Archive for February, 2011

People speaking their minds

Feb 20 2011 Published by under anarchism,education,politics

The rich are wrecking the planet ….
The Rich are Wrecking the Planet

…. and simple solutions hold strong appeal.

PR Watch has live reporting from the Wisconsin labor protest:

Since Tuesday, February 15, tens of thousands of Wisconsin residents have been flooding the State Capitol in Madison in protest of Governor Walker’s proposed budget “repair” bill that would end 50 years of collective bargaining for Wisconsin workers. CMD reporters are out providing live coverage of these historic events. Votes scheduled for Thursday, February 17 and Friday, February 18 have been delayed, and protests continue through the weekend. Send your stories, photos and videos to us at: PR Watch Editor!

Coincidentally, the media might be trying not to pay too much attention to what’s happening in Madison:

As crowds swelled from approximately 13,000 on Tuesday, to around 70,000 (some estimate 100,000) on Saturday, the media finally began to take notice. But curiously, most media outlets only began to show up when the Tea Party announced it plans for a counter-rally on Saturday. Contrary to sources, these Saturday rallies did not consist of a meeting of disputing views in virtually equally numbers, nor were they a "œclash." The Walker supporters numbered roughly 700-1000 at most, while the anti-bill, pro-union activists outnumbered them nearly 100 to 1.

Robert Reich summarizes the Republican’s 3-part strategy:

These three aspects of the Republican strategy – a federal budget battle to shrink government, focused on programs the vast middle class depends on; state efforts to undermine public employees, whom the middle class depends on; and a Supreme Court dedicated to bending the Constitution to enlarge and entrench the political power of the wealthy – fit perfectly together.

They pit average working Americans against one another, distract attention from the almost unprecedented concentration of wealth and power at the top, and conceal Republican plans to further enlarge and entrench that wealth and power.

George Lakoff describes the how conservatives are drawn to authoritarianism as a way of organizing society, and asks:

Is there hope?

I see it in Wisconsin, where tens of thousands citizens see through the conservative frames and are willing to flood the streets of their capital to stand up for their rights. They understand that democracy is about citizens uniting to take care of each other, about social responsibility as well as individual responsibility, and about work – not just for your own profit, but to help create a civilized society. They appreciate their teachers, nurses, firemen, police and other public servants. They are flooding the streets to demand real democracy – the democracy of caring, of social responsibility and of excellence, where prosperity is to be shared by those who work and those who serve.

I’m continuing to enjoy browsing through Flickr photos of the demonstrators, and found a group, Photos for Wisconsin Workers with hundreds of photos now.

Some that I’ve gleaned from there and elsewhere:

Grannies know what’s best
Grannies for Justice!

Second thoughts, apparently
Protests Swell in their Fifth Day

Stop now!
Protests Swell in their Fifth Day

Yes, it is a very bad bill.
Protests Swell in their Fifth Day

Kids for democracy
Protests Swell in their Fifth Day

Veterans are strongly objecting to Governor Scott Walker’s inappropriate threat to activate the National Guard to intimidate state workers.”
Protests Swell in their Fifth Day

Spoonerisms make pretty good political humor.
Protests Swell in their Fifth Day

Death by a thousand “modest cuts” is also known as creeping normalcy

We do know what day it is.
GET BACK TO WORK / It is Saturday

Rescuing collective bargaining
Firefighters for labor

Dogs love freedom, too.

When bears and badgers lie down together

And don’t forget the pursuit of happiness.
Baseball, Apple Pie, Labor Rights

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Governor Walker Gets A Civics Lesson

Feb 17 2011 Published by under borderland,commonplaces,politics

In The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein explains how the ruling class gets away with dumping on everyone else:

In one of his most influential essays, Friedman articulated contemporary capitalism’s core tactical nostrum, what I have come to understand as “the shock doctrine”. He observed that “only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change”…. And once a crisis has struck, the University of Chicago professor was convinced that it was crucial to act swiftly, to impose rapid and irreversible change before the crisis-racked society slipped back into the “tyranny of the status quo”.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, lacking an actual disaster he could use in his over-the-top attack on public employees, tried the perceived variety, and declared a budget crisis which he himself has manufactured:

Wisconsin’s new Republican governor has framed his assault on public worker’s collective bargaining rights as a needed measure of fiscal austerity during tough times.

The reality is radically different. Unlike true austerity measures — service rollbacks, furloughs, and other temporary measures that cause pain but save money — rolling back worker’s bargaining rights by itself saves almost nothing on its own. But Walker’s doing it anyhow, to knock down a barrier and allow him to cut state employee benefits immediately.

Furthermore, this broadside comes less than a month after the state’s fiscal bureau — the Wisconsin equivalent of the Congressional Budget Office — concluded that Wisconsin isn’t even in need of austerity measures, and could conclude the fiscal year with a surplus. In fact, they say that the current budget shortfall is a direct result of tax cut policies Walker enacted in his first days in office.

“Walker was not forced into a budget repair bill by circumstances beyond he control,” says Jack Norman, research director at the Institute for Wisconsin Future — a public interest think tank. “He wanted a budget repair bill and forced it by pushing through tax cuts… so he could rush through these other changes.”

He was not half clever enough to pull the trick off, though, and he is now meeting some resistance from teachers, other public workers, and trade union members who see very clearly what is going on, and fail to perceive the need or the justice in terminating the bargaining rights of public employees. Instead, they perceive another crisis entirely, one that is quite real, and they are standing up for their rights.

I enjoyed scrolling through some of the Flickr photos of what’s been going on in Madison the last couple of days.

Wisconsin Teachers March on the Capitol

Attacking Teachers Attacks My Future

Get Your Head Out Of Your Walker






Do YOU Plan On Shoveling The Roads??

Protesters in the Capitol


Night Three of Protests under the Rotunda

Anti-Walker, anti-union busting protests

Anti-Walker, anti-union busting protests

Madison Protest


The shit storm begins.

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Space Weather

Feb 06 2011 Published by under borderland,commonplaces

I arrived home late the other evening after picking up one of the kids from a friend’s house, and I happened to catch a spectacular display of the aurora. Normally, I’d have been asleep, so I felt lucky. But I just now discovered that a post-doctoral fellow at the International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska, calling himself Micrometeorologist has been recording the aurora borealis using time-lapse photography and posting his videos to YouTube. And he made more than one video that night.

This is an especially fine example of the event:

Even the Alaska Dispatch took note of it, linking to a site called Space Weather, which has lots of news about celestial happenings, including an aurora gallery, and much, much more.

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