Daily Archives: March 17, 2011

eNews.Com: Koch Paper Mill Profits from Weak Pollution Regulation

March 16, 2011- An Arkansas paper mill owned by Koch Industries pumps out massive amounts of pollution in violation of the Clean Water Act, according an enforcement complaint filed today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and the Ouachita Riverkeeper.  The outflow from the plant fouls not only local water bodies but crosses the Louisiana border, staining a designated Natural and Scenic River.

The Georgia-Pacific mill in Crossett, Arkansas, is owned by Koch Industries, which is run by the Koch brothers–conservative activists who bankroll the Tea Party and other advocacy against government regulation. Many of their main targets have been environmental rules.  Their plant has created horrendous conditions, including –

Talking Points Memo: Progressive Groups Step Up Recall Ad Campaign

March 17, 2011- They've asked the voters, they've filled the airwaves and now they're getting down to business: Starting Thursday, a coalition of national progressives is openly calling for the recall of several Republican state Senators in Wisconsin with new TV ads aimed directly at them.

Recall fever is catching among the Wisconsin left these days. The state Democratic party has collected just about half of the signatures necessary to make a run at recalling eight state Senators eligible to have their terms cut short (Wisconsin law says only a politician who's been in office for a year or more can be recalled.)

The progressive coalition of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy For America is banging the recall drum, too, after spending more than a half-million dollars on TV ads lambasting the Republican state Senate and Gov. Scott Walker (R). Now the groups are launching the first TV spots to call for recall directly.

Talking Points Memo: Madison On The Potomac: Labor Protesters Storm Lobbyists’ Lobby In DC

March 17, 2011- For about 30 minutes Wednesday afternoon, a group of a couple hundred union workers, labor activists and progressives turned the lobby of a DC office building into a mini-Wisconsin State Capitol.

In a microcosm of the fight between labor and the Republican-led government in the Badger State, union protesters (and their progressive allies) stormed the lobby of a downtown DC office building that hold the headquarters of BGR Group, a lobbying firm that was hosting a fundraiser for, among others, several of the Republican state Senators who just voted to strip collective bargaining from thousands of Wisconsin union workers.

The protesters occupied the high-roofed marble lobby for about 30 minutes. They chanted, they spoke and they waved many of the same signs they've been waving across the Midwest for weeks. And upstairs, just as in the state Senate chamber in Madison, the targets of the protest said they were unfazed.

Huffington Post: Wisconsin Union Law Challenge Filed By Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne

March 16, 2011- Republican lawmakers violated Wisconsin's open meetings law when they amended a contentious plan that bars most public employees from collective bargaining, a Madison prosecutor alleged in a lawsuit Wednesday.

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne's legal challenge is the second from a county official since Gov. Scott Walker signed the bill into law Friday. Ozanne filed his lawsuit after Democrats in the Wisconsin Assembly alleged Republican leaders didn't give enough public notice that a committee planned to meet to amend the bill.

Ozanne, a Democrat, wants a judge to void the law and issue an emergency order blocking the secretary of state from publishing the law, which would prevent it from taking effect. He also wants each Republican leader fined $300.

Judge Maryann Sumi was scheduled to hold a hearing on the lawsuit Thursday morning.

Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk filed a lawsuit nearly identical to Ozanne's the same day Walker signed the bill, which garnered nationwide attention and drew tens of thousands of protesters to the Wisconsin Capitol for weeks.

NYT: Looking to 2012, Republicans Vie for Big Donors

November 13, 2010- Mitt Romney is not running for president, yet. But a handful of big donors have each contributed in the realm of $100,000, or more, to Mr. Romney this year through a network of state political action committees he has set up that enable him to avoid federal campaign finance limits.

Through a similar arrangement, the Minnesota governor and a potential 2012 contender, Tim Pawlenty, collected $60,000 in late September from a Texas home builder, Bob J. Perry, one of the Republican Party’s largest donors, and his wife, Doylene, and has taken sizable contributions from a slew of others.

The money, which has gone to the politicians’ “leadership PACs,” is not allowed to be used to fuel a presidential run, but it often acts as seed money to help raise a potential candidate’s national profile and provide financing to other politicians who can help him later. The contributions can also build an infrastructure of staff, offices and donors that can be later transformed into a full-fledged campaign, but this kind of spending also carries the potential of tripping over campaign finance laws.

UPI: Thousands protest at Michigan statehouse

March 17, 2011- Thousands of union members and other protesters crowded the Michigan statehouse Wednesday for a demonstration against Gov. Rick Snyder's proposed budget.

The rally was noisy, but mostly peaceful, The Detroit News reported. Crowds chanted "It's not right," referring to Snyder's plan to cut benefits and reduce collective bargaining rights for state employees.

"It's the Republican reverse Robin Hood — steal from the poor and the working class and give it to the rich and wealthy," United Auto Workers President Bob King yelled in a speech on the statehouse steps.

The rally was the biggest in the Michigan capitol so far this budget season, drawing 3,000 to 4,000 people, the newspaper said.


Buzzflash: Legislated Dictatorship: Coming to a State Near You?

March 16, 2011- In the past, modern dictatorships have been established in a variety of ways. In 1919, in response to a short-lived communist revolution, the King of Hungary appointed the first modern civilian absolute ruler, Admiral Nicholas Horthy, who became the first fascist dictator in history. In 1922, after much maneuvering, Benito Mussolini organized the "March on Rome" by his unofficial "Black Shirt" militia. King Vittorio Emmanuel III acquiesced in replacing the sitting Prime Minister chosen by Parliament with Mussolini. By 1924, with the acquiescence of Italian ruling class, Mussolini had established himself as dictator and in fact coined the modern meaning of the word "fascist" to describe his form of absolute rule.

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