Populism, Progressives and Public Unions
02-27-2011, 08:19 AM
Populism, Progressives and Public Unions
The divide in the Disunited States of America opened wider with the concerted effort of progressives and teacher union’s latest escape from reality. When people lament that there is little civility left in this country, they mostly refuse to face facts. There is a pitch battle for the hearts and minds of citizens. So far the public education lobby has been winning the war. Their victory is self-evident with the sorry state of literacy much less rational ability that passes for the collective consciousness of the public. The prime directive and accomplishment of the government school system is the development of a society of fools and idiots. Here, here to the union of public thugs and sophists, who work diligently to destroy the American Nation.
The Wisconsin firmament has a fine tradition of populism. Robert M. "Fighting Bob" La Follette, Sr. is a heroic figure in state and national politics. His advocacy for some admirers would claim he was a progressive, but those who understand the distinction, know he was really a populist. Jeff Taylor writes in First Principles.
"The link between La Follette-Johnson and Taft-Goldwater can be discerned when thinking of the transitional figures in the late ’30s/early ’40s when internationalists and the mainstream press were confusing people by adopting the then-popular "liberal" and "progressive" labels. Consider the fact that new "conservatives" attorney Amos Pinchot, publisher Frank Gannett, publisher Robert McCormick, businessman Robert Wood, socialite Alice Roosevelt Longworth, aviator Charles Lindbergh, and Congressman Hamilton Fish all came out of the Bull Moose-La Follette-Borah tradition of liberal Jeffersonianism within the party".
Fighting Bob was an inspiration battling the railroads and opposing American involvement in World War I. This iconic agrarian populist was a proponent of using government on behalf of the common people. Mr. Taylor continues with a comparison between La Follette and Robert Taft.
"Robert La Follette and Robert Taft shared hostility toward statism, plutocracy, and imperialism. Although La Follette did not earn his fame as an exponent of literal interpretation of the Constitution, during his years in the Senate he was a strict constructionist who repeatedly challenged actions on constitutional grounds".
Just short of a century has passed from the heyday of this Wisconsin hero, but he would be turning in his grave by the conduct of the Bolshevik’s who rally in Madison to defy the public interest. The best lesson taught about teacher unions is that any absence of teaching in government schools is a good day for the children who deserve a quality education.
The Washington Examiner makes a valid point. "The Left has misread the postbailout populist sentiment all along, assuming public anger was directed at the rich. But American anger, I suspect, is directed not at some people who have money or success, but at those who profit through cronyism and their connections to power".
The fundamental distinction between a progressive and a conservative populist is their view on government. As the current dispute spreads to Indiana and Ohio, the public employment unions are altogether oblivious to the meaning of "using government on behalf of the common people". The patron saint of progressive liberalism warned of the danger in, "The process of Collective Bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service," Roosevelt wrote in 1937 to the National Federation of Federal Employees.
Cited in the essay, Public Employee Unions Guarantee National Bankruptcy
"In 1959, the state of Wisconsin enacted the first state statute permitting municipal employees the right to form, join, and be represented by labor organizations. Three years later, President John F. Kennedy issued Executive Order 10988, which granted federal employees the right to join and form unions and to bargain collectively. The order established a framework for collective bargaining and encouraged the expansion of collective bargaining rights to state and local government employees.
The Supreme Court held in Smith v. Arkansas State Highway Employees, Local 1315 (1979), (3) however, that nothing in the U.S. Constitution requires public employers to either recognize or collectively bargain with public employee unions".
Jim O’Sullivan writes in the National Journal. "Wisconsin has done more than polarize and excite the true believers in both parties; it has served to galvanize already amped conservative populists who have increasingly discussed a "new class" of workers being forged among public employees enjoying union-rigged perks, and liberal populists who see in Madison a conservative conspiracy to end decades of hard-won rights for the working man".
What escapes the marginal intellectual integrity of so many public employees is that government never creates wealth. All taxation is theft. Mandating government schools, paid for with public funds, teaching subversive doctrines and socialist redistribution, is a primary cause of producing the walking zombies that populate this country. The most deprived and underclass in society would be better served with a copy of the McGuffey Readers.
Results matter, even in the public sector. A substitute replacement for pampered teachers is needed. View the videos Waiting for Superman and THE LOTTERY for the real story. The conclusion in, Teachers Unions are morally illegitimate, is to the point.
"That moral claim is being turned on its head as more Americans come to understand that teachers unions and the public bureaucracy are the main obstacles to reform. Movies such as "Waiting for ‘Superman’" and "The Lottery" are exposing this to the larger American public, leaving the monopolists to the hapless recourse of suggesting that reformers are merely the tools of hedge fund philanthropists".
With a dismal record of performance and a pattern of taxpayer extortion, the progressive sisterhood reaches out to their brothers of sleaze, who use the tactics of street hoods collecting juice for a loan shark enterprise. No wonder that when courageous politicians challenge the status quo, crazed public union fantastic’s go into full damage control mode. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is one such hero and has experience with public unions.
"Christie said in a Wednesday speech at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington that he is "reforming an education system that costs too much and does too little for our society today and our children’s future."
The state’s unions "think I’m attacking them," Christie said. But he said he’s not targeting their rank-and-file members. "I’m attacking the leadership of the unions because they’re greedy, they’re selfish."
This pattern of teacher employee abuse is not unique. This next example out of Allentown, Pennsylvania is a public union outrage beyond the pale.
"In pursuit of an Eagle Scout badge, Kevin Anderson, 17, has toiled for more than 200 hours hours over several weeks to clear a walking path in an east Allentown park.
Nick Balzano, president of the local Service Employees International Union, told Allentown City Council Tuesday that the union is considering filing a grievance against the city for allowing Anderson to clear a 1,000-foot walking and biking path at Kimmets Lock Park.
Balzano said Saturday he isn't targeting Boy Scouts. But given the city's decision in July to lay off 39 SEIU members, Balzano said "there's to be no volunteers." No one except union members may pick up a hoe or shovel, plant a flower or clear a walking path".
Warner Todd Huston sums up the economic reality that many "so called" civil servants still refuse to face. "It must be quite a shock to government employees all across the country that are actually losing their cushy jobs, those positions that they imagined were theirs forever. With the reality of the massive overspending by Democrats spurred by union leaders the consequences of which are finally coming home to roost, these union members that for so many decades felt entitled to their jobs are losing them".
Public employee unions are a threat to the very foundation of the Republic. The Hill reports that Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA) fired up a group of union members in Boston with a speech urging them to work down in the trenches to fend off limits to workers' rights like those proposed in Wisconsin. "Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary." He is a disgrace and his words border on subversion.
You can support trade unions if you are so inclined, but a public union that is taxpayer funded is an abomination. Progressives need to search their souls. The alliance that should bond all populists together is the fight against the global corporatist economy that has caused the outsourcing of living wage employment overseas. Expanding government is not the answer in reversing this betrayal. True populism must be rooted in sound economic principles, based in a wealth creation private sector.
Substantially scaling back public employee jobs is a necessary step because the private sector taxpayer is broke to a large degree because of government policies. A civil service employee is, by nature, a secondary citizen. The taxes they pay come from the earnings of those who are the producers of prosperity. The La Follette tradition opposes the centralization of economic control. Woefully, governments lavish excessive pay and benefits on the public sector at the cost of the real main street economy.
SARTRE – February 27, 2011
"Many seek to become a Syndicated Columnist, while the few strive to be a Vindicated Publisher"
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03-01-2011, 08:41 AM
RE: Populism, Progressives and Public Unions
:huh::(Whenever the economy is booming, like in the 1990's, private sector workers get huge raises, perks, bonuses, etc. Government workers just keep getting their 2% a year pay increase. Now that the economy is in the toilet, and govrnment workers are still getting their little 2% a year, the private sector republicans are going crazy vilifying them. We didn't reap the benefits of the booming economy so we shouldn't reap the negative effects of the bad economy either. The pension and health care benefits are the tradeoff for the very low salary that MOST government workers make. Not teachers - they are vastly overpaid. Accountants, engineers, etc. are vastly underpaid in city government compared to the private sector.
03-01-2011, 01:01 PM
RE: Populism, Progressives and Public Unions
This article is a deeper analysis of the issues spewing onto the nation's consciousness in Wisconsin, and a good assessment of dynamics behind the chanted slogans and picket signs of both sides of the union struggle. I much agreed with Thiessen's comment about how the union protestors want to take advantage of the protest momentum begun in the Middle East, but there is a big difference: the arab peoples are protesting statist collectivism's tyranny, and in Wisconsin, with Obama's encouragement, the unions support collectivism managed by statist mentality. The unions have long been dominated by bosses catering to the Democrat/Communist Party elements. The NEA is a good example of the socialist forces at work in a teachers union -- just ask our friend, Phyllis Schlaffly at the Eagle Forum.
While we may have some sympathies for the workers who are only trying to retain what their contracts called for, Wisconsin, and America, are in deep peril. It is clear to most thinking people that the bloated gargantuan of corruption called government must be cut down to size before we are all destroyed. But I also recognize governments have long hidden many assets away in using a two-ledger system where they always show a zero-sum game of tax dollars in and tax dollars out to bankruptcy. See Walter Burien's http://www.CAFR1.com for a great expose of how the governments, federal, state, and local, are hiding vast assets from the public eye in Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports. We should expose these assets, cut government spending by at least 90%, prosecute corrupt officials vigorously, and treat government like any other deadbeat creditor who has been embezzling our livlihoods. Seize the hidden assets! And yes, it is time to put unions in their place, because Obama the Chicago organizer will certainly set them against the American people emulating Lenin.
In Christ's love for Truth, Justice, & Liberty for All,
David A. McElroy
03-17-2011, 06:40 PM (This post was last modified: 03-17-2011 07:00 PM by SARTRE.)
Republicans Are Corporatists–Not Populist - Populism, Progressives and Public Unions
It always amuses when progressive populists deny that paleo-conservatives are true populists.
Your assessment obviously demonstrates ignorance of the political philosophy of BREAKING ALL THE RULES. http://batr.org/about.html and http://forum.batr.net/showthread.php?tid=5
Before you go off into a realm of delusion, admit that genuine conservatives champion the populist tradition absence of Federal centralized control despotism.
BATR is a vocal critic of both Republicans and Corporatists Wall Street. The basic difference between traditional America First populism and the loony left version of a just society is that Paleo’s know that GOVERNMENT is the prime cause of tyranny that benefits plutocrats. Your viewpoint sees government as a means to impose a social humanism and stamp out individual liberty.
You are closed-minded. Rethink your core values.
One of the numerous Right Wing propaganda posts is called the “Patriot Post” by someone or some people who use the pseudonym “Sartre.” That in itself is hilarious. That could be an entire stand-up comedy routine.
Nevertheless, “Sartre” writes a page or so about what he or they know of Populism. It is actually about one sentence of what they know about Populism and the rest of the page filled up with nonsense.
It should be noted that this “Patriot Post” has a list of contributors that makes up many of the leading latter-day U.S. fascists like Michelle Malkin, Michael Barone, Brett Brietbart, (or Brite Bedbug, or Bret Bartbutt or whatever his name is) and naturally the spoiled physician, Charles Krauthammerschlemmer, with nothing to do now but write—apparently whatever comes to mind or whatever he is told to write by Roger Ailes and the GOP propaganda machine.
The “Patriot Post” and “Sartre” (I love that counterpoint, and the fact that they have no idea what it means) write about Populism as having some kind of connection with…not joking…Taft-Goldwater. Of course, Taft was a real Republican and Goldwater was a military hard liner, and a fiscal conservative…but not nuts. He was, after all, a Jew who therefore understood persecution, fairness, tithing (the principle of which is that we need to spread the wealth around a little to keep society functioning) and Democracy.
When Goldwater said that the end justifies the means, he was talking about protecting Democracy, about military preparedness, not about creating a plutocracy. He was the farthest thing (as was Bob Taft, whom it must be assumed is the Taft “Sartre” was talking about) from some kind of dictator who would walk into a state and demand complete control over all levers of power from the state level, to the county, down to the smallest village. Barry Goldwater would be the first one to hop into a fighter-bomber to counteract that kind of behavior.
You see, the one thing that these Tea Party Republicans and their billionaire supporters (for now) don’t realize is that, at one time, Republicans were actually human beings. They were not partially informed robots. They did not give away their civil rights along with their donations to the nuclear industry and the oil industry and the mining cartels and the six big banks that control everything.
On the other hand, the differences between Bob LaFollette and Barry Goldwater (and apparently by extension supposedly Reagan and Dumbya Bush) were gigantic. Barry Goldwater was a Federalist who wanted an efficient government, small and in particular, providing security.
Bob LaFollette was a Populist, meaning that the size or location of government grew out of its utility to the average man. Goldwater and Taft were federalists who wanted strong, imperialist, but small federal governments. LaFollette started with human beings and how best society could help them. Whatever government was necessary was what he wanted.
The Tea Party Republicans, let’s be clear, are Republicans, not Democrats. They are not for the people or, these days, they would be Democrats. They supported the following, which are Republican programs: Tax cuts for billionaires, one war of dubious need, one war of no necessity (costing untold lives, pain and national treasure), $7 billion in additional national debt, lax regulations on Wall Street that brought down the economy and created 14.9 million unemployed and another 10 million underemployed.
Bob LaFollette would have proposed what current Democrats propose: do something to alleviate the suffering, create jobs to build the economy and seek help for the virtually one out of every five people in the country who are in deep trouble.
It really should be noted that during the Great Depression, when there were no safety nets, one out of four people was unemployed. So we could make a strong case that Bush created a Depression, not a Recession. It may sound better for the Republicans, but it is not a Recession. It’s a Depression.
Speaking of Republicans and so-called “populism” let’s take the current situation in Wisconsin. The governor, Scott Walker, gave $116 million in tax breaks to corporations and wealthy individuals. That hole in the budget he filled with $120 million in assessments to public workers, cutting health care benefits. Most of those whose benefits were cut were public high school and grade school teachers. The Republicans, including the Tea Party members support Walker against the workers. Here’s what the “Patriot Post” has to say:
“The prime directive and accomplishment of the government school system is the development of a society of fools and idiots. Here, here to the union of public thugs and sophists, who work diligently to destroy the American Nation.”
So the public school system that sent Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton off to Wellesley and Georgetown respectively, that provided the foundation for Colin Powell, for Dwight David Eisenhower, and even Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan…is not good enough for the current Tea Party members and “Sartre?”
Do you recall your high school teachers as “thugs” working diligently to “destroy the American Nation”? This kind of rhetoric is why so many people, educated people, “sophists” according to the Patriot Post, refer to these commentators as Nazis.
This is what the Nazis did. They simply lied and lied and lied and lied until the people of Germany, not hearing anything to the contrary, were…not destroyed…oh, no—but actually destroyed themselves. The Nazis took them to war (sound familiar) and to death, destruction, a country totally laid waste, millions killed and three generations destitute before they could recover.
That is where we are heading with these people, these “patriots.” Let’s “take back our country” they say, on their posters, paid for by the Koch family of Right Wing billionaires, successors to the John Birch Society, whom Barry Goldwater detested. Bill Buckley’s last essay shows that Goldwater looked for rationality, small government, fiscally sound policies, and no real nut jobs, like the Birchers (or “birthers”) in the Party.
Today, the nut jobs have, unfortunately, gained control of the GOP. A group of very sinister people, like Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, the Koch Family, a number of the top military brass, George Schultz, Jim DeMint, Jeff Sessions, Eric Prince, Rupert Murdoch, Newt Gingrich and a few others are in control and want to bring about a Fascist state (in the case of DeMint and Sessions for obviously racist reasons.)
Populism, as defined in practice by Bob LaFollette was the organization of political activity to support legislation that would help the people in their struggle against the rich and powerful. That was true in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century, and it has returned in the 21st Century.
But the former Populists are not the current Republicans. They would like to have you think so, and many Americans today are outraged at the lies they were told to get them to vote for people like Scott Walker and Ric Snyder and Rick Scott. And of course they voted in a Republican House of Representatives that is now creating havoc with government. They are running around like a bunch of high school kids, beholden to the very rich and powerful forces who have caused the financial woes for the great mass of American People.
The Patriot Post tries to make a connection between the “Bull Moose” party of Teddy Roosevelt, not the Populists of LaFollette who were a different group. They want you to believe that Populists were people like Robert McCormick of the Chicago Tribune (a despot if there ever was one) and Charles Lindburgh (married to the daughter of the richest man on Wall Street and an eventual and very public Nazi sympathizer.) They were the farthest thing from Populist.
The Populist tradition—and this is so basic as to be virtually childish for the opposition to argue against—followed on through Franklin D. Roosevelt. They would like to go back and re-write history but they can’t. There are still too many people alive who know the overwhelming support of the People for Roosevelt, which is why they elected him FOUR TIMES! Yes, the policies can be called Liberal. But they were people-centered policies.
As has been said in this blog before, if the traditions of Bob LaFollette were with the Republicans then the remaining LaFollette, Wisconsin Secretary of State, Doug LaFollette, who follows in his ancestor’s political traditions would be a Repubican. But he is not. He is a Democrat.
The crooks and liars are those who have hoodwinked the American voter into thinking that Republicans are still Republicans, as they were under Taft and Eisenhower, Nixon and, yes, Goldwater. But these Republicans are not merely pro-business as the Eisenhower Republicans (‘what’s good for General Motors is good for America”) were. Today’s Neocon Republicans, including the so-called Tea Party members are now wholly owned subsidiaries of the great corporations. LaFollette would run from them like the plague.
Bob LaFollette would never have tolerated the attempt to take over the public school system by private organizations. He would not accept a system that is dedicated to creating private schools with excellent performance for some, and then the more Southern traditional “separate but equal” schools where there is virtually nothing taught.
We now have a public school tradition where the children of immigrants can go to Harvard or Yale through hard work and keen intelligence. And other children have the opportunity to attend many fine state universities, which, despite the Republicans, still have some of the finest educational standards in the world.
Once again, a reminder of what Republican attitudes towards education really look like. Here is how Republicans regard education. As a useful tool for their political ambitions. When George W. Bush took office, 150 graduates of Regent Law School were appointed. This law school was virtually dead last among accredited law schools and itself only accredited a few years before he took office.
In addition, U.S. Attorneys from the Clinton era were all fired and political appointees, all Republicans, all screened by the Right Wing Federalist Society were appointed. It turned out that they were all supposed to be following political rules laid out by Karl Rove. The only reason we know this is that the mere 8 out of 92 U.S. Attorneys who did not were fired.
This means that all the others did what they were told. So, if an election were rigged, for example, in DuPage County, Illinois, the U.S. Attorney who might have looked into that, to protect the People, could have been told to look the other way. We’ll never know.
“Sartre” says that his authorities point out that LaFollette fought against the railroads, against involvement in war, against statism, against imperialism and plutocracy. If you look in any newspaper on any given day you will see that this is exactly the opposite of what the current Republican Party is all about. They have completely sold out to the elitists on all these points. The statement that the old Populists are the new Republicans is a preposterous lie.
In total, nearly a half-million people in Wisconsin have demonstrated in the state capitol on behalf of the union employees. In one town with a population of 1,100, the local paper for that area of Wisconsin said that about 2,000 people actually attended a rally there.
Petitions for the recall of 8 Wisconsin Republican state senators has already gained almost all the necessary signatures. And in Ohio 5,000 people protested the same kind of tactics, or worse by their governor. Hundreds of millions of dollars for tax breaks to corporations, repeal of the estate tax for the rich, and challenges to public education, to government supervision of prisons are all being done by a Right Wing, elitist Republican Party. None of these things are good for the People. They are not “Populist” proposals.
Republican Governor of Ohio John Kasich, the son of a postal worker, traded in his Right Wing Republican House of Representatives seat for a plush seat in Wall Street, where he made a ton of money. Now he is back in Ohio, paying back the billionaires who made him wealthy, having used more of their money to hoodwink the people of Ohio into making him governor. His job now is to screw the people, which job he arrogantly seems to relish.
Let’s understand something. Kasich, for example, was one of the Republican leaders in the house who led the fights for and voted for…2 wars, the prescription drug bill (cost:$800 billion), loosening Wall Street rules leading to a crash, (cost so far: $3.8 trillion and climbing), three tax cuts for the rich, (cost: $4.5 trillion) and billions in government giveaways to corporations (example of costs: $20 billion to Halliburton alone. Another $9.2 billion from the provisional government run by Paul Brenner that was simply lost. Gone. Disappeared.) The corruption was almost beyond imagining.
So now John Kasich wants to help the People? By cutting schools and selling off prisons? And what about Republican Governor Rick Scott of Florida. He used, (just as Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin did) $8 million of his own money to win the governorship. He is the “populist” who cheated the American people out of so much Medicare money that the fine alone by the Justice Department was $1.3 billion! His $8 million came from the $100 million he made when he left that same company.
So here’s what we want our kids to learn from Rick Scott’s example: Cheat the People. Get fined. Be disgraced. Get paid a huge amount of money. Take some and use it to lie to the people to be elected as governor. It is not Rick Scott’s fault. If you vote in bank robber Willie Sutton to be bank commissioner then don’t be surprised if he steals from you.
Rick Scott has already done the following: Said he will cut 8,700 jobs from the government rolls despite the fact that Florida has, per capita, half the workforce of every other state. He will slash $4.6 billion from the current year’s budget and 15% or $3.3 billion from one of the nation’s worst school systems, even as former governor Charlie Crist had it moving up. With 12% unemployment in Florida, he turned down 5,000 jobs from the transportation department’s new high-speed rail project.
So much for the People of Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida. Do they deserve it? Absolutely they do. If you elect a Nazi, then your obligation is to salute and follow orders.
So let’s have no more talk about Republicans as Populists. Here’s a populist idea. Lower health care costs and create millions of jobs. That’s populist but Republicans are trying to repeal health care reform. Oh, that’s right. They took $400 million in 2009 from the health insurance and the hospital lobbyists to fight health care reform.
OK, here’s another populist proposal. Let’s create new jobs. Well, sorry “Sartre” but the Neocons and the Tea Party Neocons have filibustered, i.e. killed, every Obama jobs proposal…which would have created at least several million jobs by now…in the Senate.
The reason nothing is getting done in this country, to put it simply, is because the Republican Party has sold out to the very rich, the global corporations, the billionaires, the oil, gas, mining and timber industries, the looters, the Wall Street con artists…and sold the American people down the river.
Don’t every be fooled into thinking that Republicans like Scott Walker or Rick Scott are for the people. The only people they represent are: Scott Walker and Rick Scott. As long as the money flows, they will work for special interests and lobbyists and the very wealthy at the expense of the American People.
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