Wisconsin Recap: Thanks to Obama, American Left Lies in Smoldering Wreckage

By Matt Stoller, a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. You can follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/matthewstoller.

On Tuesday, Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker humiliated his Democratic opponent, Tom Barrett, by easily turning back a popular recall attempt sponsored by unions and liberal activists.  The numbers in the election, which were supposed to be close, were ugly, in favor of the Republican.  But this wasn’t just any Republican, Scott Walker is THE Republican, the politician who made his governorship a referendum on a hard right agenda, in a blue state.  Walker waged a direct and very public attack on the major constituencies of the Democratic Party, rolling back rights for women, the working class, and the young with measures such as ending collective bargaining for state employees, privatizing state assets, and repealing Wisconson’s equal pay provisions for women. His agenda provoked a fierce reaction – – Wisconsin citizens occupied the Statehouse for months –  and then a recall.

Yesterday, Walker’s agenda was ratified by the voters of Wisconsin, the state where public sector unions were born.  It’s hard to overstate how bad this is – Wisconsin is now on the road to becoming a right-to-work state, in what is likely to become a right-to-work country.  Right-to-work laws are provisions that allow individual employees to withdraw from unions, and they make it much harder for unions to organize.

And the deeper you look into the race, the worse it looks.   By calling for a recall instead of a general strike after Walker stripped collective bargaining rights and cut benefits for workers, labor and Democratic leadership in the state diverted and then subverted populist energy, channeling it into an electoral process (at least one union, one very active in the occupation of the Capitol, stood apart from the electoral stupidity).  Then, Barrett, an anti-labor centrist, won the Democratic primary by crushing his labor-backed opponent, Kathleen Falk.  Finally, Barrett himself was destroyed by Scott Walker, who outspent Barrett 7-1 with corporate money.  In other words, first, liberals lost a policy battle, then they failed to strike, then they lost a primary election, then they lost a general election to the most high-profile effective reactionary policy-maker in the country.  The conservative beat the moderate who beat the liberal.  And had Barrett won, he wouldn’t even have rolled back Walker’s agenda.  Somehow, in a no-win electoral situation, Democrats and labor managed to lose as badly as they possibly could.

What happened?

I wish I could say I had a new insight, but it’s basically the same problem I’ve been writing about for years.  Put simply, it’s that Obama’s policy framework is now the policy framework of the Democratic Party, liberals, and unionism.  Up and down the ticket, Democrats are operating under the shadow of the President, associated with unpopular policies that make the lives of voters worse and show government to be an incompetent, corrupt handmaiden to big business.  So they keep losing.

It should be obvious that if you foreclose on your voters, cut their pay, and legalize theft of their wealth by Wall Street oligarchs, they won’t be your voters anymore.  Somehow, Democratic activists continue to operate as if policy doesn’t matter to voters, or that policy evaluation is a Chinese menu of different stuff, some of which you like and some of which you don’t, as in “Oh I’ll take a pro-choice moderate, with a bailout, and gay rights.  And a Pepsi”.  But that’s not how it works – voters’ lives get better, or they don’t.  And under Obama, stuff has gotten worse.  Obama’s economic policies have made economic inequality sharper  than it was under Bush, due to his bailout of banks and concurrent elimination of the main source of wealth of most Americans, home equity.  With these policy choices, Obama destroyed the Democratic Party and liberalism – under Obama’s first two years, the fastest growing demographic party label was “former Democrat.” Liberalism demands that people pay for a government, but why should anyone want to pay taxes for the terrible governance Obama has implemented?

We saw Democrats lose elections badly in 2009 and 2010 because of this dynamic.  They didn’t self-correct, instead doubling down on Obama.  Then, in Illinois and Maryland in April, liberal labor-backed candidates were absolutely wrecked in primaries.  I noted at the time in a piece titled “Why Is the Left Slice of the Democrats Getting Crushed?” that this is a consequence of Obama’s policies and a general discrediting of liberalism.  In Wisconsin, the stage was much more high-profile, but the dynamics were the same.  This quote could just as easily apply to either contest.

“I’m flabbergasted. I’m embarrassed. This is the biggest screw-up electorally that I’ve ever been involved in,” said one progressive activist still sorting through the wreckage.

“Why Ilya Sheyman And Progressives Lost Big In Illinois’ 10th District Primary”, Huffington Post

But it’s not complete to say this is just Obama’s doing.  Obama has done everything he’s done with the support of labor leaders, Democratic supportive groups like Moveon, foundations, liberal pundits, African-American church networks, feminist groups, LGBT groups, and technology interests.  Any of these could have stopped him by withdrawing support and overtly attacking him, but only the LBGT community fought for their rights.  This American labor bureaucracy, which simply does not strike and therefore has no leverage against capital, operates largely as a group of fragmented business unionists.  Unfortunately, business unions don’t exist when business decides it doesn’t want unions.  And that’s what global business elites have decided, as this piece published on this very site titled The Liquidation of Society versus the Global Labor Revival shows.

In September of 2011, I suggested that Democrats replace Barack Obama on the top of the ticket.  My rationale was that Obama’s policy framework is a disaster, and the failure to stand up to him is causing a meltdown of institutional elements of the Democratic Party.  Ahead of the Wisconsin recall, emails from liberal internet groups flooded supporters asking for money and time, saying your dollars or your vote matters.  But they didn’t matter.  And in terms of 2012, your voice won’t matter.  Here’s what I said in 2011.

For Obama, the die is cast. He has put forward his economic program, and it will work to return jobs and income, and get the votes, or it won’t. Knocking on doors won’t change that, nor will a donation in a $6 billion election season.

That’s still true.  Of course, that’s not what high profile Democratic consultants are going to tell you.  Here’s former White House official and current Democratic SuperPAC operative Bill Burton, retweeting former Clinton political consultant Paul Begala.

RT @PaulBegala One WI lesson: Dems must not allow the right to outspend us 7 to 1 if we want to re-elect POTUS? #wirecall

Obama has largely insulated himself from the consequences of his policies, so far, with a strong and aggressive PR campaign that has kept his approval ratings high enough to potentially win in 2012.  This PR campaign blames everyone else for policy failures, from Democrats in Congress to Republicans in Congress to the Eurozone.  Regardless of what happens, Obama will reap enormous monetary rewards for what he’s done, as Bill Clinton’s $80 million post-election payday shows.  And if Obama loses, the recriminations will start, and liberals will take the blame for not allowing Obama to be centrist enough.  At this point, the Democratic Party is hopelessly broken and overrun by the same interests that are running the Republican Party.  I hate to be the bearer of such awful news, so I’ll end this on an up note.

We are not alone, and the system is weak.  There is an international movement, led at this moment by Alexis Tsipras of Greece (though he could betray or lose), to reject the destructive neoliberalism that has run our world for forty years.  These movements are contagious.  Meanwhile, the financial system is teetering on another meltdown, and meltdowns do create opportunities for new social movements and elite shifts in opinion.  If we can figure out how to interrupt the stream of profit and commerce, or persuade a slice of the elites that they do not want to live in the nice gilded parts of what is increasingly becoming a global prison, then the revival can come much quicker than anyone imagines.

Thanks to Doug Henwood for the invaluable chart on strikes.

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    1. YankeeFrank

      Did you read the article Stan? He is described as the centrist who beat the union candidate in the primary. Oy.

    2. Laka

      Barrett accepted the job of being the poster boy for the Wisconsin progressives. It was he who led their movement, at least nominally, and if he had won, he would have been their hero. A man is known by the company he keeps.

      1. Robert Hanson

        All of which misses the essential point. Wisconsin, formerly a very “liberal” state, has had it with the bankrupting policies of the Progressives. Wisconsin has seen the results of the 1% that self identify as Progressive, and have said “enough”. Even a Union initiated recall could only manage to nominate a conservative Democrat to contend against Walker.

        So even if Barret had won, the Progressive Agenda would have lost. The partys over, Progressivism has lost, and in time Conservative Democrats will regain control of the Democratic Party. Hopefully before the Progressive Agenda so alienates the electorate that the Democratic Party is permantely marginalized….

        1. Laka

          Robert, I disagree. Certainly a Barrett win would have energized the left as much as the Walker win has energized the right. At a minimum, even if Barrett is as center-left as commenters here are saying, a win by him would have given the radicals plausible deniability that their goals are in fact radical.

          The man lost fair and square in 2010. In my opinion, a decent guy would abide by that outcome. It’s a little smelly for him to try to finagle himself into the same term he lost. No one should be surprised that his national reputation is damaged by his own actions.

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorHAL

          Wisconsin loss does not reflect on progessive politics, it reflects on Obomba. His policies are not progressive. Black Bush is the best name for him judging by his actions. If he had presented a real progressive, anti-war, anti-torture, anti-surveillance, anti-bank, pro-homeowner alternative the outcome would have been very different. He abandoned his “base”…though I’m not sure it ever was his base, I think he’s been a complete fraud and con job from the start.

          1. Steverino

            Tend to agree. Never wanted him in the first place and I got run off nearly every liberal blog in 2007/2008 for saying so. Hillary would have been much better. She was always a more authentic liberal than Bill. Had she been elected we would have had real banking and health reform, and authentic stimulous package, none of the BS with trying to get along with the pugs and a strong ticket going into November. You reap what you sow. Now watch all the Obamanuts go after me for this…come on…I’ve heard it all before.

  1. Chade

    I was neutral about unions until I read a poster in the employee break room. Next to the usual labor and hour standards…thanks unions!, was one sponsored by the union exhorting
    “employers to hire and promote women and minorities to management positions…”

    Gee, I’m not a woman and I’m not a minority. Just some chump whose parents, grandparents and great grandparents fought and died in wars for this country, who paid the equivalent of millions of dollars of taxes in inflation adjusted dollars and who was trying to get ahead out of poverty.

    I never respected unions after that. If women and minorities are who you want to protect and promote, then look to women and minorities to support you.
    This White boy has washed his hands of you.
    Still hire union workmen however.

    1. Bookit

      Ah, yes. Race trumps class … the elite’s not-so-secret strategy since Bacon’s Rebellion.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Right: “Race trumps class” so 1% trumps chumps. American chumps must face how the Monster/Master Class makes minced meat of us all. We must face “harsh reality” — How It Works:

        Jack London: “THE IRON HEEL”

        Toni Morrison: “Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination”

        Elizabeth Fox-Genovese and Eugene D. Genovese: “THE MIND OF THE MASTER CLASS: History and Faith in the Southern Slaveholder’s World View” and “FRUITS OF MERCHANT CAPITAL: Slavery and Bourgeois Property in the Rise and Expansion of Capital”

        Plinio Correa de Oliveira: “NOBILITY and Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocution of Pius XII: A Theme Illuminating American Social History”

      2. Geof

        “To stabilize their regime, the rulers of Barbados separated the servants, slaves, and religious radicals from each other. . . . The upper class also used informal policy to create division, instigating criminality and taking comfort as workers quarelled among themselves. Morgan Godwyn explained this as the politics of ‘Tush, they can shift’:

        ‘An effect of their scant allowance of Food to the Slaves [is] the many Robberies and Thefts committed by these straved People upon th poorer English. Of which, I should affirm their owners to be the occasion, by thus starving of them, I think I should not hit much either beside, or beyond the Mark. That they are not displeased at it, if dextrously performed, is the general belief and sense of the Sufferers: And this is said to be the true meaning of that customary reply, Tush, they can shift, to the Stewards and Overseers requests for a supplie of the Negro’s want of Provision.’

        The division between servant and slave was codified in the comprehensive slave and servant code of 1661, which became the model for similar codes in Jamaica, South Carolina, Antigua, and St. Christopher. The planters legally and socially differentiated slave from servant, defining the former as absolute private property and offering the latter new protections aganist violence and exploitation. The effort to recompose the class by giving servants and slaves different material positions within the plantation system continued as planters transformed the remaining servants into a labor elite, or artisans, overseers, and members of the militia, who, bearing arms, wolud be used to put down slave revolts.”

        Race and racism were *created* by elites in order to prevent the lower classes from uniting against them. The quote explains how slave owners deliberately underfed their slaves in order to encourage them to steal food from the poor, thereby pitting the two groups against each other. The passage from Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker’s book The Many-Headed Hydra (pp. 126-127) about the culture of resistance among slaves and the poor (who, shanghaied to die on ships and kidnapped for servitude in the colonies were little better than slaves) before their history of struggle was hidden by the divisions of race.

        1. Knucklehead

          “To stabilize their regime, the rulers of Barbados…”

          How’d that work out for those rulers? The Bajans have a thriving democracy, reasonably robust economy for an island and, from what I’ve noted, a darned nice place to live.

        2. Name

          Slaves were not under-fed because exploiting their labor required lots of calories. Also slaves were an incredibly expensive investment. Slaveowners didn’t risk the health of their essential Negro workforce.

          You’ve quoted a post hoc argument that would only make sense to a someone living in a modern (urban) environment.

          That and you’re way off topic.

          1. rotter

            Your handle is perfect, becasue your comment reflects the half ignorance, half manufactured on the spot “wisdom” of your average, fat, white american has been. maybe if your kind had made more of an effort to accept history, rather than try to force fit history into a fluffy hemmoroid comforting seat cushiojn in which to slouch and fart, hten your kind could have achieved some more enduring culture. as it is, 300 year is not so bad, although, its a run that the future will not have much empathy for. fair enough since empathy was criminalized by the end of the era, even to the point of overthrowing and casting down your own Gods..

    2. Stan Malone

      Wow. That’s a combination of good ol’ boy right wing hatred of something they don’t completely understand. Turn on the radio right now, and you’ll hear it coast to coast on the big Right airwaves.
      Can’t blame the people though – popular culture from ‘On The Waterfront’ to the legend of Hoffa has taken a good idea and brainwashed the masses into hating their own best interests. Collective bargaining is a process of negotiations between employers and a group of employees aimed at reaching agreements that regulate working conditions. The past 35+ years have seen employee rights erode out of existence. It’s white collar, it’s blue collar, meanwhile corporate profits surge. Labor has been gamed, expolited, H1-B’ed, used and abused, sacrificed and ignored.

      1. Seth

        Unions are alive and well in sports. Collusion on price is extremely effective when people hang together. Elite athletes, actors, bankers, etc. — all VERY good at hanging together to manage their prices upward. Average folks … not so much.

        “All Power to the Corporate Boards!”
        The rallying cry of Libertarian Leninists everywhere.

        (for example, Grover Norquist, collector of Lenin art:

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          The 1% have solidarity, the 99% do not. This is the critical difference.

          1. Frank J

            Well, in all fairness it’s easier to have solidarity among a group small enough that a pretty big percentage of them can get together for barbeques at Martha’s Vineyard or the Boho Grove. The rest of us just have the Internet, which seems much more effective at getting people who agree with one another to argue compulsively.

    3. Origami Isopod

      Baaaawwww, unions actually try to give a hand up to the people on whose backs this country was built.

      Do some reading about white and male privilege. Hint: Just because your’e working class doesn’t mean yo don’t have them.

      And to all the “manarchists” who will now claim that those issues aren’t as important as class, they are inevitably entwined with class for women and PoC (and GLBT people and the disabled for that matter). Being unable to make ends meet due to discrimination is an economic issue.

      1. Bryan

        “Do some reading about white and male privilege. Hint: Just because your’e working class doesn’t mean yo don’t have them. ”

        Naturally, if a tenet of your religious faith is “white privilege and SHUT UP! WHITE PRIVILEGE!” you have about as much chance of understanding as a creationist trying to read Darwin.

      2. nonclassical

        I OBJECT!! ..nowhere on this thread is TRUTH documenting what legislation Scott Walker has proposed to privatize public taxpayer bought and paid for infrastructure-nowhere is anyone discussing corporate giveaways while stealing from children’s health-Wisconsin programs…


    4. mcarson

      You gotta stop letting yourself be fooled by this right wing bullshit—. Nobody in the union is trying to hurt you by reminding people that women can be promoted. Why would you side with the Walkers of the world over a poster? How can you sell your soul, and the lives of all of our children out, over some minor worry that some woman or minority might get promoted over you. Are you really so special, so worthy, that our whole country needs to go down in flames to protect your future promotional chances?

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        So right. Ignorant chumps don’t seem to realize how many married men count on their wives/mothers of their kids to bring home the bacon.

      2. BWP

        ….and yet nowhere do I see anyone comment and note that the real issue in WI and most states with fiscal ‘issues’ is public sector unions controlling both sides of the negotiating table. We on the right still support private unions. It’s the destruction of wealth and cronyism of the public sector unions like SIEU, NEA, and the AFT that we object to.

      3. jvermeer

        There is only 100% of anything. If your quotas (disguised as goals) push someone up then someone else has to be pushed down. All the university quotas for blacks, Hispanics and Natives push Jews and Asians down. Union quotas work the same way. Math is a stubborn thing.

        1. Not as stubborn as racists!

          Actually, since racism keeps lots and lots of qualified workers down, if occasionally a union promotes a woman or minority that might just help a little bit to equal things out. Racism is obviously quite prevalent (as evidenced by lots of posts here). I have worked my way up in two different careers now – one white collar and one blue collar. I know my success in these fields has been a result of my own hard work and dedication. But I have, for instance, known carpenters who were better than me who didn’t make it as far … it is harder to see in the white collar world … to really understand that I look back at my largely white college.

          OH and by the way – the fact that there were union shops in town when I did construction work meant that I got paid a wage that was almost competitive with the union jobs – the mere existence of the union forced ALL employers in town to adhere to a higher standard.

          When I lived in Florida I found the lowest paid work I ever saw … a right to work state …

    5. Harold

      Assuming you are being honest in your claims for why you turned against unions (a big assumption, I admit), you are living proof of the effectiveness of wedge issues in getting the working class to work against their own interests.

    6. paper mac

      An injury to one is the concern of all.. except injuries to blacks and broads of course, fuck em.

    7. Capo Regime

      Well he does have valid points (though expressed inelegantly) and to answer with the standard lefy nostrums don’t undermine his points. Read Joe Bageant or look around–most ignored and skrewed folks are native americans and white working class folks. No sympathy in media for working class whites and native americans invisible. Working class white shoots a black kid the new york times is on the job, black kid shoots working class white who cares. Its reality. Does affirmative action lead to promotions of unqualified people–yes it does. Are middle class americans getting squeezed by the oligarchs on one end and on the others by local and state government taxes to fund workers–hell yes. Its all about groups using government to their benefit and squeeze the middle. The guy is squeezed. Ignore him or use your defualt setting to cal him a racist (the ultimate unthinking rejoinder) or whatever, he does speak for millions and their experience as they perceive it unfiltered by new york times or liberal arts degree ….

      1. c s

        a chain of white shoe “affirmative actions” – from Andover to Yale to Harvard – got George Bush into the White House. Not to mention Republican attraction to dynasty.

        1. Capo Regime

          Yes, I did mention white working class not white oligrachs. Yes working class whites are hosed from the white oligarchs and affirmative action. Its the way it is–it aint nice. Native amerians in Maine getting squeezed by somali refugees brought in for god knows what reason to maine is tragic. Working class whites and native americans–nobody cares…

          1. Joshua

            So the solution is to… back the oligarchs as they crush the (unionized stiffs)?

            That doesn’t make sense to me. Because we all know the oligarchs will be back for the scraps once they are done.

            Regular folks have been backing the oligarchs for decades. What have they gotten out of it? Their good jobs are gone, their homes are more expensive, their safety net is almost gone, their kids’ education is worse, their future prospects are diminished, and their retirement dreams are dashed. And what have they gotten out of that? A lot more junk to fill their home, with credit card bills to match? A lot more spite and resentment? Imagine that!

            Are public sector unions greedy? Maybe… I guess. But what good is backing the oligarchs doing? Your hypothetical working class white has a lot more in common with a teacher or bookkeeper at City Hall (even a black one) than the rich CEO talking in platitudes. Working class whites would do well to think about that!

      2. LucyLulu

        Each time I hear somebody talk of working class whites being victimized at the expense of women or minorities or any other disenfranchised group, it once again amazes me that they could be so self-absorbed to actually filter their perceptions in such an ego-centric way. Of course nobody hears about the black kid who shot the white kid. He’s been locked away. How many do you think the police allow to get off with no charges being brought? What are the unemployment figures for blacks vs. whites and how does that happen if whites are discriminated against? Why do whites hold more positions in management and make higher salaries? Single mothers are supporting their families making 77 cents on the dollar doing the same job as men.

        I suppose the explanation is Darwinian. Whites have inherently more talent, being further along the curve of evolution. Why, I even seem to recall a study that showed blacks had lower IQ’s. Without affirmative action, Obama could never have made it through Columbia and Harvard, much less graduated with honors and made Law Review.

        Careful, your racism is showing through. Encouraging an employer to promote women and minorities equates to encouraging the promotion of sub-par performance (vs. white men) is the underlying message conveyed. With whites holding less and less of a majority, I’m afraid you will be in for a rude awakening as you see your greatest fear realized……..the loss of white male privilege.

        1. Steverino

          darwinian? evolution? really? didn’t you know God created all of us just 6,000 years ago…us white masters and them nigra slaves. It’s right there in the Bible.

      3. cwaltz

        uh actually no, if you actually bother to look at studies on poverty the white working class fares better than AA working class and latinos(and I say that as someone who is white and has a household that is working class.)

        Someone saying they have it worse off does not make it so.

      4. Steve

        . . . and you’re saying that every white male promoted is supremely qualified and completely competent?

        Twenty years of Dilbert cartoons say otherwise.

    8. abelenkpe

      I heard a story once from a grizzled union organizer who talked of trying to form unions back in the forties. He told of one place they were trying to organize where he told the workers that they would all receive better standardized wages and benefits. One fellow asked: “Even the coloreds?” And the union guy answered: “Even the coloreds.” The workers voted the union down because despite the offer of better working conditions, wages and benefits the white workers didn’t feel it was fair that the black workers would receive the same wages.
      Good job following in their footsteps screwing yourself over. Such a brilliant move. What’s the saying? Cut off your own nose to spite your face.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        These whites cannot bear being seen on the same level as blacks. This is the “low-status” dread in America exploited by the 1%.

        1. Joe S

          Exactly! Working class whites refuse to see that they have more in common with minorities and refugees than they have with the I%. They’ve been brought up to think were the master race for so long that getting down of our pedestal is just to depressing a concept for them to face.
          Anyone read Stud’s Terkel’s exellent book “Race”?, thé part about thé ex klu klux klan leader?

      2. bob


        The video clip at the bottom, starting at about 6:30. During a speach he is heckled by a union guy about hiring blacks.

        Divide and conquer…

        Why does the zero sum rule, hiring he/she/it means I don’t get hired, apply to labor, but not to the economy as a whole? Because the 1% are the “job creators”?

        To be clear, I don’t think it is a zero sum game. But, when someone tries to tax the rich, they claim it is. When the job creators are feeling more warm and fuzzy (not taxed), they are “creating wealth”….and jobs…..where did they come from?

        Spontanous job creation…god is involved, no doubt.

      3. Lidia

        I think this is how religions work. It’s not so much what *you* will get out of it, as it is how much pain and punishment is gonna get doled out to the “not-in” group.

        This was used -seriously- as an incentive to piety by Calvin and Augustine: the saints in heaven would get to be entertained by the burning and writhing in hell.

        1. F. Beard

          the saints in heaven would get to be entertained by the burning and writhing in hell. Lidia

          Not entertained – solemnly reminded of the wages of sin. The damned may thus serve the important task of keeping some of the saved saved. Of course the nobler souls in Heaven would not need such a reminder but is it indicative of God’s Mercy that He would even save those who merely have the good sense to avoid eternal disaster?

          1. rotter

            It isnt talked about much but arent the sinners in hell there because they choose to be? isnt that the whole point of the Harrowing of Hell?

    9. Dan Kervick

      This angry comment and the angry replies that follow it seem to me to illustrate the core of the problem. The wrong people are arguing with each other. The centers of concentrated wealth have succeeded in dividing the various subsets of the vast everybody else into a multitude of squabbling and resentful factions. The white guys are pissed at the black guys; and they’re both pissed at the white and black ladies; and they’re all pissed at the latinos and latinas, especially the immigrants; and the private sector union folks are pissed at the public sector union folks; and the retirees are pissed at the young folks and the young folks resent the retirees. We’re all very pissed off. And all of us squabbling schmoes all stupidly convinced that we are “out of money” because of bad decisions the other squabbling schmoes have made.

      And the obscenely are are laughing all the way to the freaking bank! They have extracted vast fortunes from the work of the many for decades – and they are now laughing at us.

      This country is rich. It has vast capital resources. It has hundreds of millions of human beings. It still has plenty of brainy folks. It has a very strong work ethic, and great stores of know-how and common sense. It still has the basic framework of schools, democratic institutions and infrastructure that are needed for a democratic people to take command of these vast resources and put them to work energetically, to build an exciting and sustainable future of broad-based prosperity grounded in a healthy and decent way of life …. although that framework itself is now under threat.

      This country is not “out of” anything important. We just have to articulate a simple, blunt and unembarrassed message and plan for getting the job done. Here’s the claim and the plan.

      1. A very few people in the United States possess an absurdly large proportion of the nation’s wealth.

      2. We’re going to take it.

      3. After we take it, we are going to use it productively and intelligently and in an organized way to promote the common good, and build fantastic wealth which can be equitably distributed to provide a good and secure life for everyone.

      4. We need everybody to participate, and so in exchange for a just share of the nation’s wealth we are going to create some useful job for everyone and employ everyone in the project of building the new country.

      There is plenty to go around: plenty for the hard-working white guys and the hard-working black guys; plenty for the hard-working white ladies and the hard-working black ladies; plenty for the hard-working latinos and latinas and immigrants; plenty for the old folks who worked their asses off in the past and for the young folks who are ready and willing to work their asses off for the future; plenty for the public sector unions and the private sector unions.

      But to realize this land of plenty we have to understand that the people who control the wealth are never going to just give it to us. The financial and corporate titans who run the Republican Party aren’t going to give it to us; and the financial and corporate titans who run the Democratic Party aren’t going to give it to us. The politicians and political operative whores who currently work for these parties aren’t going to give it to us. The New York Times and Washington Post and Wall Street Journal aren’t going to give it to us; nor will any of the other media conglomerates give it to us. Corporate hero-titans like the departed Steve Jobs aren’t going to give it to us. The slick kids from Harvard and Princeton and Yale aren’t going to give it to us either. All of these folks are part of an interbred group of organized privilege whose chief motivating drive is to protect those privileges. They do it by using their control of wealth to entice, manipulate and divide.

      Let’s please stop fooling around here. Let’s stop pretending that a rising tide will come along that magically floats all boats without changing the fundamental organization and distribution of wealth and power.

      Democracy; solidarity; equality.

      1. Dan Kervick


        And the obscenely are are laughing all the way to the freaking bank!


        And the obscenely wealthy are are laughing all the way to the freaking bank!

        1. cwaltz

          Many of the charges of racism during 2008 were BS. However, that does not mean that racism isn’t alive or well. If Joe whathisname is running around saying white working class men have it worse than minorities he is full of crap. All anyone has to do is look at the wages and poverty stats and it is clear that minorities are in way worse shape.

          Frankly the whining of white males bores me to tears. For years women and minorities have had to deal with being treated as property(hell women are still having to argue that they deserve reproductive freedom), the white gentlemen can get back to me when they have laws on the books allowing them to be beaten in public(as they did for women and AA populations). I’m not going to cry for them because quotas were instituted because the last generation of white males had to be forced to accept minorities into their environment and I’m certainly not going to cry for them when every single piece of evidence suggests that white males STILL have an economic advantage over everyone else.

          1. Tiger Beat

            “Frankly the whining of white males bores me to tears.”

            Stay away from Lambert, then, because you’re likely to fall into a coma.

      2. bluntobj

        “3. After we take it, we are going to use it productively and intelligently and in an organized way to promote the common good, and build fantastic wealth which can be equitably distributed to provide a good and secure life for everyone.

        4. We need everybody to participate, and so in exchange for a just share of the nation’s wealth we are going to create some useful job for everyone and employ everyone in the project of building the new country.”

        One of those jobs will be the Director of Distribution, a post which I will fill.

        Dan, I take no pleasure in this, but the job of determining equitible distribution is tough. I am aided in my process by yellow shiny metal, which acts as my therapy animal. I’m happy to provide my “suggested donation” sheet, payable in yellow shiny metal to my island non-extradition treaty county People’s Bank account.

        On a more serious side, there’s this quote:

        “2. We’re going to take it.”

        The collorary of this statement is that if you live in a world in qhich you can take, you accept that you can be taken FROM. This eliminates rationality and law, and reduces citizens to using force on each other to take the biggest share through either the political process or the robbery on the street. Most people accept that if they give up their ability to steal and take by force, then they should enjoy the protection that they will not be taken from.

        Unfortunately, in our efforts to legitimately combat the overreach in power by the elites, this basic rule of civilization is now on the chopping block. It has been so since the income tax and the fed were instituted, and desiring to steal wealth now is the natural progression of events.

        It is far easier to take from the average joe than a multibillionaire, as we as a nation have found. This will be no different in the future. The idea that governing entities CAN take freely is the root and seat of the power of the elite, since they control government and can distribute the takings at will, and engineer their own protection from such taking.

        I propose that removing the power to “take” from government is a neccesary step in the process of eliminating the ability of government to grant competitive advantage, which allows overreach by the elites and leads us to our present destructive situation.

        1. 5ftflirt

          Thank you for mentioning the Rule of Law in this thread , but I think it’s a foreign concept to most Leftists.

        2. enouf

          hear hear!

          Yep; secular humanism trumps all rational thought .., Just the mere denial of the existance of a “Greater Than” form, from which all that exists, seen and unseen is where i draw my distinction between rational people and psychotic sociopaths. (rich, or poor).


      3. Name

        Speaking of magical boats…

        You don’t object to squabbling. You object to the fact that everyone has their own preferences. The only way for us all to come together would be if we all thought as one. That’s imaginary.

        But then again politics is based on what’s plausibly true. And you may be able to convince some people to join your view for a chance at splitting up the spoils of the wealthy. And with some clever wordsmithing you can even disguise envy as equality.

        But your rhetoric would have worked a lot better in1917, 1933, or anytime before 1989. The Internet brings a whole new standard to establishing plausibility.

    10. Justicia

      Race has long been a fault line in U.S. unionism. Read this excellent post from Lawyers, Guns and Money on the anniversary of the “Packard hate strike” of 1943 when white auto workers walked out over the promotion of black workers:


      “[ 8 ] June 6, 2012 | Erik Loomis
      On June 6, 1943, nearly 30 leaders of the Packard Hate Strike in a United Auto Workers-organized plant in Detroit were suspended from their jobs. The culmination of a series of white supremacist wildcat strikes in the first half of 1943, the Packard Hate Strike shows both the tenuousness of the white working class’ commitment to their unions as well as the progressive leadership of the United Auto Workers in standing up to its own members in support of class solidarity regardless of race.” […]

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        When will “White Supremacist” chumps realize that the enemy is the White 1% slavemasters who exploit “Identity politics” of “color” in order to use and abuse the White Supremacist chumps?

      2. alex

        Seconds post I’ve seen about race and unions in the 1940’s. Extremely important history lesson. Contemporary situation? Hint: America has changed since the 1940’s.

    11. rps

      “I never respected unions after that. If women and minorities are who you want to protect and promote, then look to women and minorities to support you.”

      Fun facts: The ILGWU, The International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union was created by Women. It had an upsurge of membership due to a little known incident; the 1911 the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire that claimed the lives of 100 women, due to locked doors and miserable working conditions.

      Ask yourself, have I benefitted in the workplace from the deaths of these 100 women in the workplace because women united and fought for all workers rights?

      Mother Jones, aka Mary Harris Jones, in 1903 fought against Child Labor and work abuse. She organized the Children’s Crusade uniting children in the mills to fight against the owners who used them as slave labor that effectively undervalued the wages of adults and replaced adult workers.

      Ask yourself, have I benefitted in my life because Mother Jones stood up for childrens rights allowing me to get an education instead of being forced to work as a child? Have my children benefitted? Have I benefitted because I don’t compete against a 6yr. old boy or girl for wages?

      Jones also known as the “Miners Angel” organized the Coal Miners against the private coal mine owners. Mother Jones was sent into the coalfields to sign up miners to unionize. In 1912 the “machine-gun massacre” in Ludlow, Colo., when National Guardsmen raided a tent colony of striking miners and their families, killing 20 people—mostly women and children. She testified before the U.S. Congress about the horrid working conditions and worker trajedies and abuses.

      Mother Jones fought, was jailed and abused for supporting all workers rights, not just women, but men, children and minorities.

      Ask yourself, do I benefit from this woman’s courage and perseverance that had changed the pro-owner/anti employee workplace to become a decent workplace in which I’m protected physically and economically? A place where I have a voice and redress for negligence and discrimination?

      Ask yourself can I stand alone against my employer demanding time and a half after working a 40 hour work week, vacation time, or sick days without being fired for illness? Would you hand back the hard fought rights of human decency that cost many lost lives of those who stood up so you could have these rights to collect disability pay, health benefits, and safe working conditions (OSHA)? Can you afford (what you must consider a privilege) to stand alone without the support of your fellow workers?

      My mother was born when women didn’t have the right to vote. Ask yourself, do the women, perhaps your mother, sister, daughter, or aunt in your life benefit from Alice Paul, Carrie Chapman Cat, Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and many other women who protested, fought, were beaten, and imprisoned for demanding what men possessed for just being born with a XY instead of a XX?

      This country was and still is built on the unpaid labor of women. Did you know even in the 21st century, working women make .77cents on the dollar compared to men? Did you know you live in a country that has not elected a woman as president or vice president? A country whose congress is male dominated with a miniscule percentage of seats,16.8%, held by Congress women.

      This country can no longer afford bigotry or hatred of human beings based on inherited markers that are used as weapons to discriminate: race, gender, and class

      Ask yourself, how much longer will women and minorities tolerate a misogynist and bigot who has lived a life of privilege because he was born white with a XY?

      1. Right Wing Nutter

        You forgot to mention that the ILGWU was forced to combine with other unions and collapsed because the union bosses ignored basic economics, in their case the intrinsic value of the work being done, and demanded far more than the market would bear from the employers. The employers said “See ya” and left for right to work areas of the US and to overseas locations. The union was responsible for the loss of hundreds of thousands of its member’s jobs, and for its own destruction.

        “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” Edmund Burke

        1. stripes

          People’s pension plans and mortgages should have never been allowed to be used as poker chips on Wall Streets casino. Property owners were not told this was going on. That lack of disclosure allowed Wall Street to create $700 trillion dollars in mortgage derivatives fraud with our signatures….an estimated $1.2 QUADRILLION dollars in derivatives fraud. That is why the economy is getting worse. Their debt is massive, insolvent and unsustainable. The ongoing bailouts of the so called TBTF is outright robbery by the FED. The debt cartel are NOT PAYING THEIR DEBTS. They are recycling and repackaging massive debt fraud. Stop paying for their fraud America..!

          1. enouf

            Almost all evil can be attributed to deception and irrationality ..and confusion — The proper way to look at this is to flip it on its head 180° (degrees), then it becomes so simplistic clear;
            That “debt” is owed to us! WeThePeople ..All Sovereignty is vested in the Individual People (endowed by Our Creator <– however you want to define that! for now), not the State, nor any form of governance.

            *If*, (and it's a big if, i know), we can ever collectively get to a point of accepting each individual is (regardless of race/religion/color/creed/all derisive connotations) a Spiritual Being having a Human Experience, and that ALL Life is precious, then maybe, just maybe ..



          2. enouf

            To quote myself, heh;

            “Almost all evil can be attributed to deception and irrationality ..and confusion …”

            Above can be summated as …yep; Fear
            The opposite of fear is?


            p.s. wait.., what? how do we in this secular humanistic culture define a “hero” again? Would any of you equate a Hero as being a Successful Person? (just a thought).

      2. Steverino

        Now you are asking him to think and reason. A little more than his pea-sized brain can handle, I think.

    12. TK421

      Chade, I sympathize with you. I really do. Next time you’re in a situation like that, why not say to the blacks and women “if I help you get yours, you help me get mine. Deal?”

      Strength in numbers, brother.

    13. Carla

      “If women and minorities are who you want to protect and promote, then look to women and minorities to support you.
      This White boy has washed his hands of you.”

      Gee, Chade it is all about you, for sure.

      How do you feel about your MOTHER?

      I’m going to guess she did her best to raise you right, against the insuperable odds of your narcissism.

      Try to pull that big head of yours out of the sand and think: Gee, did my MOTHER ever do anything for me?

      And then, you might even go as far as: Hhhmmm, what have I done for my MOTHER lately?

      I know, it’s tough. Don’t break your brain on it.

    14. rabble

      Chade, refrain from despair. Although many commenters couldn’t identify with you, and therefore misunderstood your post,that doesn’t mean everyone misunderstood. The wording of the exhortation on the poster was unfortunate, and conveyed a message of discrimination against you. I’m sure that if the wording exhorted employers to hire and promote people on the basis of equal opportunity for all, regardless of race, gender, sexual preference, or age, that you would have been fine with it. Remember, being misunderstood is part of the human experience,and you are not alone, so keep on truckin!

    15. Egypt Steve

      Seriously, what are you saying — you deserve protection because you’re a white guy whose grandparents fought in wars?

      The Con. Wis. is right. Romney is getting the racist-white- guy-clinging-to-his-guns vote. You are going to get what you plan to vote for and you’re going to get it hard. But the thing about guys like you is, if you’re slapped, you take it and like it as long as the guy doing the slapping promises to slap the women and minorities harder.

    16. Tom Schmit

      Yes there are many old school liberals still trying to run the show. Unfortunately their message to farmers, service workers and low pay professionals is that you are less important than unions and minorities. They care little for the issues of concern for the majority of the voters. But if someone mentions guns, gays and God our current Democratic Leadership in Wisconsin literally can’t shut up. The more liberals fall into this trap, they in return enable the Republican’s to sink to ever more corrupt candidates.

    17. Steverino

      and of course you will be the first one to cry foul when you are called a sexist or a racist. In fact you will say the unions are sexist and racist for promoting the hiring of people who have not had the advantages you have had. Or maybe you’re just ignorant. Either way it’s pretty ugly.

  2. ex-PFC Chuck

    At this point, the Democratic Party is hopelessly broken and overrun by the same interests that are running the Republican Party.

    Not to mention ruining the country. And our childrens’ and grandchildrens’ futures.

    1. Wendy

      Since it is so broken, we can only hope the Deomcratic Party dies.

      Until then, it is an obstacle to progress, not a tool for achieving any improvement. It SHOULD die. We will all be better off for it.

      But first, it looks like things will have to get worse before they can get better.

      1. Carla

        Let me suggest an immediate action.

        “Republicans,” “Democrats,” “Independents,” “Greens,” “Socialists,” and “Others” can all do this RIGHT NOW.

        Go to http://www.movetoamend.org and sign the petition there advocating a 28th Constitutional Amendment declaring that “Corporations are not persons, and are not entitled to the Constitutional rights of human beings,” and “Money is not speech.”

        1. enouf

          but .. but ..

          O’Romney declares; “Corporations are People, my friend!”

          Whom are we to believe? heh


          p.s. SCOTUS cliffnotes (a Syllabus IIRC, but done via court “reporter” who also happened to be WhiteMale, privileged and ensconsed in the Railroads of the era) from the late 19th century allowed for this nonsense, irrational meme to grow like a cancer. Southern Pacific Railroad v. Santa Clara County — IIRC …and IINM it was the 6th (or so) final variant/outcome from such drivel and claims that the Reconstruction Amendments (13th/14th/15th) apply, heh.


  3. jsmith

    Yup, but don’t forget the unions.

    The union leadership is just as guilty as the other scum in this betrayal which should have been by those on the “left” in America as yet another disaster waiting to happen.

    From the link:

    Walker’s victory was the predictable outcome of the deliberate demobilization of the working class revolt provoked by his anti-worker law, pushed through the state legislature in February and March of 2011.


    There was rising sentiment in the working class for a general strike and a full-scale confrontation with the Walker administration, with workers comparing their own struggle to the protests in Egypt that had just brought down the US-backed dictator Hosni Mubarak.

    The unions, the Democratic Party and pseudo-left groups like the International Socialist Organization intervened into this growing mass movement to divert it into the blind alley of big business politics. They did this through a series of recall campaigns, first against a group of state senators, then against Walker and his lieutenant governor, Rebecca Kleefisch. Nearly one million people signed petitions to recall Walker and Kleefisch, forcing the June 5 election.


    1. jsmith

      Re-reading, I see that you did mention the unions but they are really the “grass-roots” traitors so my emphasis still stands.


      People have to realize that now is the time for an agenda that NO ONE in any establishmnent will touch.

      Only by demanding the dismantling of the current system will a movement be sure that NOT ONE of these traitors to humanity will step in front of it or co-opt it.

      The movement HAS to be at its heart antithetical to captialism.

      That is the only way to be outside of “their” reach.

      I advocate for socialism but will entertain anarchism, collectivism or what have you but no matter what the “flavor”, any movement must be diametrically opposed to capitalism or it will fail.

      Ever wonder the U.S. has spent so much time throughout its history to denigrate and criminalize socialism?

      It’s because the elite understand that it is not very easy to gain a foothold/co-opt a movement that directly calls for an end to the system that sit at the top of.

      That’s why.

      1. Rehabber

        Call it . . .fruitopia! Unicorns in every pot! Rainbows everywhere!

        These folks that think socialism comes without a ruling elite are as big a fraud as Jamie Diamond.

        1. jsmith

          You’re absolutely right, let’s keep on with the masters we have.

          “The devil you know”, doncha know!

          Are you really such a snivelling lickspittle in real life or do you just play an elite apologist online?

          I guess workers should not even entertain any notions of banding together just because MAYBE at some point in the unforseeable future there MIGHT be another class of ruling elite, right?

          Better to just enjoy our current slavery and do nothing, right, Licky McBourgeois?

          At least you have a rallying cry I don’t think has been used before:


          1. Rehabber

            Where did I apologize for elites? I hold as much disdain for redistributive socialists as I do for Soros or Bob Rubin. You lefty hippie univerity scum are as bad Citi/BOA/Goldman. Both of you are modern day alchemists and witch doctors.

          2. Chris Rogers

            I don’t believe the USA has had a unified workers leftwing movement since the International Workers of the World – a group Chade would detest no doubt – was demonised and decapitated by that great Liberal statesmen, Woodrobe Wilson.

            I utilise the word LIBERAL with some irony, given its now associated with left wing extremism, i.e., promoting women and ethnic groups in the workplace – still, and I’ll be direct, Chade is a classic example of a deluded person who thinks he’s middle class, but in reality, as with the majority, is actually working class – further, his detestation of Unions and the reasons given would make hime a good candidate for joining the NASPD, usually referred to as the NAZIS Party.

            Indeed, as someone who has studied US history and politics closely, I’m amazed the USA even pretends to be a beacon of Democracy given the class hatred its leaders have heaped on the general population for at least 180 years.

            Still, perhaps I can implore Mr. CHADE to read some John Dos Pasos, specifically ‘USA’, or the Iron Heal by Jack London.

            A typical Reagan working class chap trapped by ignorance and prejudice – I suggest he actually reads why the Wobblies came about, what they stood for and its constituent make-up – it certainly was not a white man only Union – unlike that of the Union of the USA which from its inception in 1788-1789 was very much a rich white mans union – still, the truth often hurts.

          3. Capo Regime

            Indeed, election season is approaching and we will all be told about the virtues of choosing the lesser of two evils….you just can;t not vote or vote for somebody who will loose you must choose the lesser of two evil millionaires funded by wallstreet….Now lets go and register more voters we can;t just give up if we do it often enough it will all work out right say the union guys and the tea partiers….

          4. Goin' South

            To Chris Rogers:

            You needn’t talk about the Wobs (the IWW) in the past tense. It was the Madison (WI) IWW General Membership Branch that initiated the general strike talk back in the winter of ’10–2010, that is, not 1910.

            The Wobs are organizing workers nobody else targets: food workers like Starbucks and Jimmy Johns. Those also happen to be overwhelmingly young workers, and you’ll find that the young dominate IWW branches, though they treat us old folks well.

            Check out the directory here, find a local branch and attend the next meeting:

            Local IWW Branches

          5. RanDomino

            Hey Chris Rogers, I think you mean “Industrial Workers of the World,” and in Wisconsin we were the ones agitating for the General Strike with barely a dozen activists and a shoestring budget. Imagine what would be possible with the kind of resources the business unions have!

          6. Walter Wit Man

            I have been reading WWI history recently and I agree with Chris above that American labor suffered the worst blow in this era. I’ve been following the news 100 years ago and one does get a sense of a more powerful left and a conniving elite planning their power grab–which will be the great wars and world domination . . . . ha

            WWI is when the propaganda started in earnest. And they ended Socialist papers around this time. The Espionage Act was used. It’s really an amazing time in history.

            But I’ve also been reading about German history during WWII and I don’t know if the Nazis were as anti union as implied. There was a strong labor union in Germany in the 20s and early 30s and Hitler replaced unions with the German Labor Front and had previously supported unions.

            I need to look into it more closely, say by looking into these claims, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Nazi Germany was more progressive than Obama’s America on labor issues. Hitler at least told the bankers to F.O., defaulted, and then printed his own currency and organized projects like building the Autobahn and the Volkswagen.

            Not that I’m a booster of course . . . just trying to get at the basic facts and I now mistrust the story I was told that the Nazis crushed labor like the evil monsters they are.

          7. Walter Wit Man

            Thanks. Robert Newman link was interesting. Reminds me of this Churchill quote about Iraq from 1919:

            “I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas. We have definitely adopted the position at the Peace Conference of arguing in favour of the retention of gas as a permanent method of warfare. It is sheer affectation to lacerate a man with the poisonous fragment of a bursting shell and to boggle at making his eyes water by means of lachrymatory gas. I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes. The moral effect should be so good that the loss of life should be reduced to a minimum. It is not necessary to use only the most deadly gasses: gasses can be used which cause great inconvenience and would spread a lively terror and yet would leave no serious permanent effects on most of those affected.”[1]”


      2. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Excellent. Capitalism requires slave labor somewhere:

        “FRUITS OF MERCHANT CAPITAL: Slavery and Bourgeois Property in the Rise and Expansion of Capitalism” by Genovese and Genovese;

        “THE SHOCK DOCTRINE: Disaster Capitalism” by Naomi Klein.

        Governor Walker is the “goon” for the 1% paid to enforce The Shock Doctrine in Wisconsin. Governor Jindhal is the “goon” enforcer for the 1% in Louisiana.

    2. Goin' South


      The people’s movement in Wisconsin had the Republicans frightened, but who was really terrified were the D.C. union bureaucrats, the Democratic Party hacks and the political consultants. These parasites stood to lose the most if a bottom-up movement used direct action to defend the rights of working people.

      Remember this: the union leadership and the Wisconsin Dem politicians were more than happy to screw these workers. They just didn’t want to lose the dues payments that come into the coffers of AFSCME and other unions and head right back out the door to fund Democrats who screw workers again and again.

      Workers have one real option. Ditch the business unions and the National Labor Relations Act and organize the old-fashioned way. Solidarity unionism, a return to using the full range of direct action options from sit-downs to wildcats, a refusal to agree to no-strike clauses, and working toward general strikes–that’s the only hope for the future.

      To continue with the current excuse for a labor movement, which serves as an ever-weaker handmaiden of the Washington Generals Democratic Party is to participate in the definition of insanity.

    3. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Let’s face it. Union leadership was taken over by organized crime, so it became a racket par excellence. The 99% are chumps any way you slice it. There is always collusion for spoils every which way against the 99% (still dreaming of rising to 1% status, which leads them into crime).

      1. Bruce

        “Nobody thinks in terms of human beings. Governments don’t. Why should we? They talk about the people and the proletariat, I talk about the suckers and the mugs – it’s the same thing. They have their five-year plans, so have I.”

        — “Harry Lime,” The Third Man

  4. F. Beard

    The problem is the belief that labor unions are the answer to the bankers’ union. But we see that labor has been outmaneuvered by automation and outsourcing financed with their own stolen purchasing power.

  5. stevo67

    Obama getting a second term will kill off what’s left of the remaining Liberals/Progressives in the Democratic Party. And the Middle Class. And the Working Poor. At this point I’m inclined to call Obama the greater evil compared to Romney. At least under a Republican administration, the country historically operates with higher deficit spending, which is what needs to happen to avoid Great Depression Version 2.0

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      What if ALL Dems and Independents wrote in William K. Black for President?

      1. enouf

        “Write in?”

        That’s (most likely) Illegal (though not Unlawful);
        a) there are no more paper ballots (thank you Diebold)
        b) i would bet there’s a a Statute on their stupidity psychopath books that’s similar to “defacing currency” should one even attempt to “write” on it (outside of allocated borders/checkboxes, etc; heck even DMV would jail your non-compliance for such an egregious terr’st act) (what were you thinking?!).

        p.s. note please how i discern between {il}legal and {un}lawful — it can be a very enlightening distinction, .. one that needs to be hammered home, IMNSHO


        1. different clue

          There are still Legal Paper Ballots in Michigan. The voter makes his/her marks on the Legal Paper Ballot first, which is then fed into an Opti-Scan machine reader. But the first step is making marks by hand on a Legal Paper Ballot. Whether that Legal Paper Ballot has a space right on it for write ins I don’t know.

          1. peggyforpeace

            Here in Washington State we do all mail in ballots. There is always a space available for writing in a person’s name. I have done it more than once. I believe they have to set the ballot aside for counting by hand while all the others are run through the opti-scan. Anyway, it is not either illegal or unlawful here.

  6. stripes

    What these greedy multinational corps want is for the American people to all be working in their sweat shops with no pensions, private insurance or benefits. Governor’s like Walker want to turn America into a giant, commie slave labor camp. Consumer boycotts are in order.

    Bloomberg reporting Warren Buffet said that he sees no recession in America until the European spillover….? Boycott them America until these bank crooks are forced to write US all a check for the Origination and Usury fraud they committed against US. I read a report that CNN lost half of its viewership last year. Yes we do have the power to stop participating. These crooks are NOT BROKE… They robbed US and they have all of our wealth hidden overseas…. Quintillions.. Yet we keep participating, complying and conforming. We keep
    accepting their fraud and lies by participating in the biggest scam in history…..! Stop going to Starbucks…stop shopping at Wallyworld.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Precisely, “late stage capitalism” in action: What William K. Black calls: “The road to Bangladesh.” We are all slave labor now.

  7. Monte Letourneau

    “No one can dispute the strong message sent to Governor Walker” Says Obama.

    Check out this graph of the strongest message sent, money.

    Also said by Tom Barrett, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Tripp Wellde, ?
    and who knows how many others?
    The conservative glee over this choice of words drowned out the signal.

    How much you wanna bet? says I.

    My take on the WI recall @ http://montesite.net or allness.be The Serfs’ New Clothes – re: “strong message sent” no prisoners

  8. Cletus

    Obama has certainly turned his back on his base often enough that he deserves no loyalty, whatsoever.

    I agree that the Dems should have run another candidate for POTUS. Kucinich would have worked, for me.

    What I don’t understand, and as is exemplified by the Wisconsin recall vote, is how the middle class can vote for someone clearly committed to crushing their demographic.

    If America is ready to experience the end-game of 3 decades of “conservative” economic policies, I say lets all just vote for Romney and see how their agenda works out for everybody. The American electorate is clearly too stupid to learn anything, absent being smacked square between the eyes with a 2×4.

    1. mad as hell.

      It’s divide and conquer. The corporate union worker lost his or her pension years ago. The government worker still has a pension. How come they have a pension and I don’t? Fuck them I don’t have a pension so they shouldn’t either.

      And so it goes. If you got those with the same interests fighting among themselves they don’t have the time to go after the 1%.

      That’s part of it. Another part is throwing all the money in the world at making lying commercials that muddy the waters and confuse the masses.

      It’s only gonna get worse. However at least we got a charming president that has a grin from ear to ear.

      My question is “What’s with the shit eating grin”?

    2. citalopram

      I’m with you on that. The American electorate is to blame for their predicament, not the politicians nor the police. Americans are cowardly and craven boot lickers who should rightfully be labeled as “thoroughly propagandized”.

      The one percent have gotten away with outrageous crimes in our name, for which there should be people surrounding The White House and Crapital Hill. They should be making a ruckus, but instead they have hardly emitted a peep.

  9. Rehabber

    When you realize the ensconced, unionized “civil servant” is the same species of parasite as the bailed-out banker, then we can talk. Both suck the life out of their host, the middle class.

    1. BondsOfSteel

      I admit I don’t get it. By far, most of the civil service union workers are teachers. In most states their payscale is published. They are not really sucking the host dry. I wouldn’t do their job it for the money they make.

      After teachers, law enforcement is usually the next largest group. They get paid much better… usually by abusing overtime. Still, considering they get shot at and are the guys holding the guns, I don’t think they are overpaid.

      Firemen? Not rich. Librarians? Poor. Biologist/Ecologist? Poor.

      Educate me. Who are these rich civil servents who are the parasites?

      1. Rehabber

        Ever had a bad teacher that sat in class and did nothing, but could not be touched b/c of tenure? I have. My brothers have.

        As far as other parasites, have you ever been to the DMV? Or dealt with code enforcement?

        How many of these bureaucrats pay noting into pension plans and draw 60-80% salary for 30 yrs?

        Law of large #s kill the host.

        1. jsmith

          Hey, I once saw a welfare queen driving around in a Cadillac limousine with all ten of her kids screaming and hanging out the sun roof.

          I was really scared.

          She almost ran into a 34 year old retired cop pulling in a 7 figure pension – no, wait – TWO pensions who happened to be talking to a fireman who was of course just sitting around and getting paid for doing nothing.

          Lazy bum.

          Luckily, a tenured public school teacher – off for the summer at full pay or was it time and a half – was able to speak ebonics and get the woman to stop.


          Anecdote troll likes stories.

          He’s the 21st century’s answer to Aesop.

          1. jsmith


            You’re probably not clever enough to see why the corporate media structure would deliver such stories to your doorstep every morning and to your TV every night, huh?

            Gee, why would the capitalist superstructure – instead of running news stories on all of the corporate criminality which costs society TRILLIONS of dollars – instead run stories on some guy finally collecting on the pension he negotiated in good faith decades previously?

            Could it be to breed a underclass of disinformed fools that un/wittingly act as elite lackeys?

            Nah, probably not…

        2. BondsOfSteel

          I don’t think this fight is about DMV staff. I think it’s about public management of pension funds.

          Pensions are benefits, and are part of pay. This deferred compensation is invested by the employer and paid out over the years. In this case the state government has control of the funds and if they invest in stock, the government can vote the stock. (Looks at CalPERS and their shareholder activism.)

          Most private companies have moved away from pensions and pay their employees more, expecting them to invest for themselves. Of course, this money goes into private 401Ks, IRAs… and most of it is invested in mutual funds. The financial industry makes coin off of this. Plus, they get to vote the stock. (Always with the board ;)

          IMHO, this all comes down to making more profit for the financials and keeping control. The ‘rich’ DMV employees are a laughable cover.

          1. Rehabber

            And you can blame ERISA for that. Which happened to pass Congress a couple of years after Nixon closed to gold window.

        3. Joshua

          I go to the DMV and get treated efficiently and with respect. I’m in and out quickly and get what I needed.

          Now, when I have some problem and need to call some giant corporation, that’s a different story…

      2. Capo Regime

        Last I checked the will of the oligarchs is enforced by civil servants. Occupy protestors get their ass kicked by union members and we get groped at airports by civil servants, people get raped in prisons administered by civil servants, civil servants are monitoring this blog and your emails to make sure you are not a terrorist, civil cervants are doing stop and frisks, civil servants are producing millions of functionally illiterate graduates, civil servants beat a homeless man to death, civil cervants are defending the presidents right to kill at whim and civil servants closed a little girls lemonade stand last week in Bethesda. Yep, got to love the civil servants.

        1. Strangely Enough

          If that isn’t the ultimate argument for privatization (“We can kill, beat up, harass, spy on, grope people for half the price, plus our agreed upon profit margin…”), then there likely isn’t one.

      3. LeonovaBalletRusse

        More wealth for 1% DNA must be extracted from somewhere. Governor Walker, Governor Jindhal, President Obama are just plantation overseers in action.

      1. F. Beard

        I agree. Labor unions are a defensive reaction to the banking cartel. Without the banking cartel, then it is possible that labor unions might never been necessary.

        1. different clue

          Or labor-abusing steel/coal/auto/etc. industry leaders might have driven their workers to unionize regardless.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      How’s a poor white boy from Arkansas gonna get a life? Rhodes Scholar Slave.

  10. S Brennan

    I have just one bitch with this post, the repeated use of “neoliberalism”. The term is opaque at best and misleading to those who know it’s literal meaning. Their is nothing “new” in “neoliberalism” and neither is there anything “liberal” about financial corporations using government to direct taxpayers funds into the pockets. Nor is there anything new or liberal in exporting labors benefits to another country, it’s called colonization.

    What we have now is a return to the worst of 19th century economics combined with certain aspects of the quisling brand of fascism. Nothing new or liberal about it.

    The closest term I can think of is “19th century economics”, but I know those who fancy themselves wordsmiths will certainly want to argue about the naming rights…I don’t care, let’s just drop this opaque “neoliberalism” term.

    1. Waking Up

      It seems to me that using the term “neo-liberalism” in regards to politics and economics was intentionally brought into the lexicon by the Democratic party and in particular those such as former President Clinton. Neo-liberalism once again refers to a “free market” system, privatization and deregulation. It lets the markets be as “liberal” and free to do whatever, even if it’s the worst case exploitation. By using the word “liberal” and associating it with the Democratic party, many people may have “assumed” incorrectly what the term means.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Out of Rockefeller’s University of Chicago: Friedman doing “God’s work.”

        1. stripes

          I definitely see that the banksters bought or are the politicians. The banksters don’t want to pay their debts to anyone. Not US or their owners. The banksters broke all of the laws of their owners and US laws…….Bernanke, Geithner and his bankster minions and cohorts, the politicians are trying to coverup all of the fraud that the banksters and Wall Street committed. Otherwise there would be NATIONWIDE LOAN RECISSIONS and the BANKSTERS WOULD BE TOLD TO PAY THEIR DEBTS OR FOLD..They are all sick with greed and all of US are caught in the crossfire and are being robbed and bankrupted with impunity. I see the cover up going on in fraudclosure court. You have the judges fraudclosing on moral hazard, not rule of law, and the banksters are pocketing the insurance fraud $$$ and not paying their debts to US or anyone. There are homes fraudclosed all over Chicago that the city is bulldozing because the banks are abandoning them saying they don’t know who owns the note after collecting the insurance fraud money and sticking it to everybody. It is sick. This is not only robbery, this is pernicious. These are peoples stolen homes they are wacking off with no notes and therefore they have no legal right to take. This is all being done by the very crooks who caused this, the banks and the politicians, as well as the judges are all getting fatter from this global credit scam. I read the Judges want to add 30 million a piece to their retirement funds from illegally fraudclosing on their fellow Americans. Unjust enrichment by the banks, the attorney’s, and the judges who are breaking the laws both State and Federal and victimizing
          the victims over and over again.

    2. redleg

      Neoliberal – the kinder, gentler term for fascist.

      Theo only way that I can see out of the headlong rush to a fascist disctatorship here in the USA, led by the D’s shift to the right under Clinton, is via Constitutional Convention. Even then there is the risk that the evil now present gets welded in place for all to enjoy.

      Jello Biafra was/is right.

  11. Jeff N

    my idea is to keep voting for a liberal 3rd party until the vote counts get so large that the dem party has to go liberal to bring us back

        1. dcblogger

          me too, I am voting for Jill Stein because at least that way I won’t be directly responsible for what is sure to follow in 2013.

          1. RanDomino

            yeah, that’s what’s important- not preventing the disaster, just making sure it’s not ‘your fault’! I’m sure it’ll serve you well in heaven.

  12. stripes

    Just want to add that Thom Hartman reported last night that thousands of college students could not participate in the recall election in Wisconsin because they could not get the address change made in time to vote. Thom also said the oligarchs bought that election. Money buys laws and elections in this country.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        It was a fascist freak show. What ever happened to “state’s rights?” Doesn’t the interference of outside money violate that principle? Why is the outside interference in the “Constitutional” political process not considered literal “obstruction of justice?” The justice of “one person/one vote” has been obliterated. The Supreme Court majority made sure of it. They are traitors.

      2. stripes

        Phil….It seems like Thom Hartman is trying to tell us in a roundabout way that it is a rigged game. He said the Oligarchs bought that election and the people need to get organized. I can’t see how that can work when money writes the laws and therefore buys the elections. That’s why I suggest boycotts. Repubs are the Roman empire and Dems are bank owned so either way we lose by participating in this mess.

    1. Benedict@Large

      Hartmann also said that because of the spending gap, anything Barrett got over 14% should be considered a victory by the left.

      Hartmann also COMPLETELY avoided the Obama kill list story last week (and this is not the first time he has ignored major stories that cast Obama in a bad light).

      Hartmann likes those invitations to the White House Press Dinner. Get it?

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        It’ the “TINA” principle (There is no alternative)–just as in NAZI Germany.

  13. Woodrow Wilson

    “It should be obvious that if you foreclose on your voters, cut their pay, and legalize theft of their wealth by Wall Street oligarchs, they won’t be your voters anymore.” –

    You left out an entire group, those that are getting fucked by both Wall Street and Public Sector unions.

    Pretty sure the Wall Street fucking has been covered extensively on these very pages and elsewhere. However, when I am FORCED to pay for public sector employees, through unreasonable taxation, for salary and benefits that far surpass most of the citizenry in which I live, knowing full well the math doesn’t work for a SERVICE, well fuck you and anyone that’s on board this bullshit. Taxpayers are legally bound to pay for any mathematical failure by our would-be “Representatives”, who of course are graciously compensated by said unions to keep the math fail going.

    Fuck Wall Street, their lobby and their CONgressional whores, and fuck public sector unions too. Private unions? Fuck them too, as any bullshit they extort from their employer, the costs eventually get passed onto me anways. Those of us in the middle are being picked clean by both sides, so fuck you all on either side. Hopefully, when this fraud ends, you’ll all tire and have beat the shit out of each other to the point the rest of us can easily pick apart both sides for a change and bring back balance and the Rule of Law, something neither of the Wall Street/CONgress and Union fucks care about.

    1. Nelly

      “However, when I am FORCED to pay for public sector employees, through unreasonable taxation, for salary and benefits that far surpass most of the citizenry in which I live, knowing full well the math doesn’t work for a SERVICE, well fuck you and anyone that’s on board this bullshit. Taxpayers are legally bound to pay for any mathematical failure by our would-be “Representatives”, who of course are graciously compensated by said unions to keep the math fail going.”

      This is exactly what I talked about, “the bus effect”. The services you pay for are needed by anyone. You’ll never complain on fees for bank services, but for some reason paying for public schools or firefighters because it comes from tax payer money is too burdensome but when your house is burning you call firefighters for help. These are essential services and they cost money, cause they won’t be done for free to save your precious tax money.

      1. Woodrow Wilson

        “You’ll never complain on fees for bank services” –

        Know why? Because I belong to a small community bank! They don’t charge me anything.

        “paying for public schools” –

        Seriously? Our public school system is a complete and utter disaster.

        I’m not buying what you’re selling. LIMITED taxation is fine, but that’s not we have, and the 4th grade math agrees with me. Not sure where you live, but in my state, we have a Legislated 2.5% increase in property tax. My services sure as fuck don’t get better YoY by 2.5%. Do yours? Pension system? Nothing that Charles Ponzi himself wouldn;t be proud of.

        1. Nelly

          Well sir, Afganistan is the country for you. No taxes, no public education, no security forces and certainly no fire fighters mostly because there is nothing to burn there anymore.

          1. Capo Regime

            Well the mess in afghanistan was created by union supported congressmen and a president no? As for services, as pointed out below the well paid union members do a great “service” of beating up protestors, shooting innocent people, producing illiterates and otherwise enforcing the will of the oligarchs no? Next time you travel a civil servant providing services will grope you and make you wait in line, or the service can be being pulled over and tasered because you don;t have the right attitude….yes service.

    2. Nelly

      “FORCED” !!!

      Bank fees are not forced on you, you always have the option to keep your money under the mattress which is only theoretical option. But most likely you’ll call firefighters only when your house is on fire. So you prefer a free ride on the expense of others

      1. Capo Regime

        You are forced to pay fees. You cannot get ss or many pension deposits without direct deposit and thus a bank account. Same is true for most jobs. Yes you are forced to pay fees. What planet do you live on?

    3. HEY YOU

      Well said.
      Gerald Celente says that when people lose everything & have nothing left to lose,they LOSE IT.

    4. Phil Perspective

      You, sir, are a complete freakin’ idiot. Just don’t call the fire department if your house catches on fire, okay? And don’t call the cops if your house gets broken into when you aren’t home.

      1. Woodrow Wilson

        “Just don’t call the fire department if your house catches on fire, okay? And don’t call the cops if your house gets broken into when you aren’t home.

        I’m ok with that, now deduct what I pay in taxes for this SERVICE ok? Then, change the law so when the fucking robber comes back, either me or my neighbors can shoot the fucker dead. Alright?

      2. paul

        The money you save by not having to pay taxes for fire protection will be more than lost in higher homeowner’s insurance.

        Another false sense of savings.

        Ask the guy in Tennessee that had to watch his house burn down with the fire department sitting idly by in front of it because he didn’t want to pay the $75 annual fee.

    5. paul

      “…as any bullshit they extort from their employer, the costs eventually get passed onto me anways…”

      This is ridiculous. By your reasoning, if wages go to zero, we will all be better off.

      Labor is (for mass-produced products) is a relatively small part of the cost. For automobiles it’s 10-15% of the cost. Doubling wages won’t double the cost of a product, but it would double purchasing power.

      Use that stuff you should have learned in the 5th grade.

      1. Woodrow Wilson

        “By your reasoning, if wages go to zero, we will all be better off.” –

        No that’s your interpretation. Where the fuck did I state wages should be zero?

        1. paul

          Your reasoning that higher wages get passed on to you as a consumer is mathematically flawed.

          The benefit gained from higher wages is greater than the loss from th eincreased cost of the product.

          Net gain to the consumer.

          Cutting wages has the opposite effect.

          Has your life gotten better since we started off-shoring our jobs? That is equivalent to cutting wages.

    6. problem is

      +1 Woodrow… Excellent Analysis
      Spot on. You correctly recognize the Fallacy of the False Dichotomy or the False Left/Right Paradigm.

      We taxpayers are the last workers who generate surplus value in this economy. The rest are groups of parasites that bleed any surplus value from those engaged in real work:

      1. The Wall Street criminal financial oligarchy (FIRE Sector)…
      2. Their useless bought off career politicians…
      3. Multinational corporations who suck all excess value to the center for redistribution to the elite…
      4. The massive criminal sick care industry headed by corrupt insurance corporations…
      5. The massive number of public sector employees…
      6. Their corrupt unions…
      7. The corporate whore media…
      8. Excess taxation, regulation and fees…

      Amerikan Kulaks
      These are all parasites who generate no surplus value, and no positive contribution to GDP. They are designed to bleed any surplus wealth from the majority of working citizens.
      They are all ballast and a dead weight loss to what is left of the working society.

  14. Nelly

    I was stunned by yesterday’s results, although deep down I knew it could happen. It always reminds me of an idiom we use in my home place, that when you wait at bus station for the bus to arrive and buses are passing by the station because they are full, the people who wait shout to the driver to stop cause they see some space available, but ones who manage to get in ask the driver to refrain from stoping since there’s no room, and they could be the same people.
    There is something fundamentally wrong with us, human beings, we first gave up willingly our rights for slightly better pay, and now when we realize that we were outsmarted, it disturbs us that the ones who settled for less for the sake of saving their pensions have better terms than ours. This is human nature, and republicans are good in playing human weakness to their own advantage. Don’t think that Obama’s policies had something to do here although there is plenty of room for improvement. Most of these people do not pay attention to political statements, they are envious and vengeful simple as that. In order to change that the democrats should use the same tactics which they despise.

  15. Pitchfork

    There’s much to this argument. Dems doubling down on centrism often get crushed against stronger, richer opponents (cf. John Kerry, 2004).

    However, regardless of the messaging and the spending, it’s a solid fact that 53% of the voters (about 1.3 million of them) sided with Walker and against the public employee unions. Given the fact that Walker’s ending collective bargaining has been THE issue in the state for over a year, we can safely assume that people understood the issue as well as they were going to. In other words, outspending Dems 7-1 may not have mattered all that much on an issue where voters know where they stand and actually understand what’s at stake.

    I haven’t broached this before now, but in the wake of the Recall it’s worth mentioning. While I sympathize with the anger at Walker, at his high-handedness and at his collusion with the usual suspects, on the particular issue of collective bargaining for PUBLIC unions I’m actually on Walker’s side. But only on this ONE issue, and not for the same reasons. My point is, that I suspect many Wisconsin voters are as well.

    Here’s why: While Stoller (and thousands of others in the blogosphere and in Occcupy) have expressed great concern and outrage about collusion between government insiders and special interests, it seems strange that many of these same people have no qualms about supporting a system — Collective Bargaining for Public Unions — that almost inevitably lends itself to corruption at taxpayer expense. This isn’t some novel argument. And while it’s not like public employees are taking down million-dollar bonuses each year, in many cases they are getting pensions and benefits that far outstrip those available to non-public employees. It’s impossible, in my view, to neatly put this system — public employee unions with an absolute right to colletive bargaining — into a 99% vs. 1% model. Are policemen and state-employed paper-pushers retiring with 80K per annum plus benefits at taxpayer expense really a part of the powerless, impoverished and disenfranchised (i.e. the 99%)? I don’t think so.


    1. PQS

      I think the question is, “Are policemen and paper pushers retiring with 80K a year pensions?”

      Somehow, I don’t think this is a realistic assessment of what’s going on. Yes, they may have better benefits, but the fact is that many public-sector employees don’t make more money than in the private sector. This has been demonstrated time and time again with actual analysis.

      Thirty years of RW propaganda no less evil than that waged against the poor and minorities (“welfare queens in cadillacs”) has been waged against the unions in a concentrated effort to divide and conquer. Which was Walker’s stated goal as well.

      It seems to me that the Politics of Resentment have been used very effectivly by the RW for their own agendas, and not to further any goals of the middle class or “taxpayers”. Indeed, the PofR are used to keep people seething and angry and disengaged from the process,and also working so hard they don’t even have time to participate in participatory democracy.

      1. Nelly

        They have better benefits because they settled for less monthly compensation.
        The republicans wants us thie believe that the source of our huge deficits is public sector compensation but the truth is that private interests such as defense companies in Washington DC extract more money than teachers and firefighters together. See an article describing DC celebrating in abundance in TIME magazine two weeks ago. Reminded me of the hunger game movie…

        1. Pitchfork

          You really accept the “deferred compensation” framing of the issue? Agreed, the RW has demagogued this issue and doesn’t give a rip about facts, but you can’t seriously contend that people have consciously given up 70K salaries for 40K salaries, based on some abstract notion of “deferred compensation.” That kind of stuff is in the realm of the Efficient Market Hypothesis, of which Yves has made mincemeat time and again.

          Besides, we’re just having a conversation here. Why can’t we acknowledge facts, like the fact of public employee pensions, without resorting to conceptual nonsense like that it’s “deferred compensation” and so it’s not taxpayer money anyway.

        2. problem is

          “They have better benefits because they settled for less monthly compensation.”

          Factually Wrong
          No they don’t settle for less in pay for better benefits. The pay of public sector workers now far exceeds that of private sector work for a comparable position and has for more than 2 decades.

          <Cite Your Study or Data
          This fallacy is often spread by public sector shills. Show me $20 an hour janitors, secretaries and cashiers in the private sector.

          They don’t exist.

          But they do exist in public employment in California at the state, county, municipal, school district and special district level.

          Now let’s look at those who retired at over $100k a year with CalPERS and CalSTRS pensions:

          CalPERS: 9,111 over $100k

          CalSTRS: 5,259 over $100k

          (Note: None of the CalSTRS pensioners over $100k are teachers… Just useless administrators)

          1. problem is

            Further Note: These people are not retiring at 65 and 67 like private sector workers on social security. They are retiring at 50 for fire and police and 55 for general CalPERS and CalSTRS workers…

          2. Dave

            Those 5259 people cost the state of California $525,900,000 a year and that is assuming they only make $100,000/yr

            525.9 MILLION per year.

            FDR was right, civil servants having collective bargaining rights is a lose-lose for the taxpayer. The public unions will pool their union dues to elect reps who will further enhance their pay and bennies. A never ending cycle of quid pro quo between the 2, with the sad sack taxpayer footing the bill as his future becomes dismal

          3. Norcal_Steve

            The manure spreader sure are out in force. I wonder who mobilized these morons.

            So take the top 1% of a retirement system, skewed by fraudulent small city schemes like Vernon, and pretend that is representative. Total BS – compare those with the top 1% of private retirement plans, please. Or lets take the CALPERs data on 500k retirees retired at 60 with 23 years of service.

            Do you really think you are fooling anybody on this board with usual repub pure horseshit? You just don’t anybody in the 99% to have a defined benefit pension plan. I’m sure you want to take away SS benefits too, and let the aged rot in poverty or struggle to keep working into their 70s’.

            What’s your pension plan?

            Here is the calpers data about CA public retirements – if you want to talk about it, don’t cherry pick data on the top 0.2 pct. Calpers data (you provided the link at least, thx).

            receiving a monthly allowance:
            Active & Inactive members: 1,103,426
            Total members: 1,639,660
            State employees 30.5 percent
            School employees 38.5 percent
            Local public agency employees 31 percent
            $3.4 billion in employee contributions $6.9 billion in employer contributions

            RETIREE INFORMATION (AS OF JUNE 30, 2011)
            Average monthly service retirement allowance all retirees: $2,332
            Average years of service, all service retirees: 20.3
            Average monthly service retirement for 2010‐11 retirees: $3,065
            Average monthly service retirement allowance for school
            miscellaneous members: $1,251
            Average years of service school miscellaneous retirees: 16.9
            Average monthly service retirement allowance for State misc. members: $2,598
            Average years of service State miscellaneous retirees: 23.2
            Average age at retirement, all members: Service: 60
            Disability: 50
            Industrial Disability: 46

          4. Norcal_Steve

            Actually you did not provide the link, but your BS website did provide a link to actual Calpers.

            I was wrong – you are looking at the top 1%. But you are trying to get people to think HS and GS teachers and are in the same boat as retired PhD’s and Administrators in the UC and Cal State systems. Go find data for Stanford, USC, other top tier private school retirees, and compare those to the top 1% in CA public universities. OMG it’s simply shocking that the top 1% get $100k plus pensions. NOT.

    2. Phil Perspective

      So you are more concerned with supposed public union corruption than that of Wall Street or the kind of corruption Scott Walker is engaged in(You don’t really think the Koch Brothers want nothing back from Walker do you?)? What a warped set of priorities you have. And yeah, all public employees are driving down the road in their Maybach’s and McLaren Super cars!!

      1. Pitchfork

        “So you are more concerned with supposed public union corruption than that of Wall Street or the kind of corruption Scott Walker is engaged in…What a warped set of priorities you have.”

        Hey, clueless, I already mentioned Walker’s corruption. Also, I pointed out that I had never, ever, even mentioned to anyone that I agreed with Walker on this one issue. Precisely because I’m much more concerned about the bigger corruption of Wall St. Also, you wouldn’t know this, but I’ve spent hundreds, if not thousands, of hours researching, writing, blogging and calling out individual reporters — by name — on the bank bailouts and the Wall St. infestation of our government.

        So if you have anything to say about the point I rasied, this would be the place, I suppose.

      2. problem is

        <Fallacy of the Straw Man Argument
        He was not talking about Wall Street criminal fraud and corruption. You make that side argument because you can’t refute his facts directly.

        That diversion is logically invalid and a fallacy of argument…

      3. Dave

        Here is the catch Phil, everyone in society is looking for something for nothing.

        Wall St gets their government $$
        Unions get their government $$
        Welfare recipients get their government $$
        M.I.C. gets their government $$
        Sickcare gets their government $$
        Lobbyists get their government $$

        Joe 6pack gets the bill, then joe 6pack gets surly. I know many surly people today for sure. People are mad, trust in our society is withering on the vine, and trust is our most important ingredient.

    3. Waking Up

      Pitchfork, since you have thrown out the 80 K level as if that is a typical amount paid to Wisconsin public employee retirees, where is the data for such a statement? What percentage actually make that? What types of positions did they hold?

      I’m sorry, but I find it irritating when someone throws out a number as if it is gospel. If your statement is correct, then you must have concrete data to support it, right?

      It also would be helpful if people who bash unions would spend time learning the historical significance of public employee unions. It is through collective bargaining that people could retain some dignity for their work instead of completely being at the mercy and exploitation of an employer. One person may be an excellent employee with excellent communication skills thereby resulting in raises for that individual. But, what about the individual who is an excellent employee but is “shy” or hesitant to ask for better pay or conditions? That person often is exploited in the workplace. By functioning as a group in the workplace, everyone can win…even the “great communicator” who can always negotiate for more on their own behalf. In addition, many union members have frequently taken “cuts” over the decades when the economy was struggling, whether it was in their benefits, hours worked, or actual pay. Yet, many people conveniently forget that.

      As for Obama, he has repeatedly shown his contempt for union members. The sad part is that since many people do not understand the significance of unions to our economy, they will actually view that as a plus.

      1. Pitchfork

        No need to be “irritated.” I freely admit as to where I plucked that number. The point is the same. And besides, the issue is pensions and benefits, not base salary. In Wisconsin, at least, that issue has been well studied (and demagogued by both sides), but here’s one such study for what it’s worth.


        As for “bashing unions,” please tell me where that’s happening. I’m raising a serious point. Let me put it in the form of a question for you:

        Is there no problem whatsoever with the relationship between public employee unions and state politicians who decide things like pensions and health benefits? Is there no chance that the incentives are there for politicians to help a small segment of the population (public employees) at the expense of everyone else? Really? Those are the kinds of questions that concern me, and I find it bizarre that most NC readers see such questions as attacks on unions or “bashing” or RW propaganda. They’re not.

        1. Nelly

          You gave up your right for pension when you signed for personal contract so what you got is miserable 401K (so did I by the way) and it is worth nothing, but they did sell us the idea that we will own our fate and decisions and we’ll do better than government pension control.
          There were others, who were more suspicious than us, or rather less confident regarding their ability to do better on their own and they agreed for less monthly compensation and keeping their benefits. Now when you see the results of your decision, you have the guts to talk about benefits?
          At least be honest and take responsibility for your decisions, isn’t it the idea behind American Capitalism?

          1. Pitchfork

            Nevermind. You’re personalizing the issue and honestly I can’t really follow what you’re trying to say. Keep up the good fight, though.

        2. PQS

          Public employee salaries are public information – you can look up the salary and benefits available for teachers, firefighters, and others employed by the state.

          If you don’t like what you see, you don’t need to rail about backroom deals between “union bosses” and politicians. You can make your voice heard publicly and advocate within the public sphere.

          But as I said, the RW has convinced so many people that this is impossible (all the while making sure we all have to work 60plus hours a week just to stay in the middle class), so who has time for that?

          I think you have some other valid points, but demonizing public sector workers just plays into the hands of the 1%. Always has, always will.

    4. dinosaur meet asteroid

      It’s a breakdown of law and order, dammit. So let’s see what the law says. Under Article VI of our sacred Constitution, here’s the supreme law of the land, CCPR Article 22: 1. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

      Everyone. Huh. Sounds like the law doesn’t give a rat’s ass if propaganda sockpuppet pitchfork is jealous of people with free association rights. Why don’t you have free association rights, pitchfork? Too scared of your boss to demand your rights? You’re just another chickenshit patriot suckin up to your betters.

      1. pick that scab

        Ignorant of the law, scared of your rights. So kiss your bosses’ ass, if that works for you. Maybe some day you’ll claw your way to the topHAHAHAHAHA

    5. Benedict@Large

      So apparently we can’t have the little poeple getting in on a piece of that “corruption”, can we?

    6. Jonathan

      So let’s acknowledge that corruption is part of the human condition and assume (probably rightly) that it is not possible to eradicate it completely. Then the next question is, to whose benefit would it most justly inure? Should the benefit be diffused into more hands or should it be concentrated into fewer hands? Which distribution most benefits the “general welfare”, “common good”, call it what you will?

  16. BenE

    Obama was supposed to protect Americans from the war big finance was waging against them. Instead he chose to side with the enemy.

    No one cares to save unions. Even the left leaning are not too fond of unions these days. We all have family members that despite being generally liberal, told us horror stories about unions at their work places protecting incompetents and making work hell for everyone.

    These days crooked businesses do not exploit people through their employment but through their retirement savings, mortgages, increased taxes to pay for bailouts, credit card reward points kickback schemes etc.

    1. paul

      “…No one cares to save unions…”

      Unions made everyone’s wages higher.

      Loss of unions will make everyone’s wages lower, unless workers can find some other way to organize.

      Unions may suck but for now it’s the best thing we have.

      You may continue shooting yourself in the foot if you like…

      1. Capo Regime

        Yes, when I am protesting and getting the crap beat out of me and arrested for exercising my rights I do feel better that the goons humiliating me and depriving me of my freedoms are well paid union members with good benefits.

        1. paul

          You’re conflating your problems with the police state with that of worker empowerment.

          Two separate issues.

          BTW, are you protesting in favor of lower wages?

          1. Capo Regime

            Of course not. I want the guys beating me up to get paid really well and be fully empowered. Likewise to the teachers who produce illiterates to earn tenure and get paid twice what a farmer earns.. I want the TSA guys go grope me to earn 100k to make me go through a cancer producing device. And if you are monitoring emails and blogs and shutting down little girls lemonad stands or writing briefs supporting torture I do not want lack of retirement benefits disturbing your sleep…..Yes, the public sector unions all about america….

          2. enouf


            You must be joking; Do you really think these issues are intertwined?… I think you should read atleast “bluntobj” posts in this thread and the idealogy of “Initiation (Use) Of Force”, albeit Governmental or otherwise. ;-)


          3. enouf

            bah.. meant to say;

            “Do you really think these issues are NOT intertwined.. “?


  17. ltr

    President Obama is ruining the Democratic Party and Wisconsin reflects that and will continue to no matter whether Obama is elected again. As Obama’s press secretary boasted, Obama is more conservative than Herbert Hoover. I have voted Democratic in every election since I was able to vote, but not in November.

    1. Dan Kervick

      Obama is certainly no help here, and a big part of the problem. But I think Matt’s post gives too much credence to this idea that Obama himself is “ruining” something that would be doing much better if not for him. Obama is just the latest guy in the long reign of the neoliberal controlling elite. It would have been the same if we had H. Clinton, or Edwards, or anyone else who was capable of getting nominated in recent decades.

      We need a left movement in the United States. Whether a third party or something functionally similar to one I don’t know. But it needs a clear separate identity from the Democratic party. That movement is going to have to hit the ground understanding that it is a minority – not just because the Koch brothers and others are spending money to whip us, and not just because Obama or some other guys at the top are corrupting things, but because we have not yet succeeded in convincing a critical mass of Americans to see things our way.

      But we can succeed if we ditch the enfeebling and confused messages of the big Democratic tent, and adopt a blunt, direct, convincing class-based message about how a more egalitarian politics and economics can deliver a better way of life for a substantial majority of Americans.

      We have to stop pussy-footing around about this. We need a movement that avoids weasel-words and just says flat-out that there is a plutocratic elite in this country that possesses too large a share of the nation’s wealth, and that we are going to take it away from them. We will lose some people in the cultural elite, who have refined affluent sentiments and are in love with rich people, and think that class warfare is declasse and vulgar. But we can pick up a whole bunch of others who are eager to fight for a better stake and don’t like the prissy cultural elite anyway.

  18. Hugh

    I posted this in the links thread but it really belongs here:

    the Walker recall was fatally flawed. It got channelled into a traditional Republican-Democrat contest, and as soon as that happened all the energy of the original protests went away. What voters were left with was a senseless reprise of the original election choices of Walker and Barrett.

    Well, senseless from their point of view, but there was a kind of logic behind what happened in national terms. The national Democratic party probably liked having Walker around. He was the scary Republican they could point to and use in fundraising and GOTV campaigns. At the same time, they were repelled by the populism of the original protests. They saw it as unpredictable and not something they could control. So once the recall was on, the state Democrats were not encouraged for a second to respond to that populism. And they didn’t. They went with the very candidate that voters had rejected in the original election. Voters wanted change they could believe in, and the Democrats delivered to them more of the same.

    But that was not the end of it. Walker was a cause célèbre for Republicans and outside money poured in to defend him. And the national Democratic party had no problem with that. In fact, if anything, this is what they wanted. They saw money going to Wisconsin as being diverted from other races. They in turn spent very little capital on the Wisconsin race, either in terms of money or people.

    I’m not saying that their reasoning was correct but I think Obama and the Democrats saw this as a no lose situation. It diverted a lot of Republican resources. If Walker lost, the Democrats got a cheap victory and a traditional Democrat as Governor. If Walker won, nothing really changed. They would still have him to kick around (even if the recall legitimized his tenure) and they could blame the loss on the populists and progressives.

    As usual, the real losers on Tuesday were the ordinary people of Wisconsin, but in Democratic-Republican contests, ordinary citizens are always the losers. So no change there either.

    1. Phil Perspective

      They went with the very candidate that voters had rejected in the original election.

      What else did you expect? Some novice to run against Walker? For what ever reason, Feingold decided not to run. And once that happened, the recall was likely doomed as Feingold was the only one who could have won despite the cash disadvantage.

    2. Doug Terpstra

      Someone please stick a fork in the Democratic Party. It’s toast, yet it still twitches and convulses in ghastly death throes. Apparently the signal hasn’t yet reached the dinosaur brain. Time to put this roadkill out of our misery.

      Wisconsin was a resounding echo of the 2010 midterms — with Obama once again smugly chortling on the sidelines. (Can you hear it? “Fucking retarded” progressives.) The party once again rigged the game with a decidedly uninspiring, delaminating centrist retread, and then invested no effort or money to win. I’ve noted before, Kucinich (and perhaps Grayson) was one of the DP’s last coal mine canaries.

  19. bluntobj

    I’m not sure which is worse; the elite mandated focus on sex issues (lgbt, abortion, birth control, etc.) used to distract an electorate, or the unwillingness by that electorate to use their own brains to realize that they are being farmed like cattle for cash and power.

    The hyperbole attached to this recall election strains credulity, and watching the abuse of facts is a little annoying too. Matt, it was not 7 to 1. Barret had 14million supplied by union organizations. Also, characterizing the out of state donors only as “corporations” is also not accurate. A true description would also include political organizations like the NRA, and many individuals.

    Those facts don’t diminish your argument, but make it more credible and powerful. Taking the innocent victim path is one of the tactics that ia destroying the left, as the majority of people aren’t buying it any more.

    In the end, the solution is to not play. Opting out and withdrawing your support and attention to propaganda is the most effective means to change the paradigm, along with joining and building your local community and network.

    1. dan

      ^ This

      The Democratic party is destroying any potential for real populist change. The Democratic party and the polyarchy needs to be minimized. That should be the goal.

      Matt you should abandon this sinking ship.

  20. briansays

    it goes beyond this
    i look at obama and i have come to see a narcisist
    besides he is busy jetting to sf today for two more funraisers

    1. Millerz

      Welcome to reality. Now try to imagine the horror of those of us who saw that reality in 2008 and got screamed at as “racists” by all the idiots huffing Hopium. I mean mainlining those nonstop “hope and change” slogans as if they were substance. The facts were there in 2008. The record and motivations were clear. Those of you just waking up still owe everyone a huge apology.

  21. dirtbagger

    Not so certain this is a liberal/conservative issue. IMO there is an undercurrent of resentment by the private workforce towards the public sector. There has been an upward shift of salaries and benefits (health insur, vacation, retirement) over the last 20 years of workers in the public sector. In most states these salaries and benefits are simply no longer sustainable.

    A few of the public sector employees game the system for pretty outrageous salaries considering the task – firemen are notorious for this. Public sector health plans are overall pretty damn generous during both the working years and retirement. Many in the private sector feel that the public workers compensation packages are simply out of whack. Walker understood this resentment and has used it to his political advantage.

    1. Phil Perspective

      There has been an upward shift of salaries and benefits (health insur, vacation, retirement) over the last 20 years of workers in the public sector.


        1. Yves Smith

          1. Not adjusted for educational attainment of workers. Gov’t workers on average are more highly educated.

          2. The real issue is buried: gov’t workers went for a deal of more security and pay stability and gave up upside. That turned out to be the better bet. Now the people who made the bad bet are acting like sore losers.

          1. Pitchfork

            Yves, pray tell, who “made the bet” — our democratically elected leaders who do exactly as we direct them? I assume you mean the politicians are the “sore losers,” not the voters, surely.

            And to be clear, so there’s simply no issue here with public unions and politicians mixing it up with bad incentives — none? You can’t believe that. Besides, your point about taking less pay for “stability” and benefits — that’s precisely the kind of can-kicking that happens when politicians get in bed with special interests (even if it’s a special interest group that you ideologically and, perhaps for good reason, support — i.e. public unions).

          2. alex

            “Not adjusted for educational attainment of workers. Gov’t workers on average are more highly educated.”

            A valid criticism of that graph, but see Capo Regime’s link @1:17. Taking education, experience, etc. into account (but still not compensating for the value of greater job security), federal compensation is higher for anyone w/ a master’s or less. Federal comp is only lower for those w/ a Ph.D. or professional degree.

          3. F. Beard

            That turned out to be the better bet. Yves Smith

            Inevitably, at least for Federal workers. The only protection against the Federally privileged money system would be the Federal Government itself.

            As for state and local workers, they are screwed, since their states can’t create money?

    2. alex

      The problem with the whole “are public sector employees overcompensated” debate is that it’s ridiculous to even ask the question as though there were one answer for the whole country. Compensation varies dramatically from state to state and locality to locality. Here on Long Island there is enormous resentment towards public sector employees, and to put it politely, it’s not without justification. That applies to local (county, town, village, school district, etc.) employees. State and federal employees are largely off the radar, as their compensation is lower.

      OTOH there are other places where public sector compensation is absurdly low. Yes, typically low cost of living areas, but still.

      However, one thing I never see taken into account in studies of whether the public sector is overcompensated (including studies by CEPR, which I generally respect) is the value of greater job security. Just as in investments, that has real value (higher gain, higher risk vs. lower gain, lower risk) and people correctly and unabashedly take that into account when pursuing a job. Why is there no attempt to take that into account?

      And before somebody says “the public sector is getting laid off these days too”, let me point out that private sector layoffs have occurred at, IIRC, 7x the rate of the public sector. In and of itself that doesn’t bother me, as I think government should avoid layoffs as a form of stimulus (or at least not “de-stimulating” the economy via austerity). But please don’t tell me that greater job security has no value.

    3. Glen

      Actually, data shows real wages for most workers has been flat since the late 70’s. Union workers tend to at least get COLA (Cost Of Living Allowance) “raises” so their wages. Teachers, cops, firefighters, etc all were basically underpaid until everybody else got screwed.

      Now, I guess everybody else wants unions screwed just as they have been.

      I don’t see how this raises anybody else’s standard of living. It will most probably result in everybody else seeing their real wages drop even more.

      So those people screaming that union wages are too high will get to bend over and take it even more.

    4. bhikshuni

      Isn’t the whole conflict here about whether the “upward shift” is a relative, apparent upward shift, due to private sector wage stagnation and decline, i.e., cumulative loss vs. a true gain?

      Of course the fact remains that such lost wage revenues shrinks the pool of funds to finance public services.

      And yet no one wants to look to see where the money went, and who has it now, or try to get it back, but prefers to kick the dog!

      Landless laborers with unsafe drinking water won’t get it back!

  22. Rob

    Get it folks? Put it together for christsakes…warrantless wiretaps, drones over Desmoines, Obama is not at all what we voted for, the banksters take the money and run, the economy is in a slow-mo crash…the wings have come off this bird, and you all better figure it out…

  23. dinosaur meet asteroid

    Long before the GOP finished off the Whigs, the Free-Soilers were cannibalizing Whig support. So you don’t need to build a party infrastructure before you abandon crooked Dems. Just let the scumbags lose. A thousand flowers will bloom.

  24. Tom Figueiredo

    I have belonged to the ILWU local 6 and now the Operating Engineers Local 3 (retired) I can say from my own experience that most labor leaders strongly believe in capitalism. I think this is a result of the purges of the communists in the labor movement and the general fact that opportunists tend to rise to positions of power in any organization. Most pensions are heavily invested in stocks which is a result of a Reagan era rule that compels pensions to seek high returns. A threat to capitalism is a threat to the union finances and the positions of these “leaders”.

    1. alex

      “most labor leaders strongly believe in capitalism”

      What is this capitalism of which you speak? It seems to take many forms. Personally I liked the post-WW2 pre-1980’s variety. What’s euphemistically called “capitalism” these days, not so much. Must be nice though to have the government let you keep the gains but cover your losses. Methinks the toughest thing about getting that deal is that you have to be able to keep a straight face when calling it “capitalism”.

  25. Hugh

    I think Matt is a recovering Democrat. He still feels pain at Democratic losses and thinks the party can be reformed. It can’t and it’s not worth it.

    I say this a lot but we live in a kleptocracy, run by our elites for themselves and the rich. The Democratic party is run by those same elites. Its core principles are their core principles, which is to say corporatism at home and imperialism abroad. What used to be called the “core positions” of the Democratic party have become nothing more than atmospherics for the rubes.

    I notice a lot of union bashing in this thread. It’s important to recognize that the same process is at work there. Unions are corrupt precisely because they are run by our elites and answer to them. The problem is not that public sector unions are asking to much for their members. It’s that the rest of us are being paid too little by our employers and receiving too few benefits from them. It’s important too to realize the parameters of this fight. Unionized public sector employees represent something just over half of all unionized employees. So attacks on them are really attacks on the last area of the economy which is significantly unionized. Something over 1/3 of public employees are unionized. Unions in the past played an important role not in improving working conditions, defending workers from employers, and winning good wages and benefits for its members. These effects were not just confined to its membership however. They raised the bar for all employers and helped all workers. So for those who rage against unions remember this. There is a reason that business interests are such big promoters of right-to-work laws. You didn’t think they suddenly turned into altruists, did you? And when unions, even the weak, captured ones we have today, are gone what other counterweight will there be to keep your wages up or your benefits, that is if you have any left?

    1. F. Beard

      The problem is not that public sector unions are asking to much for their members. It’s that the rest of us are being paid too little by our employers and receiving too few benefits from them. Hugh

      The more fundamental problem is that there is a distinction between capital and labor in the first place. Why doesn’t labor own the capital? ans: Banking has allowed the so-called “credit worthy” to bypass the need to share power and wealth or at least wealth with the workers.

      As for public sector unions, if government money was only de facto legal tender for government debts then government workers (and other payees) themselves would have the highest incentive to avoid waste since only they would suffer loss of purchasing power should it occur.

    2. Yves Smith

      No, Matt most assuredly does NOT think the Democrats can be reformed. But since he knows a lot of inside baseball, it’s easy to mistake knowledge of the beast for attachment.

  26. dcblogger

    When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Obama is not the main cause ot he defeat on this occassion. Frankly I would be more likely to point a finger at the disasterous Celinda Lake who never met a promising Democratic candidate she could not morph into a loser.

    The recall seemed like a good idea at the time. I would be interested in hearing from people in Wisconsin. Stoller, how many times have you been to Wisconsin? On what basis did you arrive at your conclusion?

    1. RanDomino

      The recall strategy was made into the ONLY strategy. The poor bastards went with the Democrats under this legacy assumption that ‘the enemy of the enemy is my friend’. We tried to warn them, and have for years; now we can only hope they’re that much closer to figuring it out.

  27. Bob Morris

    Read the Avocado Declaration by Peter Camejo, written in 2004.

    It details how a prime function of the Democratic Party is to siphon real protest into itself, where it then renders it inert. The Democratic Party pretends to be the friend of social movements before attempting to co-opt or neutralize them, and has done so for decades.

    Both parties are corporatist and do not serve the people. That’s his primary point.


  28. John Emerson

    For some reason I have trouble commenting here, but rightwing morons do not. But maybe this will go through.

  29. emptyfull

    Well, I wrote in Bernie Sanders for President yesterday. Sometimes symbolic protest is the best you can do.

    1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

      Why not Jill Stein?

      Neither she nor Bernie are going to win in 2012, but Jill Stein wants your vote. And maybe the Greens will amount to something some day.

      The Democrats sure won’t. This fall will be the first time ever that I don’t vote for the Democratic candidate for President.

      I can’t live with having Obama’s bloodshed and lies and bankster whoring on my hands for another four years.

  30. Schofield

    When people stop playing the “Masquerade Game”, that is that the Democrat or Republican parties represent anything other than a failed and flawed economic and political model called Neo-Conservatism or Neo-Liberalism, the sooner reality will start to prevail.

  31. Benedict@Large

    I find it almost beyond belief that the right wing would go to such lengths in Wisconsin to prove that peaceful protest doesn’t work. There is a bizarre stupidity in all of it.

  32. steelhead23

    Matt, My brief skim of this post, touched a nerve. First, I want to reference the most left-leaning piece I’ve read here at NC – L. Strether’s post on De-industrialization http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/06/neo-liberalism-de-capitalizationde-industrialization-and-the-res-publica.html. Thomas Palley hits it out of the park and those who lean left would benefit greatly from reading his book.

    The left is afraid to stand against neo-liberals who have, bit by bit, destroyed this country, out of the fear that neoconservatives would then take power and finish the job. Hence we see that even here, on NC, the usually profferred solution is to “regulate finance like a privately-held utility.” This is a liberal solution, not a truly leftist one. The leftist solution is much grander. Following a Constitutional Amendment to negate Citizens United so we may once again enjoy a representative democracy, the U.S. should embark on a re-industrialization program so that wages displace profit as the engine of economic health. And finance should become dominated by publicly-owned not-for-profit institutions (similar to credit unions) with the inducement of government guarantees of deposits to encourage most to join. Private, for-profit financing would then be in the business of generating venture capital and the like and would indeed be regulated like a wayward child without any government subsidized guarantees.

    The Democratic Party of FDR would have supported such ideas, but that party died years and years ago, beginning when Truman broke the railroad strike in 1952.

    But you and I both know that the control of monied interest over the Democratic Party agenda will continue until their money is taken out of politics by repealing the protection of money in politics by the First Amendment and court rulings. I note that even on this strongly anti-democratic ruling, the party is mute. Until and unless the Democratic Party places passing a Constitutional Amendment overruling Citizens United, it is dead to me.

    1. Goin' South

      Such a Constitutional Amendment is about the most far-fetched idea out there.

      You must get 2/3 of whom to start the ball rolling? Those same owned politicians who benefit from the status quo and who regularly ignore their constituents? Should be fun.

      Then you must get fine, upstanding state legislators in 3/4 of the state to ratify.

      LOL. You’d have better luck getting a soviet republic declared.

      Wasting time on this pipe dream is a diversion.

  33. Ed

    I think the overall point of the post has merit, but the recall election results are not a good peg to hang it on. Walker survived by a 7% margin. The Democrats gained a majority in one chamber of the legislature. I’m not even sure if this is a defeat for the Democrats, they moved the ball forward a few yards.

    I also think people on the left should stop thinking that their political interests are congruent with the U.S. Democratic Party, which is a center-right party and has always been centrist, center-right, or pretty far right for most of its history (this was the party that brought in segregation). The confusion arises from the positive, and somewhat anomolous response by a series of Democrat presidents to the challenges of the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, and the civil rights movement. However, the record of two most recent Democratic administrations has been quite different.

    It actually makes more sense to try running liberal or progressive candidates in Republican primaries, since the Republicans have historically been much more responsive to grass roots pressure -this is also why Republican politicians keep coming out with stupid but populist statements- and more vulnerable to a takeover at the county committee level by a pressure group.

  34. Mogden

    Let’s hope this ultimately leads public sector unions to the ash-heap, as they richly deserve.

    1. Strangely Enough

      And then we can get on to making sure wealthy people have the right to own their lessers, again.

    2. different clue

      Let’s hope you join them in the general race to the bottom you wish upon them.

  35. abelenkpe

    “By calling for a recall instead of a general strike after Walker stripped collective bargaining rights and cut benefits for workers, labor and Democratic leadership in the state diverted and then subverted populist energy, channeling it into an electoral process…”

    I have worked for union and non union studios over the years. While I support the concept of a union I have watched them deal away their power and effectiveness failing to keep up with the changing needs of protecting workers in an increasingly globalized market. Unions need to cover workers globally to effectively bargain with companies and corporations exploiting a global workforce. There have been many times when membership called for strikes while union leaders called for bargaining. You say Wisconsin should have gone on a general strike? You’re right. Hell, the entire country should. But I wouldn’t hold my breathe waiting for that to happen. Just reading the comments attached to this article illustrates why it won’t ever happen. We are too busy fighting each other.

  36. TK421

    Matt, thank you for writing this.

    Some time ago I saw an article about how Democratic control of state legislatures and governorships plummetted under Bill Clinton. I *think* this might have been a post at Open Left. Do you have any memory of what I’m talking about? And what do you think a similar chart for the Obama presidency would show?

  37. sunny129

    Private industry empoyees negotiate with their’private’ empoyers/companies.

    Who is the negotiating party on the opposite side PUBLIC unions?


    They had it up to here with uncontrolled pension and health care benefits beyond the sphere of ‘reason and fair’ in the current Economy with 8+ unemployment and nearly 45 Millions on food stamps.

    Unions are living in the past, unrealistic and continue tobelieve they ‘deserve’ but forget the man on the street who has to dole out in taxes!

    NO TEARS here!

    1. F. Beard

      You should cry that you’ve been duped. The problem isn’t that some have it good but that the rest DON’T!

      Rather than pull them down, why not consider that the rest can be pulled up?

      1. Mogden

        That’s the point. The crushing burden of overpaid public sector workers is making it harder to pull up the rest of us.

        1. F. Beard

          Who wrecked the economy? The banks or public service workers? The banks or people on Social Security? The banks or immigrant workers? The banks or Chinese savers?

          Let’s not be diverted from the root problem which is unjust debt or imagine that the solution is much more complicated or difficult than just giving the entire population a sufficient amount of new money.

          1. PQS


            Whenever one of my conservative co-workers starts in on the unions, I always say, “Well, the unions didn’t trash my 401K and cause my house to plummet in value.”

  38. dcblogger

    from Athenae who lives in Wisconsin:

    But before we get to all that, before the second-guessing and the post-campaign back-stabbing, before the stories from disinterested national observers about how this was all a stupid idea anyway and we should have known better, we have to appluad some people. Some people who everybody gave up on, nobody noticed, everybody made fun of, and nobody believed in.

    Some people who stood at the Capitol day after day in the snow and the rain, as TV pundits yammered on about how the day of the union was over, and we’d never see a demonstration of union power in our lifetimes again.

    Some people who disregarded Very Serious Advice that a recall would be too hard, and gathered a million signatures in the bitter Wisconsin winter, over the Thanksgiving holidays, while talk radio blathered about what traitors they were.

    Some people who took a look at a long shot no one else wanted and said what the hell, what’s the worst that could happen? Some people who refused to listen to their own party when the party wanted nothing to do with anything that wasn’t a sure thing.

    Some people who forced this fight to be a fight, this fight which should have been a fight. What Walker did should have been as hard as it was, because otherwise nobody fought back, and if there’s one thing you need when you aren’t winning, it’s the example of people who refuse to agree to be beaten.

    Leaving Madison this morning, I stopped at a parking lot to look back at the city, across the lake smooth as glass. It’s my favorite sight in the world, that skyline, and this morning joggers and bikers passed on the path, in the sun, and fishermen cast their lines over the sides of their small motorboats. And I thought of a line I saw carved on a statue in Dublin, from a song called The West’s Asleep:

    Be sure the great God never planned
    For slumbering slaves a home so grand.

    We don’t know where this ends. We don’t know how many of them will stay in politics, how long it’ll be before Walker’s actually indicted, if the Senate flip will hold, if anything else is lurking out there. We don’t know how far it reaches, how many people heard it, how many of them were changed.

    This hasn’t ended, if only because things like this don’t end, and we have some people to thank for that.

  39. rps

    When we’ve experienced lousy public office leadership: presidential, congressional, mayors, governors, etc… we complain about the person holding office but trust that the position of a public office is necessary for civilization. Yet, with lousy union leaders, why do people jump on the bandwagon to destroy all unions? Why are union organizations deemed unnecessary for civilization when a bloody history of slavery, slave wages, deadly abuses of workers, and miserable working conditions has proven otherwise?

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Shall we get real? We’re pawns in the Global Fourth Reich Great Game.

    2. F. Beard

      A more fundamental question is why isn’t capital owned by labor? What made it possible for a few to exploit the rest? Usury is the traditional answer which is why periodic debt forgiveness used to be a normal thing in societies. But our money system is even worse than honest usury since it allows the creation of money for the so-called “credit-worthy” at the expense of everyone else.

    1. steelhead23

      In fine political expedient fashion, Walker exempted police and firefighter unions from his union-busting budget bill – allowing them to continue collective bargaining. Walker may be wrong, but he ain’t stupid.

  40. Stroebs

    This article makes some great points, but parts of this article seem to be significantly off-base.

    The claim that a general strike was brewing is based on an unsubstantiated statement in an article dated June 6, 2012 on the World Socialist Web site– Wednesday morning second guessing.

    I am not a public employee, but I was on the square during February and March 2011, and spoke with many, many public employees. I never heard any call for a general strike except for a few fringe players around the Capitol square. I would be extremely surprised if calls for a general strike had any real momentum.

    Anyone who was involved in the recall is well aware that the recall movement was started and carried forward by grass roots volunteers. The Democrats, and especially the national Democratic Party, did not favor a recall, but were dragged in as the recall movement gained steam and became inevitable.

    It is true that the Wisconsin Democratic party co-opted the recall movement, which lends minor support to Stoller’s argument.

    But the sad fact is that Walker’s message resonated with voters, including many centrists. Walker’s message was that the recall movement and its public union base was the divisive force (rather than Walker and his Republican cohorts), and Walker’s policies were brave actions to fight special interests (publice unions) needed get Wisconsin’s budget balanced and economy back on track. Additionally, many voters in pre-election polls indicated that they felt that recall was simply not appropriate under the circumstances.

    BTW: Pre- and post-election polls (for what they are worth) showed that a substantial margin of Walker voters are leaning toward Obama in the November election.

    As for Obama, he carefully distanced himself from the fray. He never stepped foot in Wisconsin during the entire 17-month recall process. (In the week before the recall election, he made stops in Minneapolis and Chicago, but flew over Wisconsin.) The national Democratic Party lent a pittance of support, and did so only after being called out by furious state dems.

    In his typical calculating and cowardly style, Obama left the grassroots and labor activists who worked so hard in Wisconsin– the true heart and sole of the Democratic party– out in the cold.

    The only question that remains is whether the progressives of Wisconsin will play the role of Charlie Brown in November and take another kick at Obama’s football.

    I certainly hope they don’t.

    1. jsmith

      You’re a liar, the call for a general strike was reported widel not just by the wsws.

      But thanks for playing concern troll.






      1. Stroebs

        I stand corrected on the calls for a general strike. My recollection was clearly off. But as I stated in my post, I do not believe that there was any real momentum for a general strike.

        JSmith: Your inflamatory and personal statements are a big put-off. You have burned any good will that I had for you.

        Good luck finding your way out of the hole that you are digging with your irrational and irresponsible anger.

    2. Goin' South

      The South Central Labor Council, a confederation of mainstream business unions, called for a general strike in March. They appointed a committee to investigate the possibilities.

      This was all shunted aside when the recall fetish was pushed. The concern was that twelve independent voters in Racine might be offended, so general strike talk had to cease.

  41. Steve

    Awesome victory for Governor Walker and Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch! Awesome victory for America! Socialism does NOT work and most Americans realize this!

    1. patricia

      Who began this idiotic notion that socialism has anything to do with anything going on in the US these days? Was it Rush Limbaugh? Sean Hannity?

      People who repeat it reveal blatant ignorance, and yet it is stoutly repeated again and again. It embarrasses them but they do not even know it.

  42. F. Beard

    If we can figure out how to interrupt the stream of profit and commerce, Matt Stoller

    The goal should be to share those profits not to interrupt them.

  43. Lambert Strether

    Two words for the Ds: “Washington Generals.” And that goes for the entire D apparat, including the union leadership. Now shut up and send Obama more money, he really needs it.

    * * *

    As for the left being ill-defined, well, yes. That would be the problem. It’s especially the problem if you regard our political system as having three poles and not two.

    * * *

    I only wish that Stoller would say what he really feels! Why the subtlety?

    1. TK421

      He’s subtle because that’s how you play 11-dimensional chess! It’s the long game! It’s pragmatic! etc.

      1. Sufferin' Succotash

        Or maybe Obama and his handlers calculated that a Walker win will scare all the ticked-off lefties into backing the ticket this fall. If that’s the case then they aren’t just cynical–they’re STUPID.

  44. Waking Up

    To Matt Stoller:

    Having read your numerous posts, I believe you are an intelligent, decent human being who shows compassion for your fellow man. I wish there were more people in this country like you. However, I can’t help but believe that decades of propaganda promoting “American Exceptionalism” and placing “individuals first” is destroying the fabric of this country. The narcissists (who always need to “win” and can’t comprehend that helping others may even help THEM in the long run), the sociopaths (without a conscience who can smile in your face, charm and manipulate you while they stab you in the back), and the ignorant (who pass along the message of the wealthiest and most powerful among us without realizing they are ultimately hurting themselves) are taking over this country. I truly appreciate your posts but fear your message is being marginalized by the public at large. Propaganda for the wealthy and powerful has a way of doing that.

  45. EmilianoZ

    People just dont wanna see the truth. So, let me spell it out for you:


    Deep down we dont trust each other to govern. That’s what the pundits really mean when they say that the US is a conservative country.

    I dont know why that is. Maybe, for the longest time including prehistory, the masses were slaves or serfs. It’s just deeply ingrained in us. Our instinctive reaction when seeing a rich man is to grovel and wait if he won’t throw us a bone.

    That is why we are forever voting for their representatives, like cattle wailing for the iron.

  46. psychohistorian

    I am reading a lot more heat that light among the 99%

    That is exactly the strategy of the global inherited rich and they continue to be very effective at it.

    Obama is not the lesser of evils, he is just plain evil.

    I agree with voting for Jill Stein this election year.

  47. win-win

    It’s very telling that the really persistent piecework shills here are attacking unions and not Dems. Dems did their part, betraying the unions and making martyrs of them, riling up Dem dupes to cast their forlorn vote. Labor rights get gutted and both parties earn their bribes, no matter how elections turn out. Collusive bipartisan union-busters get to claim consent of the governed based on all those futile votes.

    1. Glen

      Good observation, lot of people here just trying to kick the crap out of unions.

      1) Unions didn’t implode the world economy (else it would have happen when there was more unions and union members.)

      2) There aren’t any “rich” union members, just middle class.

      3) Smashing unions makes the global economy worse not better for the middle class. (Better for the ultra rich.)

      4) It’s class warfare and last night, you lost.

    1. more Altoids

      Brilliant and decent and politically talented, slurp, moan! Wait till his perfidious party gets crushed. Then Boo gets stiffed like a Colombian whore before the summit, and he doesn’t get that Big Dem Job, boohoohoo.

    2. different clue

      I remember reading a snarky little paragraph once about somewhere there is a beautiful land with unicorns and such . . . but we don’t live there so we should grow the fuck up.

      Was it this Booman-person who wrote that piece? It just somehow feels right that it should be this Booman-person who wrote that piece. Does anyone here remember? Does anyone here know?

  48. Conscience of a Conservative

    Sorry, but unions for public workers are problematic. They can deliver votes to public officials and there lies the rub, the public offials who bargain are compromised. FDR wrote about this. The elected officials only care about making it to the next election and union workers are more interested in maximizing benefits than worrying about increases in taxes. All the while the city/state/etc is saddle with a growing burden. No wonder we have an out of control public pension issue.

    1. F. Beard

      Everything’s a problem during the bust. That’s why they are called busts!

      But if wages and benefits are supposed to shrink during the bust then debts should shrink too.

      However, a better alternative is to bailout the entire population so the debts can be paid.

  49. kj1313

    Honestly I’m kind of glad, I’ve come to the bitter realization that meaningful change will happen once everything falls apart. As shown above, the mindless vitriol flung at unions has taken hold on a substantial portion of the electorate and minds won’t change until it is forced to. I’m almost tempted to vote for Romney so the economic endgame is expedited.

    1. different clue

      I’m tempted to vote for Romney so that Obama’s Simpson-Bowles Grand Bargain end game against Social Security and Medicare might be delayed.

  50. Bev



    Wisconsin Recall: The adjusted Final Exit Poll was forced to match an unlikely recorded vote

    Richard Charnin

    June 6, 2012

    The media and the exit pollsters have done it again.

    Before the first votes were posted, the media reported that based on the exit polls, the election was “too close to call”. But Walker won by a solid 7% margin and 173,000 votes. Why the big red shift?

    Why did the media not provide the actual unadjusted exit poll data (the “crosstabs”)? Was it because they knew that they would have to adjust the poll to match a bogus recorded vote and did not want the public to view the impossible “adjustments”?

    The solid 53.2-46.3% Walker win was more than implausible since voter turnout exceeded that of the 2010 election. Walker “won” the recorded vote 52.2-46.6% in a supposed low-turnout election. But who turned out in droves in 2012? Democrats and independents who wanted Walker out. The grossly unpopular Walker could not have done better than he did in 2010 – only worse.

    And as is always the case, there was no mention of the fraud factor in the mainstream media. There never is. To the exit pollsters and the media, there is no such thing as election fraud.

    The GOP employs overt voter disenfranchisement in plain sight by robocalls, election workers discouraging voters from using paper ballots, etc. But we are supposed to believe that they would not covertly program the voting machines to flip votes from Barrett to Walker in cyberspace? And even if the machines are manufactured and programmed by right-wing organizations using unverifiable code.

    The conventional wisdom is very conventional – and very misleading:

    The NY Times Election site has the FINAL, adjusted exit poll crosstabs:

    Here are just a few exit poll oddities:
    1) A full 5% of voters were not white or black. But their vote is n/a.
    2) Philosophy: 13% of liberals voted for Walker?
    3) Party ID: 34% Democrat/ 35% Republican in a progressive state?
    4) Labor: Just 62% voted for Barrett?
    5) Obama preferred by 51-44%, yet Barrett lost the recall by 53.2-46.3%?
    6) Barrett only got 81% of would-be Obama voters?
    7) 47% voted for Walker in 2010 and just 34% for Barrett?
    Walker only “won” by 52.2-46.6% in 2010.
    8) Urban vote: Barrett gets just 62% in the big cities?

    If we assume an equal 75% Obama and McCain voter turnout in the recall, a 50/50 split in new and returning third party voters, then in order to match the recorded vote, Walker needed 28% of returning Obama voters while Barrett had just 5% of returning McCain voters. That is a very implausible net 23% defection of Obama voters.

    The True Vote Model indicates that Barrett should have won easily – assuming the caveat of a fair election. But the election was stolen. Its still the same old story – a case of do or die.




    1. Bev

      via comments in:


      With the exit polls—as usual—”adjusted,” Walker “wins” Wisconsin! (Who’s surprised?)

      From Jonathan Simon:

      What we got tonight in Wisconsin was the same old stench, coming from the same old corner of the room. To wit, there was a huge turnout (highly favorable to the Democratic candidate Barrett), in fact they’re still waiting in line to vote in Milwaukee and elsewhere nearly two hours after poll closing; and the immediate post-closing Exit Polls had it a dead heat, 50%-50%. But the only place those polls were posted was as a Bar Chart in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Not a single network posted any Exit Poll numbers, though they all have been regularly posting them throughout the 2012 primary season within a few minutes of poll closing. But they all called the race “extremely tight,” since they were looking at the same 50%-50% Exit Poll that the Journal Sentinel at least had the courage to post in some format.

      In short order, and quite predictably, the race was Walker’s, the networks anointing him the winner as the Exit Poll “Adjustment” Process played out. You could actually see it on the Journal Sentinel’s Bar Chart: the blue bars shrinking and the red bars lengthening every 20 minutes or so. It will take a bit of visual measuring but the adjustment process was egregious, on the order of an 8-10% marginal disparity between the Unadjusted Exit Polls and the Adjusted Exit Polls congruent to the eventually-to-be-announced “official results.”

      We’ve seen this before, election after election, the familiar “Red Shift.” And it’s the Exit Polls that are always “off,” because the Votecounts must always be “on.” Except that the Votecounts are secret and in the full control of outfits, with strong right-wing affiliations, like Dominion Voting and Command Central. Votes counted by partisans in complete secret–is this sane?

      Today massive robocalls were reported to have been placed to targeted Barrett supporters, telling them they didn’t have to vote if they had signed the recall petition, and others that they couldn’t vote if they hadn’t voted in 2010. An obvious question: is there a bright ethical line between making (whoever actually made them) targeted robocalls telling your opponents’ supporters they don’t have to vote if they signed the recall petition versus setting the zero-counters on a bunch of memory cards to, say, +50 (for Walker) and -50 (for Barrett) so at the end of the day the election admin sees a “clean” election and you’ve shifted 100 votes per precinct? Do you believe that operators who have clearly not blanched at doing the first would for some reason blanch at doing the second–much neater and more efficacious as it is?

      And if you’re thinking “well the pre-election polls predicted a Walker win,” you should know that the methodology for all of those polls, even the ones run by left-leaning outfits, was the Likely Voter Cutoff Model (google it, by all means), which disproportionately eliminates Democratic voters (students, renters, poor, minority) from the sample and so skews it conveniently anywhere from 5% to 10% to the right (the pollsters all would have been out of business by now if they had kept using a sound methodology and getting competitive elections wrong with it).

      This election was dubbed “the second most important election of 2012;” it will “foretell” November just as the Massachusetts Special Senate Election (Coakley-Brown) “foretold” November 2010. And there was a massive red shift and even more than the usual indicators that it was rigged. Can anyone live with that, just give it a pass, and sleep tonight?

      –Jonathan Simon

      1. skippy

        I think this comment should be re posted here, bev.

        O’Dell’s fundraising

        In August 2003, Walden O’Dell, chief executive of Diebold, announced that he had been a top fund-raiser for President George W. Bush and had sent a get-out-the-funds letter to Ohio Republicans. In the letters he says he is “committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year.” Although he clarified his statement as merely a poor choice of words, critics of Diebold and/or the Republican party interpreted this as at minimum an indication of a conflict of interest, at worst implying a risk to the fair counting of ballots. He responded to the critics by pointing out that the company’s election machines division is run out of Texas by a registered Democrat. Nonetheless, O’Dell vowed to lower his political profile lest his personal actions harm the company. O’Dell resigned his post of chairman and chief executive of Diebold on 12 December 2005 following reports that the company was facing securities fraud litigation surrounding charges of insider trading.[5]Security and concealment issues

        For more information in the 2004 elections see: 2004 United States presidential election: Specific issues relating to Diebold machines and practices

        Avi Rubin, Professor of Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University and Technical Director of the Information Security Institute has analyzed the source code used in these voting machines and reports “this voting system is far below even the most minimal security standards applicable in other contexts.”[6] Following the publication of this paper, the State of Maryland hired Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) to perform another analysis of the Diebold voting machines. SAIC concluded “[t]he system, as implemented in policy, procedure, and technology, is at high risk of compromise.”[7]


        Skippy… voting machines and security fraud…. nice.


        Skippy… How To Rig An Election. In The United States.


        Ta, Bev H.

        1. Bev

          I am not Bev Harris. However, I love her work along with other true champions of democracy and the rights of people.

          1. skippy

            Thanks anyway for never letting the voting scams et al get buried under all the infomercial white nose.

  51. PM

    From Esquire’s Charles Pierce:

    …Out in the parking lot, I fell into conversation with Phil Waseleski, who was wearing a T-shirt celebrating the U.S. Postal Service that was festooned with Scott Walker buttons. Phil was a letter carrier in the neighborhoods around the Serb Hall for nearly 40 years, but he retired last year when his days were cut back to three a week as part of the fiscal crisis forced upon the USPS by Republican legislators who would like to see it go away entirely.

    “A friend once told me, ‘Well, we only need mail three or four days a week,'” Phil told me. “I politely told him, ‘Dave, we’re gonna have to agree to disagree.’ I could have told him, ‘Dave, you know, maybe at that engineering place where you work, they only need you three days a week, and then you could come help us.’

    “The politicians, I think, it’s a tough call, because if you don’t keep the postal service in business — you and I will both agree that there’s nothing more personal than taking pen in hand to write to your mother, sister, or brother. Until June of last year, I gave my heart and soul to my job. I worked right through lunch most days.”

    Eventually, I asked him why he was here, at the Serb Hall, supporting Scott Walker, whose politics were far more in tune with the people who are trying to strangle the postal service than they are with the people who still work there. Phil told me that it was about his sister-in-law. “The problem is that, when you start handing out free health care out to teachers, that annoys me to no end,” he said. “I never got free health care. My brother’s wife is a teacher and I once asked her, when I was getting my teeth worked on, what it cost her and she said, ‘Nothing.’ It should never get to that point where somebody’s getting free health care. Something’s way out of whack there.”

    Crabs pulling their escaping comrades back into the pot.

    1. schaudenfraude: invented in germany, perfected in america

      I’d like to be there to see Phil’s face when his USPS pension gets terminated in by the GOP.

      1. TK421

        “I don’t like people getting free health care! That reminds me, I have an appointment with my Medicare-paid-for doctor to get to.”

  52. readerOfTeaLeaves

    Partly agree with the post’s analysis, but two points were simply not mentioned and — IMVHO — matter more than Obama:
    1. In an economy heavily weighted to the FIRE sector, where banks have accounted for as much as 40% of GDP*, the role of unions needs to be rethought.
    2. The outsized, incredibly disproportionate numbers spent by the GOP hacks to keep Walker in the Gov spot would — if I were a GOP aficionado — scare the living bejeezus outta me. Jesse shows a pie graph from Mother Jones, showing the phenomenal disparity between the funding for Walker and Barrett:
    (2.a) Walker received over $30,000,000
    (2.b) Barrett received only $3,900,000

    3. Look at the distributions in the pie charts on Jesse’s site:
    (3.a) Of Walker’s $30,000,000, at least 2/3 came from out of state – so out of state donors kicked in at least $20,000,000 to keep Wlaker’s sorry butt in the Gov spot. Do those HNW donors really want to have to kick in that kind of money with 50 states to fret over?
    (3.b) Barrett received about 25% of his money, or a mere $1,000,000, from out of state.

    To reiterate: Walker received $20,000,000 from out of state, whereas Barrett received a mere $1,000,000.

    In other words, Barrett was outspent almost 8:1 statewide, but if you look at the out-of-state contributions, he was outspent 20:1.

    Despite being revolted by Obama’s failure to eviscerate the banks, I don’t fault him for this mess — but I do think that labor handed their ass on a platter to SCOTUS when they supported Citizens United, which has almost destroyed any hope of constitutional democracy, as we see with donor ratios like 20:1.

    But from an investment perspective, if the GOP outspent the Democrat-Labor by 8:1, they’re really stupid to be popping too much champagne today. When you have to outspend by that much just to keep a governorship, you’re going to have to work hard to legislate oligarchy, because it’s your only hope for keeping power.

    * GDP itself being a bullshit, mostly useless term, but the fact that FIRE accounts for 40% is still alarming and speaks to low union employment factors.

    1. Nathanael

      If you include the outside “issue ad” and SuperPAC money, Walker outspent Barrett by somewhere between 10:1 and 20:1.

      For that, the Republican Walker lost control of the State Senate but managed to retain his job.

      Not a good investment. The Koch Brothers & company wasted their money with Walker. They made a much better investment with Rick Snyder in Michigan, who isn’t a moron like Walker.

  53. rotter

    Oh WOE disaster and defeat…all is lost for the left..Drivel… All of these recall elections ARE the work democratic party, and if voters are just not so STUPID anymore that they automatically leap to support opportunistic democratic politicking, id say thats probably a step forward and not backward..the old order is finished, why lament it? it failed anyway and its not worth crying about it ..what will replace it is hard to say but the people are tired of being fooled. Electoral politics are a sham and these recall elections were just the democratic party machine attempting to capture a genuine peoples movement. im glad it failed. the democratic party is not the way forward.

  54. Bruno Behrend

    The last comment on the “true vote” model assumes all the past assumptions about high turnout going to the democrat/union side.

    This is no longer valid conventional wisdom. What we saw here was a continuous, effective, and ultimately successful conservative turnout campaign.

    Both sides scream “stolen election” when their side loses. Who knows, maybe the conservatives took some advantage of same day registration – both valid and invalid.

    Fact is that the article above is correct. This was a disaster for the left, and this righty likes it.

    1. rotter

      My sincere best wishes on your enjoyment. It will be a pleasure of memory-only very soon. Im afraid it already is. That “rightys” like yourself are crowing about these kind of meanigless, preordained, rigged-electoral process “wins” demonstrate that mainly, your righty is just as clueless as any “liberal” democratic party loyalist. The recall failed because THERE-IS-NO-DIFFERENCE-BETWEEN-A-REPUBLICAN-AND-A-DEMOCRAT…rightys such as yourself are stuck in some 50 year old culture war la la land. You might as well grow a beard and get reall fat and walk around in a confederate uniform and start arguments about states rights….oh, wait a minute…..

    2. Nathanael

      It wasn’t really a disaster for the Left. For Barrett, sure. But pay attention: Democrats won the State Senate and can now stop Walker from ramming through more crap.

      Which he planned to do. He planned to ram through more strip-mining, sales of public property at fire-sale prices to his buddies, and constitutional amendments to abolish recalls. Now he can’t pull that crap.

  55. Lambert Strether

    The Ds took all the energy and organizing and messaging ability that came from the Capitol occupations and squandered it. All the people who stood out in the snow.

    From the D perspective this is, of course, not a bug, but a feature. It is, after all, the D’s institutional role.

    Of course, to Wasserman-Schulz, this was all just a “dry run” for November. Tell me, Wisconsites — don’t you feel just a little bit used?

    1. Bev

      Media and the Democrats do not object to voting machines and their opaque counts that are controlled by right wing companies. There is much that Democrats do not object to.


      Why is Obama blocking the release of 50,000 pages of JFK-assassination documents?

      Is The Government Holding Back Crucial Documents?
      By Russ Baker on May 30, 2012

      Next year will be a half-century since the death of JFK. And the Obama Administration thinks we need to keep secret the records on the matter….a little longer yet.

      Believe it or not, more than 50,000 pages of JFK assassination-related documents are being withheld in full. And an untold number of documents have been partially withheld, or released with everything interesting blacked out. But why?

      Since the government and the big media keep telling us there was no conspiracy, and that it was all Lee Harvey Oswald acting on his own, why continue to keep the wraps on?

      Read more.


      from comments:

      May 31, 2012 at 2:12 pm
      Richard Charnin says:


      There has been much discussion and controversy regarding the large number unnatural JFK-related witness deaths that occurred in the year following the 1963 JFK assassination and during the 1976-77 House Select Committee investigation of the JFK and MLK assassinations. The deaths were a combination of homicides, suicides, accidents and undetermined origin. The HSCA determined that both murders were probably due to conspiracies. In 1977, six top FBI officials who were scheduled to testify died.


      Suppose that on Nov. 22, 1963, 1400 individuals were selected at random from the entire U.S. population. Further suppose that within one year, at least 15 would die unnaturally under mysterious circumstances. Based on unnatural death mortality rates, only 1 in a random group of 1400 would be expected to die unnaturally.

      There are three possibilities. The 15 unnatural deaths were…
      1) unrelated. It was just a 1 in 167 trillion coincidence.
      2) unrelated. It was a scam to fool the public into believing that the assassination was a conspiracy.
      3) related. There was a common factor -a connection- between them.

      We can confidently rule out 1) and 2).
      Then if the 15 unnatural deaths were related, what was the connection?

      Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, is the truth. – Arthur Conan Doyle

      This is a database of 106 JFK-related witnesses and their cause of death.


      more at the link


      Could hiding these important documents on the assassination of a great Democratic President, have an impact on the 2012 election, if say Romney selects….

      1. schoene leiche

        One must sympathize with her desire to revisit the axioms of political discourse. When you’ve assimilated the preponderance of evidence about the three assassinations, it’s no longer possible to pretend this country is a democracy. Electoral politics becomes derisory and you just want to cut to the chase and ask, What do Brown Brothers Harriman want?

  56. Enraged

    Obama did exactly what no one in power should ever do: he ran with the hare while holding with the hounds. He tried to governe by “consensus”.

    I believed that he was sincere until the announcement of the infamous “settlement”, which allowed him to cut Schneiderman’s wings, endear himself to Cordray and neuter him and neuter Bo Biden. And all that without the damn thing being written. (It took another two months and when it finally was, Boy Oh Boy was it really something else!!! Complete carte blanche to fraud in every shape and form so long as it was committed by the banks.)

    It is becoming increasingly appearant that he will be a one-term president. All by his own doing. Let’s just wait now for a war against China by way or Iran before he leaves office. Then, he will have succeded in being the most incompetent and weakest president this country ever had.

    Ideologists are a dangerous kind. For themselves, for their country and for anyone around them. The minute he picked Geithner, we should have known whom we were dealing with. I didn’t. None of the people who believed in “change you can really believe in” were prepare for that. And it has nothing to do with race, sex, sexual orientation or anything else: incompetence exists everywhere.

    1. Nathanael

      Actually, I expect Obama will be re-elected. Remember the pre-Civil-War era: Pierce was a disaster and everyone knew it, but the country elected the same party’s candidate, Buchanan, for the next term.

      Why? The opposition party was even LESS credible.

      We’re definitely in “need a third party” mode in this country right now. Just as we were in 1860. That time, we got Lincoln on a third-party platform. It seems we aren’t going to get such a candidate until 2016 this time.

    2. Millerz

      You were a fool of the first order if it took you that long to recognize Obama for what he was. Where was your head buried when he promised to filibuster FISA and immediately voted instead to grant the telecoms retroactive immunity for spying on Americans? Not to mention the history of his rise and his sorry voting record. Yeah, it has nothing to do with race, yet you and all the fevered Obama-worshippers called all of us who warned you “racists.” Where’s your recognition of your culpability?

  57. Doug Terpstra

    This thread is both disillusioning and brightly illuminating. It clearly reveals the nearly irresistible power of expert diversionary propaganda used to divide and conquer, which still works predictably even 30 years after Reagan. How brilliantly the rich and shameless wield the politics of resentment and scarcity, even while they so loudly denounce it, and then “laugh all the way to the freaking bank” in Dan Kervick’s words.

    This was a classic sting operation conducted with Obama and his Party in on the con. Pitchfork, dirtbagger and rehabber still have no idea how badly they’ve been had. Either that or maybe they’re just now collecting their cut of the take.

    Why fight for the lowest common denominator among the working class? Austerity for public employees is not the solution to this engineered financial crisis, and a plantation economy is not a path to wealth creation.

    1. Dan Kervick

      Yes, Doug. I can appreciate the merits of the arguments pro and con public sector unions. But we’re arguing about relatively small differences in the benefits received by different parts of the middle class, while the CEO to worker pay ratio in the US is now somewhere in the vicinity of 200 to 1.

      The parents are up in the dining room polishing off the filet de boeuf and ten bottles of wine while we kids are locked downstairs in the family room arguing over who ate the last red M&M.

  58. Rick

    Wow, this ended up being a bigger movement flame out than I thought. The best way to kill a movement is to take it off the streets and into a campaign for a bourgeois Democrat politician. Weak unions combined with a dull uninspiring corporate Democrat for a candidate, and you shouldn’t expect to win.

    Outside of government employees, unions are now virtually extinct and of little, if any, relevance in the lives of working class people. They don’t strike, produce their own media or have their own political party to run candidates for office drawn from the rank and file.

    The average working class person today has little, if any, hope of seeing their standard of living improve courtesy a union organizing campaign. Given this reality it’s understandable why many an average worker might vote to reduce the pay and benefits of unionized state employees.

    The only way forward is a much more active union movement, independent union media and real independent Labor Party.

  59. Dannyc

    Obama has torched promising democratic chances before. In 2009 New York mayor Michael Bloomberg spent 100 million dollars of his own money ( He’s his own Citizen United) to purchase a third term he had vowed he would not seek; yet he still only “won” by 4.6 points. That’s embarrassing enough – for a multi-billionaire oligarch who’s always touting how he’s looking out for the interests of the average voter. But Prince Plutocrat had something else up his sleeve – or in his pocket – which prevented his political death by landslide. Bloomberg’s oponent William Thompson was African-American and a Democrat, and so is the President of the United States; yet the President Obama never set foot (ie Airforce One) in the City of New York to support William Thompson . The Brother didn’t even get a Tweet.

    1. Dannyc

      I believe Thompson spent only 7 million dolllars – to Bloomberg’s 100 million – and still only “lost” by 4.6%. Had President Obama even made a modest show of support for Thompson, this election would’ve – perhaps just this once – shown that money isn’t everything, every time.

      1. different clue

        Perhaps a quiet slice of Bloomberg’s money quietly bought Obama’s absence.

      2. Millerz

        Obama has, at least three times that I’m aware of, actively interfered in Democratic primaries in favor of the corporate insider over the more progressive challenger. Texas, Georgia, and CT, for those interested in doing their own research.

  60. Scott Riedel

    And I might add…a major reason Walker and his Rethug comrades won so big in 2010 is that young voters didn’t even bother voting after experiencing the let-down of Obama’s utter fecklessness.

  61. Lambert Strether

    What Black Agenda Report says:

    But the electoral campaign the whole thing was turned into, even though they had a whole year to plan, neglected to do the labor-intensive ground game of massive voter registration in poor and minority communities. They spent their relatively scarce dollars on media instead, and pursued the easy consultant-class strategy of pursuing the “frequent voters” alone. They didn’t talk about the poor and renters, of which there are many in Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s largest city. They only talked about the middle class. They didn’t talk much about mass incarceration either, even though Wisconsin and Milwaukee consistently have the highest rates of black imprisonment in the US, higher than Louisiana, Georgia or Mississippi.

    They came up with a black candidate for lieutenant governor. But mostly they went from hundreds of thousands of people shivering in the cold, standing outside the people-proof, democracy-proof cages of elite consensus and two-party politics and beginning to feel their own power to decide what to do next to folks campaigning for the candidate and the slate that sucked less.

    In the eternal question, stupid or evil, did the Ds betray the people who stood out in the snow by accident, or on purpose? I’m not sure we can know, but I lean to on purpose.

    * * *

    Oh, and STFU and send Obama more money. He really needs it.

    1. Dannyc

      My vote is that it is on purpose: The New York Post reported yesterday that Obama has hosted 40 fundraising events in New York City. This is after not showing up at all for African-American Democratic mayoral candidate in 2009.

      It’s also important to note that Obama for a few years now has pledged to raise a Billion Dollars for his re-election, while the most amount of money ( that I’ve read anywhere) which Occupy Wall Street has had on hand is 160,000 dollars. What OWS has accomplished with out having any money – really – is something of which it should be extremely proud and should not have it any other way; while all other political factions (including the Koch brothers, Pete Peterson, and the democratic party and even the Supreme Court ) should be extremely envious and could never replicate!

      1. Dannyc

        Oh, and I’m not voting for president this year! I’m a life long democrat and come from a long line of democrats dating back to the 1920 convention in SF. A vote for Obama would be an immoral vote in my view.

        An OWS friend says he will write in Mike Check for president. I might follow his leadership.

    2. M. Simon

      “They didn’t talk much about mass incarceration either”

      Had Democrats actually gone after Drug Prohibition I would have given them considerable support. Instead the Obama “Injustice Dept.” has doubled down on prohibition.

    3. Nathanael

      This is not really accurate.

      The outreach and voter registration and so forth from the State Senate campaigners in Wisconsin and from the Wisconsin Democratic Party and from We Are Wisconsin is all well-documented.

      What happened is that, for once, the Republicans managed to do the same level of GOTV in their dominant areas, where they control all of the media. This is unusual.

  62. less trolling, more doing

    if you managed to get this far, you’re obviously more interested in this than the average bear….so, please, please, please tell sympathetic friends/fam/etc. that as a good ole’ liberal that you’d rather lose an election to a Republican than endure another four years of “friendly fire” from the Democratic Party.

    The Democratic Party is as rotten to its core as the GOP (just in a different way).

  63. Murray Reiss

    “It should be obvious that if you foreclose on your voters, cut their pay, and legalize theft of their wealth by Wall Street oligarchs, they won’t be your voters anymore.” No, they either won’t vote or they’ll vote for Republican candiadtes who will foreclose on them, cut their pay and legalize Wall St’s theft of their wealth. Does any of this make any sense?

    1. different clue

      Well, there are any number of Third Party or Free Lance wannabe choices they could vote from among. Democratic Socialists of America in some states at least. Rocky Anderson in some states at least.

      1. Nathanael

        In the First Gilded Age (we’re currently in the Second), third parties and related movements started attracting large followings. Specifically, aggressively left-wing parties.

        Some examples:

        Non-Partisan League

        They only lost influence when Woodrow Wilson adopted the progressive income tax and several of their other major ideas.

        This will happen again.

        1. Nathanael

          I mean the third party part. The Woodrow Wilson part is not guaranteed to happen! :-)

  64. Walter Wit Man

    Someone needs to unfurl a banner that reads:

    “Mission Accomplished”

    Wait. What’s that?

    Oh, this isn’t one of those victories we advertise, apparently.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      But you just know the jackasses enjoying cocktails tonight on the Captain’s deck of the USS Democrat are quietly celebrating.

      We’re at the stage were the Democrat leadership enjoys delivering mortal blows to the left. At least in previous generations the jackasses at least bothered to act sorry.

      Obama and gang are downright gleeful.

  65. wryzee

    New unions need to be formed that actually form counterparts to corporations, rather than irritations within corporations. The union side of the industrial coin has always just been a stop-gap to managerial excess. And small business Ben&Jerry-like outfits never ever had broad, socially influencing results. Rather, Ben&Jerry-isms were a forced reckoning of personality-driven hippiedom and impersonal corporate-dom. All of the above is ineffective, ineffectual, and now, also, sadly, obsolete.

    What needs to happen – and could have been done twenty years ago – is that millions of workers with advanced skills and degrees need to stop working for non-collectives and shore-up, only for purely collectivize productions.

    Think of what kind of financial gains can be procured if united companies were formed on the basis of paying back gradates on what they were trained. You wouldn’t pay much in the sort term, while paying greatly to the social fabric of the economy in the long term, which are inextricably interwoven.

    A new unionization is upon us.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      It’s clear modern unions are complicit and workers need to organize differently and/or use different tactics.

      First step. Break free of Democrats. Democrats are working for the other side.

      1. wryzee

        Yeah, they’re just milking the old cow. But there was, at least a decade ago, a hint that this ideal could be actualized by the (supposed) Democrats. Not ever living in D.C. I have no idea what the degree is now.

        1. Nathanael

          I would say that there are local Democrats, and some state-level Democrats, who are still “on the right side”. Perhaps a few House of Representatives members. Nobody in the Senate or at the DNC, obviously.

    2. M. Simon

      “millions of workers with advanced skills and degrees need to stop working for non-collectives and shore-up, only for purely collectivize productions.”

      How will you ever get engineers to ever join a collective? They are the most libertarian segment of our population.

      1. Nathanael

        Engineers will join a collective all on their own if they’re mistreated enough.

        And make no mistake, our financier elite is stupid and evil enough that it WILL mistreat them enough sooner or later. I suggest that the engineers get this through their heads sooner rather than later.

  66. Walter Wit Man

    Notice yesterday(ish) Bill Clinton tells Democrats to give up on ending the Obama/Bush tax cuts for the rich this year. This was central to the 2008 campaign (and really was a central Dem plank for the whole decade).

    Then Walker goes down.

    They’re preparing their supporters for the inevitable tacking to the right by Obama and the Democrats.

    1. Nathanael

      Don’t underestimate what’s coming. Sane Wisconsinites are merely taking the third step of a long fight. They’re not going to pay attention to “instructions” from Bill Clinton to kowtow to right-wingery.

  67. sandra

    I think it is said that there are no Democrats in the administration.
    There are the “third way” Republicans and corporatists calling themselves Democrats, the Goldman Sachs-Citibank Wall Streters, the former lobbyists from Monsanto, General Electric, I suppose Exxon and BP whatever, and the same
    National Security folks who operated in the last administration.
    It has occurred to me for some time now that they (in the adminsitration), outside of his political team, don’t care if Obama is elected or not. They are really Republicans and they would be more comfortable with a Republican administration.
    But in the meantime, they are running the country under
    the mantle of a very popular Democrat– who appears to
    make no effort to organize any power whatsoever to push back against them.
    There is no power there.
    The Republican-corporatists- national security monsters are running everything.
    Obama remains likable, not so much because his PR is successful, but because he is likable. Also he said, and continues occasionally to say something, to appeal to the Democratic masses — although he sells us out over and over in his actions — and to stir the slightest hope that there is some there there.
    In this way they have been more successful than we might
    ever imagine. They have crushed us. And they continue to push this success further. They are in power.
    The crazy right-wing racists screaming who fill the corporate media with noise are smoke and mirrors– they are employed by the corporate media.

  68. bhikshuni

    “the Democratic Party is hopelessly broken and overrun by the same interests that are running the Republican Party. I hate to be the bearer of such awful news…”

    I think it is safe to say that this proclamation is not new news to regular readers of NC!

    Rather, I suspect it is among the prime realizations and rationales which inspire people to avoid wasting much time on other news/commentary sources in favor of reading NC!

    1. Dannyc

      “I suspect it is among the prime realizations and rationales which inspire people to avoid wasting much time on other news/commentary sources in favor of reading NC!”

      you got that right!

  69. Koblog

    FDR predicted this years ago when he was opposed to government employees being unionized. He knew the citizens would eventually catch on that the public was being ripped off and turn against government itself.

    The disgraceful performace of public employee unions (violence, threats, thuggism, cursing) is fulfilling FDR’s prediction.

  70. Lola-at-Large

    I would argue that the G/L community was not the only constuency fighting for its right. Note that the gender gap on the female side disappeared in 2010. It will be absent again this year. A shift of women by over 10% is WAY MORE than what the gay/lesbian constituency represents in its entirety. How about some love for the women like me who have stood up for almost four years now and said NO to Obama?

    1. Nathanael

      I’m no fan of Obama, but any woman who votes for a Republican at this point is completely nuts; she’s voting for her own enslavement. The Republican Party is actively trying to remove women’s rights.

      Hope you’ve got some third-party candidates lined up.

      1. Millerz

        Nice try, Nat. Thanks so much for your concern, but the War on Women meme is not going to work. See, there are some of us paying attention and we know the swine Obama’s lip service extends to women, too, and that his actions belie his sloganeering. It was his administration that stepped in the end of last year and prevented the morning after pill from becoming OTC. He also kowtowed to those who want to object to giving women contraceptives for “religious” reasons. Now Zero is on the campaign stump claiming “our mothers, daughters, wives” can decide for themselves….but when he killed the morning after pill just a few short months ago, it was all Daddy Knows Best and he stated he wanted those pills out of reach of daughters.

      2. Millerz

        Oh yes, Concern Troll, we do have Jill Stein of the Green party all lined up. Again, thank you for bringing that up. Now you have someone positive to vote for, huh?

    2. Millerz

      Thank you, Lola! Yes, it’s been a long thankless 4 years, hasn’t it? I want to also note that NOW has stood up and denounced Obama’s atrocious record on women, but that it gets little play in the media.

  71. Steve in SoCal

    But that’s the problem.

    “Collective bargaining is a process of negotiations between employers and a group of employees aimed at reaching agreements that regulate working conditions.”

    When folks were working in coal mines breathing dust and dying at 45 or working 14 hours straight under the threat of being fired, it made sense to address those issues. Now, yuo’ve got the teacher associatioin saying you have to use OUR insurance carrier which can charge whatever they want. You have to use “this” subcontractor for that, you have to let us have this benefit or that perk, we have to have a 15 minute meeting before we have a meeting to discuss the agenda of the meeting we’re going to have next week, unless , and only if, I get caught with a dead minor in my bed can you fire me. It’s completely nuts.

    Then there’s this:

    “In other words, first, liberals lost a policy battle, then they failed to strike, then they lost a primary election, then they lost a general election to the most high-profile effective reactionary policy-maker in the country. ”

    That’s it? We lose the policy battle so we strike? Really? That’s messed up. Hey, nobody likes our policy. Let’s not change our policy, but let’s strike !!

    Take a look at Detroit and UAW. First it was about wages and reasonable working conditions. Then is was about “let us set the rules with no responsibility for the financial well being of the company, and then when the company starts to go under, blame management.

    My grandfather was a long-haul Teamster driver. My dad a teacher and head of the union. Men. These folks here are nothing but pussies. Go bang a drum someplace and STFU.

  72. M. Simon

    “If we can figure out how to interrupt the stream of profit and commerce”

    Ah yes. If you can just figure out how to interrupt the system the jobs come from. Well you are lucky. Obama is doing an excellent job of that.

    BTW I’m no fan of conservatives (being a libertarian at heart) but these wailings and lamentations are music to my ears.

    1. Nathanael

      The banks have successfully interrupted the system of commerce and industry for the profit of their executives.

      Obama is doing nothing about it. Bush actively wanted to make it worse.

      We have a problem here. Veblen described the problem best, in _Theory of the Leisure Class_.

  73. MKS

    Private sector unions are failing because the economy is global, and labor abroad is cheaper. The global economy is not likely to return to regional economies unless civilization collapses. Unions must become truly international if they are to become effective again.

    Public sector unions should not exist, period. They negotiate with a management entity that has no profit or efficiency motive (government), and who will simply proceed to bankrupt the governed.

    1. John West

      Unions must disappear. They are nothing but a drag on progress, an extra high cost of doing business. Their time is ended. They go the 10 year olds out of the coal mines and since then governments have set up labor codes.

      What the hell does anyone but a lazy slacker need a union for?

      1. F. Beard

        What the hell does anyone but a lazy slacker need a union for? John West

        Because the banks have a government backed union (headed by the Federal Reserve).

        Also, speaking of lazy, have you ever heard of “banking hours” or 3-6-3?

  74. John West

    People have forgotten how to live, how be self reliant, how to tolerate their neighbors, how to manage their finances, how to save money, how to keep their families together …. how to plan for their own futures, how be self-reliant.

    Not all, but certainly most on the left who vote democrat. Those people have become nothing but the Borg, a collective of mindless automatons waiting for government to direct every aspect of their sorry lives.

    I think that may be changing. One can only hope.

    1. Lola-at-Large

      Totally agree. This is not the Democratic party I grew up with, and that explains why I have abandoned allegience to them. I’m a true independent now. I vote both sides, but mostly for women and non-incumbents, just to keep them busy rolling over and over and over. Eventually politicians will pay attention when they keep losing their jobs like we have.

    2. Nathanael

      I think you’re describing the majority of Republican voters, specifically the ones who vote Republican because their preacher tells them to.

      Most Democratic voters are cynical and tired of the incompetence of their leaders but haven’t figured out what to do about it yet.

      1. Nathanael

        It really is consistently Republicans who don’t understand how to manage their finances, save money, keep their families together (Republican families have massive breakup rates, Democratic families stick together, this is proven by studies), be self-reliant (Republicans always want handouts, even while claiming they don’t), etc.

        1. enouf

          It’s not a R vs D issue; upthread a tad, the same commentor doesn’t even distinguish between public v private Unions, but advocates for all unions to be abolished.

          — and get this; John West says “What the hell does anyone but a lazy slacker need a union for?”. and as F.Beard properly pointed out and alluded to, the epitome of the loathesome “Welfare Queen” is actually a… “Bankster”

          Dang, they are good at deception, ain’t they?!


  75. ep3

    i was discussing on this website back in 2009 how obama was allowing himself to be labeled a liberal. What would happen is that any policy obama would make would then directly label it a liberal policy and when it would “fail” or look bad (still high unemployment) ppl would blame liberal policies.
    Also, Obama has been limiting campaign funds to local campaigns, claiming that the 2012 battle is the key. This has also weakened liberal candidates chances against opponents. I live in a district that was gerrymandered to shift a mostly liberal area towards the right wing (this was done in the 90s) by capturing towns that are extreme right wing (one is the home of the state chapter of the KKK). Our rep is pretty much considered unseatable (Mike Rogers-MI). We don’t even have a democrat challenger. They are fighting between each other over who wants to lose. They need help from the state and national party, but it isn’t there.

  76. Ken Royall

    America is a center-right nation. Clinton figured that out and adjusted accordingly. Obama doubled down on failed, unpopular policies. He is now reaping the results. He doesn’t deserve a second term any more than he deserved the first one.

    1. Nathanael

      It’s true that Obama doubled down on the failed, unpopular policies of George W. Bush.

      America is actually a center-LEFT nation; just do a poll on any issue whatsoever, and people choose the left-wing option. Usually because it’s the pragmatic and conservative option, and the right-wing option is lunacy.

      The trouble is that politicians believe the bullshit about American being a “center right” nation, so they pursue failed, destructive right-wing policies, instead of policies which will actually work.

  77. richard40

    I agree with the authors statement that Obama is dragging the dems down to defeat, and even agree with his condemnation of Obamas big business cronyism (provide you also add in his green energy cronyism, and his NLRB labor cronyism). But I disagree with the authors assessment that the chief problem is that Obama is not far left enough.

    The real problem is, THERE IS NO MORE MONEY for big gov. We have to cut big gov spending now, and spend what is left more honestly, without cronyism and public employee union featherbedding, before this whole country goes broke and follows Greece.

    Walker won largely because his fiscal reforms actually worked, the deficit is gone, taxes are down, the WI economy is recovering, and with very few public sector layoffs. Until the dems can finally form a Tea Party of their own (not the OWS anarchist idiots), which opposes big business, environmental, and union cronyism, but also opposes excessive gov spending (and unlike the tea party also probably is socially liberal, and would favor less defense spending and end the wars) the citizens of this country will never trust the dems with the purse strings again. There are some dems that are starting to get this, like Cuomo, Booker, and even Bill Clinton. Until the rest do, be prepared for bigtime dem defeats.

    I also agree that the repubs are not all correct either, and were badly astray under Bush 2, but with the program of good government, anti cronyism, and fiscal restraint, injected into them by the Tea Party, they are definitely improving, while the dems, under Obama/Pelosi/Reid are completely clueless, mired into big spending and special interest cronyism.

    1. Nathanael

      Only trouble is: none of that is true.

      Walker’s “fiscal reforms” — namely large tax cuts for the rich — increased the state deficit. The Wisconsin economy is still losing jobs. Et cetera. This is all a matter of public record.

      Your comment proves that Walker won because he lied to the public and people believed him.

      1. Nathanael

        And if you think the Republicans have a program of “good government”, you have not been paying any attention whatsoever. Corruption and self-dealing is the order of the day.

        Hell, look at the John Doe probe in the case of the Walker administration. Stealing from charities, campaigning using public time and money, soliciting children for sex using office computers, this is just some of what’s come up so far in the Walker administration in Milwaukee.

    2. Nathanael

      Also, have you ever read anything published at Naked Capitalism? The federal government PRINTS money. For the federal government there is no such thing as “running out of money” — it doesn’t even make SENSE.

  78. Mike

    “Smoldering Wreckage” Aaaaahhhhhh, what a wonderful and pleasant thing that is. Don’t stop now. Bounce the rubble.

  79. Andrew_M_Garland

    Above: “By calling for a recall instead of a general strike”

    So, Matt Stoller recommends a general strike as a response to legislation he doesn’t like. That suggestion subverts democracy (bad as democracy sometimes is). When you like the result, democracy is sacred. When you don’t like the result, bring the society to its knees. That would make democracy a means to an end, discardable when it is inconvenient.

    In terms of strict numbers, Walker spent some $30 million; Barrett and the unions spent $25 million. That’s not a 7-to-1 differential. And when you add in unions’ inherent advantage in ground game, you’re talking about a better-than-even split for Barrett. (The unions spent $21 million, Barret $4 million)

    1. Lola-at-Large

      Don’t forget that unions spent a lot just to GET the recall, some $30 million, so really they had every advantage and still got their clocks cleaned. Government workers should not have a union anyway. WE are their boss, not some corporation with an eye for profit. We don’t ever make a profit, as taxpayers.

      1. rotter

        the yay republican comments prove that the electoral politcal football game is meaningless. there is no meaningful difference between scott walker and barrack obama. i cant decide if your a republican t-shirt buyer or democratic party bumper – sticker customer. “both” sides have as much to gain from this kind of empty triumphalism. dems want to drive turn out the vote for that corporate manservant obama, and long ago they decided the only argument they have is “oh no here come the republicans”..republicans would be doing the same thing if the recall had “succeeded” in unseating walker. I mean, democrats could be trying to claim a victory either way, the fact that walker had to face and election before his term is up is kind of like the whole impeachment farce of the 90’s..i mean, last time i checked the calender, scott walker should not have had to have run an election campaign yet…but dems know that they have nothing to offer the people but fear. fear is all the old order has left…that and all the money…the begining of the end is upon them though

    2. Nathanael

      Mr. Garland, you left out the >$60 million spent by outside groups on behalf of Walker.

  80. Cujo359

    Interesting that the only thing I really disagree with in this article is the basic premise of the title – that Obama ruined the Left. I think of him as a sign of how ineffectual liberals and their institutions have become. There should have been a primary challenge, or there should be a palpable campaign to support third party candidates who fit our philosophy.

    Instead, we have Obama, and far too many progressives are not only OK with that, but are actually happy with it.

  81. Kim Kaufman

    I heard it on somewhat good authority that the members of the unions wanted a general strike. Management did not, they thought it would interfere with their access to the White House and stuff like that. While we want to support unions, certainly the idea of unions, the unions are presently broken, too. What have they done for the last 10 or 20 years but lose members and donate millions to the Demoratic Party?

  82. owlbear1

    You know if Barrett had won in Wisconsin it would have blown a BIG giant hole in the idea that unlimited corporate money can swing elections.

    It’s a crying shame you’ve got such a fragile ego, ya might want to get some counseling.

  83. stripes

    Unfortunately, too many Americans don’t recognize fascism even though it is staring them right in the face. If they did, they would be outraged at Walkers plans to destroy unions. Walker is moving Wisconsin backwards. Unions are the last vestage of worker’s rights. The large multinational corps want it all and nothing for anyone else and they are winning because the American people are brainwashed.

    Anyone hear Obama has signed 923 fascist EO’s in 40 months? Google it.

    Welcome to the 10 buck an hour right to work Commie States of America….Socialized pensions and socialized healthcare…No private pensions, private property, private wealth for US. WAKE UP AMERICA…! Step up for the microchip and enter your manufactured debt slavedom.

  84. babygiraffes

    I think Stoller is on to something. A big, paralyzing general strike. Just like the air controllers’ union did against that bastard Reagan. That showed ’em!

    We should do it again, only this time all public union members who still pay dues in Wisconsin should walk out and refuse to come back until Walker rescinds his draconian rules and laws.

    Even if it takes years, we need to stand solid and not come back until we win. Even if they hire new workers to replace us, as Reagan did to the ATC union.

    And even if we ultimately lose, and are replaced and forgotten and the general public says “to hell with them, good riddance” we will still have scored a moral victory, just as we did when we lost this Tuesday. Just as we did when the Dems lost the House in ’10.

    I heartily back Stoller’s suggestion and every good unionist should join in a general strike, starting immediately and lasting as long as it takes.

    1. enouf

      Funny, ain’t it? How the elite have learned to use Unions’ tactics to the n’th degree, and much more effectively than any union ever has;

      — just ask John ‘Bonehead’ Boehner, who said;

      “The Job Creators are on Strike”

      The power of the General Strike is representative republic at it’s best, and TPTB cannot stand it! It enables the largest segment of the population (working/middle class) to effectively Boycott –“to shut ‘er down”– until the Tyranny relents.

      Shame that unions are even needed (since they’re just a response to totalitarianism) — it would be much nicer if they still had any strength

      Remiscent of Andrew Jackson’s presidency in the 19th Century.. one of the few who stood up to the Global CorporateCommieCapitalistPigs (the true CCCP) who desire a world of only slaves and serfs beneath them.


  85. Nathanael

    Guys? Democrats just won control of the Wisconsin State Senate.

    I think very little of the upper-level Democratic Party — but the “recall ’em all” strategy worked very effectively even against >$60 million of right-wing money. This is approximately the expected result.

    This was a tactical battle and the good guys won it. The general public, even in Wisconsin, isn’t quite ready for a general strike — you have to prove that other tactics won’t work, first. Wisconsin is running through all possible tactics fairly quickly. Perhaps the indictment of Walker will help change the mind of some of the people who were swayed by the $60 million in ads.

  86. skippy

    Hot off the comments over at the Atlantic:

    PoliticalFodder Just now in reply to kenparcell

    The turnout was huge and people were still in line waiting to vote when the Democratic candidate conceded. In Wisconsin we have same day registration and one of our clerks reported that we potentially have a 119% turnout. We also have a rule that state that our polls close at 8 but if you are in line by 8 you get to vote no matter how long it takes. There were reporters that told those people in line that Walker already won so there was no point in waiting in line. There were many dirty tricks by the Republican party and many other issues that raise questions about their so called silent majority. If Scott Walker has such wide support why were they paying people $100.00 to put a sign on their lawn, why did they run ads on craigslist to pay GOTV “Volunteers” . Why did the reporters embedded on the AFP busses state that their stops generally turned out 25 people or so? Why can these groups that are listed as non-profit and claim that they are not involved in the election have clear election messages written on the sides of the van. In Wisconsin we also have absentee ballots which do not require a special reason to utilize. Many citizens in Dane County and Milwaukee county, the two biggest counties in the state and Democratic strongholds voted by absentee ballots. People lined up for about a week prior to the election to cast the absentee ballots. The results from these two counties were not in when Barrett conceded. The Wisconsin recall election for all of it’s hype left many more questions than answers and the polls do not reflect the reality on the ground. The tabs for the polls were not made available publicly. So now we must wait for the Governor to be charged in the State and Federal criminal probes that have seen much of his inner circle charged with felonies or given immunity from prosecution in return for their testimony. But hey Republicans if you want to make him your hero go for it make him your vice presidential candidate maybe they can arrest him at the convention.


    Skippy… victory or bitterory, depending on timelines?

  87. Mr Risk

    The Dems and “business unions” have also sold out on worker safety by allowing the corporations to fraudulently undercount injuries and occupational diseases. This scam went into high gear under Bush I and Clinton Admin did nothing about it, then got much worse under Bush II.

    The man in charge of the records for OSHA for forty years has blown the whistle on this.

    The change master in the White House now? You guessed it – nothing.

  88. Lynn Dee

    Sigh. Sometimes I hate the left. There seems to be no end to the number of ways we find to piss and moan and screw ourselves over.

    IOW: STFU, Matt Stoller.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      In other words, we should be in solidarity with Obama? Obama is not on the Left’s side. The Democrats are not on the Left’s side.

      The goal of the Democrats are irreconcilable with the goals of the left.

      So you are basically advocating clinging to one’s abusers?

  89. Patrick

    I find it amazing that some would assume you can tax the so-called 1% and “make them pay their fair share” under our current tax structure. Supporting and perpetuating such nonsense by the unions ultimately makes them victims of that philosophy. Public unions make more money and have better benefits than private unions or non union workers so they extend the 1% argument to themselves and sanction that line of thinking. Until you change the tax code those at the top will always have loopholes to avoid taxes and also pass the costs down the chain. I don’t see Obama, Biden or any top level democrats attacking GE, GM etc for skipping out on taxes. If you can’t see that both sides support and are supported by the “1%” you just remain where they want you to be and business goes on as usual.

  90. Tom Schmit

    Wow, how can the Roosevelt Institute be this screwed up! Poor Matt does not have clue. Tom Barrett was never ever considered a moderate in the eyes of Wisconsin voters. Kohl is considered a moderate! Hey, what was Barrett’s farm policy anyway? He has been running for 6 years and he never proved that he knew anything about rural Wisconsin. Many of us had to hold our nose and vote during the Democratic Primary. The candidates were all far too social liberal in the eyes of the voters. We need ECONOMIC PROGRESSIVES IN WISCONSIN! Please don’t press social liberalism in Wisconsin, your going to sink us all!

  91. Robert Boggs

    The Democrats will lose big time this year unforunately to a decrepit Republican party. You mentioned the Illinois election where Ilya Sheyman lost to a recycled Republican who won the Democratic nomination. Whoever wins that race is irrelevant as even the so-called Democrat will continue voting for the same “free market” policies.

    What is needed is a totally new political party to rise up in time for the 2014 mid-terms and have a viable candidate for president in 2016.

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