for nearly a year and placed a dark cloud of financial ruin above their heads in their most vulnerable years. Chris Abele must be held accountable for attempting to break the commitments his County made to these retirees. I appreciate your consideration and look forward to a hearing on this matter.

Respectfully Submitted,

Dennis Hughes
Democratic Party of Milwaukee County Member

My fight-to-the-end, liberal bastion sister is getting demoralized, but keeps hope in her heart.

This is the email she sent me a few minutes ago ...

I have no real hope that, short of a sudden heart attack, we're going to stop Walker. I'm feeling that all we can do is hunker down, save as much as we can, hoping there's something left to save, and take care of each other until the worm turns. He's selected his victims carefully: those resented by the ignorant and angry. But sooner or later he'll go after them too, and the the worm will turn.

"The lowliest worm will turn when trodden upon." ~ Shakespeare
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