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Monday, February 21, 2011

WI Fight

It breaks my heart to write about this, or even to think about this, because the battle in Madison must be supported -- yet I do not think the good guys can win. Sorry for the expression of defeatism, but I don't think I'm being unrealistic.

The polls are turning against the unions. The majority of Americans (in one admittedly-disputed poll) opposes the very idea of public employee unions. Although the public employee unions are not the reason for the (rather small) Wisconsin deficit, one cannot make that simple fact clear to the brainwashed public.

The comment here sums up matters:
On the Wisconsin matter, forget polls: look at comments section for this editorial in the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Sentinel Journal ( ). The paper is left-leaning but the article is uncharacteristically rough on the unions. Regardless, the comments section is so revealing. Comments in favor of Walker are getting about 75% “thumbs up” rating, while comments in favor of unions are getting around 30% “thumbs up” rating. I think it is instructive since it taps into the anonymous reader; someone who is vested enough in the area to sign up for the site, read it online, then actually comment. While far from scientific, I’d argue it is likely the same voter who will go to the booth and pull the lever in total privacy. Walker is in really good standing with them.
I fear that the Klown is more right than wrong on this one.

The left got a contact high from the Egyptian rebellion, and that euphoria clouded the judgment of many in America. In Wisconsin, we let the teabaggers pick the battleground. The Madison fight is honorable but doomed. We are now reliving Pickett's Charge -- only this time the good guys are under Pickett's command: They have spirit, but they don't have the better position.

Those on Kos and DU who are treating this situation as an opportunity have been (not for the first time) living in a fool's paradise
While Republican Gov. Scott Walker's plan to wipe out collective bargaining rights for most public employees has galvanized Democrats and union members in opposition, the GOP could benefit long-term by crippling a key source of campaign funding and volunteers for Democrats.

"It would be a huge landscape-altering type of action, and it would tilt the scales significantly in favor of the Republicans," said Mike McCabe, director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, which has long tracked union involvement in Wisconsin elections. "This is a national push, and it's being simultaneously pushed in a number of states. I think Wisconsin is moving the fastest and most aggressively so far."

The National Education Association, which represents 3.2 million workers, said teachers' collective bargaining rights are also being targeted by proposals in Ohio, Idaho, Indiana and other states.

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, a Republican, said Monday lawmakers should pass a proposal to bar public employees from negotiating health insurance benefits. In Indiana, a GOP-led House committee debated Monday a right-to-work bill that would prohibit union membership from being a condition of employment.
This situation is tragic. The comment here is worth repeating:
When unions were stronger, prior to the 80's, productivi­ty gains and workers’ wages moved in tandem; yet they've decoupled since then. Looking from 1980 to 2008, nationwide worker productivi­ty grew by 75.0%, while workers’ inflation-­adjusted average wages increased by only 22.6%. If our economy is driven by consumer spending, then how does wage stagnation as a consequenc­e of lower union participat­ion help Wisconsin as a whole?
Do libertarians ever mount a counter argument when confronted with these numbers? Do they ever try to respond when we point out that America was at its most prosperous after FDR and before Reagan? Can they ever understand that libertarianism has been tried, and it always makes people miserable?

The "hide and seek" games played by the WI Democratic state senators will provide perfect fodder for those pundits paid to justify the upcoming GOP shut-down of the federal government. 2011 will not be a repeat of the mid-1990s. Today's population is even stupider, the propaganda is even more pervasive, and the economic situation is much more desperate.

The public has been taught to see anything that is not Hayek-approved libertarian capitalism as Marxism. It's either one or the other. The in-between stuff has vanished from public consideration. Asking the average person to visualize a non-Ayn Randian version of capitalism is like asking the average person to visualize a square triangle or a train that travels in three directions at once. The concept has become too abstract to be held by the human brain.

As a result, America is a nation of turkeys who vote in favor of Thanksgiving.

Lefties have to understand: As much as we may be enthralled by the romantic revolutionary imagery coming in from the Middle East, the groundwork for a successful uprising in this country has not yet been prepared. The far-right has been doing all the necessary prep work, continually, for decades, using the media and a formidable infrastructure of so-called "think tanks."

Lefties, you simply do not have the support
. This is not Egypt. This is not the '60s. The only revolution that can succeed in this nation is a fascist revolution.

For a while, the internet allowed liberals to route around the propaganda. Our opponents finally figured out how to combat that situation.

Alas, the rise of the miserable Barack Obama -- a DINO falsely portrayed as a "socialist" -- has made the situation infinitely worse. A McCain presidency would have provided even worse governance -- I think -- but the failure of that adminstration would not have tarnished the Democratic brand.

Now, the only argument left is between those far-rightists who want to turn the entire country into WalMart and those who want to end the American experiment altogether.
I have to agree with you Joe.
I have a neighbor who is a 25 year Union member. He owes his livelihood to this Union. Without this Union, he would have gone belly up long ago.

This man consistently votes anti-union. He rationalizes this by saying it's those damn Firemen or the Teachers etc etc. I ask why he would cut the throats of his peers this way and he says....

"They deserve it!"
It stuns me to hear it. Never mind the fact that once the powers that be are done destroying the "public sector unions," they will come after the very union he belongs to and needs in order to make that $45hr job at his Nuclear power plant job.
His eyes just gloss over when I try to make him understand his hypocrisy. It just does not register! A lamb handing his executioner the knife and all the while suggesting to his financial executioner better angles for the cut!
I don't understand how we have become such an ignorant, stupid people willing to be led to financial slaughter all the time singing the praises of those that will wield the knife to our throats.I myself refuse to go down like that but I have to agree with you...........
The future looks grim brother Joe. Grim indeed!
Once again I get the feeling that the Democratic leadership wants to get credit for "fighting the good fight" in a losing battle.
Screw the unions! This is just a diversion to keep the mobs away from the real targets we should descend upon.

At least those folks in Egypt knew where their problem lay. People in this country just dance to whatever media fad is hot for the week.
Josef :"This is not Egypt."
Looks like even Egypt is not Egypt
these days ->
This is going to be a "careful what you wish for" morality lesson for a whole lot of people. You cut the throats of Labor, you cut the throat of the American worker and the dwindling middle class. We're being led to our own slaughter, bleating all the way. But then when you have a political movement that's rewriting history as it goes, declaring FDR an "enemy" to the American way [which I gather is no government at all] what can we expect?

I listened to Spitzer tonight and he agrees that even if Walker concedes the collective bargaining limits in the bill now, he'll be able to push it through later. And this will flash across the country because there are many Governors in financially strapped states, watching and waiting.

The liklihood is the public unions are going down. And then, the door is wide open.

I must respectfully disagree. I think if Obama had taken his mandate to the people instead of the powers that be, he would have been in a position to "be the change we have been waiting for." Not that I ever believed the hype. I know he is anti-union and a corporate tool, but look at how he came out and said that the Wisconsin folks were our neighbors. He is following. We need to make them all follow.

It would be nice to have Joe Jackass on our side for the vote, but we are probably in this alone to some degree. Those in power think they can do what they want because no one will say no and mean it. If the WI state senators stay away and these protests erupt in other states and the battle is joined we may have a chance. The sitdown strikers in Flint faced the National Guard with machine guns in the streets. Public sector workers are not being unreasonable. I think we have to press the issue and make our case until we prevail.
I think myiq nailed it, Mike....Obama is not following, he's putting on a fake show of fighting the good fight.

The myth will be that Obama "had" to compromise or go along.
I have heard the same anti-union crap all over the, mostly, un-unionized South. I think FL is the only state in the South that has actual public sector unions. The idiots in NC/SC/GA like to complain about the "teacher's union"-- only they're illegal. Teachers in those states have few rights and are routinely abused by their superiors and the public, but someday the worm will turn and when it does... Libya will be looking good.
What Jay said.
Gee what happened back in the 1980's?
We saw the rise of Reagan Democrats, people who got into the middle class by dint of good paying union jobs that decided to pull the ladder up after themselves. That's were it all began and Obama is just a continuation of it.
RedDragon, it's like Jay Gould said:

I can hire one-half of the working class to kill the other half.

It's really hard to win a class struggle when your own side is shooting you in the back.
Oh, no, this president is not insane. We could never use the 25th amendment, Section 4 to remove him from office. Let's just all burn ourselves in hell instead.

Flineo: "Obama's Modern Time"
Well, I'm from Wisconsin, and fighting this fight.
I don't know whether you're right or wrong on this one. However

1. The polls you cite are for the country as a whole, not for Wisconsin (and even those polls give unions a net favorable rating). As should be obvious, there are vast geographic differences in political opinions.
Polling data:
reposting info from two polls specifically of WI residents:

2. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is not left-leaning (it's clear that the commentor is probably from out of state and doesn't know this paper - he didn't even get the order of "Journal" and "Sentinel" correct). This paper is a mixed bag, but very pro-business and generally anti-union. In the governor's race, they endorsed Walker (Walker was previously Milwaukee County Executive). As an aside, there appears to be some kind of coordinated effort on the right (perhaps from outside the state level) to stack the online polls and comments in the Journal Sentinel regarding the Walker bill (e.g. I saw one of their online polls switch, during a period of hours, from a majority opposed, with a reasonable number of votes cast, to a completely impossible number of votes cast, with essentially all the new votes in favor of the bill - in a way that suggested someone using a computer script or some analogous approach).

3. You haven't been here. I haven't seen a spontaneous uprising of this sort - with this kind of spirit and these numbers - since at least the 1980 (i.e. the anti-apartheid protests). And actually, I don't even think that that matched this. Some people here have commented that they've NEVER seen anything like this. Is this going to my head - maybe. Perhaps I am a fool. But a week ago, in e-mails with some folks here, I predicted a quick defeat (within a couple days - specifically by last Friday) for our side (that's what all the conventional wisdom pundits were saying too). I was wrong. So at this point...who knows?
Pro-labor sentiment tends to run strong in Wisconsin.
Collective bargaining with public employees was born here.
AFSME was founded here.
More Wisconsin polling data:
"I know I'm gonna lose, and gambling's for fools. But thats the way I like it baby, I dont wanna live for ever"

I think you are right about the scale of this fight. But the ignorance has been pervasive for ages now. There is nothing left but to fight. Even a glorious defeat might help quite a few of the morons sleep walking to poverty wake up.

My father in law is an ex-postal worker and union shop steward. He is also an O'Reilly fan. He buys everything O'Reilly says, except on the idea of no collective bargaining. Its like its the only issue he cannot be hypnotised on. If Wisconsin fights, maybe people like him will wake up and think about where the US is, and where it is going. Taxing the poor to pay bankers. Creating state supported monopolies that pay no taxes. Using the military to shift international terms of trade and channel profits to monopoly industries. Enough.

…a provision that would allow the sale of the state’s public utilities without a bidding process or public oversight.

…would allow the state to sell or contract out the operation of heating, cooling, and power plants without a bidding process and without consulting the state’s independent utility regulator.

The bill also employs “emergency” powers that would allow the governor’s appointed health secretary to redefine the foundations of the state’s Medicaid program, Badgercare, ranging from eligibility to premiums, with only passive legislative review.

The bill, would allow the state Department of Health Services to “change any Medical Assistance law, for any reason, at any time, and potentially without notice or public hearing… in addition to eliminating notice and publication requirements, [the changes] would leave the emergency rules in effect without any requirement to make permanent rules and without any time limit.”

Why do that in a bill that’s being rushed through the legislature in a week’s time?–20110223
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