Comments on Wisconsin

Here, touching on many sides of the unfolding drama, are comments that readers have sent on the Civil War in Wisconsin, from Saturday, February 19 through today. Since there have been so many entries on the subject, I am putting all the so-far unposted comments into this one entry for easier reading.

February 19

Kathlene M. writes:

According to Wisconsin law (per Daily Caller), the “missing” Wisconsin state senators could be charged with class 1 felonies, but state Republican Sen. Glenn Grothman tells The Daily Caller that he and his colleagues most likely won’t push for the Democrats to be charged … Part 946.12, Section 1, of Wisconsin state law says that a class 1 felony is committed when a public official “intentionally fails or refuses to perform a known mandatory, nondiscretionary, ministerial duty of the officer’s or employee’s office or employment within the time or in the manner required by law.” I don’t know why the Wisconsin Republicans don’t pursue charges against these derelict senators, especially since the missing Wisconsin Democratic senators have stated publicly that they plan to stay away for weeks, it that’s what it takes, to get their way. Perhaps the Republicans feel that the longer the Democrats hide, the more public opinion will favor the Republican position.

February 20

Joseph writes:

In 2003, the Democrats in Texas fled to Oklahoma for three weeks to stop a GOP plan to redraw state legislative districts. They remained out of state for a few weeks, but one man returned and the plan was eventually passed.

Roland D. writes:

Quorum-dodging state legislators have often crossed state lines so as to avoid being rounded up by their respective state police organizations.

This technique hasn’t been used so much in recent times, but was not unheard-of in the post-War Between the States era up through the 1950s or so. It isn’t anything to be alarmed about, it’s a legitimate parliamentary maneuver.

The occupation of the state capitol building, on the other hand, is something which ought to be dealt with immediately. It’s inexplicable to me why the Governor of Wisconsin hasn’t already called out the Wisconsin National Guard to restore order.

Maybe they’re all too busy building Islamic ‘democracy’ in Iraq and Afghanistan to be of assistance?

James N. writes:

I was just in the hospital and I saw the ABC news on the waiting room TV (the one that never shuts off). The mob in the Capitol building (Madison, not Washington) is growing. The whole place is defaced with signs. A labor activist said on camera, “no way are we waiting four years to replace this government”. I think they are planning to stay, and to prevent the elected government of Wisconsin from functioning. I hope Scott Walker understands the situation he finds himself in.

Paul K. writes:

Any readers interested in seeing the kind of signs carried at the Madison rally can see more at Ann Althouse’s site.

Althouse lives in Madison and has been posting lots of photographs of signs—some violent, some vulgar, and some merely incoherent.

Sophia A. writes:

The governor should fire all public employee union workers and replace them with cheap compliant illegal aliens. This most assuredly includes the police.

That’ll force the Dems to put their money where their mouths are. As the old union song goes, “which side are you on, boys? Which side are you on?”

Shrewsbury writes:

One aspect of the ongoing Wisconsin Capitol Outrage that Shrewsbury feels has been rather oddly overlooked, is that here are all our “public servants,” the makers and enforcers of laws, rules, regulations, spasmodically leaping into illegality, rule-breaking, and regulation-annulling the instant the legislature does anything they don’t like. What, then, is the meaning of those laws, rules, and regulations to those who draft, promulgate, and enforce them? Something to think about the next time one is handed a hefty ticket by a cop for not wearing a seatbelt on a drive of a few blocks, or has his taxes audited, or is stymied in some effort by some faceless bureaucracy which never fails to find another “t” to be crossed or “i” to be dotted. One may then ask oneself, is this really anything other than an expression of raw, naked power, the good old “Who? Whom?”

(Shrewsbury is tempted to translate that into Americanese, but doubts it would pass the VFR Board of Censors…. )

Yrs. respectfully,

Shrewsbury continues:

Also, it looks like some of the shrewder neo-Leninists are beginning to realize that, paradoxical though it may seem, public-employee union power and the resulting lavish benefits are a grave threat to their innumerable schemes—because the more money poured into pensions, the less money for their innumerable schemes … However, those with absolutely no understanding of economics, such as Obama and his crack team of political advisers, will fail to perceive any conflict, because they can see no reason why government spending cannot continue to expand forever….

N. writes:

Remember during the endless Florida ballot recount of 2000, when the Democrats decided to scoop up ballots and take them off to a closed room for “counting”? And remember the shock in the national media over the “riot” of Republicans on the scene? You wrote something on that, I believe. Anyway, if I remember correctly, a big part of the “shock” was that Republicans would raise their voices (most impolite!) at all, in the face of blatant vote-stealing. [LA replies: Yes, here is the article, which was published at Newsmax on Nov. 27, 2000. In it, I argued that the reason Richard Cohen was now supporting Bush in the Florida stand-off was that, on the basis of a disruptive demonstration Republican vote-watchers had set off when they thought that the counters were cheating, he realized that if Gore was given the presidency, the country would have a conservative revolution on its hands. In other words, he was supporting Bush because he feared that a Gore victory could bring down the liberal order.]

I see some of the same today in coverage of Wisconsin. The arrival of tens of thousands of people, some carrying signs such as “I Work” or “Sorry I Wasn’t Here Earlier, I Have A Job”, seems to have knocked the media off message. Normally, such demonstrations are not covered at all, or downplayed. But a big crowd (one estimate was 60,000) of people facing off over a legislative issue can’t be swept under the rug, and the supporters of the Republican efforts to rein in the budget mess can’t be ignored.

Maybe I’m imagining things, but I think I see confusion in the faces of the journalists. They just don’t know what to make of such demonstrators. Just like in Florida in 2000.

February 21

An Indian living in the West writes:

Did you know that the average wage of a private sector employee in America is $40,000 per year (and has been stagnant for about five years—despite inflation) whereas the average wage of a public sector employee is now close to $70,000 annually? If you are a public sector employee, you can live off the people. In the Western nations, government has become a giant parasite sucking the blood of productive people. In Britain, the state now consumes 53 percent of GDP! In some parts of Britain the state’s share of the economy exceeds 75 percent (reaching 81 percent in some regions)—which is higher than the state’s share of the economy in Communist Eastern Europe. All of which leads me to believe that the West (certainly Britain and America) is heading for an economic collapse. These rates of government spending are totally unsustainable.

Notice the Orwellian way in which the left frames the debate—this is about saving the poor from the evil capitalists! The reality is that this is about sucking the blood of the middle class and feeding it to government employees. I am glad you have picked up on it. This will be the biggest issue facing politicians in America and Britain. Both countries are on a path to government insolvency and currency collapse (California leads the way). And the politicians in both countries fudge the real issues or engage in downright lies about what they are doing to fix the problems. We could have a repeat of what happened when the Soviet Union collapsed.

Vivek G. writes:

Kathleen M wrote: “This corroborates what we’ve been hearing: union-supporting protesters are being bussed in from everywhere … ”

This reminds me of rallies by politicians in India. The huge crowds that you see in rallies by politicians in India are all hordes of people ferried like cattle to make a large attendant crowd in these rallies. I do not know how it is in the US, but here in India these ferried people are those who have been lured by a few bucks each, half a day’s (or sometimes a full day) meal, and free transport. If I were to speak to all you Americans as man to man, I would say, friends I love my country India, I wish and would work my heart and soul that it becomes the greatest nation on earth; but at the moment don’t let your good nice country go the India-way! And the more I read about the developments in the US, the more my heart sinks. Be it the election of Obama, who I have long surmised as the Jawahar L. Nehru of the USA. It will be a long ordeal recouping from the hole that such a leader can push a nation into. Be it the appeasement of Islam. Be it Social-Justice through Affirmative-Action policies. One could go on and on. It makes me wonder why and how such things happen?

Beth M. writes:

Don’t be too quick to think that the vast hordes of activists camping out in Madison means that the Governor is bound to lose on this issue. For every striking teacher, there are 20 kids shut out of school. For many working parents, the school system is their daycare plan. A third-grade girl can walk home from elementary school and take care of herself for two hours till her mother gets home—but she isn’t mature enough to be home alone all day, every day. Every day that the strike goes on may increase the number of “activists” at the capitol, but the hardship is falling on working mothers, few of whom make $100,000 per year. Many better-off parents are probably investigating the local Lutheran and Catholic school options. If the strike goes on long enough, the strikers will have imposed so much hardship on the working class and lower middle class that the governor will be in a pretty good bargaining position. At some point, the teachers start running out of sick days, and start losing income themselves.

What will be funny is if the schools are closed for a couple of months, and the end of year test scores on national exams are not noticeably depressed. Maybe public schools are more of a social experience than an educational experience. That’s certainly the way that I remember it.

Joseph C. writes:

Regarding Wisconsin, I share Sage McLaughlin’s pessimism. I doubt Scott Walker has the stomach to crush this rebellion, and even if he did, I am sure Wisconsin has more than a few pusillanimous RINOs who will do what they do best—sell out the state to avoid a confrontation. But if America is ever to gain fiscal sanity and break free from the intimidation of the public sector leeches, it will necessarily mean that leaders like Walker will have to muster the will to exert the level of force necessary to crush these occupiers AND to spit in the face of the sympathetic media that will play up the melodrama. It is long past time for “persuasive, logical argument.” That will sway only those already on the GOP side. Trumka, the college brats, and the strikers must receive an unapologetic lesson in the real use of power. Fired state employees can gain sympathetic ears when they sue to get their jobs back. Seriously injured or dead ones cannot. I am sorry if that sounds harsh, but there appears to be no other way.

- end of initial entry -

February 22

Sophia A. writes:

I love Shrewsbury. I love him on everything and here he is even more incisive than ever.

Every driver in Wisconsin who is handed a ticket should say to the cop or trooper, “If I drive into Illinois, can I tear this up and throw it away? In a garbage can, of course.”

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 21, 2011 06:35 PM | Send

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