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Jim Hightower
Jim Hightower
10 Feb 2016
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The Corporate/GOP Attack on America's Middle Class


The most revealing comments by politicians are rarely revealed. This is because they're made in unrecorded conversations, when politicos let their guard down.

However, in a recent sting, blogger Ian Murphy recorded a revealing phone call he made to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Murphy pretended to be David Koch, the far-right-wing billionaire who pumped more than a million dollars into Walker's election last year. The governor is very busy, but he spent 20 minutes regaling the fake David Koch with details of his effort to kill the collective bargaining rights of state workers.

For example, Walker's power play was being blocked by 14 Democratic senators, who have left the state to prevent any Senate action. Walker giddily told "Koch" that his legislative troops were ramming through a rule to require all senators to pick up their paychecks in person, apparently assuming the 14 absentees would care as much about money as he does and rush back.

The governor was especially excited about his scheme to use state workers as political pawns: "I've got layoff notices ready (for five or six thousand employees)," he exulted, delighted to sacrifice them as pressure on the senators to return.

"Beautiful," responded the Koch masquerader, who then suggested "planting some troublemakers" among the crowds protesting the governor's union-busting.

"We thought about that," Walker assured him, but dropped the idea because "the public is not really fond of this." Besides, he said, the public's protesting is "not going to affect us."

"Well, good," said the billionaire imitator, adding, "Once you crush these bastards, I'll fly you out (to California) and really show you a good time."

Now this offer from his super-rich corporate co-conspirator really excited the guv.

"All right," he replied, "that would be outstanding. Thanks a million!"

Actually, Scott, Koch is into you for more than a million, which explains why Walker's autocratic attempt to abrogate the democratic right of public employees to bargain with their governmental bosses is not wearing well with the public.

Recent polls show that a mere one-third of Wisconsinites favor his blatantly political power play and that if he had told voters in the last year's election that he intended to do this, he would've lost.

After only one month in office, Walker's approval rating has plummeted, and he's become a national poster boy for right-wing anti-union extremism — indeed, he's so out of step that he's even being jeered by democracy fighters in Egypt!

Yet, Walker is but one of a flock of far-right, corporate-crested Republican governors and congress-critters who're waging an all-out class war on unionized workers. It's a shameful effort to bust the wage structure and legal protections that support America's already endangered middle class.

In Washington, for example, loopy GOP leaders are out to abolish the legal mechanism through which workers can form a union and have their bargaining rights protected. Meanwhile, war-whooping Republican governors in Ohio, New Jersey, Indiana and elsewhere are slashing the health care and pension benefits owed to public employees, blaming these middle-class workers for their states' fiscal messes.

But state budgets have been depleted by the economic crash caused by Wall Street greed and massive tax giveaways to wealthy elites — not by a firefighter's pension or a teacher's health plan.

And check out Nevada, where the Chamber of Commerce is even pushing to eliminate the minimum wage. This corporate-funded Republican assault is not about fiscal responsibility. The corporate powers intend nothing less than to dismantle the entire framework of America's economic democracy and return us to the dark days of Robber Baron plutocracy.

To the barricades, people!

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at



4 Comments | Post Comment
"For example, Walker's power play was being blocked by 14 Democratic senators, who have left the state to prevent any Senate action."

Not showing up is an attack on the Constitution and is an assault on the rights of every citizen of every class.

It also negates the possibikity of polite civil discourse.

That is some filter Hightower is using.

Comment: #1
Posted by: Tom
Wed Mar 9, 2011 9:42 AM
If the senators had not left the state there would have been no "polite civil discourse". They would have rammed their union-busting rules through with no discussion at all, as they demonstrated today. These Republicans are cowards who want to get their duties to their corporate masters behind them as rapidly as possible. Whenever somebody suggests that the wealthy should forgo something like the Bush tax cuts, the GOP wails "That's class warfare". Welcome to class warfare, GOP style.
After the foolish little man from Texas was re-elected, Molly Ivins talked about how the cure for a chicken killing dog was to wire the dead chicken to the dog's neck and let it rot there. After enduring the stench, the dog would never tough a chicken again. She suggested a second term of Bush would be like the chicken for American voters. Perhaps the stench of this group of GOP corporate tools will linger in the Wisconsin voters noses the next time they vote.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Mark
Wed Mar 9, 2011 7:48 PM
Wasn't ObamaCare rammed through with no discussion at all? Democrats took advantage of their majority in both houses. Expected and fair enough. Elections have consequences, we were lectured. Why is that not so when the majority is republican? The li'l cornpone story is nice, but it seems it only took 2 years for the voting dogs to cast off the smell of extreme left leadership. You may be correct and next time Wisconsin voters may reject sound fiscal leadership. Republicans will probably show up and take the beating. Democrats call taking a powder "standing on principles". Arguing semantics, I suppose.

Comment: #3
Posted by: Tom
Thu Mar 10, 2011 5:03 AM
I will agree that the voters clearly have a shorter memory than I might have hoped. Mostly, I suspect that the midterm elections were the result of the simple fact that the economy sucks and that it continues to suck. The thing that took only two years to shake off was the stench of the disaster of the GOP incompetence and greed.
I am quite concerned that the tone has shifted to one where the typical worker has been screwed out of decent benefits and now is being told "Look at those greedy government workers! Why should they have decent benefits when you are going to eat dog food in your old age"? The GOP's corporate masters are, of course, quite happy with the arrangement where workers work to drag one another to the bottom while they write themselves better tax deals. At some point, the concentration of wealth at the top is going to destroy our nation. I hope that this passion play will serve as a wake up call. What the Democratic senators bought with their out of state trip was air time, a precious gift. If you want to see what union free societies look like, look at working conditions in the places where the corporations are moving the jobs.
On the issue of Obama care, "no discussion at all"? Were you out of the country or something? it did not pass in a couple of weeks. It was on the front burner for months. The Wisconsin GOP had no intent of a prolonged discussion. The solution to the budget mess includes shared sacrifice. In state after state, the money being stripped from the poor, the middle class, children, and the elderly is not being directed to budget deficits. It is being shifted to corporations with tax giveaways.
How can the GOP get away with screwing the majority for the benefit of the few? Won't they be voted out of office by the aggrieved majority? Notice that in states under GOP control the voter rules are being re-written to reduce the votes of first time voters, student voters, minority voters, and poor voters. What do these groups have in common? These are groups that disproportionately vote democratic. For blatant points, it is hard to beat Texas. The new rules specifically exempt two groups: The elderly and gun owners. Is is it just a coincidence that these two groups are the most reliable GOP voters? True Patriots should be ready to do whatever it takes to defeat such efforts to destroy our republic.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Mark
Thu Mar 10, 2011 10:42 PM
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