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Wisconsin

Texas' New Abortion Bill Will Go to Court and Texas Women May Win


by: Edward Garris

Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 11:09 AM CDT

After the passage of the abortion bill, or HB2, Friday, two questions loom: what happens next?  When does this case go before the U.S. Supreme Court?  

Briefly, the smart money is betting that lawsuits will come swiftly, and that the Supreme Court is their ultimate destination, even if it takes some time.  How that happens requires a longer answer.

To see how HB2 and other states' laws will land in the Supreme Court, read below.

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Wisconsin Recall Fails, Voters Still Favor Obama


by: Joe Deshotel

Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 08:30 AM CDT

Scott Walker became the first governor to defeat a recall in US history. Unions and progressives thought they could take advantage of the uproar Gov. Walker caused when he forced his collective bargaining reforms through Wisconsin’s legislature.  As the petition driven recall gained momentum and became a national story both sides banked on using victory as a referendum on the other party’s policies. It was a high stakes gamble that Democrats lost because they didn’t have the money or the political will behind them.

The plan for victory, as Gov. Walker told one of his largest donors, was to ‘divide and conquer’ the unions. In his concession speech Democrat Tom Barrett acknowledged the state is in fact “deeply divided”. Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus wasted no time harnessing the win and attempting to redirect its energy toward Obama, "this was a message election about spending and debt and the size of government. That will be the central question of November."  That message was firmly ingrained into our political discourse 2010. Add in a slow recovery and high unemployment, and it should have been apparent even in progressive Wisconsin that running to maintain or increase public sector benefits was a hard sale at best. Granted pre-election polling was within the margin of error, the true results delivered a demoralizing defeat of 8%.  From the outside social media and mass media dumbed the election down to a partisan popularity contest while Wisconsin voters were actually voting on the merits of differing views of how to close that state’s $3.6 billion budget deficit.  Now we can look forward to seeing Wisconsin‘s failed gubernatorial recall spun as a referendum on everything from the Affordable Care Act to Gay Marriage.

Congratulating Walker, Mitt Romney exclaimed, “This victory will echo beyond the borders of Wisconsin.” He’s right, Walker’s 13 billionaire donors from out of state along with other big moneyed interest heard it loud and clear – on to November.  In this case it wasn’t super PACs but an obscure statute that allowed the incumbent governor to raise over $30 million by removing caps on individual donations. Either way this election is just a preview of what a post-Citizens United no donations barred campaign will look like.

The latest polls show Obama is ahead in the Badger State and exit polls from yesterday’s recall have him up by double digits. That didn’t stop RNC chairman from calling the loss an “absolute disaster for Obama”. The President did endorse Barrett but avoided campaigning for him in the state probably realizing that the risk was greater than the reward. Wisconsin Democrats wishing they had drawn the same conclusion will have to shift gears and reevaluate after this unforced error.  As for organized labor they will have to brace for the inevitable consequences of voters’ reaffirming Walker’s plan for cuts. The lesson here is not that political victories will be taken out of context but that we are in a new era of campaign fundraising and Democrats will be unable to compete with or without unions. Democratic Congresswoman Gwen Moore of Milwaukee has this advice.

You can't spend all your money on television. You've got to spend it on the ground, that's the most important thing to take away from Wisconsin. Investing on the ground more Democratic voters the polls. Even if it wasn't quite enough, people have to realize that's where you begin. That's how you build the base for winning next time.
Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Wisconsin Recall Fails, Voters Still Favor Obama


by: Joe Deshotel

Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 08:00 AM CDT

Scott Walker became the first governor to defeat a recall in US history. Unions and progressives thought they could take advantage of the uproar Gov. Walker caused when he forced his collective bargaining reforms through Wisconsin’s legislature.  As the petition driven recall gained momentum and became a national story both sides banked on using victory as a referendum on the other party’s policies. It was a high stakes gamble that Democrats lost because they didn’t have the money or the political will behind them.

The plan for victory, as Gov. Walker told one of his largest donors, was to ‘divide and conquer’ the unions. In his concession speech Democrat Tom Barrett acknowledged the state is in fact “deeply divided”. Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus wasted no time harnessing the win and attempting to redirect its energy toward Obama, "this was a message election about spending and debt and the size of government. That will be the central question of November."  That message was firmly ingrained into our political discourse 2010. Add in a slow recovery and high unemployment, and it should have been apparent even in progressive Wisconsin that running to maintain or increase public sector benefits was a hard sale at best. Granted pre-election polling was within the margin of error, the true results delivered a demoralizing defeat of 8%.  From the outside social media and mass media dumbed the election down to a partisan popularity contest while Wisconsin voters were actually voting on the merits of differing views of how to close that state’s $3.6 billion budget deficit.  Now we can look forward to seeing Wisconsin‘s failed gubernatorial recall spun as a referendum on everything from the Affordable Care Act to Gay Marriage.

Congratulating Walker, Mitt Romney exclaimed, “This victory will echo beyond the borders of Wisconsin.” He’s right, Walker’s 13 billionaire donors from out of state along with other big moneyed interest heard it loud and clear – on to November.  In this case it wasn’t super PACs but an obscure statute that allowed the incumbent governor to raise over $30 million by removing caps on individual donations. Either way this election is just a preview of what a post-Citizens United no donations barred campaign will look like.

The latest polls show Obama is ahead in the Badger State and exit polls from yesterday’s recall have him up by double digits. That didn’t stop RNC chairman from calling the loss an “absolute disaster for Obama”. The President did endorse Barrett but avoided campaigning for him in the state probably realizing that the risk was greater than the reward. Wisconsin Democrats wishing they had drawn the same conclusion will have to shift gears and reevaluate after this unforced error.  As for organized labor they will have to brace for the inevitable consequences of voters’ reaffirming Walker’s plan for cuts. The lesson here is not that political victories will be taken out of context but that we are in a new era of campaign fundraising and Democrats will be unable to compete with or without unions. Democratic Congresswoman Gwen Moore of Milwaukee has this advice.

You can't spend all your money on television. You've got to spend it on the ground, that's the most important thing to take away from Wisconsin. Investing on the ground more Democratic voters the polls. Even if it wasn't quite enough, people have to realize that's where you begin. That's how you build the base for winning next time.
Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Austinites Rally Against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker


by: Katherine Haenschen

Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 04:59 PM CST

Despite the cold weather, Austin progressives gave a warm welcome to worker-hating Wisconsin governor Scott Walker today in front of the Austin Hilton. Walker was in Austin to speak to the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a right-wing group that advances an extremely conservative agenda.

A large crowd of people from labor organizations, progressive groups, and allied organizations showed up at 11:30 to send a message: Scott Walker's anti-worker policies won't be tolerated in Texas! We know what Walker is doing in Wisconsin to teachers, police officers, firefighters, and public employees. We know Walker is slashing funding from higher education and trying to balance the budget on the backs of working people. We don't like it when Republicans do that here in Texas, and we sure don't like it when folks like Scott Walker do it in Wisconsin.





Despite the low temperatures (Wisconsinites, how do you stand it? It was in the 30's here today!!) the crowd was fired up, chanting anti-Walker rhymes across the street from the hotel. At one point, a group of TPPF guests peered from the window. Perhaps they were surprised to see that the 99% actually cares when the 1% tries to stomp out the worker protections and regulations that created the American middle class. Some of the TPPF folks even came down to talk to a few of the protesters.

To the right is TPPF Vice President of Communications Josh Trevino taking in a sign that reads "Unions: the folks who brought you the weekend. Scott Walker: that guy that makes you work the weekend!" If you like having weekends, fair wages, relative income equality, no more child labor, employer-based health coverage, and the family and medical leave act, you have labor unions to thank.

Labor unions work hard to help all workers retain basic protections, and have set standards for workers in the public sector and several unionized industries that in turn have helped all other working folks do better. Labor organizations provide a way for workers to band together and demand fair treatment: living wages, safe working conditions, basic benefits, and a way to seek redress against employers who exploit their workers. I wish every worker, public and private sector alike, had the protections that labor union members receive. Sure, a few CEO's may make a few million dollars less a year, but isn't it worth it for the rest of the 99% to do just a little bit better?

During the rally, organizers, including Becky Moeller, President of the Texas AFL-CIO, at right, reminded the crowd of Scott Walker's close relationship with the Koch brothers, conservative billionaires who fund right-wing and conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation, Americans for Prosperity, and organizations linked to the Tea Party. The crowd chanted back, "Show me what plutocracy looks like!" "This is what plutocracy looks like!" Scott Walker's administration is certainly what the plutocracy looks like: he serves the leaders of massive corporations that care more about executive profits than their workers. Rather than helping to grow the middle class and give more Americans a chance to these folks push for policies that widen our income inequality and force working families struggle to get by with less and less.

It's no surprise to see many of the current GOP presidential candidates standing up for Walker -- they all want to perpetuate his anti-worker policies on a national level. Walker's denunciation of workers' rights has become a rallying cry for the entire Republican Party.

Here in Texas, progressives watched as Wisconsinites stormed their state capitol last spring to stand up for worker's rights. We cheered as Democrats won two special recall elections to the Senate last fall. Now we're excited to see the citizen-driven effort collect hundreds of thousands of signatures to force a recall election. Walker has been forced to raise over $7 million dollars to combat the effort, half of it coming from people outside of Wisconsin. There's no doubt that the 1% will fight tooth and nail to keep Walker in office.

Wisconsin organizers, what y'all are doing to kick out your failed Governor is inspiring to all of us here in Texas, who wish we had the ability to recall our own disastrous Republican, Rick Perry.
We're happy to stand with you in your fight against policies that hurt working folks, and we're inspired by your effort to send a real message to Republicans who pursue rabid union-busting efforts.





Keep up the good work. As far as many of us at the rally today are concerned, the only person in Wisconsin who needs to lose his current job is Scott Walker!
Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Protest Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in Austin Tomorrow


by: Katherine Haenschen

Wed Jan 11, 2012 at 10:09 AM CST

Check out coverage of the January 12th rally by clicking here.

As if we didn't have enough of our own failed Republicans to deal with in Texas, embattled Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is coming to Austin this week to speak to the ultra-conservative, right-wing Texas Public Policy Foundation's annual policy orientation. And by "policy orientation" we mean "ways to screw over teachers, students, the elderly, the poor, women, minorities, and anyone who isn't a card-carrying member of the 1%."

Walker is facing a recall back home in Wisconsin, where his conservative policies have alienated a vast swath of Badger State residents. Walker has cut almost $300 million from University of Wisconsin system funding. He passed a restrictive Voter ID bill like ours in Texas, which will prevent legal, registered voters from casting a ballot. He's virulently anti-union, anti-firefighter, anti-public worker and anti-teacher, as demonstrated by his efforts to ram through a bill that slashed their benefits and destroyed collective bargaining in the state.

Basically he's like Rick Perry in one of those Packers Cheesehead hats.

(By the way, a bunch of present and former Packers players have even spoken out against Walker's all-out assault on working Wisconsinites.)

So it's no surprise he's coming to Austin to visit with the painfully anti-humanist folks at TPPF, who've never met a social safety net they didn't want to shred. Well here in Texas we know a thing or two about failed Governors. So it's no surprise to see the Texas AFL-CIO organizing people to protest Walker's attack on working Wisconsinites. Join the AFL-CIO and give Scott Walker a fitting welcome to Austin this Thursday, January 12, 11:30 a.m. at Brush Square, 4th and Neches. Let's show Scott Walker that we've heard about his terrible anti-workin' folks policies up in Wisconsin and that we don't like him coming here and telling conservative Texans how to do even more harm to the people in our state.

A release from the Wisconsin AFL-CIO about the event is below, emphasis mine:

Working Families to Protest Gov. Walker in Texas
In a show of solidarity union and community members set to protest Wisconsin Governor's fundraising trip to Austin

(MILWAUKEE, WI) - The Texas AFL-CIO and the Austin labor movement are encouraging union and community members to stand up for worker rights and to come together to support the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall effort when Governor Scott Walker visits Austin, Texas on Thursday.  There will be a Texas-style protest, at noon on Thursday, January 12 at the Hilton Austin downtown at 500 E. 4th  Street.

Gov. Walker will be speaking at the right-wing Texas Public Policy Foundation's annual policy orientation for Texas legislators.

"Wherever Scott Walker goes, working people will stand together to hold him accountable for his union-busting, middle-class destroying agenda which not only hurts people in Wisconsin but hurts working people throughout the country," said Phil Neuenfeldt, President of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO.
 "We stand together as one movement to fight for economic equality and social justice in the global economy."

"We applaud the Texas AFL-CIO for their efforts to expose Scott Walker and his extreme agenda," said Stephanie Bloomingdale, Secretary-Treasurer of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO.  "Gov. Walker's attacks on public employees, education, health care, child labor laws, and voting rights threaten the very fabric of our nation.  Fortunately, hard-working men and women are standing up in Texas and in every corner of the United States to say enough is enough."

Join the Texas AFL-CIO this Thursday, January 12 at 11:30 a.m. at 4th and Neches. They're meeting at Brush Square, that patch of grass between the Convention Center, the train station, and the Hilton.

To get your protesting juices a-flowing, here's a charming video of some folks in Wisconsin protesting Scott Walker. Read their story here.

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

GOP Votes to Gut Medicare, Kowtows to Plutocrat Piracy


by: Libby Shaw

Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 07:29 PM CDT

I have asked this question before and I will ask it again. Why do Republican voters, whose financial net worth is far less than one million dollars, continue to routinely vote for politicians that have nothing but unbridled contempt for those who fall far short of millionaire incomes?

Since January, 2011 the Republican Party has embarked on a radical mission to dismantle the social programs that were passed into law in the 20th Century. The GOP extremists want to return to the heyday of the reckless and irresponsible economic policies of the 1920s that led to the worst depression in U.S. history.

The social programs that were implemented in the 20th Century passed during a time in which there was a Democratic ethos of caring capitalism. By making investments in programs and initiatives for working Americans, tens of thousands of boats were lifted. Hard working folks had the opportunity to move up the ladders of education and attendant higher incomes. These investments ensured a secure future for a solid and thriving middle class America.

But today's radicals on the right want nothing to do with the caring part of capitalism or with floating any boat, for that matter. In fact, the extremists have no clue what the definition of care is.      

On Friday the Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives voted to gut Medicare. It did so while giving yet more tax cuts to millionaires and by making the Bush tax cuts permanent.

Just one day after Congress concluded its fight over this year's spending, the House voted 235 to 193 to approve the fiscal blueprint for 2012 drafted by Representative Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin and chairman of the Budget Committee. Besides reconfiguring the Medicare program that now serves those 65 and older, the proposal would cut the top corporate and personal income tax rates while also overhauling the Medicaid health program for the poor.
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Why the Petty Attacks? Here's Why...


by: Glenn Smith

Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 07:00 PM CST

When one campaign starts making petty, distracting, half-baked charges against their opponents, you know something is up. But what?

The latest is the accusation by the Clinton camp that Barack Obama's use of a friend's phrase -- on that friend's specific advice -- is somehow wrong, is plagiarism. Or something.

These kinds of silly charges often surface in close, hard-fought campaigns. Once, when our staff at Ann Richard's 1990 campaign got into one of these petty-offs with a Republican primary candidate, she mocked us -- publicly. "Boys and their toys," she said, in the newspaper. It stung.

Except for the gender exclusiveness, that's exactly what's going on with the accusation that Obama plagiarized his friend Deval Patrick's words. Everyone knows it's silly. Everyone knows it has no bearing on character, the substance of the campaign, the power of Obama's oratory, the originality of his thought as displayed in two books and countless speeches.

If anyone is copying anything, it's the Clinton's copying the old campaign trick of distraction. Anything, no matter how silly, how truth-stretching, how off-the-subject, is fair to throw at one's opponent when their momentum seems unstoppable. Any few minutes eaten into their time in the news cycle might make some small difference. I guess.

I don't have much patience for this childishness anymore.

Note from Phillip: One of President Bill Clinton's former speechwriters agrees with Glenn...

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"Election Integrity" Feeding Frenzy Zeros In On Proof-of-Citizenship Requirements


by: Project Vote

Thu Dec 06, 2007 at 01:40 PM CST

This diary is cross-posted from Project Vote's Daily Kos entry and our own blog, Voting Matters.

Weekly Voting Rights News Update

By Erin Ferns

As we count down to the new year - a time when the Supreme Court will weigh-in on the voter ID debate and we will cast ballots for the next president of the United States - Texas lawmakers continue to aggressively present the alleged issue of non-citizens voting. This week, voter ID was added to the list of topics to be studied by the House State Affairs Committee for the 2009 legislative session, an action deemed a partisan ploy to reintroduce the "discriminatory and divisive" legislation of 2007. Stirring the so-called voter fraud plot in Texas to greater heights,  a coalition of legislators requested Secretary of State Phil Wilson "implement more stringent proof of citizenship requirements before casting a ballot in Texas" in November 2008.

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