The vision for Evergreene Digest is to be the preferred one-stop on-line source for information and perspectives that major news entities exclude from the present day American conversation. The Internet makes it possible to loosen the grip on big media by taking the news into our own hands. We readers-turned-reporters can restore integrity to the nation's single most vital conduit for democratic participation, our media.

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Sick Gulf Residents Beg Officials for Help

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  • Gulf residents and community leaders vented their increasingly grave concerns about the widespread health issues brought on by the three-month-long oil spill.
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  • An oil spill in the Gulf? Oh, well.
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AlterNet

Photo Credit: Public Citizen

In an emotionally charged meeting this week (Jan 9-15) sponsored by the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, fishermen, Gulf residents and community leaders vented their increasingly grave concerns about the widespread health issues brought on by the three-month-long disaster.

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"Today I'm talking to you about my life," Cherri Foytlin told the two commissioners present at the Jan. 12 meeting. "My ethylbenzene levels are 2.5 times the 95th percentile, and there's a very good chance now that I won't get to see my grandbabies…What I'm asking you to do now, if possible, is to amend [your report]. Because we have got to get some health care."

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An oil spill in the Gulf? Oh, well, Los Angeles Times Editorial, Minneapolis Star Tribune | MN
Last year's Gulf of Mexico oil spill has dropped out of the headlines, and according to a recent federal report, the spilled oil itself has mostly vanished.

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Special Report | Madison, WI, Labor Riots

Coverage of the massive protests that are rapidly causing ripples coast to coast.

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9 Items including:

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  • Scott Walker Runs on Koch Money
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  • Tell Wisconsin: Don't Sacrifice Employee Rights
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David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

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via Huffington Post

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The Nation Special:  Madison, Wisconsin Edition, Peter Rothberg, Nation Magazine
Nation Magazine's John Nichols, a seventh--generation Wisconsinite, has been spearheading the magazine's coverage of the massive protests that are rapidly causing ripples coast to coast.

Scott Walker to 'Koch Caller': Thanks for All the Support, John Nichols, Nation Magazine
"Koch": [Laughs] Well, I tell you what, Scott: once you crush these bastards I’ll fly you out to Cali and really show you a good time.
Walker: All right, that would be outstanding. [Author's note: ethical violation much?] Thanks for all the support…it’s all about getting our freedoms back…
"Koch": Absolutely. And, you know, we have a little bit of a vested interest as well. [Laughs]

We Have Our Invitation to The Class War in Wisconsin, Lou Kusay, OpEdNews

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  • The issue at the front line of the battle is the busting of the public unions, that is very clear. Everyone should also know that this is domino number one for the country -- they bust them here, they will bust them everywhere. This is not a matter of whether you like, or believe, in unions. This is a matter of a spike being driven right through the heart of working middle class America!
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  • "What's Disgusting? Union Busting!" Chant Wisconsin Crowds That Swell to 30,000; Key GOP Legislators Waver
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Scott Walker Runs on Koch Money, Lisa Graves, Center for Media and Democracy

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  • The Republican Governors Association and the Kochs' Investment in Scott Walker
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  • Who Is Writing the AP's Headlines on the Protests -- the GOP?
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  • Citizens United v. FEC: The Decision, Its Implications, The Road Ahead
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  • A Supreme Act Of Judical Treason Against The People Of The United States
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Tell Wisconsin: Don't Sacrifice Employee Rights, Change.org

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  • Targeting: The Governor of WI, The WI State Senate, The WI State House
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  • Started by: Iliana Echo
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Support for the Madison Protesters, Not the Democrats, Billy Wharton, Bronx County Independent Examiner | NY

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  • The following is a letter sent in response to a solicitation I received today from the Campaign Director of the Daily Kos website.  I am printing it here since I think it may be of interest to those of us who support the demonstrations in Madison, but are looking for serious political alternatives to the mainstream parties.  It may also help to explain how Wisconsin got into the political mess it is in now.
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  • Wisconsin Democrats Also Took Tea Party Money
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  • Study Calls Wisconsin Public Workers Under-Compensated
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  • Wisconsin Corporations Skate as Governor Targets Public Employees
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Greenspan's Incompetence Badgers Wisconsin's Workers, Dean Baker, t r u t h o u t
If members of Congress are too intimidated to do what is needed to fix the economy, then Wisconsin's legislators should do what common sense dictates: follow the money. Rather than taking pay and benefits from schoolteachers and firefighters, it makes sense to take money from the people who have it. This means taxing Wisconsin's wealthy and its corporations. The tax increase only needs to be temporary, since the state budget should be fine once the economy recovers.

Wisconsin Still Laboratory of Democracy, John Nichols, in Capital Times | WI

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  • On my dad’s side, my ancestors came to Wisconsin in 1823 to mine lead near Mineral Point. My mom’s people arrived a decade later, settling in Wyoming Valley.
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  • I was raised with an outsized regard for Wisconsin, by a mother who made sure we never passed a Wisconsin historical marker without stopping.
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"What's Disgusting? Union Busting!" Chant Wisconsin Crowds That Swell to 30,000; Key GOP Legislators Waver, John Nichols,  Nation Magazine
"I have never been prouder of our movement than I am at this moment,"  shouted Wisconsin AFL-CIO President Phil Neuenfeldt, as he surveyed the crowds of union members and their supporters that surged around the state Capitol and into the streets of Madison Wednesday, literally closing the downtown as tens of thousands of Wisconsinites protested their Republican governor’s attempt to strip public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights.

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Support for the Madison Protesters, Not the Democrats

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  • The following is a letter sent in response to a solicitation I received today from the Campaign Director of the Daily Kos website.  I am printing it here since I think it may be of interest to those of us who support the demonstrations in Madison, but are looking for serious political alternatives to the mainstream parties.  It may also help to explain how Wisconsin got into the political mess it is in now.
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  • Wisconsin Democrats Also Took Tea Party Money
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  • Study Calls Wisconsin Public Workers Under-Compensated
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  • Wisconsin Corporations Skate as Governor Targets Public Employees
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Billy Wharton, Bronx County Independent Examiner | NY

February 21, 2010

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Dear Chris Bowers,

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I received your email through the Daily Kos email list asking me to contribute $14 to the Wisconsin State Senate Democratic Party Committee, one dollar for every Senator who has left the state.  You stated that “over the weekend,” you sent this same email.  Well, I want to share with you one of the things I did this weekend.
I spent some time looking through the campaign contribution records in Wisconsin in order to find out how the heck Scott Walker was elected Governor.  Like others, I discovered that the Koch Brothers, the funders of Tea Party movement, poured more than $40,000 into Walker’s campaign.  I also found out something a bit more unusual.

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Scott Walker Photo: News Source

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Wisconsin Democrats Also Took Tea Party Money, Billy Wharton, Bronx County Independent Examiner | NY
Campaign Finance Reports filed with the State of Wisconsin from 2008 until 2011 indicate that key Democratic Party officials in the State Assembly and the Democratic Party as a whole have taken campaign contributions from the Koch Industries Inc. Political Action Committee (PAC).  This PAC is operated by the infamous Koch brothers, key funders and architects of the Tea Party Movement.  From 2008 until 2011 the Democrats took thousands of dollars in funds including contributions made to the losing campaign of controversial ex-Speaker of the Assembly Mike Sheridan.

Study Calls Wisconsin Public Workers Under-Compensated, Billy Wharton, Bronx County Independent Examiner | NY
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker forgot to do something simple while composing his plan to annihilate public employees unions in the state.  He didn’t check the numbers.  Walker claims his intention is to lower supposedly inflated public sector compensation to levels comparable with the private sector.  One problem here.  According to a recent study conducted by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), Wisconsin public employees are currently under-compensated when compared to their private sector counterparts.

Wisconsin Corporations Skate as Governor Targets Public Employees, Billy Wharton, Bronx County Independent Examiner | NY
Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker made national headlines this week by announcing his intention to strip public employees of collective bargaining rights.  He even threatened to call out the National Guard to back up this claim.  The bombastic proposal was presented as a part of plan to close the state’s $137 million budget shortfall.  The real kicker to Walker’s budget dreams is that while hacking away at public workers he also intends to lower tax rates.  Quite a feat, and it raises issues about just what the tax situation is in the state.

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The Nation Special: Madison, Wisconsin Edition

The Nation's John Nichols, a seventh--generation Wisconsinite, has been spearheading the magazine's coverage of the massive protests that are rapidly causing ripples coast to coast.

Peter Rothberg, Nation Magazine

This terrific video illuminates the passions that have been provoked in Wisconsin, the broad-based opposition to Governor Scott Walker's efforts to destroy public sector unionism in his state, and, just possibly, the stirrings of a popular grassroots movement largely dormant since the week-long demonstrations in Seattle against the WTO more than a decade ago.

Read our latest coverage:

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Obama's Deregulation Dance With Wall Street

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  • The man who couldn't give an executive order to halt dismissals of gay and lesbian members of the military has apparently issued an order to review regulations that stifle job creation, or place unreasonable restrictions on business, or—and these are his own words—are "just plain dumb."
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  • The Loaded Chamber: Secret Money
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  • Stop the US Chamber of Commerce
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Laura Flanders, The Nation

With a new Republican Congress falling all over itself to hand corporations whatever they want, it was only a matter of time before some politician turned up in the pages of the Wall Street Journal, breathlessly describing the "dazzling" and "path-breaking" nature of the free market, and vowing to get rid of regulations that have placed "unreasonable" burdens on businesses.

We just didn't think it would be Barack Obama.

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But the man who couldn't give an executive order to halt dismissals of gay and lesbian members of the military has apparently issued an order to review regulations that stifle job creation, or place unreasonable restrictions on business, or—and these are his own words—are "just plain dumb."

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Obama's words at times echoed US Chamber of Commerce president Tom Donohue, who called for regulations to be "swept away"—and who cheered the hiring of Wall Streeter Bill Daley as White House chief of staff. For more on Donohue and the Chamber, , check out our series "The Loaded Chamber" at our website.

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The Loaded Chamber: Secret Money, GritTV/The Nation
"The chamber’s increasingly aggressive role — including record spending in the midterm elections that supports Republicans more than 90 percent of the time — has made it a target of critics, including a few local chamber affiliates who fear it has become too partisan and hard-nosed in its fund-raising."

Exclusive: Chamber Receives At Least $885,000 From Over 80 Foreign Companies In Disclosed Donations Alone, Think Progress

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  • The Chamber and the media largely ignored ThinkProgress’ revelation about the Chamber’s direct foreign fundraising to its 501(c)(6) used for attack ads.
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  • Chamber of Commerce Accused of Tax Fraud
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  • Stop the US Chamber of Commerce
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Wisconsin Resistance: Divided and Conquered No More?

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  • It’s no coincidence that the $130M deficit Gov. Walker says he’s addressing with his attack on public workers equals the corporate tax cut he gave in January.
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  • Madison is ground zero for resistance to the dismantling of workers’ rights and cutting anything in government budgets that serves human needs, while corporate “persons” get subsidies, tax cuts and are in-effect exempt from the law.
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  • Tell Wisconsin: Don't Sacrifice Employee Rights
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Lydia Howell, Evergreene Digest

This article is made possible with the generous contributions of readers like you. Thank you!

The shell game of the corporate-sponsored Tea Party/GOP is being exposed in Wisconsin. That state’s new millionaire governor, Scott Walker, swept into office with very big campaign contributions from the billionaire Koch brothers, David and Charlie, who own an oil company known as one of the country's worst polluters. The Koch brothers also own several Wisconsin-based natural-resources companies that are known as major polluters and defyers of resource-protecting laws. They also bankroll some Tea Party groups.

Gov. Walker’s first priority was slashing corporate taxes. It’s no coincidence that the $130M deficit Walker says he’s addressing with his attack on public workers equals the corporate tax cut he gave in January. This continues a trend illuminated by the organization Wisconsin’s Future.

Madison is ground zero for resistance to the dismantling of workers’ rights and cutting anything in government budgets that serves human needs, while corporate “persons” get subsidies, tax cuts and are in-effect exempt from the law. This war began when Ronald Reagan fired striking air traffic controllers demanding better working conditions right up to the bipartisan extension of George W. Bush’s tax cuts for the top 1% in December. Now, “budget deficits” are the mantra to justify anything, from House Republicans’ plan to slash half of WIC (nutrition for pregnant women and children up to age five) to Wisconsin’s Governor Walker’s assault on public workers. The real agenda is to break public unions.

This is an escalation of the 30-year war on workers---whether Republicans or Democrats are in office. Whether it’s race, gender and age discrimination or illegal firing for trying to organize a union, workers’ rights have not been enforced. If Gov. Walker wins, all workers will lose as union rights are erased across the country.

Middle-class and working people have paid higher taxes---especially local property taxes-- to make up for corporate tax cuts. Corporate rates are now at fourteen per cent or less and about a third of U.S.-based corporations, although moderately to extremely profitable, pay no income taxes. Corporate media keep that largely a secret from the American people. Based on statistics from the Office of Management and the Budget in the White House, individual income taxes are four times larger than corporate taxes.

You have to go to the UK’s Guardian newspaper to find out about a recent study by three academic accountants at Duke, MIT and the University of North Carolina, revealing corporate tax-dodgers. One example: General Electric paid 14 per cent tax rate over the last five years; workers making $30,000 pay 19 per cent. Wisconsin’s Future notes that what corporations pay in state taxes is often screened from the public.

Add up “incentives” big business get to “create jobs”: infrastructure paid for by the public, free or cheap land without having to pay property taxes for some years, payments for each job created or inversely tax breaks when companies move their factories--even when they move them out of the country. A “privatization” mania is cannibalizing government as public functions and services are taken over by Big Business from military contractors to deciding who gets social services--- at higher costs, since profits must be made when corporations run your schools or your wars.

It’s not public workers---teachers, firefighters, nurses, garbage collectors or social workers that are creating budget deficits in Wisconsin or anywhere else. It’s the relentless demands by corporate “persons” to be exempt from paying their fair share while government is expected to work for them educating the workforce, providing transportation, infrastructure and cleaning up pollution corporations create. Public schools get cut while billionaire sports team owners get public funds for new stadiums with lots of new luxury boxes for corporate executives.

These legal thieves are now calling themselves “the job creators” but, 75 per cent of all new jobs are created by much smaller business, who don’t get subsidized like Big Business does. In fact, corporations work mightily to undermine competition from Mom and Pop local businesses. What’s maddening is many profitable big companies are laying off workers and simply squeezing more out of the frightened, non-union workers that remain. The term “job creators’ is just the latest Ayn Rand mythology and “trickle down” hype.

As progressive populist Jim Hightower observes, corporations and the wealthy “see themselves as the Big Dogs and the rest of us are just a bunch of fire hydrants.”

For thirty years, workers have endured stagnate or cut wages, loss of benefits and replacing pensions with 401Ks. (The latter were hit hard in the Wall Street fraud-driven financial meltdown). Unionized workers in the public sector have been more protected from these losses and the Tea Party mis-directs workers’ anger and resentment towards unions---turning attention away from greedy CEOs with salaries and bonuses in the hundreds of millions, which they are allowed to protect from taxes.

Gov. Walker’s sponsors David and Charlie Koch awarded themselves $11 billion in bonuses this year. (Oil companies get big subsides from the federal government; Congress refused to cut ethose utterly unnecessary subsidies, even as the House passed cuts to clinics serving poor women).

Listen to any call-in talk show and one hears everyday workers say: “I don’t have health benefits on my job and those unionized workers get Cadillac care!” “I haven’t had a raise in three years but those auto workers are making too much!” “The unions along with the EPA demand regulations. They’re job killers!”

This is classic divide-and-conquer in action.

If these people knew America’s labor history, they would know that unions brought us an eight-hour day, weekends off, wages above the sweatshop level of the countries corporations are shipping jobs to, health and safety laws (not enforced as they should be, as the Massey mine disaster and British Petroleum explosions exposed). I’ve lived in a so-called “right to work”/non-union state (Texas): without unions, there’s lower wages, no benefits and little social safety net for everyone.

Ordinary people in the Tea Party haven’t figured out what corporations know and are getting elected officials like Gov. Walker to act on: desperate workers means more power for the already too-powerful and more wealth funneled upwards from the rest of us.

Madison protesters at 70,000 this weekend are making new labor history. Only about 2,000 Tea Party opponents showed up, with “Joe the Plumber” flown in. In Hudson, Wisconsin, solidarity crossed state borders with Minnesotans standing with public workers on Saturday. It’s rumored that similar attacks on labor are planned in Iowa and Ohio, but, in Madison a prairie brush fire of resistance has begun.

Tues Feb. 22, 4pm Minnesotans will rally at the State Capitol in St. Paul.
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Lydia Howell is a Minneapolis independent journalist and frequent contributor to Evergreene Digest. Tune in to her show “Catalyst: politics and culture” Thursday, 9AM on KFAI | MN, for updates on this struggle.

Related:

Tell Wisconsin: Don't Sacrifice Employee Rights, Change.org

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  • Targeting: The Governor of WI, The WI State Senate, The WI State House
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  • Started by: Iliana Echo
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Section(s): 

We Have Our Invitation to The Class War in Wisconsin

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  • The issue at the front line of the battle is the busting of the public unions, that is very clear. Everyone should also know that this is domino number one for the country -- they bust them here, they will bust them everywhere. This is not a matter of whether you like, or believe, in unions. This is a matter of a spike being driven right through the heart of working middle class America!
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  • "What's Disgusting? Union Busting!" Chant Wisconsin Crowds That Swell to 30,000; Key GOP Legislators Waver
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Lou Kusay, OpEdNews

If you like reading this article, consider contributing a cuppa jove to Evergreene Digest--using the donation button above—so we can bring you more just like it.

I have seen the eye of this storm. I have been in it now for two days. I am not union, never have been union. I am self-employed; it used to be real estate, now a small-time insurance broker. Making the three-hour drive to Madison, Wisconsin from New Lenox, Illinois is a very small price to pay for recessitating Middle Class America. You know, that is what it really is all about, don't you? This is every bit of a non-union issue as it is a union issue. This is a Middle Class America issue!

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The whole picture of the protest in Madison is not clear to everyone. The issue at the front line of the battle is the busting of the public unions, that is very clear. Everyone should also know that this is domino number one for the country -- they bust them here, they will bust them everywhere. This is not a matter of whether you like, or believe, in unions. This is a matter of a spike being driven right through the heart of working middle class America!

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More...

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Related:

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"What's Disgusting? Union Busting!" Chant Wisconsin Crowds That Swell to 30,000; Key GOP Legislators Waver, John Nichols, The Nation
"I have never been prouder of our movement than I am at this moment,"  shouted Wisconsin AFL-CIO President Phil Neuenfeldt, as he surveyed the crowds of union members and their supporters that surged around the state Capitol and into the streets of Madison Wednesday, literally closing the downtown as tens of thousands of Wisconsinites protested their Republican governor’s attempt to strip public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights.

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