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Workers' Uprising: Two Dozen Protests Launched Across Wisconsin, TV Talk Show Blackout of Union Reps

Here's a run-down on events and key analysis on the fast-moving events in Wisconsin's state capitol -- and nationwide.

As the drama unfolding in Wisconsin continues, a large coalition of progressive groups has issued an Emergency Call to Action and are planning to offer a massive show of solidarity with the workers of Wisconsin and protest the right's plan to slash vital services in the name of balancing the budget. 

The groups are planning “Save the American Dream” rallies in all 50 state capitals for Saturday at noon (local time). You can find out more about the rallies here.

Update (by AlterNet staff):

A DailyKos diarist has drawn an interesting connection between the Koch brothers' business interests in Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's bill:

One of the hidden provisions in Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s union busting bill concerns state-owned heating, cooling, and power plants. The emphasis in the stories I’ve read has been on the sale of those power plants, but read a little more carefully:

“[the department] may sell any state-owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state.”

...The Kochs funneled millions into Walker’s campaign. They’re right around the corner from the governor. They specialize in energy industries. How can they possibly claim this:

“We have no interest in purchasing any of the state owned power plants in Wisconsin and any allegations to the contrary are completely false.” Source

The diarist speculates: "What they want is a contract for the operation of the plants, which the governor will be authorized to draw up and sign with no oversight, no public announcement, and no limit on the amount Wisconsin taxpayers like me will pay to the Koch brothers."

Update (by AlterNet staff):

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that there two dozen protests have been carried out across Wisconsin on Thursday: "About 200 people marched from Milwaukee Area Technical College to City Hall on Thursday, chanting slogans and waving signs to protest legislation that would sharply curtail public-sector workers' bargaining rights. It was just one of two dozen such rallies across the state, as union forces kept up their assault on Gov. Scott Walker's budget-repair bill. In Milwaukee County alone, more protests were planned Thursday afternoon..."

Update (by AlterNet staff):

Amanda Terkel from the Huffington Post reports that the TV talk shows are showing little interest in bringing on union officials:

A union official told The Huffington Post that when none of the Sunday shows' producers reached out to them to book a labor representative this week, several unions started to pitch the shows with affected workers and local and national leaders who they felt could discuss the protests. The official said the response from the shows was essentially "thanks, but no thanks."

"If you're a Sunday show and there are labor fights going on for two weeks, if you can just book ... Chris Christie, why would you actually go out and get somebody who is actually involved in this? That would be work!" snarked the official, adding, "Everybody's been pushing, and everybody's been shut down."

The Huffington Post reached out to officials at Fox News, NBC, ABC, CNN and CBS. NBC News spokesperson Erika Masonhall said the lineup for this weekend's "Meet the Press" will not be final until Friday and "will highlight a number of topics and include a variety of guests and opinions." An official at another network said their show's guest roster had likewise not been set and a labor representative could still be included. Additionally, there's a chance that not every show will cover the protests this week -- and would therefore be unlikely to have on a labor official -- just as not every show covered the topic last week.

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