Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bits and Pieces - Labor Rights Edition

The Wisconsin governor takes a friendly phone call from a person he thought was David Koch. Pretty clear who the puppetmaster is. If you can't reach that link (last I heard, it was down, probably from too much popularity), try this one, which says, yeah, it really was Governor Walker telling the big guy his strategy. Ezra Klein spells out the significance of the phone call.

And a deputy attorney general in Indiana wants to take Muhamar Ghaddafi's approach to the protestors. Update: Weinstein is now reporting via Twitter that the guy has been fired. The Indiana guy, not Ghaddafi. The link is being updated.

Well. After that, anything else is going to be an anticlimax. But let's forge ahead. There are a number of pieces out there today that can almost be woven into a theory on how parts of America got as greedy and mean as we're seeing. The left got pretty weird back in the seventies, but I'm not recalling this level of trying to restructure our country. And I was more conservative back then.

Adrienne Redd has unearthed a couple of historical facts: back in colonial America and perhaps again in Andrew Jackson's 1828 campaign, the wealthy campaigned persuasively for racial identity over class identity. Governor Scott Walker's participation in the "Koch" phone call is consistent with this. It's also consistent that the middle class, to which the state workers belong, is being made a scapegoat for today's economic problems. Um, it was Wall Street, home of the wealthy, remember?

It's quite clear by this time that union-busting is the purpose of the bill that is being protested in Wisconsin and similar bills in other states, but the Wisconsin bill (and the others?) go much further, allowing many state functions to be contracted out to the Kochs and their friends, presumably so they can suck their profit out of them while campaigning to damage those who are supposed to benefit from those programs.

It's important, in the gutting of middle-class America, for the uber-wealthy to destroy unions, because the collective power of unions is a counterbalance to the money, money, money that the Kochs and friends can shower on politicians.

Another action that will damage the entire economy is the pending government shutdown over Republican budget cuts that will also damage the economy, the middle class anyway. Frank Munger interviews the director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory on how a shutdown would affect operations there. What he says applies pretty closely to any government-funded operation.

Kevin Drum on the more recent history of unions.

American-style capitalism has never been the free market of the Tea Partiers and their plutocrat overlords.

The plutocrats' department of dirty tricks.

Added later: Maybe the message is starting to get through. CBS Headline: Koch-backed group, Tea Party mobilize in Wisconsin. Maybe they'll eventually figure out that it should have been "Koch-backed groups mobilize in Wisconsin."

It appears that housing problems incurred by the financial industry have more to do with state deficits than does unionization. More support for the scapegoat theory.

No comments: