Even the most conspiracy-averse among us begin to see a pattern emerging as, in state after state, as well as in the national Congress, Republican legislators and governors come marching gleefully out of the closet, arrogantly and ruthlessly seeking to impose the most extreme demands of their corporate masters. They seemingly no longer care whether they alienate large numbers of voters, whether it is women, minorities, workers, or even moderates. They no longer prettify their agenda, burying it under orwellian names (“Clear Sky,” “deficit reduction”); in fact, they act as if they are immune to political basklash, and pretty much are saying, like Rhett Butler in Gone With The Wind, “My dear, I don’t give a damn.” What’s really going on here?
Governor Walker of Wisconsin, believing he was having a private conversation with David Koch (the Koch Brothers have given the good Governor extensive campaign contributions, in excess of $50,000), when he was actually talking with blogger Ian Murphy, aka “Buffalo Beast,” let slip there is group, a cabal if you will, of Republican governors busily engaged in doing precisely what he is trying to do: under the cover of concern over budget deficits, break the unions, fragment the middle class, and enthrone corporate control of the American political machinery. Said Governor Walker to the person he believed to be David Koch:
(Walker):… “Brian [Sandoval] , the new Governor of Nevada, called me…I talk to Kaisch every day- John’s gotta stand firm in Ohio. I think we could do the same thing with Vic Scott in Florida. I think, uh, Snyder – if got a little more support probably could do that in Michigan.”
(“Koch”): You’re the first domino.”
Read what Gary Gibson, writing in the newsletter “Whiskey & Gunpowder” wrote on 23 February 2011:
“When you hear talk that education and healthcare need to be returned to the free market and that charity should be conducted by private sector charity organizations, you will know that the battle is for liberty. Right now, the battle is for who gets to control the shrinking, because of the recession, plunder…. In Egypt, Tunisia, Libya… it is pure revolt against totalitarian control. In Greece, Ireland and Wisconsin it is protests against the fact that governments can’t do the impossible, i.e. pay out more plunder than they take in…. But at the core, the fundamental problem with all these upheavals is there is no indication that the people… understand what makes for a growing prosperous society… the protesters are clearly self-centered, who have no clue that they would live in a much better society if the governments simply ended their positions and stopped taxing the people. This would result in the people hiring the government employees in the private sector, where the incentives would result in a growing society.”
That pretty well sums up the philosophical underpinnings of the Republican Party, and of “free market economics,” the secular religion to which they all adhere, and which serves so well the self-interests of the super-rich global elite. The corporate media are drumming fiercely on the selfishness of government workers who are, by definition, incompetent and lazy, undeserving of all those lush benefits, and on the need for “shared sacrifice” to solve the budget deficits and terrifying debt burden, which we must not “pass on to our children.” Oh, and, when it seems appropriate, we are reminded that it is the rich who deserve even more tax cuts because they “create jobs,” and because they earned their wealth bon account of superior character, brains, and self-control. It is those greedy ne-er-do-wells down below who should sacrifice.
Governor Walker and with him, other Republican governors and members of the U.S. Congress, are stubbornly determined to re-make America (and the world) to conform to their vision. Like President G.W. Bush, Walker inherited a surplus in his state budget. Like President G. W. Bush, he destroyed that surplus, in his case, through pushing through a large tax give-away to global corporations, then declaring the state had a deficit, and using that as an excuse to attack government workers including teachers, and not just the terms of their employment (the workers had already agreed to pay cuts and reduction in benefits) but their very right to organize and bargain collectively—- which has nothing whatsoever to do with reducing the deficit, and everything with reducing the power base of the Democratic Party, and fragmenting the workers to make them more amenable to discipline by corporate management.
Early on, Walker alerted the National Guard to be ready in case the public workers went on strike. The last time the Guard was used in Wisconsin was in 1934, against a UAW strike. The National Guard was often used in the early 20th century against workers, including at Ludlow, Colorado in 1914, when the Guard killed striking coal miners and their families, including 6 men, 2 women, and 12 children. Using the Guard against its own civilian population, says Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, violates an understanding reached between the citizens of a state and the state over “the use of state force against civilians.” Walker’s intent to use force is “an expanded interpretation of the power of the executive office,” and signals a return to that ugly period of American history when capital and labor fought open battles— i.e., in the last Gilded Age of wide income disparity.
According to Jann Swanson in Opednews.com, Republicans in other states are enacting, or trying to, such things as revising child labor laws (Missouri), ending minimum wage laws (several states), limiting a governor’s options in re-districting (Florida), eliminating organ transplant programs (Arizona), and severe limitations on a woman’s right to an abortion (several states). The same extremism runs rampant through the Republican-controlled House of Representatives: privatizing Social Security, cutting veterans’ benefits, more tax cuts for the rich, stopping even abortion to sve a woman’s life, de-funding consumer and environmental protections—- the list is open, blatant, and endless. Republicans make no bones about their targets. It is fire at will, a free fire zone.
Lest you doubt that we have a huge and growing gap between the wealth and incomes of the top 0.001 to 0.01 percent and the rest of us, check out these easy-to-read graphs and data at
http://www.motherjones.com/pol… It is worse than you thought, it is growing, and much of the increased disparity has occurred since Reagan, especially under Bush II. Everything the Republicans are proposing to do, or are already doing, is intended to solidify this gap, not only making it permanent but inheritable—- from more tax cuts for corporations and the super-rich to ending the estate tax, to cutting programs that help the middle class or give the little guy clout against big business, to destroying public education, to weakening the power of government to regulate or control big business, to fighting wars for corporate profits.
What is different about today is that they are so utterly in-your-face about what they are up to, as if they do not fear any political consequences. As Swanson says, “A rational party would now be working to reassure and retain the dismayed moderates who are looking for political alternatives.” Why aren’t they?
Thanks to recent decisions by the John Roberts Supreme Court, including Citizens United, there are no more restraints on using corporate money for political purposes. Supremes are suddenly showing up at clearly ultra-conservative political functions, and even criticizing the State of the Union address. One can only conclude that the far right and the corporatists have no worries about adverse decisions from the Supreme Court, so that particular possible restraint no longer worries them. They not only now have unlimited corporate money to use, they have cemented control of the mass media, and choose the issues which are discussed (such as the clamor to “solve” the budget deficit, or to “solve”illegal immigration) and even the way the issues are discussed, completely on their terms and with their definitions. The voting machines are produced and maintained by an ultra-conservative firm, its electronic codes are “proprietary” and therefore secret. Each round of elections they produce more subtle and effective forms of voter suppression. They have shown an increasing willingness to use violence and threats of violence, of which the riotous town halls on health care are only a foretaste.
Can it be they no longer worry about losing an election because they are confident they can control it, make it turn out as they like?