Madison Rally Bigger Than Biggest Tea Party Rally

For years the right wing in this country has hammered home the “Liberal Media” meme.  It is a lie.

The media in this country runs the spectrum from conservative to ultra right wing neo-Nazi.  It is all corporate owned including Huffington Post, the Village Voice and all those  free weeklies that feature the hip alternative entertainment.

They exist to sell advertising.  The Arts and Entertainment, Style, Food, Sports, and home sections are advertising disguised as news.

Hell even the “news” can be advertising disguised as news.

I was living on Long Island when we invaded Iraq.  I had gone along with the whole nine yards of jingoism sold to us after 9/11, hell 80-90 percent of the people in this country did.

I had been trying to avoid the site of the WTC but accidentally found myself there one day when a computer class was held at J & R Electronics.  The rage I felt was indescribable.

I was reading the New York Times and Long Island’s Newsday, both of whom hyped the war.

There was a massive demonstration in New York City shortly before the invasion but giving it prominence as a dissenting voice might have caused people to question the rush to war, the story was underplayed, the numbers chopped.

In the 1960s we learned that if we wanted demonstrations covered we needed to break some glass, turn over a cop car or actually fight with the cops, otherwise we had to have at least a quarter of a million people for them to report “100,000 People Gathered”.

I watched the Tea Baggers get coverage when five of them gathered.  No on called them “Terrorists” when they showed up at rallies and town hall meetings carrying guns and trying to intimidate people.

Bloggers have become to the 21st Century what the Alternative/Underground Press was to the 1960s and early 1970s, a source of coverage and a rallying point for an opposition to the corporate propaganda machine.

From Think Progress:

By Alex Seitz-Wald

Police estimated up to 100,000 people turned out in Madison, WI yesterday to protest Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) assault on unions, making it bigger than any protests the city has witnessed, even those during the Vietnam War. The Madison rally is part of a much larger Main Street Movement of average Americans demanding fairness in labor laws, social spending, and taxation that has emerged in Ohio, New Jersey, Florida, Michigan, and elsewhere. But yesterday’s rally in Madison is noteworthy because at 85,000-100,000, it was bigger than the biggest tea party protest, the September 12, 2009 rally in Washington, D.C., which turned out only an estimated 60,000-70,000. A photo of the Madison rally yesterday:

For two years, tea party activists and their allies in the GOP have claimed that the hard-right movement represents the true beliefs of the American people. But the crowd in Madison and numerous polls tell a different story.

From Common Dreams:

Undaunted! More Than 100,000 Wisconsinites Rally “To Take Our State Back!”

by John Nichols

Published on Sunday, March 13, 2011 by The Nation

“Wow! You go away for a couple of weeks and look at what happened!” shouted state Senator Jon Erpenbach, as he surveyed a crowd that organizers estimated at well over 100,000 that had rallied to welcome home Wisconsin’s dissident senators.

Erpenbach and 13 other senators fled the state Capitol in mid-February, when Governor Scott Walker and his Republican allies were using their legislative majorities to strip state, county and municipal workers and teachers of their collective bargaining rights. That move blocked a vote on the legislation for three weeks, before the Republicans finally adopted a “nuclear strategy” to force adoption of the anti-union measure.

While opponents of the bill suffered a momentary legislative defeat, they enjoyed a dramatic political victory — as a mass movement built, attracting hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites to mass rallies in Madison and communities across the state and causing the collapse of Walker’s approval ratings even in Republican-sponsored polls.

That movement now proposes to recall at least three Republican state senators who backed the bill, shifting control of the chamber to the Democrats and restoring a system of checks and balances to what is now one-party government in Wisconsin.

Ultimately, the movement seeks to remove Walker from office. And its plans no longer seem unreasonable, as poll numbers suggest that the governor would be defeated by virtually any Democratic challenger in a new election.

The political dynamics are intense, and even the most optimistic critics of the governor understand that there is much work to do.

But, on Saturday, they celebrated the return of the senators.

It was a remarkable scene.

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From Alternet:

Wisconsin Updates: Dems Return; 100,000 Rally in Madison; Tunnel Leads from Powerful Bank to State Capitol

Wisconsin Republicans pushed through a measure stripping state public employees of their collective bargaining rights. Here are the latest developments from Madison.

From The New York Times:

For Wisconsin Lawmakers, a Hero’s Homecoming

Published: March 12, 2011

MADISON, Wis. — They are the unlikeliest of folk heroes.

But this group of once-obscure lawmakers — a dairy farmer, a lawyer and a woman who is seven months pregnant, among others — that fled this capital nearly a month ago, returned Saturday to the cheers of tens of thousands who once again packed the streets in protest.

Many in the crowd wore buttons or held signs bearing admiring nicknames for the group: the “Fighting 14,” the “Fab 14” or, simply, “the Wisconsin 14.” They chanted, “Thank you” and “Welcome home.”

This is, of course, not the standard reception for state legislators, typically as anonymous as they are unglamorous.

“Before all of this occurred, I wouldn’t have known a lot of their names,” said Paul Fieber, a retired state employee carrying a sign declaring, “Our heroes.” “But that has changed for me and a lot of the population.”

The reason for the reception was that the 14 Democratic state senators had returned weeks after fleeing to another state in a dramatic — if ultimately failed — effort to prevent a vote on a bill that would significantly weaken public-sector unions.

Their disappearance — “a really, really weird trip,” in the words of one senator — was one of the most memorable and divisive aspects of the legislative standoff, and it helped escalate a policy dispute into a protracted battle over union rights that seized the attention of the nation.

On Saturday, the senators spoke, sometimes boastfully, about their pride in the outpouring of support, their dismay at the law that passed in their absence and their eagerness to meet the protesters who have backed their actions.

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