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September 19, 2014

We are Wisconsin, and We are Winning!

How do you know it might be time to take a break from the revolution? You come home from work late, wife and child are sleeping, you pour yourself a glass of 2nd tier scotch and make a Parmesan/Sriracha omelette with a couple of Hebrew National hotdogs on the side. Yeah, need to go grocery shopping and remember that I’ve got a little one to spend some time with.

So…It’s been a long week, culminating in one of the most incredible events I’ve ever been a part of. I’ve gone from passive participant, to helping organize one of the best rallies against corporate greed and GOP money politics yet.

Left to Right – Tag Evers, John Langford, Ben Manski and Patrick DePula

Here’s how it went down.

Last Thursday, I was eating a hasty lunch and perusing the interwebs for information about rallies scheduled for the coming weekend. Not much information at all. I had ran into my friend Tag Evers, when I gained access to the capitol with my handy Mudflats press pass. And something he said struck a chord: “We must hold the Capitol Square. It is symbolic of the larger movement.” So, that said, I created an event on Facebook and called it, rather generically, “The Largest Rally Yet again Scott Walker and The Budge Despair Bill”. I simply hoped to encourage folks to head downtown and keep the pressure on. I had no Idea that I had just set the machinery in motion that would ultimately lead to shaking Michael Moore’s hand just 36 hours later.

After making the post, I focused on work for the rest of the day. Right before I left, I signed into Facebook and realized I had 27 messages about the “rally” with questions such as “are you bussing from Milwaukee?” “Who are the speakers?”, “Do you have a sound system”? Then I noticed that there were thousands of people RSVPing. So I thought to myself that I better get a program together!

Later that night I ended up at Fair Trade Coffee, deep in conversation with Tag Evers, Activist Concert Promoter, and Ben Manski, a Director of The Liberty Tree Foundation. Ben’s wife Sarah was also present, another indispensable organizer. We decided to put something together under the umbrella of Wisconsin Wave, a group consisting of labor unions and social and economic justice organizations. Tag discussed artists that might be interested, and those that he’d already been in contact with. Ben, Sarah and I discussed potential speakers and a framework. At around 11 pm we broke and all went home. Just as I was walking in the door I received a text from Tag that Michelle Shocked had confirmed. Awesome.

Friday morning I rush to work and try to get as much done as possible and then go about booking a flight and hotel for Michelle Shocked and other logistics related things, such as applying for the necessary permits. Of course, right while I’m booking the best priced flight for Michelle from LAX to ORD, the internet in the office crashes, hard. Thankfully I have an air-card that I was able to use to complete the transaction. Finally, airfare is paid for. We’re committed. And I still don’t have the permit. I finally received a call from the capitol police at 7 pm telling me that the permit was approved.

We decide to meet at 9 pm at The Orpheum in order to finalize our plans for Saturday. By now, over 30,000 people have been invited to the rally with thousands responding. And we haven’t even announced the speakers or musical guests yet!

So late Friday, we finally send out a press release. It includes Michelle Shocked, Ryan Bingham, Jon Langford, Vo5, Mayor Dave, Congresswoman Baldwin, and a host of other community activists. What makes this rally different, is that we’re deviating a bit from the union message. We’re now talking about how the GOP/Walker bill is hurting everyone in Wisconsin, except the handful of rich folks that Scott Walker loves to pander to.

RSVPs on Facebook are now coming in at a rate of 150 per hour. We finally break late Friday night after dividing up some tasks and ultimately try to get a few hours of sleep. Load in is at 8 am, Saturday.

Meanwhile, all hell is breaking loose at the capitol. The doors are breached, and protesters rush the building only to be stopped by police next to the first set of stairs. Fox news also pulls out of town, most likely because they can’t go on air without loud chants of “Fox Lies!” No matter, because they DO lie. Has anyone seen the infamous Wisconsin Palm Tree video? The final holdouts leave the building, and the Department Of Administration promises to comply with the court order to return to the same security condition the capitol was in before the protests began.

Saturday Morning comes, and I need to run my son 44 miles south of Madison so my parents can watch him while I engage in what will become one of the biggest rallies yet.

I get back to Madison at about 10:30, drop off a tent and table by the stage, then meet with volunteers at The Majestic Theater. After a briefing by Adam, Wisconsin Waves coordinator, we break to the capitol, one block away, and get things ready.

12:05 arrives and we are missing a couple of guests. We scramble to call them and get them to the stage. Everyone finally shows up and we start. Speakers are phenomenal and the crowd roars. Finally, Ryan Bingham takes the stage and with a slightly gravely, smoked voice starts singing “The Times, They are A Changin’” by Bob Dylan. Amazing performance. Hardly a dry eye within 400 yards of the stage. At about 12:30, we receive a call that Michael Moore is deplaning and wants to speak at our rally. We enthusiastically agree!

All of our speakers are great. We have folks from the Sierra Club, Family Farm Defenders, Hmong groups, labor, student groups – truly a diverse collective. Then Mayor Dave Cieslewicz and former mayor Paul Soglin share the stage, and discuss how though they may be political opponents, running for the same seat, they are united against the corporatization of Wisconsin. Michelle Shocked then performs and is amazing. She sounds like a Wisconsin Native and has such an awareness of what is going on in our beloved state.

~Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz and former mayor Paul Soglin

At about 2 pm Michael Moore shows up in a procession with firefighters, and the Daily Beast Editor who crank called Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and takes over for the next 30 minutes. He gives an incredibly inspiring speech about how we’ve all had enough! And about how we’ve been fleeced by corporations and the top 400 most wealthy individuals in the country. He also repeatedly praises the Wisconsin Senators who fled to Illinois. Many rousing cheers reverberate around the capitol square. When I stood on the stage I could see people all the way down King Street. Easily 35,000 people were gathered.

~Michael Moore addresses the crowd.

Michael winds down and we hear from Tammy Baldwin who poignantly offers that we are all in the fight of our lives, as she details cuts to the state and federal budget.

~Rep. Tammy Baldwin

Finally, Jon Langford, of the Mekons plays Union Made. Great song, great response by the crowd. When his full set is through, Ben, Tag and I join him on stage and we sing “Solidarity Forever” as one of the strangest boy bands in history.

Who would have thought that my Facebook post would have turned into the “We are Wisconsin!” rally featuring Michael Moore, Michelle Shocked, Ryan Bingham, Jon Langford, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, Mayor Dave, Paul Soglin, and a host of others. But we pulled it off, printed t-shirts over-night, and managed to make enough money to pay for the equipment and expenses.

But what is becoming completely evident, is that this is no longer a protest. This is a movement. What the mainstream media fails to discuss is that this is a homegrown phenomenon. It’s no longer solely about unions. The right wing has succeeded in radicalizing the middle class, and we won’t stop until we’ve recalled them all.

Patrick DePula
Madison, WI
for TheMudflats.Net
[Photos courtesy of Phil Ejercito. See more photos of his photos from the event  HERE]

Comments

comments

Comments
117 Responses to “We are Wisconsin, and We are Winning!”
  1. Peter says:

    Very inspiring. Thank you for STANDING UP, Wisconsin. We, your fellow countrymen, stand with you!!

  2. NMJ says:

    The right wing has succeeded in radicalizing the middle class, and we won’t stop until we’ve recalled them all.

    Thank you, Wisconsin, for showing us how it’s done.

  3. Millie says:

    “Buy America” is good EXCEPT for the fish and shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico. I stopped buying anything from there not long after the government said all was OK. They were lying – are still lying – and oil has been found on the bottom of the ocean. Check the bags to see where the fish/shrimp come from before purchasing in your grocery stores.

    • Pinwheel says:

      Millie,

      You are correct to question the quality of the seafood product. If you are locally grown you know. Find an opportunity to speak out with facts. Document.

  4. Waay Out West says:

    Somewhat off topic but interesting and very well written

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-l-borosage/march-madness-washington_b_833215.html

  5. Molly says:

    hey I have a question:

    How many people were there when Michael Moore was there? That dufus senator Fitzgerald snottily said on MSNBC that “nobody” was there to see Mr. Moore; that there was hardly anyone there that day.

    Can I assume this was false?

    • Patrick DePula says:

      Madison police stated that there were between 40 to 50 THOUSAND people there. The Department of Administration later admitted that they have no one on staff who is trained for estimating crowd size. Lies again, surprise.

    • patrick DePula says:

      Yes, it was false. Madison police estimate crowd at 40-50K. Hardly small!

    • Pinwheel says:

      Be careful about those assumptions. Documentary film exists to contradict someone/anyone from Murdock Press.

  6. Montana says:

    O’rielly, what a joke, didn’t he say “video comes in video comes out never a miscommunication”. Why is it that so many fools follow this liar? It looks like that the top republican candidates for president will be coming from “Fake News/ Fox News”, or should I say “Big Business”, how funny.

    I wonder if “Fake News” has a stable of likely republican supreme court justices (I am sure they will all attend the republican state of the union, unlike Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, and Clarence Thomas, scum bags).

  7. Baker's Dozen says:

    You go, Blue Cheese Heads! Blow those Red Popover Heads outta the water! Figuratively speaking, of course. No cross hairs allowed.

  8. ks sunflower says:

    I hope someone else is watching Rachel Maddow tonight. A new proposal in Michigan is beyond outrageous to allow Governor or a private firm Governor selects/hires take over towns/cities and unilaterally get rid of union rights if an “emergency” is deemed to occur.

    from: http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/

    This an excerpt from MI Senate Bill 158:
    http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2011-2012/billintroduced/Senate/pdf/2011-SIB-0158.pdf

    “Each collective bargaining agreement entered into between a public employer and public employees under this act after the effective date of the amendatory act that added this subsection shall include a provision that allows an emergency manager appointed under the Local Government and School District Fiscal Accountability act to reject, modify, or terminate the collective bargaining agreement as provided in the Local Government and School District Fiscal Accountability Act.”

    this is THE most odious power grab the GOP has come up with thus far. Imagine a firm headed by cronies of the Governor gets to decide whether or not to change or yank collective bargaining rights of all public employees! This is even worse than what Gov. Scott Walker is doing in Wisconsin.Think about the sweetheart deals with kickbacks to the Governor’s campaign that could result!

    • North of the Range says:

      My disgust at this news is truly boundless.

      How about a provision that allows an emergency manager appointed under the Local Government and School District Fiscal Accountability act to unilaterally reject signed contracts with *all* their vendors. A new software upgrade? All those standardized tests? The textbook deal we just placed? The school bus company transport rates? Sorry, we’re modifying our agreed upon price. Unilaterally. Because we say so. Hey, it’s just a contract. And it’s all for the good of the taxpayers so that makes it OK.

    • Pinwheel says:

      I know I;m late into this discussion, but this is all frightful. On Wisconsin, fight and fight for all!!

  9. Zyxomma says:

    I’m vegan, so no cheese for me, but I LOVE WISCONSIN!! (I visited when I was small.) What great coverage, Patrick. Thanks so much. I once appeared in a photo of Michelle Shocked in a magazine (I think it was New York, but it was long ago). She was walking by Tompkins Square Park (a block north of my abode), and there I was in all my glory. She was just starting her career, and hanging out with friends of mine. At the time, she was hoping to hitch her star to Billy Bragg. As I said, long ago.

  10. scout says:

    It’s a great day to be an exclamation point!!!!!!!

    On Wisconsin!!!!

  11. Lee323 says:

    Great post, Patrick. Thanks!

    Note to Walker: The natives are not just restless, pal. They’ve already stormed the gates, and are loose.

    Power to working people everywhere!

  12. psminidivapa says:

    Thanks, Patrick! Can we convince you and associates to come to PA? We need people to help us fight OUR new lunatic Governor, Cor-butt. Today he proposed pretty much eliminating public education and abolishing teacher unions in PA. His plan: consolidate school districts to eliminate local control, fund private (religious) schools and charter (for profit) schools with vouchers, bankrupt schools in PA, lower teacher education requirement to be public school teachers (no longer need teaching degree, no incentive for further education),etc.

    Other areas in the PA budget didn’t get nearly the cuts as education.

    Why is education – and not banks, insurance companies, Wall Street, health care industry, etc. – suddenly the new ENEMY?? I smell a rat, and I don’t know who the rat is. It just strikes me as strange that “all of a sudden” – TEACHERS (according to the GOP Govs. and FOX) are the new al-Qaeda.

    It s a sad day that Pennsylvania, who up until now has been on the top of nation in education, will be now thrown down to the basement of education with those states – who already embrace the changes that Gov. Cor-butt proposes – and are failing. It makes me sad.

    • leenie17 says:

      “Why is education – and not banks, insurance companies, Wall Street, health care industry, etc. – suddenly the new ENEMY??”

      Because the less educated the public is, the easier it is to manipulate and control them.

      Many religious schools promote the idea of following tradition and doctrine without argument (the main reason I switched from Catholic school to public after 6th grade!). On the other hand, public schools, at least the good ones, promote the concepts of analysis, debate, and never accepting that something is accurate merely because someone in authority tells you so. For Republicans who want the public to support policies that are clearly detrimental to their well-being, it is critical to maintain a population of poorly educated, one-issue voters who can be convinced to ignore the fact that their elected representatives are working to benefit their corporate masters, not their constituents.

      There is also an extremely lucrative financial aspect to the new push for accountability. Every standardized test that is administered by school districts is created and SOLD by a private company. Every new curriculum that promises miraculous results to fix what ails the poorly performing school system is created and SOLD by a private company. Workshops and staff training is provided AT A COST to districts by private companies. The more teachers are demonized and blamed for poor academic results, the easier it is for these educational companies to make money selling the latest and greatest programs and testing materials that will help students succeed despite their ‘incompetent, overpaid’ teachers.

      Think I’m being a little too cynical? “Former first lady Barbara Bush donated an undisclosed amount of money to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund with specific instructions that the money be spent with an educational software company owned by her son Neil.”

      http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/headline/metro/3742329.html

  13. GA Peach says:

    Thank you, Patrick. It’s wonderful to see democracy winning in action. And about damn time, I say.

    And thank you, AKM.

    When I started reading this blog, it was just a little Alaska blog exposing Alaskan mud. Now, it’s become a BIG blog exposing mud all over. I am richer and smarter because I’m a Mudpuppy!

  14. JuneauJoe says:

    Great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Cassie Jeep says:

    Wait…Lawrence O’Donnell says the Walker emails came out of a FOIA request.

    How can it take Alaska two years?????????????????????????

  16. Snoskred says:

    I put a note re the outage last night over here –

    http://www.themudflats.net/2011/03/08/open-thread-sunset-2/#comment-255883

    Cheers!
    Snos

  17. Ripley in CT says:

    There is something about a little civil disobedience that makes my blood circulate just a little faster…

    Well done. And you’re correct; it’s time that the ones of us that work(ed) our tails off for “the man” start to challenge the notion that “the man” knows what he’s doing!

  18. Cassie Jeep says:

    Oops…forgot link…
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/08/scott-walker-proposes-uni_n_833189.html

    But I hope the 14 HEROES will be wary!

  19. Cassie Jeep says:

    Seems Walker is proposing a list of things that CAN be negotiated now according MSNBC.

    I smell VICTORY!!!!!!!!!!

    It’s a start that I think portends the doom of this legislation.

  20. Judi says:

    THANK YOU for an excellent post!!!
    We the people, the working folk, of this country…we salute all in Wisconsin especially those 14 DEMS!!

    Ian Murphy…from buffalo beast…one of my new heroes…glad to see he was there!!! Everyone I heard or read was great!!

    People rise up…we got the power….

  21. Mo says:

    Why, oh why, can’t we have a better national press corps? This was the most informative thing I’ve read yet on what’s going on in Madison.

    Criminy, the press slobbers all over some wingnut Teabagger get-together where maybe a couple hundred people show up, but a rally of tens of thousands goes unmentioned.

  22. AK Raven says:

    Thank you Wisconsin for standing up for not only yourselves, but all the working people in the United States. We know if the rich and corporations win there, it is only a matter of time before they take over every state in our country.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you again.

  23. A Fan From Chicago says:

    On Wisconsin!! Patrick, your posts are terrific and make me feel like I’m right there. It is inspiring to watch the movement that you and the others have brought to life. And I’m proud that Illinois is doing its small part by hosting your 14 Senators (and the Senators from Indiana) during their extended slumber party. Keep fighting the good fight.

  24. bubbles says:

    i hope the people in Wisconsin do go after Gov. Walker and recall him. i just found a petition to recall Gov. Brewer in Arizona and am passing it on to Mudflats people who live in Arizona:

    http://www.recallgovernorbrewer.com/

    one State at a time. let us stand with working class people all over the country. and let working people no matter income help one another.

    • Millie says:

      I think I heard that they cannot recall their governor until he has served for a year. That law needs to be changed, if correct!

  25. scout says:

    :) Patrick! :) Fab 14! :) Wisconsin!

    Power to the People!

    “where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost.” ~ Ronald Reagan

  26. Union member in Ohio says:

    Check out The Awl’s take on the Koch’s attempted takeover of Wisconsin and the rest of the USA…

    http://www.theawl.com/2011/03/a-blueprint-for-a-takeover-wisconsin-republicans-lied-while-the-kochs-schemed

  27. Awesome, organizing and reporting, Patrick! You know, this kind of thing couldn’t come together without people working together and without people believing in this movement. Did you know ahead of time that Michael Moore was coming?

    I looked at the extra pics and I have two favorites. One is of the Walker “weenie” special that shows a hot dog on top of a “Koch” can for $19.95. And the other is of the congresswoman in the foreground with someone standing in the window of the capitol, watching.

    With that many people showing up, and being a more diverse crowd, I don’t see how Walker can continue to be so tone deaf that he still says he is doing what the people want. Maybe someone can get him in for a hearing and eye exam (apparently he can’t see all those people or what’s on their signs).

    Job well done!

  28. Just because taxpayers are funding the public employees, it doesn’t make sense to deny them union benefits. The work they are doing is for us, the public, and they’re not getting a handout. They’re being paid to provide the services we both need and want in schools, hospitals, fire halls, police stations, sanitation companies, etc. etc. etc. The list could and does go on and on. Collective bargaining is the savior of the working class. An interesting book to read is “Night Falls on the Appalachias” (title might be a tad different) and it is an eyeful of the struggle for a living wage of the coal miners as just one small example of the plight of the working class.

    We now have the 5th generation of union employee in my family – grandchildren, and I will always be on the side of unions. Let’s face it folks, this country is kept together or carried on the backs of us workers, always has been, always will.

  29. leenie17 says:

    “This is a movement. What the mainstream media fails to discuss is that this is a homegrown phenomenon.”

    What a contrast to the fake Tea Party movement which was secretly created and funded by corporations. This is truly a movement of the people and it continues to grow and gain strength. As the Tea Party begins to fray and splinter from the infighting, the Wisconsin movement only gets stronger and is now spreading across the country.

    Even though you’re already getting a tremendous amount of support from the citizens of the state, I think it’s a superb idea to focus more attention on the other parts of this horrific legislation that most people are unaware of. This bill threatens to cause widespread damage to many parts of the state economy and will eventually touch – and hurt – every working lower and middle class person in the state.

    Congratulations, Patrick and friends, on an amazing accomplishment, and best wishes for continued success.

    • A Fan in CA says:

      Yes, there are many things in these bills. The whole idea is to get rid of government and turn necessary functions over to new “corporations”. Rachel did a great segment at the beginning of her show tonight. She then had Naomi Klien on to talk about the Shock Doctrine and Disaster Capitalism. Sure does explain what has been going on.

      R’s love to complain about “government can’t do anything right”. Of course, when they have power they do everything they can to undermine it. What do you expect.

  30. ibwilliamsi says:

    We work hard, but who’s complaining? Thanks to the Union we’re paying our way!

    So always look for the union label, it says we’re able to make it in the U.S.A.!

  31. nanindallas says:

    Way to go Patrick,
    You did an awesome job in just a short amount of time. I saw one of Walkers minions (on Lawrence O’Donnell’s show, I think) claiming that your protest with Michael Moore was the smallest protest yet……..therefore his side was winning since fewer people were showing up!

  32. Bob.Benner says:

    The Unions give a lot of money to Democratic politicians and very little to Republicans. If I was a Democrat, and especially a Democratic politician, and especially especially a crooked Democratic politician (hypothetically speaking of course, I’m not saying any politicians are crooked…) I would love Unions and make sweetheart deals for them too. I think Unions are fine in the private sector, and a problem in the public sector. That’s because public sector workers are funded by taxpayers and I don’t think taxpayer money should end up in Union leaderships hands… Especially when it is used to buy votes…

    • After I earn money at my job, it doesn’t belong to my boss anymore – it is not the boss’ money, ie. not public sector money anymore. It is mine and if I belong to an organization that agrees as a body to support a politician or political party, that is my right.

      • Bob.Benner says:

        If you were in a public service sector job, I think you should be given your money directly by the city, or state, and then you can give it away to any politician or political party you want. Otherwise the politicians are negotiating directly with the leadership at the Unions that are giving them donations. The more taxpayer money the politicians give away to the Unions, the more money they get back in donations. It’s quite simple really.

        • Elle says:

          Corporations decide who they decide to donate to politically, they don’t ask their customers, who provide the money they use to make donations. Unions are democratic and their members have a voice. When Republicans decide to support workers they may get union money also. Unions are made up of people, and Republican policies are increasingly becoming anti-people. The point of donating money is to influence people to vote for a certain candidate, Republicans have used this money to brainwash voters into voting against their own interest. But now the sleeping giant has awoken. Don’t pick on unions, if corporations can donate, then so can unions, it’s the only real way that the workers can have a voice. I have never been a member of a union, but even I understand that many of the working benefits I enjoy are the direct result of unionization.

          • Bob.Benner says:

            Corporations are in business to make a profit. If they don’t make a profit, they go out of business. If the Company leadership give too much away, they won’t make a profit and will go out of business. But the taxpayers won’t be left footing the bill. (unless of course the Government decides the business is too big to fail and starts bailing them out with taxpayer money, but that’s a whole different can of worms…)

            The Public sector is NOT in business to make a profit. The Public sector provides a service to the taxpayers. If the Public Sector leadership (Politicians) give too much away, the taxpayers are left footing the bill.

            That’s why it’s OK for corporations to have Unions and why the public sector should not.

          • North of the Range says:

            This is a reply also to B.B. below. The union also serves as an advocate for employees with grievances, and that is an important role. In the private sector, theoretically, management makes decisions on such matters with a view to the ultimate good of the company. That may not be great for the workers, but a company that earns itself a dreadful reputation as a place to work has just reduced its pool of available talent. In theory, in a reasonably competitive labor market, that can be a restraint on egregious behavior.

            That’s different than the public sector, where there is politically appointed executive leadership who, if unrestrained, would be tempted on a regular basis to engage in political payback, favoritism, etc. throughout the workforce. Regardless of which party or faction is in power. Unions are a counterbalancing force against that, and serve the public good in that regard. Essentially, they help ‘watchdog’ the civil service laws, which benefits everybody, so that public services stay focused on the public, and not on who just won an election or who might come into power tomorrow.

          • North of the Range says:

            Oops, meant to say, reply to B.B above.

    • Simple Mind says:

      Oh please. Do we have to do this again? Let’s count the “hypothetical” accusations in your post – “crooked” politicians making “sweetheart deals” with dishonest union leaders to put money into union leaders’ hands in exchange for buying votes – which is all okay in the private sector, just not in the public sector. The reason unions, private and public, overwhelmingly support Democrats is not dishonesty. The reason is that the Democratic Party has supported working people more than the Republican party. Now I know that rich people and corporations never give any money to Republican politicians with the expectation that the Republicans will favor them, at least in your world. Put simply, the answer to your allegations of dishonesty in politicians or union leadership is to investigate and prosecute them. It is not to take rights away from working people.

      • Bob.Benner says:

        The reason unions, private and public, overwhelmingly support Democrats is … that the Democratic Party has supported working people more than the Republican party.
        ================================================
        It depends on what you mean by “supported”. Giving sweetheart deals to Union leaders so they can give some of the payback to the Union members (working people) in exchange for campaign contributions must be the support your talking about…

    • LoveMyDogs says:

      Bob, I have been reading your posts. I think that there may be some legitimate gripes out there concerning tenured teachers that are no longer committed to teaching (for whatever reasons–could even be that the schools are so underfunded and ignored that they find it too difficult to do their jobs well, or are tired of paying for supplies, etc out of their own pockets). Whatever the reasons may be, I believe that those people are in the minority. Does union membership protect them? Yes. But there are people in every profession and walk of life that suck at what they do and are protected by cronyism and favoritism (public AND private sectors). I wish I had a union to protect me when my last employer decided to put me out of work. I live in an “at will” state where you can be fired or laid off for no reason whatsoever and you have no legal recourse (it doesn’t matter how good or bad you are at your job).

      And your argument about not liking where your tax dollars go is bunk (sorry about that). I don’t like my tax dollars buying weapons to kill people with. But still they go there. I vote. I write letters. I campaign for people that I would prefer to run the country. You have the right to do the same.

      Bottom line is, workers should have the right to collectively bargain whether they are in the public sector or the private sector period. Public workers get paid less monthly because they are working for their benefits.

      If we had a single-payor health care system in this country, you would pay a bit more in taxes (maybe not that much when you consider insurance premiums and deductibles, etc) but you would be covered cradle-to-grave and everyone would be on the same playing field. The difference is that the big insurance companies and our employers would no longer have control of our lives.

      As far as pensions go, I would much rather my money be collective than depending on the stock market for my future.

      • Mo says:

        Tnx, Dogs, I could not have put it better. I’m a little curious as to what public sector unions Bob thinks Alaska tax money supports, seeing as how we don’t pay income tax here.

      • bubbles says:

        thanks LoveMD. nicely said. very nice indeed.

      • Bob.Benner says:

        Public workers get paid less monthly because they are working for their benefits.
        =================================================
        Oh really? Well then public workers should get standard benefits (i.e. a 401K and an HMO). If they want more than that then they should pay for it out of their salaries. Increase or decrease the salaries based on what the market will bear. That way taxpayers can see exactly what they’re paying for. Taxpayers want the best public servants THEY CAN AFFORD…

    • Baker's Dozen says:

      Public sector union members are taxpayers, too.

      And let’s do the math. A teacher on the upper end of the pay scale, making $50,000 gives, say, 1% of their pay to the Democrats. That’s, hmmm–I can do this in my head because my teacher taught me how–$500.
      ConocoPhilips made 1.75 billion just in AK last year. If they give 1% to the Republicans, that’s–I can do this in my head, too. Thanks, Teach!–$17,500,000

      Gee. It would only take 35,000 teachers each giving $500 each to equal that.

      Wow. What a lot of clout.

      You say that unions buy the state government. Exactly how is it that rich people don’t? Unions use their members’ dues to get what they want. The rich use their money to get what they want. Just exactly how is this different? A bought vote is a bought vote is a bought vote. And the Koch brothers bought a lot of votes in Wisconsin and the people suddenly realize that it didn’t mean what they thought it did.

      • Bob.Benner says:

        A bought vote is a bought vote is a bought vote.
        ================================
        Two wrongs don’t make a right… Some people don’t believe stealing is morally wrong unless they get caught… Some people…

        • Waay Out West says:

          My compensation is the total cost of my employment to my employer. That includes health coverage if any, retirement benefits if any, sick leave and vacation if any. etc. If none of these benefits are included I would expect my hourly rate or monthly salary to be higher because I would be funding those out of my after tax income, and, conversely my hourly or salary would be commensurately lower if benefits were included in my compensation package.

          As a small business owner (in an “at will” state) I know that I pay out $600 per month over the hourly rate per employee for medical dental & vision coverage. The $12 per hour laborer who cuts grass in the orchard costs me closer to $16 an hour. We also match 401K contributions up to 4% of gross, it is offered but not compulsory. They choose if they want to contribute a portion of their wages for retirement, if they do we match it. All of this is part of a total compensation package and it is called ‘overhead’.

          A few employees can get health coverage through their wives employment and if they do I up their hourly rate. I do this because I value my employees and because I know it is far cheaper to retain than retrain.

          I do not see how you can claim that this should all be different for a public sector employer. The retirement benefits are part of a total compensation package. Saying that public sector workers health or retirement is paid for by taxpayers and is somehow different is crazy, their whole pay package is paid for by taxpayers because if you want someone to work for you you have to pay them.

        • Politicians and trheir ilk don’t need unions to coner their butts. Example- dubya and cheney lied through their teeth to protect scum liken “Scooter Libby”, Rumsfeld and a bunch of other ethically and morally challenged members of dubya’s administration. It was a rethuglican controlled Supreme Court thet said corporations are entitled to all the profits they can get. It was the same court make-up that used judicial activism to give corporations the right to buy whole elections with virtually unlimited campaign donations Do you think it would be okay for unions to stop buying votes and let corporations buy votes? Two wrongs don’t make a right. Unions may be forced to shut down,but, you will never stop the wealthy from buying what they want. And, in case you hadn’t noticed, the rich are buying rethuglican pols left and right.

  33. Kilia says:

    Wonderfully done, Patrick!! Go Wisconsin!!!!!!!!!!

  34. sdragon says:

    Go! Fight! Win! Love & support to my Wisconsin neighbors & relatives. My sis-in-law lives in Door County & taught school for over 30 years.
    Love, just love the blow up palm trees. Can’t say the cheeseheads don’t have a giant sense of humor.

  35. bubbles says:

    you are an amazing Mudpup my dear. kudos and bravo. i am so very proud of you.
    as a union member since i was fourteen years old i salute you my brother.

  36. Simple Mind says:

    Yep – Since 2001, we’ve spent over $1,000,000,000,000 on the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan and refused to institute any taxes to pay for it. A study from the University of California says that 0.01% of Americans take home over 6% of the total income, a figure that has doubled since 2000. The top 10% of wage earners bring home 50% of the total wages. The top 1% have captured half the economic growth in the last 10 years. And what is the Republican response? Bust the unions. I mean, its those overpaid plumbers, teachers, truck drivers and nurses who are bankrupting the country, doncha know?

    • BigPete says:

      Class Warfare

      “There’s class warfare, all right,but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” – Warren Buffett.

  37. A Fan in CA says:

    We are all Cheeseheads now!

    I want a pink Flamenco wearing a Cheesehead standing under a palm tree.

    • fromthediagonal says:

      …come over to Florida during spring break and you will probably see a few…

      All kidding aside, what is happening in Wisconsin gives me hope for the future of this nation. May this be a wake-up call to all of us. We must be interested and participate in the day-to-day events of politics. We cannot sit back and cross our fingers.

    • Baker's Dozen says:

      We’ll turn Wisconsin from Red Cheese to Blue Cheese! We’ve got your back, Wisconsin.

      One thing this seems to have done is done away with voter apathy.

  38. A Fan in CA says:

    We are all Cheeseheads now!

  39. Does anyone know what the impact has been of the ad that was going to run? The really good one with different people from unions speaking about the impact of the bill?

    • Progressive in VA says:

      I believe there is a diary at Daily Kos on the subject. I recall reading this morning that over $500,000 was raised. I believe that plans are for more ad buys in other Wisconsin markets and to put some funds into Republican senator recall efforts.

    • Progressive in VA says:

      OK, last bit of info i promise.
      This from a Wisconsonite (?) in the comments at TPM:

      “I can’t get into specifics (don’t want to preempt the folks in charge), but I know that the signature-collecting process went extremely well last weekend. Well-organized locally, and a good turn-out of volunteers. Going door-to-door, there were a few grouches, and a lot of people EAGER to sign. There were residents walking out in their neighborhoods who saw folks with clipboards who literally ran over to sign the recall petition. More often than not, people just said “you don’t need to say any more, just tell me where to sign”. Most frequently asked question: “can I sign a recall petition for Walker, too?” Patience folks, we’ll be back to get that guy, too. The volunteers got a LOT of signatures, and they’re just getting started. The people are energized, they feel empowered, and they are proud to be part of something historic.”

      • Elle says:

        I wish there was a ‘LIKE’ button. I sure do LIKE the sound of this. Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing.

        Elle in MI

      • vyccan says:

        I wondered how the recall signing was going -thanks for sharing this informative comment. (I never go to TPM or DKos).

  40. Dagian says:

    Simply stunning!

  41. Elizabeth says:

    Thanks for all the hard work and worry you’ve done for all of us. The rest of us have to do what we can now. This movement has to keep going even if the “social media” is the only way the word gets out. The MSM has decided the people aren’t worthy of notice. On Saturday there were demonstrations all over the country, the MSM reported something about Madison, but that was it. I finally found information at Reuters and Aljeezera! I find it very interesting that the young people in the Middle East are teaching us all how to fight. Government and MSM won’t pay attention, we’ll make them pay attention with our numbers.

  42. Hooray Hooray Hooray – want to cry, laugh and cheer all at once.

  43. ks sunflower says:

    Fantastic post!

    Thank you and everyone there for working so hard and so long for yourselves and the rest of us!

    I am so proud of and so grateful for Wisconsin citizens!

    I don’t normally use this many exclamation points, but really, this is so exciting and so encouraging that I could use tons more and not express a tenth of the pride and hope I felt reading your post.

    People are relearning the truth about the power of the people to effect change. When we band together, stand together and work together we can make our lives and our world a better place.

    Thank you so much for an invigorating and inspiring post. Congratulations on a successful rally!

    Keep up the good work and know that we are all rooting for you and our spirits stand with you in this historic movement. May it spread across the nation!

  44. Kath the Scrappy says:

    Gives me goosebumps! What a POWERFUL movement nationwide. Yeah, you Wisconsinites have managed to open a LOT of peoples’ eyes as to what is going on. That guy with the Fake Koch Interview deserves a medal, as well.

    Keep the faith, keep hammering. We’re donating and we’re behind you even if we can’t be there in person!

    Wow, you got to shake Michael Moore’s hand, fantastic job Patrick and all your pals.

  45. London Bridges says:

    Here’s a video and article of Scott Brown hitting up David Koch for a little money to further their agendas:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/07/scott-brown-david-koch_n_832505.html

  46. tigerwine says:

    Ohhhh – I have goosebumps! Patrick, we will all be watching and keeping you and your fellow Wisconsonites in our hearts.

    I just can’t believe the audacity of this governor – he hit the ground running, didn’t he? Don’t know exactly when he was sworn in, but it seems he must have been planning this the minute he was elected. He’s been in office about 2 months,and already they are calling for a recall. This can’t be done until he’s served a year. That means another 10 months to put up with this stuff. Hang in there!

    • A Fan in CA says:

      The longer this guy flaps in the wind the better. Let’s get all his crazy ideas exposed.

      Gut public education to give vouchers funded with taxpayer dollars for rich kids to go to their private schools.

      Steal the public utility plants to give to rich friends.

      Overall it seems that all they want to do is privatize almost all government functions. Have taxpayers fund their private companies to do the necessary functions. Example the Milwaukee private security guards with the felon as the boss.

      There are so many outrageous stories to tell.

  47. thatcrowwoman says:

    Many thanks, Patrick, from this cheesehead in exile on the Gulf of Mexico.
    Sending you virtual pink plastic flamingos to accompany the inflatable palm trees! :)
    “The tree of liberty must be re-inflated from time to time.”

    It’s time for all mudpuppies to channel our inner badgers in relentless pursuit of truth, justice, and the American way.
    thatcrowwoman

    • LoveMyDogs says:

      The year I went to the U of W in Madison, they covered the campus with pink flamingos on the first day of school. Those falmingos found many homes on people’s lawns and in their yards. The art dept also did a life size replica of the Statue of Liberty (on the ice) to make her look like she had frozen (neck deep) in the lake (just the head and the torch showing). Madison is one of the coolest places I have ever lived. The inflatable palm trees cracked me up!

      Keep holding the line Wisconsinites! It is only a matter of time before the rest of the country takes to the streets as well (except for the Tea Baggers who say “I’ve got mine, what affects you isn’t my problem”–their day is coming and SOON…what will they say when Medicare and SS gets cut? And they are the jerks who voted these a**hats in). I will cheer all of you every day because you give me HOPE that we have not become too complacent. RECALL them ALL!!!!

    • Hmmm, I have a badger wearing a Hufflepuff scarf. Maybe I should change to Wisconsin orange or is there a new color for what is going on now?

  48. Sally says:

    God bless you…God IS blessing this movement. The GOP has tried to change America into a slave state, with those 400 landowners in control of everything. It will not work. It must not work. We are taking “OUR” country back, and we bless the workers and organizers of Wisconsin for pulling the curtain down so we could all see the machinations that are in place to take down the working class, women, and the poor. Unions are not the problem in this country…the greedy rich white guys are.

    • Elle says:

      @ Sally – love your analogy. It does appear that the corporatists and Republicans would like nothing better than a return to slavery or wage ‘sharecropping’, so that they get all the fruits of our labor, and we get nothing but to be in hock to the corporatists because we can’t afford to basic necessities without going into debt at the ‘company store’.

  49. WakeUpAmerica says:

    God bless the workers of Wisconsin. They’re fighting for all of us who aren’t millionaires. Join a union and buy American.

  50. jimzmum says:

    Thank you, Patrick. Thank you.

  51. Smokey Mountain Blue says:

    Wow! Excellent post. Congratulations and I hope this movement wakes up the country.

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