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Today: Walker vote, Paycheck Fairness, why2K in Afghanistan?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012




► In today’s NY Times — Frenzied campaigning on even of Walker vote — About 60-65% of Wisconsin residents of voting age are expected to go to the polls today. That would be a higher turnout than two years ago, when Walker and a wave of Republicans swept state and federal offices here, but not as high as the more than 69% turnout in 2008, when Obama easily won the state.

► At — Walker’s fate in Wisconsin comes down to ground game — In the canon of political cliches, “it all comes down to turnout” is among the most tired. But in the case of the polarizing and closely watched Wisconsin recall election, the maxim happens to ring true.

► At Politico — Wisconsin Dems sidestep labor debate in Wisconsin recall — The issue of collective bargaining has become just a footnote in the hard-fought battle for Wisconsin. Democrats gloss over the issue in campaign speeches, political advertisements and debates in favor of zeroing in on Walker’s tactics. Democrats and labor groups run separate field operations.

► In The Hill — Dem-labor fallout begins in Wisconsin — Walker’s opponents point to the fact that Democrats appear set to regain control of the state Senate, which could reduce Walker’s effectiveness as governor. But citing a probable down-ballot victory emphasized the fact that the left’s main goal seems out of reach.

► At — Shame on Obama for abandoning Wisconsin (by Matthew Rothschild) — Shame on Barack Obama for forsaking progressive forces in Wisconsin in their hour of need. It was bad enough that Obama or Joe Biden never showed up during the historic protests in February and March of last year. But it is unforgivable that they’ve failed to show up during the last weeks of this crucial recall campaign.

EDITOR’S NOTE — But wait. Last night, the president tweeted his support for Walker’s opponent. (In doing so, the president joins members of the Green Bay Packers in lifting a finger — or two thumbs, depending on your phone technique — to tweet support for recalling Walker.) News coverage of the president’s tweet speculates that the president’s reelection team may be leery of too closely associating with what could be a losing effort shortly before his reelection battle.




► At — Paycheck Fairness: For the next generation, for our nation (by Liz Shuler) — In a 2010 nationwide poll of registered voters, 84 percent said they support “a new law that would provide women more tools to get fair pay in the workplace.” Some 91 percent of Democrats, 77 percent of Republicans and 87 percent of Independents support a new law. Looks to me like Paycheck Fairness is a bipartisan issue (one that presidential candidate Mitt Romney seems to be avoiding).

EDITOR’S NOTE — Liz Shuler will speak at Thursday night’s WA YELL fundraiser at the Edgewater Hotel in Seattle. There are still tickets available.

► In today’s Washington Post — Equal pay measure expected to fail— The bill, which needs 60 votes to clear procedural hurdles, faces almost certain defeat because most Republicans plan to vote against it.




► From AP — Inslee’s positions on issues still fuzzy— Jay Inslee launched his campaign for governor 11 months ago with some vague and inconclusive policy statements. He’s still leaving a lot to the imagination.

► In today’s Washington Post — McMorris Rodgers to serve as Romney’s House GOP liaison— The Republican presidential hopeful gives the congresswoman from Washington state key responsibility for keeping the often fractious caucus on the same page as the campaign. The new post gives her new national prominence and close access to the party’s presidential nominee.




► At Huffington Post — Mitt Romney enjoys your pain (by USW President Leo Gerard) — Romney is loving high unemployment. Just like the GOP majority in the U.S. House of Representatives that has repeatedly blocked President Obama’s proposals to increase hiring, Romney believes high joblessness is good for the GOP. It’s one thing for a politician to know in his heart of hearts that a calamity for the country may help him achieve his ambitions. It’s another to be so callous as to beam about it on TV.

Romney claimed at one point during the campaign that he was unemployed, and laughed about it. But this quarter billionaire doesn’t have a clue what it’s like to really be jobless or desperate. This is the silver-spoon son of a car company executive, a man who attended exclusive private schools, a man who handed his own son $10 million to help start his business, a man who has a car elevator in his $9 million California beach house.




► At TPM — The gobsmacking drop in government spending under Obama — New figures reveal the sharpest decline of the last half-century in real federal, state and local spending during this presidency. Perhaps not coincidentally, the new figures arrive just days after a lousy jobs report that has exacerbated fears that the economy may be in worse shape than expected.

► From Bloomberg — Postal workers going on hunger strike — Last month, the National Association of Letter Carriers collected food to stock food shelves and feed hungry Americans. This month, five people plan to go on a hunger strike to call attention to what it says is the reason for the service’s financial failings.

► In today’s Washington Post — Members of Congress push for TSA contract— A year after airport screeners voted for AFGE representation in one of the government’s largest bargaining units, the TSOs still don’t have a contract. The delay has been noticed on Capitol Hill, where two key members of Congress have told TSA Administrator John Pistole and AFGE President John Gage to hurry up and make a deal.

► At AFL-CIO Now — Behind Alan Simpson bluster, a warning sign for workers and retirees (by ARA President Barbara Easterling) — Behind the shock and awe of Alan Simpson’s hate-filled letter to the California chapter of my organization — he recently wrote that members of the Alliance for Retired Americans were “a wretched group of seniors” and “greedy geezers” — lies a cautionary tale for workers and retirees: Beware of politicians looking for political cover to cut Social Security.

► From Bloomberg — Wall Street CEO pay rises 20% — Compensation for 50 financial CEOs collectively rose by an average of 20.4% in 2011 — a year when most big banks and brokerages saw their revenues, profits and stock prices plummet.

► In today’s NY Times — Turning our backs on unions (by Joe Nocera) –If liberals really want to reverse income inequality, they should think seriously about rejoining labor’s side.




► In today’s News Tribune — JBLM soldier shot to death in Kandahar Province— Spc. Gerardo Campos, 23, of Miami was on his first deployment since he joined the Army in March 2010.

► So far in 2012, 136 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan for a total of 2,000 since 2001.

► Also see the Washington Post’s Faces of the Fallen.

► Union delegates at the Washington State Labor Council’s 2011 Convention approved a resolution supporting “a significant drawdown of military personnel from Afghanistan this year, setting a firm end date for total withdrawal as soon as that can be accomplished, but in no event later than the 2014 timeline previously announced by President Obama.”


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