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Jim Hightower
Jim Hightower
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The Kochs and the Guv Stir up a Hornets' Nest

Comment

Thank you, Scott Walker! And you, too, Charles and David Koch! Thanks for being so ham-handed in pushing your self-serving, virulently anti-union agenda on the schoolteachers, health care workers, park rangers and other public employees of Wisconsin.

The Birchite billionaire Koch brothers and Walker, their gubernatorial hatchet man in the Badger State, have unwittingly done a tremendous favor for our country's progressive movement. Thanks to them, America's workaday majority has been awakened. With eyes wide open, middle-class working folks everywhere now have their attention riveted on Wisconsin, where a plutocratic, autocratic conspiracy between uber-wealthy corporate elites and obsequious GOP politicos has raised its ugly head for all to see.

Even before Walker was sworn in, Koch operatives were working with his transition team on a proposal that would summarily strip state and local workers of their hard-won right to bargain with their governmental bosses. Blinded by their flaming arrogance, the co-conspirators blithely assumed that Wisconsinites would just sit still for this, like sheep being fleeced. Bad miscalculation.

Collective bargaining literally is democracy at work — not something that working families take lightly. Nor should employers, for the process works, allowing 98 percent of union-employer disputes to be resolved with no strife.

Without it, workers know that they would be reduced to "collective begging," so Wisconsinites saw the governor's no-bargaining bill for exactly what it is: a raw attempt to extend authoritarian executive rule over the workplace, stifling the voice of workers and further shrinking middle-class possibilities in America.

Thus, the Koch-Walker cabal has not only been exposed, but has exploded nationwide. In a flash of spontaneous combustion, the schemers have become the poster boys of right-wing, laissez-fairyland greed, fueling mass protest rallies from coast to coast and reinvigorating the progressive movement.

Walker is little more than a hireling in the Koch brothers' extremist political enterprise.

They invested $43,000 directly into his gubernatorial campaign last year, making them his second largest donor. David Koch also gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, a donation that leveraged a $5 million RGA expenditure in the Wisconsin race. In addition, a Koch-funded front group, Americans for Prosperity, pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into the state in an AstroTurf campaign to benefit Walker.

Just before the election, Koch Industries opened a lobbying office only a few doors down the street from the Wisconsin Capitol. Will it shock you to learn that shortly after taking office, the grateful governor quietly tucked two very special provisions into his union-busting bill that could cause the Koch's political investment to pay off handsomely?

One provides favorable new regulations for pipeline transporters. The second is a stunning proposal allowing the governor to sell, without legislative oversight, publicly owned power plants to private corporations on a no-bid basis. Guess who just happens to be in the pipeline and power plant business? Right.

Walker, heretofore an unknown in national politics, has now made a name for himself: His name is mud. Indeed, his tactics give new meaning to the term "Badger State." In his desperation to ram his bill into law, he has been caught lying, planning to fire thousands of state employees in a despicable political ploy to pressure state Senate Democrats, considering a strategy of "planting some troublemakers" in the crowds protesting him and eagerly accepting the idea of going on "a good time" celebratory junket with David Koch if the bill passes.

Astonishingly, the governor has tried to rationalize his radical assault on worker rights by claiming that he's merely doing what voters elected him to do. Two problems with this assertion: First, two-thirds of Wisconsinites say they oppose such a power grab, with only 24 percent favoring it; and second, Walker never mentioned a word about gutting bargaining rights during his campaign. If he had, says a recent poll, he would've lost.

Indeed, Walker's approval rating has plummeted to 44 percent as news of his knavery spread. As the old adage puts it, two things not long for this world are dogs that chase cars and politicians who lie to the 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 www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2011 CREATORS.COM



Comments

4 Comments | Post Comment
"Collective bargaining literally is democracy at work ..."

In some far off world that doesn't exist this may be true, but when unions pour money into democratic campaigns Hightower is silent. Do members get to choose where those contributions are going? No. Are members forced to pay these dues? Yes. Not democratic. Elitist is a better word.

The right hates Soros, now the left hates anything Koch. They might not be billionaires if energy policies hadn't worked against people in some strange luddite fashion. Have we begun drilling offshore in the gulf yet? Left wihg policy. Are we still dependant upon foreign oil? Left wing policy Anybody who controls energy is a billionaire because the left doesn't like people using energy. No real alternatives are presented, just policy restrictions on what works in this century. Don't like Kochs? Hightower made 'em.

Obama waivered how many unions from coerced healthcare? Walker wants to sell publicly owned power plants? There is enough stink to swell any real journalist's indignation gland. Because it is still politics as usual for columnists we get fed only the snippets that fit agendas.

Worse than the Koch's or Soros are assembly men who refuse to show up. That's Hightower's democracy at work.

Comment: #1
Posted by: Tom
Tue Mar 1, 2011 12:20 PM
The "Progressives" are hitting on the Koch brothers as their new whipping posts to pit the rich corporations against the poor union workers. Ha! No mention of the donations the unions dole out to the Democrats and admission that this is what the fight is all about. We just can't afford this anymore. How difficult is that to comprehend, Democrats. I, for one, want to refuse to go down the tubes with the unions and the Dems, if that is possible. It looks like we are tied together though and therefore, we have to drag the Democrats with us into the world of reality.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Mandy
Wed Mar 2, 2011 6:04 AM
Mr. Hightower seems to be a champion of the fight against the ruling capitalist class and its power. Constant railings at Capitalists (capital “C” intentional denoting the “rich” capitalists) and capitalists (lower case “c” for the rest of us non-”rich” capitalists) give him a platform to espouse socialism.
Here is an excerpt from The Socialist Party USA Statement of Principles; "The working class is in a key and central position to fight back against the ruling capitalist class and its power. The working class is the major force worldwide that can lead the way to a...real radical democracy from below."
This Country can have capitalism or socialism but, not both, in order to survive. As Prime Minister Maggie Thatcher said, "Feb. 5, 1976, "...and Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They [socialists] always run out of other people's money. It's quite a characteristic of them."
Comment: #3
Posted by: David Henricks
Thu Mar 3, 2011 12:12 AM
I'm not so sure the authors of comments #1, 2 and 3 have a grip on factual history. Could they name one bill put forth by the Republicans that benefits working class people?

Nor do these authors appear to have a reasonable perspective on the RELATIVE amount of money given by unions to support causes put forth by Democrats... compared to 'corporate' support given to the Republicans — not to promote Republican causes... but to defeat Democrats.

What Maggie Thatcher said in the last century seems to be inconsistent with recent US experience... recent being that which I have personally witnessed in my lifetime. Exactly who do you think destroyed the economy of this country? If you think it was the unions... better get a job flipping burgers because you'll never earn enough writing these posts to keep you in today's middle class lifestyle. You have blatantly displayed your ignorance... perhaps even your stupidity.

Old people are dangerous. They remember how it was... what it took to get there. They know how much it has changed. It's not pretty.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Vito Caputo
Sun Mar 6, 2011 11:22 PM
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