Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Collective Bargaining

A few different news stories here in Wisconsin have me extremely concerned when taken in conjunction with one another…

On Friday, the AFL-CIO began mobilizing to stand against Governor Walker’s newly released, draconian proposal (http://www.620wtmj.com/news/local/115926614.html) to remove the collective bargaining rights of state workers (other than the police, fire and State Patrol employees…curiously the same unions that supported his election...MERE coincidence, I’m sure). http://policelink.monster.com/news/articles/150697-wi-government-workers-miffed-about-police-contract-exemptions

That same day, Walker made it known that he was willing to mobilize the National Guard to deal with potential repercussions to this proposal. (link)

There are currently walk outs being planned at schools all across the state and a large rally being planned for tomorrow in Madison (link). For this two day event, the organizers (AFT-W) will be bussing people in from Milwaukee, Racine, Eau Claire, LaCrosse, Wausau, Green Bay/De Pere/Appleton, Manitowoc, and eight other cities throughout the state.

Perhaps it’s just the natural worrier in me, but these stories taken together seem to me to be a potential disaster just waiting to happen and are currently conjuring up recollections of the events at Kent State University…hopefully I’m worrying for nothing, but frankly, I put nothing past Scott Walker.

As far as I see things this whole crop of recently elected “tea party” republicans (Scott Walker, Ron Johnson, etc.) are nothing but tools put in place to further benefit the multi-billionaires. As I mentioned in a previous posting (link) I have a serious problem with that term and concept. When I was a young child, for someone to be a “millionaire” was a VERY big deal! But then suddenly, it wasn’t that big a deal anymore to be a millionaire, because there were “multi-millionaires”, which was a REALLY big deal. But then suddenly, that wasn’t that big a deal anymore either, because there were now “Billionaires”…which was absolutely AMAZING!  But, then yet again suddenly even that wasn’t such a big deal anymore, because now there are “multi-billionaires”, and as far as I see it, most of them are pretty disgusting. Folks like Mubarak who is going to leave his impoverished nation with a personal fortune in excess of $80 billion; Bernie Madoff, rightfully serving a prison term; the Koch brothers; Peter G. Peterson and Ira Rennert both of whom I’ve written about before; just to name a few that immediately pop into my mind.

These multi-billionaires used the “Citizens United” ruling to let them make unlimited anonymous contributions into the federal election process, setting up phony “foundations” like “Americans for Prosperity”, the “Peter G. Peterson Foundation”, etc. which allowed them to effectively buy the most recent election (and we have recently come to learn that it seems that the multi-billionaires pretty much bought the ruling itself as well - click here) and seemingly all to ensure that they don't have to pay the 39% in taxes that they had to during the prosperous Clinton years.  Further, if Congressman Ryan and his "Republican Roadmap" gets their way, that figure would drop to a mere 26%...because that is when they would finally really create all those jobs that they were promising all through the Bush years if only we gave them those cuts.

I read a very interesting article today in "The Nation" entitled "How to Build a Progressive Tea Party" (read it here) that started out with a very intriguing concept. It begins:
"Imagine a parallel universe where the Great Crash of 2008 was followed by a Tea Party of a very different kind. Enraged citizens gather in every city, week after week—to demand the government finally regulate the behavior of corporations and the superrich, and force them to start paying taxes. The protesters shut down the shops and offices of the companies that have most aggressively ripped off the country."

"Instead of the fake populism of the Tea Party, there is a movement based on real populism. It shows that there is an alternative to making the poor and the middle class pay for a crisis caused by the rich. It shifts the national conversation. Instead of letting the government cut our services and increase our taxes, the people demand that it cut the endless and lavish aid for the rich and make them pay the massive sums they dodge in taxes."

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