Many are wondering if making Wisconsin a "Right to Work" state is next on Governor Scott Walker's agenda if he wins the recall election on June 5. Right to Work laws weaken unions by allowing members to opt out of paying dues. Workers get the benefit of working in a union shop (higher wages, better benefits), but are not required to pay their fair share for union representation. Right to Work laws have been used effectively in the South to bust unions and keep wages low, which is why they are dubbed "Right to Work for Less" laws by opponents. The recent push for this legislation is emanating from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), where corporations and right-wing legislators vote as equals behind closed doors on "model" legislation.
Two Wisconsin newspapers published front-page stories this week about the state's recall elections, suggesting that both Democrats and Republicans are evenly matched financially, and have even received the same level of support from out-of-state donors. But what is the real story?
Video was obtained and released by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel less than a month before the June 5th recall election for Wisconsin governor that shows newly elected Governor Scott Walker in a frank conversation with one of his biggest supporters.
As Procter and Gamble became the 13th major American firm to announce that it was dropping its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a few corporations have publicly confirmed their loyalty to the controversial organization. Johnson & Johnson is one of the companies that has so far stood by ALEC, despite ALEC's role in pushing "model" laws that make it harder for Americans to vote and that advance the NRA's gun agenda.
Firm Tries to Distance itself from Extreme ALEC Agenda
Instead of quitting, Johnson & Johnson prefers to try to distance itself from certain elements of the ALEC agenda, which may explain ALEC's PR move to dump its "Public Safety and Elections Task Force," where corporate lobbyists and elected officials voted behind closed doors on templates for changing gun and voting laws.
When all is said and spun, some will judge the veracity of Governor Scott Walker's administration by a single number it released in March 2011.
The "Wisconsin Uprising" hit its stride in February-March, 2011 with more than 100,000 protesters rallying outside the Capitol and thousands more inside, including hundreds who occupied overnight for up to three weeks. When the administration was seeking to limit public access to the Capitol during the protests, the Wisconsin Department of Administration's chief counsel Cari Anne Renlund, told a judge hearing the access case that the cleanup would cost $6 million to repair damaged marble inside the Capitol, $1 million for damage outside and $500,000 for costs to supervise the damage. The estimates (which were the same as the original cost of the entire construction of the Capitol nearly a century ago) were based largely on alleged tape residue damage from signs. Protestors countered that they had consulted with preservationists and used marble-safe blue painter's tape. Their militant adherence to the blue tape was visible to every Capitol visitor.
Since Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia clearly isn't going to take the time to actually read the health care reform law before he decides whether or not it's constitutional, maybe he and a couple of his buddies on the High Court can catch a screening of "The Hunger Games", the movie about children battling each other to the death in a futuristic America, renamed Panem.
"You really want us to go through these 2,700 pages?" Scalia asked during arguments on the constitutionality of the law last week. "Is this not totally unrealistic? That we are going to go through this enormous bill item by item and decide each one?"
He joked that spending time to read the Affordable Care Act before the Court decides its fate would put him in danger of violating the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. LOL, Judge.
A guest post by Dave Saldana, who is a journalist, attorney, and media critic
You really have to hand it to right-wing media hounds. They've gotten so good at bird-dogging the media that they don't even have to raise their alarm of faux outrage and trumped up claims of bias anymore. Now, so fearful are the once-great bastions of journalism of the mere accusation, that they hound their own.
See, for example, the Wisconsin newspapers of the Gannett chain, which yesterday offered mea culpas for their 25 employees among the million-plus Wisconsinites who signed the petition to recall Governor Scott Walker.
In an interview with Fox News legal eagle Greta Van Susteren, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker says his upcoming recall election will be a "Waterloo" moment for national unions that will "invest everything possible to try and take me out to send a message."
Van Susteren fell for Walker's Emperor Napoleon spin, giving him ample time to describe how he is being unfairly persecuted by big-money, out-of-state unions who apparently imported all the protestors last year who surrounded and occupied the Wisconsin State Capitol. "When that started to happen, when you see the buses of people come in, the charter planes coming in -- and the money they spent. I mean, they dumped $4 million to $5 million even before any campaigns last year," Walker said.
Good news! The sewage treatment plant in Calabasas, California has been giving away free sludge! Free sludge, you say? That potent stew of human and industrial sewage sludge laced with flame retardants, endocrine disruptors, pharmaceutical residues, phthalates, industrial solvents, resistant pathogens, and perfluorinated compounds? "Composted" sludge, which can bioaccumulate in plants grown in sludge-contaminated soil? Oh, goodie.
Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) is in a last-minute scramble to challenge "fraudulent" recall petition signatures.