- Ralph Nader calls Washington corporate-occupied territory
- "every department agency controlled by the overwhelming presence
of corporate lobbyists, corporate executives in high government positions,
turning the government against its own people."
- Nader also said corporations don't just control government,
they are the government. "The corporation IS the government!"
They bought and own it at the federal, state and local levels, running
it like their private fiefdom at the expense of working Americans, systematically
stripping them of hard-won rights.
- They have 10,000 Political Action Committees and 35,000
full-time lobbyists. "Just imagine," says Nader, "even the
Labor Department is not controlled by trade unions - it's (owned and) controlled
- In 1938, Franklin Roosevelt defined the problem, saying:
- "The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people
tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger
than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism -
ownership of government by an individual, by a group or by any controlling
- Today it's more virulent and pervasive than anything
Roosevelt could have imagined, using corrupted politicians to smash worker
- It's more evidence of America's fake democracy and the
criminal class running it. Politicians are bought like toothpaste. Mock
elections pretend to be real. Behind the scenes power players control everything,
supported by brazen media misreporting, whether about war and peace, the
rule of law, or other vital issues, including worker rights.
- Overnight on March 9, fascist Republicans erased them
in five minutes, in violation of Wisconsin's open meetings law, requiring
"24 hours prior to the commencement of (special sessions) unless for
good cause such notice is impossible or impractical."
- The measure had nothing to do with budget-balancing.
It's corporate ordered union busting. Wisconsin is a microcosm of America,
ground zero, now breached as well as Ohio. Expect other states to follow.
Public and private sector workers nationwide are losing out - betrayed
by brazen politicians and corrupted union bosses, selling out rank and
file members for self-enrichment and privilege.
- On March 9, New York Times writer Monica Davey headlined,
"Wisconsin Senate Limits Bargaining by Public Workers," saying:
- The 23-day "bitter political standoff in Wisconsin
over Gov. Walker's bid to sharply curtail (public worker) collective bargaining
(rights) ended abruptly Wednesday night as" on-the-take Senate Republicans
rammed through an illegitimate bill, voting 18 - 1 - with no debate or
Democrat members present.
- On March 10, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (JS) writers
Patrick Marley and Lee Bergquist headlined, "Maneuver ignites furious
- Republicans secretly "devised a plan to get around
the impasse and hurriedly approved the bill late in the day." Some
financial issues were removed to be voted on separately. Included were
provisions raising worker healthcare and pension contributions. Democrat
Senator Bob Jauch called it 'political thuggery,' saying 'it's akin to
political hara-kiri. I think it's political suicide.' "
- The measure gives Walker dictatorial power over BadgerCare
health coverage for low-paid Wisconsinites earning too much for Medicaid.
It also makes 37 civil service jobs political appointments.
- Moreover, state and local public employees must pay half
their annual pensions cost contributions, and minimally 12.6% of healthcare
premiums. In addition, future pay raises are pegged to annual CPI increases,
a rigged index not reflecting true inflation. Greater ones may only be
approved by statewide referendum, a cumbersome process taking time.
- Further, unions must hold annual votes to let workers
decide whether or not to be members, and state authorities no longer will
collect union dues from paychecks.
- On March 10, Wisconsin's Republican controlled State
Assembly easily passed the measure 53 - 42. Walker will sign it into law
- by diktat, not democracy.
- On March 10, JS writers Lee Bergquist, Jason Stein and
Bill Glauber headlined, "Demonstrators crowd Capitol in wild scene
after Senate vote," saying:
- "Protesters took back control of the Capitol on
Wednesday night after Senate Republicans" stripped their collective
bargaining rights. "Surging past security, (they) reclaimed the Capitol
- Others outside chanted, "Let us in." Inside,
they yelled, "You lied to Wisconsin" and "Kill the Bill."
In a shocking act of betrayal, the Wisconsin Education Association Council
(WEAC), representing 98,000 public education employees, instructed teachers
to return to classrooms, instead of calling for a general strike to shut
down the entire state until the bill is reversed. Growing numbers of teachers
and other workers demand one.
- Ahead of the Senate vote, email exchanges between Walker
and Democrats suggested a deal, involving union certification votes triannually
instead of as approved as well as other compromises. All along Democrats,
like union bosses, planned capitulation, but needed enough cover to fool
- On March 10, Murdoch's Wall Street Journal gave Walker
op-ed space to headline, "Why I'm Fighting in Wisconsin," claiming:
- He's doing it "to avoid mass teacher layoffs and
reward our best performers," when, in fact, he and other Democrat
and Republican governors and lawmakers are destroying public education
in their states, and making public university tuitions unaffordable for
millions of aspiring students with inadequate family and personal resources
to afford them.
- Nonetheless, Walker claimed the bill's passage is "good
for the Badger State's hard-working taxpayers. It will also be good for
state and local government employees who overwhelmingly want to do their
jobs well....Our (union busting) bill is a commitment to the future so
our children won't face even more dire consequences than we face today,
and teachers (won't have to be) laid off (so) government (can) work for"
everyone in Wisconsin.
- It's instructive to remember journalist IF Stone's admonition
to young journalists, telling them:
- "All governments lie," or at other times, saying,
"All governments are run by liars and nothing they say should be believed."
Who better than Walker and Obama prove it. Like other corrupted politicians,
the president is no friend of labor.
- A Final Comment
- Wisconsin Republicans' Wednesday night putch was preceded
a week earlier by Walker demanding at least $1.5 billion in budget cuts,
besides earlier ones enacted, including:
- -- $1.25 billion from schools and local governments,
including $900 million in education funding (or $500 per student), exposing
his real education agenda;
- -- $500 million from Medicaid at the expense of a million
needy Wisconsinites dependent on it; and
- -- $250 million from the University of Wisconsin, besides
sharp tuition hikes, wage and benefit reductions, separating the main Madison
campus from others, and possibly privatizing the system, ruining it by
selling it off to profiteers.
- Now, with collective bargaining gone, all other rights
are threatened, except one - a mass action general strike, shutting down
the state, staying out until Walker's coup is reversed. Protests aren't
enough. Inflicting pain on politicians and corporate interests is crucial.
Nothing less can work with firm non-negotiable demands for:
- -- restoring collective bargaining rights;
- -- social spending increases, not cuts, especially for
healthcare, education, and aid to Wisconsin's most needy;
- -- recalling all Democrat and Republican politicians,
eligible under state law, requiring one year in office before possible;
- -- replacing corrupted union bosses who sold out their
rank and file members for self-enrichment and privilege.
- Negotiations failed. Mobilized, committed, unified mass
action is essential as quickly as possible. On Wisconsin! Then take the
campaign nationwide, especially to ground zero in Washington, the heart
of corrupted power.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
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