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Intro: "The manufactured budget 'crisis' in Wisconsin is being used as cover for an assault on the rights of American working people."

Portrait, AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka, 10/26/09. (photo: Damon Winter/NYT)
Portrait, AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka, 10/26/09. (photo: Damon Winter/NYT)

RSN Special Coverage: GOP's War on American Labor your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+25 # DPM 2011-02-23 23:27
Not a union booster? Enjoy minimum wage, 8 hour day, 40 hour work week, breaks, paid vacation, paid holidays, any kind of benefits at all? You wouldn't have any of that but for unions. So, even if you don't want to join a union or even like unions, without them you will work for ever falling wages and no benefits. We will go back to the 1880's. How do you feel about child labor?
The corporate monsters and Fascist politicians will stop at nothing to enhance their power and deny the rest of us a decent living and comfortable life.
+17 # Regina 2011-02-24 01:16
All the Republican Party seems to know is WAR -- WAR on Afghanistan even though the Afghan government did not dispatch the 9/11 slaughterers; WAR on Iraq, based on deliberate lies about WMD; WAR on women, because they refuse to be baby-making automata; WAR on gays, because they defy the Bible's imprecations. They may have contained the WAR on non-whites, somewhat, but the WAR on non-Christians continues, now against Muslims since the WAR on Jews has been shamed. So now we have a refreshed -- not new! --WAR on labor. How unoriginal. Just Republican.
+14 # jlohman 2011-02-24 02:38
We now know that Walker's budget bill is not about the budget at all. He has already succeeded in getting the union to accept his financial demands, but he's holding out for the impossible removal of the collective bargaining rights, which have nothing to do with budgets.

No, what Walker really wants is the poison pill embedded in the budget bill; the right for him to sell off state-owned assets of our power plants using a no-bid process. And incidentally, the Billionaire energy tycoons, the Koch Brothers from Texas and his fourth largest campaign contributors, are standing in the wings.

Even if I could agree with his union demands I sure don't like his back-handed move to reward a contributor with taxpayer assets.

Jack Lohman
+8 # AndreM5 2011-02-24 12:26
There is nothing back-handed about this assault. Corporations get to organize and pool resources to buy Congress, but workers cannot collectively bargain for rights and benefits. That is their ideal formula.

(Kochs aren't from Texas.)
+11 # motamanx 2011-02-24 06:41
We wouldn't need unions only if corporations and ceos played fair. They don't, so we do.
+15 # genierae 2011-02-24 07:02
Unions by their very nature are a serious threat to corporate tyranny. People, coming together and standing up for their rights, are capable of taking back this country from those elites that have stolen it from us. That is why Walker and his corporate owners are so desperate to destroy unions before they regain power across this country. I think that seeing the Egyptian people wrest their country away from Mubarak, simply by sustained peaceful protest, has inspired millions of Americans, and made them realize that we can do the same here. Power to the people!!
+13 # fredboy 2011-02-24 07:07
Manufacturing obscurity to camouflage self interest is indeed the evil art of the political strategist. In Florida the GOP governor and legislature are doing their all to prolong the housing crisis for another two years so they can blame Obama for their mess in 2012. Disgraceful, and the people are too stupid to see it.

PT Barnum was right.
+13 # mtnview 2011-02-24 09:24
With the help of Marc Ash, editor of RSN, I just read the entire Wisconsin bill. Your can read it on line. This bill is clearly designed to break unions. However, there is one provision which allows the executive branch to sell off public assets, power and utility facilities, on no-bid contracts, for any amount, and with no report required to the legislature. Why is this provision in this bill? Is it possible the Governor is going to sell to the Koch Industries so they can establish a so-called "clean-coal" utility? This provision, Section 44 of this bill, makes no sense otherwise. Often a sneaky little insert into an otherwise organized bill, betrays some real intent. Heads up Wisconsin
+5 # Buckles 2011-02-24 11:11
We need Democrats to come out for our rights here in Wisconsin, begining with the President, and those in the US Senate.Why are they so silent? Wheres Gov. Doyle defending our people and unions? Walker will destroy our state and has a good start.
+8 # Wolfchen 2011-02-24 11:33
Corporate Republican Game Plan:
First attack the public employees unions; then further bludgeon the private sector unions. Voila: Destroy all unions.

This is the same modus operandi that they use in destroying the power of the middle class. Look at how they’ve been largely successful in damaging our national industrial base. Remember when they first started with the mantra that outsourcing our jobs was good for our national economy by making us more productive and competitive! They said that the jobs to be outsourced would be low-paying jobs, and they proclaimed that Americans would benefit by concentrating on more highly skilled jobs. Then they began to outsource semi-skilled jobs, and still many Americans did not complain. After all, it was the other guy’s oxen that were being gored. Then came the outsourcing of highly skilled jobs such as those in technology…well , you get the picture.

How do they expect to succeed in establishing an American corporatocracy? Very simple but effective: Divide and concur the various interest sections of a population; buy off politicians (an easy undertaking) to further such objectives; stack the Supreme Court with political cronies so as to make such practices legal. It’s time to successfully fight back. Do not compromise with those who’d turn you into slaves of industry.
+4 # balconesfalk 2011-02-24 14:03
From a third of the American workforce in 1979, union members have shrunk to a mere 7.2 percent.
The push is not only to undo all the gains previously enjoyed by unions but to eliminate the middle class, undo Row v. Wade, destroy the social safety nets put in place by FDR and dismantle Campaign Finance Reform. To whit:
"In January 2010, right after the Citizens United ruling, Bopp told the New York Times “We had a 10-year plan to take all this down. If we do it right, I think we can pretty well dismantle the entire regulatory regime that is called campaign finance law. ... We have been awfully successful and we are not done yet.”!
Destroy the economy, close schools, dismantle reforms, disrupt social welfare programs--these people won't stop until we are again living under feudalism.
At least plantation slaves had food and shelter. Todays overlords live in gated communities, keeping homeless, jobless, street rabble at bay. The middle class is under siege, evaporating before our very eyes, in a well funded mission by the extreme right wing.
On Saturday, Feb. 26, at a state capitol near you, at high noon--demonstra te in Solidarity with Wisconsin. Make your own signs. It's time to Walk Like Egyptians.
+5 # Lisa D 2011-02-24 14:44
an analogy in one sentence: unions were one of Hitler's first targets ... food for thought

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