Monday Afternoon ReadsPosted: July 13, 2015
I got to spend the weekend with both girls and their guys which is a treat these days since both are adults and live far away. No matter how old they get or I get, it seems that seeing them leave is a challenge. My goal was to raise independent women who could make good decisions and act in ways that do no harm to themselves or others. I wouldn’t have them any other way. But, the fact they’re so independent is difficult on their old mom sometimes. So, this post is a little late because I slept as late as I could.
I’m going to start out with some items on Scott Walker since he’s the latest KochBot Governor to enter the race and appears to be the anti-government pony that the Kochs are backing.Just like Louisiana and Kansas, Wisconsin has become a failed state through experimentation with right wing libertarian cult fetishes. Walker has been particularly rough on unions. Turning workers into hapless, powerless wage slaves is one of the key Koch goals. Union money and campaign work has been one of the linchpins in the election of Democrats. It’s one of the few offsets to big money coming from billionaires like the Kochs.
The anti-union law passed here four years ago, which made Gov. Scott Walker a national Republican star and a possible presidential candidate, has turned out to be even more transformative than many had predicted.
Walker had vowed that union power would shrink, workers would be judged on their merits, and local governments would save money. Unions had warned that workers would lose benefits and be forced to take on second jobs or find new careers.
Many of those changes came to pass, but the once-thriving public-sector unions were not just shrunken — they were crippled.
Unions representing teachers, professors, trash collectors and other government employees are struggling to stem plummeting membership rolls and retain relevance in the state where they got their start.
Here in King, Magnant and her fellow AFSCME members, workers at a local veterans home, have been knocking on doors on weekends to persuade former members to rejoin. Community college professors in Moraine Park, home to a technical college, are reducing dues from $59 to $36 each month. And those in Milwaukee are planing a campaign using videos and posters to highlight union principles. The theme: “Remember.”
But recalling the benefits that union membership might have brought before the 2011 law stripped most public-sector unions of their collective-bargaining rights is difficult when workers consider the challenges of the present.
“I don’t see the point of being in a union anymore,” said Dan Anliker, a 34-year-old technology teacher and father of two in Reedsburg, a tiny city about 60 miles northwest of Madison.
Scott Walker made it official today, breaking the news that he is a Republican candidate in the 2016 presidential race first in a Facebook post this morning before a formal announcement event in Wisconsin later today.
“I’m in. I’m running for President of the United States because Americans deserve a leader who will fight and win for them,” the two-term Wisconsin governor says in the Facebook post, which includes a video in which he argues that his track record as governor sets him apart from the rest of the Republican field as a proven leader who has succeeded in winning elections and taking on big policy battles.
Walker’s policy battles usually mean taking on the little guy and the middle class by promoting the interests of the very rich and powerful. He would become the first president since Harry Truman to do so without a college degree having dropped out of university prior to graduation.
Walker is not very charismatic and has little national appeal at the moment. However, his former political rivals say this only leads folks to underestimate him. Given his strong Koch backing, he’s got the ability to go the distance even though he’s less than appealing physically and personality-wise. My impression of him has always been of a very dull and lifeless man. He’s characterized by former opponents quite a bit differently.
Since 1990, the Wisconsin governor’s name has appeared on a ballot 14 times, and he’s failed just twice — a winning record that’s central to his pitch to Republican primary voters. Along the way, he’s left a trail of defeated challengers, many of them gripped by resentment toward a foe they recall as crassly opportunistic, loose with facts or blindly ambitious.Yet for all the lingering enmity, as Walker prepares to announce his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, his rivals also grudgingly respect him as a rare and exceptionally canny politician who’s constantly underestimated and always outperforms expectations.
He’s a sneaky-smart campaigner, they say, a polished and level-headed tactician, a master at reading crowds. He learned the value of ignoring uncomfortable questions, rather than answering them. In hindsight, the many politicians he pancaked on the road to the national stage — in races for the state Assembly, county executive and governor — almost invariably see his career as an elaborate practice run for the White House.
To David Riemer, who fell to Walker in a 2004 bid for Milwaukee County executive — a nonpartisan race — Walker’s wiles can be summed up by a single moment during one of their debates. Riemer, sensing Walker’s desire to run for higher office, recalled placing a sheet of paper on Walker’s lectern that included a pledge to fulfill an entire four-year term. Sign it, Riemer demanded.
“He just let it sit in front of him. He didn’t get it back to me. He didn’t rip it up. He didn’t turn it into a paper airplane … he ignored it,” Riemer said. “He understood very well, one of the key lessons in political life is they can’t print what you don’t say.”
Walker is managing to dismantle education in ways that Bobby Jindal only dreams. Wisconsin–unlike Louisiana–is known for good education and institutions. He’s managed to attack teacher unions and benefits. Just recently. he went after and back dismantling tenure. Attacks on higher education are necessary for the right since any form of critical thinking skills in voters is a danger to demagoguery. Tenure protects freedom of speech and thought at university campuses. These are dangerous freedoms for folk wishing to push an agenda that is not reality-based. It’s no wonder that most of the Koch puppets are loose with the truth, data, and facts on the ground.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s trailblazing effort to weaken tenure protections at public colleges and universities is now a reality with his signing of a $73 billion budget on Sunday.
The effort has outraged unions and higher education groups, leaving them fearful that other lawmakers will follow suit to unravel labor protections in higher education that have long been considered sacred ground.
Walker downplayed the changes at Sunday’s signing at a valve manufacturing facility in Waukesha, Wisconsin, emphasizing instead that tuition was being frozen in the University of Wisconsin system for two more years at the rate it was two years ago.
“We made college more affordable for college students and working families all across the state,” Walker said.
Walker signed the budget as he prepared to announce his run for the Republican presidential nomination Monday. The tenure fight could further endear him to conservatives skeptical of what some perceive as the ivory tower of higher education, and it serves to remind voters of his earlier effort to scale back collective-bargaining rights of public employee unions — including K-12 teachers — when he was first building a national profile.
The budget sent to Walker also includes other labor-related issues that frustrated unions, including a provision that rolls back a minimum pay protection for laborers working on local public construction projects like schools.
Scott Walker looks like the typical Midwestern Goofus. He was raised a Baptist as the son of a Baptist preacher. Walker pushed through the typical christianist culture crap. Maybe because he appears so ineffectual is one of the reasons that he actually gets his desired outcomes. His current fundraising efforts are less than stellar and national polls do not favor him. He is doing well in Iowa, however.
Mr. Walker’s strategy is now focused on building a political operation in Iowa and campaigning aggressively there with an increasingly conservative message. He recently endorsed amending the United States Constitution to leave laws blocking same-sex marriage up to each state, and he is preparing to sign Wisconsin legislation that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, except when the life of the mother is in immediate jeopardy.
With those positions and others, Mr. Walker is aiming to sway conservative and evangelical voters, two dominant groups in the Iowa Republican caucuses. They may now have a particular affinity for Mr. Cruz and Mr. Carson, who had a combined 19 percent support of likely Iowa caucusgoers in a recent Quinnipiac University poll. But other Republican candidates like Mr. Perry, a former Texas governor, and Mr. Rubio are angling to appeal to the same voters, and Mr. Rubio and his supporters have more financial resources than Mr. Walker does right now.
“Walker had a great winter but maybe got a little cocky, a little ahead of himself, and now he really has to take the time to work Iowa and build up the resources to compete harder in the early primary states,” said Ed Rollins, a veteran Republican consultant who has worked with David Polyansky, one of Mr. Walker’s advisers in Iowa.
To distinguish himself, Mr. Walker, a 47-year-old career politician, is building his bid for the White House around his style of leadership, reflected in slogans like “go big and go bold” and “a fighter and a winner,” and his record as governor since 2011.
He has also sought to enhance his understanding of national affairs and foreign policy by taking time away from the campaign trail this year for dozens of briefings with experts, heads of state and military officials. As a result, not only has he spent less time fund-raising than other candidates, he has also been absent for long stretches from New Hampshire and South Carolina, which have early nominating contests and where his poll numbers have slipped as well.Wisconsin, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.
“I think he waited too late to get into the race, because there was such excitement for him when he was here in March,” said Catherine Welborn, a South Carolina Republican who heard Mr. Walker speak that month in Charleston. “South Carolina doesn’t have much time to get to know him, but one thing is for sure: He needs to come down here and tell the story about beating the unions. That’s the kind of person we need to stand up for America.”
Other admirers of Mr. Walker said he was poised to regain momentum because of his fiscally conservative record in Wisconsin, where he signed a two-year state budget on Sunday that holds the line on taxes and cuts funds for University of Wisconsin campuses while also freezing tuition there.
But Mr. Walker is best known for taking on Wisconsin’s public employee unions, shortly after taking office in 2011, by proposing a bill to repeal collective bargaining for most government workers to give control over pay and benefits back to the state. Championing the measure as a way to deal with the state’s budget deficit, Mr. Walker drew support from his extensive network of conservative backers, as well as Republican leaders in the State Legislature.
There are many interesting comments on that last NYT thread including many from his constituents. Listen to this from folks that know him best. They remind me of those of us from Louisiana that are telling the country to run away from Jindal as fast as they can.
Fond du Lac, WI
As a Wisconsinite, I can attest to the damage that Scott Walker has done to our state. After promising to create 250,000 in his first term–and insisting that he be held accountable for that pledge when he ran in 2010–the state ended up with half that number (over 50,000 behind same-size but Democratically controlled Minnesota). By 2014, he insisted that the promise was merely a goal.
Our state now ranks in the bottom ten nationally in job creation. It ranks number ONE in middle class decline, according to a Pew Center analysis. We are now among the top 10 states in people moving away.
Scott Walker raised taxes on 140,000 Wisconsin families. What did those families have in common?–they all had a breadwinner who worked for a living, they all had kids to support, and they are all below the poverty line.
According to a new study that tracked hundreds of women who had abortions, more than 95 percent of participants reported that ending a pregnancy was the right decision for them. Feelings of relief outweighed any negative emotions, even three years after the procedure.
Researchers examined both women who had first-trimester abortions and women who had procedures after that point (which are often characterized as “late-term abortions”). When it came to women’s emotions following the abortion, or their opinions about whether or not it was the right choice, they didn’t find any meaningful difference between the two groups.
Though there’s no scientific evidence to support the idea that abortion is linked to a greater risk of mental health problems, this framework is often used to justify passing additional restrictions on the procedure. Seven states, for instance, have mandatory counseling laws that require pregnant women to receive information about abortion’s negative psychological consequences before they’re allowed to proceed. Some of those materials specifically reference “postabortion traumatic stress syndrome,” a supposed disorder that isn’t recognized by the American Psychological Association or the American Psychiatric Association.
Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush go at each other over worker hours and pay. Bush also seems to be on the offensive against Rubio and Walker.
Hillary Clinton laid into Jeb Bush’s remark that Americans need to work longer hours on Monday during her first economic policy speech at the New School in New York City.
“Well, he must not have met very many American workers,” Clinton said to applause and cheers. “Let him tell that to the nurse who stands on her feet all day or the teacher who is in that classroom, or the trucker who drives all night. Let him tell that to the fast-food workers marching in the streets for better pay. They don’t need a lecture. They need a raise.
“The truth is, the current rules for our economy do reward some work, like financial trading, for example, much more than other work, like building and selling things,” Clinton added.
Bush made the suggestion last week during an interview with New Hampshire’s Union Leader, urging the need for people to work longer hours because workforce participation is at all-time modern lows.
It’s not the first time Clinton’s campaign has taken a shot at that remark. Her campaign tweeted a graph by the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute showing stagnating wages as productivity has risen over the past four decades.
Well, that’s it for me today. I have to catch up on some grading! What’s on your reading and blogging list today?