Kloppenburg Wins WI Supreme Court Election, Turfing Out Incumbent Prosser; Maybe

From Alternet we have this (h/t furzy mouse):

All votes have been gathered from all precincts, and Kloppenberg has won… by a mere 204 votes. It’s a slim margin, but it’s still a win, and a recount is unlikely to change the result.

The relevance of this news is to Governor Walker and his collective bargaining legislation, of course; JSOnline says:

Much of the court race has been a proxy fight over Walker, with conservatives saying they needed to preserve the current majority on the court and liberals saying they would have a better chance of overturning the collective bargaining measure with Kloppenburg on the court. The two candidates distanced themselves from that talk, saying they would rule impartially on all cases.

And if it gets to recounts, which it will, it gets drawn-out, messy and expensive:

Both candidates received $400,000 in taxpayer money for their campaigns and agreed to largely forego raising private campaign funds.

That public financing system was created in 2009 as a way to minimize instances in which justices have to hear cases involving campaign donors.

But in a recount, Prosser and Kloppenburg would be able to privately raise unlimited sums, according to Kennedy.

No campaign contribution limits would apply. Normally, candidates for Supreme Court who privately fund their campaigns can accept no more than $1,000 from any individual or political action committee.

While the costs of any actual recount will be borne by state and counties, the candidates would need money – and lots of it – to observe the vote counts around the state and do legal work.

And after that, litigation, no doubt:

In one twist, state law calls for Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson to appoint the state judge who would hear the case if the loser of a recount in a statewide election goes to court over the outcome. Abrahamson and Prosser have clashed on the court. Prosser’s private remark calling Abrahamson a “total bitch” was the subject of a recent political ad attacking Prosser.

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  1. DownSouth

    Here’s a TV ad for Posser paid for by the Tea Party Express. It pretty well lays out where the political fault lines lay.

    I’d say this election is a major setback for the corporatists.

    1. kevin de bruxelles

      I’d say this election is a major setback for the corporatists.

      I wouldn’t go that far. People were saying the same thing when Obama and the Democrats swept into power a couple years ago. Kloppenburg seems no worse than most Democrats but don’t be surprised in a few months to see an article about how she has begun to side with corporate interests. But that aside, the real potential victory for corporatist interests will be if the whole union attacking scheme by Gov. Walker convinces people that voting Democratic is the way to strike back. You see, the real risk for the corporate elite in a democratic system is that an anti-corporate party will rise on a wave of popular revulsion and eventually take their privileges away. If corporate interests can keep voters locked into the Republican / Democratic pen then it really makes no difference to them which of these two parties that they control wins.

      The right used Obama care and deficit spending to coral some of their wayward partisans, who were upset about the Bush years of huge spending increases, back into the Republican pen. The Democrats will use Walkers moves against unions to convince their partisan, pissed off about Obama’s obvious corporatist tendencies, to not stray to a third party because this time the next election will be too big to lose.

      But any vote anywhere for either a Republican or Democrat is a win for corporate interests.

      1. Doug Terpstra

        Hear, hear! “…the real potential victory for corporatist interests will be if the whole union attacking scheme by Gov. Walker convinces people that voting Democratic is the way to strike back.”

        Duopoly theater enthralls us.

      2. Mickey Marzick in Akron, Ohio

        There is another chapter of this book to be considered here as well. If Kloppenburg’s election is confirmed and she sides with the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling that the legislation removing “collective bargaining rights” from public sector employees is “unconstitutional” that will not be the end of the matter.

        The decision will likely be appealed. Guess where? The Supreme Court of the United States. Anyone want to bet how the Rogers court will rule and how narrow or expansive the decision might be? If the Wisconsin decision is then overturned with the state legislation upheld as constitutional, the decision effectively becomes the law of the land and will likely precipitate an avalanche of similar legislation by other states to remove the collective bargaining rights of all public sector employees. Would federal employees be next?

        Kloppenburg’s election may be little more than a “trap” to slam the door shut on collectvie bargaining in this country once and for all.

        So I wouldn’t celebrate just yet.

        1. DownSouth

          Oh well, I suppose hope springs eternal.

          I try to be realistic, but all my life I’ve been prone to these sudden outbursts of optimism.

          I’ve paid a pretty hefty price for it, but every once in a while something works out.

          Can this be said for today’s young people? How will optimism serve them? Am I just being a cynic, or are we leaving them a worse world than what my parents left me?

        2. dave

          Actually, it won’t be appealed to the SCOTUS.

          If the WI SC has a finding that the removal of collective bargaining rights is unconstitutional, it will likely to be found a violation of the WI constitution.

          Rights under the states can, in fact, be broader than those in the US Constitution. (The Bill of Rights can be thought of as a “floor” that you can’t go under…..)

          If this is the case, then the SCOTUS would never opine on an issue that is solely based in state law and has implication of the US Constitution.

      3. bob goodwin

        I find the talk of corporatism in this context humorous. Unions are historically a large part of corporatist systems, and I believe they are in our case too.

        1. nonclassical

          the Bobs of the world would have people believe corporate and union $$$ are equivalent-fine-get rid of ALL campaign contributions ala Canada…

        2. kevin de bruxelles


          To me this battle between union and non-union is just a distraction and avoids the real problem. In the end, whether he belongs to a union or not, a worker with options is a worker with power. If a worker has a shop down the street making him offers to come work for them, this is a worker who will be empowered to stand up to his boss and get a raise. A worker with no options is a loser. So the key is on the macro-economic level to reverse the trend of the last thirty years and to start giving workers power by giving them options.

          And the way to do this is relatively straightforward. Instead of Free Trade and Open Borders killing the average workers options, let’s have Managed Trade and Managed Borders so that reasonably well paid jobs return to America.

          On the political front both Democrats and Republicans are enthusiastic supporters of Free Trade and Open Borders. This makes total sense for the Republicans since they represent the rich and these policies are obviously in their at least short-term interests. The problem is that the Democrats also strongly support these policies. So we can debate all we want about unions but as long as the job situation continues to be undermined by Free Trade and Open Borders it will not make a bit of difference.

          What needs to happen is that the Democratic Party has to be taken out back and figuratively shot. It needs to be replaced by an old school Social Democratic Party (not the immigrant-obsessed type that currently exist in Europe) that concentrates on furthering the interests of all (no identity politics please) poor, working and middle class people. And the way forward would be to rebuild the economic engine that fuels prosperity through the policies of Managed Trade and Managed Borders. Once people are working again and the tax revenues are flowing, then it is time to rebuild collective institutions that promise a middle class lifestyle for all, (public education, universal health care, pre-school child care, libraries, retirement, etc.) and to dismantle the welfare and food stamps direct payments system of enforced pauperism which only creates division, dependency and dysfunction.

  2. za

    As I posited elsewhere, I wonder if the Wisconsin recount will find a large number of hanging chaddars?

  3. John Emerson

    The wingers were whining about fraud even before the votes were all counted. We should expect to hear a lot about that, and we should expect what we hear to be full of misrepresentations of fact.

    For the record, Prosser did much better in the city of Milwaukee than had been expected. Milwaukee (which has black people in it) would normally be the place they would complain about, and they probably still will even though their complaint makes no sense at all. (Wisconsin is one of the least corrupt states in the union).

    But mostly they’ll complain about Madison, which they’ve decided is not really part of the US.

    Al Franken’s recount adviser did an absolutely fantastic job in similar circumstances, and I hope to God that Kloppenburg hires him.

    1. Chris M

      The democrats are really good at fraud. Why do union members feel entitled to special treatment? How did their version of organized crime get written into law?

      1. nonclassical

        here’s “vote shunting” for fundamentalists-from Ohio, 2004-not to mention Cheney I.T. man documented to have fomented
        “vote shunting”, only to die in small plane crash shortly after being deposed prior to Obama election (the body wasn’t found):


        great video…

  4. John Emerson

    This link from an official GOP source is astonishing: http://www.gopusa.com/freshink/2011/04/06/wisconsin-2011-florida-2000/

    “Wisconsin 2011 — Florida 2000”? Now that Bush has finished his two terms and the question is moot, they seem to be acknowledging that the 2000 Presidential election was stolen.

    Florida 2000 is the most powerful meme for stolen elections, so the Republicans use it now. This sort of shows how they work, with slogans and memes that bypass the conscious mind.

    1. DownSouth


      From the article you linked:

      This election was supposed to be handily won by Justice Prosser since during the primary, Kloppenburg had only received half the votes that Prosser had in his column.

      Barry Sussman once portrayed public opinion as “the great gorilla in the political jungle, a beast that must be kept calm.”

      Do you reckon the wingers might have managed to slap the gorilla?

    2. emca

      Its odd that the Republican Party should reference Bush’s coup-d’etat in 2000. Maybe they made a GOoBer?

      Another Brooks Brother riot anyone?

    3. Jack E. Lope

      In the minds of the GOP faithful, “Florida 2000” refers to an attempt, by Democrats, to steal the election from the righteous rightful winner….

  5. John Emerson

    Unions and Social Security are third rails. It’s a sign of the Republicans’ confidence that they’ve dared to attack them. Basically they want to return us to the McKinley era. (George Will has as much as said so.)

    It’s quite possible that they’ll be defeated but leave behind some small victory. Overreaching moves the Overton window and will make a small (Republican) victory seem like a defeat.

    What happened in Wisconsin is local and grass roots. Obama wasn’t interested and may not have wanted resistance at all.

    This whole fight is purely defensive. We cannot gain anything, but can only preserve things we’ve taken for granted for 50-60 years.

    And the major media are united against us, with only a few scattered exceptions. The Republican Party is militant, and half the Democrats are Quislings or appeasers.

    This may be a turning point. I hope so. But note that this is happening in a relatively liberal state, and half the population is supporting the Republicans.

    1. East Coast Cynic

      I thought WI was considered to be more of a purple state that is seriously red outside of the cities: This is a state that not only elected republican governors like Walker and Tommy Thompson, but also elected Joe McCarthy.

      1. John Emerson

        It’s voted Democratic 6 times in a row in the Presidential elections. The Democrats basically can’t win without Wisconsin.

        Wisconsin and Minnesota have two strong, ideological parties and either can win. Feingold and Wellstone led the liberal faction while they were in the Senate.

        Both states have been moving right and cannot really be relied on any more.

    2. Kevin

      I have been watching the amazing grassroots effort to recall the Governor and eight Senators. From this distance (Maryland) Wisconsin looked to have regained its historical place in the progressive movement and overcome a widespread sense of apathy about Obama. It seems like a good sign that Prosser won but the political earhquake in Madison that the nightly news shows us may only be a tremor. The victory margin of about 200 suggests that the effort to stop the Legislature and the Governor from resurrecting Herbert Hoover has little chance

      1. Richard

        Kevin: I wouldn’t assume this is a spontaneous ‘grass roots’ effort by down-trodden workers to reclaim their hard-won rights before evil capitalists take us back to the late 19th century, child labor, six day weeks of 14 hours/day with no minimum wage.

        What is quite obviously driving this ‘spontaneous’ uprising is the Democratic Party’s knowledge that if public employee unions cannot (a) ‘collectively bargain’ [threaten to shut down public functions via strike] and (b) automatically deduct union dues from public employee paychecks (so that 95% of those funds can be sent to the Democratic Party), then the Democratic Party would be broke, and pronto. That is why they are fighting like a cornered wild animal.

        1. attempter

          It’s clear the national Democratic party hates the unions, even though as you said that’s contrary to its interest.

          If anyone doubts that, then why didn’t they do anything for the unions in 2009 when they basically had total power to do anything they wanted? For example, they could have passed card check at will. Instead every Democrat action has been directly or implicitly anti-worker.

          No, let’s not give the national Dem party any credit for anything but waging war on the people.

  6. mad as hell

    I believe in the George Carlin line. “I don’t vote because it only encourages them”. At least I did until Scott Walker entered the picture. Up until last Tuesday I had not voted since Reagan beat Carter. I always looked at Carter as a honest and virtuous leader. I always looked at Reagan as a b movie actor. I refused to participate in any further elections because of the futility of the action. When movie actors can get elected there is something wrong with the electorate.

    When Scott Walker became governor of Wisconsin he had began a power grab that I had never seen before in this country. I had only read about these take overs happening in Europe or South America but never considered that it would happen here at least not in my life time. Nixon probably came the closest but was stopped in his tracks by congress.

    The more I seen what was going on by Walker the angrier I became. I went several times to Madison to protest against his actions as well as protested in Milwaukee. I had come to the conclusion that other than Molotov cocktails, voting was the next logical step. If voting does not produce positive results, I can only imagine what needs to be done by myself or others.

    1. Paul Tioxon

      Dear Penthouse,
      I have often read the crazy letters sent in about wild encounters leading to even crazier adventures in and out of the sack, but I have to say, it finally happened to me. It was a cold and dark Wisconsin night when I saw the our Gov Scott Walker flickering across the TV screen. Just another politician, I am so alienated and socially inept, I feel just like a lone gunman perched in an office window waiting for his prey. But then a knock came to my door. It was a young nubile ACORN ORgANIZER, who could not be more than 20. She flashed me a smile that just melted the Wisconsin icicles from my frozen tundra. “Hi” she said, “I am collecting money for the molotov cocktail fund to violently overthrow in an illegal and totally treasonous and seditious manner the capitalist fascists …”, my tongue plunged into her mouth before she could utter another word of armed struggle.

      She reached around my embrace to pull the door shut behind her. “I know you can’t afford to heat the whole neighborhood” she said, as thoughts of the utility cut off notice raced through the last rationally functioning part of my brain cells. I pushed her away in a fever of desire and said “Baby, the man just wants us to frolic and be distracted, we need to go out and vote to show Gov Walker that he will not get away with this. You make me want to be a better voter. Sex can wait, we need to defer gratification until we can accumulate enough political capital to legally, and fairly and squarely throw these bums out of office in the traditional American way of one man, one vote.” “Hey you sexist pig, what about me?” she said? “You are my BFF, and not in some uptight, plastic, middle class courthouse paper license kind of thing, but one couple, 2 votes”. “Really” she said as she LOL. “Really”!! We don’t need no stinkin Molotov cocktails, we got the votes to win!!

  7. brian

    As a happy retired attorney the name Prosser sent off flashbacks to law school
    Any relation to THE “Prosser” author of famous hornbook?

  8. Paul Tioxon

    Voter suppression strategies and tactics are all the rage in the republican field operations manual. The flip side of getting people out to vote who are moderate and not affiliated is to depress a critical number into rejection of voting as meaningless, whether or not it is in their vital interest. Since you can’t fool everyone all of the time, there is a steady movement in the direction of egalitarian consolidation of rights, wealth and power for and by the public. Change, movement, progress, a better tomorrow, all were the hallmarks of democrats trying to get something changed against all odds. Now, reactionary politics also has adopted the movement model. Of course they want to move back to the past, but that is the republican idea of change from the liberal status quo.

    I am glad to see some concern for picking winners in a political race on NC. Voter suppression is un democratic and part of a wide spread political assault on the middle class. Without good credit ratings scores, without good job prospects, our only recourse is the ballot. That is also being ruined. Here in Pennsylvania the brand new republican majority is proposing a government issued picture ID card to qualify for casting your vote. This of course is aimed at people who may not have drivers licenses or perhaps are only in possession of Kenyan birth certificates.

    ACLU of PA Calls Voter ID Bill ‘Worst Kind of Election Reform,’ Urges Committee to Vote No


    Voter suppression not only diminishes marginally interested voters, but bars the motivated. And it serves to de legitmate the entire electoral process by undermining the value of the vote itself. Close elections are subject to recounts, litigation and the election itself being decided not by the public but by appointed judges, an anti democratic form of voter suppression coming to a Wisconsin state electoral commission soon. When it is frustrating and a hassle to vote, when the vote can be nullified by courts and judges, we are left with a discredited process. Presumably, in a fit of not wanting to take any more of it, voting for anyone for anything other than the people currently in a position to do something about it is the only logical choice. Apparently not. The republicans are pushing the throttle forward at high speed, in order to attain goals, if not this election cycle, then surely in the next few. But do not think they can get there without voter suppression and further de-legitimizing of the electoral process as more than just corrupted by democracy itself. It hoped that it is too inconvenient and too slow in the internet age of smart phone convenience. Now here is a revolutionary idea, an app for voting. If we can pay our mortgage with a smart phone, why not vote. OMG I did not just say that!

  9. John Emerson

    Yeah, a lot of the Republican chaff in the media simply assumes that same-day registration causes fraud. It is not regarded as necessary to provide any actual evidence of fraud. This is true nationally. The Bush Justice Department had a national campaign to find and prosecute voter fraud, and they found almost none. When Spakovsky last testified on voter fraud, he used examples as much as ten years old, and not very many of them.

    If the media weren’t complicit they’d point this out, and they’d also point out the risk of preventing legitimate voters from voting with too-stringent regulations.

    Philosophically, the Republican party would prefer a poll tax or a property requirement, but they never say that.

  10. Don Lowell

    A lot of the votes are on machines with no paper trail. How do they recount these? By hacking? Is Diebold going to win again?

  11. robert

    Wow, I amazed at some of the comments on this page! The people spoke out in November. We elected the people we wanted to bring this state to a standard of fiscal resposability. There are so many people that are totally buying into the union b.s. The cut backs that have been proposed are in-line with private business. As a taxpayer of the great state of Wi. I am horrified at where my tax dollars are going. Why am I paying for a pension that is better than mine? Letr me invest my money on myself. If the union employees took the money they paid in union dues and invested it themselves and lived like the rest of us that pay their salaries maybe we would put the right person on the bench. Not the judge that is in the back pocket of the union.

    1. attempter

      If this comment is serious, which I doubt, then what’s amazing is that you choose to attack your fellow victim instead of joining him against the common enemy.

      The enemy which is waging war on America, which is destroying America, is the banks and corporations along with their thug government (which you stupidly applaud because you “voted” for a version of it). This is the foreign parasite afflicting us. Are you really that clueless?

      And BTW, “the people” did not speak out in a phony election where a small fraction of the electorate voted for someone who lied about his intentions.

      1. Republicans are alien thugs who have zero legitimacy for anyone other than their own foolish voters. (The same goes for Democrats.)

      2. Even if one is still foolish enough to accept these kangaroo elections in principle, the fact is that Walker lied about his extreme, radical agenda. This too rules out any legitimacy for his government.

      Sorry to contradict your Big Government agenda.

    2. Yves Smith


      What planet are you from? The unions had conceded on all the fiscal issues. It was clear Walker was out to bust the unions, and he most assuredly did not run on that issue.

      Your “the people spoke” is a lie, a flat out lie, on the real issue here.

      1. Eric F

        What is wrong with breaking up teacher unions?

        Why is the wonderfulness of collective power, as long as it calls itself ‘labor’, such a theme here? These are public sector teachers, who have done an awful job of teaching our kids, to which parents have virtually no recourse.

        Why is it not possible that the teacher unions should be broken up, to balance their power with those of parents and students, just as bankster power should be broken up, to balance their power with dollar-holders/customers/consumers?

        Why is their so much fear of de-centralizing all power, and empowering individuals?

        1. Peter T

          Breaking the unions is wrong, because they are one of the few organized political groups that can raise their voice against corporations.

          1. DownSouth

            I think Eric F is one of these utopian dreamers, you know the kind that “create their own relaity.”

            He lives in a little dream world, completely divorced from factual reality.

          2. Eric F

            Excuse me, Down South, but is there a different kind of reality than the factual kind (I couldn’t resist, apologies for stooping to respond to your non-comment)?

        2. dave

          Actually, the people on the opposite side of the unions in question during negotiations is *not* any corporation….. it is the taxpayers in WI.

          The meme of union representation (at least for me) is perfectly fine in terms of private enterprise and the ability to collectivize to “divvy up the profits”.

          In all honesty, a business that cannot negotiate a successful bargain with a union doesn’t deserve to live. GM and Chrysler are wonderful casepoints for that.

          However, in public vs. private setting, there are no “allocations” of profit. Again, the parties opposite the unions in the public workplace setting are the taxpayers….. *not* any type of for-profit enterprise, nor in any “profit allocation” sense.

          1. dave

            @Scotts 7:11

            Scott said:
            So if unions were for-profit, it would be okay?

            No, you got my point absolutely reversed. *If* govt were profit-oriented, it would be (at least for me). My point is that organized labor’s screed is that they are the counterpoint to the evil filthy rich lucre on the other side of the bargaining table, and that the worker portion of the worker/capital dichotomy should be rewarded.

            Collective bargaining tends to do this fairly well in the “for profit” arena. Whether this is “right” or “wrong” (or how much) is very subjective (I tend not to support organized labor much, but I do recognize that the methodology has produced swaths of middle class families). In this sense, each side has its “for profit” motives (i.e. the for-profit company literally has a life or death negotiation facing it — just ask Chrysler and GM who made some *very* bad negotiation choices in 20/20 hindsight). The union has as much a “profit” motive to extract the best results for its members, which tends to extract the best results for union dues flowing back.

            When you look at the public sector/union negotiation, that dynamic is upset. The union still has the same goals, but the dynamic on the other side of the bargaining table is not the same. Only *now* are we realizing that these negotiations are life/death decisions for the political entities (the stark choice being made evident by the retirement/medical shortfalls facing the political entities now.) Even then, the dynamic is not the same since there *are no profits* in the governmental world, and the same harsh bottom line of bankruptcy was only (up until present) a figment of imagination in the governmental mindset when negotiating.

            Additionally, the “big bad filthy lucre” who sits at the seat of the “capitalist” in the negotiations with a governmental entity are far from that. The “evil monolith” that the unions are negotiating against in the public sector sense are you and me — that is the opposite seat is not “for profit” monolithic all powerful corporate evildoers, they are now the monolithic all powerful err…. taxpayer.

            Finally, the other issue in the game seems to the the shell game of union dues/political contributions. It is interesting that the negotiators are the *same* group who need such donations to continue in their seats. So, it has to be in the back of every politicians mind that you *really* cant negotiate *really* hard for a public sector union issue, since it is the same unions whose political funds (that *suprisingly* come from the taxpayers in this sense) will be used to seek to unseat you if you dare make too good of a negotiation on behalf on the political entity.

            All in all, I am not a big fan of unions, but I don’t get worked up about the private sector collective bargaining issues since the dynamics are actually healthy. GM and Chrysler negotiated away the barn and ended up paying for that with their corporate lives —- but that is in the nature of a bad Darwinian economic choice that they made. I don’t get too worked up about that.

            But public employee unions to me lack those same self-correcting mechanisms. Accordingly, I am no fan at all of even the idea of a public employee unions at all. I think the Federal Government on this issue got it dead right. Our state and local governments are now finding out how wrong the dynamics are — problem is that it is not the political entity that pays with its “corporate life” for these bad dynamics and decisions. It is the taxpayer in the long run.

        3. francis

          Because then the ONLY people who have ANY power are the people who can afford to BUY it, that’s WHY. Stop screwing yourself over, try to think it through.

        4. Francois T

          “What is wrong with breaking up teacher unions?”

          I will hold my fire…for now!

          I suggest you take the problem from the other logical end. The correct question to ask is this: Why is unionization of teachers so widespread?

          Any clues?

          Think the Scopes Trial. Think the Establishment Clause. Think about all the zealots from ALL sides who would love to be able to make THEIR belief systems THE official teachings in all schools.

          Said beliefs may collide frontally with yours, BTW. How would you like it if the zealots in the ‘hood were taking over and started loading the classrooms with their versions of what ought to be thought?

          You really want to have to act as a vigilante so it doesn’t happen? Why not make sure teachers are, at least, decently protected against this relentless pressure?

          See what I am getting at? Why is the GOP so anxious and hell bent in trashing teachers unions?

          Because there is a lot of “content” they want to see imposed as the official teachings of the land to the exclusion of any other point of view. Unprotected teachers could never help in preventing that.

      2. bob goodwin

        Yves, the people spoke by electing a governor, the same way they spoke by electing a president. I don’t think conservatives are any less appalled by obamacare than you are by union busting. Obama may not have run on obamacare, but the people who voted for him wanted it. Same with walker. In any case democracy does not require you “run on” an issue, it merely requires you to get the most votes.

        1. Francois T

          “I don’t think conservatives are any less appalled by obamacare than you are by union busting.”

          If you want to conflate these 2 things indiscriminately just for the sake of the “but the other side is bad too” and the “He said she said and we gotta stay OBJECTIVE”…there is nothing substantial that can possibly be discussed with you on this topic.

          1. bob goodwin

            I was rebutting the claim that Walker had no moral authority to step on the labor union, because he did not run on the issue. The example of obamacare is quite fair in this context.

          2. attempter


            So you admit Walker has no legitimacy.

            (I’m not sure with whom you’re arguing on the health racket bailout. Sure ain’t me.)

            As I said above, anyone who says “the people spoke” in any of these kangaroo elections is a liar.

          3. dave


            Bob is *rebutting* the claim of no moral authority. He says that the issue that Walker didn’t “run on” the “no collective bargaining” (sorry baout the double negative, but actually very precise) theme does not strip this of the moral authority of the “people have spoken”.

            When you realize that ours is not a democracy, but instead a representative democracy, Bob’s point is absolutely correct.

            The people “spoke” when they vote for a candidate; the only time you can really invoke the “morale outrage” meme of a candidate’s actions are when they move in a way the actually undercuts or runs contrary to their campaign or promises.

            The people spoke, and a major tenet of Walker’s campaign was being fiscally responsible in Wisconsin government at all levels. The people very definitely “spoke” to this theme, by not just electing Walker as governor, but sweeping the Dems out of power in *both* legislative branches.

            So in addition to the “people have spoken” (and they “spoke in a very loud manner, as noted above), one needs to remember that “elections have consequences”. Especially when the action is in furtherance of an explicity stated campaign goal.

            By the way, Bob’s case is a lot stronger than you think, since Obamacare (or at least some of the major tenets of it) actually fall under the rubric of a candidate actually opposing cornerstones of a policy, then pirouetting into a 180 degree spin in the implementation. If you think this is BS’ing, then I would suggest you look at the debates between Hillary and Obama in the primaries, and Obama’s attack on Hillary’s position for mandatory purchases of health insurance during the course of those debates……

      3. dave


        yes the unions had conceded on almost all the issues. However, the idea was to make sure that even afterwards, that the city, county, and states has the opportunity to run their political entity in as a fiscally responsible manner as possible.

        I’ll lay a wager: if the legislation holds both legally and politically for at least a year, there will be *no* governmental officials who will support bringing back collective bargaining. In fact, Walker, during the height of the fleebagger episode actually stated quite publicly that the unions who were in *present* negotiations had made these types of concessions. Walker stated that he could not accept this *present*-type issue, since: a) it was very limited subset of all governmental unions that would be affected; b) would only give relief to the governmental subdivisions that just happened to be negotiating at that time; and c) that the limitation on collective bargaining for public employees would be an enormous tool for each subdivision to actually run a fiscally responsible ship from the time of passage and implementation forward.

        The concessions certainly were a good political point by the unions to bring out; but remember that should the concessions be made w/o the corresponding removal of collective bargaining for public workers, the same gun would still be leveled for future use at the various governments and political subdivisions in the state.

        So yes, concessions were made. But when you look closely at what the concessions really affected, it really would not be much in the long haul.

    3. p j brown

      Fiscal responsibility left the building in Wisconsin when the governor gave away hundreds of millions to corporations that were already paying next to nothing in taxes.

    4. shelby

      Interesting. So if I invested my $9.50 per month union dues I would be a millionaire by now. Yeah that’s right, that is all my union dues are! Not to mention the unions all agreed to all of the cuts demanded by Walker BEFORE he came out of the blue and demanded that public unions essentially be abolished in the name of budget cuts. Oh yeah and in January we did not have a deficit problem until Walker gave away millions to corporations. Poor McDonald’s they need the money more than those who teach our children or care for our sick or build our roads.

      And as far as voting goes, how many people went there saying hmm which candidate will be the biggest dictator and how many people said gee which of these candidates is the least of two eveils?


    5. Eric F

      For what it’s worth, I think you are being treated too harshly.

      Teacher unions have asymmetric power over parents/kids. Breaking up unions would seem to me to be a reasonable solution.

      Whether there was a mandate for it is another question, that will be sorted by legislative elections.

      Obama obviously did not have a mandate to expand domestic spying, torture, war in Libya, bankster-support, etc., but elections will have to sort that out too (assuming the Supreme Court remains asleep at the wheel, as it has been for decades, and ditto with the media and the sheeple).

      1. ScottS

        Teacher unions have asymmetric power over parents/kids. Breaking up unions would seem to me to be a reasonable solution.

        What power do unions have over parents/kids? This is nonsense.

        Do you really believe that education outcomes have anything to do with teacher skill? It all, entirely, has to do with income inequality. Poor kids do bad. Rich kids do well. Period.

        Fix the income inequality, and the education problem disappears.

  12. Robert

    One more comment,and this goes out to Paul. Why do you oppose a picture ID to vote? If you are a legal citizen, getting a picture ID involves a simple trip down to the DMV. If you are able to get a ride to the polls to vote,then getting a ride down to the DMV to get this ID that proves you have the legal right to vote is just a matter of simple logistics! Most employers require an ID to get a job, why should we not ask for the same to elect the persons that we are putting in office to legislate our lives. I for one do not want an illegal alien going to vote for a person that they want in office.Just like the controversy about Obama and his birth certificate. Our constitution requires the president to be a natural born citizen. I do not doubt that he is,but he could save a lot of controversy by just showing the american people that he is in fact natural born. Why the smoke? So why should we not require voters to prove they are who they say they are?

    1. Yves Smith

      I’m self employed, as many people are, and I live in NYC where few people have to drive. This is just a way to create another barrier to voting. In NYC, I go to the polls, give my name and address, and they find me in the voter records to see whether I am registered. Then I sign so I can’t vote a second time.

      And if you are poor but working, you might not drive and it would be not worth the bother to go get a license just to vote, particularly since most low-paid employees don’t have free time that meshes well with the hours of most state DMV offices. That’s really what this is about, trying to make voting while poor difficult. Oh, and the further extension of our total information/surveillance practices.

      There is NO evidence of any abuse that would be fixed by the “show ID” idea. There is far more reason to be concerned about audit trail free voting machines than the nonsense that your are spouting.

    2. reslez

      Picture IDs cost money. Either you are proposing for the state to issue IDs free to everyone, or you are proposing a 21st Century poll tax.

      I won’t bother going into the other obvious problems with mandatory photo ID — obvious after 2 seconds of rudimentary introspection — since you’re such an obvious troll. You compound your errors of logic and absence of basic human emotion with stupid birther conspiracies. “Why the smoke?” It’s because of people like you.

    3. p j brown

      There are many who are not physically able to get a photo ID from their state. The issuing agencies don’t make house calls.

  13. Eric F

    Oh hurray! The teachers unions won. This is wonderful because the msm tells me that it is so awful to blame the poor teacher unions when we bailed out the awful banksters.

    Give me a break. Both banks and unions use collective power against that of individuals.

    What if someone is not an impossible-to-fire/over-paid teacher, and not an impossible-to-fire/even-more-overpaid bankster?

    Why do we allow ourselves to be divided and forced to choose between the Dems and the Repubs?

    Why, when government fails, do we default to “if only the laws were better, or if only Yves Smith were in charge”?

    1. ScottS

      How exactly are teachers hard to fire, or overpaid?

      Any article on the issue will tell you that they are underpaid for someone with a college degree. Their pay sucks. They’ve foregone salary increases for promises of pension payouts (i.e., they are paying into their own pension).

      It’s quite easy to get a teacher fired for cause. “Tenure” just means you have to have cause — poor behavior towards students, or incompetence. Teachers are even fired for living interesting social lives entirely separate from school. And they don’t get tenure until after several contiguous years, during which they can be fired without cause.

      So how exactly is teaching a sinecure? It’s long, hard, thankless work. The only perk is the pension, and that is quickly being eroded by double-dealing politicians — those supposedly pliable officials elected by corrupt unions. Guess those “tax payer dollars” that fund unions that go to lobbying aren’t so effective, since politicians constantly screw public unions.

      To say the move to destroy unions is anything other than a Republican ploy to de-fund Democrats is a lie.

      What Republicans don’t understand is that it isn’t all the fabled union money that gets Democrats elected, it’s the organizing the unions do. Some things money cannot buy.

      1. dave

        Scott says:
        “What Republicans don’t understand is that it isn’t all the fabled union money that gets Democrats elected, it’s the organizing the unions do. Some things money cannot buy.”

        Glad to hear the 500-700 million dollars that unions spent on the 2008 elections was effectively really just Monopoly money…… I never would have guessed that that amount of scratch has *no* effect whatsoever in the political realm….. who would have thunk…. ;)

  14. p j brown

    Lazy, incompetent administrators who don’t follow procedure always blame the teachers’ unions for their failures to discipline or fire bad teachers.

    BTW, to equate the power of banks to that of unions is beyond ludicrous.

    1. Eric F

      I’m not equating their power, I’m suggesting that we are being divided to obscure centralized government power which both the Democrats and Republicans always agree on.

      I am against our wars and the military-industrial complex, and against the Fed and the banksters. The military could kill the Fed and the banksters. Does that mean I have to support the Fed and the banksters because their power is less than that of those with the guns?

    2. Eric F

      Put differently, I’m making a comparison of type, not of size. Rights belong to individuals, not to groups or collectives. Unions and banks represent collective power.

      If you force me to point to who is worse, well, the Fed/banks have cost tons more. I don’t see how this makes teacher unions good.

      Let me put it differently again. A poor person has no power over her childrens’ teacher if they are in a public school. I support the parent, over the teacher union.

      Using your logic, that the less powerful is good (I’m simplifying and perhaps distorting, so apologies and please correct me if I am), then one should support the individual parent against the powerful teacher union.

      1. DownSouth

        You’re invoking Platonic rationalism.

        It sounds great—-all logical and verisimilar and plausible—-but it cannot withstand the scrutiny of human experience and observation.

        Your theories, when actually put in practice, have failed, and they have failed miserably. (That is for everyone except the oligarchs.) That’s why they should be discarded.

        Since Reinhold Niebuhr does such a thorough job of debunking your misguided ideology (that is, misguided for everyone except the oligarchs), I’ll refer to him:

        The ironic contrast between Jeffersonian hopes and fears for Americans and the actual realities is increased by the exchange of ideological weapons between the early and the later Jeffersonians. The early Jeffersonians sought to keep political power weak, discouraging both the growth of federal power in relation to the States and confining political control over economic life to the States. They feared that such power would be compounded with the economic power of the privileged and used against the less favored. Subsequently the wielders of great economic power adopted the Jeffersonian maxim that the best possible government is the least possible government. The American democracy, as every other healthy democracy, had learned to use the more equal distribution of political power, inherent in universal suffrage, as leverage against the tendency toward concentration of power in economic life. Culminating in the “New Deal,” national governments, based upon an alliance of farmers, workers and middle classes, have used the power of the state to establish minimal standards of ‘welfare’ in housing, social security, health services, etc. Naturally, the higher income groups benefited less from these minimal standards of justice, and paid a proportionately higher cost for these than the proponents of the measures of a ‘welfare state.’ The former, therefore, used the ideology of Jeffersonianism to counter these tendencies; while the classes in society which had Jefferson’s original interest in equality discarded his ideology because they were less certain than he that complete freedom in economic relations would inevitably make for equality.

        In this development the less privileged classes developed a realistic appreciation of the factor of power in social life, while the privileged classes tried to preserve the illusion of classical liberalism that power is not an important element in man’s social life. They recognize the force of interest; but they continue to assume that the competition of interests will make for justice without political or moral regulation. This would be possible only if the various powers which support interest were fairly equally divided, which they never are.

        Since America developed as a bourgeois society, with only remnants of the older feudal culture to inform its ethos, it naturally inclined toward the bourgeois ideology which neglects the factor of power in the human community and equates interest with rationality.

        Such a society regards all social relations as essentially innocent because it believes self-interest to be inherently harmless. It is, in common with Marxism, blind to the lust for power in the motives of men; but also to the injustices which flow from the disbalances of power in the community.
        ▬Reinhold Niebuhr, The Irony of American History

        1. Eric F

          Actually, I’m invoking Aristotle, and absolutely, positively not Plato. I don’t believe in ideals. Ideals get co-opted by ideologues who consolidate power, which gets corrupted and even if it doesn’t, undermines the individual.

          You are arguing, if I understand correctly, the idea that one collective is powerful and really sucks, so we have to create another collective to set against it. That seems like where we are, with the Dems and Repubs pretending to be opposed to each other, but really sanctioning the wars, the war on drugs, big pharma, big agri, etc.

          Unless you invoke a super-human, I don’t see how centralized power won’t end the way it always has in. I suppose I’m reminding that Nietzsche invoked that, as did Wagner (the composer), and a leftist movement became its authoritarian pinnacle in that case. I worry the left here is going that way based on the constant resort to collectives and authorities.

        2. Eric F

          But yes, it is interesting you bring up Plato (and the other stuff was neat too).

          Plato, an idealist using today’s terminology, educated Greece’s first Tyrants. They knew better than anyone else, so seizing power and imposing their superior views was for the greater good. This is why the so-called left in the US needs to be careful, and why tyrannies emanated from idealistic leftist thinking in the 20th century.

          Don’t get me started on the war-mongering, religion-imposing right…but we weren’t talking about them.

          Thanks for the thought-provoking quotes.

          1. JTFaraday

            Sadly, I think you may be making the wrong argument. A better argument may be that private sector employees whose total compensation is under pressure do not want to pay taxes to support public sector workers who have better compensation deals than they do. And leave it at that.

            I find that emotional reaction, for those in the public for whom it is true, understandable. You could win that much of the argument. I’m not saying I’d give you what you want if I had the power to do so.

            The sad part, particularly for you since you are allergic to government and “collectives,” is that eventually what will evolve in response to the evisceration of the middle class is a political movement that will involve even *bigger* “collectives” and even *more* government.

            Then you’ll know who your real friends were.

            So, for the sake of your mental health, I hope you’re a 63 year old petty bourgeois already percolating your tea on borrowed time.

  15. Chuck Walla

    No, the Tea party sandbagged the astroturfing Soros and the Communistas and found a few more votes after the Progressive’s theft efforts looked adequate. Tough shit, Union money launderers and vote thieves everywhere.

    1. Grasshopper

      “What is simple is simply seen”

      Yet know that men so often mask themselves, that what is simple is rarely understood.

  16. Bernard

    always amazing to read those “others” who compare unions to Big Money/Entities? i often wonder what planet they live on. But this is to be expected.
    the lies have been so thoroughly woven into the Business “ethics”/Oxymoron?lol.

    the obviousness of the reality and the way all these “curve” balls are thrown show how well the trolls are entwined into non-thinking zombies.

    and they really are zombies. having giving up reality for the “colored glasses” they choose to believe in rather than the reality of day and night.

    Weimar Germany has nothing on Corporate America.

    what is simple is simply seen.

  17. Francois T

    David Prosser, JoAnne Kloppenburg Face Unexpected Twist In Wisconsin Supreme Court Election


    Republican County Clerck “forgot” (found?) to enter 14,000 votes into the total. Needless to say that the tally of these votes put Prosser over the top without a need for recount.

    Read on her previous history and the whole affair. Something stinks REAL bad!

  18. DB

    So I’m sure now the links will come up about Prosser winning and the referendum in favor of Walker despite a highly mobilized base on the other side.

    Oh yeah, no it won’t.

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