A Perfect Time for Overthrow
I didn't get there until 4:30, when most people had left. It wasn't over by any means, though, as busloads of teachers and other union members were arriving from all over the state. The governor, a none-too-bright guy, has awakened a sleeping giant. Tomorrow's rally promises to be even bigger.
In the wave of "Republican" election gains last fall everyone from Barack Obama to governors and local officials nationwide are proposing drastic cuts in spending for government services and payments to less fortunate citizens for such things as home heat and help with food and rent. Nowhere in any of these plans is it mentioned to place any burden whatsoever on those who benefit the most from living in this country: the rich. The multibillionaires, multimillionaires, Wall Street profligates who destroyed our banking system with their greed, corporate executives who pollute the land and air, agricultural conglomerates who sell us tainted food, pharmaceutical executives who push harmful drugs down our throats, weapons manufacturers who promote wars in order to generate more demand for their implements of death, and much more. I shouldn't leave out the media conglomerates who shape and manipulate public perception to acquiesce to corporate propaganda.
There are rumblings of change, though. Just as in the recent upheaval in "Egypt," people right here in "America" are waking up to the reality of what is going on all around them. It is still winter, yet Wisconsinites from all over the state sacrificed their time, money, and energy to come to the state Capitol to stand up for their rights.
There are other rumblings. To my great delight, renowned economist Robert Reich is advocating for progressive income tax, much like existed before the demented era of "Conservatism" that began with the demented presidency of Ronald Reagan, starting in 1981. Reich also provided some insight into the budget debate.
On tonight's News Hour, independent Senator Bernie Sanders (Vermont) talked about how unfair the budgeting process is to the most vulnerable among us. Among the things he said were the following:
"...our middle class is collapsing. Our median family income has gone down. Poverty is going way, way up. And the gap between the very, very rich and everybody else is going wider.
So, I think, before you look at budgets or how you deal with the deficit, you have got to take that into consideration. For example, the top 1 percent today earn more income than do the bottom 50 percent. They earn about 22 percent of every dollar earned in America. And that gap is growing wider.
Meanwhile, what this budget includes are massive tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires. So, you have a situation. The rich are getting richer. Their tax rates have gone down for many, many years. Their effective tax rate right now -- people like Warren Buffett talk about this -- at 16 percent, is lower than at any time in recent history, and yet we're giving them huge tax breaks, while poverty in America is increasing.
We have the highest rate of childhood poverty in the industrialized world for our children, and we're cutting programs for those people. So, the first thing we have to deal with is revenue. And, as a nation, we have got to say, sorry, the rich are getting richer. They're doing really well. Our friends on Wall Street, we shouldn't have to worry about. They get huge amounts of compensation.
We cannot continue to give huge tax breaks to the wealthy, cut back on programs for the vulnerable. So, that's the first issue I think we have to deal with."
He goes on about how Obama is clueless (my term, not his), most significantly about the causes of the budget deficit:
"The deficit primarily has been caused by two wars unfunded, huge tax breaks to people who don't need it, an insurance-company-written Medicare Part D prescription drug program, and the bailout of Wall Street.
The cause of it is not hungry children in this country or people who are sleeping out on the street. So, we have got to deal with the deficit, but you do it in a fair and progressive way. For example, this year alone, we're losing a hundred billion dollars in revenue because corporations, the wealthy, are stashing their money in tax havens in the Cayman Islands.
This year, ExxonMobil, the most profitable corporation in the history of the world, is not paying a nickel in federal income taxes, despite having made $19 billion last year. In 2005, one-quarter of corporation -- large corporations in America making a trillion in revenue didn't pay a nickel in taxes. You have got a military budget which in many ways is still fighting the old Cold War.
So, I believe that we have to move toward significant deficit reduction, but you don't do it on the backs of the middle class and working families who are already suffering as a result of this Wall Street-caused recession.
You want to know the way to raise money? Put a transaction fee on Wall Street, so maybe we can curb some of the speculation and raise some money."
The same can be said for budget problems at the state and local level. The rich are not bearing any burden whatsoever. It is time to overthrow them, just like the "Egyptians" overthrew Mubarak. The days are getting longer, and the weather is getting warmer. It is a perfect time for overthrow.
Here's a video of yesterday's Madison rally.
This video is a must see.
Here's a story about what it's like to be a teacher in Wisconsin.
There is power in a union.
For a little revolutionary energy, click here. Also here. One Tracy Chapman song isn't enough. Here's another.
Just change the name to Madison for this one.
Don't forget to have fun. Here's a nice Grateful Dead version.
This song might get some revolutionary energy going.
Can't leave the Beatles out. This version was for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.
Or Leonard Cohen.
Gil Scott-Heron did Hip-hop before it was called Hip-hop.
You likely never heard this song, but it still resonates.
This is my own personal dedication to Scott Walker, my favorite Stevie Wonder song. This is my second favorite.
Here's Walker announcing his proposal.
If Walker's bill passes, Wisconsin could lose $46 million in Federal funds.
For some history of union-busting, click here.
This story in Mother Jones describes the relationship between Wisconsin governor Scott Walker and the notorious Koch brothers.
For more information about the Koch brothers, click here. The New Yorker article by Jane Mayer can be seen by clicking here.
The New York Times has a story about the involvement of the Koch brothers in Wisconsin.
A diagram that depicts the connections between the Koch brothers and Wisconsin politics can be seen here.
A reporter posing as David Koch called Scott Walker on Tuesday, February 22, and got him to reveal his plans and intentions. Read about it here. Click here for the video.
Here's a bit of background on public employee pay versus private.
Here's some background on how Wall Street "investors" caused the mess we are in. For an interview that gives a shorter synopsis, click here.
This analysis by John Dean explains much about our current predicament. It is from a book he wrote on the subject of authoritarianism and conservatism.