First They came... by Pastor Martin Niemoller (ca. 1946)
First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
It appears that Scott Walker (R-WI) really wants to enter the second phase of the poem above. Not to say that he's going to target the Jews next. I'm not comparing Scott Walker to Hitler in any way. Hitler at least had Charisma. Or so they say.
However, I have to point out that union busting, corporate control over the government is part of the definition of fascism. That, coupled with authoritarian Nationalism.
On May 2nd, 1933, the day after Labor day, Nazi groups occupied union halls and labor leaders were arrested. Trade Unions were outlawed by Adolf Hitler, while collective bargaining and the right to strike was abolished. When Hitler abolished unions in 1933, it was followed by a 25% drop in real wages, and ended the ability of workers to protect living standards.
On December 11, 1961, the great Republican president Dwight Eisenhower said, "Only a fool would try to deprive working men and working women of their right to join the union of their choice."
Fast forward 20 years to December 23rd 1981, and the "great" Ronald Reagan said these words during his Christmas address to the nation, when he condemned the Soviet-backed Polish crackdowns on labor unions, promoting the â€œbasic right of free trade unions and to strikeâ€:
"Ever since martial law was brutally imposed last December, Polish authorities have been assuring the world that theyâ€™re interested in a genuine reconciliation with the Polish people. But the Polish regimeâ€™s action yesterday reveals the hollowness of its promises. By outlawing Solidarity, a free trade organization to which an overwhelming majority of Polish workers and farmers belong, they have made it clear that they never had any intention of restoring one of the most elemental human rightsâ€”the right to belong to a free trade union."
Another 30 years pass and now in the state of Wisconsin, Governor Walker and the Republican/Tea Party members of the state legislature are attempting to pass a bill that would not only severely punish public unions (with exception for the police, fire, and state trooper unions that supported his campaign), but it would effectively end 50 years to the right of these workers to collectively bargain. The GOP majority house passed the budget repair bill in the wee hours of the morning with observers wondering if proper procedures were followed, with Democrats erupting in anger calling them "cowards" and chanting "shame" Source
This is after Governor Walker promised to end late-night votes because "Nothing good happens after midnight" How prophetic are those words?
Now those of you who believe that the unions need to be busted, don't forget that the unions fought for your 40 hour work weeks, Family Medical Leave Act, paid vacations, the idea of pensions/IRA/401k, sexual discrimination lawsuits, women in the workplace and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) not just for themselves, but for all the working class folk, regardless of whether you're in the union or not. The Unions were instrumental in improving working conditions and wages for all working people and virtually created the middle class. Also, according to the Economic Policy Institute, the public sector workers make less than their private sector counterparts in the state of WI. By about 4.8%. "Also, out of every dollar that funds Wisconsin's pension and health insurance plan for state workers, 100 cents come from the state workers," says Pulitzer prize-winning tax journalist. That's right. The taxpayer contributes NOTHING to public employee pensions.
The reason why this budget repair bill must be passed, says Republicans, is because the state is facing a budget crisis.
First of all, assaulting the rights of workers' ability to bargain collectively has absolutely nothing to do with any immediate budgetary issues. It does however have everything to do with ending one of the basic rights of labor to organize.
Second, and more importantly, the budget â€œcrisisâ€ in Wisconsin is both exaggerated and created in part by the new Republican power base as a tool to attack political opponents. Walker decreased state revenue when he enacted tax cuts for the rich and big corporations, who are not surprisingly large campaign donors for his political campaign.
This 144 page budget repair bill in Wisconsin goes beyond destroying unions and their ability to bargain collectively. The Republicans are implementing the "Shock Doctrine" in an attempt at an unmitigated power grab, "an attempt to exploit the fiscal crisis to destroy the last major counterweight to the political power of corporations and the wealthy." (from the article)
From the bill: â€œNotwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), 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. Notwithstanding ss. 196.49 and 196.80, no approval or certification of the public service commission is necessary for a public utility to purchase, or contract for the operation of, such a plant, and any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest and to comply with the criteria for certification of a project under s. 196.49 (3) (b).â€
No-bid contracts? Sounds a lot like cronyism and profiteering, doesn't it?
Here are some other agendas that the Republicans are pursuing in WI. To list a few: Eliminating Medicaid, Destroying wetlands, politicizing state agencies, etc. The link I provided has a top 10 list.
This bill is now going to the Senate but luckily, the 14 Democrat state senators have fled the state of Wisconsin, so the bill will stall there for now. Quite a few of them are in Illinois, and our Democrat Governor welcomes them. Interestingly enough, Lincoln did the same thing by jumping out of a 2nd story window in December of 1840.
So what does this all mean? If the budget crisis in Wisconsin is manufactured, why are the Republicans so hell bent on destroying the unions, even after the union has made the necessary concessions?
What do the Republicans want?
Don't believe the talking heads on TV or the radio. Rush LimÂbaugh, who called union workÂers â€œbottom-â€‹â€‹feeding freeÂloadÂers,â€ and that "We are either on the side of the Wisconsin protesters or we are on the side of our country." Hannity has featured several guests critical of the union and its supporters, including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, on his Fox News television and radio shows, and Bill O'Reilly said, ""Governments can't afford to operate" because of "union wages and benefits." You know what? All three of these hypocrites belong to the American Federation Television and Radio Artists union (AFTRA), which is the AFL-CIO affiliate for television and broadcast workers. I'm sure the union backed health plan came in real handy for Rush when he was dealing with his addiction to oxycontins.
So what do the Republicans want?
According to this article by George Lakoff, "Conservatives really want to change the basis of American life, to make America run according to the conservative moral worldview in all areas of life."
From the article: "The individual issues are all too real: assaults on unions, public employees, women's rights, immigrants, the environment, health care, voting rights, food safety, pensions, prenatal care, science, public broadcasting, and on and on."
"Conservatives believe in individual responsibility alone, not social responsibility. They don't think government should help its citizens. That is, they don't think citizens should help each other. The part of government they want to cut is not the military (we have 174 bases around the world), not government subsidies to corporations, not the aspect of government that fits their worldview. They want to cut the part that helps people. Why? Because that violates individual responsibility."
"Budget deficits are a ruse, as we've seen in Wisconsin, where the governor turned a surplus into a deficit by providing corporate tax breaks, and then used the deficit as a ploy to break the unions, not just in Wisconsin, but seeking to be the first domino in a nationwide conservative movement."
They want to bust up the unions because they want the American worker to be able to compete with the factory slave conditions in China.
Democrats don't get a free pass on this issue, though. In 2007, then Senator Obama said in Spartanburg SC, "If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when Iâ€™m in the White House, Iâ€™ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself â€” Iâ€™ll walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States of America." Where are them shoes, Mr. President?
Lakoff concludes his article saying that by arguing within the framework of the budget deficit, the Democrats are colluding with the Republicans to make this change happen. "Democrats help radical conservatives by accepting the deficit frame and arguing about what to cut. Even arguing against specific "cuts" is working within the conservative frame."
"What is the alternative? Pointing out what conservatives really want. Point out that there is plenty of money in America, and in Wisconsin. It is at the top. The disparity in financial assets is un-American -- the top one percent has more financial assets than the bottom 95 percent. Middle class wages have been flat for 30 years, while the wealth has floated to the top. This fits the conservative way of life, but not the American way of life."
If you look at those two links above and are not convinced(or incensed), you're either incredibly rich or incredibly stupid. Good for you if you're incredibly rich (though I think that deforms your character) and if you're stupid, well... Herpity derpity derp...
According to the Gallup poll, only the highest income earners support gutting collective bargaining.
Why the hell should they care about public school teachers? Their kids are in private schools, the cynical bastards.
The Republican strategy is to split the middle and working class, pitting unionized workers against the non-union, public sector workers against the private, older workers within sight of medicare and social security against younger workers. This of course is after declaring war on many progressive issues over the budget deficit and distorting the constitution by declaring that corporations have a right under the First Amendment to provide unlimited amounts of money to political candidates. Source
Republicans have also declared war on women and their doctors in the states of Iowa where the bill introduced will declare killing abortion doctors "justifiable homicide", Georgia where they're trying to criminalize not just abortions but miscarriages as well(those poor zygote Americans!), Nebraska, which also resurrected a justifiable homicide for abortion bill and all kinds of crazy shit happening in Montana, where their officials can ignore U.S. laws, force FBI agents to get a sheriff's OK before arresting anyone, ban abortions, limit sex education in schools and create armed citizen militias. Good times indeed...
This is the Christian Reconstructionists New Crusade against American Women, enthusiastically sponsored by the Republican party, Dixie paper cups, Brawny paper towels and Quilted Northern (subsidiaries of Koch Industries). Even though studies have shown that a ban on abortion does not cut abortion rates and all it does is makes it more dangerous.
The thing that really gets me is that the Right will force you to bring your baby to term, but once they're born, they just stop giving a fuck about them. What the hell? Obviously, I'm not the only one that sees the cognitive dissonance in this. Why is a fetus more important than a person who is already alive?
So the Right wants unions busted, big business flourishing, women subjugated and giving birth (only if we can get them out of the workplace and back into the kitchen, amirite fellas?) while giving no social help whatsoever. No welfare, no public schools, no government assistance of any kind... Basically, the Right wants things the way they were in 1890s. I guess that's living up to their conservative ideals. Can't really argue with that, I guess.
Democrats really aren't that much better, though. Especially this current President. He's filled his cabinet with Wall Street, renewed PATRIOT act (on that, you should read this RT journalist's twitter account... Scary...), keeping Gitmo open, ballooning bureaucracies in the DHS and the TSA (which groped a mother and kid after the train ride), and the Spanish high court just ruled that torture case against US can proceed, even though the Obama administration tried to kill the case. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Can't believe so many people bought into that hope & change shit. Should have just stopped right here.
I realized with Obama signing the PATRIOT act, the true difference between the Republicans and Democrats. It's in the position in which they fuck you.
Democrats try to make things a little less awful while they fuck you. A little heath care here, some marriage equality there. They fuck you gently, missionary position, man on top. They prefer a more comforting method of fucking, making you think everything is going to be okay before quickly sticking a finger in your ass before you have time to stop them, apologizing quickly afterwards and assuring you it was the right thing to do.
Republicans on the other hand, prefer crazy man on man ungreased anal pleasure. They will fuck you like you've never been fucked before, raping you of your social security, your pension, even your right to sue your doctor. They will spin you upside down and fuck the living shit out of you until it runs down your face and into your eyes, but 20% of the country likes that and the republicans aren't going to change for you. Sure they say they will, they even offer you a little tea, but you know deep down they'll stay the same.
In american politics, the cycle seem to be that the republican party fucks us so horribly, that a majority of us will go crawling back to the democrats. Unfortunately, it only takes a few years for their passive aggressive bullshit to get on our nerves. Too many broken promises, too many lowered expectations, and then we go back to the republicans all over again.
Of course, we could always try a relationship with a more reasonable party, but deep down, we love a bad boy.
I always have hope for the progressives, though. No matter how bad things get, I know that progressive attitudes will eventually prevail. It may not look like it now, but history tells a different story.
See, the founding fathers - most of them were liberal at that time, fighting to keep the church and state separate, ensure privacy in one's house, papers and effects, and other things conservatives hate. The house that Lincoln built was a liberal house, too. With a rainbow flag and an electric car on the driveway. Yes he was a Republican, but he was also an awesome progressive. The Democrats were conservative back then, fighting for their assumed right to own other people.
Women's suffrage? Liberals. Against? Conservatives. Winner? Yo Momma.
60s civil rights battle? Liberals.
Gay rights? Liberals again.
But... Grape, what about the Conservatives, you ask?
Well, they are fighting to keep rights away from gays, women, people of colour, (give them to corporations?) rights to internet privacy under the 4th amendment, and trying incestuously to conflate church and state.
Oh and wanna fix the budget problem? 90% top tax rate
I think I just heard alienated, smb and d6's collective brains explode. :D
Oh and if you didn't like this, or thought it was too long, a shorter version can be found here (it's not really a shorter version. Not at all. But you can just read the title and move on, I guess).