Politicalmonkey2010

The Truth Shall Set You Free…It might piss you off first, but it will set you free.

Birth of Democracy…Destruction of Democracy

Posted by politicalmonkey2010 on March 2, 2011

The irony has not been lost on me that while I am humbled to witness the birth of what we all hope to be a new democracy in Egypt, I am also dismayed that I am witnessing an attempted hijacking of a democracy in the USA.

Without a doubt a new paradigm is being ushered into the world, it started with a humble vegetable vendor in Tunisia, Bouazizi Mohamed, frustrated by his inability to make a living, to have a bit of dignity set himself on fire.   As the world watched Tunisia’s dictator crumble, something stirred deep inside the belly of the middle east.  Egyptians broke the fear barrier, and brought down their tyrant…it is spreading…Yemen, Bahrain, Oman, protests are schedule for Saudi on March 11,  and of course Libya.  After being ruled by outsiders for a 1,000 years, and then conquered by insiders who raped the country and the spirit of the people, the Arab world has found their voice, and they are crying for freedom, for dignity, for universal human rights.   The important factor here being, this is a movement from within, it was not brought on by the US kicking in the door of democracy as we did in Iraq.  Not to mention the fact that the US imposed, demanded elections in Palestine, which were conducted, and Hamas was elected, then we decided that we didn’t like who won the democratic elections.

When I think of the word democracy, I think of the US.  We may not be the biggest democracy – that honor goes to India, and we may not be the oldest democracy – that belongs to Greece,  but I always thought of us as a forward moving democracy.  A democracy that has survived and prospered because we embraced change.  We have had Constitutional Amendments to reflect new paradigms -the abolition of  slavery, the removal of the notion that a slave was counted as three-fifths of a person, women given the right to vote are a few examples of how we have morphed to be a more fully inclusive democracy.

One of the signs of a successful democracy is a degree of  civilized disagreement.   The US has continually has extremists on both sides of the aisle,  and ultimately some where in the middle is a good place to rest, but finding middle ground has been increasingly difficult.  Movement to compromise is thwarted continually and forward movement is being hijacked, most notably from a populist movement called the Tea Party, with inflammatory rhetoric and a hard no compromising approach it threatens the very foundation of this democracy.

It also bears mentioning that the people who are bankrolling this movement have their own agenda.  Much of which can be viewed on  Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News Programs.  There is also another group,  who have been given the luxury of operating in the shadows for the most part, that is until recently – The Koch brothers.

The billionaire  Koch Brothers have given tens of millions of dollars to Republican candidates. Millions more of their dollars have been given to think tanks such as the Cato Institute and Heritage Foundation, and lobbying organisations like the US Chamber of Commerce. They have also helped bankroll dozens of cleverly-named pressure groups, including Americans for Prosperity and the Institute for Justice.  Most organisations which benefit from the Kochs’ largesse have one thing in common: they help advance an unflinching brand of libertarian conservatism. Some lobby against environmental regulation, or seek to undermine public perception of the threat of climate change, others battle taxes, trade unions and Barack Obama’s healthcare reforms.  Laughing all the way to the bank with the millions of dollars they have made at the expense of America and Americans. Their ecology destroying business has benefited from the political people the Koch’s have bedded including Bob Dole (Source) Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin is no stranger to the Koch Brothers, they heavily bankrolled his campaign, as they did other Republican governors.  (Sources  1 2 3 4 5 )

When a Governor or any other political leader feels the need to “lock down” a capitol, that is a big clue that something very, very wrong is happening.    Gov. Walker, just like every dictator and tyrant in the world has taken a hard line approach, he isn’t negotiating.  Why?  Is it power?  Is it money? Or a combination.  The prank call from a “Koch” brother to Gov. Walker revealed his belief system, and his priorities.

 

 

 

Nobody likes to be given an ultimatum, and the union has come to the table, but Gov. Walker has one agenda in mind, to bust the union.  Unions have been a part of America’s working class.  Unions have brought us weekends, an eight hour work day, OSHA – safety in the workplace, eliminated child labor, vacations, minimum wage to name a few.  Yet, Gov. Walker and the right wing political machine is determined to throw working people back into shackles and sweat shops, owned by the company store.  It is the extremism, the tyrant like behavior that is so disturbing.   Walker has drawn the line in the sand, and in fact may be the best thing anybody has done for the Democratic Party in a long time.  It has united people.  An overwhelming majority of Americans oppose taking away some of the collective bargaining rights that public employee unions now have and almost as many oppose cutting the pay or benefits of those workers, according to a nationwide New York Times/CBS News poll conducted Feb. 24-27.

A few months ago I had a conversation with a man who identified himself as an “Independent” – although I am more inclined to think that was just a way to avoid admitting he is a Republican, but I digress.  The point of the conversation was that the Republican party needed to “rebrand” itself into the working man’s party.  That isn’t going to happen any time soon given recent events.

The real question is :  is busting the unions the only way to eliminate Wisconsin’s  $137 million budget deficit?  The answer is no.  There are at least three other ways to close the gap.

  1. Close Special Interest Property Tax Loopholes – The current exemptions on potential property taxes amount to $700 million per year.
  2. Close The Internet Sales Tax Loophole – A University of Tennessee study estimates that “in 2011 alone, Wisconsin will lose an estimated $127 million in uncollected sales tax on purchases made online.
  3. Crack Down On Corporate Income Tax Dodgers – this would close $113 million dollar a year.

(source)

It all begs the question, why target the unions?  This isn’t about unions, it is about power, it is about money.  It is about the right vs. the left.  It is about shutting down the money that has traditionally funded the Democrats.  The party that has always represented the working class person, the party that has at its core values compassion.  With the emergence of the Tea Party all of a sudden if you have compassion, you are called a socialist, a Marxist, a communist.  I consider myself a centrist, but I am the first to admit with each push, with each unreasonable action from the right I move farther and farther to the left.  It is evident that compromise is not in their vocabulary, which leaves no other choice but to push, and push hard.  I refuse to remain silent and watch my country slide into an abyss where the only people who have dignity are those that have vast sums of money.  I believe if given a some what even playing field, if given the opportunity and environment to succeed Americans will rise to the challenge.  Keeping silent while democracy is hijacked by right wing nut jobs is not an option.

In order for a democracy to survive, in order for capitalism to survive, people must be empowered, economically and socially.  I can’t help but wonder if the US is going where Egypt was, we are moving backwards.  We are stripping workers of their rights, creating future ghettos for the short term benefit of people like the Koch brothers who have managed to find the prostitute in politicians.  They have capitalized on the fear of the Tea Party – racism and Islamaphobia.  The biggest threat to America and the core values of our democracy, will not come from Al Qaeda,  it will come from within.  It is already here.  I can’t help but believe that in 10 years some of these rabid wing nuts will say “oh my God what did we do?”  It will be too late then, but maybe we will remember how Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya fought to take back their countries.  Walk like an Egyptian but fight like a Libyan ….

 

 

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