DNC RIP: 1848 – February 16, 2011

“There was madness in any direction, at any hour. You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning.” — Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Trumka and McEntee

Trumka and McEntee

Well, almost . . . I’m not too confident about defeating Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s junta in the near term. In fact I’m detecting a growing rumble that suggests the earth is about to crack open within the next week and swallow the Madison Uprising whole. However, two other points seem equally clear to me:

1.) If it does, it will likely drag the DNC to Hell along with it

2.) The DNC’s demise may not be all that great a loss for Richard Trumka and Jerry McEntee — or the American people.

Madness

I’m only one lone blogger, an overfed garden gnome with a bad haircut.  I can’t possibly hope to convey to those outside of Wisconsin the full brutal glory and incendiary bolts of sheer lunacy roiling through the state right now.  In part because I have heretofore lacked the resources and the contacts to be at the epicenter and in greater part because the whole awesome mess is so overwhelming that I think it’d be beyond the capability of a dedicated full-time team of bloggers to bring home the sublime scale of the thing.

For your consideration, is a mere list of highlights that I hope can convey a few of the dominant notes within the chaos and existential terror reverberating through this moment in history:

Betrayal . . .

. . . of populism

Revealed:  Hidden within Tea-Party Governor Scott Walker’s “Budget Repair Bill” is a provision surrendering unilateral determination of premiums, coverage and eligibility over Medicaid to the governor’s Department of Health Services–in effect, creating the “Death Panels” the Tea Party fantasized about within the federal Health Care Reform Act.

Revealed:  The bill also conceals a provision usurping as the exclusive prerogative of the executive branch the right to unilaterally negotiate in total secrecy the sale of public assets to private interests.

Walker is expected to announce that he will use Wisconsin jobs as bargaining chips in his bid to take away the unions’ bargaining rights:  the layoff of hundreds of workers unless his bill is passed exactly as he proposed it, without alteration. A far cry from his pledge to create 250,000 jobs made while he was campaigning.

Revealed:  Walker is expected to announce that he will use Wisconsin jobs as bargaining chips in his bid to take away the unions’ bargaining rights:  the layoff of hundreds of workers unless his bill is passed exactly as he proposed it, without alteration. A far cry from his pledge to create 250,000 jobs made while he was campaigning.

Continued at Dystopia Diaries

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  • quartz99

    Did you see that concrete barriers and snow fences have been erected to force protesters away from the Capitol? And that the police have started to get aggressive with the protesters? It’s hardly even being reported even though there’s pictures and stories from protesters who are there, all over the place! In fact, I only found one story on it: http://www.isthmus.com/daily/article.php?article=32565 One of the people on the ground posted that they’d seen someone try to jump over one of the barricades and that then he “went limp and was carried off by police”. That’s ominous. That could only be something like a taser in action.

    I fear this is going to become violent before its done…

    • Liam_McGonagle

      Thanks for the heads-up! Can you post any of this to Disinfo? It’s super easy–just click on the “Submit Story” button on the home page and set up an account. It’ll take you less than 5 minutes.

      Disinfo rules for so many reasons. They draw a smart crowd and do everything possible to encourage a really active discussion among users. Best of all, even total rank amateurs get heard here. No need to have a press card, or even a blog of your own. You can simply post an article from another outlet here.

      • quartz99

        I tried but the captcha seems to be broken on that page. All I get’s a broken image. I’ll try again some other time.

        However, in the mean time, here’s a Kos diary recounting what happened at the budget address:
        http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/03/02/951668/-Suppressing-Dissent:-An-Inside-View-of-WI-Governor-Walkers-Budget-Address I know, I know, it’s Kos, which is hardly an objective news source, but it’s got some recounting by people who were actually there.

      • quartz99

        Madmanmikey below has a picture of the tattoed guy prone after jumping the barricade. I do wonder if that’s the same guy that was reported to have jumped the barricade and gone limp before being carried off by police. If so, I rescind my concern that a protester got tasered. I still fear it will get violent before it’s over though.

        • Liam_McGonagle

          Yeah, check this out at WisPolitics.com

          “UW Police chief says ammunition found at three Capitol entrances”

          http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=228863

          I don’t know whether this is even happened or not. Only single sourced. Posted by a guy named Andy Szal, whom I do not know.

          Could be a random nut off the street desperate for attention, with nothing at all to do with the protest.

          Could be a lone rogue frustrated by the impasse.

          Don’t know.

          But I do hope to God they sent this to the lab right away. ‘Cause if this should be some kind of black op, and given the general bonhommie supposed to prevail between police and protestors, I doubt Walker could find any cops willing to plant this stuff. Walker would have to get one of his staff leave it on the doorstep like a rotten turd.

          If that scenario were so, and given the fantastic incompetence Walker’s displayed so far I think it could be smothered in incriminating DNA and fingerprints.

          • Liam_McGonagle

            Just found another source. One that seems fairly reliable.

            http://dystopiadiaries.blogspot.com/2011/03/hold-that-tiger-did-scott-walker-just.html

          • Liam_McGonagle

            Note: I’ve linked to my blog, which contains a fuller treatment, including updating of the post for the second source found. NOT trying to indicate that I’m the primary source.

          • quartz99

            I’d lay dollars to donuts that this was planted by someone affiliated with Walker. They’ve been trying to provoke the protesters to get violent so they could justify some kind of crackdown to get rid of them. The protesters have not obliged. So now they start doing things to make it look like the protesters are _secretly_ being violent. I’m not buying that. I know a few of the protesters. These are normal, everyday people, not thugs.

          • Liam_McGonagle

            That’s 100% my own thinking. I have to admit a little caution, though, as events are pretty fluid.

            If you check my blog, I already found out that one detail–albeit a relatively minor one–was single sourced. The ammo thing seems to be multiply sourced, so the fact that there WAS ammo seems true enough, but I want to be careful not to mislead.

            BTW, if you have any recommendations for sources, or people to friend on FB to help me keep current, could you leave a note here: http://dystopiadiaries.blogspot.com/2011/03/appeal-to-readers-help-me-update-fact.html

            Also, this just in (to me, any way): Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald overrides police concern and urges private citizens to help arrest the Wisconsin 14.

            http://www.aolnews.com/2011/03/03/wisconsin-senate-may-order-police-to-bring-back-democrats/?icid=maing%7Cmain5%7Cdl1%7Csec1_lnk2%7C48092

            I don’t know what the Hell is going on, but I think Walker’s cronies are freaking out. Bad mojo.

          • quartz99

            Considering he already admitted in that prank phone call that he was considering planting people in the protesters to be violent and make them look back, I think you can admit a little less caution than otherwise ;)

  • Anonymous

    Did you see that concrete barriers and snow fences have been erected to force protesters away from the Capitol? And that the police have started to get aggressive with the protesters? It’s hardly even being reported even though there’s pictures and stories from protesters who are there, all over the place! In fact, I only found one story on it: http://www.isthmus.com/daily/article.php?article=32565 One of the people on the ground posted that they’d seen someone try to jump over one of the barricades and that then he “went limp and was carried off by police”. That’s ominous. That could only be something like a taser in action.

    I fear this is going to become violent before its done…

  • quartz99

    Also, thinking about it, it’s a good thing Obama hasn’t stepped in. If he did, it would become about him instead of about a hundred thousand people in Madison and tens of thousands more in other states fighting against the blatant power grabs in Wisconsin and their own states. Also, which one does he pick? At last count there were 17 states with similar bills that have massive protests. And if he shows up at one and then has to leave to go back to Washington to do his job, it will be seen as breaking the protest wherever he was. Not to mention all the knee-jerk automatic “It’s Obama so I’m against it!” that would happen and make it even harder for the protesters. No, he needs to stay in Washington and stay out of it.

    • Liam_McGonagle

      Which in my mind’s eye pretty much says “Obama is useless; he is inherently incapable of functioning as the leader of the Democractic Party.”

      I defended Obama for a long time against the valid criticisms re: his support for:

      1. Eternal warfare to prop up corrupt governments like Afghanistan
      2. Bankster bailouts
      3. Failure to criminally prosecute said banksters
      4. Constant flip/flopping on DADT and gay marriage
      5. Atrocious civil rights record: stepped up domestic surveillance, Patriot Act, etc., etc., etc.
      6. Negotiation of ‘free’ trade treaties a la NAFTA which did so much to promote the interest of the labor segment of the Democratic base*

      I admit it doesn’t say much for me as a moral giant, but for me the final straw came with Obama’s outright lying and betrayal of Sanders, DeFazio and Feingold as they fought heroically to stall the billion dollar tax giveaway to trust fund brats–while Dems still had majorities in BOTH HOUSES.

      It’s only now in retrospect that I understand why I felt comfortable defending his worthless ass as long as I did: Wisconsin is (by and large) a horribly racist state. In fact most of my family are Tea Baggers–a group not really known for subtlety, perspecacity or racial tolerance. It was a knee-jerk reaction, I was allowing the traditional Machiavellian triangulation to work on me. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” type of thinking.

      Too bad it doesn’t work that way in the real world.

      But in one way, this is a VERY good sign. When we’re finally mature enough to admit that even a black guy can be as big an asshole as a Connecticut Cowboy, we’ve made some real progress towards a ‘post-racial’ world. No more blank checks, free passes. No more grading on the curve.

      • quartz99

        My “final straw” was while he was campaigning. He went on Logo and basically said that ‘separate but equal’ was just fine for gays, that he was against gay marriage but would consider civil unions. A bi-racial man promoting ‘separate but equal’ as being awesome? Really? (I still voted for him. I’m at least not embarrassed when he talks to foreign leaders; that’s a quality his opponents didn’t have).

        But even if he was the best and otherwise most useful party leader ever, I’d still be glad he was staying out of it. The media’s made a lot of hay out of making this out to be Repubs vs Dems but a lot of those protesters out there are Repubs. Maybe not a large percentage, but there’s some. This isn’t politics as usual. This is about an assault on the rights of workers, and about how much unsupervised power we really want an executive branch to hold. This is about more than Wisconsin, because other states are watching right now to see how far they can push before the backlash is more than they can take. And if he showed up at any of these protests across the country, it would cease to be about that. It would make it a referendum on Obama, with all the real issues forgotten. And that would defeat the point of the protests.

        • Liam_McGonagle

          I hear what you’re saying, and I understand, but I’m not sure I entirely agree.

          In the circumstances, given the universally acknowledged flake unreliability of Obama, you’re right. And if there were only the immediate issue at hand–as enormously important as it is–I would agree without reservation.

          But, in the theoretical case of having an actual competent party leader, even one with executive office commitments, I would disagree. I think this is fundamentally a civl rights issue. And if Kennedy didn’t intervene by sending marshalls into the Jim Crow South, things would have turned out very differently indeed.

          Of course you’re spot on that this is not a Republicans vs. Democrats thing. And the wide variability of collective bargaining rights muddies the waters even further. But to deny protestors access to public buildings, send police to hunt down senators are clear abuses of power that can’t be tolerated in any circumstances. Even if the president hadn’t gone on lengthy record during the campaign literally promising to march alongside union members in just these circumstances.

          But like I said, practical circumstances render that kind of moot. Pending further substantive developments, though, I think it’s worthwhile to place this thing in the broader context of a party establishment that hasn’t done jack squat to protect the interests of its constituents, and the ways to remedy that.

  • Anonymous

    Also, thinking about it, it’s a good thing Obama hasn’t stepped in. If he did, it would become about him instead of about a hundred thousand people in Madison and tens of thousands more in other states fighting against the blatant power grabs in Wisconsin and their own states. Also, which one does he pick? At last count there were 17 states with similar bills that have massive protests. And if he shows up at one and then has to leave to go back to Washington to do his job, it will be seen as breaking the protest wherever he was. Not to mention all the knee-jerk automatic “It’s Obama so I’m against it!” that would happen and make it even harder for the protesters. No, he needs to stay in Washington and stay out of it.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Which in my mind’s eye pretty much says “Obama is useless; he is inherently incapable of functioning as the leader of the Democractic Party.”

    I defended Obama for a long time against the valid criticisms re: his support for:

    1. Eternal warfare to prop up corrupt governments like Afghanistan
    2. Bankster bailouts
    3. Failure to criminally prosecute said banksters
    4. Constant flip/flopping on DADT and gay marriage
    5. Atrocious civil rights record: stepped up domestic surveillance, Patriot Act, etc., etc., etc.
    6. Negotiation of ‘free’ trade treaties a la NAFTA which did so much to promote the interest of the labor segment of the Democratic base*

    I admit it doesn’t say much for me as a moral giant, but for me the final straw came with Obama’s outright lying and betrayal of Sanders, DeFazio and Feingold as they fought heroically to stall the billion dollar tax giveaway to trust fund brats–while Dems still had majorities in BOTH HOUSES.

    It’s only now in retrospect that I understand why I felt comfortable defending his worthless ass as long as I did: Wisconsin is (by and large) a horribly racist state. In fact most of my family are Tea Baggers–a group not really known for subtlety, perspecacity or racial tolerance. It was a knee-jerk reaction, I was allowing the traditional Machiavellian triangulation to work on me. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” type of thinking.

    Too bad it doesn’t work that way in the real world.

    But in one way, this is a VERY good sign. When we’re finally mature enough to admit that even a black guy can be as big an asshole as a Connecticut Cowboy, we’ve made some real progress towards a ‘post-racial’ world. No more blank checks, free passes. No more grading on the curve.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Thanks for the heads-up! Can you post any of this to Disinfo? It’s super easy–just click on the “Submit Story” button on the home page and set up an account. It’ll take you less than 5 minutes.

    Disinfo rules for so many reasons. They draw a smart crowd and do everything possible to encourage a really active discussion among users. Best of all, even total rank amateurs get heard here. No need to have a press card, or even a blog of your own. You can simply post an article from another outlet here.

  • Other Mr T

    Dear ‘overfed gnome with bad haircut’,

    I am a former Green Party member who supported, volunteered and voted for Ralph Nader 3 times, since 2000.
    A little piece of history: In 2004, Progressive Democrats of America, AFL CIO head and other union presidents sent hundreds of election lawyers to threaten Nader campaign officials with fake law suits and illigally paid hundreds of drunk union thugs to physically attack Nader campaign ballot petition signature gatherers in most “swing” states. This is what I remember about union members: they were ignorant, selfish cowards and were eager to eat every bullshit sandwich the union presidents fed them for some ‘no show’ ‘extra overtime’ in their paychecks.

    Your questions – answered.
    “Do Richard Trumka and Jerry McEntee know what fate has thrust into their laps?”
    Absolutely NOT, it wouldn’t even dawn on them.
    Citizens United Supreme Court decision now makes it ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE for unions to raise more money for Democrats, then the international bankers’ lobbyists and their globocrat errand boys in Federal government can raise for Republicans at national politics level in 2012. It will take at least one presidential election cycle for this to be demonstrated for the whole country to see, not just public sector unionized workers.

    “Are they prepared to possibly become the founders of a Grand New Party?” Union honchos can’t imagine stoping the fund raising for the Democratic Party, because it’s all they have known and they are too freightened to run their own union members as candidates.

    Courage (political courage) is what it takes. Perhaps loosing their jobs and getting beaten with billy clubs in demonstrations will help to motivate these people, who knows what their breaking point is? It wasn’t NAFTA, GATT, deregulation and outsourcing of every kind of job to foreign slave labor dictatorships. It seems like they are willing to be financially ass-raped by every predatory parasite – forever!

    • Liam_McGonagle

      These are weird days, T. Weird days.

      I believe you are saying that the unions are too dirty and stupid to participate. Without a doubt they’ve dropped the ball on numerous occassions. But frankly I’m not sure they’re any more at fault here than tens of millions of others.

      Certainly they’re LESS at fault than Obama. They’ve never signed an executive order sending add’l troops to Afghanistan, and they’ve been on the receiving end of Obama’s negligence and free trade policies. Even if you claim that’s an accident of personal biographical history, it is still nonetheless true.

      This is primarily a problem of moral clarity, and McEntee and Trumka are in a MUCH better position than Obama to start providing it–if only they WILL. This is an opportunity for guys who currently have the world’s attention to make a breakthrough, have an epiphany. Will they take it? I don’t know. I think I admitted as much.

      One thing for sure: The holier than thou shit ain’t gonna help anyone. Yeah, Nader’s a good egg, but let’s not give even him a total free pass just yet.

      http://www.sevenstories.com/book/?GCOI=58322100712790

      Just what the Hell is a book entitled “Only the Super Rich Can Save Us” telling us? Is he trying to say any of the following?
      1.) The patronage society where the vast majority of citizens are inert chattel is morally acceptable
      2.) Given #1, what’s the point of voting? or democracy?
      3.) Given #1,do people who voted for Bush knowing he had an agenda to transfer wealth to the richest 2% get a free pass on their individual responsibility for the shit we’re in now? Do people who voted for Obama (like me) get a free pass because they didn’t bother to do their homework and realize what a horrible sleazy creep he really is?
      4.) Given #3, why bother to sustain any pretense to morality at all?
      5.) Given #4, isn’t backing the ‘winning’ side really all that counts?
      6.) Given #5, why get all worked up? We’re exactly where we want to be!

      Even if, as I suspect some people will tell me quite vociferously, this is NOT what Nader intended, you have to admit that he has a clumsy way of expressing himself.

      All this shit is in flux. Old assumptions are getting turned upside down by the second. The way forward is fraught with craziness, mistakes, miscommunication–but more importantly inner change. Frankly, it has to be. ‘Cause ain’t NONE of us saints here.

      • Other Mr. T

        I don’t know, what Nader ‘is trying to say’ by writing a book called ‘Only the super rich can save us’, perhaps he’s being sarcastic, but knowing him – he’s probably being sincere in offering advice to the people who have the most to loose, how not to wind up being the biggest losers of us all. He knows some of these super rich people, he uses as characters in the book. BTW, have you actually READ IT or just riffing on the title? The title I’d choose for it would be: “Of Pitchforks and Torches, or How to avoid being killed, roasted and eaten by a mob of little people, crazed by hunger”..Since you mentioned a book, I’d recommend ‘The Grand Illusion’ by Theresa Amato – much more details about the Nader campaign of 2004 for readers who may not know the whole story behind DLC’s and DPA’s “The ballot project”.

        • Liam_McGonagle

          T,

          Thanks for the recommendations.

          No, I haven’t read the book. But you get my point–Nader’s a good guy, but prone to be misunderstood. And it’s not ALL mendacity. Our culture has certain biases and Nader simply doesn’t push all the right buttons, so much so that he often doesn’t get a fair hearing. It sucks, but that’s the way it’s been. We all have biases that we have to overcome.

          The work we have to do, and clearly you understand it because you made a very considered recommendation that is directly apropos, is overcoming those biases. I say that means everyone admitting where we fucked up, but also considering each others’ relative strengths. McEntee and Trumka’s relative strengths are support of a large on-ground organization with vested interests strongly (if not entirely) consistent with America’s overall agenda of respect for workers and freedom from corporate tyranny.

          I totally agree w/ your point that McEntee and Trumka may not ‘get’ that right now. I only hope the wheels are turning . . .

          • Other Mr. T

            I am not holding my breath until they ‘get it’ or to actually do something about it. Unions are industrial era labor organizing relics – globalism makes unions irrelevant. Have there been any trans-continental, multi-national general labor strikes, like ever?!? Until organized labor can collectively bargain on the global level with multiple multi-national corporations simultaneously, all unions should stop collecting dues from their members!
            Union members and Democrats are cult members, they are not going to lead this thing – they are followers and political conformists. Nader has genuine credibility, tells people the truth and it hurts. Democrat voters blame Nader for their own fear of voting their conscience. Yes, courage is what it takes to go on the political attack, you can’t win anything crouched in a defensive position. Union members and Democrats have been crouched in a fetal position for the last 30 years, good riddance DNC !

          • Liam_McGonagle

            I have to say that I didn’t really find this line of reasoning impressive in the least:

            1. It is defeatist. It basically says “Global laissez faire capitalists win. Please tear down any vestigial democratic features of your society. You can do nothing locally. In fact it is an insult to common sense to attempt to do anything locally.”

            2. It fails to recognize the following pernicious features of Global laissez faire capitalism that require muscular response and are on balance far far worse than even the worst historical excesses of American trade unionism:

            a. provides extra-legal institution to override even the theoretical possibility of democracy or worker equity
            b. constantly raid tax payers for private benefit via tax holidays and bailouts
            c. manipulate societies into resource wars and colonialism
            d. stifles innovation through efforts to protect vested interests in intellectual property, etc.
            e. ceaselessly rapes the environement for a fundamentally unsustainable production process
            f. promote an inherently inhuman philosophy, subjugating the vital energies of the human inidividual, spiritual and artistic as well as economic, to the stupid, crass materialism of a relative handful

            3. It’s a pretty big ‘FUCK YOU’ to the teachers, students, workers, etc. whose asses are on the line here in Wisconsin and the nation. It really makes me wonder what your interest is in politics anyhow, if you don’t give a flying fuck what happens to real people.

            4. Ironically for a guy decrying the ‘irrelevance’ of the union movement, you have yet to demonstrate any fires recently created by the Greens. Turning to the global stage, as you are wont, I will anecdotally note that the Irish Green Party recently got its ass handed to it as punishment for their complicity in the destruction of Irish sovereignty via the banking scandals.

            Politics is about people, connecting with them and winning their trust in order to create a better world through common institutions. Unless you actually intended to say something radically different than what you have here, I have to say that you don’t even BEGIN to show up on my political radar.

            I’m not gonna trash Nader, though. I haven’t followed his message in depth, but I wouldn’t want to tar him with the image of narcissistic sociopathic phantasist based on what you’ve written here.

            Okay, we’re done here. Time to move on to more productive discussions.

          • Other Mr. T

            “It really makes me wonder what your interest is in politics anyhow, if you don’t give a flying fuck what happens to real people.” – Mr McGonagle, that’s rather modest for a parting cheapshot.

            Working for the Nader campaigns has been a profound learning experience. I met many incredible public citizens and had the honor of training dozens of novice independent political activists to participate in the electoral process. I have enough wonderful memories to write a novel or a play about it.

            My parting shot is an anecdote from the 2008 Nader campaign.

            It was during the ballot petition period in New York – summertime. Obama campaigns’ public relations and marketing machine was in overdrive. Shepard Fairry’s Barack Obama “Hope” painting, the OFA “rainbow” logo, “Change We Can Believe In” slogan have been hijacked by every knock-off artist and slapped on every kind of knock-off product, sold by stores, given away by the Obama campaign, even sold on sidewalks by street vendors. How many silly people actually paid good money to street vendors for baseball caps and t-shirts with Obama’s face on them, God only knows!

            A Nader campaign volunteer was gathering ballot petition signatures in Manhattan and asked a young couple to sign Nader’s NY ballot access petition. They both started to giggle, the young woman asked for a campaign button, the petitioner apologized for not having any on hand. They refused to sign the petition, as they started to walk away, the young man said “Nader campaign need to get more aggressive with their ‘brand merchandizing’ , check it out! ” and handed the Nader volunteer a single, individually wrapped condom with a print of Shepard Fairry’s Barack Obama “Hope” painting on it, featuring Obama’s face. The Nader campaign volunteer had a good laugh after he saw what it was, handed the condom back to the young man and said : “Keep it, you’ll need that more than me. The guy I plan to vote for, isn’t gonna screw me.” True story, witnessed it myself.

          • Liam_McGonagle

            Score another one for irrelevance, chief.

            This article is about thousands of Wisconsin workers losing their constitutional rights. Not your narcissistic trip down memory lane featuring the blatantly has-been Obama.

            Point made?

          • Other Mr. T

            Ok, that’s a much better cheap shot. See you later, troll.

  • Other Mr T

    Dear ‘overfed gnome with bad haircut’,

    I am a former Green Party member who supported, volunteered and voted for Ralph Nader 3 times, since 2000.
    A little piece of history: In 2004, Progressive Democrats of America, AFL CIO head and other union presidents sent hundreds of election lawyers to threaten Nader campaign officials with fake law suits and illigally paid hundreds of drunk union thugs to physically attack Nader campaign ballot petition signature gatherers in most “swing” states. This is what I remember about union members: they were ignorant, selfish cowards and were eager to eat every bullshit sandwich the union presidents fed them for some ‘no show’ ‘extra overtime’ in their paychecks.

    Your questions – answered.
    “Do Richard Trumka and Jerry McEntee know what fate has thrust into their laps?”
    Absolutely NOT, it wouldn’t even dawn on them.
    Citizens United Supreme Court decision now makes it ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE for unions to raise more money for Democrats, then the international bankers’ lobbyists and their globocrat errand boys in Federal government can raise for Republicans at national politics level in 2012. It will take at least one presidential election cycle for this to be demonstrated for the whole country to see, not just public sector unionized workers.

    “Are they prepared to possibly become the founders of a Grand New Party?” Union honchos can’t imagine stoping the fund raising for the Democratic Party, because it’s all they have known and they are too freightened to run their own union members as candidates.

    Courage (political courage) is what it takes. Perhaps loosing their jobs and getting beaten with billy clubs in demonstrations will help to motivate these people, who knows what their breaking point is? It wasn’t NAFTA, GATT, deregulation and outsourcing of every kind of job to foreign slave labor dictatorships. It seems like they are willing to be financially ass-raped by every predatory parasite – forever!

  • Madmanmikey

    Liam – thanks for all you do, I’ve seen your stuff here before.

    There are a couple of things I would like to add here. They are based on my past experiences at other left active events, my visit to Madison on 2/15 (might have the date wrong, but it was the second day of the protests) and my visit there yesterday, the day on which the governor introduced his budget.

    1) The MadCity cops may be getting weird, but they haven’t gone over the line yet. I was at the RNC protests in 2008 and the cops there were positively bad. Madison though, they have been pretty chill from what I have seen. A couple of them came in towards the end of yesterday’s protest and marched with the protesters (they were out of uniform).

    2) from what I heard, Gov. Walker removed the police chief from having control of the “copping” situation there because the chief refused an order to clear the Capitol building. I heard that an inlaw of Walker’s who is a state cop was put in charge of that task. I AM NOT SURE ON THIS, PLEASE CHECK MY FACTS. I don’t have time to right now. Sorry.

    3) I spent my time there yesterday with an old college friend (class of 91) who lives in Madison. The guy who the cops removed was this big, tattooed fella who didn’t quite make sense or fit in withe the look of the rest of the crowd (note: on my first visit to Madison the protesters looked older, more stable and blue collar. Yesterday it was more white collar type union people – teachers and techies). When he jumped the fence the first time the cops were not violent. When he did it the second time they drug him into the capital, assumably to be arrested. I asked my friend, the local, if she thought he might be an agent provocateur. She said no – he was one of the local homeless. She thought he had drug (maybe mental health) issues and that those could have influenced him.

    4) Look, this is sort of self-serving, but I want to drop the links for some of the stuff I have been videotaping or photographing about this. If you feel you need to delete this due to that, I’m with you. But if you want to see the stuff here goes –

    Flickr Union Collection – http://www.flickr.com/photos/piczilla/collections/72157626057847847/

    Youtube Videos (crappy camera in the hands of an unskilled user. These videos are more about showing you what it was like than informing you) – http://www.youtube.com/user/madmanmikey

    As for the Dems going into the toilet, yeah. But they did it to themselves

  • Madmanmikey

    Liam – thanks for all you do, I’ve seen your stuff here before.

    There are a couple of things I would like to add here. They are based on my past experiences at other left active events, my visit to Madison on 2/15 (might have the date wrong, but it was the second day of the protests) and my visit there yesterday, the day on which the governor introduced his budget.

    1) The MadCity cops may be getting weird, but they haven’t gone over the line yet. I was at the RNC protests in 2008 and the cops there were positively bad. Madison though, they have been pretty chill from what I have seen. A couple of them came in towards the end of yesterday’s protest and marched with the protesters (they were out of uniform).

    2) from what I heard, Gov. Walker removed the police chief from having control of the “copping” situation there because the chief refused an order to clear the Capitol building. I heard that an inlaw of Walker’s who is a state cop was put in charge of that task. I AM NOT SURE ON THIS, PLEASE CHECK MY FACTS. I don’t have time to right now. Sorry.

    3) I spent my time there yesterday with an old college friend (class of 91) who lives in Madison. The guy who the cops removed was this big, tattooed fella who didn’t quite make sense or fit in withe the look of the rest of the crowd (note: on my first visit to Madison the protesters looked older, more stable and blue collar. Yesterday it was more white collar type union people – teachers and techies). When he jumped the fence the first time the cops were not violent. When he did it the second time they drug him into the capital, assumably to be arrested. I asked my friend, the local, if she thought he might be an agent provocateur. She said no – he was one of the local homeless. She thought he had drug (maybe mental health) issues and that those could have influenced him.

    4) Look, this is sort of self-serving, but I want to drop the links for some of the stuff I have been videotaping or photographing about this. If you feel you need to delete this due to that, I’m with you. But if you want to see the stuff here goes –

    Flickr Union Collection – http://www.flickr.com/photos/piczilla/collections/72157626057847847/

    Youtube Videos (crappy camera in the hands of an unskilled user. These videos are more about showing you what it was like than informing you) – http://www.youtube.com/user/madmanmikey

    As for the Dems going into the toilet, yeah. But they did it to themselves

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Yeah, in the full text of my article there is a link to a piece discussing the police chief swap-out. You have it exactly right, it’a a Fitzgerald doin’ good duty because Tubbs refused to do it.

    All of this stuff is really so important that they truly deserve a blog post each (at least). Problem being that most folks have an attention span of like only 1,000 words. Even my post here was kind of a big stretch. That’s my personal challenge.

    You’re right that the protests have been super-peaceful—to date. But the situation is so fast-paced and wacky, it’s hard to capture it all for an audience. For example:

    http://www.progressive.org/rc0302b11.html

    http://news.firedoglake.com/2011/03/02/wisconsin-democrats-announce-recall-effort-against-8-republican-state-senators/

    Thanks for the contribs!

  • Anonymous

    Sorry–spelling error . . . ” . . . it’s a Fitzgerald doing GOON duty . . . ”

    Got a bit of a cold. ;)

  • Anonymous

    These are weird days, T. Weird days.

    I believe you are saying that the unions are too dirty and stupid to participate. Without a doubt they’ve dropped the ball on numerous occassions. But frankly I’m not sure they’re any more at fault here than tens of millions of others.

    Certainly they’re LESS at fault than Obama. They’ve never signed an executive order sending add’l troops to Afghanistan, and they’ve been on the receiving end of Obama’s negligence and free trade policies. Even if you claim that’s an accident of personal biographical history, it is still nonetheless true.

    This is primarily a problem of moral clarity, and McEntee and Trumka are in a MUCH better position than Obama to start providing it–if only they WILL. This is an opportunity for guys who currently have the world’s attention to make a breakthrough, have an epiphany. Will they take it? I don’t know. I think I admitted as much.

    One thing for sure: The holier than thou shit ain’t gonna help anyone. Yeah, Nader’s a good egg, but let’s not give even him a total free pass just yet.

    http://www.sevenstories.com/book/?GCOI=58322100712790

    Just what the Hell is a book entitled “Only the Super Rich Can Save Us” telling us? Is he trying to say any of the following?
    1.) The patronage society where the vast majority of citizens are inert chattel is morally acceptable
    2.) Given #1, what’s the point of voting? or democracy?
    3.) Given #1,do people who voted for Bush knowing he had an agenda to transfer wealth to the richest 2% get a free pass on their individual responsibility for the shit we’re in now? Do people who voted for Obama (like me) get a free pass because they didn’t bother to do their homework and realize what a horrible sleazy creep he really is?
    4.) Given #3, why bother to sustain any pretense to morality at all?
    5.) Given #4, isn’t backing the ‘winning’ side really all that counts?
    6.) Given #5, why get all worked up? We’re exactly where we want to be!

    Even if, as I suspect some people will tell me quite vociferously, this is NOT what Nader intended, you have to admit that he has a clumsy way of expressing himself.

    All this shit is in flux. Old assumptions are getting turned upside down by the second. The way forward is fraught with craziness, mistakes, miscommunication–but more importantly inner change. Frankly, it has to be. ‘Cause ain’t NONE of us saints here.

  • Other Mr. T

    I don’t know, what Nader ‘is trying to say’ by writing a book called ‘Only the super rich can save us’, perhaps he’s being sarcastic, but knowing him – he’s probably being sincere in offering advice to the people who have the most to loose, how not to wind up being the biggest losers of us all. He knows some of these super rich people, he uses as characters in the book. BTW, have you actually READ IT or just riffing on the title? The title I’d choose for it would be: “Of Pitchforks and Torches, or How to avoid being killed, roasted and eaten by a mob of little people, crazed by hunger”..Since you mentioned a book, I’d recommend ‘The Grand Illusion’ by Theresa Amato – much more details about the Nader campaign of 2004 for readers who may not know the whole story behind DLC’s and DPA’s “The ballot project”.

  • Anonymous

    T,

    Thanks for the recommendations.

    No, I haven’t read the book. But you get my point–Nader’s a good guy, but prone to be misunderstood. And it’s not ALL mendacity. Our culture has certain biases and Nader simply doesn’t push all the right buttons, so much so that he often doesn’t get a fair hearing. It sucks, but that’s the way it’s been. We all have biases that we have to overcome.

    The work we have to do, and clearly you understand it because you made a very considered recommendation that is directly apropos, is overcoming those biases. I say that means everyone admitting where we fucked up, but also considering each others’ relative strengths. McEntee and Trumka’s relative strengths are support of a large on-ground organization with vested interests strongly (if not entirely) consistent with America’s overall agenda of respect for workers and freedom from corporate tyranny.

    I totally agree w/ your point that McEntee and Trumka may not ‘get’ that right now. I only hope the wheels are turning . . .

  • Other Mr. T

    I am not holding my breath until they ‘get it’ or to actually do something about it. Unions are industrial era labor organizing relics – globalism makes unions irrelevant. Have there been any trans-continental, multi-national general labor strikes, like ever?!? Until organized labor can collectively bargain on the global level with multiple multi-national corporations simultaneously, all unions should stop collecting dues from their members!
    Union members and Democrats are cult members, they are not going to lead this thing – they are followers and political conformists. Nader has genuine credibility, tells people the truth and it hurts. Democrat voters blame Nader for their own fear of voting their conscience. Yes, courage is what it takes to go on the political attack, you can’t win anything crouched in a defensive position. Union members and Democrats have been crouched in a fetal position for the last 30 years, good riddance DNC !

  • Other Mr. T

    I am not holding my breath until they ‘get it’ or to actually do something about it. Unions are industrial era labor organizing relics – globalism makes unions irrelevant. Have there been any trans-continental, multi-national general labor strikes, like ever?!? Until organized labor can collectively bargain on the global level with multiple multi-national corporations simultaneously, all unions should stop collecting dues from their members!
    Union members and Democrats are cult members, they are not going to lead this thing – they are followers and political conformists. Nader has genuine credibility, tells people the truth and it hurts. Democrat voters blame Nader for their own fear of voting their conscience. Yes, courage is what it takes to go on the political attack, you can’t win anything crouched in a defensive position. Union members and Democrats have been crouched in a fetal position for the last 30 years, good riddance DNC !

  • Anonymous

    I tried but the captcha seems to be broken on that page. All I get’s a broken image. I’ll try again some other time.

    However, in the mean time, here’s a Kos diary recounting what happened at the budget address:
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/03/02/951668/-Suppressing-Dissent:-An-Inside-View-of-WI-Governor-Walkers-Budget-Address I know, I know, it’s Kos, which is hardly an objective news source, but it’s got some recounting by people who were actually there.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    I have to say that I didn’t really find this line of reasoning impressive in the least:

    1. It is defeatist. It basically says “Global laissez faire capitalists win. Please tear down any vestigial democratic features of your society. You can do nothing locally. In fact it is an insult to common sense to attempt to do anything locally.”

    2. It fails to recognize the following pernicious features of Global laissez faire capitalism that require muscular response and are on balance far far worse than even the worst historical excesses of American trade unionism:

    a. provides extra-legal institution to override even the theoretical possibility of democracy or worker equity
    b. constantly raid tax payers for private benefit via tax holidays and bailouts
    c. manipulate societies into resource wars and colonialism
    d. stifles innovation through efforts to protect vested interests in intellectual property, etc.
    e. ceaselessly rapes the environement for a fundamentally unsustainable production process
    f. promote an inherently inhuman philosophy, subjugating the vital energies of the human inidividual, spiritual and artistic as well as economic, to the stupid, crass materialism of a relative handful

    3. It’s a pretty big ‘FUCK YOU’ to the teachers, students, workers, etc. whose asses are on the line here in Wisconsin and the nation. It really makes me wonder what your interest is in politics anyhow, if you don’t give a flying fuck what happens to real people.

    4. Ironically for a guy decrying the ‘irrelevance’ of the union movement, you have yet to demonstrate any fires recently created by the Greens. Turning to the global stage, as you are wont, I will anecdotally note that the Irish Green Party recently got its ass handed to it as punishment for their complicity in the destruction of Irish sovereignty via the banking scandals.

    Politics is about people, connecting with them and winning their trust in order to create a better world through common institutions. Unless you actually intended to say something radically different than what you have here, I have to say that you don’t even BEGIN to show up on my political radar.

    I’m not gonna trash Nader, though. I haven’t followed his message in depth, but I wouldn’t want to tar him with the image of narcissistic sociopathic phantasist based on what you’ve written here.

    Okay, we’re done here. Time to move on to more productive discussions.

  • Anonymous

    My “final straw” was while he was campaigning. He went on Logo and basically said that ‘separate but equal’ was just fine for gays, that he was against gay marriage but would consider civil unions. A bi-racial man promoting ‘separate but equal’ as being awesome? Really? (I still voted for him. I’m at least not embarrassed when he talks to foreign leaders; that’s a quality his opponents didn’t have).

    But even if he was the best and otherwise most useful party leader ever, I’d still be glad he was staying out of it. The media’s made a lot of hay out of making this out to be Repubs vs Dems but a lot of those protesters out there are Repubs. Maybe not a large percentage, but there’s some. This isn’t politics as usual. This is about an assault on the rights of workers, and about how much unsupervised power we really want an executive branch to hold. This is about more than Wisconsin, because other states are watching right now to see how far they can push before the backlash is more than they can take. And if he showed up at any of these protests across the country, it would cease to be about that. It would make it a referendum on Obama, with all the real issues forgotten. And that would defeat the point of the protests.

  • Anonymous

    Apparently, your pictures fall outside of “SafeSearch” on flickr. Not sure when that got turned on for my account (<— is annoyed by automatic nanny software), but just thought you should know they aren't viewable if you don't have a flickr account.

    Nice pics :)

  • Anonymous

    Madmanmikey below has a picture of the tattoed guy prone after jumping the barricade. I do wonder if that’s the same guy that was reported to have jumped the barricade and gone limp before being carried off by police. If so, I rescind my concern that a protester got tasered. I still fear it will get violent before it’s over though.

  • Other Mr. T

    “It really makes me wonder what your interest is in politics anyhow, if you don’t give a flying fuck what happens to real people.” – Mr McGonagle, that’s rather modest for a parting cheapshot.

    Working for the Nader campaigns has been a profound learning experience. I met many incredible public citizens and had the honor of training dozens of novice independent political activists to participate in the electoral process. I have enough wonderful memories to write a novel or a play about it.

    My parting shot is an anecdote from the 2008 Nader campaign.

    It was during the ballot petition period in New York – summertime. Obama campaigns’ public relations and marketing machine was in overdrive. Shepard Fairry’s Barack Obama “Hope” painting, the OFA “rainbow” logo, “Change We Can Believe In” slogan have been hijacked by every knock-off artist and slapped on every kind of knock-off product, sold by stores, given away by the Obama campaign, even sold on sidewalks by street vendors. How many silly people actually paid good money to street vendors for baseball caps and t-shirts with Obama’s face on them, God only knows!

    A Nader campaign volunteer was gathering ballot petition signatures in Manhattan and asked a young couple to sign Nader’s NY ballot access petition. They both started to giggle, the young woman asked for a campaign button, the petitioner apologized for not having any on hand. They refused to sign the petition, as they started to walk away, the young man said “Nader campaign need to get more aggressive with their ‘brand merchandizing’ , check it out! ” and handed the Nader volunteer a single, individually wrapped condom with a print of Shepard Fairry’s Barack Obama “Hope” painting on it, featuring Obama’s face. The Nader campaign volunteer had a good laugh after he saw what it was, handed the condom back to the young man and said : “Keep it, you’ll need that more than me. The guy I plan to vote for, isn’t gonna screw me.” True story, witnessed it myself.

  • Anonymous

    Score another one for irrelevance, chief.

    This article is about thousands of Wisconsin workers losing their constitutional rights. Not your narcissistic trip down memory lane featuring the blatantly has-been Obama.

    Point made?

  • Other Mr. T

    Ok, that’s a much better cheap shot. See you later, troll.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, check this out at WisPolitics.com

    “UW Police chief says ammunition found at three Capitol entrances”

    http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=228863

    My guess: Not finding any cops willing to pull a cheap plant job on an actual person, like Milwaukee cops did to Ernest Lacy back in 1981, Walker had to have one of his staff leave it on the doorstep like a rotten turd.

    But I am an optimist: Given the fantastic incompetence Walker’s displayed so far, and the general reputation for bonhommie the police have enjoyed with protesters to date, I can still imagine a scenario where these bullets are run down to the crime lab for finger prints while they are still fresh.

  • Anonymous

    Okay: Just got word: The Fitzgerald/Tubbs thing was single-sourced. So I have to admit I don’t know whether it’s true. I’m continuing to look, but would appreciate your help in verifying.

    In the interim I’ve updated the post and added footnote [5] to clarify.

    Thanks for Double Checking for me, Mikey!

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Just found another source. One that seems fairly reliable.

    http://dystopiadiaries.blogspot.com/2011/03/hold-that-tiger-did-scott-walker-just.html

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Just found another source. One that seems fairly reliable.

    http://dystopiadiaries.blogspot.com/2011/03/hold-that-tiger-did-scott-walker-just.html

  • Anonymous

    Note: I’ve linked to my blog, which contains a fuller treatment, including updating of the post for the second source found. NOT trying to indicate that I’m the primary source.

  • Anonymous

    Note: I’ve linked to my blog, which contains a fuller treatment, including updating of the post for the second source found. NOT trying to indicate that I’m the primary source.

  • Anonymous

    I hear what you’re saying, and I understand, but I’m not sure I entirely agree.

    In the circumstances, given the universally acknowledged flake unreliability of Obama, you’re right. And if there were only the immediate issue at hand–as enormously important as it is–I would agree without reservation.

    But, in the theoretical case of having an actual competent party leader, even one with executive office commitments, I would disagree. I think this is fundamentally a civl rights issue. And if Kennedy didn’t intervene by sending marshalls into the Jim Crow South, things would have turned out very differently indeed.

    Of course you’re spot on that this is not a Republicans vs. Democrats thing. And the wide variability of collective bargaining rights muddies the waters even further. But to deny protestors access to public buildings, send police to hunt down senators are clear abuses of power that can’t be tolerated in any circumstances. Even if the president hadn’t gone on lengthy record during the campaign literally promising to march alongside union members in just these circumstances.

    But like I said, practical circumstances render that kind of moot. Pending further substantive developments, though, I think it’s worthwhile to place this thing in the broader context of a party establishment that hasn’t done jack squat to protect the interests of its constituents, and the ways to remedy that.

  • Anonymous

    I’d lay dollars to donuts that this was planted by someone affiliated with Walker. They’ve been trying to provoke the protesters to get violent so they could justify some kind of crackdown to get rid of them. The protesters have not obliged. So now they start doing things to make it look like the protesters are _secretly_ being violent. I’m not buying that. I know a few of the protesters. These are normal, everyday people, not thugs.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    That’s 100% my own thinking. I have to admit a little caution, though, as events are pretty fluid.

    If you check my blog, I already found out that one detail–albeit a relatively minor one–was single sourced. The ammo thing seems to be multiply sourced, so the fact that there WAS ammo seems true enough, but I want to be careful not to mislead.

    BTW, if you have any recommendations for sources, or people to friend on FB to help me keep current, could you leave a note here: http://dystopiadiaries.blogspot.com/2011/03/appeal-to-readers-help-me-update-fact.html

    Also, this just in (to me, any way): Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald overrides police concern and urges private citizens to help arrest the Wisconsin 14.

    http://www.aolnews.com/2011/03/03/wisconsin-senate-may-order-police-to-bring-back-democrats/?icid=maing%7Cmain5%7Cdl1%7Csec1_lnk2%7C48092

    I don’t know what the Hell is going on, but I think Walker’s cronies are freaking out. Bad mojo.

  • Anonymous

    I believe this is the source you’re looking for, Liam:
    http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/opinion/editorial/article_b0884557-ba54-5230-90f9-5eab74dffc25.html

    “The deputies had been told that the doors would be open at 8 a.m. yesterday, but that didn’t happen and the officers didn’t find out why until the afternoon, Mahoney said.

    “When asked to stand guard at the doors that duty was turned over to the Wisconsin State Patrol because our deputies would not stand and be palace guards,” Mahoney said. “I refused to put deputy sheriffs in a position to be palace guards.””
    http://bluecheddar.wordpress.com/2011/03/01/governor-scott-walkers-budget-speech-of-doom/

    http://www.thenation.com/blog/158954/why-wisconsin-sheriff-refuses-serve-governor-walkers-palace-guard%E2%80%9D

    http://theuptake.org/2011/03/02/palace-guards-and-first-amendment-rights-in-madison/

    And did you see this BS?
    Firefighters denied access to the Capitol during an emergency call: http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/117349798.html

    A couple stories on the upside I saw today (still can’t register on the site. I’m starting to suspect it’s a problem at my end, maybe the AT&T firewall I have no control of *facepalm*)
    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/03/awol-wisconsin-dem-beats-the-system-gets-his-paycheck-mailed-to-him.php

    http://www.progressive.org/rc0302b11.html

  • Anonymous

    Considering he already admitted in that prank phone call that he was considering planting people in the protesters to be violent and make them look back, I think you can admit a little less caution than otherwise ;)

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