That image is of a full-page newspaper ad taken out in the Janesville Gazette, the local newspaper in Paul Ryan's district. What it is, is thuggery in typeset letters. The names you can't read in the image are the names of teachers in Janesville who signed the petition to recall Scott Walker. Next to their names, is their salary. At the bottom of the ad, there is a space to sign to "opt-out" of any teacher's classroom who signed the petition.
This is part of the strategy the Heartland Institute laid out for breaking the teachers' union and holding onto the their water boy, Scott Walker. According to Blogging Blue, this is part of an intimidation strategy to suppress enthusiasm, free speech, and the right to have a voice in one's government. Cognitive Dissidence outlines the strategy as outlined in Heartland's 2012 Funding Plan, released in January:
"The recall elections of 2012 amount to a referenda on collective bargaining reform at the state level, making them of national interest. Successful recalls would be a major setback to the national effort to rein in public sector compensation and union power. "Heartland is the largest and most influential national free-market think tank in the Midwest, so we are in the right place and with the right resources to help defend and secure Wisconsin's recent gains.
"We are contemplating five projects:
"1. Recruit and promote superintendents who support Act 10
"2. Explain the benefits of Act 10
"3. Document the shortcomings of public schools in Wisconsin
"4. Expose teacher pay in key districts
"5. Create blogs that shadow small town newspaper coverage of the controversy
"We anticipate that this project will cost about $612,000. Maureen Martin, Heartland's legal counsel, will be the chief researcher and writer for this project. The anonymous donor has pledged $100,000 toward this project. We are circulating a proposal to other potential funders."
These cowards hide behind taxpayer-subsidized nonprofits to intimidate public servants who are under attack at every turn. Between the stealth privatization movement in the form of charter schools, the ridiculous, nonsensical high-stakes testing, and the public humiliation of great teachers, there is almost no incentive beyond some heightened sense of altruism to even bother to enter the teaching profession.
Now add to that this public attack on their right to sign petitions in the state of Wisconsin and it's clear that the goal in Wisconsin is to turn it into a totalitarian state with Governor Scott Walker as the puppet leader. I'm sure they're laughing all the way to the counting-house bank as they rub their slimy paws together and plan the next way they can publicly shame and humiliate public servants.
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