Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Wisconsin Republicans Give Up Integrity For Lent

While the rest of us were getting ashes on our foreheads and making lists of what to give up for Lent, the Wisconsin state Senate on Wednesday night passed (with no debate) a new, stripped-down "budget repair bill" -- which now excludes all the fiscal elements of the original budget repair bill, and simply includes the original's provisions to roll back collective bargaining rights.

Sen. Mark Miller (D) summed it up with this: "In thirty minutes, 18 State Senators undid fifty years of civil rights in Wisconsin."

From the CNN report:
Phil Neuenfeldt, president of the state AFL-CIO, said Wednesday night's maneuver "shows that Scott Walker and the Republicans have been lying throughout this entire process."

"None of the provisions that attacked workers' rights had anything to do with the budget," Neuenfeldt said. "Losing badly in the court of public opinion and failing to break the Democratic senators' principled stand, Scott Walker and the GOP have eviscerated both the letter and the spirit of the law and our democratic process to ram through their payback to their deep-pocketed friends."

The vote in the Senate was 18-1, with Republican state Sen. Dale Schultz -- who earlier had floated a compromise that neither side bought into -- the lone opponent. Outside, state Rep. Peter Barca argued that Republican leaders violated state open meetings laws by calling the chamber into session without proper notice -- a move he called "a naked abuse of power."

"The gig is now up. The fraud on the people of Wisconsin is now very clear. They are now going to pass a bill to take away people's rights," Barca, a Democrat, said.

And Sen. Mark Miller, the Democratic Senate leader, said Republicans "conspired to take government away from the people."
My, my, my!


D. Jonathan said...

Imagine what was like conducting a service across from the Capitol while the Republicans were doing their thing: here's a little bit of a description:

SCG said...

Great headline... and sadly, so true!

MarkBrunson said...

I think the best thing Mr. Miller could've said to them was to sing, "Ya say ya want a revoluuuutiooooon . . . "

Anonymous said...

This action in Wisconsin was needed. Unions have destroyed this country with their greed and demands for job security based on seniority (teachers). Congratulations Wisconsin--you are on the path to right the listing ship.

JCF said...

The hubris going before this GOP fall is going to be *epic*...

[Unions] have destroyed this country with their greed and demands for [job] security based on [seniority]

Just some minor corrections here. You meant, I'm sure [B]oss man, "Capitalists" "wealth" and "profits".

Deborah said...

Today, while reading these words of the of the 37th psalm, I could not help but thinking of Wisconsin's Republican Governor and the members of its state legislature who choose to serve the rich by oppressing the poor and middle-class:

The Lord laughs at the wicked, *
because he sees that their day will come.
The wicked draw their sword and bend their bow
to strike down the poor and needy, *
to slaughter those who are upright in their ways.
Their sword shall go through their own heart, *
and their bow shall be broken.
The little that the righteous has *
is better than the great riches of the wicked.
For the power of the wicked shall be broken, *
but the LORD upholds the righteous.

Just Me said...

Well at least capitalists contribute towards their benefit packages.

The new "law" in Wisconsin isn't all that different than what many other states already have in place so it's not nearly as dramatic as some report.

I would like to see people over there start acting like grown-ups for a change. I can't decide what's more embarrassing to America; Charlie Sheen or congressmen playing hide-n-seek.

Whether we like it or not, the monopoly money printing press has been on full speed way too long. At this point, every single person in this country is going to have to sacrifice; every single one.

IT said...

Let us be clear on one thing. The unions gave Gov Walker all the financial concessions he wanted. The bill that was passed had nothing to do with money. It had nothing to do with "paying their own way". It was an attack on collective bargaining, pure and simple.

As for
At this point, every single person in this country is going to have to sacrifice; every single one.

Except for the Koch brothers, wall street gurus, and the super-rich who now are our corporate overlords, apparently.

Bateau Master said...

Well duh, IT.

The Republicans waited for the Democratic Senators to understand that elections have consequences. (I believe President Obama said something like that to the Congressional Republicans.)

Sorry, but the grownups had to go forward and they found a way.

Everyone is welcome to participate in the 2012 election. If Wisconsin is sitting in high-cotton in two years - the results will be one way - if not, they will go another. Quit the pouting – and let’s get to solving the issues instead of camping out in Illinois!

MarkBrunson said...

Perhaps, when the middle-class can no longer afford to pour money into wealthy pockets, the Republicans will fade into non-existence - of course, human nature is such that the U. S., in it's future, may have it's own sort of Bastille Day, in which it remembers the crowd carrying Republican/Tea-Party heads on pikes.

There is nothing "grown up" or reasonably sane in pushing those who do the purchasing further along the road to bankruptcy. Yes, everyone has to sacrifice, but only those who lack the money or political influence to protect themselves are forced to.

Sacrifice? I won't find that laughable when the top 1-2% - the wealthiest in this country - are taxed at 90% - which will still give them enormous personal income. That is sacrifice; recognizing that those who have benefitted most from the society owe the most back in times of need, not scrambling to line one's own pockets at the expense of the middle-classes and the poor.

The lesson is coming - I hope that the Republicans and their financiers will learn it voluntarily. If not, we will be looking at violence and destruction on a level not seen since the October Revolution, and that will be a tragedy for us all.

Just Me said...

Aw c'mon: this isn't a republican/democrat/liberal/Tea Party problem. It's an American problem. And yes, I do mean every single person is going to have to sacrifice if we have any hope in avoiding collapse. Every one from Wall Street brokers to the Hollywood elites. From the Glenn Becks to the Keith Olbermanns. From the Donald Trumps to the Michael Moores. From the union bosses to the small business owners. No one gets a waiver. No one gets a pass. All contributed and all will have to pay the bill or you're right Mark; there will be hell in the streets.

Paul_B said...

I think it's unconscionable that almost half of the state had no voice in that vote. Why? Because their elected representatives were AWOL, hiding out of state.

What a circus. Depending on the side you take, either the democrats were brilliant and the republicans were underhanded, or the republicans were brilliant and the democrats underhanded.

Either way, I think the biggest problem in the US is tyranny of the minority.

IT said...

Sure, @Just ME, but unfortunately, it's not being "shared".

Check out <A HREF='">this chart</A> for a dramatic illustration of who benefits.

Let's be clear. the tax rates on the wealthy currently are less than they were under Reagan or under Eisenhower. The division in income distribution has never been greater, with vast, vast wealth concentrated in a very few.

And as they have made it clear, they have no interest in seeing that change.

@Paul_B: Tyranny of minority? You have got to be kidding. Boy, I want some of what you're smoking.

Just Me said...

LOL ~ don't even get me started on our tax system! Not sure my blood pressure could take it ;-)

The year before our business succumbed to the depression (which I what I prefer to call it), we didn't pay any taxes through our the company. When we filed the corporate taxes at the end of the year, the company got a $400 refund. A refund?!? Explain to me how you get a refund on something you didn't pay? Ridiculous. Just ridiculous.

MarkBrunson said...

But that's the point we're trying to make here, Just Me - this is a blatant injustice in the face of corporate favoritism.

I truly find it unbelievable would believe anyone would profit by union-busting but corporations, or that anyone could honestly believe that ensuring the wealth of a few people will somehow benefit the larger society.

I was told by a friend of libertarian bent that I had to "get over my envy of the rich," but, truthfully, having taken to heart his critique, I can say I don't envy the rich . . . I despise them. They take as much as possible from this pluralistic and hard-working society, have more than they can possibly need, and, like the people Jesus warned us of, make a huge show of giving comparatively tiny amounts to the weal of the society that benefits them. They are parasites, by definition. I don't want them harmed - that is shipwreck to my soul if I call for such - I want them to grow out of their greed.

Greed is NOT good.

MarkBrunson said...


There is a tyrrany of the minority - the rich! That may not be who Paul was thinking of, but it's the reality.

They comprise a tiny percentage of our population, yet control and direct the outcomes of government on state and local level. The U. S. has advanced, and we've advanced to the point that it's time to grow beyond the Most-Holy-and-Sacred-Godform-of-Our-Nation, unquestioned private profit, aka: laissez-faire capitalism.

If we continue, as a society, in the direction we have previously been successful in, we will not only stagnate, but begin to fail.

Just Me said...

@ Mark,
I really do hear the point you are making and I agree on many levels.

The difference is that I don't see greed as limited to a particular group. I see just as much greed in some unions that I see in some corporations. I see just as much greed in some government lendors that I see in some banking lendors.

The problem isn't capitalism. The problem, to be honest, isn't even greed. The problem is that laws are not enforced, regardless of the crime, if you know the "right" people or have enough money. If people were actually convicted of fraud (among other things) & went to prison for their crimes; fewer people would commit those crimes. The law is the law... unless you're a wall street broker, or a Hollywood star, or a NFL player, or a politician, or a...

MarkBrunson said...

What you're describing is laissez-faire capitalism - it is, in practice, a type of plutocracy.

While I agree that greed is the problem, the difficulty with a libertarian-style perspective is that it is utopian - everyone can be trusted to do right. This is patently not true. Without unions and collective bargaining, we have the historical evidence of the late-19th and early-20th centuries to indicate exactly what corporate owners and investors will do. With unions, the corruption of those capitalists par excellence, the Mafia, moves in and/or union organizers - true to human form - abuse their position. All in all, I would still choose unions, as both are prone to corruption but only one serves a wider interest.

The unfortunate truth is that we need more government control, not less, and a sharp cutting off of the ability of wealth to sway public policy.

Just Me said...

I don't think anyone believes in utopia anymore.

I don't know. I guess I've been fortunate in my experiences. I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of people & companies in our area. I spend time at the Christian Service Center (which provides meals & clothing to the homeless) and week after week, I can't get over the donations that pour in. Managers from all sorts of restaurants and businesses knock on the door and bring in loads of food with huge smiles on their faces and tons of hugs to pass around. It's beautiful. It's humbling. There are a lot of genuinely good, warm, caring, people in this country. They just don't get much attention.