Brendan Fischer's News Articles

What Else Is In Walker's Bill?

While news coverage has focused on how Governor Scott Walker's budget repair bill attacks the state's 300,000 public sector workers (and by extension, the entire middle class), the law is increasingly recognized as an attack on the poor. It curtails (and perhaps eliminates) access to the Medicaid programs relied upon by 1.2 million Wisconsinites, limits access to public transportation, and hinders rural community access to broadband internet. The bill keeps the poor unhealthy, immobile, and uninformed.

Governor Walker and the GOP have said they will not balance the state's alleged "budget deficit" by raising taxes and increasing revenue. Instead, they will focus on decreasing expenditures in a way that disproportionately impacts the poor and middle class. At an event at Wisconsin Law School on February 24, former U.S. Solicitor of Labor and professor emeritus of law Carin Clauss said, "We have to acknowledge that we are imposing what amounts to a de facto tax hike" on the poor. She noted that "this bill will kick people off medicare, require increased payments into health and pension funds," and "could hamstring mass public transport," all of which decrease take-home pay and increase costs for poor- and middle- class Wisconsinites.

CMD Submits Open Records Requests to Governor's Office

Before news broke of the prank call from a David Koch impersonator to Governor Walker's office, CMD had submitted the below open records request to the Wisconsin Department of Administration for all phone calls to-and-from the governor's office since January 1. CMD confirmed receipt of the request via telephone on February 18 and expects a reply promptly. We have also submitted open records requests directly to the governor's office for copies of all email and visitor log records.

Should Public Sector Unions Exist?

Governor Scott Walker's budget repair bill effectively dismantles over 50 years of public sector collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin. While bill supporters have obscured the reasons that hundreds of thousands have been protesting (acting as if the controversy is really about pension and healthcare contributions rather than union-busting, and claiming the fiscal gaps exacerbated by Walker's tax cuts leave the state with no choice but to crush unions), others recognize the attack on collective bargaining rights but nonetheless support it as applied to taxpayer-funded public servants. Should public sector workers be allowed to organize?

Yes, Wisconsin's Public Employees are Undercompensated

Even though the fight in Wisconsin is not really about the budget -- a crisis manufactured by Governor Walker's tax cuts and funny numbers -- and not about government employees refusing to make sacrifices (for weeks they have said they will agree to concessions), the scapegoating of public servants as the 21st century's welfare queens is particularly unfair given that they are compensated less than public sector employees.

Post- Citizens United, Crushing Workplace Democracy Can Crush American Democracy

In the report Scott Walker Runs on Koch Money, the Center for Media and Democracy's Executive Director Lisa Graves pointed out how the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity helped elect Scott Walker as Wisconsin governor, and how his attack on public sector unions looks like a return on the Kochs' investment. While suppressing workplace democracy will certainly benefit corporate interests by allowing business managers to focus exclusively on increasing shareholder returns (and not getting distracted by employee demands for safe and productive working conditions), attacks on unions will also eliminate barriers to absolute corporate control of our political democracy.

Breitbart & Americans for Prosperity President Appear at Tea Party Rally in Support of Walker's Bill, Sat. Noon-3pm

Tea Party groups are planning to attend a rally on Saturday, February 18 to show support for Scott Walker's effort to dismantle over fifty years of collective bargaining rights in his "budget repair bill." The rally is planned by the Koch brothers- funded Americans for Prosperity, the Sam Adams Alliance-funded American Majority, and several Wisconsin Tea Party groups.

Where is the Budget Crisis?

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker alleges that dismantling public sector collective bargaining rights is made necessary by a $3.6 billion deficit in the next budget, and a $137 million shortfall this year. Setting aside the fact that the ability to negotiate shifts, seniority, benefits and conditions of employment would have a negligible impact on the deficit, and looking beyond Walker's deceptive claim that the alternative to union-busting is to kick 200,000 children off Medicaid (called "false" by Politifact), how deep is the state's economic crisis?

Wisconsin Governor Walks on Workers

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is trying to end collective bargaining rights for public employees in Wisconsin, and thousands have converged on the state capitol in protest of what many consider a radical and blatantly political move. Walker's plan threatens the rights of all Wisconsin workers, and if it prevails in this state, could threaten the rights of working people across the nation. It would also reverse the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and all those who have fought for economic justice through the power of organizing.

Although federal collective bargaining laws protect private sector employees, Wisconsin has been a leader in extending those rights to the public sector. The American Federation of State, City and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) formed in 1932 in Madison, Wisconsin. The "dairy state" was the first to pass collective bargaining rights for local government workers and teachers in 1959. The push for public sector unionization extended through the sixties.

Bloomberg Behind the Coalition for Competition in Media

An article in the February 28 issue of The Nation has revealed that Bloomberg was behind the Coalition for Competition in Media (CCM), an apparent public interest group aiming to stop the then-pending $30 billion megamerger of Comcast and NBC Universal.

A Banana Republic Once Again?

(Part two of a two-part series)

In the first part of this series, the Center for Media and Democracy reported how the 2009 coup d'etat that toppled Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was successfully maintained not through the use of force, but through the power of lobbying and spin. That tale, whose details were revealed through Wikileaks' publication of diplomatic cables and research into lobbying activities, had some echoes of the role PR played in an earlier "regime change" in the region. Here is the story of how the Chiquita banana company successfully used PR spin to help topple Guatemala's left-leaning government in 1954, and how they may have done it again in Honduras, 2009.

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