Walker continues his assault on the Middle Class (AP Photo/Andy Manis)
When will the billionaires be asked to share in the burden? Hundreds are protesting outside Koch Industries’ new lobbying office that is located a block from the Capitol in Madison.
Governor Walker, not content to deprive teachers and nurses of their rights to collectively bargain for their salaries is now eager to raid the state employee insurance fund to balance the budget.
The first layoffs have been announced by Walker, including the wife of Wisconsin Democratic State Senator Scott Fitzgerald, Lisa, who is a teacher, in a fine case of political retribution.
In addition, Republican legislators will restrict access to their offices beginning pm Saturday because they are not really about free speech and democracy, unless one is talking about the “free speech” that Citizens United claimed comes in the form of corporate political donations. Vote such as the one last night come about when a political party no longer thinks it requires constituents (or when it really believes that corporations are people).
Billionaire contributions to Wisconsin state tax rolls has dropped quite a bit recently (Real News Network)
The Real News has done a great piece in which they describe the poor conditions that currently face Wisconsin billionaires. Oh sure, they have increased their wealth overall, but their rank on the Forbes 400 list has dropped on average by a couple of places. You can only imagine the difficulties! Since 2001 that the estate tax rates on billionaires has dropped by nearly half though they have found ways around them too. This occurs at the same time that state and federal governments cut back on services for the people who really need them. Did you know that the overall tax burden of billionaires has dropped as well at the same time that we are being told that we must “share the sacrifice”? Watch Real News’ Paul Jay discuss whether billionaires are putting in their fair share and watch to the end to see how simple it would be to balance state budgets across the country.
Space Shuttle Discovery lifts off for the last time (Michael Berigan/Reuters)
The Space Shuttle Discovery launched into orbit for the last time Thursday, carrying a new crew to the International Space Station. There will be two more flights before the end of the Space Shuttle program. The shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to make one more trip to space in April, followed by the last shuttle flight by Atlantis in June. The shuttle program was to be superseded by the Constellation program, a series of manned and unmanned missions that were aimed toward bringing the United States back to low earth orbit, then the Moon and ultimately Mars. Citing current private companies such as SpaceX that are developing manned orbital systems, president Obama cancelled the Constellation program. At the moment, it appears United States will not be the first country to Mars.
Developments in Libya
Mu’ammar Gadhafi blamed al Qaeda today for the uprising spreading through his country, saying that Osama bin Laden had brainwashed young Libyans who had been given hypnotic drugs in their milk. Opposition groups now control most of Libya, but Gadhafi’s stronghold is in the capital, Tripoli, where his forces are exacting a heavy toll, though some troops and pilots are refusing to fire on protesters. The death toll due to the government attacks on civilians is likely higher than 1,000. Opposition groups continue to make gains despite the government’s counterattack and they are massing in the opposition-controlled eastern portion of the country. The United States, after a generation of enmity and containment, has found that it has few options regarding the situation in Libya. It has few contacts with the leadership, no aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean, and is forced to rely on nations such as France and Italy that have had friendlier relations with Libya. Even worse, once the opposition forces take over there may not be such a warm and rosy relationship with the new government because President Bush sold Gadhafi weapons. Yes, once again weapons emblazoned with “Made in U.S.A.” are firing at civilians who are trying to form a new democracy. So much for shoot first and ask questions later.
Julian Assange has lost his trial for extradition to Sweden. This was expected as most extraditions within the EU are granted. Assange has promised to appeal the ruling and has seven days to do so or else he will be extradited within 10 days.