Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hundreds protest ALEC at fancy resort in AZ

The Benedict Arnold Koch brothers' favorite front group was met with hundreds of protesters at their luxury vacation conference in Scottsdale, Ariz., today.

Protesters against the American Legislative Exchange Council included labor union members, civil rights groups, Occupy Phoenix and faith groups. ALEC lobbies on behalf of corporate greed while pretending to be a nonpartisan public interest group.

The demonstrators faced a large police presence, including helicopters.
@OccupyPhoenix is protesting the #ALEC meeting in #AZ, large police presence and helicopters. #ALECexposed #OccupyPhoenix #Arizona
Several people were pepper sprayed. KTAR reports:
One protester spoke about why he was joining in on the protest.
"I would just say that anyone out there who is against corporate greed, and who wants to see this "one percent" that you've been hearing about across this country to come out here in Scottsdale to see the corporations and the politicians coming together to draft these laws," Alex Soto said. "And not just laws, but overall policies that are making the rich get richer and not allow everybody else not be a part of the simple human right to just be who we are."

A total of six arrests have been made.
We'll have more as we get reports.

Canada Teamsters picket Sotheby's auction in Toronto

Teamsters on Monday disrupted a Sotheby's auction in Toronto, bringing to six the number of major cities where the auction house's reputation for reckless greed has been spotlighted. Teamsters and our union brothers and sisters picketed the union-busting pawn shop for the rich in New York, London, Geneva, Sydney and now Toronto.

Sotheby's, which wants to turn good union jobs into crap Walmart jobs, didn't have any comment on the picket. But sometimes auctioned art speaks louder than words. Sotheby's auctioned off a painting called "Country Club" -- depicting two ladies lunching -- for $1,095,000, even as it deprived 43 art handlers of their paychecks. The .1 percent vs. the 99 percent.

Here's what Teamsters Canada had to say about the protest:
Sotheby’s has demanded pay cuts and the right to terminate the employees’ pension fund. The company also wants to replace experienced unionized handlers with temporary, unskilled employees. These demands come on the heels of record profits and changes to Sotheby’s board of directors, which NewsCorp’s James Murdoch joined last year. In 2010, the company earned $774 million and it recently nearly doubled the salary of its CEO.
Protesters held banners and distributed leaflets at the auction that read, “Sotheby’s Creates Misery” and “Stop The War On Art Workers.”
“Sotheby’s attack on workers is unconscionable when the company is earning record profits. Sotheby’s even hired the union-hostile law firm Jackson Lewis to attempt to starve the workers into agreeing to their demands,” said Randy Doner, President of Joint Council 52 of the Teamsters Union.
“I want to thank our Canadian brothers and sisters for their solidarity. My colleagues and I have families to feed, and we need this support as we fight for our jobs,” said Dorian Malloy, Jr., a seven-year art handler at Sotheby’s. “While Sotheby’s and the rest of the top 1 percent of Americans enjoy the majority of America’s wealth, those of us in the bottom 99 percent need to stick together and stand up to these abuses.”
The Globe and Mail describes the protest:
Clients at Sotheby’s Monday evening sale of Canadian art were met outside Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum by about 50 protesters who had set up an information picket line in support of locked-out art handlers at Sotheby’s in New York City.
With about seven police officers watching, the pickets, from local unions and labour organizations as well as a trio of handlers from New York, did nothing to impede visitors from entering the ROM...
We especially like this comment from our sister Kelly Leigh Andrews:
Now they did it. They got the Canadian Teamsters involved. They are so in trouble.
And here are some more photos of the action.

Inspiration Wednesday: 'Celebration'

Not exactly a union song, but appropriate for today's defeat of right-to-work for less in New Hampshire today.

And we liked the media's take on it. Here's the Associated Press:
In a cat-and-mouse game over union rights, New Hampshire’s labor unions have prevailed despite Republican House Speaker William O’Brien’s attempt to time the vote on a vetoed bill to his advantage.
The House voted 240-139 Wednesday to sustain Gov. John Lynch’s veto of a bill that barred unions from collecting a share of costs from non-members. The vote killed the bill. Cheers erupted from the gallery from union workers who attended session after session to urge the bill’s defeat since Lynch vetoed it in May.
O’Brien had been working to get enough votes to override the veto.

Teamsters picket British Embassy in solidarity with UK strikers

Teamsters are picketing the British Embassy in Washington and the consulate in New York in solidarity with the millions of workers on strike in the UK.

They're protesting the government's attempt to make them work harder for less money and a more difficult retirement.

In Washington, Teamsters are there with nurses (NNU), teachers (AFT), service workers, (SEIU), letter carriers (NALC), and members of the British union Unison. There are well over 100 people marching and chanting:

No ifs, No Buts
No public sector cuts
They say cut back

We say fight back
Tories Tories, Rich and rude
We don't like your attitude.
We'll have more on the action in a little while. Meanwhile, you can follow the action in the UK here.

Woo-hoo! Right to work for less fails in NH!!

Right-to-work for less failed again in New Hampshire.
@gagnon03743 tweets the good news: #FITN #NHHouse vote to sustain gov, veto on RTW 240 - 139
The two-thirds threshold to override Gov. John Lynch's veto of the bill was not met. Another battle in the War on Workers won.

But there'll be pleny more.

Ruh-roh: NH House to vote on right-to-work today

The New Hampshire House is debating right-to-work to destroy unions even as we blog. Gov. John Lynch vetoed a right-to-work for less bill in May. House Speaker Bill O'Brien, a Caribbean island paradise dweller, has been trying to override that veto ever since.

Our sources tell us the vote today will be close. If it fails, there are two more scheduled opportunities left for the speaker to call the vote to sustain or override veto: December 14th  and before formally opening the new session on January 4. He can also call a special session.

Corporate-backed lobbyists have ramped up efforts to force this heinous bill through the Legislature. They're paying for patch-through calls, direct mail and radio advertising. They also held a rally and breakfast for legislators. You can bet our side is rallying -- and feeding lawmakers -- as well.

Here's what we know about the action on the floor of the New Hampshire House from the tweetosphere:
@NH AFLCIO: Rep Quant: in the last election, state employees endorsed Republicans! This isn't about party #rtw4less #NHHouse
@NHAFLCIO: Speaker threatens to clear the gallery if we don't maintain "composure". We've been warned, I guess? #RTWforless #NH
@NHAFLCIO: "there is no need to change the NH advantage when it is working" #stopRtW #standupNH
@NHRepRichardson: I don't think I've ever seen the #NHHouse anteroom so empty during what is guaranteed to be a long debate. Def listening to speeches closely
Stay tuned. We'll keep you posted.

Today's Teamster News 11.30.11

Teamsters Support UK Strike By Public Sector Workers  IBT   ...Teamsters are joining the National Nurses Union and other union members at the British Embassy today to stand in solidarity with the more than three million public sector workers on strike in the UK to protest government austerity measures and attacks on pensions there...
Right to work veto override vote coming?  Manchester Union-Leader   ...Supporters and opponents of right to work legislation plan to be at the (New Hampshire) State House in force Wednesday for a possible veto override vote...
GOP Pushes 'Right-To-Work' In TV Ads  The Indychannel   ...The ads, airing in Indianapolis and Fort Wayne, show House Speaker Brian Bosma calling right-to-work a top priority in the next legislative session...
Occupy L.A.: Cleanup of City Hall campsite begins  Los Angeles Times   ...A small cadre of police officers remained on the steps on the south side of Los Angeles City Hall early Wednesday, but most had already cleared out after the LAPD's sweep of the Occupy L.A. encampment...
Yes, Virginia. The banks really were bailed out.  interfluidity   ...the government paid for and ought to have owned several large banks lock, stock, and barrel. Instead, officials carefully engineered deals to avoid ownership and control...
The Real America  The Economic Populist   ... Like prey in the spider's web of tall tales, we're stunned and hypnotized into no longer seeing the poverty and despair all around us...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

UK strike: Just the beginning?

Tomorrow's general strike in the UK could be just the beginning of a wave of disruptions, union leaders warned today. They say millions of people will walk off the job to protest working longer for less money and a crappier retirement.

According to the Associated Press,
The unions claim as many as two million border agency workers, teachers, garbage collectors, firefighters and other public sector staff will join the 24-hour strike which begins shortly after midnight, plunging air travel and many basic services into disarray.
Many strikers will also be motivated by Britain's painful austerity measures, which on Tuesday saw the government extend a limit on public sector pay rises through 2014.
Airport operator BAA, which runs London's Heathrow airport, has warned that passengers could face 12-hour delays as immigration staff leave their posts. Education officials say nine out of 10 schools will close.
"For most people, the size of this strike will be unprecedented in their lifetime," said John Kelly, a professor of industrial relations at the Birkbeck University of London.
Kelly said that if around 1.5 million to 2 million workers join the strike it would be the largest one-day walkout since the early 1970s. If the numbers exceed that, it could match Britain's 1926 General Strike, he said.
Teamsters will be marching in solidarity with their brothers and sisters overseas. At noon tomorrow, they'll head toward the British Embassy in Washington, D.C. Led by the National Nurses Union, there will also be solidarity rallies at British consulates in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Orlando and San Francisco.

Here's what the nurses have to say:
The actions come amidst huge corporate cash reserves on both sides of the Atlantic while government officials in both nations push reductions in retirement security and other cuts. In the U.K., some 30 unions representing nurses, teachers, paramedics, civil servants, and other public workers will protest plans by the conservative government to cut public pensions. In the U.S., support rallies will also remind the public of threats to Social Security as well.
U.S. rally locations, all actions at 12 noon local time:Washington, D.C. – Embassy of the United Kingdom, 3100 Massachusetts Ave. NW Boston – Consulate, One Broadway, Cambridge Chicago – Consulate, 625 N. Michigan Ave. Los Angeles – Consulate, 11766 Wilshire Blvd. Orlando – Consulate, 200 South Orange Ave. San Francisco – Consulate, One Sansome St.

ALEC to get Occupied in AZ

One of the Benedict Arnold Koch brothers' favorite front groups, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), is having a confab at the luxurious Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz., starting tomorrow. Lawmakers are bribed invited to attend. As ALEC Watch reports,
ALEC membership has its benefits, and for 2,400 or so state legislators across the nation who belong to ALEC, chief among them each year is the opportunity to take at least one all-expenses-paid trip that looks a lot like a vacation.
If you're just catching up, ALEC lobbies for corporate greed. Oh, and it embodies everything that's wrong with our political system. ALEC is especially fond of disenfranchising voters, privatizing prisons, cutting funds for public education and getting rid of enviromental regulations. It claims to be nonpartisan. It is, if you consider Sarah Palin nonpartisan.

In honor of ALEC's Arizona resort vacation conference, the People for the American Way Foundation and Common Cause released a report today about Arizona's very special embrace of corruption by ALEC. Here's the Tucson Citizen:
Arizona’s state lawmakers are especially receptive to corporate money and influence, according to a new report from two liberal-leaning advocacy groups.
The 100-page report strives to show how the American Legislative Exchange Council uses “its resources to shepherd legislation from the corporate boardroom to the governor’s desk,” said Marge Baker, executive vice president at the Washington D.C,-based People for the American Way Foundation.

ALEC describes itself as a nonpartisan national association of state legislators.

Critics, however, say it is a conservative-based partisan organization that brings together about 300 large corporations and 2,000 predominately Republican legislators on task forces to produce model bills.
Tomorrow, Day One of the lawmakers' luxurious vacation conference is a Day of Action in Phoenix. Occupy Phoenix will lead a protest at the resort, and there'll be a press conference at the Arizona Statehouse exposing ALEC's misdeeds. Members of other local groups and Occupiers from other cities are expected to answer the national call for action against ALEC.

We'll keep you posted.

Today's Teamster News 11.29.11

Knight: Teamsters’ strength stands up to power (opinion)  Pekin Daily Times less than a month, the union has shown that a determined few can stand up for themselves; with their union brothers and sisters they can stand up to the rich and powerful...
Walker Recall Effort Says 300,000 Signatures In  Associated Press   ...The United Wisconsin coalition needs 540,208 signatures by Jan. 17 to force a recall election sometime in 2012...
Rich James: Indiana doesn’t need right-to-work legislation (opinion)  Post-Tribune   ...there will be an unwarrated attack upon organized labor. The Republicans, who do the bidding of corporations and other businesses, will seek the passage of a right-to-work bill...
Voting Rights Advocate Held At Gunpoint By SWAT Team With No Warrant  Crooks and Liars   ...Last Monday, attorney Barbara Arnwine was rudely awakened by the sounds of a police raid on her home...
Euro zone crisis biggest threat to global economy-OECD  Reuters   ...The euro zone has already entered a mild recession but much worse could follow unless policy makers take decisive action to get ahead of the market...
Judge Blocks Citigroup Settlement With S.E.C.  New York Times   ... Taking a broad swipe at the Securities and Exchange Commission’s practice of allowing companies to settle cases without admitting that they had done anything wrong, a federal judge on Monday rejected a $285 million settlement between Citigroup and the agency...

Monday, November 28, 2011

2.6M expected to strike on 11.30.11 in the UK

Our brothers and sisters in the TUC are planning a ginormous strike on Wednesday to protest the Tory government's plan to slash their pensions.

Led by National Nurses United, Americans will hold noon rallies at the British Embassy and consulates around the country.  The Teamsters stand in solidarity with them and support Wednesday’s action.

The Mirror explains why they're striking in Britain:
THEY can ill afford to lose a day’s pay before Christmas – but that’s what thousands of the nation’s lowest-paid people are set to do.
Dinner ladies, street sweepers, binmen and care workers will be shoulder to shoulder with teachers and civil servants in striking on Wednesday. They are united on one big issue – the Tory-led coalition’s pension reforms aim to make them “pay more, work longer and get less on retirement”.
The leaders of 30 public sector unions who balloted 2.6 million workers expect two million to walk out in protest on the TUC Day of Action.
And they hope to win public support. Surely the least well-off workers should not be made to pay the price of the bankers’ greed that led to a recession.
The nurses explain why we're supporting them (as if it isn't obvious):
Like their U.S. counterparts, British officials want to slash public worker pensions to cut public deficits— even though, like Social Security in the U.S., British pension funds are financially sound.

The cluelessness of twitter trolls

If you follow twitter (and we do), you've encountered the nasty right-wingers who tweet about "union thugs" and "union bosses" and "socialists" -- along with commentary that lacks, um, any basis in fact or reality.

Today, we got a good look at the cluelessness of twitter trolls, that is to say we peered into a yawning heart of darkness. The Manchester Union-Leader had endorsed Newt Gingrich for president. (Never mind that the millionaire lobbyist from McLean, Va., is only pretending to run.) The twittersphere ran with it.

As Gawker reports, the trolls tweeted that union bosses had endorsed Newt Gingrich. No, we're not kidding.
naskovj: if a union boss says yes 2 Gingrich, that's reason enuff for conservative voters 2 say no #tcot

SchoolerLA: The unions are now endorsing Newt...WTH
cappymar: the same union that just endorsed Newt did the same for McCain in 2008...hmmm ... telling
Yeah, it's telling all right.

(H/T to Brad DeLong.)

How about 'right to shirk' for taxpayers?

Rally against right-to-shirk in Indiana earlier this year.
Indianapolis Star columnist Dan Carpenter has a tremendous response to the Indiana politicians who are hell-bent on passing a right-to-work for less law next year. Carpenter proposes a "right to shirk" law.

He points out that right-to-work allows workers to shirk the cost of their union representation. And he suggests taxpayers be given the right to shirk the cost of their state government representation. In other words, if a Hoosier taxpayer doesn't like the job House Speaker Brian Bosma is doing, he could simply withhold his taxes.  

Carpenter writes,
The way it would work is, any taxpayer who did not care to pay for efforts undertaken on his behalf -- the salaries of the governor and legislators, say -- could simply opt out. If those public servants failed to make a strong enough case for voluntary contributions, they'd just have to go scratch.

How could House Speaker Brian Bosma, for instance, object? "The campaign for freedom," as he describes the Republican drive for right-to-work legislation, ought to extend to every citizen who doesn't want to pay for what he doesn't want to pay for.
Carpenter hits the nail on the head when he points out that right-to-work for less creates problems instead of solving them:
Like so much of the baldly partisan law that's been shoved through the Statehouse in recent years, right to work solves no problem in the real universe but instead creates new ones by antagonizing all sorts of folks, not only Democratic lawmakers, who might otherwise be enlisted to pursue the common good.
Wouldn't it be better, he asks, for Republicans and Democrats to work together to pass the Democrats' long list of jobs bills? (Short answer: Yes.)

Lonnie Stevans, a professor at Hofstra University, wrote a letter to the editor of the Muncie Star Press pointing out the real reason for right-to-work for less laws:

The results of my research show that there is no difference in the number of business formations between right-to-work and non-right-to-work states.

Moreover, from a state's economic standpoint, being right-to-work yields little or no gain in employment and real economic growth. In fact, wages and personal income are lower in right-to-work states.

Given this, one has to wonder if there are ulterior reasons for the unrelenting promotion of the right-to-work "philosophy" -- and if these reasons are grounded in an anti-worker, anti-union mentality.
Keep up with the war on workers in Indiana at the StandUpForHoosiers Facebook page.

Today's Teamster News 11.28.11

Deadline passes for Occupy Philly, LA  NBC News   ...Los Angeles Police Department was on "city-wide tactical alert" after the early Monday deadline for 'Occupy' movement protesters to vacate their encampment near City Hall expired...
A New Twist in FL's Private vs. Public Prisons Feud  Public News Service   ...The legal entanglements and the new presence of the Teamsters Local 2022 on the scene will likely tie up any move to privatize Florida prisons, at least in the near future...
Recall Gov Walker? WI Sierra Club releases official position....  Examiner   ...The John Muir Chapter’s Executive Committee has voted to unanimously to endorse the recall of Gov. Walker and Lt. Gov. Kleefisch...
Secret Fed Loans Gave Banks Undisclosed $13B  Bloomberg   ...While Fed officials say that almost all of the loans were repaid and there have been no losses, details suggest taxpayers paid a price beyond dollars as the secret funding helped preserve a broken status quo and enabled the biggest banks to grow even bigger...
Greeks Balk at Paying Steep New Property Tax  New York Times   ...Many Greeks consider the new tax, which makes no exceptions for the unemployed or the elderly and is much higher than any real estate tax they have paid before, to be one more sign of the tough austerity measures they are suffering under as a requirement for European aid...
High school student reprimanded by principal for tweet criticising Kansas governor  Daily Mail   ...After meeting Mr Brownback, Emma tweeted: 'Just made mean comments at gov brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot.'  Mr Brownback's office contacted the school and complained about the tweet...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Today's Teamster News 11.27.11

Teamsters Nationwide Tell 7-Eleven ‘It's Too High A Price To Pay For Fuel’  IBT   ...Tankhaul drivers of Teamster local unions nationwide joined members of Local Union 986 as they hand billed Thanksgiving weekend customers outside of St. Louis, Chicago, Tacoma, Wash., and California 7-Elevens this morning to protest KAG West’s destruction of union jobs...
Recall Walker Drive Surpassed Halfway Petition Signature Total of 270,000 To Oust Wisconsin Governor  Hispanic News Network USA Blog   ...On Saturday, Recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) projections to collect petition signatures have surpassed all expectations to get more than the minimum required signatures per day needed by organizers to meet the amount of 540,000 mark by January 17...
McQuaig: Occupy moves us into a new era  (opinion)  Toronto Star   ...they’ve managed to change the public discourse, putting inequality front and centre — something activists and writers, myself included, have failed to accomplish despite decades of trying...
Activists accuse Mexican president of war crimes in drug crackdown  The Guardian   ...Mexican human rights activists have asked the international criminal court to investigate President Felipe Caldéron, as well as top officials and the country's most-wanted drug trafficker, accusing them of allowing subordinates to kill, torture and kidnap civilians...
Prepare for riots in euro collapse, Foreign Office warns  The Telegraph   ...British embassies in the eurozone have been told to draw up plans to help British expats through the collapse of the single currency, amid new fears for Italy and Spain...
The Supercommittee's Failure Was 2 Decades in the Making  Baseline Scenario   ...there's still an outside chance that no one will agree to anything, December 31, 2012 will roll around, and all of the Bush tax cuts will expire. Which is the only thing that has any chance of increasing taxes on the rich and reducing the deficit...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Recall Report from WI

blue cheddar brings us an update on the Recall Koch whore Scott Walker effort in Wisconsin.
Volunteers came out on Black Friday collecting signatures on recall petitions. blue cheddar gives us a taste of what it was like:

There wasn’t even a lot to explain to people who drove up to talk. They were simply there because they had seen the “recall” signs. They pulled over, did the task, and then were ready to move along with their day.
I first visited a couple of folks standing at the corner of Parkside and East Washington across from Arbys. T. was there 6 hours by the time I came mid-day. He’d collected 200 signatures. He said the pace of stops was slowing down by that time but that he would stay out until dark regardless. T. was one of the people who got a death threat by phone. He mentioned it but only to let me know why he’d already been interviewed by TV and he offered nothing more on the matter.
I heard that across the road in the park another 8 volunteers were taking signatures.
But I then went on to East Towne mall where I found a set of 4 people gathering signatures near Old Navy where they walked the sidewalk and motioned to people to safely turn off the road. They were told to stay away from store entrances.
One man had come out a little under-dressed: no hat, gloves, or coat. He said he really had to go – he was freezing. Before he left he told me about 1 of the most rewarding things he did earlier when he was going door to door as a canvasser. He helped an elderly woman sign who was housebound. She was especially grateful because she didn’t know she’d get to sign the recall petition. 
Read the whole thing here.

Today's Teamster News 11.26.11

Right-to-work law curbing unions becoming greater political issue  Bloomberg   ...“Unions are the last defense against corporate greed,” said James Hoffa...
ALEC Readies Its Christmas List  Blog for Iowa   ...ALEC is having a little get together before Christmas to let those legislators who owe allegiance to them and not to their voters just what it is they want in the next year...
Stocks: Worst Thanksgiving Drop Since ’32  Bloomberg S&P cut Belgium’s rating and a report said Greece is demanding private investors accept larger losses on their debt...
Black Friday: Occupy Protests Discourage Shopping On One Of Retail's Biggest Days   Huffington Post   ...Anti-Wall Street protesters took their message about corporate greed to Black Friday shoppers, staging demonstrations in commercial areas around California on one of the busiest days of the year for retailers and bargain-hunters...
Oregonian Buries Lede in Police Overtime Article: Officers are Unnecessary for #Occupiers’ Peaceful Assembly  firedoglake   ...The police presence, with its skyrocketing “associated overtime” costs, appears to be an entirely self-inflicted wound to the city’s coffers...
European Banks Frantically Trying To Dump $7 Trillion Of Crap Assets -- But No One Will Buy Them  Business Insider   ...The balance sheets of European banks are piled high with legacy assets -- mortgages, real-estate, and other loans--that are tying up precious capital and constricting the banks' ability to make new, more productive loans...

Today's Teamster News 11.25.11

Opening Day for Shoppers Shows Divide  New York Times   ...The low-end and midrange retailers are risking low margins as they cut prices to attract shoppers, while executives at luxury stores say that they are actually able to sell more at full price than in recent boom years...
Bank of America's billion dollar spin   Salon   ...In misleading TV ads, the bank casts itself as a champion of the working class and small business. Reality check!...
Debunking the conservative argument about the rich and taxes, in three easy charts  Washington Post   ...the percentage change of the overall average income of the top one percent has risen by 119 percent. That’s more than twice the amount of the change in their income tax, which grew by 54 percent in that time...
Egypt Military and Protesters Dig In for a Long Standoff  New York Times   ...the protesters, emboldened by the end of the fighting, said they were as determined as ever to stay in the square until the military council and its chief, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, left power...
Eurozone Fears Hit London Market  Press Association   ... Doubts over the future of the currency bloc were compounded as Italy was forced to pay more than 7% on the bond markets, a level that is widely seen as unsustainable...
Europe's Economic Implosion Heats Up  Economic Populist   ...Right before Thanksgiving, there were more events pointing to a tsunami from the Eurozone...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Scott Walker's 'reforms': Fail

Wisconsin led the nation in job loss last month. Here's Sho Chandra at Bloomberg:
Wisconsin posted the nation's biggest payroll losses, with employment dropping by 9,700 jobs in October compared with September, according to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Tuesday.
You wouldn't know it if you just listened to Koch whore Gov. Scott Walker. Here's what he told reporters at a dog-and-pony show in Racine recently:
"We need to get the word out that we're growing the state's economy," he said. "My focus is on moving the state forward."
Still, he can't ignore the recall and said he will use more ads like the one that is part of a campaign that started on Mon., Nov. 14 that features a citizen talking about how the budget repair bill as helped her community and school district.
"People elected me to make tough decisions and to do things to bring the state together and move us forward," Walked added. ...."We've been focused on jobs since January 3rd and that continues to be our focus."
Oh please.

Today's Teamster News 11.24.11

As Work Goes Global, Will Holidays Disappear?  Bloomberg   ...With more and more business conducted across borders, workers find it increasingly difficult to rest on national or religious holidays...
Teamsters sue to keep Mexican trucks out  Detroit News   ..."Opening the border to these dangerous, dirty trucks is an attack on highway safety, an attack on American truckers and warehouse workers, an attack on border security and an attack on our environment," said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa...
Wisconsin led nation in Oct job losses  The Cap Times   ...No press release from the Governor's office on this one...
Fatalism and the American Dream  New York TImes   ...(A) report, which examined economic and social mobility in 10 Western countries, found that Americans actually appear to have less control over their success in life than their counterparts do...
The Average Bush Tax Cut For The 1 Percent This Year Will Be Greater Than The Average Income Of The Other 99 Percent  Think Progress   ... congress’ fiscal super committee failed to craft a deficit reduction package due to Republican refusal to consider tax increases on the super wealthy...
Live Blog for #Occupy Movement: Protests, Events Planned for Black Friday & Thanksgiving  firedoglake   ...With many encampments still setup around the country, it is to be expected that there will be stories of occupations having Thanksgiving at their camps...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Study: Fox News viewers less informed than -- well, just about everyone

This isn't a surprise. According to the LA Times,
A new survey of New Jersey voters comes to a provocative conclusion: Fox News viewers tend to be less informed about current events than those who don't watch any news at all.
You may be surprised that the same survey found viewers of John Stewart's Daily Show are better informed than viewers of cable news shows.

Commenting on the survey, a political science professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University said,  
The results show us that there is something about watching Fox News that leads people to do worse on these questions than those who don't watch any news at all.
Do you suppose that "something" is Fox's practice of doctoring videotape to distort stories to suit its anti-worker agenda?

Teamsters sue to block Mexican trucks

Jim Hoffa will not give up the fight against Mexican trucks. He calls it the "zombie" program, because the Teamsters keep killing it and it keeps coming back. It came back in October, when the U.S. Department of Transportation gave a few Mexican trucks free access to our highways. The Associated Press has the latest story:
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has expanded its lawsuit against the government in a long-running battle that has stopped Mexican trucks from coming deep into the United States.
In papers filed in federal appeals court in Washington on Wednesday, the union says the government must first assess the environmental impact of a pilot project before letting it continue. The first Mexican truck in the pilot program crossed the border last month.
Teamsters President James P. Hoffa says opening the border to the trucks is an attack on the environment, on highway safety and on American truckers and warehouse workers.
Under the North American Free Trade Agreement signed nearly two decades ago, trucks from both countries were supposed to have unhindered access to highways on either side of the border.
Here's the entire Hoffa quote:
Opening the border to these dangerous, dirty trucks is an attack on highway safety, an attack on American truckers and warehouse workers, an attack on border security and an attack on our environment. It’s outrageous enough that we’ve outsourced millions of jobs to foreign countries, but now we’re bringing foreign workers across the border into the United States to take our jobs. This is another pressure the American middle class doesn’t need.

Woo-hoo! Another Teamster organizing victory in CA

Please give a warm welcome to our 116 new brothers and sisters at Durham School Services in San Jose, Calif. They voted 2-to-1 to join Teamsters Local 287.

This latest organizing victory brings to nearly 31,000 private school bus and transit workers organized by the Teamsters since 2006. Our Drive Up Standards campaign aims to improve safety, service and work standards in the industry.

Ernie Bejarno, who's been a driver with Durham for eight years, says they'll be able to make positive change at Durham now that they're Teamsters:
We want a voice on the job, compensation that reflects our work and higher safety standards for ourselves and the children we drive. We’ve helped make this company profitable and we’re tired of the company just taking and taking from us.
During the organizing campaign, workers held a "Speak Out" meeting, where they told the community about their working conditions and their concerns.  Bejarno said the "Speak Out" was a powerful experience.
It taught us that we can’t be afraid. We have to better our lives and the Teamsters are going to help us do that.
Bob Blanchet, president of Local 287, said he's elated to welcome our new Teamsters.
These are hardworking people who will make a great impact on our local and we look forward to helping them secure a strong Teamster contract.

How to talk to your crazy uncle about right-to-work for less

I listen to Rush Limbaugh.
Most of us are saddled with them: the relatives who listen to Rush Limbaugh, watch Fox News and repeat their poison over the Thanksgiving turkey. Attacks on unions are high on the agenda this year, so you may be hearing about the virtues of right-to-work for less laws.

Here's a handy guide for talking to that crazy uncle about right-to-work for less. Remember, a one-on-one conversation has power (especially if you win). Take special note, Hoosiers:

• Special interests and the politicians they bought are trying to break the back of the middle class.  That's what right-to-work for less is all about.
• CEOs make more money when they destroy worker’s rights, but that puts the economy out of balance. You need a prosperous middle class to buy the products that businesses produce.
• Let’s be honest. We all know this isn’t about jobs. If it were, middle-class families in states that have passed right-to-work for less laws would be better off. They’re not.
• The real motive behind right-to-work is to destroy unions. Corporations want complete control of state government, and unions are the only thing standing in their way.

He says: Jobs are growing in right-to-work states, and we need to give our communities the economic tools needed to grow and attract jobs.
You say: We do need to rebuild our state. We need to invest in our kids, in our communities’ schools, in the health and safety of our citizens. We need good jobs that can support a family. But so-called right-to-work laws do not create jobs. They hurt the economy and they hurt workers.

He Says: It’s wrong to force people to contribute part of their paycheck to something they don’t believe in at risk of losing their jobs. (or) It’s unfair to force people to join a union and pay dues if they disagree with the union’s agenda.
You Say: Each person who benefits directly from union representation should pay their fair share of the cost of that representation. (Also: People in the workforce pay all kinds of professional licensing fees and dues that are compulsory -- and that enable them to earn higher wages.)

He Says: We need to stand up to the unions that are hurting our state. (He'll give an example of a government worker who makes a lot of overtime or has a large pension.)
You Say: The economy collapsed because of Wall Street recklessness and CEO greed. PIVOT. And what matters most now is that politicians work together to put people back to work in good jobs. We don’t need to wreck good middle-class jobs while dividing our state the way Wisconsin and Ohio were divided.

Some facts on right-to-work for less states:
  • In states that have right-to-work laws, workers have a lower standard of living, make an average of $1,500 less a year and are more likely to go without health insurance.
  • In Mississippi, Texas and Idaho, right-to-work laws left thousands of workers who contributed to their pensions for decades with broken promises and no retirement security.
  • Oklahoma is the only state to adopt a right-to-work law in the past decade. Lawmakers promised companies would relocate to Oklahoma because of it. They said there would be more jobs. Ten years later, jobs fell by 25 percent and the number of companies moving there dropped by 33 percent.
  • 8 of the 12 states with the highest unemployment rates are RTW states.
  • 6 of the 8 states that have the lowest wages are RTW states.
  • Rates of uninsured are 24 percent higher in RTW states.
  • Rates of uninsured children are 39 percent higher in RTW states.

Inspiration Wednesday: 'Which Side Are You On?'

In honor of our brothers and sisters in Indiana. They have a hell of a fight on their hands now.

Today's Teamster News 11.23.11

Unions pack Indiana Statehouse to protest 'right to work'  Louisville Courier-Journal   ...Hundreds of union workers crowded the Statehouse hallways Tuesday, waving signs and chanting “shame on you” outside the Indiana House and Senate chambers as lawmakers organized for their 2012 session...
Scott Walker petitions take center stage in Wisconsin  Politico   ...officials are projecting a general election in May or June. That timeline means Democrats want to remain focused on Walker until at least next year...
Bill Cotterell: Teamsters offer extra toughness  Tallahassee Democrat   ...Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican-run Legislature still want to privatize prisons in 18 counties of South Florida, and probably the rest of the state, eventually...
Weary, blistered Wall Street protesters reach DC  Associated Press   ...Organizers said the march, which they called Occupy the Highway, accomplished their goal of taking their concerns about income equality and corporate influence in politics on the road, including to rural communities that previously had little exposure to the movement...
The Old Order Stifles the Birth of a New Egypt  New York Times   ...The vestiges of Mr. Mubarak’s order — the military, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists, or fragmented liberals and leftists — seem ill prepared to navigate the transition from his rule...
Financial Finger-Pointing Turns to Regulators  New York Times   ...The IndyMac collapse, with its multibillion-dollar cost to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation fund, highlights the role played by federal overseers of financial companies in the years leading up to the crisis. It also raises questions about whether government officials should be held accountable for dubious conduct related to the failure of an institution and whether the government has avoided pursuing some cases because of the roles regulators have played...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The 99% vs. the 1%

Thanks to The Guardian for this awsome animation.

IN statehouse 'peppered with protests'

Teamsters shuttled working people from Local 135 in Indianapolis to the Statehouse today to tell lawmakers that right-to-work is wrong for Indiana. It's "Organization Day," the first day of a legislative session in which the Republican leadership says right-to-work (for LESS) is the top priority.

We followed the action on the superb StandUpForHoosiers Facebook page. (Please "Like" it if you haven't already.)

Working people turned out in droves, many wearing their union jackets and carrying signs. We're hearing thousands are at the Statehouse, and photos show packed hallways. The crowd cheered, "We are the 99 percent" at the House window. Crowd noise -- loud crowd noise -- could also be heard during the Senate session.

Republican lawmakers refused to talk to constituents. That generated quite a few negative comments on Facebook, including one referring to cockroaches hiding in the dark.

Many brought signs. One of our favorites: "Union Lifelines, Not State Bread Lines."

WLFI anticipated the protests:
Indiana lawmakers are headed back to work at the statehouse for Organization Day.
The day usually slated for quiet organization will be marked this year by the loud protests of hundreds angered by the 'Right to Work' bill. The bill is first on this year's agenda and was the reason for last year's walk-out by Democrats.
Indiana Republicans may have another Ohio -- or Wisconsin -- on their hands. Is that what they really want?

Awwww. Foreclosure mill that mocked the homeless goes belly up

A law firm that doctored documents so they could throw people out of their homes said yesterday it was forced to close.

But this is rich: The Steven J. Baum firm could have gone belly up because it illegally foreclosed on homes. Or because it kept money owed to the people it foreclosed on. Or because it doctored documents to foreclose on people too poor to hire a lawyer.

Nope. The Steven J. Baum firm went kaput because the New York Times printed photos of its Halloween party last year.  The theme: homelessness. Here's how the Times describes the photos:
In one, two Baum employees are dressed like homeless people. One is holding a bottle of liquor. The other has a sign around her neck that reads: “3rd party squatter. I lost my home and I was never served.” My source said that “I was never served” is meant to mock “the typical excuse” of the homeowner trying to evade a foreclosure proceeding.
A second picture shows a coffin with a picture of a woman whose eyes have been cut out. A sign on the coffin reads: “Rest in Peace. Crazy Susie.” The reference is to Susan Chana Lask, a lawyer who had filed a class-action suit against Steven J. Baum — and had posted a YouTube video denouncing the firm’s foreclosure practices. “She was a thorn in their side,” said my source.
A third photograph shows a corner of Baum’s office decorated to look like a row of foreclosed homes. Another shows a sign that reads, “Baum Estates” — needless to say, it’s also full of foreclosed houses.
The person who supplied the photos said they reflected the company's attitude. The publicity caused the government's mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to stop doing business with the firm. That was the kiss of death.

Such a shame.

History, polls not on Walker's side

Graphic courtesy Tracy Knauss
(UPDATES with new signature numbers.)

The campaign to recall Koch whore Gov. Scott Walker is off to a brilliant start with more than 105,000 158,000 signatures collected and as many as 40,000 people showing up for the kick-off rally in Madison.

What will happen is anyone's guess. Walker has plenty of advantages: the Benedict Arnold Koch brothers and their ilk will open their wallets for him; his party controls the state's election machinery; and he doesn't face an opponent -- yet.

However, history and the polls are not on his side. Political scientist David Schecter points out that incumbents have lost recall elections under similar circumstances. He cites the 2003 recall of California Gov. Gray Davis and the 1921 recall of North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier. Schecter argues that the conditions leading to the recalls of Davis and Frazier are similar to those in Wisconsin today. They include:
  • A divided electorate and a governor who didn't try to heal wounds
  • Questions about the incumbent's standing, stature, competency and truthfulness during difficult economic times
  • An organized and well-defined opposition
  • An interested media
  • A contentious legal environment.
The polls are also against Walker. Badger Democracy reports that a recent survey shows 58 percent of respondents would remove Walker from office while only 38 percent would keep him in.
Scott Walker’s approval rating has dropped since April – from 46% down to 38%; with his disapproval rating jumping from 48% to 58%. More telling, the 18%, ultra right-wing conservative “strongly approve” rating is unchanged. What has changed, is he has lost 8% in the “approve” column – indicating a loss of moderate Republicans. 
The lousy economy is hurting Walker as well. Despite his claim that his "reforms" are "working," Wisconsin's unemployment rate has been rising faster than the nation's since he took office.

But -- and it's a big but -- Walker will get a ton of money from the Benedict Arnold Koch brothers. WUWM reports he will be able to
...raise and spend unlimited amounts from contributors not only until the January 17th deadline for collecting signatures, but also during the 30 days state officials might need to review the petitions and during any court challenges.
Already, the Benedict Arnold Koch brothers are opening their wallets for Walker through their Americans for Iranian Prosperity Foundation and the MacIver Institute. The Green Bay Press Gazette reports they've already spent more than $500,000 in an ad buy.

And United Wisconsin reports on early electoral shenanigans, including:
A Republican state senator who is closed allied with the governor sought to tighten requirements for notarizing recall petitions in a way that would have made it much harder for citizens to circulate and certify petitions....
The Republican Party of Wisconsin has launched a so-called “Recall Integrity Center,” which seems to encourage intimidation of Wisconsinites gathering recall petition signatures.
As Schecter says,
Welcome to the world of gubernatorial recalls, Wisconsin. It could be a bumpy ride.

Today's Teamster News 11.22.11

Right-to-work battle begins again Tuesday   ...Hundreds of Northwest Indiana union workers will be at the Statehouse on Tuesday hoping to speak with state lawmakers as they convene for the ceremonial first day of the legislative session, known as Organization Day...
Gov. wins major tax ruling at Mich. Supreme Court  Associated Press   ...Key parts of a Michigan law that taxes public pension income for the first time are constitutional, the state Supreme Court said Friday in a major victory for Gov. Rick Snyder...
14 arrested as unions, Occupy St. Louis protestors unite  St. Louis Post-Dispatch   ...About 800 people, bolstered by representatives of the Teamsters, United Auto Workers, Service Employees International and other unions, participated in the rally and the subsequent march north through downtown...
Americans For Prosperity NH will be there on Nov 30th WILL YOU?  NH Labor News   ... the Koch Funded Americans For Prosperity of New Hampshire is trying to get members to show up to push for RTW...
Ohio’s job market remains sluggish  Policy Matters Ohio   ...Since July, the state has lost 8,300 jobs after gains earlier in the year. The unemployment rate in October inched down 0.1 point to 9.0 percent from a month earlier...
Egypt’s Cabinet Offers to Resign as Protests Rage  New York Times   ... The cabinet offered its resignation on Monday to Egypt’s transitional military rulers as security forces carried out an increasingly lethal crackdown on three days of violent street protests...
Deutsche Bank Could Transfer Financial Contagion: Simon Johnson  Bloomberg   ...You’ve probably never heard of Taunus Corp., but according to the Federal Reserve, it’s the U.S.’s eighth-largest bank holding company...

Monday, November 21, 2011

50% of all capital gains go to top .1%

America was sold on the idea that cutting the capital gains tax would create jobs. Instead, it created massive inequality and, now, social unrest.

Robert Lenzner at Forbes reports that,
Capital gains are the key ingredient of income disparity in the US– and the force behind the winner takes all mantra of our economic system. If you want even out earning power in the U.S, you have to raise the 15% capital gains tax.

Income and wealth disparities become even more absurd if we look at the top 0.1% of the nation’s earners– rather than the more common 1%. The top 0.1%– about 315,000 individuals out of 315 million– are making about half of all capital gains on the sale of shares or property after 1 year; and these capital gains make up 60% of the income made by the Forbes 400.

It’s crystal clear that the Bush tax reduction on capital gains and dividend income in 2003 was the cutting edge policy that has created the immense increase in net worth of corporate executives, Wall St. professionals and other entrepreneurs.
He quotes the great Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, who warned,
We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.
Lenzner concludes we have to raise the capital gains tax to the wealthiest investors or face increased social unrest.

He's right, you know.

Nice. Death threats to Walker recall petitioners

Harassing phone calls and stolen "Recall Walker" signs in Wisconsin. And the recall campaign is less than a week old.

Indiana: The next battleground

Rallying against Right to Work for Less in March. Look for a repeat next year.
Republican lawmakers in Indianapolis did not learn any lessons from the recent defeat of SB5 in Ohio. Nor are they paying attention to the massive campaign to recall Koch whore Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin. Instead, they're barreling ahead with legislation to destroy unions.

They need to be more careful of what they wish for.

From today's Indianapolis Star:
House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tempore David Long today said that making Indiana the 23rd “right to work” state in the nation is their top legislative priority.

Identical bills will be introduced in the House and Senate which would ban a company and union from negotiating a contract that requires non-union members to pay fees for representation.
The decision to pursue this legislation was widely expected, but is nonetheless sure to launch a firestorm of protests by Democrats and labor unions.
Indiana Teamsters will be fighting right-to-work for less as hard as they fought it over the winter and spring. Teamsters helped organize some 30,000 Hoosiers to protest the Legislature's attempt at union busting. House Minority Leader Pat Bauer acknowledged those efforts at the Teamsters International Convention in July:
This is a war we have to win or the middle class is gone in this country. You know it and I know it.
And the Teamsters, we are so proud. We’re so proud of the Bartons, the Buhls, the Warnocks. Those are the people that organized and helped organize 30,000 people, 30,000 people in Indianapolis —
— 30,000 people in downtown Indianapolis to fight back against this tyranny. And with you, we’re going to win. ... And we will win this by sticking together, by every day reminding people that our standard of living is at stake, our families’ welfare is at stake; in fact, the dream of the United States is at stake.
These anti-worker politicians may not stop at right-to-work for less. They may attack automatic dues collection,  public worker pensions and public schools.

And they may just face a ginormous backlash.

Civil rights leaders support OWS, infuriating Fox News

Fox News really, really doesn't like comparisons between Occupy Wall Street and the Civil Rights movement. That's because Fox is an apologist for its billionaire owner, Rupert Murdoch, and his billionaire buddies who've been looting and plundering the middle class for decades. The last thing Murdoch and his pals want is to be held accountable for their crimes. What Occupy Wall Street wants is to hold Murdoch and his friends accountable for their crimes. So you see where the trouble lies.

Apologists for Wall Street do what aristocrats and oligarchs have done for centuries. When the people finally get fed up, they have to divide them. They do it by sowing fear. Fox News is simply following the grand tradition of the 1%: Smear their opponents as violent, un-American, criminal and dirty.

And so some hack at a Fox affiliate in Cincinnati produced a screed attacking Occupy Wall Street as exactly that. It's called "Reality Check: Why the Occupy movement is not like the Civil Rights movement." And it proves exactly why the Occupy movement IS like the Civil Rights movement. Because the Fox Newses of the era did to the Civil Rights movement exactly what Fox News of today is doing to the Occupy movement.

Here's an example: Viola Liuzzo, the wife of a Teamster business agent, was murdered by Ku Klux Klansmen during the march on Selma. Wikipedia has the charming backstory about how she was smeared.
In one particularly controversial 1965 incident, civil rights worker Viola Liuzzo was murdered by Ku Klux Klansmen who gave chase and fired shots into her car after noticing that her passenger was a young black man; one of the Klansmen was acknowledged FBI informant Gary Thomas Rowe.[32][33] Afterward COINTELPRO spread false rumors that Liuzzo was a member of the Communist Party and abandoned her children to have sexual relationships with African Americans involved in the civil rights movement.
That's just one example of the smear campaigns waged against civill rights activists. We'll see many more smears directed against the Occupy Wall Street movement.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Unless we stick together and ignore the smears.

Mainstream media finds out workers are struggling

The mainstream media is finally waking up to the economic stress experienced by tens of millions of American workers -- you know, the economic stress that labor unions have been talking about for years. In the video above, CBS is surprised to find that low-income people don't just live in ghettoes -- and that people who used to live comfortable lives are now struggling. Duh-oh!!

The New York Times is astounded to learn that, the government has not yet published ... (shows) 51 million people with incomes less than 50 percent above the poverty line...Perhaps the most surprising finding is that 28 percent work full-time, year round...
Not all that surprising if you've been paying attention to wage theft, misclassification, union-busting, outsourcing, privatization and job-killing trade deals.

But hey, at least they're starting to learn.

Today's Teamster News 11.21.11

U.S. Sovereignty Usurped by WTO’s COOL Decision  Trade Reform   ...a panel of three foreign diplomats seated by the United Nation’s World Trade Organization (WTO) issued a decision regarding complaints filed against the United States’ country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law that informs U.S. consumers as to the origins of their food...
How Occupy Wall Street Can Restore Clout of the 99%: Scott Turow  Bloomberg   ...I have an unusual suggestion for how they should next deploy their considerable energies: work across the nation for a constitutional amendment requiring Congress to regulate the expenditure of private money on elections...
What the Labor Movement Can Learn From an Art Auction  truthout   ...Occupy Wall Street has clearly injected a new set of more innovative tactics into labor's arsenal here in New York City...
Santorum: Labor Unions Are Force For Good…If You’re Iranian  Talking Points Memo   ...At a campaign stop here yesterday, Rick Santorum proposed offering federal government support for labor unions, which he said created a social good. In Iran...
How municipalities used the tools  LaCrosse Tribune   ...Onalaska Mayor Mike Giese was not impressed with the effectiveness of the “tools” Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair bill gave the city to deal with cuts in state payments to the city, nor with the general approach Walker took in balancing the state budget...
Study supporting tax measure is flawed  Columbia Tribune   ...In a study that is being used to support overhauling Missouri’s state tax system, conservative economics guru Arthur Laffer mixes state and local taxes and misuses technical terms to create rankings for every state...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

OWS shines Bat Signal on Verizon Building

On the evening of Nov. 17, an International Day of Action, an estimated 32,500 people marched on the Brooklyn Bridge -- probably the biggest Occupy Wall Street protest yet.

Carrying LED candles in the "Festival of Light," they peacefully walked along the pedestrian walkway on the bridge connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn. Suddenly, they saw the Bat Signal -- "99%" -- projected onto the massive blank wall of the Verizon Building. Then the beam rolled through a series of words:

boing boing interviews Mark Read, the creator of the Bat Signal, who explains how Denise Vega, a single working mother of three, allowed him to project the image from her apartment in subsidized housing. She refused to take money for it -- though he offered -- because "This is for the people."

(Oh, and, by the way, the Associated Press dishonestly describes "Occupy Wall Street" as "a scruffy group that has erupted in violence." These have been peaceful protests. Here's how Wonkette, who actually talked to Occupy Wall Streeters, describes them that night:
There were tons of families with their kids, CUNY students, union workers, and even doctors in lab coats carrying banners demanding better access to health care.)
The Verizon Building was a fitting target for the Bat Signal. Verizon -- a tax dodger -- wants to cut its workers' health and pension benefits. Occupy Wall Street -- as well as the Teamsters and other unions -- have for the past two months participated in direct actions against Verizon in solidarity with its workers, members of the Communications Workers of America.

Holy Corporate Greed, Batman!!

Recall Walker Rally video

(UPDATES to correct that there were three Teamster semis on the square.)

Thanks to blue cheddar for the montage video showing highlights of yesterday's rally to recall Koch whore Gov. Scott Walker.

We'll let blue cheddar tell you what's in the video:
You’ll see the Solidarity Sing Along singers, avid recall volunteer Roberta Retrum from Eagle River, and the rotunda full of people. Roberta’s had great success in the hometown of Tea Party leader Kim Simac despite occasional hassles. There’s also a bit of footage of an impromptu sing of “Solidarity Forever” in the street and a shout-down of some Walker supporters who were hovering around the fringes of our event.
Watch more of blue cheddar's "Recall Walker" videos here.

Off camera, two three Teamsters semis were parked on the square as Teamsters collected cans of food (advancing the "Can Walker" theme) for needy families.

At least 105,000 signatures have been collected since Nov. 15. That's a great start toward the 540,000 needed by Jan. 17 to put the recall on the ballot.

“If Only They Enforced Bank Regulations Like They Do [Zuccotti] Park Rules, We Wouldn’t Be In This Mess” (Washington's Blog)

Cross-posted from Washington's Blog, with a h/t to the Naked Capitalist:
The following tweet captures the fact that the laws are only being enforced in favor of the 1% … and against the 99%:
If only they enforced bank regulations like they do [Zuccotti] park rules, we wouldn’t be in this mess.
According to the Supreme Court, money is now speech and corporations are now people. But when real people without money assemble to express their dissatisfaction with the political consequences of this, they’re treated as public nuisances and evicted.

No rest for OH Teamsters as they launch petition drive against GOP congressional map

1 of 2 Teamster petition drive-thrus in Cuyahoga County
Ohio Teamsters gathered signatures yesterday to repeal the unfair Republican congressional map -- even as Wisconsin Teamsters collected signatures to recall Koch whore Gov. Scott Walker and cans of food for needy families. 
Our brothers and sisters are working hard for justice in Ohio this year. They rallied against corporate stooge Gov. John Kasich's union-busting bill in the winter, collected signatures on petitions to repeal it in the spring and summer and got out the vote in the fall.
On Nov. 8, Kasich's union-busting bill went down to stunning defeat, thanks in part to the efforts of Ohio Teamsters.  And now, without missing a step, they're collecting signatures to repeal the Republicans' redistricting map.
Even the conservative Cleveland Plain Dealer opposes the way the Republicans redrew the congressional districts. The newspaper on Friday published an editorial titled, "Statehouse Republicans need to craft a fair redistricting plan:"
Hope still glimmers that Statehouse Republicans will craft a reasonable congressional redistricting bill. The message Ohio voters sent Columbus on Nov. 8, in plain English, was: "Straighten up!"
Voters rejected Senate Bill 5, a weapon Republicans aimed at public employee unions, because Ohioans saw the measure as one-sided. But unless something changes, Republicans -- in another one-sided move -- may force Ohio taxpayers to spend $15 million on two 2012 primaries. The reason: partisan GOP mulishness over boundaries for 16 Ohio congressional districts...
Rather than Statehouse theatrics, voters want constructive government. They won't get it until Republicans strike a reasonable redistricting compromise with positive-minded Democrats.

Today's Teamster News 11.20.11

Egypt protesters resume occupation of Tahrir Square  BBC   ...Several hundred protesters spent the night in the square, having fought off police attempts to remove them...
SF police arrest 6 Occupy protesters in early raid  Associated Press   ...San Francisco arrested six anti-Wall Street protesters early Sunday and dismantled a tent encampment...
Lobbying Memo Seeks Methods to Discredit Occupy Movement  firedoglake   ...MSNBC’s Chris Hayes ... obtained a memo from a DC lobbying firm spelling out a strategy to undermine Occupy Wall Street...
Thousands rally against Wisconsin Republican governor  Reuters   ...The Wisconsin Department of Administration estimated that between 25,000 and 30,000 people gathered at an afternoon rally at the Capitol building to boost the state-wide petition drive for a Walker recall election that began on November 15...
Older, Suburban and Struggling, ‘Near Poor’ Startle the Census  New York Times   ...100 million people — one in three Americans — (are) either in poverty or in the fretful zone just above it...
Why Not Break-Up Citigroup?  Baseline Scenario   ...Earlier this week, Richard Fisher – President of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank – captured the growing political mood with regard to very large banks: “I believe that too-big-to-fail banks are too-dangerous-to-permit...”

Saturday, November 19, 2011

'A Teamsters semi is back on the square!!!' in WI

An estimated 30,000 -- or maybe 60,000? -- Wisconsinites return to the streets of Madison today to kick off the "Recall Walker" campaign.

Tweeters were excited to see a Teamsters semi back on Capitol Square. Back during the spring protests, Joint Council 39's semi was parked on the square for weeks. peerless blogger blue cheddar told us how good it was to see such a big, bold, proud union symbol.

@legaleagle tweeted:
Recall Walker rally.
A Teamsters semi is back on the square!!! 
Today, Joint Council 39 is running a can drive in conjunction with the rally ("Can Scott Walker" -- get it?). People are signing petitions to recall both Koch whore Gov. Scott Walker and his lieutenant governor, Rebecca Kleefisch.

The Isthmus explains,
Organized under the banner of United Wisconsin, the campaign officially started at midnight on Tuesday, November 15, and runs for a total of 60 days, during which time organizers will attempt to collect more than 540,208 total validated signatures from state voters to trigger a recall election.
blue cheddar tells us they've already collected 105,000. Out on the Square, people are using recycling bins as tables to sign petitions. The Solidarity Singers (who sing union songs every weekday at noon in the Statehouse) are leading the crowd in the "Roll Out the Recall" Polka.

Inside the Capitol, the Rotunda is rocking with drums and cowbells and chants of "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Scott Walker has got to go." @legaleagle tells us,

"Wisconsin families will not abandon Wisconsin children" gets a resounding cheer from the crowd!
And from @PurrpleCatMama:
Walker supporters.
Teachers on the March in Wisconsin! Teamsters, FireFighters, You and Me, and Puppies for Democracy!
Fifty counterprotesters showed up.

@legaleagle tweeted:
I'd like to thank the 50 counter protesters for coming, as everyone who is here just committed to working harder to defeat you! #WIrally