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Marion On February - 24 - 2011

 Being five hours ahead and one day behind, by the time I’d heard about Governor Scott Walker’s monumental punking yesterday afternoon, the event was already viral on the Internet.

Across the Pond, I’ve been watching with interest the events in Wisconsin. At last, the Democratic Party seems to have remembered that it once spoke out vociferously for the unions and the people who belonged to them – basically the working class and, notwithstanding, the working poor. Prior to 1970, unions, their members, the proletariat and the Democratic Party existed in pretty happy, if somewhat discordant, harmony. The Democratic Party was a big tent, after all.

But for the past forty years, that part of the Democratic Party which featured the ueber-educated, ueber-cultured, ueber-intellectual found inhabiting the geographical extremes of the Lower 48, seemed to be the dominant guiding force in Democratic politics and policy. They were not poor people. They were stretched even to be working class. They accepted whatever working class and working poor people who happened to still be hanging around the netherlands of the party, they paid lip service to their plight, but they viewed them with disdain. Many still do, but then, as recent events have shown, these people are neither real Democrats nor real Progressives.

As for the unions, both public and private sector, they were useful for financial contributions ever four years when it became expedient to get a Democrat in the big chair of the Oval Office.

In 2010, according to our new House Speaker, John Boehner, “the American people” had spoken via the ballot box and roundly rejected the agenda put forward by the President and the majority Democratic Party. Depending on what they read and to whom they listened, “the American people” had determined to reject these policies which were at once and variously socialist, communist, Muslim and unAmerican. “The American people” had suddenly become synomymous (or so it seemed) with the Tea Party, and even that was suspect.

I suspected it from its inception and found it incongruous that a CNBC financial analyst/reporter could launch a sustained and rehearsed rant at an early hour one morning, calling for “a little tea party” action, and within a fortnight, tea parties – actual organised Saul Alinsky-styled demonstrations – emerged, literally, across the land. Almost immediately, Fox News and their various personalities – in particular, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck – had picked up the mantra, as various Republican politicians fell into the tea party sheeple fold.

That the so-called liberal media added credence to this movement was only a boon to their credentials as well. We endured a long, hot summer of disrupted Congressional town hall meetings where Tea Party members showed up with guns, three-cornered hats and out-of-context Jeffersonian quotations, in order to make their presence known in opposition to the proposed healthcare bill.

We’ve known birthers, Tenthers and Ayn Rand fanatics, and now a lot of them are sitting in Congress determining what they hope will be legislation under which we all will have to live. These people pushed their effective PR big lie so well that they’ve ridden a wave which virtually turned much of the US Republican red in November.

Now, they’ve masked their true intentions behind deficit fear and frenzy. (Gotta keep the hoi polloi frightened in the extreme; after all, nothing’s so easily controlled as scared children). This has led to the Republicans in the House cutting Federal aid to Planned Parenthood, an organisation which was vitally instrumental in providing health cover for lower income women. Of course the ultimate aim in that respect was eventually to make abortion a criminal act again. Make no mistake: Abortion is the guiding star along the Republicans’ route to dominance.  If you can link abortion to anything, you’ve got the working class and working poor of the rural Midwest and the South by the short and curlies.

With all the kerfuffle about the de-funding of Planned Parenthood and the 24/7 coverage of the peoples’ revolutions against dictatorships in the Middle East, a freshman governor of a Midwestern state attempted a coup of his own.  This was how Scott Walker wanted to bury the news of his real efforts to strip public sector union members of their right to collective bargaining, as a means of ensuring that there would be no comeback from that quarter, both now and in the future, when the State of Wisconsin decides to cut their pensions  or health benefits or even their salaries.

All in the interest of the State’s deficit, you understand – brought about by the Governor’s desperate need to effect tax cuts for the wealthier element and for business interests in the state.

Scott Walker is the son of a preacher man, but the only way he has of moving people is to effect a mass movement of labour forces against him.  That’s good, in that it forces the Democratic Party to remember its origins and its real base, but it might be too late, considering the extent to which the unions, themselves, have been weakened in the past thirty years.

Scott Walker is also the only one of a plethora of Republican governors elected in November 201o, who actually doesn’t possess a university degree. He’s a college drop-out, not for financial reasons, but in order for him to devote more time to his pro-Life perambulations. He’s intransigent, he’s inflexible, he’s stubborn and he lacks total compassion.

Let’s add to all of that: He’s puerile.

This week Walker took a phonecall from someone he thought was David Koch. Interesting, because there had been complaints abounding from various and sundry Wisconsin Democrats that Walker was refusing to speak to them. He simply wouldn’t accept calls.

But he leapt at the opportunity when an aide told him that “David Koch” wanted to speak with him – ne’mind the fact that said aide should have smelled a rat, when “David Koch” revealed that it was impossible for the Governor to call him back, owing to the fact that his maid had thrown his cellphone in the washing machine, a deed for which “Koch” threatened to “send her back.”

“Koch”, in fact, was Ian Murphy, the editor of the online newspaper, The Buffalo Beast, originally founded by Matt Taibbi.  The twenty-minute conversation that followed showed Walker as an abject sycophant, hanging on “Koch’s” praises, intimating to “Koch” that he’d actually thought about planting Republican troublemakers amongst the strikers (blatant ratfucking in the truest Rovian sense of the word) and actually detailing a plan he’d devised to trick the recalcitrant Democratic state politicians back to Madison during the recess period, only to declare a quorum whilst they were on recess and force the bill de-legitimising collective bargaining through the state senate via Republican votes alone.

When “Koch” suggested Walker use a baseball bat on the strikers, Walker eagerly revealed he kept one in his office, a personalised baseball bat, in fact.  And in a chillingly repugnant segment of the conversation, Walker talked about one Democratic colleague, with whom he’d worked in the state legislature in the past on various projects, but he cautioned “Koch” not to contact this man … “because he isn’t one of us.”

If ever there were any evidence needed that the Right were wantonly demonising the Left, it lay like a portent in those five words: He isn’t one of us.

 

Precisely the message Walker’s ilk, financed by David Koch and his brother, have been pushing since January 21, 2009.  The President isn’t one of us. He’s not like us. He’s different. His name is stranger than the strangest immigrant name. He doesn’t look like us. He may not even believe in the same God we’re all supposed to worship, according to the Republicans. (Which begs the question: If in the small-minded, little Republican universe, we’re all supposed to be Christian – the way they perceive our nation to have been founded – how do they justify that their House Majority Leader in Congress simply isn’t a Christian? Perhaps they’ve made Eric Cantor an honorary one.)

At the end of a marathon twenty-minute conversation, “Koch” suggested that Walker “come out to Cali” when this ordeal was resolved and he’d show him a good time. Walker could barely contain his delight.

He’d arrived. He’d joined the club as a freshman. And yet, he’d done something more.

He’d shown the world, when that taped conversation went viral, that the Koch Brothers and their involvement in mainstream Republican party politics, wasn’t the stuff of grisly-minded Leftwing imaginings. There was no conspiracy theory there; even Andrew Breitbart’s involvement and financing on the part of the Kochs was acknowledged.

Scott Walker’s naive posturing in a conversation to “Big Daddy Koch” placed the Koch machine front and centre of all the ugly, detrimental and ruthless connivings of the past two years. It put a seal on the fact that most every freshman Congressman, Senator and Governor who rose from the Republican ranks last November, did so riding the magic carpet of Koch money.  Goodness knows how many incumbents are on the payroll, but I’d say Jim DeMint was a dead cert.

Scott Walker managed to bring the Kochroaches out of the woodwork. Now it’s time for everyone in protest to stand strong, and insure that Scott Walker, himself, retreats to the nether regions of that selfsame woodwork … with his friends. Where he belongs.

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The Kochroaches Emerge from the Woodwork, 10.0 out of 10 based on 9 ratings
Categories: News & Politics

182 Responses so far.

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  1. Abbyrose86 says:

    Here’s a fantastic piece…it’s rather lengthy, but well worth the read.

    http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/02/income-inequality-labor-union-decline?page=4

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  2. PatsyT says:

    Warning spicy lyrics ;-) Enjoy!!


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  3. boomer1949 says:

    Found this @ “the dark side”…

    Boycott Koch Brothers
    Rich Promoters of Right-Wing Extremism

    The Kochs’ Slogan:
    “If not us, who? If not now, when?” (Charles Koch)
    AFP = “Americans For Prosperity”? Nah: “Americans For Plutocrats”

    http://boycottkochbrothers.com/#

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  4. teamplayer says:

    On Saturday, February 26, at noon local time, moveon is organizing rallies in front of every statehouse and in every major city to stand in solidarity with the people of Wisconsin.

    Go to moveon.org or google RALLY TO SAVE THE AMERICAN DREAM for details on events in your city, or nearby.

    Forgive my redundancy if someone has already posted re: these rallies.

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    • choicelady says:

      Not redundant. My members -- mostly older people in a broad faith community of liberal Protestants -- got this message yesterday. I expect them to show up. One of my board members, much to my surprise, was AT the Capitol in Sacramento while I was in the crowd -- we never saw each other. This is catching up the faith community -- we have a long history of activism from Abolition to now, and damn it -- we WILL be on the side of justice which is on the side of working people!

      The more we get people out and the more we say human beings matter, the better. Yeah -- mainstream media say we’re just the leftie “tea party” but that’s SO narrow a view. We are the people who stand for justice -- for our fellow citizens. We’re not trying to STOP things from happening. We are affirming the equality and value of all people. That is NOT the TP.

      F’em if they can’t stand the comparison.

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    • AdLib says:

      It deserves repeating all day, we need a real national turnout for American workers!

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  5. Sabreen60 says:

    Here’s another Republican doing the business of the Republican Industrial Complex. He thinks shooting the President is funny.

    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/02/witness_republican_laughed_when_asked_whos_gonna_shoot_obama.php?ref=fpb

    Let Congressma­­n Broun know what you think about his failure to condemn this abhorrent question:

    call: Phone: (202) 225-4101

    I called and his little assistant tried to defend the indefensible. I called him out and said this country has seen assassinations since Lincoln. Broun should have condemned the questiont and the people who laughed. But then again, he obviously thought it was funny.

    Flood his office with calls.

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  6. PlatoSunTsu says:

    Fox News Switches Gallup Collective Bargaining Rights Poll Numbers

    http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/fox-news-switches-gallup-collective-bargaining-rights-poll-numbers/uncategorized/2011/02/23/17595

    Of course they switched in their favor.

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  7. AdLib says:

    New graphic from our friends at The Other 98% on the Kochs, Walker and monopolies:

    98

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  8. AdLib says:

    Check it out, rallies taking place across the nation on Saturday, details below. Click here to find a rally near you and TAKE ACTION!

    http://pol.moveon.org/event/events/index.html?rc=rsad_pu&action_id=238&search_distance=30

    Rally to Save the American Dream -- Wisconsin Solidarity!

    In Wisconsin and around our country, the American Dream is under fierce attack. Instead of creating jobs, Republicans are giving tax breaks to corporations and the very rich—and then cutting funding for education, police, emergency response, and vital human services.

    On Saturday, February 26, at noon local time, we are organizing rallies in front of every statehouse and in every major city to stand in solidarity with the people of Wisconsin.

    We demand an end to the attacks on worker’s rights and public services across the country. We demand investment, to create decent jobs for the millions of people who desperately want to work. And we demand that the rich and powerful pay their fair share.

    We are all Wisconsin. We are all Americans. This Saturday, we will stand together to Save the American Dream./blockquote>

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    • Abbyrose86 says:

      I just got an email from moveon….there is one in just about every city!

      WE all need to make an effort to go….of course where I am, we just got a bad snow storm, so I’m concerned there won’t be many who make it locally due to the weather (SIGH)

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      • AdLib says:

        Truly Abby, I invite our members to get physically involved and get out there tomorrow, only when we show up in person can we make a real statement.

        The people in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and WI didn’t just sign petitions or blog and think that they had done all that was necessary, they got out in the streets and made a difference.

        All of the above is necessary to support our rights, petitions, blogging, voting AND protesting in person which is the strongest component of them all.

        Folks, please consider taking at least a small part of your Saturday to come together tomorrow with fellow Americans with whom you have so much in common, to stand up for those in WI fighting the good fight.

        Let’s have their back because the way things are going, we may need the same support from others around the nation in our states soon.

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  9. audadvnc says:

    Glad to see how you spelled out the way that workers were driven from the Democratic Party by Eastern Establishment big money functionaries. Ever since Clinton, the Dems figured workers were expendable.

    Perhaps this last couple weeks will act as a wake-up call to the folks in the Loop that there are other issues than whatever Mr. Bernanke says they are. But probably not -- they’ve been in bed with the plutocrats so long, they’re lost.

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    • choicelady says:

      Hey -- it goes back to the McGovern campaign. I was Assembly district coordinator for Long Beach, CA, and I KNOW we did not work well with the UAW and other union folks then -- they preferred Humphrey. I don’t know if I was good to them or not -- I know they scared the crap out of me (I was in my early 20s, they were 60-plus) but we tried to be collaborative. But overall the attitude of the McGovern people was dismissive. It made me feel bad -- we should have been together. But that was the origin -- the young YUPs vs the blue collar guys. No one was right or wrong then, but we started the sneering disinterest in anyone who did not drink the correct white wine from the appropriate long stemmed glasses. And we’ve gone downhill from there.

      Listen -- I’m a white middle aged feminist who is pro choice, pro GLBT rights who traveles in arcane circles of academia -- and loves to line dance (white or Black communities), likes a lot of C&W and Blues, and has prejudices against ONLY the Koch brothers. We have to stop deciding that personal likes and dislikes determine allies. You like feng shui and I like shabby chic -- who the fuck cares? You like academic intellectual arguments and I like down and dirty -- who the fuck cares?

      Whe we used to say “the personal is political” we MEANT issues such as sexual orientation, commitment to choice -- we did NOT mean your taste in curtain fabric. Ot food. Or types of footwear. Get OVER the idea that everything you like or don’t like is freaking important. Or that likes and dislikes by others are significant reasons to disown them. “The personal is political” is about BIG issues, NOT about day to day crap.

      If you don’t know any people in labor especially in unions, you have SO missed an amazing opportunity to see commitment in action, you should cry for that loss. If you don’t know farmers -- small farmers who work sun up to sun down, you have missed an extraordinary experience. If you don’t know moms on welfare working their way up -- you have missed courage in action. You don’t know homeless men and women who have the dignity to tell you to fuck yourself -- you’ve missed an existential experience.

      There are very few people in this world who cannot teach you something you did not know. Very few. And most of those are rich, self satisfied nincompoops. Everyone else has something to offer.

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    • Marion says:

      Actually, it was more the West Coast, and it STARTED in 1970.

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      • choicelady says:

        Oh for SURE! I was here and you are SO right (as in correct, not political orientation).

        I did grad school at UC Santa Cruz, and I left to start my dissertation so GLAD to get the hell OUT of there! The entire issue of the day was the war between the vegetarians and vegans. The world is facing Iranian hostages, Reagan for president, and this is IT???? This -- the war over which end of the egg to open or even an egg at ALL -- and this is what you CARE about?

        The very idea that these snot nosed college kids would lower themselves to deal with UNION people = well, OK, MAYBE farmworkers but if and only if they expressed no religous sentiment -- that was just beyond the pale.

        The Left has no idea how class biased they are. But they are, in many ways, WORSE than the Right. We lost years and years of ground to people who wanted manufacturing to die because -- and this is soooo significant -- it was “dirty and ugly”. In Buffalo we had yups express DELIGHT that Lackwanna Steel -- Bethlehem’s plant south of the city -- shut down costing 22,000 jobs because it was “ugly”. UGLY??????? It freaking paid the bills, kept the schools in good shape, kept cities afloat with tax money, kept houses in decent repair, and kept families moving their kids into college and into better jobs. And it’s good to lose 22,000 jobs affecting upward of 20 percent of the area because the plant was UGLY????????

        Lord help us all.

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  10. VegasBabe says:

    Unions are no good. I know of to many dues paying minorities who legitimately asked for help and what did they get? NADA! You don’t get to take dues and then not adequately represent ALL members. I see this happening all over our nation and frankly, doesn’t bother me one bit. They screwed themselves and my example is just ONE WAY of many. They were once needed and that was a very very long time ago, but now they only serve to piss off our corporatist bosses’ (now basically heads of state in most areas) by demanding to much! They’ve been out of control for decades now and corporatists have had it. I believe they contributed to the demise of Detroit and Pittsburgh (steel and auto) with demands that became ridiculous. So long unions….it was good knowing ya. Maybe we’ll need ja again in a couple of decades or two.

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    • KQuark says:

      VB I could not disagree more look at this chart.

      6a00d83451c45669e2014e8649f43a970d-800wi

      Unions don’t even strike anymore they have lost so much power.

      What demands have unions been getting the last 30 years?

      You complaints are all far in the past.

      Unions are the only reason wages have not flatlined completely for workers.

      Like Adlib said you want the corporations dictating wages. That’s how we got in this awful predicament when unions lost power.

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    • Abbyrose86 says:

      I couldn’t disagree more.

      Anything that PEOPLE create and is RUN by people, has the capacity to be corrupted or badly run…but that doesn’t mean the concept is bad, it’s the actual PEOPLE who run the organizations that may be bad.

      Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

      Unions level the playing field! Do you honestly THINK an individual on their own has the power and ability to make businesses operate fairly towards the laborers that are NECESSARY for them to make their profits?

      DO you honestly think you have rights in the workplace that even come close to that of the Corporation?

      YOU don’t. ALL but 1 state in the US is an employment ‘at will state’ I wrote a lengthy entry on this forum just this week on the subject of ‘At Will” employment and contrary to your opinion and the opinion of many Americans…your rights as an employee are very limited, WITHOUT a contract!

      Unions provide the ability for collective bargaining and thus contract rights. LABOR vs management….thus LEVELING the playing field. MOST rank and file individuals in an organization, ON THEIR OWN, do not merit the time, money and energy to an organization to merit individual contract negotiation.

      THE only individuals who get individual contracts are EXECUTIVES or those who have a VERY special skill or customer base, who are bringing that specialty to the table, and thus are valued. AVERAGE employees do not has such leverage unless as part of a larger unit…or a union.

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    • AdLib says:

      Completely disagree with you, VB.

      Corporate domination of workers is a preference? Lower wages, more dangerous working conditions, longer hours, no health insurance, all of these things will be to the benefit of the people you describe?

      I don’t understand at all.

      And unions did not cause the fall of Pittsburgh and Detroit, it was outsourcing by the very corporations you are supporting.

      I am really bewildered by your position on this, you apply all of the stereotypes to unions, many of them inaccurate and seem to support far worse treatment of minorities by the corporations they wanted Union protection from, cheering on greater power for corporations to abuse workers.

      Don’t get it at all, my friend.

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      • Abbyrose86 says:

        I’m a little confused myself at how much disregard many in our country have towards unions and don’t really understand why so many jobs have left the country. Unions were not the reason for company failures (that would be management’s fault) or jobs being offshored…(again that is the province of management). YET the upper management and their perverse incentives, that actually ARE the reason for business failures and outsourcing, layoffs, etal…are given a free pass…I don’t get it!

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        • AdLib says:

          It seems to be the successful propagandizing by corporations of their outsourcing and degradation of American workers.

          The constant BS about how Unions are evil, unions are to blame for outsourcing, unions are corrupt…

          …WTF about corporations that have made all the decisions that have harmed American workers?! How are they so damn invisible to folks?

          Does anyone truly believe that if all unions were perfect that corporations wouldn’t have shipped jobs to China or elsewhere to get labor at a few dollars a day?

          Aside from agree to allow child labor and wages below $1 a day, there isn’t anything the Unions could have done to keep jobs here.

          It’s a lie and one that has been successfully spread through our population.

          Again, without collective bargaining, as you describe so well, the individual worker is a pawn, powerless and insignificant under the heel of corporations.

          That is preferable to Unions, even if they don’t always support every member in every situation as they should? Even if some aren’t as transparent and effective as others?

          I had the honor of working with a number of unions in our Uncloaking the Kochs protest in Palm Springs and I will state this categorically, they were dedicated, principled and devoted to the cause of the American Worker in ways that most Americans only give lip service to.

          The complaints against unions often come from those with no extensive personal experience with them and I find that unfair.

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    • audadvnc says:

      I worked in a union shop for a few years, as an IBEW electrician. It was just fine for everybody -- the business and their customers got trained, guaranteed competent skilled labor, and everybody made money.
      http://www.ibew.org/

      Nowadays I work (in management) at an AFSCME union hotel -- again, the union represents the workers fairly. Nobody’s making big money here this season, but each of us has a job that pays the bills, during a recession that shows no end in sight (no matter what the President says).
      http://www.afscme.org/splash/

      I don’t see what the problem is with unions. It appears to me that folks at the top are being too greedy for their own good, and are about to choke off the golden goose.

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  11. boomer1949 says:

    CROSSPOST from TO/OT

    boomer1949 says:
    02/25/2011 at 5:24 AM
    I’m not going to take all the credit for this, but I certainly hope my comments to Morning Edition several days ago did make a difference:

    In Wis. Union Battle, Focus On Billionaire Twins

    As conservatives battle with public-employee unions in Wisconsin and other states, the conflict has drawn increasing public attention to a pair of low-profile billionaires, David and Charles Koch, who give millions of dollars to groups working to drive civil service unions out of government and ultimately out of politics.

    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s budget bill would make civil servants pay more for pensions and benefits, and it would cripple their unions as a force in collective bargaining and politics. The measure has prompted protests at the state Capitol and teachers to walk off the job.

    Walker says the plan is necessary and wants the unions to get in line.

    “The teachers here in the city of Madison walked off the job, which is really ultimately a strike and an illegal action,” he said.

    Other GOP governors have joined the fight.

    “The most powerful special interests in America today are the government unions,” Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels told member station WAMU’s Diane Rehm Show this week.

    The governors have allies in this fight: conservative groups that organize the grassroots develop the arguments and even draft the legislation.

    The Koch brothers give millions to such groups, including the Americans for Prosperity, which has a Stand With Walker website and TV ad.

    Listen: http://www.npr.org/2011/02/25/134040226/in-wis-union-battle-focus-on-billionaire-twins

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  12. phread says:

    I think this is an appropriate quote:

    “I am worried by those who fail to remember-or have never learned -that Big Business-Big Government partnerships, backed up by other elements, were the central facts behind the power structures of old fascism in the days of Mussolini, Hitler, and the Japanese empire builders.”
    “I am worried by those who quibble about labels. Some of my friends seem transfixed by the idea that if it is fascism, it must appear in the classic, unfriendly form of their youth. “Why, oh why,” they retrospectively moan, “didn’t people see what was happening during the 1920s and the 1930s?” But in their own blindness they are willing to use the terms invented by the fascist ideologists, “corporate state” or “corporatism,” but not fascism.”
    p3
    Friendly Fascism
    The New Face of Power in America
    by Bertram Gross
    South End Press, 1980

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  13. choicelady says:

    My bitch with the Dems and progressives is the inclination to distance themselves from people unlike themselves. Take labor. I have an extraordinary history with blue collar union folks, so I know what I’m talking about here. I taught a course in the legal and political foundations of global corporate power to union people -- public and private sectors -- for 15 years. I also walked picket lines (as did bito -- we share a history he and I), wrote a history of a major steel plant including the history of the people who worked there, and even made soup and fed strikers while holding the line while they ate. I adored the union folks I knew -- the finest people, salt of the earth, loving and caring, and the backbone of America.

    And I’m a feminist, pro-choice, pro-GLBT rights, anti-war, and a lot of my union friends are not those things. They are often Catholic. They are uncomfortable about abortion. Some had relatives who were on the opposite side of the lines from me at women’s clinics. Several were vets and proud of their service -- and not a few died from it due to Agent Orange. We had our differences. And you know what? It did not matter at all. Among the thousands of union workers I’ve picketed with, taught, and known, not ONE got in my face over our differences.

    But those issues caused the educated elites in the Democratic Party and progressive movement to distance themselves, sneeringly, from the party’s blue collar roots. The one thing they were that progressives ignored was dedicated to racial equality. All of them. Every one. And instead of using that as a point upon which to build, the elitists created a fiction that all blue collar union people were racist. They were NOT.

    So the party began to represent less and less of the types of people who “brung ‘em” as Molly Ivins said. I heard one progressive woman sneer that she did not give a damn about whether white working class men had health care -- and we were working on universal health care, single payer, at the time. This came on the heels of the Safeway strike in which everyone, white males included, lost ground on their benefits. I wanted to slap the bitch -- white males are NOT all privileged, and health care as a human right includes MEN.

    I could go on and on and on about the ways we’ve lost our ground, divided ourselves into silos and refuse to talk and learn from one another. I am a lot of who I am because of blue collar men who trusted me and respected me and taught me and helped me learn along the way about what they knew and who they are -- and were willing to learn back from me. Black and white, they enriched every aspect of my life. And I’m a highly over-educated white feminist who loved them, each one, for the magnificence of who they are.

    What is happening in WI, OH, IN, IA and promises to rear its ugly head via ballot measures in CA next year is FINALLY bringing the communities together. We suddenly see one another as human beings and know we have no other choice but to restart the movement that made this nation strong.

    So while the right and religious right mewl about “American Exceptionalism” the REAL story to that is the labor movement complete with diverse participation, engagement of progressive people of faith, and unity, unity, unity. What’s exceptional about America is the ability of diverse people to work for causes that unite them anyway.

    If we have differences over abortion etc., then let’s agree to disagree, to respect others as people of integrity, to honor difference AS difference not as a litmus test of worth. What we can do together far surpasses where we disagree. We are all salt of the earth, and it’s time to reclaim our ground. Together.

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    • SallyT says:

      Very good comment and thank you for sharing your thoughts. The only thing I would like to add is that even on some issues that we disagree with our friends on the other side, we still allow them “choice”. They are allowed to disagree and not choose that. But they want us to have to agree with them by making it their way only.

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    • Buddy McCue says:

      What a great comment! I found myself nodding my head as I read it.

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    • I agree with what you are saying about “silos”. I know we will not all agree on everything. But can’t we work together on the things we do agree on? Or do we *have* to beat the drum only on issues that divide us?

      That is one of the problems I have with the whole “bipartisanship” debacle. There is no common ground between the parties, because every common piece of ground is held hostage to, or eroded by, every wedge issue.

      You can’t negotiate with someone who is chopping up the bargaining table.

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    • Marion says:

      As a Southern Democrat, I’ve been saying this for YEARS. Read Joe Bageant’s “Deer-Hunting with Jesus.” He’s got the elites pegged and he calls them out. Read it. He’s preaching to you.

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    • KQuark says:

      CL I said something similar not nearly as eloquently and with as much depth but the group you are talking about is working class white males. I called part of the persuadable block of voters. Elite progressives just don’t know how to speak to that group as well as Republicans, especially when Repubs use identity politics. Working class white males want to vote for their economic self interests but are shunned by progressives who think they are stupid if they are too socially moderate and/or moderate when it comes to national security and law and order for them. I’m not near the middle of that group but I’m on the margin of that group. I’m not socially moderate on most issues I’m far left liberal but I am more moderate when it comes to issues of national security and law and order. That’s why I find myself butting heads more and more with parts of the elite progressive movement.

      Most of all the blame America first and America is the third world progressives have no appeal whatsoever to white working class Americans. You don’t have to believe in American exceptionalism to be proud of the place where you live. This groups wants to be far more optimistic about America than the people that fill up most progressive blogs I can assure you.

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      • choicelady says:

        I’m with you, KQ. I’ve had to work closely with police and FBI over the years, and it’s been as rewarding as working with union folks. A couple of officers became very treasured friends.

        There is such fundamental decency in so many people, such wonderful humor and kindness that I never understand people’s inability to enjoy that. I never apologize for what I believe, but I never could trample other people’s beliefs either. Most folks have good reasons for where they are on social issues, and it’s usually NOT for lousy or evil reasons. It’s so damned personal that at the end of the day -- what the HECK is it to me?

        What does matter is where we fit together politically, where we can find ways to work toward a common end. I can walk into almost any group, take the time to listen to what they want, ask what I can do to help, and off we go. It’s not rocket science or something special -- it’s merely the capacity to respect other people, and that is NOT hard. The cause should unite us more than our individual views divide.

        Case in point -- when the Muslim community was besieged after 9/11, first group up was Japanese-Americans who understood what Muslims were experiencing. SECOND group up? The LGBT community. And that has been a constant presence that has forged a bond between those two VERY unlikely allies that has endured ever since. THAT is leaving your ego on the doorstep! They began writing in the various Muslim papers about the responsibility the Muslim community had to be honorable toward the LGBT community and to put humanity ahead of anything else. As a result, in CA at NO point during Proposition 8 did public voices from the Muslim community support Yes on 8. Don’t know how they voted, but they kept OUT of it to protect their LGBT allies and cause them no grief. That is human kindness, oveflowing. Wow.

        That’s where we need to be. At the rally for public employees Tuesday in Sacramento, the protesters supporting Libyan independence marched into the crowd in full support. We gave BACK support. Both fighting for democracy, all together, one unified people. It was absolutely glorious!

        Maybe, just maybe we have turned a corner and are taking back our humanity. It is the essential first step toward reclaiming democracy. It’s well under way.

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        • KQuark says:

          I hope like you do because until we can find a bridge to one of the biggest voting blocks and find common ground Dems will always work the margins.

          Dems don’t even need a majority in that group just something a bit closer to 50-50. Or it will always be us against them politics.

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    • Truth says:

      Choicelady, you gave another excellent comment that should be made into a post of it’s own right.

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      • choicelady says:

        Hi Truth -- thank you! I’m still having trouble mastering the system even after all this time. AdLib knows I call myself “The Queen of the No. 2 Pencil” -- some things just continue to elude me…

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  14. PatsyT says:

    Other republican governors are not following Walkers lead.
    It looks like he is out there on his own kinda like this guy.


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