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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/28/11

The Rebellions in the Arab World and in Wisconsin, Sililarly Motivated against Tyranny

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What we have been witnessing in the Arab world since December and the last couple of weeks in Wisconsin is nothing short of the beginning of a worldwide revolution.

Let's explain. For sure the uprisings that began in Tunisia, then Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, now raging in Libya (and likely in Algeria and beyond) are populist, grass roots, non ideological rebellions against tyrannical dictators and their regimes who oppress and repress their people (and are not obviously directly connected with the populist struggle being waged in Wisconsin).

All these regimes are characterized by rampant corruption, nepotism, cronyism that favors those closest to the ruler i.e. ownership of key domestic industries, no bid contracts and blatant favoritism while the main population suffers from widespread unemployment and lack of opportunity, abject poverty, emergency laws of indefinite detention, torture, humiliations and indignities inflicted by police and security personnel.

In Wisconsin the populist revolt is focused on Governor Scott Walker's arbitrary attempt to end collective bargaining with the public service unions. It is a clear cut case of union busting couched as containing the states budget deficit. But it is a direct assault on middle class wages and benefits.

Lest we forget, Walkers candidacy for governor was bankrolled by the Koch Bros., the billionaire owners of the conglomerate Koch Industries (Georgia Pacific et al) notorious for their financial backing of right wing organizations, anti-government ads, anti union positions and political propaganda.

Unlike the tyrannical corrupt leaders in the Arab world, what we have in the U.S. is elected leaders corrupted by an electoral system that has big moneyed and special interests bankrolling their campaigns and those elected leaders, then beholden to those interests, becoming their sycophantic water carriers to enact the laws, regulations, oversight and enforcement that favor their big moneyed and special interest benefactors.

So it is not the same type of "favoritism" of Arab regime nepotism and cronyism (family members and close associates) but "favoritism" (cronyism) to benefit the interests of their campaign backers.

On the national level we have the Congress bankrolled by the "too big to fail" mega financial interests [1] , private health care and big "Pharma", insurance, the defense industry et al.

When the sub-prime mortgage market bubble burst in the fall of 2008 it was the government (Treasury and Federal Reserve) that bailed out the financial industry who were the perpetrators of the financial meltdown and the cause of the subsequent great recession. Instead of being held accountable for their malfeasance they were "rewarded" and made whole again allowed to feed at the public trough. All this enacted by Congress and signed into law by the president.

Thus the "connection" between the Arab world's rebellion and Wisconsin's is all about opposing the tyranny of corrupt rulers.

In the U.S. it is the subtler form of corruption with big corporate financing of elections masquerading as free speech and democracy (now made "legitimate" by the Supreme Court's decision in "Citizens United" that gave corporations 1st Amendment free speech rights equal to citizens).

When the election process is corrupted what is the real difference between being rigged to keep the dictator in power (with all the nepotism and cronyism remaining in place) and the rigging of our election process by the outsized bankrolling of candidates by the big moneyed and special interests? The end result is the same; the increased wealth and power of the favored few at the expense of the many.

So is it a stretch to believe the populist rebellion in Wisconsin against a corrupted governor's attempt to destroy public unions collective bargaining rights is connected with those populist rebellions against corrupt leaders in the Arab world are similarly motivated?

Not from here they are not.              

[1] Remember last year Senator Dick Durbin (D. Ill.) commenting during a radio interview, "And frankly they own the place"; a reference to the big financial interests largesse and the sway they have on many of his Senate colleagues.

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