Monday, February 28, 2011

Gobbling cookies

Internet links can take one to all kinds of places. Richard Barry writes a blog he calls Lippman's Ghost. The author, according to his blogger profile, works in government in Toronto. Even so he seems to write about American conservatives. This particular article doesn't add much to what Rachel Maddow said when the Wisconsin protests started -- the Koch brothers are behind this attempt to bust unions and make sure there is no political opposition to earn as much cash in any way they see fit.

My reason for linking isn't because of what Barry wrote, but of what one of his commenters wrote. It explains the situation very well:

A unionized public employee, an ill-informed citizen, and a CEO are sitting at a table. In the middle of the table is a plate with a dozen cookies on it. The CEO reaches across and takes 11 cookies, looks at the ill-informed citizen and says, "Watch out for that union guy. He wants a piece of your cookie."

Doubt that Wis. governor Scott Walker is being controlled by the Koch brothers? Ian Murphy of the online newspaper BuffaloBeast called Walker, pretending to be David Koch. Yeah, if a major media journalist did it he'd lose his job over unethical behavior. But we're pleased to know more about who Walker thinks is important. The site has both audio (10 minutes) and abbreviated transcript.

Some of the shenanigans mentioned:

* Walker wants to change the senate pay system. Instead of direct deposit, checks will be printed and locked in senator's desks.

* Accuse unions of paying for Democratic senator's expenses while out of state.

* Tell the missing senate Democrats he willing to negotiate with all of them in the senate chambers. Once they show up, refuse to negotiate and demand a vote on the bill to bust unions.

* Discuss which other new state governors would be ready to follow Walker's lead, including Snyder of Michigan [Snyder has since declared he would not attempt union busting].

* Consider, but reject, the idea that thugs be sent to infiltrate, then disrupt, the protesters.

Terrence Heath writes again about what GOP policies are doing to concentrate the wealth into the top sliver of Americans. This is just one of several charts he uses along the way. The tactics include, as we have seen in Wisconsin, an attempt to bust unions.

So what is next? It is becoming increasingly obvious to a lot of people that GOP policies are not designed to lift Americans out of the recession. That will lead to two possible responses. Either poor, and more importantly middle class, Americans will resist and fight back. Or Americans will feel crushed and hopeless and conclude that Washington will do what it wants and we can do nothing.

The choice Americans take may depend on what the Dems choose. Will Dems clearly say they are on the side of the poor and middle class? Or will they concede the field to the GOP and only try to slow down the dismantling of the middle class? A business tip is to find a parade and get in front of it. The parade has begun in Madison. If the Dems don't jump in front of the parade many Americans may decide nobody is on their side and changing Washington is hopeless.

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