Daily Archives: March 14, 2011

Buzzflash: Scott Walker Will “Open the State up to a Corporate Asset-grab Not Seen Since the Robber Barons”

March 13, 2011- "Scott Walker's real agenda in Wisconsin: The Republican governor's budget plan would open the state up to a corporate asset-grab not seen since robber baron capitalism."

That headline is not from BuzzFlash at Truthout; it's from The Guardian UK, and it pretty much nails where the current GOP is at: Milton Friedman on a triple dose of steroids.

Yesterday, BuzzFlash at Truthout speculated about the trend of the government selling off public assets. In the end, this would lead to Grover Norquist's dream of "strangling government and drowning it in a bathtub" (a paraphrase). BuzzFlash, alas, was not being entirely sardonic when we predicted that we will have a manufactured "education crisis" resolved by selling off corporate naming rights (and perhaps ownership) to high schools, privatized teaching (mostly through computers), Wackenhut school security and even pay toilets to cover the costs of privatized sanitation services.

For anyone who thought that this was a parody, read this from The Guardian:

Think Progress: Koch Industries: The 100-Million Ton Carbon Gorilla

January 30, 2011- Koch Industries, the private company of the billionaire Koch brothers, is one of the primary sources of carbon pollution in the United States. However, the actual emissions profile of the diversified giant, with its oil and gas, chemicals, cattle, forestry, and synthetics holdings, is unknown, because of the lack of mandatory carbon reporting in the United States. Furthermore, Koch is exempt from the risk disclosures that are standard for public corporations. The financial status of Koch Industries is similarly clouded in secret, with only vague statements of annual revenue around $100 billion and the Forbes estimates of the principals’ extraordinary wealth. Charles and David Koch have directed many millions of their shared $43 billion net worth into a vast propaganda machine denying the threat of global warming pollution, corrupting American politics to permit their pollution-based enterprise to continue.

Below, the Wonk Room makes some estimates of the Koch Industries carbon footprint, based on the pollution generated by its activities and from the use of the products it sells:

Truthout: The Key to Rebuilding Workers’ Power: Unrig the Rules

March 14, 2011- The battle in Wisconsin over the rights of public-sector workers holds the potential to reawaken workers across the country to demand their fair share of the economic pie. This could be an important turning point. However, if workers are to make real progress, they must move to alter the rules of the game. These rules have been deliberately rigged against them over the last three decades.

The most obvious of these rules are those governing the rights to unionize, such as those that Gov. Scott Walker directly attacked in Wisconsin. However, this is just part of the story. Unionization has become almost impossible in the private sector, since companies routinely fire workers engaged in an organizing drive.

It is illegal to fire workers for trying to organize, but the penalties are trivial, even if a fired worker presses a case before the National Labor Relations Board long enough to win. Companies will gladly pay a few dollars to the organizers they fire in order to avoid having a union.

Other Words: The Corporate-GOP Attack on America’s Middle Class

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is but one of a flock of far-right, corporate-crested Republican governors and Congress critters waging an all-out class war.

March 14, 2011- Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's autocratic attempt to abrogate the democratic right of public employees to bargain with their governmental bosses is not wearing well with the public. Recent polls show that a mere one-third of Wisconsinites favor his blatantly political power play, and that if he had told voters in the last year's election that he intended to do this, he would've lost.

After only one month in office, Walker's approval rating has plummeted. He's become a national poster boy for right-wing anti-union extremism–so out of step that even democracy fighters in Egypt are jeering him.

Yet, Walker is but one of a flock of far-right, corporate-crested Republican governors and Congress critters who're waging an all-out class war on unionized workers. It's a shameful effort to bust the wage structure and legal protections that support America's already endangered middle class.

Think Progress: Michigan’s GOP Governor Slashes Corporate Tax Rate by 86 Percent, Hikes Taxes for Working Poor

March 14, 2011- As we’ve been documenting, several conservative governors have proposed placing the brunt of deficit reduction onto the backs of their state’s public employees, students, and middle-class taxpayers, while simultaneously trying to enact corporate tax cuts and giveaways. Govs. Rick Scott (R-FL), Tom Corbett (R-PA), and Jan Brewer (R-AZ) have all gone down this road.

Following suit, Gov. Rick Snyder (R-MI) has proposed ending his state’s Earned Income Tax Credit, cutting a $600 per child tax credit, and reducing credits for seniors, while also cutting funding for school districts by eight to ten percent. At the same time, as the Michigan League for Human Services found, the state’s business taxes would be reduced by nearly $2 billion, or 86 percent, under Snyder’s plan:

Truth Dig: Power Concedes Nothing Without a Demand

March 14, 2011- The liberal class is discovering what happens when you tolerate the intolerant. Let hate speech pollute the airways. Let corporations buy up your courts and state and federal legislative bodies. Let the Christian religion be manipulated by charlatans to demonize Muslims, gays and intellectuals, discredit science and become a source of personal enrichment. Let unions wither under corporate assault. Let social services and public education be stripped of funding. Let Wall Street loot the national treasury with impunity. Let sleazy con artists use lies and deception to carry out unethical sting operations on tottering liberal institutions, and you roll out the welcome mat for fascism.

This Can’t Be Happening: Pennsylvania’s Corbett Expands Conservative War on the Middle Class

March 12, 2011- Swinging a sledge hammer, Pennsylvania’s first-term Republican Governor Tom Corbett, smashed into educational spending and state worker jobs during his first-ever budget address recently, following in the footsteps of his conservative cost-cutting confederates across the nation.

While Corbett proposes slashing over a billion dollars in funding for pre-K through college, he spares the Keystone State’s burgeoning billion-dollar Marcellus Shale natural gas industry from his call for ‘collective sacrifice’ to close a $4-billion gap in the state’s budget.

Corbett defended his Marcellus Shale stance calling it a source of potential wealth “not just something to tax.” That industry extracting natural gas trapped in Marcellus Shale is the same industry that coincidentally provided Corbett with substantial contributions during his gubernatorial campaign last year.

Miami Herald: Keeping up with the GOP governors

Newly elected officials Republican governors, including Gov. Rick Scott, are exerting power in dramatic ways and jumping over each other for a share of the national spotlight.

March 13, 2011- It may be a bigger threat to President Barack Obama than Romney, Palin or Gingrich — a crew by the name of Christie, Scott and Walker that is slashing budgets, undercutting the new health care law and picking fights with unions.

Call 2011 the year of the Republican governor.

Newly elected officials such as New Jersey’s Chris Christie, Florida’s Rick Scott and Wisconsin’s Scott Walker are exerting power in dramatic ways and jumping over each other for a share of the national spotlight.

“Keeping up with the Christies,” chided the New York Times editorial page when Scott rejected $2.4 billion in federal funding for high-speed rail.

With more Republican legislatures behind them than any time since 1952, the governors are successfully pushing a conservative, anti-Obama agenda just as the president prepares for his re-election campaign.

Huffington Post: When FDR Came to Wisconsin to Fight the Kochs and Walkers of 1934

February 24, 2011- This past Tuesday evening, nearly 1,000 unionists and their supporters gathered here in Green Bay, Wisconsin to register their appreciation for Senator Dave Hansen, one of the 14 Democrats who have absented themselves from the state to deter passage of Governor Scott Walker's Budget Repair Bill. The bill threatens to not only severely cut workers' incomes but also effectively eliminate their collective bargaining rights.

We also came together to consider what we were going to do next about that threat. Everyone — from teachers and social workers to firefighters and snowplow drivers — said they were ready to fight on against a governor who has insisted he will not negotiate. Most, though it pained them, said they were willing to sacrifice income to address the state's budget woes. And yet nobody was willing to give up their rights. Not only in "radical" Madison, but even here in supposedly conservative Green Bay, it seemed that Americans were ready to start making democratic history again — not on the gridiron this time but in the struggle to win, and hold onto, the rights of democratic citizens and workers.

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