Thursday, March 10, 2011

"This is our moment to change the course of history."

The governor of Wisconsin said the above when he thought he was talking to one of the billionaire Koch brothers. What do you suppose he had in mind as being a good direction to take this country? Peace, prosperity and liberty for all? Or something more like-- eliminating the middle class? We know one thing is more money for the wealthiest. Does that qualify as a change of course though?

Perhaps he desires to improve public education in his state. That's cynical of me to even say when it's obvious his main goal is to gut it. Well how about improving roads? More likely it'd be turning them all into toll roads.

Then there is who is the 'our' in 'our moment'? It's not you and me. We can bet on that. More likely, Walker sees himself in sync with the guy he thought he was talking to-- David Koch. Wonder if Koch, who was not actually on the other end of that phone call, feels the same way or does he want to buy political tools with brains? He got embarrassed by the whole thing and that is not likely to give Scott Walker the 'in' with him that he had obviously hoped he had.

Since Walker found a way around following the rules, maybe I am wrong and Koch will like that just fine. Will the Wisconsin people follow through with trying to block the law, to recall the legislators who did this? They can't go after Walker until he's been in office a year. Another year, at the least to do his dirt on the working people of the state.

Going back to November, actually earlier that fall, Farm Boss and I felt very strongly that we needed to donate money once again to political campaigns for at least two Oregon politicians in tough races. We had no idea how important that would be. Although we saw what was happening on a federal level, we didn't grasp the plans for the state level with a cultural agenda to remake the America we have lived in and loved, remake it into a new system of feudalism.

In looking at what happened in other states, it now makes sense why our Republican candidate for governor kept his terms general. There was no talk of their real agendas. Union busting was not on the list. That was saved for, as Walker told the fake Koch, dropping the bomb.

If our state had been another with a new Republican governor, I bet we'd be seeing the same battles being waged. Instead of our Democratic governor spending his time trying to balance the budget and improve education in our state, we'd have been seeing a very different battle being waged-- one intended to change the course of this country in a way that we would find abominable.

These governors claim they ran on what they were going to do. What they said was vague on details, and as you know, the devil is always in those details.

Although I had no idea of a bigger agenda last fall, I should have given who has been funding these races. What we read is that these multimillionaires and billionaires got together and decided who would fund which campaigns so as not to duplicate their efforts. They wanted something in return for that, didn't they? A new course for this country. One that gives the wealthy even more power and riches.

Last fall what had triggered our concern, in time to be part of a local effort to stop it, was seeing a strong Oregon representative being put through a very tough battle to hold onto his seat by a candidate who, based on his extremism, never should have even been nominated, let alone had a chance to win in our area with our values.

Yet, as we look across this country, incompetent and scary ideologues did get close and it took the people getting out on the street, working for their guy, and giving up their own hard earned dollars (in a difficult economic time) to stand against the rafts of money that were coming from the wealthy.

Who knew back then what they were expecting in return.

We know now.

They want it all.

Walker has gotten most of the attention but these battles are going on in many states with Republicans in control. A good example is the governor of Michigan who wants a law that would give him the power, in a fiscal emergency (which he declares at his will), to put out of office local elected officials and install instead anyone of his choice.

Voting?

You thought it mattered who you voted for?

Taking down the unions is part of this as when the people are united, they stand against privatization. Therefore unions and their workers are being demonized. Teachers are called slobs. You read over and over in right wing blogs how schools should be privatized so that the parents have control over what is taught. Unions are the bad guys because they are the ones standing against what the rich want and standing together, we cannot be beat.

Who do you suppose Michigan's governor would put in place of the elected town officials in case of such an 'emergency situation'? How about corporations who we now know have personhood thanks to the Supreme Court with members like Clarence Thomas who has voted when he should have recused himself due to personally profiting from the decisions. The goal of the political leaders on the right is to privatize everything except maybe themselves.

Corporations have plenty of reason to support such an effort. Look at the billions that flowed to them during the Iraqi war and they didn't even have to do competent work to get them with shoddy accounting to tell where the money went. Same thing after Katrina. Water districts, road services, any of them can be put in the hands of say a Haliburton and you would have zero say in it as it was an emergency.

Naomi Klein wrote a book called Shock Doctrine, which we bought when it came out, about how people lose power when governments convince their populace that they are facing a disaster. We have seen it play out over and over and especially in the last ten years. Scare people enough and they will give up their own power. They will yield control. They will willingly allow someone else to have economic power over their lives. It works and as long as it works, it'll keep happening on both sides of the political spectrum.

People like the Koch brothers don't need a military to topple a government. They don't need to run for office. They are buying their dictatorships, and Americans are letting it happen because of their fear which is so easily aroused.

Add to that the way citizens are so distracted by the latest celebrity meltdown. Is hearing every detail of what is happening to these people necessary? Beneficial? It should be a personal matter, important only to the family and friends of the person falling apart. For the rest of us, it's just a distraction from what is actually happening and does matter to our own lives.

What I think they mean by changing the course of history is totally privatizing Social Security which will make it worth, as a pension system, what the rest of them are to anybody but a Congressman. There will no longer be a viable retirement for people in the middle class.

Their idea of changing the course of history will mean more and more money for the wealthiest citizens.

It's not a change in the course of history that right now if you get sick, you can have the freedom to just die if you can't afford insurance or doctors. In a medical emergency, if you have any savings, kiss them good-bye. That trajectory was changed with health care for all but it wasn't fixed and now they want to take it back to what was-- which means without insurance bye bye sucker.

To them changing the course of history will be ending public education as anything but a warehouse. They want the elite taught in public schools and as for everybody else's kids, hey being a maid or handyman is not bad work... for minimum low wages. There won't be a minimum if they get to change the course of history.

They are looking at changing the course of our country by selling off what is publicly owned, oh not the Grand Canyon but the national forests, the bridges, the freeways, public buildings. Lots of money to be had there-- for awhile and then comes the real fun. You and your children and grandchildren can pay to use what you once built.

Changing the course of history means back to dirty air and water because regulations cost money. Anything profitable will be run by them and they already have the financial institutions. That isn't enough. They want the rest.

Shock doctrine ought to be making us all think where Republicans are trying to take this country. They are calling it one thing-- freedom, while it is taking away that exact thing. Without economic clout in a world like ours, how much freedom do we have?

This calling it one thing while doing another is the game we have seen played out over the last years. They have become so blatant now that they don't even try to hide it.

What is happening is easy to see. Does anybody care or is it just who won the last sports event, the latest reality show, or another celebrity self-destructing on camera? Will it be too late by the time the bulk of the population realizes what is happening? Stand together now or be alone then.

I do not think it's too late. If I did, I'd not be writing any of this and would instead be figuring out how to get my family and myself as far out of the system as possible. However, I think we can still save our country, keep the values in which we grew up believing, but it takes us figuring out what is needed and standing together to demand it. We have to be realistic and accept change does have to happen; but this isn't what we are seeing today. There is enough money for us all to live a good life but not when some want to live like kings-- with none of the responsibilities to anybody else. A 1% tax increase was too much for someone who wants it all.

Walker might have been right about this being a turning point. The question is which way does it go? Toward better lives for us all, an education system that really does help children learn, jobs when they get out of school because we don't have a tax system that rewards those who send manufacturing overseas? Will we put money into infrastructure or sell it all off. There are a lot of choices being presented right now and some of them would make it too late tomorrow.

8 comments:

TaraDharma said...

time to take it to the streets, sister.

I'm currently living with my parents for the duration, helping mom who is in frail health. They love their Fox Noise and Bill O'Reilly and their point of view is completely different from mind. And they are, in most other ways, normal, sensible, caring people.

We just see the world through totally different lenses. And this is in one household. We've got our work cut out for us.

Ingineer66 said...

Funny how our Democrat governor is treating the State employees about the same or worse than our previous Republican governor did. But since it is a Democrat the Unions are talking about his actions being necessary in these trying times.

Rain said...

Interestingly, the Wisconsin unions had come to the same conclusion with a Republican governor. This was not about benefits or salaries. It was about ending collective bargaining, ending unions as having any power politically. When they no longer do, do you expect the power that will concentrate in the hands of the rich likely to benefit you as a worker?

I heard an interesting view of all this on talk radio and may write more about it as a blog later but the gist was that the Republicans, every chance they get, go after unions as the rich, who the Republicans do benefit, don't like unions. This has been going on since 1947 according to the point being made. It was also said that what the Republicans get people to do is relate to business people, to see themselves as business people and that is where their sympathy goes when in reality they are workers. By getting the worker to forget their own needs with the idea, I guess, that someday they'll be in that elite class, they lose ground over and over.

Ingineer66 said...

I don't think the Republicans go after Unions because they want to help the "rich". I think Republicans go after unions because they donate to Democrat politicians and causes. Unions gave about $250 million to the House, Senate and President last year. Mostly to Democrats. Business interests gave about $80 million.

Rain said...

As a way to cut our deficit, increasing taxes on those who make over $1 million a year in income was not benefiting the rich? That's the deal the Republicans turned down when they felt to have $250,000 a year should have no increase in their taxes as too penalizing.

Where did you get your figures on the donations from business and how would they know? If an individual donates a lot of money, does he count as business? I know what happened in Oregon when one billionaire poured the money into our state to put a right wing radical in the House and remove an independent minded liberal.

The only ones who don't know what Republicans are doing are Republican voters who seem oblivious as to which side their votes are always on.

I'd be interested in your source though for the figures as I haven't seen those numbers and I just went looking. Also how do you determine a union gift? Everything everybody in the union donates?

EVERYTHING Republicans do is to benefit the richest and hurt the working people of this country. When the unions lose clout, other people's salaries will go down. They will not be satisfied until this is a feudal kingdom again with the rich having no responsibilities toward the peons as they don't have a real position, do they? they just take.

I might add, in a lot of ways people like me benefit from this system. People like Matt Damon, who has spoken out also benefit from it but a person can see that it's better for us as a whole to rise up than to just take something for our own good. And it's not enough that we donate back. It's that we level the playing field.

Ingineer66 said...

I posted yesterday, but it didn't take. I was going from memory on my numbers so the $250 million was from a much longer period. For the 2010 election, Labor Unions gave $92 million.

My source was OpenSecrets.org. They do not play favorites, they show who got the money and where it came from.

Rain said...

Thanks for the site. I had never seen it before. I bet the union members wish they had given more now ;)

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

You have a great crystal bowl to see what is really happening in our country. However, I still can't get a grip on why citizens are voting in the jackels? I know fear rules but someone in their group has got to yell STOP! -- barbara