February 24, 2011
What, exactly, is Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin and several of his governor-friends — along with many Republicans in Washington — trying to achieve? Certainly they are not going to be up front and honest with the public, but there are a lot of strong indicators of their intention if you’re paying close attention.
Several GOP governors have united against unions. They include Chris Christie of New Jersey (who bragged about laying off state workers), Mitch Daniels of Indiana, and John Kasich of Ohio. The Republican Governors Association has a new “Stand with Scott” web site. Several other Republican governors have indicated they are considering taking the same action. Public employee unions are facing attacks from the GOP nationwide.
House Speaker John Boehner has made it very clear that he wants to do away with federal employees bargaining rights. He had great praise for Walker’s actions in Wisconsin. As Harold Meyerson points out, the entire GOP is waging a war against unions.
House Republicans voted to defund the National Labor Relations Board by one-third through September. Tom Price of Georgia, along with 175 other Republicans which included the entire House leadership, wanted to shut it down all together.
The GOP has attacked public employees pay and benefits, insisting theirs are better than private sector employees. Although that has been proven false over and over, they still spew out those lies, and the GOP-news media makes sure it gets repeated day in and day out.
The pattern is clear: collectively, the GOP has made union-busting priority-one.
Indiana’s deputy attorney general Jeff Cox — Republican — has a quicker solution for public employee unions: Kill the union members; literally! His advice was to “use live ammunition”. Now this is no low-level state employee; this is the number-two state prosecutor. Of course he was fired a day later, but it doesn’t change the fact that this is the kind of thinking that’s coming from the GOP.
Relative to his budget, Scott Walker included another “little-known” piece of legislation in it. If passed, it would give Walker almost total control over the state’s Medicaid program, stripping the legislature of practically all of its authority over the program. As such, Walker could drop the program altogether, dole out Medicaid benefits as he sees fit, and to whom he so desired.
As for Walker’s agenda, there can be no doubt. Although it was a prank, the phone call to Walker from Ian Murphy posing as David Koch proved what millions already knew: Walker’s goal is to bust the unions and, along with other self-appointed powers, become the sole decision-maker in Wisconsin. As Ezra Klien said, the called proved one thing: When no one else, including duly elected Democratic legislators in the state, could not get through to Walker on the phone, “David Koch” had absolutely no problem what so ever getting to Walker. (The following YouTube video is the actual conversation.)
Walker claimed he wasn’t trying to trick MIA Democrats into coming back to the state when he told them he’d “be willing to sit down and talk”. But as the taped phone conversation shows, that is exactly what he was trying to do.
As for the Koch brothers’ support of Walker (and any one else with Walker’s agenda), they make sure they are always present. Koch’s front group, Americans for Prosperity (don’t you love that name?), is all over Wisconsin. Their leather binders were spotted on some GOP assembly member’s desk.
All of this points to a very unsettling and distinct possibility.
Fascism: a political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition. [Or, if you want to take the time to read it, there is an ultimate definition of the word.]
Daniel Becker recently wrote a post after discovering what his “Déjà vu all over again” feeling was. He begins with saying the Wisconsin situation seemed painfully familiar to him, but couldn’t put his finger on it until he remembered Iraq: 10/10/2010.
The political deadlock in Baghdad, which has prevented the formation of an Iraqi government more than six months after the parliamentary elections in March, has not prevented the administration of Nuri Kamal al-Maliki from opening the southern oilfields to the world’s giant corporations. Nor has it stopped the US Embassy and Commerce Department from reinvigorating the Bush-era program of selling the country’s public assets to corporate buyers. And because Iraqi unions have organized opposition to privatization since the start of the occupation, the Maliki administration is enforcing with a vengeance Saddam Hussein’s prohibition of public sector unions.
[Washington] has not given up on a key aspect of the economic agenda behind that project: encouraging corporate investment by sacrificing the rights of Iraqi workers.
[L]ongshoremen protesting the prohibition of unions in ports south of Basra were surrounded by troops, and the union’s leaders were transferred hundreds of miles from their homes.
In January the government threw the president of Basra’s Iraqi Teachers Union in jail.
So I, the Old Man, asked you: Do you see any tints of Fascism in what’s happening in our country today? Some certainly do.