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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Five Years Later: Big Moneyed Establishment Rules The Roost



Bill Moyers Excerpt:
Gather round for the word of the day - metanarrative. Definitions vary but let’s say it’s one big narrative that connects the meaning of events to a belief thought to be an essential truth, the storytelling equivalent of the unified field theory in physics.

“…The Charles Koch metanarrative — and he’s said it explicitly — is that he is challenging collectivism, he is challenging the idea that when people get together they can do good,” she said. “And he is putting forward the worldview that we’re all very familiar with that if you free the individual to pursue their self-interest that will actually benefit the majority. So you need to attack everything that is collective, whether it’s labor rights or whether it’s public health care or whether it’s regulatory action. All of this falls under the metanarrative of an attack on collectivism.”

That is so true. I would add the one word everyone needs to focus on in Koch's war on the American system ...is the word "public." It's not easy for many to grasp what collectivism is because it's not a tangible physical target and some have their own personal view to define it.

But everything "public" is visible and you can touch it. If they want to end collectivism, beyond Ayn Rand's poor idea of "individualism," it will only come through the legislative selling out of public utilities, lands, parks, education, transportation, health care, libraries, police, fire, the whole public gamut. Basically we'll looking into the world of Atlas Shrugged where everything is "self"-regulated - like Wall Street is today but much worse. In my opinion, particularly in Wisconsin, the Koch's and their tools are easily winning.

Take for instance the last two elections in Wisconsin. The majority of Wisconsin voters for some reason refuse to link the issues that are most important to them directly to the candidate they elect.

You want to talk about a unified belief system? How about a majority of Wisconsinites (according to public polling) wanting to raise the minimum wage, wanting the state to operate a closer-to-the-people health care system, want to see an end to big money in politics, want to see equal opportunity for higher education, want more voter access to the ballot - not less, want less lobby influence at the Capitol - not more, want our environment protected, want our public utilities, lands and waters protected, want more local control, want open and accessible government - and they elect Scott Walker? And, a republican majority? Are you kidding me?

For the most part, I think we have a unified metanarrative that is consistent and easily adaptable to emerging issues. The problem seems to be the voter's inability to connect those issues to the event known as Election Day. Because, all I see throughout each year are good people protesting, writing and distributing petitions, writing letters to legislators and newspapers, only to lose on election day and repeat the process all over again. It seems even that process has become establishment.

My inbox is filled everyday with narratives on the issues. "Help us protest the oil pipelines, tell Rep. Jason Doe to oppose the bla, bla, bla, write a letter to your newspaper editor..." and on and on. Look, I'm not bashing those efforts, they are necessary. But I just see a whole lot of daily energy and passion being used in whack-a-mole fashion that dilutes the goal and in fact might turn like-minded people off by the time election day rolls around. People get tired of it and turn to status quo politicians, even when it's against their own interests.

Beyond the big money support, there's another reason why the Scott Walker's and Paul Ryan's continue to get elected when a so-called socialist commie Barack Obama (he's not either) wins in the same districts and wards. They are establishment.

In Wisconsin, they could not get elected without the support from some Democrats, Progressives and Liberals. You can't be all-in for the wage-earning worker and Wall Street at the same time. You can't be for economic development "incentives" and against corporate welfare at the same time. You can't be for a prospering sustainable progressive local community and support Scott Walker for your governor. It does not compute.

Still, I'm not too sure the day of reckoning is coming anytime soon regarding the establishment. That would require a huge political revolution. The kind of revolution where people simply vote for the candidate that best reflects their own positions on election day - not somebody's metanarrative or ideology.

Plus for obvious reasons, there are plenty of embedded co-opting forces that must be overcome in both parties, organized unions, chambers and the MSM that don't want the establishment identity focused on at election time. It's too divisive they say and a not-establishment presidential candidate won't work well with Congress - a gerrymandered Congress that has a 10% approval rating. * sigh *

Solidarity alone could not overcome those recent betrayals in Wisconsin to win on election day and unless something big happens that includes some major sacrifices, I don't see the people winning it in a national election.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Forum: The Wisconsin Supreme Court Election


The Rock County Progressives present an educational forum:

Why the Wisconsin Supreme Court Elections are Important

Speakers:
Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now and One Wisconsin Institute Executive Director.

When:
Wednesday, February 10
6 PM-6:30 PM cheese & cracker reception (nonalcoholic potluck)
6:30 PM- 7:45 PM, speaker & discussion

Where:
Basics Cooperative Natural Foods Store
1711 Lodge Dr.
Janesville, Wisconsin

* This is an independent event not affiliated with Basics *

Directions:
From Madison route 90 until 1st Janesville exit, south on Route 26 past route 14, look for Toys R Us on the right, right on Lodge Drive, on right across from Toys R Us.

The Community Room is to the left when you come in.

RockCountyProgressives.org, also on Facebook

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Monday, February 08, 2016

Scott Walker Has Blood On His Hands



Reuters Excerpt: June 24, 2015
Governor Scott Walker on Wednesday signed into law a bill repealing Wisconsin's 48-hour waiting period for handgun purchases, a measure supporters said will make buying a gun more convenient and opponents said will lead to increased violence.

Political Heat Excerpt: Feb. 8, 2016
Murder on Madison's east side the sad result of repealing state's 48-hour gun wait law.

A young man, enraged after his romantic advances were turned down and who was subsequently fired for his continued harassment of his co-worker, was able to buy a gun and kill a young woman within a single day.

Wisconsin Democracy Campaign Excerpt:
The NRA spent $3.6 million between 2008 and 2014 on independent expenditures to support Republican and conservative candidates for Wisconsin statewide offices and the legislature. Most of the group’s money was spent on television and radio ads and mailings. About $3.5 million, or 96 percent, of the NRA’s election spending between 2008 and 2014 in Wisconsin was to support Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who is a 2016 GOP presidential candidate.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Paul Ryan: Entitlements For Meeee. But Not For Thee.


In a speech at something called Heritage Action, Speaker Paul Ryan told republicans not to put another progressive in the White House and warned them not to play identity politics because that's what democrats want you to do. Talk about projection.

He also raised the alarm yet again about the national debt and reforming Social Security and other entitlement programs - even if he loses his House seat over it.

The Hill Excerpt:
“If you wait until after a progressive leaves the White House again, it’s going to be too late,” the Speaker said. “You will have to cut benefits in real time on people who are in retirement. You will have to pull the rug out from under people.”

His warnings about entitlements and the $19 trillion national debt came during a question-and-answer period after his speech to the group.

According to Ryan, the national debt is rising so rapidly that he wants to cut Social Security benefits for future recipients right now and raise the age of eligibility to collect those benefits.

The Hill Excerpt:
“I am fine if I lose my seat in 2018 after doing the right thing to save America. No problem,” he added. “That is the attitude we have to have, but we’ve got to lay it out there to the country.”

He's doing it for "the country." Wow.

The only thing at stake right now for the career politician from Wisconsin is his re-election in 2016. Because if Ryan wins again and it certainly looks like democrats will make sure that he does, 2018 will mark his 20th year in Congress making him eligible to collect full U.S. taxpayer funded retirement benefits at age 50. That's right.

Apparently, the national debt is terrible ...just not THAT terrible to reform those congressional entitlements.

But he's eager to the point of urgent to "reform" our safety nets with cuts and raise the age to collect, while he kicks back in a hammock collecting generous monthly stipends from a government he claims is broke ...and he's doing it for the country!

Bless his heart.

ADDITIONAL:

Different but the same. Paul Ryan to Tea Party: You are the problem

Monday, February 01, 2016

Paul Ryan: Being Called "Establishment" Is Sign Of Success



The Blaze Excerpt:
Talk radio hosts and Internet blogs have relentlessly categorized him as part of the “establishment” class in Washington. Headlines about him on the popular Drudge Report website often read “OBAMARYAN,” ...
Ryan, once adored by grassroots conservatives, suddenly finds himself the target of their ire. Yet, he dismissed such characterizations and chuckled briefly as he responded to it.

“I find that entertaining,” Ryan said. “And I think that the fact that I, who was a pariah to the establishment, am now considered the establishment tells me that conservatives have basically taken over. And when I was in the wilderness fighting earmarks and fighting for budget reform, we were the pariahs. Now we are in leadership roles.”

This might boil down to which "establishment" you're referring to. But the Blaze article clearly references the Washington (DC) establishment here.

Also, keep in mind that the past Ryan now calls "in the wilderness," was the first fifteen years of his miserable career he spent as a devote water carrier for anti-American Ayn Rand, or more accurately ... folks the Blaze always considered "grassroots conservatives."

But this is all about a change in perception so it's important to remember that since 2012, Ryan has made a noticeable effort to distance himself from those earlier indiscretions by building a mirage of separation between himself and those "grassroots conservatives" Atlas Shruggers.

I guess that's his latest urban legend because if they think he's establishment now, then his effort was a success - in his view - because he sees conservatives as taken over control of the DC establishment. Got it? Yet he assigns the "pariah" role on them by reattaching himself to their cause by stating "we (the pariahs) are now in leadership roles."

Very slick gripping on Ryan's part, forever the snake oil salesman, and worth a chuckle providing you don't swallow anything he is selling.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Data Shows Wisconsin's Middle-Class Decline Driven By Walker's Attacks On Unions


"But we can no longer live in a society where the public employees are the haves and taxpayers who foot the bills are the have-nots."
- Governor-elect Scott Walker, Dec. 2010

Two reports over the past ten months unfortunately dovetail each other to show Scott Walker's and state republicans attacks on unions had a devastating effect on the state's middle-class, and vice versa.

The first report by Pew Charitable Trusts published in March of 2015 show Wisconsin has seen the largest middle-class decline of any state.

The second report, a recent analysis of BLS data, shows Wisconsin also leads the nation in union membership decline, should come as no surprise to anyone.

WPR Excerpt:
The BLS numbers show that as a percentage of the labor force, union membership declined by nearly 3.5 percent between 2014 and 2015.

Looking further back to before the passage of Act 10 — the law that restricts collective bargaining for most public workers in the state — Wisconsin union members made up 14 percent of the total workforce. Last year, that number shrank to just over 8 percent.

The results are in but the overall decline hasn't slowed.

Divide and Conquer 2.0 is just now beginning to make its way into communities all across Wisconsin as state aid cuts and state-imposed caps on local budgets pit wage-torn taxpayers against public sector workers against neighbors all over again.

According to the Cato Institute, Scott Walker enjoyed increased spending by 15% for his budgets from 2012 to 2015, while state-imposed caps hold down local budgets based on assessed growth. It's that double standard of principles that lays the framework for the next target engineered for a claw down - local police and fire departments.

Divide and Conquer 2.0 is coming soon to your community. You can count on it.

ADDITIONAL:

RNR - Walker's "Reforms" Drive Wisconsin's Middle-Class Decline

JSOnline - Union membership in Wisconsin plummets in wake of GOP measures