Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The following is an excerpt from John Nichols’ new book The Uprising published by Nation Books/Perseus

Only in the most crudely drawn Orwellian fantasy could the assaults on collective bargaining rights, civil service protections, public education and public services initiated by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in February of 2011 be imagined as the “streamlined” model of liberty that Walker and his adherents imagined. The models in play were those of billionaire campaign donors like the Koch Brothers and their American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a corporation-funded “bill mill” that had drawn up anti-union, anti-consumer, and, above all, anti-democracy legislation for pliant conservative legislators in Wisconsin, Ohio and states across the country to introduce and enact.

  • Norway Paul

    REAL DEMOCRACY ALIVE AND WORKING HERE IN THE US, RIGHT ON !

  • DoctorFaustroll

    Can’t wait for Walker to be booted out on his despotic butt.

  • Obozo Must Go

    This is a clever attempt to use our founders intents and the constitution as way to justify forced unionism and disastrous policies that enslave the taxpayers of WI, or any other state, to financing lavish benefits and pensions for government employees. The people paying the taxes are forever screwed by politicians who pass laws that provide for such outrageous compensation that goes to employees who are forced to join the union (many against their will) and forced to pay dues (against their will) to organizations that in turn, funnel much of that money back to politicians who continue to pass laws that favor forced unionism. This is an extortion and money laundering scheme that will go on forever. Dont believe me? Look at the states that are broke and in massive debt. Look at the cities that are broke and in massive debt. All of them have the same problems with union pensions and benefits that are unafordable. John Nichols says it was patriotic what those thousands of thugs and bums did when they destroyed the WI capitol building last summer? What a joke. Patriotic is getting Scott Walker elected in a radical leftist state to do what must be done to curb the out of control spending that is bankrupting his state. Patriotic is ending the money laundering scheme between public employee unions and their crony politicians. Patriotic is supporting a worker’s right to NOT join the union if they dont want to. Patriotic is supporting individual liberty, NOT collectivist union ideals that hold taxpayers hostage. And the Constition is NOT a “living document”. There is no such thing as a “living document”. That’s a crock of leftist crap invented as a seemingly agreeable phrase that really means “we interpret the words to mean whatever the heck we want them to mean when it suits our big government, leftist agenda”. It’s just more leftist “code speak” to create more ways to take our liberties. And this article is a very good example of a clever attempt to co-opt the true meaning of our constitution, which was written for the purpose of preserving individual liberty and limiting government power, and to twist that meaning to support big government control and power at the expense of the individual. Nice try, but I’m not fooled. Have a nice day!

  • Dik

    Mr. Nicols;

    If Scott Walker’s actions are so disastrous, why are the school districts in Wisconsin doing so much better since his policies have been put in effect?

    Dik Thurston
    Colorado Springs

  • Howz 1

    The assualt on the unions is to lessen the impact of their money to the Democratic party. In a gamble in the winner take all politics that has been practiced for the last decade, the super rich want to cement themselves and their fortune for the rest of time. The Koch brothers are protecting their assets by the denial of freedom to eveyone else. They picked the Tea party as their ground troops because they are not smart enough to understand that the destruction of unions is against their own economic interest. The only way to better wages is through unions not waiting for crumbs to fall off the super rich’s table. The Tea party has been manipulated to see the 1% as the job creators, and to be defended in their accumulation of more wealth. I live in NJ and the Republican governor here has declared war against the teachers and has started a war against government workers by pitting them against the middle class. He is railiing that the Gov workers are the priviledged class that has benefits when the private sector is loosing theirs. Of course it begs the question, why don”t you work on getting everyone benefits. It’s a conspiracy by Republican governors against working people and women espcially
    in places like Va and Ga. they are pushing for right to work which is another way of saying we want lower wages ,which is what they are doing in Ind also. Hopefully people will push back and it will spill over into the presidential election and that for the Senate and House. Social media is the weapon that will stop them. Hopefully so.

  • stsintl

    Rights, Responsibilities, Rules of Law, and Respect for other’s Rights:

    As individuals, families, communities, and nations, we have been bestowed with certain powers. These powers fall into categories of “Physical Power”, “Intellectual Power”, and “Spiritual Power”. At the individual level, physical power comes from the body, often enhanced with personal tools and weapons, as well as monetary wealth. The intellectual power comes from the mind, often enhanced with technology, as well as socio-political status. The spiritual power comes from our soul, often enhanced with religious convictions. Similarly, at the national level, physical power is measured by military and economic strength. The intellectual power comes from the institutions of education, research, and technology. The spiritual power comes from the moral and ethical values of its people.

    Within civilized societies, we as individuals, families and communities, claim the “Rights” to freely exercise these powers to protect and/or advance our own self interests or those of our friends and allies. Same appears to be also true for governments in a civilized international community of nations. However, the “Rights” to freely exercise these powers without “Responsibilities” results in conflicts at the boundary, where it begins to infringe on the “Rights” of others. In the absence of any ethical or moral framework to constrain the “Rights” of individuals and nations, at these boundaries from exercising their powers, a framework of “Rules of Law” is needed to protect weaker individuals, families, communities, and nations from abuse of power by the stronger ones. Only when individuals, families, communities, and governments, “Respect” others’ Rights to pursue their own self interests, we can claim to be a civilized society. On the other hand, when individuals, communities, and governments choose to exercise their powers beyond the framework of laws and/or without respect for others’ rights, conflicts arise resulting in violence and break-down of civil order. Those guilty of breaking the law and order in such conflicts are then brought to courts to face justice. Unfortunately, as the history of human civilization shows, there have been no periods where the guns have remained silent, or no violence has taken place. Stronger individuals, families, communities, and nations have consistently preyed over the weaker ones to dominate and subjugate them.

    IT SEEMS THAT THE EXTREMIST WING OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY, FUNDED BY KOCK BROTHERS & THEIR ILKS, HAVE THROWN OUT THE DOOR THREE OF THESE “Rs”: SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, RESPECT FOR OTHERS’ RIGHTS, AND RULES OF LAW.

    The solution is simple. Organize a MILK [Middle Income Labor Ketch] Party to insure Senators get elected only once, and members of the HOUSE no more than three terms.

  • grif.pi

    I got chills reading this essay. Our founding documents are indeed still living, and our connection to the events of our birth are absolute. I have always believed that those who disagree with me on matters of policy also love their country and are patriots. That was when matters of policy were the discussion points. Now-no more. I believe those on the extreme right are not patriots. They do not love their country. They seem to want to remake it in the image of their religious beliefs, or their prejudices. I find those who would destroy the democracy with their wealth to be treasonous. Alexis de Tocqueville said that America would only last until the citizens learned they could be bribed with their own tax money. I think of that every time I hear a Republican talking about giving tax dollars back to the people. Oklahoma’s Republican majority is working to end personal income tax. It will buy a few votes because the citizens will keep a few hundred dollars every year. But, other taxes will rise way more than the small sums used to bribe our voters.

  • Obozo Must Go

    1) “Alexis de Tocqueville said that America would only last until the citizens learned they could be bribed with their own tax money” —-> What planet do you live on? Are you serious? Your implication is that AdT is saying that letting people keep their own earnings is bribery? It’s the EXACT OPPOSITE. What he is saying is that the danger will be of people who vote for politicians that take taxes from PAYERS and buy votes of TAKERS.

    2) “Republicans giving tax dollars back to the people” is bad????? Whose money is it in the first place? The government’s or the person that earned it? I am bewildered by this statement! This is why sane people like me look at leftist nutjobs like you with such disdain. This is exactly why those of us who are conservative think you nutjobs on the left are complete idiots, in fact useful idiots to the big government tyrants like Obozo. How can a politician “bribe” someone by letting them keep more of their own earnings? INCREDIBLE! ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE!!! Have a nice day!

  • concernedusa7

    JOHN WHAT YOU WRITE IS EXACT, THE FOUNDERS INTENT AS YOU RELATED IS EXACT!
    THE MINIONS ON THE RIGHT, MOST OF WHOM ARE BEING HOODWINKED BY THEIR PARTY, ARE GOING TO DRINK THE REPUBLICAN NECTAR UNTIL THEY ARE POISONED AND PERISH.
    DEMOCRATS STAND UP FOR DEMOCRACY AND BELEIVE IN A REPUBLIC GOVERNED BY DEMOCRACY.
    TODAYS REPUBLICANS SEEK AN AUTOCRACY AND BELEIVE IN DICTATORSHIP GOVERNED BY AUTOCRATS! THE SENSIBLE EISENHOWER REPUBLICAN PERISHED WITH NIXON AND THE TREASONOUS REPUBLICANS, ROVE, KOCH BROS, MCCONNELL, BOEHNER, WALKER, KACIK, THE WIMP HEAD OF THE REPUBLICAN COMMITTEE, HAVE ALL LOST ANY MORAL COMPASS THAT WAS EVER IMAGINED.
    WE SHALL CONTINUE OUR MARCH FOR REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY!

  • Obozo Must Go

    We dont have democracy, per se, here in America. We have a representative republic. The founders set it up exactly that way for a reason. They new that democracy itself leads to tyranny, tyranny of the majority. Always has and always will. That’s what the union leftist nutjobs out there want. Remember, a democracy is 2 wolves and sheep voting on what’s for dinner. A republic is 2 wolves and a sheep, and the sheep has a gun! Have a nice day!

  • Clark_Kent

    Bozo seems to think that a free society should provided for free. He wants to drive on smooth highways, be protected by police and firefighters, have armed forces to protect his assets around thed world, have air traffic controllers that make it possible to fly with any expectation to getting there in one piece, have courts where he can sue his competitors, and in general enjoy all the benefits of civilization but paid for by somebody else. Taxes are your dues. Shut up and pay them or get out of club. Oh yes, pay your green fees too! If it spoils your day, too bleeping bad!

  • ChrisS

    Obozo, Let me ask you, “What did you do with your whopping $280.00 that President Bush gave back to all us taxpayers ? (I believe this was my refund amount?) Did you go out and purchase a street light for your town? Did you buy tar and mixer to patch any potholes in your street? Did you generously buy a “dozen” books for your public library? More than likely, you either put it in savings, paid off old bills, or spent it on some technology made in China–of which we saw no economic stimulus with our taxpayer refund. One person getting back $280.00 really is a drop in a bucket. Now if you take even 1000 people’s money -that would be $280,000.00– that could at least get your school building repaired. Did you give your refund to your school district and ask them to put it towards a long needed repair? Of course not. Giving tax dollars back to the people is not always bad, but when it is done to placate a populace of imbeciles, at the expense of paying down our deficit, then this is when sane people like me, look at rightist nutjobs like you, with distain. http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/2010/09/17/Bush-Tax-Cuts-No-Economic-Help.aspx#page1

  • jebediah

    Here in Wisconsin, governor Walker unfortunately went the wrong route to “balancing the budget”. Instead of taking away state employees rights to collective bargaining, he should have laid off the affected state workers to achieve budget balancing. THEN IT WOULD BE LEFT FOR THE UNIONS AND THEIR “UNION BROTHERS” TO EITHER ACCEPT WAGE AND BENEFIT CUTS AND PRESERVE THEIR JOBS OR ACCEPT THE LAYOFFS. Lets face it, one major reason for state indebtedness is the reduced tax revenue due to the severe recession. When the economy comes back, the increase in tax revenue will help balance the budget and state employees would still have their collective bargaining rights to regain some lost wages and benefits.

  • concernedusa7

    IN OUR REPUBLIC (A DEMOCRACY) IT IS THE SANE MAJORITY THAT ESTABLISHES THE RULES

    IN THE REPUBLICAN REPUBLIC (AN AUTOCRACY) ONLY THE PRIVILIDGED HAVE A SAY

    WE THE PEOPLE, IN ORDER TO FORM A MORE PERFECT “UNION”, OPTIONED BY MAJORITY, TO SELECT A GOVERNMENT OF ALL THE PEOPLE, BY ALL OF THE PEOPLE, FOR ALL OF THE PEOPLE, STIPULATING THAT “ALL THE PEOPLE” IS THE MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE, NOT THE PRIVILIDGED MINORITY

    OUR USA (A UNION) IS FOUNDED ON THE PRINCIPLE OF “COLLECTIVE BARGAINING”, IF COLLECTIVE BARGAINING IS ABSENT, YOU THEN HAVE A DICTATORSHIP, AN AUTOCRACY, THAT IS PRECISELY WHY GOVERNMENT IS NO LONGER FUNCTIONAL

  • ed Clemensen

    In regards to Obozo, It is a wonderful thing that you can take fox news as your only source of knowledge. Employeers have for decades taken the position that if you don’t like it my way then down the road you go. Unionism is the same, if you don’t want to join the union there are other jobs, elswhere, you don’t have to work there. So if it is forced unionism, business is also forced slavery because you do not have choice. AS far as unism goes, it is a way to makesure the individual can product a product (his work) at a point he can continue to work. If a company cannot pay for the cost of making its product, even if it has boss as the only employee, it goes out of busines. Each individual is a boss of his own company, trying to cover expences, and possibly make a profit. Is it wrong to tell the employee that he hs to sell his product for less then it cost him. Big Business has no problem doing this, yet they can get handouts from Republicans if they start to go under. i.e. bank bailouts, real estate brokers from the Bush period. So what Obozo is saying that blue color unions shouldn’t exist, because employees should not have the constitutional right to band together for greater good. However why does he notgo up against the union of oil companies that band together to keep oil and gasoline prices up? Why doesn’t he mention the unionism with the Bush administration and big pharmicuticals to keep life saving pills so expensive? Has Anyone figured why Americans had to have passports to cross the Mexican and Canadian borders to buy the same pharmacuticals for 10% of the price in the U.S.? If you think it was for national security, reread the previous sentence. If it nwas for National Security how come only one out every hundred containers from overseas is checked, while every person crossing the border is checked? And a drivers licence isn’t good enough As for theres a problem, there is a problem you information is wrong schools are not working as well as before Walker got, as far as that goes, Wisconson is now the second most jobless state in the country. The economy is crashing, but again you are obiviosly listening to fox news as your only source.

  • stsintl

    “The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to the point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That in its essence is fascism ownership of government by an individual, by a group or any controlling private power.” –

    President Franklin Delano Roosevelt
    http://www.demsclub.com/quotes.htm

  • ed Clemensen

    If Walker hadn’t given major unearned tax breaks to corporations for returned campaign funds, Wisconsin would not have had the problem to begin with. Corporations are being given the free lunch you guys keep complaining about. The over use of the highways, electrical systems, postal systems, water systems, police and fire departments, and the waste systems, yet instead of paying taxes they get money back. MOney that was taken from the schools, the very future of police, fire, paramedical, and medical personal. Moneys taken from the future of a possibly conquer of world peace, or the scientist that actually could cure world hunger. Moneys taken from the actual working people, to give to the ones who, have never picked up a shovel , or waited a table, or climbed a power pole, so that they can go golfing more often or sailing on the New yacket because last years is so out of date. Bargaining power allows people to make enough money to go out and buy stuff, which creats more jobs, and more people can go and buy stuff. It is the good snowball that helps a community, it doesn’t replate the silver spoon every year, but in fact. after so many years of consistant replating, that spoon, completely loses the ability,to be replated because the money has dried up from the people that support it. While if there are the more jobs because there is more money floating around, then the spoon gets plated less often but forever. The economy will not come back until workers get a better deal, and that won’t happen without unions.

  • wayneonly

    John, this is just another example of politicians gaining office without stating their real intentions in their campaign speeches. I am sure neither Scott Walker nor the Republican representatives who were elected said they would break the unions once they were in office. If they had the voters of Wisconsin would have never elected them. And once voters realized what they were up to they took the appropriate action and assembled peacefully to protest the injustice. Democracy at work. Maybe the voters of America need to take a lesson from the voters of Wisconsin.

    We have a Congress that has run away with our democratic form of government. We have a section of America that has set themselves up as the rulers of our economy by buying our government away from us. Congress no longer works for the American people, they work for Wall Street, big banks, and multinational corporations. We have lost our representation in our government. And we (the voter) are to blame. We have elected the same Congresspeople term after term until they have become the PERMANENT POLITICAL CLASS. We have led them to believe they are the “elite” class, and are “above the law”(s) that govern the rest of us. They have learned how to make money from their office for themselves and their cronies (campaign contributors). They legislate to profit themselves and their campaign contributors at the expense of the taxpayer. Yet we elect these same Congresspeople term after term. We do it because we are too lazy to check out their real voting record and how they are legislating for Wall Street and big money at the expense of the middle class. Three good books to read are: Winner Take All Politics: How Washington Made The Rich Richer And Turned It’s Back On the Middle Class by Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson, Throw Them All Out by Peter Schweizer, and Greedy Bastards by Dylan Ratigan. They will open your eyes to what is really going on in Congress. Everybody wants to blame the poor economy and deficits on the President, but the REAL problem is Congress and the control exercised by Wall Street and big money.

    This recession was caused by the greed of the “Too Big To Fail” banks in investing in speculative securities and sub prime mortgages and other risky securities. But the real problem started when banks convinced (through campaign contributions) Congress to repeal parts of the Glass-Steagall Act and Pass the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in 1999. This opened the market for big banks to invest in risky securities. When the banks got into trouble and nearly failed, they called on Congress to bail them out. Thus the stock market tanked, the housing market dropped, and millions of homeowners lost value in their homes and millions of others lost their homes to foreclosure. Workers lost millions of jobs and the economy went into recession (depression?). Four years later the “Too Big to Fail” banks are bigger than ever and making huge profits, and paying their executives huge bonuses and stock options. And they are still fighting to keep the protections of the Glass-Steagall Act from being restored. So unless the voters wise up and elect a Congress that is willing to protect the “real” American people, this can and probably will happen again.

    Folks, we CAN take back our Congress. We need to become more informed and educated and intelligent voters. The first step to taking back OUR Congress is to resolve that we will vote EVERY incumbent Congressperson out of office when they come up for reelection. EVERY ONE. Then we need to let every newly elected Congressperson know what we expect of them. When candidates campaign they tell us what they plan to do (ho!ha!). When we elect them, we need to tell them what we expect them to do. And if they don’t do it, we need to get rid of them. Here is some of my wish slit. It may not be everyone’s, but it is a starting point.

    1. Get Wall Street and big money out of Congress. You have been elected to serve the people, not Wall Street and big money.

    2. Get the budget and the deficit under control.

    3. Restore Glass-Steagall Act so we don’t have another bank crisis.

    4. Revise the tax codes so they are more equitable and easier to follow.

    5. Restore ethics to Congress. Congress cannot police itself, so we need an independent ethics committee that will not rubber stamp conflicts of interest in legislative votes and inside trader stock purchases or sales or earmarks.

    This is just a start and will not happen overnight, but with diligence and determination we (the voter) can take back OUR Congress.

  • Baron Cormac

    An amusing concept concerning Jefferson’s Constitutional beliefs. Consider this – what passed for the government of the United States post Revolution ensured that Jefferson remain at his post as Minister to France during the Constitutional Convention while ensuring that John Adams was recalled from England to attend the same.
    While serving as Vice-President, Jefferson did everything he could to undermine the Adams Presidency because of Adams’ belief in a strong central government and Jefferson’s belief in a weak one with power devolving to the States (there’s that ugly States’ Rights again). However, once he occupied the office of the President, Jefferson had no problem subborning the Constitution and running the government as suited his will.
    He undermined the efforts of his Vice-Presidents in both terms whenever they tried to strengthen the Federal Government. He illegally transacted the purchase of the Lousiana Territory from France without Congressional approval and then presented it as a Fait Accompli (sorry, couldn’t resist using a French term). He had General Wilkinson forge documents in an attempt to prove that Aaron Burr was going to cause these new western possessions and Texas to form a kingdom (thwarted by his cousin, Supreme Court Chief Justice Marshall).
    All in all, Jefferson was more than willing to accept the power granted him as President by the Constitution, but was less than willing to accept the checks and balances to that office called for by the same Constitution in the bodies of the Congress and the Supreme Court.
    While I personally admire Jefferson for his accomplishments as an architect and writer, and belive some of his written theories on government to be outstanding, his failure to live up to his own standards may have made him one of our greater Presidents based on his accomplishments, but made him one of our worst based on how he executed his office.

  • buynorth

    2012 New Monster Beats By Dr Dre Studio Pirate Limited Edition Headphones [monster126] – $189.90 :






    Your cart is empty

    2012 New Monster Beats By Dr Dre Studio Pirate Limited Edition Headphones


    $489.00  $189.90
    Save: 61% off

    • Model: monster126

    Add to Cart:




    Advanced driver design for precise audio
    Extra large speaker drivers for super deep bass
    High powered digital amplifier plays hip hop, rock, R+B and more loud, without distortion
    Monster headphone cable with Quadripole twisted pair construction for balanced sound and clarity

    What’s In The Box

    Beats Studio headphones
    Monster Cable headphone cable
    Rigid Tour case
    Anti-Microbial Cleaning cloth
    1/8 to 1/4" Adapter
    Monster iSoniTalk iPhone enabled headphone


    by dre studio

    2011 New Dr Dre Studio For Christmas Gifts

    Cheap Dr Dre Studio

    Monster Studio Diamond Beats

    Dr Dre Diamond Sale

  • metrognome

    Once again we are blessed with a lengthy tirade from Obozo about the evils of “forced unionism.” He is going to try and convince people that all unions must go as well as Obama, who he “cleverly” calls Obozo. What a wit, huh? What occurs to me is that Obozo is much too cozy with the Walkers, the Kochs and the Tea Partiers to not be a paid poster for the right wing. Or, he really is, at long last, just a bozo.