hearts and minds

February 25, 2011

Block the Koch Party Attack on the Working Class

Federal, state, and local government budgets, and the lives of working people, across America, are in deep trouble for three dominant reasons:
(1) Federal and state policies, including tax policies, during the last three-plus decades have redistributed a consistently and drastically increasing percentage of the income and the wealth of the nation to large corporations and the super-rich. The consistently increasing tax cuts lavished on corporations and the very wealthy over this period have been substantially financed from the Social Security Trust Fund.
(2) Deficit financing of the military-industrial complex, the escalating cost of empire, and the undeclared wars waged, and continuing occupations, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere.
(3) The national economic crisis (which immediately expanded worldwide, and trickled-down to state, local, and family budgets) that was caused by the largest fraud and larceny ever perpetrated in world history.

This worldwide economic crisis, with its massive, tragic consequences, was intentionally perpetrated by decision makers in huge, transnational financial and insurance and investment and accounting corporations. Neither the government that is supposed to be of, by, and for the people, nor either major party, has taken the necessary steps to:
(a) prevent such an outrageous fraud from happening again,
(b) prosecute the looters, and
(c) recover the loot.
Instead, we have been expected to collectively dig the very crooks (and only the crooks) out from under the collapsed consequences of the disaster they initiated.
We must defeat efforts to scapegoat any portion of the people and force them/us to pay even more for this continuing economic crisis.

Public employees, and people who now or in the future might need a social safety net, and environmental protection programs, are among those particularly targeted as scapegoats by Walker’s budget “repair” bill. But it is everyday working people in general, and the planet we inhabit, which are now threatened by the ultimate objectives of the class warfare of which Walker’s bill is only one, and only a preliminary initiative. The current scapegoats are not to blame for this crisis, and we must not allow them to be forced to pay for it.

Be advised that Walker’s budget “repair” bill was provoked by Walker’s own precipitous action immediately on taking office that granted well over a hundred million in ill-advised tax breaks to corporations and well-to-do individuals. The budget for the coming year (while admittedly facing challenges in the future, but which are not as bad as those facing most other states) was actually balanced before Walker’s welfare handout to the well-connected this winter.

The attack on collective bargaining rights, and on the already badly shredded safety net, and on the environment itself, is evidence that if we allow Walker to plunder the scapegoats currently on the line, we will all become victims – lined up and picked off, one by one. The attack is widening and spreading even now – to all working people, to the entire middle class as well as the poor, to our very planet and the basis on which we build our lives and the future.

A few teachers (and certainly the mass media) seem to think that this is all about teachers who want to protect their rights and compensation. It’s not. Teachers have been persistently excoriated and slandered by elements in our society for years, and it is high time that all of us stand, speak out, and defend teachers (and their union), as a whole, as a profession, as a calling, as individuals. We owe them our gratitude for their service that is so essential to our nation and our future, and is so often performed above and beyond the call of duty. And we, as a community, owe them more than just cheap lip service.

But while teachers, and other directly impacted public employees, currently happen to be on the front lines in this struggle, they are not the only parties to be directly impacted by this bill. This bill would also remove legislative authority over the Badger Care Medicaid program, allowing the Governor’s office sole control of administration, funding and eligibility. This bill eliminates state revenue sharing to local municipalities and to public schools, thus putting Wisconsin school districts, cities, and towns in financial crisis. This bill authorizes the state to take out an additional 200 million in loans in excess of current authorization. This bill, if it passes, will result in the state losing 46 million in federal grants for public transit, as a consequence of prohibiting collective bargaining with transit employees. This bill will also actually allow the state to raid 28 million dollars from existing deposits in the Employee Trust Fund in order to “pay” the mandated future state contributions to that “Trust” fund from now until 2013. And in 2013, public employees will become required to pay the entire amount of contributions to the Trust Fund, with no employer contributions. This bill would allow the no bid sale (privatization) of state assets, including land and power plants.

This conflict will be lost unless we soon recognize that we are all in this together and act accordingly. The corporate National Association of Manufacturers has long had a slogan or motto that goes, “Alone We Are Weak, Together We Are Strong”. Now, if directors of huge, multi-national competing corporations realize and accept the necessity for themselves to join forces for strength, why on earth would everyday working people give any credibility at all to PR spokespersons for these corporations, their media mouthpieces, or their bought-and-paid-for politicians, when they lecture us with forked tongue to, “Be individuals, be self-reliant, you don’t need unions, only incompetent bums need a union. Trust us.”

Never fall for the strategy employed by our enemy to “divide-and-conquer” us, by pitting public vs. private, union vs. non-union, manual vs. mental, skilled vs. unskilled, professional vs. technical, employed vs. unemployed, blue collar vs. white, black vs. white vs. brown vs. red vs. yellow, rural vs. suburban vs. urban.
We are the working class! 90 percent of the people are certifiably, automatically in the working class. Maybe 95 percent. The other five or ten percent – it’s kinda up to you. Which side are you on?
Solidarity forever shall be our remedy for injustice and oppression and attacks on our rights, our families, our communities, our air and water, our planet and our future.
The people, united, will never be defeated.

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7 Comments »

  1. Right on Clyde!!! You speak the truth! Just how are we the people ever going to turn the tide around against the super rich and their mass control of us FREE Anericans?

    Comment by Paul L — February 28, 2011 @ 10:47 am | Reply

    • A Wisconsin regional Central Labor Council has authorized a General Strike. And that is just what is needed at this time. A National General Strike.

      Not just by public employees.
      Not just by those fortunate enough to still have employment that is covered by a union contract.
      Not just employees.
      All working people are invited to participate in a general strike if and when one gets underway.

      Comment by clydewinter — March 1, 2011 @ 1:14 am | Reply

  2. This is one of the first highly accurate and thoughtful reactions I’ve seen to this issue since it has been raised into the spotlight recently. It seems everybody else instead of thinking, finds it much easier to just pretend like they have a horse in the race and continue to support two wings of the same bird of prey and to be as you said, divided and conquered. The billion dollar illegitmate black hole debt racked up by some compromised NWO crime boss everyone here seems to think their neighbors caused on the ground-level, will not even be close to paid from squeezing a segment of the middle class even more.

    I went to Madison on 2-19 when there were 70,000 and spent the day telling people not to be divided and conquered, and brainwashed into blaming other ground-level folks, and thankfully some seemed to understand. Most of course continued to participate in group think and be manipulated and trash talk the “other side” like good little sheep. As long as we regular folk continue to even debate these non-issues and get caught up in frenzies over minutia, we will be ruled by the oligarchy who’s been in power for at least a century. Imagine if we could get 70,000 to the capital outraged over an issue in which we all stand together by default because it is a great danger and has massive effects on us and our society, such as exposing the 9/11 pentagon fraud, or the federal reserve meeting on Jekyll Island. No, the slaves will only participate in what the media encourages and allows it seems, and that is divide and conquer petty base crap. This is also why during our trip to Madison my group the Ozaukee Tyranny Response team bullhorned any talking head media whores we could find in the area and strongly encouraged them to do real reporting and their viewers to reject their telescreens and find alternative sources of information.

    People also have a selfish attitude in this degenerate society of “well if I’m suffering, that group over there should also be suffering to make it even and fair, equally distribute the rape please daddy government!” What ever happened to not being a coward and licking boots of the republicrats and deciding to defend the rights of your fellow man even if it is a right in which you do not participate by choice.

    A wise man once said either we stick together or surely we shall hang separate.. The ruling class is in the process of preparing the gallows right now.. The hour is late. Unless everyone’s telescreen/TV simultaneously shuts off or it struck by an EMP I see little hope for them to get it and understand, and this is largely based of ground-level observation and communication with all “sides” of the controlled paradigm to see what’s going on in their heads. The answer is confusion, disinfo, dilluted understandings of history and human behavior and sociology, and American Idle reruns. This still won’t stop me from continuing the infowar and trying to have my peers recognize the bigger picture and manipulation and dangers at hand. If the people who are awake to the bs lie down and give up hope we already know what we are guaranteed to get and that is literal slavery and bondage.

    Here’s one of my quick vids from Madison, the rest I took including some bullhorning of talking heads can be found in my videos.

    Comment by Ryan B — February 28, 2011 @ 12:25 pm | Reply

  3. I am not generally one to initially say we should step back and take a more moderate look at things, but having been in a lot of discussions lately on this topic, I must say that everyone (including myself) needs to take a breath, look their neighbor in the eye, and ask “what do you really NEED?”
    Does anyone need health insurance?
    No. They need access to medical help.
    Does anyone need a pension?
    No. They need assurance that they have their basic life needs met no matter what.
    Does anyone need tax cuts?
    No. They need to pay what is due for the services they receive and that means giving to the future as much as to the present by building culture and infrastructure that is sustainable with the least use of resources.
    Do we need money?
    No. We need access to resources for living. In American culture, this has come to mean we need money, which means we need a job, which means we need a car, which means we need a loan, roads, car insurance, traffic controls, and all of the government services which go along with cars being the dominant species of our lives.
    My wife and I both had the same initial reaction to the Wisconsin Spectacle: “They’re all wrong.” It was my mantra for the last week. I realized that this is simply the negative side (which I usually take mostly for the dark humor aspect), and there is another way to say the same thing: “They’re both right.”
    The disconnect lies in the fact that both sides are trying to deal with a failing Empire’s Culture of Exploitation (see questions I wrote above).
    The goals of both sides should be to produce “healthy and happy people”. In no way does investing in debt-loaded, overconsumptive activities of our System of Systems produce happy people. It always makes people miserable in the paperwork, the debts, the demands of conformity, the wasted commute times, the stress of competing for the bottom of the wage barrel, and the paranoid culture of insecurity that comes from the bipartisan, “I’m gettin’ mine” culture.
    Walker is right: the teachers should not be allowed to dictate the source of their health benefits unless they demand a single-payer, government-run program (if it’s good enough for the troops, it’s good enough for teachers). Labor is right: collective bargaining is important, but you cannot “eliminate” it. Humans can gather and petition and quit their jobs any time they choose.
    Everybody has a dog in this fight, but nobody is willing to stop betting on it.
    We need to stop the gambling and send people out to do some real work for once.

    Oh, and a “P.S.”:
    Every socialist leader (Hitler, Mao, Lenin) came from places where there was a huge disparity between the richest and the poorest. Crying about this disparity will lead to socialist radicalism. Defending this disparity will lead to socialist radicalism.
    Ironically, BEING socialist actually would defer social radicalism.

    Comment by Dan C. — February 28, 2011 @ 12:27 pm | Reply

  4. Thank you for sharing your talents, Clyde. I am going to copy and paste the page. As the battle continues, people easily lose interest. They wonder if their friends are tiring of the subject, or perhaps they are seeing only one side; maybe they are selfish? No, I say, keep giving us the facts and we’ll continue in the struggle. The more I try to stay away from politics, the more I seem to be drawn to it because it affects all of us. It doesn’t go away and neither should we. Today, a friend posted an article referring to a bill, HR 1874, that should be reintroduced. classhttp://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-1874. Seemed like a good idea. Thank you for the article.

    Comment by singlepayerhopeful — February 28, 2011 @ 8:39 pm | Reply

  5. Really? Thank goodness we can finally kick these “takers” in the backside. Let these teachers work a full year, not nine months. Let them take unpaid time off like the rest of the world does when times are tough. Get the low life out of the Capitol and back to work—if they ever worked at all. We won, remember?

    Comment by Jim M — March 11, 2011 @ 10:38 pm | Reply

  6. Here is the problem with the US. Our legislators are passing legislation to protect their buddies that make job offers to them when they leave their elected offices, even though they are rich already. How Many houses, cars, and toilets do they need?

    This is from (Vermont Independent Senator) Bernie Sanders:
    Ten biggest tax evaders.
    (It isn’t illegal – their buddies in the legislature are giving it to them.
    Just google Bernie Sanders Top ten tax avoiders.)

    1) ExxonMobil made $19 billion in profits in 2009. Exxon not only paid no federal income taxes, it actually received a $156 million rebate from the IRS, according to its SEC filings. [Note: Our post last April reported that ExxonMobil was owed $46 million by the IRS.]

    2) Bank of America received a $1.9 billion tax refund from the IRS last year, although it made $4.4 billion in profits and received a bailout from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department of nearly $1 trillion.

    3) Over the past five years, while General Electric made $26 billion in profits in the United States, it received a $4.1 billion refund from the IRS.

    4) Chevron received a $19 million refund from the IRS last year after it made $10 billion in profits in 2009.

    5) Boeing, which received a $30 billion contract from the Pentagon to build 179 airborne tankers, got a $124 million refund from the IRS last year.

    6) Valero Energy, the 25th largest company in America with $68 billion in sales last year received a $157 million tax refund check from the IRS and, over the past three years, it received a $134 million tax break from the oil and gas manufacturing tax deduction.

    7) Goldman Sachs in 2008 only paid 1.1 percent of its income in taxes even though it earned a profit of $2.3 billion and received an almost $800 billion from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury Department.

    8) Citigroup last year made more than $4 billion in profits but paid no federal income taxes. It received a $2.5 trillion bailout from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury.

    9) ConocoPhillips, the fifth largest oil company in the United States, made $16 billion in profits from 2007 through 2009, but received $451 million in tax breaks through the oil and gas manufacturing deduction.

    10) Over the past five years, Carnival Cruise Lines made more than $11 billion in profits, but its federal income tax rate during those years was just 1.1 percent.

    Comment by Donald D — April 1, 2011 @ 8:03 am | Reply


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