Republican Extremists Trash Conservative Brand

Republican Extremists Trash Conservative Brand

i May 20th No Comments by

Conservatives didn’t do well in Madison’s spring elections.

Here, as in much of the country, it is a brand that has been thoroughly trashed by extremist Republicans who are conservative in name only.

Many readers of this paper have traditionally defined themselves as conservative, believing that to “conserve” means to keep what you have.

Republican extremists have worked tirelessly over the last few decades to do the opposite, and have been increasingly effective at taking the Republican Party with them. Here are some examples:

Voting rights. Maybe you get to keep yours; maybe not. The roadblocks extremists are throwing in the way of voting go far beyond what the Wisconsin legislature just passed. In some luckless countries around the world, voters wait in line the entire day just to cast a ballot then can’t even be sure it will be counted. Kathy Nickolaus, who just resurfaced as the new clerk-treasurer for the Town of Waukesha, personally counted the ballots in Waukesha County for a decade, and Diebold voting machines may or may not come with vote totals pre-installed, but the extremists only seem to care about voter impersonation, which has yet to happen. True conservatives understand the danger of applying the heavy hand of government to your voting rights.

Local control. There’s not much that’s conservative about taking away the rights of people to control what goes on their own neighborhoods. When the Milwaukee County Board voted to provide a living wage of $11.33 an hour for people working with and for the county, the immediate response of the extremists in power in Madison was to hold legislative hearings to try to take it away. When people around proposed mining sites tried to make sure they could maintain clean water and a healthy environment, the legislature similarly intervened. The interests of the extremists are simply not those of ordinary citizens.

Health care. The number of Americans who have gained health insurance under President Obama is strikingly similar to the number who lost it under President Bush. George W. Bush is a politician who ran as a conservative (albeit a “compassionate” one), governed as a conservative, then was disowned by people who continue to call themselves conservatives. In Wisconsin, Governor Walker did all he could to make sure fewer people were covered under the new health care law. Maybe that could be construed as conservative if it saved money. It didn’t. His refusal to participate ensured that Wisconsin citizens would send their money to Washington but receive little of it back.

Jobs. The extremists remain unapologetic about their opposition to saving the auto companies during the Great Recession. Had they been in power nationally at the time, they would have cut loose millions of jobs. In Wisconsin we have an extremist governor who not only is clueless about how to create jobs, he’s unable to help us keep what we have. In the coming campaign, you will see many ads trying to obscure the fact that he is among the worst governors in the nation when it comes to jobs. Now he’s faced with the dubious choice of convincing people that he really isn’t completely inept or that his pledge to create jobs wasn’t really that important.

Public schools. After taking more than a billion dollars away from Wisconsin schools, forcing massive cuts in pay and benefits on school workers, and taking away teachers’ collective bargaining agreements, what else could these non-conservatives do? How about continuing to push for privatization, this time in the form of using special education students as pawns? How about continuing to let privateers like the Life Skills Academy take your tax dollars with virtually no state oversight? How about trying to anoint politicians to write school curriculum? Conservative? Seriously?

Secession. Republican extremists want Wisconsin to have the option to leave the United States of America. They are voting on it at their annual convention. Sadly, they have no clue how far out of step they are with both patriotic conservatives and liberals. But they are now in charge of a Republican party which once stood strong for this country.

Unions. If to conserve means to try to keep what you have, unions plead guilty. The failed attempt to organize workers at the Tennessee Volkswagen plant shows how far the extremists have moved. It was them versus the union AND the auto company. This time the extremists won.

The extremists didn’t win all of the battles they fought. The living wage ordinance that passed in Milwaukee was not overridden. Special education students will not be privatized. Wisconsin politicians will not be writing curriculum for your children. Not yet.

One politician who won’t be returning to office is Republican State Senator Dale Schultz. One of the main reasons Schultz chose not to run for re-election was that extremists recruited a high-profile, well-financed candidate to run against him. Schultz is a conservative. But he is not an extremist. The current Republican Party in Wisconsin has no room for people like him.

If they can replace him with one of their own, they may yet get to implement their wish list—and much more. But it’s not a conservative wish list.
(May 2014 Union Labor News)

Minimum wage fight shows arrogance of power (Union Labor News editorial)

i Mar 5th No Comments by

Workers making at or near the minimum wage need all the help they can get. That’s why Milwaukee County’s ordinance establishing an $11.33 minimum wage for its workers and for those businesses contracting with the county is a good thing. The shameful attempt by Republican Representative Chris Kapenga to dismantle it  (and other historically successful local policies) is disturbing on many levels.

The chaos surrounding the introduction of AB750 is inexcusable, but it is what we have come to expect from a Republican legislature drunk on its own power.

What’s most disturbing about this latest attack on workers is the set of arrogant assumptions underpinning it. There are at least four.

We know what’s best for you. The Milwaukee ordinance passed by a two-thirds majority and is likely to survive a veto attempt by the county executive. Never mind. Republicans believe those at the state level are wiser and better equipped to decide than those closer to the issue. Many of us are old enough to remember when Republicans believed the opposite. The tone is also patronizing. “You cannot raise one person up by pulling another down,” lectured Kapenga. Yes we can. But that’s not what’s happening here. (more…)

Come to Senate hearing on minimum wage

i Feb 28th No Comments by

The bill taking away local control for minimum wage is on the fast track in the Wisconsin Legislature. Republicans in the Assembly hurriedly held a hearing on Feb. 12 and the bill has already passed in that body. We need to stop it in the Senate. The hearing on SB626 will be held Monday, March 3 at 11:00 am in Room 411 South of the Capitol. Please join us there.

SCFL Endorses Candidates in 6 Counties

i Feb 27th No Comments by

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South Central Federation of Labor Endorses Candidates in 6 Counties for April 2014 Elections

 

The South Central Federation of Labor (SCFL) Committee on Political Education and SCFL delegate body voted February 20th to endorse the following candidates for the April 2014 elections. These candidates were selected for their commitment to working families and a working family’s agenda.

For a complete list Click Here

COPE Candidate Interview Endorsements – Dodge/Jefferson Chapter

i Feb 13th No Comments by

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South Central Federation of Labor Dodge/Jefferson Chapter Endorses Candidates for April 2014 Elections

 DodgeCOPE Endorsements 2_11 PDF

The South Central Federation of Labor (SCFL) Dodge/Jefferson Chapter voted February 11th to endorse the following candidates for the April 2014 elections. These candidates were selected for their commitment to working families and working family’s agenda.

 

Dodge County Supervisor

District 4 Donald Burcham

District 5 Janice Bohholz

District 16 Ronald Adelmeyer

District 24 Dennis Schmidt

District 32 Lisa Derr

Horicon School Board

Jim Grigg

Mayville Mayor

Rob Boelk

Dodgeland School Board

Jason Schall

COPE Candidate Interview Results – Dane County

i Jan 23rd No Comments by

South Central Federation of Labor Endorses Candidates for April 2014 Elections

DaneCOPE Endorsements 2_14 PDF

The South Central Federation of Labor (SCFL) Committee on Political Education and SCFL delegate body voted January 23rd to endorse the following candidates for the April 2014 elections. These candidates were selected for their commitment to working families and working family’s agenda.

Dane County Supervisor
District 1     Mary Kolar
District 2    Heidi Wegleitner
District 3    Nick Zweifel
District 4    Kyle Richmond
District 5    Leland Pan
District 6    John Hendrick
District 7    Matt Veldran
District 8    Carousel Bayrd
District 10    Jeremy Levin
District 11    Al Matano
District 12    Paul Rusk
District 13    Chuck Erickson
District 14    George Gillis
District 16    Dave de Felice
District 17    Jeff Pertl
District 18    Michele Ritt
District 21    Andrew Schauer

District 22    Maureen McCarville
District 23    Sheila Stubbs
District 24    Robin Schmidt
District 25    Tim Kiefer
District 26    Sharon Corrigan
District 27    Dorothy Krause
District 28    Abigail Wuerst
District 30    Pat Downing
District 32     Pat McPartland
District 33    Jenni Dye
District 34    Patrick Miles
District 35    Carl Chenowith

Madison School Board
Seat 6  Michael Flores
Verona Mayor
Chad Kemp

Verona Alder
District 4    Mike Bare

Invisible Governor

i Jan 11th No Comments by

By Glenn Schmidt

Governor Walker wants to be President Walker, but he has a problem. Outside of Wisconsin hardly anyone knows he exists. He is the invisible man. He leaves deep footprints in the mud, but only a select few can claim an actual sighting. His ability to govern from the shadows has helped him in Wisconsin, but it clearly works against him as he continues his unlikely quest for more power. Ghosts don’t run well.

It is remarkable how few people have actually seen the governor in person. (more…)

SCFL Takes Stand Against Military Spending

i Jan 6th No Comments by

WNPJ_member_good_WNPJ_logo.2.1.1The South Central Federation of Labor (SCFL), AFL-CIO passed a resolution December 16th, calling on Wisconsin to shift away from military spending towards a more sustainable economy.  SCFL includes 100 affiliated unions representing working families in south-central Wisconsin.

The resolution notes that “Wisconsin’s economy is highly dependent on military spending,” and that “Oshkosh Truck, which develops military trucks for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan … has laid off 1,200 workers in the past year due to a decrease in federal contracts.”

It supports the formation of a Futures Commission, similar to one established by Connecticut, to “help the state convert from defense spending to more sustainable job creation, such as construction, clean energy, rebuilding national infrastructure and transportation.”

SCFL President Kevin Gundlach said, “Upon my arrival in Madison over 20 years ago, one of my first jobs was working with the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign.  The issues were clear.  It was time to cut wasteful military spending and start producing domestic products and create jobs.  The campaign started locally and succeeded nationally.”

He added, “Today, we face yet again an economic system dependent on military spending that is unsustainable and has outlived its stated purpose.  It’s time we start putting in place the steps for a fair and just transition to an economy that works for all working families, for our veterans, the elderly, differently abled and our children alike.”

SCFL’s resolution is the sixth to be passed in Wisconsin.  Dane County and the city of Milwaukee previously passed Move the Money / War Dollars Home resolutions, along with the American Federation of Teachers – WI union, Madison Friends Meeting and Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Green Bay.  Nationally, more than 150 such resolutions have been passed by city councils, county boards and labor unions.

The Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice (WNPJ) is supporting efforts across the state, to call attention to the bloated military budget and organize in support of a more sustainable, peace-time economy.  WNPJ is a statewide coalition of nearly 150 member organizations, founded in 1991 to facilitate activities, cooperation and communication among Wisconsin organizations and individuals working toward the creation of a sustainable world, free from violence and injustice.

See resolution below (more…)