Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Midwest Psycho Update

Wisconsin continues to spiral thanks to Gov. Scott Walker's disingenuous intransigence on his self-proclaimed collective bargaining "bomb." Now the GOP legislators have taken to (a) fining the Dems $100/day each for staying out of state due to lack of compromise, and (b) trying to make prank phone calls illegal, as in the one that exposed Walker's cynical strategy of lies.

The good news is that Walker and his Koch-led actions have engendered a huge backlash, now translating into citizen-initiated recall efforts, today backed by the state's Democratic Party. This begins by targeting those Republican State Senators who are eligible for recall, having served for more than a year. Will any flinch? Does any one of them want to be spending future campaign cash, time, energy and mental effort of beating back a recall? And possibly losing?

While propaganda outlet Fox News appears to be intentionally using unrelated footage in their lies characterizing the protests, ads and videos in support of the protesters are hitting the airways. Here's a Web version:

Gov. John Kasich and his fellow GOP legislature in Ohio is similarly voting to gut union rights:

The GOP-backed measure that would restrict the collective bargaining rights of roughly 350,000 teachers, firefighters, police officers and other public employees squeaked through the state Senate on a 17-16 vote. Six Republicans sided with Democrats against the measure.

Firefighters and teachers shouted "Shame!" in the chamber as the legislation was approved and moved on to the GOP-controlled House, where it is likely to receive strong support.

The bill is similar to the Republican-supported collective bargaining bill in the Wisconsin legislature that has sparked national debate in its weakening of public employees' ability to negotiate contracts – although there are differences between the two. Wisconsin's bill exempts police and firefighters from the collective bargaining restrictions, while Ohio's does not.

It turns out it took Republican committee leadership trickery to bring the bill to the legislature floor:

Pushing the bill through the Senate has been tough for supporters of the plan, with the Republican leader of the state Senate removing two Republicans opposed to the measure to get the bill to the Senate floor today.

Those two Republicans, Sens. Bill Seitz and Scott Oelslager, voted no. So did four of their GOP colleagues: Sens. Jim Hughes, Tim Grendell, Tom Patton and Gayle Manning. All 10 of the 33-member state Senate's Democrats also voted no.

Now the bill moves to the House, where Republicans have a 59-40 advantage.

And guess what -- the bill isn't really just about balancing the state's budget. There's a whole lot more ideology embedded in this travesty as well:

In Ohio's legislation to curtail public sector union collective bargaining rights - just passed by the Senate - the following passage exists:

Sec. 3101.01 of S.B. 5: ... A marriage may only be entered into by one man and one woman. Any marriage between persons of the same sex is against the strong public policy of this state. Any marriage between persons of the same sex shall have no legal force or effect in this state and, if attempted to be entered into in this state, is void ab initio and shall not be recognized by this state. The recognition or extension by the state of the specific statutory benefits of a legal marriage to non-marital relationships between persons of the same sex or different sexes is against the strong public policy of this state. Any public act, record or judicial proceeding of this state, as defined in section 9.82 of the Revised Code, that extends the specific statutory benefits of legal marriage to non-marital relationships between persons of the same sex or different sexes is void.

So a blanket and total ban on any form of legal protections for gay couples, including any semblance of even domestic partnerships or civil unions, is, as one Republican put it, the "first big step in restoring fiscal responsibility in Ohio." And so the Tea Party slowly reveals itself.

I'm wondering if the GOP braintrust is ready for all the lawsuits their legislation and means of passing it are about to trigger.

Keep 'em tied up in court, I say.

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