Posts Tagged ‘Wisconsin’

Wisconsin Enforces Tenth Amendment, Reopens Parks

Park-Flickr-Richard-HurdIn an effort to maximize the pain of the government shutdown, the National Park Service (NPS) ordered the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to shut down a host of popular parks. However, the DNR decided to enforce its Tenth Amendment rights instead.

The DNR rejected the NPS’ request on the ground that a majority of the funding for the parks comes from its own coffers. It issued a statement noting that all state parks, trails and other recreational properties will remain open.

And, it removed barricades from a boat launch along the Mississippi River that was shut down by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, despite it being on federal land. The DNR claims it has the authority to operate the launch under a 1961 agreement with the federal government.

In a sign of just how easily states can do without federal assistance, Wisconsin plans to operate its parks entirely with its own funds. The sky has not fallen in The Badger State without Uncle Sam holding its hand.

Wisconsin’s efforts to protect its 10th Amendment rights by reopening parks it largely funds are a reminder of a growing effort by states to take back their freedoms.

Last November, Colorado and Washington effectively nullified federal marijuana laws by legalizing the recreational use of the drug.

In April, Kansas passed the strongest Second Amendment protections to date, nullifying a wide range of federal intrusions against gun owners. The law bars state and local officials from enforcing any laws that contradict the Second Amendment, provided the affected firearm was made in the state. Any federal agent caught violating this law would be subject to felony charges.

And, as Downtrend reported on Wednesday, California will not comply with the indefinite detention provision of the NDAA.

These and the many other actions by states to protect their Constitutional rights under Obama’s reign are helping prevent a total federal takeover. More such instances will be necessary as the Obama Administration becomes increasingly desperate to solidify its totalitarian grip on society.

Photo credit: Flickr/Richard Hurd

On the Wisconsin Win from Krauthammer

Tuesday, June 5, 2012, will be remembered as the beginning of the long decline of the public-sector union. It will follow, and parallel, the shrinking of private-sector unions, now down to less than 7 percent of American workers. The abject failure of the unions to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker — the first such failure in U.S. history — marks the Icarus moment of government-union power. Wax wings melted, there’s nowhere to go but down.

The ultimate significance of Walker’s union reforms has been largely misunderstood. At first, the issue was curtailing outrageous union benefits, far beyond those of the ordinary Wisconsin taxpayer. That became a nonissue when the unions quickly realized that trying to defend the indefensible would render them toxic for the real fight to come.

So they made the fight about the “right” to collective bargaining, which the reforms severely curtailed. In a state as historically progressive as Wisconsin — in 1959, it was the first to legalize the government-worker union — they thought they could win as a matter of ideological fealty.

But as the recall campaign progressed, the Democrats stopped talking about bargaining rights. It was a losing issue. Walker was able to make the case that years of corrupt union-politician back-scratching had been bankrupting the state. And he had just enough time to demonstrate the beneficial effects of overturning that arrangement: a huge budget deficit closed without raising taxes, significant school-district savings from ending cozy insider health-insurance contracts, and a modest growth in jobs.

But the real threat behind all this was that the new law ended automatic government collection of union dues. That was the unexpressed and politically inexpressible issue. Without the thumb of the state tilting the scale by coerced collection, union membership became truly voluntary. Result? Newly freed members rushed for the exits. In less than one year, AFSCME, the second largest public-sector union in Wisconsin, has lost more than 50 percent of its membership.

It was predictable. In Indiana, where Gov. Mitch Daniels instituted by executive order a similar reform seven years ago, government-worker unions have since lost 91 percent of their dues-paying membership. In Wisconsin, Democratic and union bosses (a redundancy) understood what was at stake if Walker prevailed: not benefits, not “rights,” but the very existence of the unions.

So they fought and they lost. Repeatedly. Tuesday was their third and last shot at reversing Walker’s reforms. In April 2011, they ran a candidate for chief justice of the state Supreme Court who was widely expected to strike down the law. She lost.

In July and August 2011, they ran recall elections of state senators, needing three to reclaim Democratic — i.e., union — control. They failed. (The likely flipping of one Senate seat to the Democrats on June 5 is insignificant. The Senate is not in session and won’t be until after yet another round of elections in November.)
And then, Tuesday, their Waterloo. Walker defeated their gubernatorial candidate by a wider margin than he had two years ago.

The unions’ defeat marks a historical inflection point. They set out to make an example of Walker. He succeeded in making an example of them as a classic case of reactionary liberalism. An institution founded to protect its members grew in size, wealth, power and arrogance. A half-century later these unions were exercising essential control of everything from wages to work rules in the running of government — something that, in a system of republican governance, is properly the sovereign province of the citizenry.

Why did the unions lose? Because Norma Rae nostalgia is not enough, and it hardly applied to government workers living better than the average taxpayer who supports them.
And because of the rise of a new constitutional conservatism — committed to limited government and a more robust civil society — of the kind that swept away Democrats in the 2010 midterm shellacking.

Most important, however, because in the end reality prevails. As economist Herb Stein once put it: Something that can’t go on, won’t. These public-sector unions, acting, as FDR had feared, with an inherent conflict of interest regarding their own duties, were devouring the institution they were supposed to serve, rendering state government as economically unsustainable as the collapsing entitlement states of southern Europe.

It couldn’t go on. Now it won’t. All that was missing was a political leader willing to risk his career to make it stop. Because, time being infinite, even the inevitable doesn’t happen on its own.

Charles Krauthammer is a syndicated Washington Post columnist. His email address is

Wisconsin Vote Stuns The Left

It’s been amusing to hear all the liberal talking heads on TV trying to claim that Tuesday’s vote in Wisconsin was no big deal. My friends, it was a very big deal indeed. In fact, it just may mark the beginning of the end of union power in this country.
Let’s be very clear about what was at stake in this election. It wasn’t just about ending collective bargaining for government employees. It wasn’t even about how much of their pay union members should contribute for their pensions or their healthcare. While these issues are important, they pale in comparison to what really mattered.
The paramount issue was whether the government could force someone to belong to a union in order to hold a job and deduct union dues from his pay without giving him any say in the matter.
Governor Scott Walker and a Republican majority in the Wisconsin Legislature ended that sweetheart deal for public-sector unions in the State. The results have been catastrophic for the bully boys (and girls) of collective bargaining.
Once the law went into effect, no State employee could be forced to join a union in order to hold a job. Dues would no longer be deducted automatically; employees had to specifically request the deduction of union dues from their paychecks.
Given a choice, guess what happened? Tens of thousands of former union members said “no thanks.” As a result, union membership and dues fell like a safe being dropped out of a window.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) is the second-largest public-sector union in Wisconsin. The largest is the National Education Association.
Prior to the passage of the Walker reforms, AFSCME had 62,818 members in Wisconsin. Six months after the new law took effect, the number had declined to just 28,745 dues-paying members. In other words, once they weren’t forced to be union members, more than 50 percent headed for the doors.
Bryan Kennedy, the president of the American Federation of Teachers in Wisconsin, said that failure to recall Walker “spells doom” for his union. Let’s hope he’s right.
None of this should come as a surprise. Time after time and in State after State, whenever right-to-work laws have replaced compulsory union membership, the results have been the same: More and more workers refuse to support unions. As President Barack Obama’s team will tell you, it takes a heck of a lot of “community organizing” to make up the difference.
Fifty years ago, more than half of the blue-collar workers in America were members of a union. Today, only 7 percent of private-sector employees are union members. That is what happens when people are given a choice. A huge percentage of them will choose to keep the money they earn, rather than let some ham-fisted organization spend it — allegedly on their behalf.
Get government involved and the results are dramatically different. The percentage of government employees who belong to a union is about 37 percent. The total number of union members has skyrocketed, thanks to the explosive growth of government at Federal, State and local levels.
Walker won the Governorship in 2010 by promising to bring some fiscal sanity to Wisconsin, which was facing a $3 billion deficit. To do that, he said that union members would have to start contributing “their fair share.” (Sound familiar?)
His “5 and 12” plan called for government employees to pay more for their lavish pensions and their generous healthcare plans. Under the Walker proposal, contributions to the pension plans would climb to 5.8 percent of their pay. This was still a sweetheart deal compared to what private-sector workers get. Most of the latter have no pension whatsoever; those who do contribute, on average, a lot more than 5.8 percent of their pay toward their retirement.
Healthcare is even more expensive. The average private-sector worker pays 21 percent of the premiums for his or her coverage; government employees in Wisconsin paid just 6 percent of the costs of their health insurance, or less than one-third as much. The Walker plan would double that figure to 12.6 percent — still a bargain by almost any measure.
Union members in Wisconsin went absolutely ballistic at the thought of having to dig into their own pockets so much. Tens of thousands of them marched on the State Capitol in Madison, in a sort of local “Occupy” movement. When that wasn’t enough to intimidate the Legislature, 14 Democratic Senators fled the State. Yep, they high-tailed it to Illinois, so there wouldn’t be enough voters left in Madison to form a quorum.
That standoff lasted for a while. When a vote was finally taken, the Walker proposals passed handily. Union officials and their Democratic allies immediately launched a highly publicized petition movement to demand a recall of Walker, his Lieutenant Governor and four Republican State Senators. Thousands of union volunteers poured into the State. They ended up collecting more than 900,000 signatures for the petition — way more than the 400,000 needed to force a special election.
On Tuesday, the unions and their Democratic allies got what they said they wanted: a chance for the public to vote “aye” or “nay” on the Walker reforms. After one of the most costly and divisive campaigns in State history, a record number of voters showed up at the polls.
Bless their hearts! They gave Walker an even bigger victory than they did in 2010, when he defeated Tom Barrett (yes, the same guy) by 5.5 percent of the votes cast. This time his victory was even bigger; he carried the State by 53 percent to 46 percent.
Let’s not forget that other Governors, including Mitch Daniels in Indiana and Chris Christie in New Jersey, have seen their popularity soar the more they have challenged teachers and other union members.
By the way, I suspect Obama’s pollsters had a much better idea of what was going to happen in Wisconsin than the number crunchers at CNN. How else can you explain Obama’s invisibility in what was clearly going to be one of the most important pre-November elections this year?
Oh, sure, Obama issued a lukewarm endorsement of Barrett from the safe confines of the White House. But when it came time to press the flesh and energize the crowds in Wisconsin, the President was nowhere to be seen. Nor was Vice President Joe Biden.
Remember, Obama and Biden carried the State handily in 2008. Afterwards, the Veep told an enthusiastic crowd of union loyalists, “We owe you!” Sure thing, buddy. But not enough to risk getting some egg on their faces this time around.
Does Walker’s stunning victory mean that Wisconsin is “in play” for Romney this fall? Time will tell. But in the meantime, is that a groundswell I hear saying “Walker for VP?”
Until next time, keep some powder dry.
–Chip Wood

The Wisconsin Conservative Victory is An Absolute Disaster for Obama and the Unions

RE: Wisconsin: Victory for the People, Disaster for Obama

Last night, Wisconsin voters went to the polls and gave their stamp of approval to Gov. Scott Walker’s commonsense reforms. It was a victory for the people of Wisconsin and for America.

It was also an absolute disaster for President Obama. In the first electoral test of 2012, Scott Walker and the GOP won a resounding victory over Obama’s campaign arm and the liberal special interests.

The momentum in Wisconsin is firmly on the Republican side. The enthusiasm of our volunteers and the success of our operation will carry us forward to November.

Meanwhile Democrats now must pick up the wreckage from an election that they orchestrated and DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz called a “dry run” for November. And Wisconsin Democrats will now look to President Obama and ask, “Why did you abandon us?” Let the infighting begin.

In 2007, then-candidate Obama promised Big Labor that he would always stand with them, and the now twice-defeated Mayor Tom Barrett was an early Obama supporter. But President Obama actively avoided Wisconsin in the recall. It’s not like he wasn’t in the area; he was in neighboring Minnesota and Illinois just last week. Yet all he offered Barrett was a tepid tweet Monday night–not exactly the sign of a fearless leader.

Obama’s Chicago team is now including Wisconsin on their list of toss-up states for November, when they have the unenviable task of rallying their base to win a state that has gone decidedly Republican over the last two years. What Democrat activist wants to stand with a president who would not stand with them?

From the White House to Chicago, Democrats are nervous this morning. Prior to the 2008 election, margins for presidential races in Wisconsin were narrow. In 2004, President Bush lost by only 11,384 votes–and by 5,708 in 2000 (less than one vote per ward). 2008 was both an aberration and a high-water mark for Democrats.

Over the last two years, Republicans have racked up victory after victory. In 2010, the GOP picked up a U.S. Senate seat, won the governorship, picked up two House seats, and won control of the State House and State Senate. In 2011, we won the Supreme Court election and held the State Senate in another recall election.

Now, less than four years after Obama won Wisconsin, Democrats lost in an election of their own making.

That’s because the GOP excelled at our ground game, now giving us a significant advantage for the presidential race. Working with the Wisconsin GOP, the RNC ran joint voter contact Victory operations and opened 26 statewide offices. Since January, our volunteers made over 4 million voter contacts, more than the GOP did in the entire 2008 campaign and substantially more than Democrats and their union allies in this election.

We spearheaded a joint effort with neighboring states to drive grassroots supporters to Wisconsin, and we mobilized volunteers from across the country to get involved through our innovative online Social Victory Center and phone-from-home program.

In the process, more than 3,400 Wisconsin volunteers have signed up to help the party. And the data collected by door-to-door volunteers for Governor Walker was all promptly added to the RNC’s data center, thanks to the use of iPads, iPhones, and iPods.

Finally, this race should draw a sharp contrast in the eyes of voters. On the Republican side stood Scott Walker–a man who kept his 2010 campaign promises and delivered. He balanced the budget, got Wisconsinites back to work, and put government back on the side of the people. It’s certainly a far cry from what President Obama is offering.

Democrats bowed to the demands of the special interests, wasted time and taxpayer money on a recall election, and ran a campaign of distortions and deceptions rooted in anything but the interests of Wisconsin families.

After yesterday’s victory, Republicans have the infrastructure and enthusiasm that will help us defeat President Obama in Wisconsin. In that respect, it was a great “dry run.”

Obama's Chicago Thug Way Invades Wisconsin

by Lloyd Marcus

As chairman of The Campaign To Defeat Barack Obama, I just returned back home to Florida from Wisconsin, which is ground zero in the battle to stop Obama’s ruination of America. Like locusts, Obama minions have swarmed the state of Wisconsin, devouring all who dare oppose their recall of Gov. Scott Walker for his efforts to restore his state to fiscal sanity. Obama minions organized mob protesters to storm the state capitol. Death threats have been made against Gov. Walker, the lieutenant governor and their families.
Still, Gov. Walker has hung tough and is leading in the polls. This has forced Team Obama to spend more millions and send in the big guns: DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is headed to Wisconsin.
During my visits to cities across Wisconsin, I have chatted with numerous patriots who are elated and extremely grateful to Gov. Walker for displaying remarkable courage — fighting back to keep his campaign promise to implement responsible budget reforms.
On this latest trip to La Crosse, Wisconsin, I heard a very disturbing tale from an 80-year-old businesswoman. For her safety, I will refer to her as Patriot Sue rather than using her real name. Patriot Sue’s family business has been successful and highly respected since the ’50s. But Patriot Sue wrote a local letter to the editor in defense of Gov. Walker’s reforms, and all heck broke loose — from false accusations in the media that she mistreats employees to threats against her and her family.
Patriot Sue expressed to me her frustration that some people do not understand how recalling Gov. Walker would negatively impact their pocketbooks.
I guess you cannot run a successful family business for over 50 years without having backbone. Though physically moving a little slow, Patriot Sue still has the spitfire of an 18-year-old and the heart of a lion. She financially supports the defeat of the recall and still boldly speaks out in defense of Gov. Walker’s reforms. You simply to do not tell this woman what she can or cannot do.
But folks, what I find most disturbing is that we have “presidential thugs” — in essence, emotionally threatening, and with threat of physically beating, an 80-year-old woman and her family.
What am I saying? I am saying it is all about Obama. Leadership flows from the top down. The late Mary Kay said, “The speed of the leader is the speed of the gang.” Mary Kay’s leadership and philosophy of God first, family second, and Mary Kay Cosmetics third continue to inspire her army of successful businesswomen.
The Obama administration emits a distinct “Chicago Thug” vibe. In response to any and all opposition to Obama’s socialistic agenda, Obama and his minions have used aggressive terms such as “we will punch back twice as hard,” “punish our enemies,” “get in their faces,” and “take the SOBs out!”…to name just a few.
Obama minions include the New Black Panthers and SEIU thugs who are the enforcers — intimating voters and physically beating up black conservatives who dare be on the wrong side of Obama’s agenda.
Team Obama is using Chicago-style bullying to award Obama an undeserved second term despite half the country on food stamps, the housing market in the tank, unemployment through the roof, and skyrocketing energy prices. Yes, four more years of Obama’s liberal-utopia-politically-correct policies is exactly what America needs.
To be re-elected, Obama is relying on class envy via crazy, absurd rants attacking the rich by VP Joe Biden to his dumbed-down base. Obama is relying on Al Sharpton and his “we be black victims gang” to inspire enough hate in the hearts of black Americans to get them to the polls in November.
Obama operatives take no prisoners. All are fair game, including a feisty 80-year-old businesswoman who dares to support Gov. Walker.

Read more:


Democrats, losing ground in Wisconsin, play down recall election

by David Lauter

Recent polls have pointed toward a victory for Republican Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin’s June 5 recall election. But here’s the clearest evidence to date that national Democratic party officials believe their side is losing: Democratic officials are playing down the potential impact.

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) insisted in a television interview that a loss for the Democratic candidate in the recall, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, wouldn’t have any implications for other races, such as the presidential election.

“I think, honestly, there aren’t going to be any repercussions,” Wasserman Schultz said on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” program. “It’s an election that’s based in Wisconsin.”

Public employee unions and liberal activist groups have spearheaded the effort to recall Walker, who became a hero to conservatives last year when he pushed a bill through the state Legislature that ended most collective bargaining rights for state workers. Although Walker’s opponents gathered more than 900,000 signatures on recall petitions earlier this year – in a state where Walker was elected governor with just over 1.2 million votes – polls have indicated that the effort to end his tenure early will probably fall short.

Some Republican strategists believe a successful defense of Walker will put them in good position to contest the state in November. President Obama carried Wisconsin by a wide margin in 2008, but the state was among the closest in the nation four years earlier.

Wasserman Schultz also pushed back against complaints by some Democrats in Wisconsin that the national party has been too stingy in supporting Barrett.

“We put more than $250,000 into the race already,” she said, noting that she was heading for Wisconsin on Tuesday for a Barrett fundraiser. “We sent out an email this week to our more than 2 million-plus donor base from the Democratic Party, telling them that the first important national election is the June 5 election to recall Scott Walker and elect Mayor Tom Barrett, and asking our considerable donor base to contribute.”

The interview was taped Friday for broadcast Sunday.

Walker is Leading in Wisconsin - We Stand With Scott Walker

Anarchy 101: How Wisconsin’s Left Embraces Chaos & Violence released this must-see video today on the Wisconsin socialist protest movement. The Wisconin protests last year were a preview of what was to come from the orchestrated Occupy Wall Street protests. The video explains like never before how the left uses chaos and violence to move their selfish platform forward.

[youtube][/youtube] has produced an exclusive video report disclosing who and what were behind the massive demonstrations, the occupation of the Capitol in Madison, and extreme tactics employed to stop Walker’s reforms from being enacted.

Titled “Anarchy 101: How Wisconsin’s Left Embraces Chaos,” the report takes us through the protests, legal challenges and subsequent recall efforts of 2011 and 2012. It features Brett Healy and Brian Fraley of the MacIver Institute, Collin Roth of Media Trackers, an unidentified citizen journalist on the ground for many of the protests, and State Sen. Alberta Darling, a target of death threats, intimidation tactics, and a failed recall attempt last year.

It also features two teachers, including Kenosha’s Kristi Lacroix, and a school board member who would not be silenced by the radicals’ intimidation tactics and spoke to EAGnews about the benefits of Scott Walker’s reforms.

By the way…….
GP has a Drudge hit today so we cut back on the blogposts per page for a while to help handle the traffic.


Hi, my name is Kristi Lacroix. I’m a teacher in Kenosha. I’d like to share with you my perspective as a public school teacher who is taking a stand for reform and greater accountability for myself and my colleagues. I hope you will share this email with your friends.

The day before Spring Break is usually pretty exciting when you are a teacher. The kids are filled with Spring fever, travel plans are set and the weather is usually nice enough to take the time to do some much needed yard work. Last Friday started that way for me; that is, until I went to make copies and found a teacher in the hallway with tears streaming down her face. It turns out that layoff notices went out this morning. Really? The day before break?

Yes, the school district decided that today would be the best day to let teachers know that they will no longer have a job teaching students. I would like to say that I only found one teacher in tears; however, in my small school of 18 educators, 7 received layoff notices today. The worst were those handed out to a married couple who just had their first child.

So, who should I be angry with? I know that as a teacher, my union — WEAC — tells me I am supposed to blame Scott Walker, but I feel I must take a closer look at how my district got to this point.

See, my district did not use Act 10 and Gov. Scott Walker’s budget reforms. We are stuck with the union contract until June of 2013 and it would take the Jaws of Life to get us free from it. Although there were numerous meetings between the district and the union, no union concessions were ever made and the district is faced with a $30+ million structural deficit. With no union concessions, layoffs become necessary and students pay the price.

I was never asked if I wanted to make concessions, nor was I ever consulted by my union about Act 10. As always, union leaders made decisions that were best for them and then claimed they were representing the teachers. Make no mistake, though, their decisions are based solely on the desire to maintain forced unionism.

Who is representing the teachers that received layoff notices this morning? Will the union return the dues that were supposed to be used to HELP the teachers? Will the union give a refund of dues to the laid off teachers to help them pay their mortgage, put food on the table, or find a new job? I am guessing the answer is “no.”

Here is the Kenosha Education Association’s comment about the lay-offs:

Published on Mar 28, 2012
Written by Joe Kiriaki, Executive Director-KEA

This will be our last issue of GLUE for the next two weeks. The only latest news on layoffs is that we continue to do our best to work with the District to assure the process is completed correctly. Beyond that, after at least three meetings with the District, we’re not any closer to having a complete picture of layoffs at all levels; however, if any new information would become available to us during the next two weeks, we will pass it on to you through bulk emails or by posting on the KEA website, We appreciate your patience and understanding as we attempt to do our best to protect your rights under the contract.

We hope you all have a great and well-deserved spring recess!

If you get a chance during the break to help with recall efforts, please do all you can.

As you can see, they are putting all of their eggs into the recall basket. I wonder if they plan on sharing any of these eggs to help feed the teachers who no longer have a job.

I am a part of a growing number of teachers who are standing for freedom from teachers’ unions and for measures that will bring more accountability and professionalism to what we view as a very serious and honorable profession.

I hope you will stand with me as Wisconsin undergoes a transformation that puts our students first.

Please feel free to contact me with ideas, people to add to my email list or any other feedback at Lastly, you can follow me or “Like” my Freedom From Teachers’ Union Facebook page.

Kristi Lacroix
Kenosha teacher
Forced WEAC fee payer
Kenosha Education Association – Home
The Kenosha Education Association is a member driven organization that consists of pre-kindergarten …

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