New way to fight back. Grassroots groups continue to fight in Wisconsin.

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>>> the 14 wisconsin democratic state senators may have lost the battle to block governor walker’s union-busting bill. but overall, we might have begun to win the war. i’ll tell you how. first, the state senators were welcomed home in style at the biggest rally since the state’s budget showdown began more than three weeks ago. madison police estimate as many as 100,000 people turned out at the statehouse on saturday. that is a giant crowd. the rally was organized by a variety of unions, including the afl-cio and the wisconsin farmers’ union, which helped bring dozens of tractors from around the state to participate in the rally. including manure spreaders don pictures of governor walker, which is fun for everybody. now, according to the associated press, the unions asked the white house early on to send vice president biden to the rallies in wisconsin. now, that was many weeks ago. the white house reaction was, ha-ha, get out of here! get, get! of course that didn’t happen. then, many weeks later, as things are really heating up, they ask for the secretary of labor, hilda solis. now, that makes sense, right? and of course the white house wouldn’t send her either. they said she’s looking into the situation. the situation’s over and she’s still looking! but then something else happened that turned out to be a blessing in disguise. the people in wisconsin took matters into their own hands and stopped waiting for the national democratic cavalry that never, ever arrives. and you know what, they’re still fighting. even after the governor’s questionable move to pass the bill. now they’re targeting scott walker’s corporate backers. that’s smart. notably, m&i bank. the bank’s executives poured more than $46,000 into governor walker’s campaign last year. now, that’s more than they gave all over 2010 candidates combined. so now unions have started a “move your money” campaign, urging teachers, cops, and firefighters to close their accounts at m&i. on friday, wisconsin firefighters picketed the bank, as you can see. and they withdrew $192,000, which then made them shut down the bank. okay, okay, mercy! please stop withdrawing it. and you know what, it can get a lot worse for the bank. one report estimates that unions have over $1 billion in pension funds invested at m&i bank. you know what that means? that means, uh-oh, spaghettios, you could be in a lot of trouble. people have figured out that you can hit the powerful where it counts, in their pocketbooks. the same thing happened in egypt where mubarak only stepped down after the labor strikes began. and then there’s the national and international movement against the power establishment. the group anonymous recently released this video, warning the global banking systems.

>> we are a decentralized, nonviolent, resistance movement which seeks to restore the rule of law and fight back against the organized criminal class. we are not affiliated with either wing of the two-party ol igarchy. that’s a little spooky, but i like it. what i like is peaceful resistance. and the anonymous website released a series of e-mails today from a former bank of america employee accusing the company of fraud in handling his mortgage files. the e-mail alleges bank of america hid foreclosure information from federal auditors who are investigating reports that bank of america was foreclosing homes without proper documentation. now, look, our own justice department doesn’t take any action against these guys. it’s been three years since the debacle in wall street that caused our economic collapse, and where’s washington? where’s washington? they haven’t done a damn thing. but look! what you’re looking at here, in combination of all these things, is a new model on how to fight back. you have to take action into your hands, direct, peaceful resistance. look, in my opinion, there is a war on the middle class going on and it’s not just me. warren buffett agrees. he’s told you over and over, he says there’s a war going on and my class is winning! but it looks like now with wisconsin and all those other things, the battle has actually been joined, which is fantastic. now, let me show you how this has worked so far. we have things like wikileaks. now, what they do is they break the news providing direct information to people. now, that helped in egypt and in tunisia, where they already knew their leaders were corrupt, but they got direct information about exactly how corrupt they were and how they did their corruption. it also exposed our government’s lies in the wars in afghanistan and iraq. and now operation leaks run by anonymous is also exposing bank of america and wikileaks is planning to do more of that as well. then, the web provides direct organizing online. you saw that in a big way in egypt. you also saw that a little bit in wisconsin. facebook, google and youtube and twitter allow you to organize and get people together in the streets. and then, finally, what we saw here in the united states with wisconsin, showed direct protests by the people, are much more powerful than petitioning the national democrats for help. you see that? we showed you over there, www, kind of like world wide web, very kcute. but in reality and what’s actually important is this is the new model of fighting back against the establishment and corporate power. don’t wait for your knight in shining armor to show up from d.c. the bad news is he ain’t coming. the good news is it turns out that you’re the knight in shining armor. get organized, get in the streets, get in the bank lobbies and get their business and fight back. that’s my take and that’s my opinion and i think we’re just getting started. joining me now is robert borsign, his group is helping to organize defend a dream rallies across the country on tuesday. all right, robert, first of all, are you with me that if we keep waiting for the national democrats to come, that cavalry ain’t never going to arrive?

>> no, absolutely. and politicians never lead a parade or start a parade. they just rush to get in front of it after it’s started and people start the parade. and this parade was started in wisconsin and it’s going to sweep across the country.

>> now, robert, why do you think things have taken off now? i know you guys at campaign for america and many other progressive groups have been trying to organize for so long. why now?

>> well, i think wisconsin caught people’s attention. you know, when the democrats left the state and workers rallied and then other workers came to their aid, people started to see that what was at stake, which was exactly what you said, is that there was a war on the middle class. and the question is really who’s going to pay to clean up the mess that was caused by wall street’s excess. if you can send that ticket to nurses and to cops and to teachers, then the middle class is going to continue to decline. and that suddenly became clear in wisconsin. and it’s now starting to sweep the country.

>> what’s next, robert? where do you take this next?

>> well, i think there’s two things that have to be done. one is people have to tell the story and make sure that everyone knows what’s at stake. and that’s the social media you talked about, that’s rallies across the country. tomorrow, there’ll be rallies in places across america. on april 4th, on the anniversary of king’s assassination, who was killed in memphis when he was standing with workers trying to organize a sanitation workers’ union, people are going to be asked to go out of their workplaces and organize their own demonstrations in front of their workplaces to express solidarity, not simply with the workers in wisconsin, but with middle class people who are under assault across this country.

>> all right. now, let me bring in eric brinkman. he’s actually a firefighter from madison, wisconsin. he voted for governor scott walker, but is now having second thoughts. eric, why did you vote for walker in the first place?

>> i felt he was the better of two evils between barrett and walker. i wasn’t really impressed with either one.

>> right. and what’s happened since then that made you change your mind?

>> well, i don’t think he’s been open and honest about what — not that any politician is, really — but i don’t think he was honest and forthcoming with the information, that he obviously had a plan and it was to go after the unions and i just don’t agree with how he went about doing what he’s doing. everybody knows that we have a budget problem and we feed to fix it because you can’t keep deficit spending, but attacking and going after the bargaining rights just isn’t right.

>> eric, did you get a sense that he misled you? that during the elections he didn’t tell you he was going to bust the unions, and then he told you other things to get your vote, and all of a sudden he comes into office and does the one thing you didn’t expect?

>> i was totally caught off guard by — he said he wanted to have a balanced budget and i’m all for that, but i was not expecting him to come after the unions like he did. and yeah, i was caught off guard. yeah. i feel duped.

>> you feel — all right, i hear you. now, he left the cops and the firefighters out of the bill, though. yet you’re still angry about it, why?

>> well, in a manner of speaking, we’re being left out, but we’re all standing together, because we’re all part, you know, with the city workers get the streets department, when it comes to bargaining, we’re going to get the same thing. so, yes, he cut us out, but we’re really not cut out. and together we’re standing and we stand together because one falls, we all fall.

>> all right. that’s the right attitude, if you ask me. eric brinkmann and robert, i want to thank both of you tonight for your time. we really appreciate it. listen,

About William Brighenti

William Brighenti is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified Business Valuation Analyst. Bill began his career in public accounting in 1979. Since then he has worked at various public accounting firms throughout Connecticut. Bill received a Master of Science in Professional Accounting degree from the University of Hartford, after attending the University of Connecticut and Central Connecticut State University for his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees. He subsequently attended Purdue University for doctoral studies in Accounting and Quantitative Methods in Business. Bill has instructed graduate and undergraduate courses in Accounting, Auditing, and other subjects at the University of Hartford, Central Connecticut State University, Hartford State Technical College, and Purdue University. He also taught GMAT and CPA Exam Review Classes at the Stanley H. Kaplan Educational Center and at Person-Wolinsky, and is certified to teach trade-related subjects at Connecticut Vocational Technical Schools. His articles on tax and accounting have been published in several professional journals throughout the country as well as on several accounting websites. William was born and raised in New Britain, Connecticut, and served on the City's Board of Finance and Taxation as well as its City Plan Commission. In addition to the blog, Accounting and Taxes Simplified, Bill writes a blog, "The Barefoot Accountant", for the Accounting Web, a Sift Media publication.
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