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Pure Transformation or Persistent Deterioration? What Next Wisconsin? America? The World?

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And as it was in the beginning, so shall it be in the end
That bullshit is bullshit, it just goes by different names "

Paul Weller (The Jam)

We all know the old Albert Einstein adage that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. What does that say about Wisconsin? June 5th 2012 saw an exact rematch of the 2010 gubernatorial election between Republican Scott Walker and Democrat Tom Barrett -- and the exact same result, the only difference being that Walker won by an even wider margin than before.

While pundits have been pontificating about the causes of such a seemingly absurd victory by Scott Walker after the enormous groundswell of citizens fighting for sixteen months against the governor and his Tea Party Republican administration, most of the discussion has been shallow and fraught with inaccuracies. Furthermore, mere speculation on the causes of the Walker win only point to the ease with which our society retreats back to often unfounded conventional wisdom. Walker outspending Barrett 7 to 1, an ignorant electorate hell bent on voting against their own interests, and poor "messaging" by the Democratic party/candidate may all have played a part in the crushing Walker win, but these observations only scratch the surface of the problems facing Wisconsin, the country, and the world and serve to fuel the media's incessant focus on the horse race. This insistence on focusing on the superficial always serves, by design, to impede the discourse on substantive issues.

The following represent some of the points directly and indirectly connected to the Wisconsin election which I failed to hear in the media discourse on the subject:

In Wisconsin:

  • Scott Walker did NOT originally campaign on taking away collective bargaining rights. Thus, when he and his cronies claimed that he just carried out his campaign promises, they lied.


  • The right to collective bargaining has nothing to do with and does not preclude balancing a budget.


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In America:

  • The fact that private sector and non-union employees do not have living wages, full benefits and access to health care is a travesty, but their friends and neighbors in unions in the public sector are not to blame. ALL workers should have such benefits, which all humans should be entitled to. By demonizing fellow workers who have these basic human rights, we only allow the elite to sit back with their excess riches while the rest fight for scraps. The haves promulgate the falsehood of entitlement abuse through exploiting the fear and selfishness of the have-nots. It is a divide and conquer strategy through which the elite pit the working class against one another in a race to the bottom. In reality, the hoarding by the super-rich few is to blame for the lack of basic resources for the many.


  • An entitlement is a right, not a "handout."


  • The decline in wages and benefits across all sectors has mirrored the decline in unions in America; when unions are strong, ALL WORKERS benefit.


  • Blind support of Democratic candidates by unions over the past several decades has resulted in no gains or benefits for workers. On the contrary, in the country as a whole as in Wisconsin, Democratic candidates have erroneously blamed public employees for financial woes and have demanded concessions from public workers while remaining unwavering in their support for corporations and the wealthy.


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  • The budget crises facing our governments on all levels are due to the enormous expenditures on subsidizing already wealthy and large corporations, the lowering of taxes on the rich, the virtual raping of the citizenry and our federal government by Wall Street millionaires and billionaires, and the unrelenting military spending on illegal and immoral wars and on redundant and unnecessary weapons.


  • Corporate subsidies only enrich corporations and their upper management, not their rank and file employees and not citizens. Increased tax breaks and monies to corporations do not trickle down to workers. Corporations do not create more jobs through such measures as lower taxes and increased subsidies; they simply create more wealth for themselves.


  • While Democrat and Republican politicians stress their minor differences through their socially more liberal or conservative beliefs, these amount to little in terms of concrete societal change, as both parties adhere to the identical dominant economic, plutocratic, oligarchic paradigm which is destroying the nation and the world. It is not by chance that all of the presidents of the past twenty-four years have been Ivy League graduates, as the next president will also be. The vast majority of these people are not admitted to elite institutions based simply on their merit; they are admitted due to their family wealth, power, and/or prestige. And for those like Bill Clinton who do not come from such pedigrees, the only way they are able to sustain their status after having been accepted into the power elite is by implicitly promising to maintain and propagate the dominant paradigm and the status quo.
  • For those who decry the lack of a clear, cohesive, and compelling message by Democrats to counter Republicans, there lies a simple answer: Democrats do not have their own message because their message is the same as that of Republicans.


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Kristine Mattis received her PhD in Environmental Studies. As an interdisciplinary environmental scholar with a background in biology, earth system science, and policy, her research focuses on environmental risk information and science (more...)

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When 70% of the electorate makes it crystal clear ... by Thomas Brown on Thursday, Jun 14, 2012 at 7:03:19 PM