Wisconsin

By Edward-Yemil Rosario

US Social Policy in Three Pornographic Acts and an Epilogue

Too often, what often is presented as social policy discussion has more resemblance to the formulaic and really bad shit that passes for porno these days. Social policy discussions have as much to do with enlightened decision-making as bad porno has to do with real sexual intimacy. Which is to say it has nothing to do with the subject. Much of what has been reported on the spontaneous grassroots movement taking place in Wisconsin, takes on a cast of a bad porn video…

Act I: The Seduction

The point here being that US public policy, aside from being obscenely irrational, is conceived and played out on the national stage not so much for its own sake, but for the express purpose of being exhibited and seen, scrutinized, and ogled. Whatever you think of the mainstream media, its absolute priority is not so much to propagandize left or right, it’s to sell ad space. And the best way to sell commercials to create spectacles in the literal sense of the term. In order to accomplish this, the words and deeds claiming to be about the core issues must be systemically orchestrated, dramatized, even ritualized.

Before I go further, let’s engage in a very brief thought exercise. Imagine for a moment if you came to the (correct) realization that the current economic collapse is the consequence of the irresponsible (and very likely criminal) actions of Big Industry CEOs, not (middle class) public employees’ unions, as many of the right and far right politicians would have you believe.
If public policy conversations were indeed enlightened, our so-called “liberal” news media would be reporting on the fact that the US spends more on the military than the next ten nations combined. Talk of “austerity” would include looking at (DUH!) the part of the federal pie that is the largest. In the obscene world of US policy, however, the only talk of those who will have to make sacrifices are our children (education), the sick (hospitals), and what little middle class there still exists. Just one or two weeks after called for a freeze on federal wages, he and his right wing-nuts passed a tax break that will go almost exclusively to the richest 1%.

But I’m getting a little ahead of myself here. Let me get back to Wisconsin, since it serves as a microcosm of what’s going on across the land…

Act II: The Blow Job

First, Wisconsin governor, Scott Walker, passed a tax break that will go the richest corporations in the state. Never mind that cutting taxes for the rich (“wealthfare”) has never worked, the tax subsidies for the wealthy were passed with the rationale that since they create jobs, it’s best for the rest of us peons to hand over our money and hope the trickle down doesn’t taste like shit. Of course, mink coats have a natural aversion toward trickling down.

But that’s not the most important issue here. Calling Scott Walker a cocksucker is apparently an affront to the good men and women who perform the act everyday across the country. Bear with me and imagine the following:

Imagine a Latin American dictator at a historic moment in his country’s history, brought on by his refusal to compromise with his people regarding the elimination of worker’s rights. While he refuses to talk with his people, he apparently has no problem taking a phone call from “his biggest donor.” During the discussion he…

Discusses his strategy to lay off public workers to seek partisan advantage to pass his agenda;

Discusses his plan to lure other legislators to the Capitol on the pretext of negotiation, but then admit that he would never actually negotiate;

 

Discuss that he considered the “planting” of paid troublemakers into the peaceful protests at our Capitol; and to

Give his enthusiastic acceptance to an offer from his benefactor to fly him out on a vacation to show him a “good time” once he “crushes these bastards.” His response being: “That would be outstanding…” Given that your benefactor’s businesses could reap vast rewards with the “no bid” sale of your nation’s power plants that he proposed in his budget repair bill, this response is severely troubling.

Actually, you should have no problem imagining this because this is exactly what Gov. Scott Walker did. The only difference being that the man professing to be the benefactor was in reality a journalist pranking the governor — pretending to be one of the billionaire Koch brothers
This was a cocksucking on a majestic scale. You can almost hear the governor’s gag reflexes (if he had any) when you listen to the tape of the conversation. In fact, like a good little whore, Scott Walker deep-throated and then swallowed every drop of the caller’s jism.

Act III: The Reaming

In covering the historic labor protests in Wisconsin, the “liberal” media has stacked it’s panels with moistly elitist right wing talking heads (pencil-necked professional twat/ chickenhawk, George Will, comes to mind) interspersed with one or two “centrists” who can barely get a word in. Meanwhile, President Obama, who promised he would march with labor if anyone attempted to take away the crucial right to bargain collectively, stated in mild terms that this was an “assault” on public employees. Newscasters, ignoring the point that income equality in America is worse than Egypt; that the richest 1 percent get nearly a quarter of America’s wealth and income and that the wealthiest 10 percent capture more than half, wondered aloud if the president went too far. Smelling salts were passed around as “journalists” swooned hysterically.

So while the actual fact that it was their elite friends that had caused the near depression that tanked families and state budgets and caused over 400,000 state employees to lose their jobs, was almost never mentioned, almost no one mentioned the fake Koch/ Walker telephone conversation — the same call that would have idiot neocons frothing at the mouth if it had been a Latin American (or — GASP! — African) dictator.

The media couldn’t recall that the investor class was bailed out with trillions, that they reaped record bonuses, then record profits but face no significant tax on their reckless behaviors. Also erased from memory the Obama/ Congress tax cuts for the richest Americans hundreds of billions with promises of trillions more, that hedge fund managers face far lower tax rates for their billion dollar paydays or that many corporations, including those to whom Governor Walker just gave $100 million in tax breaks, pay no taxes at all. And if you don’t know what $1 billion will buy you, please view these pictures that expose this country’s obscene division of wealth.

Epilogue: The Money Shot

Confronted with such facts there should be millions of us in the streets. Of course, none in the mainstream media thought it worthwhile asking why public school teachers or any of America’s middle/ working class, should be asked to contribute a dime to the investor class’s self-inflicted financial ills, let alone make major salary concessions (which they’ve offered) or give up collective bargaining rights.

But perhaps you already know how this will end: the money shot will be the big hurt put on America’s most vulnerable and precious assets and these amoral pigs will laugh all the way to their offshore accounts. They don’t care if we can paint them as the greedy, insatiable, social prostitutes they are as long as they are rich whores.

Or maybe there has been a misstep here somewhere along the way. Maybe they have overstepped their reach, or perhaps we’ve all tired the same lick em, stick em and cum predictability of this political and social policy porn.

 

Of one thing I am sure, we will lose this fight if it’s fought in the corporate media. It’s their media and the script readers who pose as reporters, are in actuality well-paid whores, who have no compunction about swallowing it all and telling us that we should suck cock and swallow as well. They will make a convincing case for taking in the ass, for it is your duty as an American. But as Egypt showed us, the real numbers in the street are what matters. It is there where you will find the enlightened discussion within a true democratic process. If you’re in/near Wisconsin, or any of the other states where solidarity or related demonstrations are scheduled, you need to go. Or, alternatively, you can resign yourself to the porn.

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…

14 Comments on “Wisconsin”

  1. I have a bit of a problem with the words, “near depression”. That’s kind of like getting shot in the stomach and calling it a near miss. There has been absolutely no recovery from housing/stock market crash, the billions of dollars in bail-out money has led to automatic billions more until we are trillions of dollars into debt, and the dollar itself isn’t worth the paper its printed on. As long as the economy continues to plummet, it isn’t a near depression but a full scale depression.

    The amount of time we spend in this depressive state without stabilizing directly reflects the length of time it will take before the economy of the general population begins recovering. The bottom point, which we haven’t arrived at yet, will be the date when wages and earnings match the rising costs of utilities and basic necessities. This is why we must have collective bargaining. If energy costs raise fifteen percent, but wages do not, there is fifteen percent decrease in the wage earner’s buying power.

    What happens for those who are conscientiously balancing their budgets is that the first elimination is of what is considered luxury or frivolous items; vacations, a new car, dinners in nice restaurants. Maybe the person decides that old couch will last another couple of years or that the family doesn’t really need a plasma television. The providers of these services; automobiles, tourism, dining, furnishings, technology,take their own slump as sales drop.

    It doesn’t stop there. The fifteen percent rise in energy prices also means the costs of manufacturing and shipping have risen fifteen percent for the providers of foods and items. Unwilling or unable to absorb the extra cost, the merchandiser raises his prices. The paycheck that had a fifteen percent deficit in its affordability now has a thirty percent gap.

    It is a constant downhill spiral; a domino effect. The first step to arresting this spin is by freezing energy prices, not in taking away a person’s rights to protest unfair conditions. Realistically, if we are not allowed to negotiate our wages and our ethical treatment, any type of working conditions and social policy can be instilled. This doesn’t just include teachers, social service workers and contractors. This also includes the labor force, the blue collar worker, waitresses, grocers and the pretty little secretary in the doctor’s office.

    While there have been many squabbles with the unions over mandatory membership, union dues and unequal representation, these are internal struggles that should be sorted out among union members and those affected by union jobs, not dismantled by outside forces. I did not fail to notice in reading the first newspaper report of Governor Scott Walker’s attempt to abolish collective bargaining, that he exempted law enforcement, saying we could not afford for them to go on strike. No, i don’t suppose we can when there are thousands of people on the street protesting. Law enforcement has been, and must continue to be, a very lucrative business.

  2. Eddie,

    While I found most of your article to ring very true to the world of realpolitik, I must say that you reveal a stunning level of misinformation in this sentence..

    “But as Egypt showed us, the real numbers in the street are what matters. It is there where you will find the enlightened discussion within a true democratic process.”

    You might have missed it (largely because the mainstream press isn’t talking about it), but Egypt is now a military junta – the armed forces now rule the place with a fist every bit as iron as Mubarak used to! The difference now is that the army is willing to shoot and mow down protestors Tianiman Square-style now that they have the power: the public were mere pawns in the generals’ power play – now that their oiwer is secure, there’s no reason for the junta to play nice with the public anymore.

    As Mao Tse Tung once said, “All political power grows from the barrel of a gun.” The army now controls all the guns and has no qualms about using them. The lesson I took away from the failed uprising was this: if you want to destroy the state, be sure you have enough firepower at your command to ensure that you can finish the revolutions your start – popular support may get the ball rolling, but its the bullet that has the final say in determining where real power lies.

  3. [Quote=Karlsie] did not fail to notice in reading the first newspaper report of Governor Scott Walker’s attempt to abolish collective bargaining, that he exempted law enforcement, saying we could not afford for them to go on strike. No, i don’t suppose we can when there are thousands of people on the street protesting. Law enforcement has been, and must continue to be, a very lucrative business.[/quote]

    The agents of the state’s “law” enforcement arm are well-compensated lap dogs – either directly (wages, benefits, etc…) or indirectly (usually through use of authority to further personal goals – such as police “protection” rackets or settling personal grudes through false arrest) these persons exercise far more power over society than any average working man ever could. The reason: the entity called state can’t exist without them – they make up the personell infrastructure of its “defense” (read: mechanism for repression of dissent) that makes it possible for it to use force. After all, the only reason states exist at all is because they have a means to force their will on those too weak to fight back.

    Take that infrastructure away from the state and it will crumble to dust – only then can there be hope for any authority system to arise organically and take on a new form: one crafted by sovereign individuals rather than oligarchs and beaurocrats…

  4. Azazel: Egypt right now is in a state4 of transition. However, characterizing that transition as permanent or as indicative of what it will become permanently is, IMO, a bi of disinformation. If you think those same millions who rose up against an embedded dictator, won’t come into play or have a say so of what Egypt will become, then you’re not paying attention.

    Rhetoric about guns or violent coercion as the only means toward change actually goes counter to the historical evidence.

  5. Karlsie: That’s just it, none of the austerity measures being taken off the backs of thoise least able to afford it are NOT conscientious measures.

    Destroying the right of labor to bargain collectively is a key aspect of maintaining a viable middle class.

  6. Here’s an example of what’s happening in Egupt NOW:

    “So far, the Constitution has been suspended, and a panel formed to write a new one. This panel will be led by retired judge Tareq el-Bishri, who criticized the Mubarak government while it was in power. It includes Maher Samy Youssef, a Coptic Christian, and Sobhi Saleh, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, which plans to form a political party to run candidates for Parliament. Opposition groups praised the selections. The constitutional panel will have 10 days to come up with amendments, suggesting that the turnover of power is happening rapidly.”

    Yes,the potential for abuse is there, but I wouldn’t characterize it as beijng LESS demoicratic than pre-Mubarak.

    Also, the suggestion that only violent overtthrow works flies in the face of everything that has happened in the mid-east where violence is the norm rather than the exception.

    Again, I can see where this transitionary period can be warped and manipulated, but I doubt very much that the same MILLIONS that protested will allow that to happen without saying something.

    It’s a crisis and crisis with fraught with danger but it also leaves room for a lot of opportunity.

    I don’t see the Egyptian army being he ONLY dynamic at work here. to call Egypt a failed uprising is just not true — at least not yet.

  7. Ooops! forget to append the following information (from Robert Fisk):

    “But the critical moment came on the evening of 30 January when, it is now clear, Mubarak ordered the Egyptian Third Army to crush the demonstrators in Tahrir Square with their tanks after flying F-16 fighter bombers at low level over the protesters.

    Many of the senior tank commanders could be seen tearing off their headsets – over which they had received the fatal orders – to use their mobile phones. They were, it now transpires, calling their own military families for advice. Fathers who had spent their lives serving the Egyptian army told their sons to disobey, that they must never kill their own people.

    Fathers telling their sons (Tank commanders) to disobey orders — to never fire on their own people. Wow.

  8. I wouldn’t call Egypt a failed revolution yet, either, especially considering that the uprising has sparked other Mideastern countries to confront their governments and demand more equitable legislation. There is a primary difficulty when people revolt against their governments, and that difficulty is amply illustrated in Egypt. It’s the difference between Civil War and revolution. In civil war, you have civilians fighting each other, which makes it very easy for the government to contract soldiers. In revolution, the government is asking these soldiers to fire on their own neighbors, family and friends. Rule by militia is a weak rule as all the country’s resources are poured into financing it. The longer the militia holds power, the angrier and more resentful the people will be who are under its dictatorship. They harbor their grudges so that when the citizens strike back, it’s usually very volatile, very bloody.

    America could have a revolution, or it could, just as easily, go into civil war. We’ve reached an impasse where neither side wants to compromise or negotiate. Actually, there are several sides. There are the corporate manifest who want no disruption in their illegitimate, self serving codes and statutes defined as law through bribery and coercion. There are the gun rights advocates who find themselves alone within the framework of liberal nanny laws, so swing toward the right as their only political voice. There are the racists and the fascists who hide behind Colonial tradition. There are the environmentalists whose main focus is sound natural resource technology. The division has even split religion down the middle; between those religious groups who still believe the government should be secular and those who desire a fundamental Christian government.

    America is splintered enough that a militia could easily be installed. It could go through a series of coups like Roman did in his waning years. As long as we remain splintered, the banks, the corporates, the government, will continue having their own way because divided, we fall. The enemy is not our neighbor, our family, our friends. The enemy rules over us. Yet, until everyone understands this, i think it’s wise to own a few guns.

  9. [Quote=Eddie]Egypt right now is in a state4 of transition.[/quote]

    The “transition” is over – the military has taken control.

    [Quote=Eddie]If you think those same millions who rose up against an embedded dictator, won’t come into play or have a say so of what Egypt will become, then you’re not paying attention.[/quote]

    Numbers don’t mean shit if they have no means to counter the firepower of the state – a mass of unarmed peasants pose no threat to a military dictatorship. The only reason the weren’t slaughtered earlier is because Mubarak was weak (due to poor health) and his generals saw opportunity to capitalize on public resentment of the outgoing ruler: they didn’t fight the protesters because they were *useful* to the military’s cause – but that’s not true anymore.

    [Quote=Eddie]So far, the Constitution has been suspended, and a panel formed to write a new one.[/quote]

    That’s what we’re being told, but I doubt that the junta will seriously allow for any power that challenges that of the state any place at the table – never trust the word of power as it always seeks to beguile and betray you.

    [Quote=Eddie]But the critical moment came on the evening of 30 January when, it is now clear, Mubarak ordered the Egyptian Third Army to crush the demonstrators in Tahrir Square with their tanks after flying F-16 fighter bombers at low level over the protesters.

    Many of the senior tank commanders could be seen tearing off their headsets – over which they had received the fatal orders – to use their mobile phones. They were, it now transpires, calling their own military families for advice. Fathers who had spent their lives serving the Egyptian army told their sons to disobey, that they must never kill their own people.[/quote]

    If you really believe that power has a conscience you are sadly mistaken – in fact, the events described here mesh perfectly with my view of the “revolution” (one of protesters being a mere tool of a rising power). I know that new regimes love to claim some kind of “moral” high ground over the old one they replace and this is great propaganda for them

  10. Azazel: My belief is that this isn’t over. Nothing you have posted has documented the opposite, or your position: that the issue is over with. You seem to think it’s over. It hasn’t even started. If you think the same people who forced one brutal dictator (who had the backing of the world’s major superpower) will stand by quietly as the military takes over, then you’re not paying attention.

    Also, the part of officers disobeying orders is true. so, it isn’t a matter of whether power has a conscience or not, but that officers refused to shoot at their own people. that’s an important consideration which you seem to dismiss out of hand.

    Respectfully speaking, I find your position overly simplistic, ahistorical, and without merit. for example, you maintain a meta theory that peasant revolutions are always stomped out, when in reality the dialectic is mush more complicated and nuanced. Additionally, you fail to note the REAL motivation of the uprising: PEOPLE WERE HUNGRY! Food prices made it impossible to eat. I can guarantee you that if that doesn’t change, the uprisings will continue.

    that being said, yes, the instability of change can be manipulated in several different ways. the FACT is that it hasn’t happened yet. You dismiss the constitutional efforts, but with no real documentation to back up your assertions. I will say this: Egypt will fare A LOT better than Iraq, which is an example of change from the top down.

    I doubt the military will successfully quell the movement completely and whatever happens, it will have to be a lot better than what was in place before.

  11. [Quote=Eddie]Azazel: My belief is that this isn’t over. Nothing you have posted has documented the opposite, or your position: that the issue is over with. You seem to think it’s over. It hasn’t even started. If you think the same people who forced one brutal dictator (who had the backing of the world’s major superpower) will stand by quietly as the military takes over, then you’re not paying attention.[/quote]

    That’s just it – I don’t think that the actions of a bunch of demonstrators are the real reason for Mubarak’s fall from power. Had the army been loyal to the leader the demonstrations would have been easily crushed (just ask the “tank man” in Tianiman Square).

    [Quote=Eddie]Also, the part of officers disobeying orders is true. so, it isn’t a matter of whether power has a conscience or not, but that officers refused to shoot at their own people.[/quote]

    The incidents are true, but you are looking at them from the perspective of a “moral” imperative (that of soldiers who won’t shoot their own countrymen out of loyalty to some notion of a national “greater good”) whilst I look at it from a Machiavellian perspective (that the real reason the army would not shoot the protesters is because they served the military’s own cause – that of providing justification for seizing power).

    I’m not dismissing them, merely looking at them in a different context.

    [Quote=Eddie]Respectfully speaking, I find your position overly simplistic, ahistorical, and without merit.[/quote]

    Tell that to Caeser – this is not the first time that a government has been usurped by the military under a flag of populism nor will it be the last.

    [Quote=Eddie]for example, you maintain a meta theory that peasant revolutions are always stomped out, when in reality the dialectic is mush more complicated and nuanced.[/quote]

    Not always – but the “peaceful” variety usually are stamped out or coopted by establishment forces. If you want the populist uprising to survive the might of the army they will need weapons with which to wage a guerrilla war against an enemy with a superior number of troops and firepower (which is something that the demonstrators simply don’t have at their disposal).

    [Quote=Eddie]Additionally, you fail to note the REAL motivation of the uprising: PEOPLE WERE HUNGRY! Food prices made it impossible to eat. I can guarantee you that if that doesn’t change, the uprisings will continue.[/quote]

    I noted that – and I also noted that when faced with a choice to die quickly (such as being gunned down in the streets by the army) or to die slowly (such as starvation) most people opt for the second choice.

    Sorry Eddie, but don’t have any reason to share your optimism about the situation – not as long as the infrastucture of the state still stands unchallenged (which is what created the inflated food prices in the first place, I might add…).

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