Update from Wisconsin

I'm watching the live feed from the Wisconsin Capitol Building, and getting messages from friends inside. No arrests so far, the police are hanging back. Despite orders to close the doors, 100 new people were recently let inside from the thousands standing outdoors. WORT public radio has live coverage, as does Andrew Kroll of Mother Jones. Last I heard, CNN was talking about turtles. UPDATE: Live feed has lost their Internet connection. Situation hasn't changed much, though. Follow Andrew Kroll on Twitter for regular updates. He's in there. UPDATE AGAIN: There's not much going on right now. It looks like rumors that police would refuse to arrest or clear the building might be true. People have been confined to second floor. Otherwise, no arrests. No change.


  1. Wisconsin State Constitution, Art 1, S4: The legislature cannot prohibit an individual from entering the capitol or its grounds.r

  2. ‘Breaking News’, my ass…
    The only thing on CNN that mentions Wisconsin is “Tensions flare in Wisconsin after Assembly passes bill on union rights”
    By David Ariosto, CNN , February 25, 2011 9:47 p.m. EST

    Two days ago…

  3. All those protesters chasing money.

    Where were they when their money was spent bombing folks across
    the planet?

    Suck it up, your empire is about to implode.

    Learn to ask “want fries with that” in Mandarin.

    1. They’ve agreed to make all concessions except for collective bargaining. They’re chasing their rights, they’ve given up money.

  4. I do not understand how intelligent folks who run my favorite site Boing Bong can be for these socialists. The public sector unions with collective bargaining remove the ability of our ELECTED representatives to negotiate. Is is not obvious how corrupt the public sector unions are?

    1. How does a situation in which both sides (state gov’t and state workers) have the ability to negotiate keep one side from doing so? Unless you don’t actually mean negotiate, but rather dictate.

    2. “The public sector unions with collective bargaining remove the ability of our ELECTED representatives to negotiate.”

      I don’t get it (honestly). Negotiate with whom?

      I’m a graduate teaching assistant at a public university, and our union won us health care (there was none before the union), and a cap on the hours we could be forced to work (prof’s are notorious for overworking their grads).

      Public sector unions, as a whole, are not corrupt. I’m sure some are, so prosecute the corrupt. But if you remove workers’ right to unionize, the workers get screwed.

      Also, did you just use “socialist” as a pejorative?

      1. There are grad student unions? Seriously? Where are those things in the science fields?

        /Geophysics Ph.D. student, here

        1. I’m in mathematics. They do exist. At my university (Oregon State), the arts are more heavily represented, but the geo is actually one of the sciences with the highest membership rate.

          We’re a local chapter of the statewide AFT, so talking to AFT at the state or national level might be the place to start. AFT-OR put lots of man hours and dollars in helping us to get off the ground.

    3. I do not understand how intelligent folks who run my favorite site Boing Bong can be for these socialists.

      Ah, let me guess. You watch FOX “News” and/or listen to right-wing radio quite a bit and when I call you out on that, you’re going to deny it?

    4. Main Entry: bargain
      Part of Speech: noun
      Definition: agreement
      Synonyms: arrangement, bond, business, compact, contract, convention, covenant, deal, engagement, NEGOTIATION, pact, pledge, promise, stipulation, transaction, treaty, understanding

      How exactly does bargaining prevent negotiation?

    5. This is a little hard to wrap my head around.

      You think that a union being allowed to have a strong position in negotiations with the state is the same thing as disallowing negotiation?

      Negotiation means you have to sit down with somebody and are forced into a compromise. Collective bargaining is negotiation.

      The way you make this argument suggests that you think the state has some sort of implicit right to enact decisions without meaningful or effective resistance, and that having to negotiate is a violation of that right.

      That’s basically a grievance with democratic rule itself. “People are allowed to RESIST the people we elected?!!! Bullshit!”

  5. Is there a Godwin equivalent for when people start throwing out terms like “socialism” or “fascism” without knowing what they mean?

  6. They’re letting the protesters stay in the Capital. The cops want people to leave peacefully so they can get the cleaners in and then reopen at 8:00 in the morning.


    CNN is showing some retarded showbiz tonight bullshit, and MSNBC has a ridiculous security cam show going. I didn’t bother checking Fox. What the hell, media? Here’s actual news for you to report.

  7. OK – Taxpayers pay salaries to teachers. Compulsory dues are paid to the union directly by the state to the Union treasury. The Union is one of if not the largest contributor of money to Democratic politicians in addition Unions provide large amounts of labor and other resources and raw political power to favored candidates. If these favored politicians win, then they will bargain with the union, their benefactors, for benefits, salary, etc.. In this scenario, who represents the voters?

    Collective bargaining hog ties local school boards from negotiating individually with teachers. This prevents local school boards from controlling their budgets. The only way they have to balance the budget is by raising property taxes as opposed to reducing salaries and changing work rules.

    And yes I am using Socialist as a pejorative. Socialism has destroyed more lives and societies in the 20th century than any other form of government. Socialism = Tyranny.

    1. The scenarios you are describing are basically “the people who are very poor off are controlling things.” Something does not logically follow, there. Why is the solution to a school board budget automatically paying teachers less? They basically get nothing already. Perhaps you can fix things without penalizing the working class. Maybe by not cutting taxes on the wealthy, forever? Seems reasonable.

      1. Stop the working class nonsense. In school district after school district, teachers make more than many of the taxpayers who pay their salaries. In addition, Summers off, full health benefits and retirement are benefits most “working class” people in the real economy(private sector) do not get. To repeat myself to make it clear, because of collective bargaining, local school boards only have the ability to raise property taxes to pay for lifetime health benefits and pensions. This is an incredibly insidious tax as it only goes up a bit every year and most home owners pay the property tax monthly in their mortgage payment. But after 10-15 years of this robbery, people’s property vales begin to go down because of high taxes. Many people start to have difficulty paying their mortgages. Look at any city controlled by the democratic party for more than 15 years and your will see decline and decay.

        1. “In school district after school district, teachers make more than many of the taxpayers who pay their salaries.”

          Sources or STFU.

        2. Your model of how these things work seems to have very few moving pieces. I don’t think the only solution to, for example, school board budget issues is to work within something broken. Everything is not a dichotomy.

        3. “In school district after school district, teachers make more than many of the taxpayers who pay their salaries. In addition, Summers off, full health benefits and retirement are benefits most “working class” people in the real economy(private sector) do not get”

          Ha, ha. You so funny. Spoken like someone who’s never known a public school teacher. Come to Maine and check out the school teachers working at bookstores during the summer to supplement their incomes at a cash register. My parents taught for 30 years each in that system. Vacation was work time. We didn’t go anywhere. There wasn’t any money.

          But hey, yeah destroy teachers unions and privatize the American education system before handing it over to a bunch of greedy profiteering corporations. Sow your children, and your children’s future in the sand and see what you reap. In the meantime, I’ll be over here talking every young college kid I can find out of teaching in the United States public education system. Because if this is a pissing contest, then I say let’s make it a race to see who can burn it all to the ground first.

        4. Look at any city controlled by the democratic party for more than 15 years and your will see decline and decay.

          Clearly BS. Pretty much every large US city has become safer and wealthier over the past 15 years, despite most or perhaps all of them run by Democratic city councils and/or a Democratic mayoralty.

          1. I think I know where Austin got that nonsense from. Glenn Beck had a screed a while back claiming that U.S. Census info “proved” the 10 cities in the U.S. with the highest percent of inhabitants below the poverty line all had Democratic leadership. My dad sent it to me. Unfortunately for him, he sent it one evening when I found myself with an extra couple of hours to spare. I delved into the U.S. Census info and discovered that not a single word was true in any way, shape, or form. I was assuming that there might be some kernel of truth that had been twisted….no, it was all bunk. To paraphrase Mary McCarthy’s pithy comment about Lillian Hellman: every word he wrote was a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the’.

            In fact, only one of the Glenn Beck 10 – evil Democratic-run cities such as Detroit and Chicago – was even in the top 68 (20% or higher poverty rate), and none were in the top 10.

            Here’s the real list of the 10 cities in the U.S. with the highest “Percent of People Below Poverty Level in the Past 12 Months” (2008):

            Athens-Clarke County, GA 28.5%
            Blacksburg, VA 29.8%
            Bloomington, IN 30.6%
            Brownsville, TX 37.5%
            College Station–Bryan, TX 32.3%
            Harlingen, TX 32.1%
            Laredo, TX 29.4%
            McAllen, TX 34.6%
            Porterville, CA 29.3%
            San Luis Obispo, CA 30.2%

            An interesting list, wouldn’t you say?

        5. “In school district after school district, teachers make more than many of the taxpayers who pay their salaries.”

          This statement is 100% true. Many of the taxpayers make less than teachers.

          Also, many taxpayers did not go to college and get degrees and do a year of student teaching for nothing and do not have advanced certification.

          Many of the taxpayers have not even gone to college. Some haven’t even finished high school.

          Many of the taxpayers work menial, thankless jobs for shit pay and no benefits.

          Many taxpayers do not see a connection between education and income.

    2. Hey, can I play too?

      Socialism hasn’t been around long. If you want to go for the big totals in terror, torture, and murder, you know you’ve got to go with the biggie: Christianity.

      Has your head exploded yet?

      1. Hey chgoliz, Socialism is just the latest incarnation of centralized power. Christianity and the Church should be separated. A corrupt church created tyranny not Christianity. And if followers of Jesus can be corrupted by absolute power than imagine what the leader of a Socialist/Communist country who do not believe in any higher power could become. Oh I forgot, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, et. al.

        I think I just heard your head explode.

        1. From where I’m sitting, a corporate oligarchy’s takeover of the federal government is looking a lot like centralized power in a capitalistic setting.

    3. “Socialism has destroyed more lives and societies in the 20th century than any other form of government. Socialism = Tyranny.”

      Whaaaat? Where the heck do you get your info? I think you’ve got some reading to do. Here, I’ll get you started: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism

      Oh and this is for you as well for the next time you talk: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticisms_of_socialism

      A word of advice, the flip side of what you’re suggesting isn’t right either. Money does not equal morality and it certainly doesn’t equal brains. Stop siding with your masters, slave.

    4. Socialism is still better than the alternative to stripping away societal safety nets and treating one group of individuals (corporations) with more rights than another group of individuals (workers).

      Democracy and Capitalism rarely address these needs in a meaningful way, and the advances of social welfare plus the advancing of human longevity are due in part to having meaningful safety nets in place, like a minimum wage, food stamps, education funding, and public safety officials.

      The rich have been able to do these things on a private or individual level, so why not offer those same opportunities to the poor?

      Is that really such a hateful and empire-destroying thing to offer to the world? Is the alternative better to everyone?

      And if you strip those nets away, you are left with the poorest people starving in the streets, but also turning to crime in order to provide for basic human needs. Like Somalian pirates murdering yacht hostages and Nigerian mercenaries shooting Libyan civilians for Ghadaffi dollars. Both of those countries have wonderful hands-off governments with nary a reek of socialism or communism to be found.

  8. When I was a grad student / TA at the Univ of Calif, we were forced to pay union dues. To the AFL-CIO –mobsters with no interest in education.

    Take em down, try em, and hang em.

    And yes, socialist is a perjorative for many libs.

    1. When I was a grad student/TA at U Michigan, I was glad to have the option of paying dues to the AFL-CIO. When the time came for contract re-negotiation we would have been skinned alive if we didn’t have the union as a framework with which to organize our bargaining.

      Many other campuses aren’t lucky enough to have the AFL-CIO (or any other union), and massive debt is the most common route to education in most of those places.

      Unions can feel like an anachronism sometimes, but if anybody has invented a better model for resisting the transfer of wealth from the bottom and middle to the top, I haven’t seen it yet.

      Go Wisconsin.

      1. The thing about livestock is, they like being livestock.

        Much to the benefit of the herders and their dogs.

        1. Ooooh….snap.

          Because a worker convinced that he/she’s be better off without a labor movement is in no way analogous to a grateful slave. (The master being federal or corporate, here.)

          Look at yer friggin history, friend. “The folks who brought you the weekend,” and all that. I’m not saying that corruption doesn’t exist, but workers fought against the bosses and gave their lives for things like an 8 hour day and minimum wage.

          At my own university, things have changed radically and universally for the better in the 10 years since we won our union. I’m guessing your UC experience would have been very different had the student’s there never fought that fight too.

          My guess? You’re either in or have always aspired to and identified with the boss class. But of course that’s just a guess.

          1. Well, you talk the talk. As I said, just a guess. Not looking to flame.

            My actually points, of course, still stand. It is incontrovertible that the labor movement has drastically improved the lives of the vast majority of americans. And that, traditionally, those who have opposed collective bargaining have been those who sought to profit from the inhumane exploitation of workers.

  9. I’m Dutch, and follow American news of and on. I follow it via BoingBoing, Reddit, Youtube and, you may laugh, but I do, via wait wait…
    And I’m posting just to ask, how come you laugh it off that the big media, cnn, msnbc, fox, does not follow this incredible happening? I understand that they are big and you are small, so lauging it off is easy and a nice way of dealing with it, but doesn’t this enrage you? Frightens you even? It sure as hell frightens me! Sure you know media is corrupt, but this is just downright censoring! Off course there is no answer if either the state or the news corporations do the censoring, but this is simply withholding information for the masses!

    I don’t know, it just makes me have an uneasy feeling in my gut.

  10. OK I don’t live in the US, but I’m assuming teachers there are chauffeured around in limousines while they slug Dom Perignon from the bottle in one hand and puff on cuban cigars in the other.

    Because if it were the same as Australia, and teachers, nurses and other essential public servants were woefully underpaid and expected to do their jobs for the goodwill it generates, even with the power of collective bargaining, your argument would be such a load of bullshit you wouldn’t even bother to post it. Surely.

  11. Sorry Robulus, public sector workers have been working their scam for many years now, so they are actually paid more than many of the private sector workers who pay their salaries (benefits, work rules, pension). The bullshit argument is that some how public servants should be treated differently than the rest of the population.

    1. Does the rest of the population not have the right to collective bargaining in the US? What the hell is going on over there?

          1. And also bear in mind that it’s not spread evenly. A relatively small number of industries take up most of that.

    2. You’re right. Private workers shouldn’t be treated differently. We should all have access to affordable healthcare.

    3. Pensions, especially in Wisconsin, come from employee contributions. And you are aware that Wisconsin has ceded to pay cuts, increases in medical coverage contributions…all they want is to keep their right to bargain.


      Now, as you were asked before, where are your SOURCES?

      Show me the one-person median income for Wisconsin with identical education that starts at $25K and averages in the $40,000 range.

      Hey, for kicks, tell my why Wisconsin teacher pay is ranked 28th in the nation, but their kids are #2 in the country for SAT scores.

      And for more kicks, tell a cop or a firefighter what kind of scam you think they’ve been running next time you need their help. I’m sure you’d have no problem doing that before they give you CPR or put out your house fire.

    4. Austin, there are a lot of data showing that public sector employees are more poorly compensated (overall) than private sector employees who have similar credentials. Maybe teachers are more highly paid than some of the taxpayers that pay their salaries, but those taxpayers aren’t qualified to teach.
      Take on the investment bankers that destroyed the economy, please, and leave the librarians, social workers, and snow-plow drivers alone.

      “59% of full-time Wisconsin public sector workers hold at least a four-year college degree, compared with 30% of full-time private sector workers.”
      “College-educated employees earn on average 28 percent
      less in wages and 25% less in total compensation in the public sector than in the private sector.”

      From the Economic Policy Institute Memorandum #173 (2/15/11)

    5. Austin, Union workers are receiving the benefits that every since private sector worker should have. If you want to get upset at anything, get upset at Reaganomics eroding the middle class and working class in the U.S. and not allowing workers everywhere to live a decent life.

      My dad worked a Union factory job here in Brooklyn. When he needed disability, they screwed him over claiming that he didn’t work enough years to get compensated. My mom worked a non-union sweatshop job making “schmatas.” So technically speaking I should be angry at Unions. But I am not. Because prior to Reaganomics my parents were at least afforded a life that allowed them to have a decent sized apartment and help pay for the education of 3 children. The standard of living in being poor back in the 1970s in NYC was profoundly better than nowadays.

      Nowadays workers are truly seen as afterthoughts and more and more people are being screwed over daily. If there are issues with Union workers, dismantling the Unions will not solve it. Working with Unions is the solution.

      And if you really want to get rid of Unions, then get some laws on the book to nationalize the workers rights Union workers get. Raise the minimum wage. Provide healthcare. Treat workers with respect. Then and only then will Unions go away.

      But don’t blame Union workers who fight for each other for the pains non-Union workers feel. Blame greedy corporate structures that reward folks excessively for their work and barely punish them when they do wrong.

      Austin, you probably have the same dreams, desires and needs as Union workers. Vent your frustration at the real cause of this mess.

    6. The bullshit argument is that some how public servants should be treated differently than the rest of the population.

      The bullshit argument is that the wealthy should be treated differently than the rest of the population.

      There would not be a battle between middle class public and private workers over who should be pinching more pennies if not for the invented budget crises caused by decades worth of extended tax cuts and bailouts for the wealthiest members of our population. Personally, I find both major aisles of current US politics at fault for this.

      But I don’t find the public workers’ unions to be at fault for fighting for the scraps from the table for our public workers. We should, all the populous, be on the same side against the gross inequality in wealth distribution in the US. We have been letting the rich get greater shares of our collective worth, only to see them tinsel their own failures with shiny bonuses and invest our value overseas.

  12. I don’t get this rubbish about being forced to pay union fees, why should being a member of a union ever be enforced? I’m a socialist myself but I see enforced union membership as a quick path to corrupt unions. This of course is the flipside to bosses only allowing bargaining with one union, which is also ridiculous. Workers should be able to join whatever union they want (or don’t).

    Collective bargaining is a right not a duty. In the same way that everyone should be totally free to ask their boss for a pay cut.

  13. Looks like the Koch Brother have turned on the TEABAG Signal.

    “Holy illogical Talking Points, Teabagman!”

    1. Have you heard the new term being bandied about for Tbaggers yet? It is a riot and right on. Don’t know who came up with it but it is meme worthy.

      Kochsuckers!!!!!! Absolutely LOVE it!

  14. “In school district after school district, teachers make more than many of the taxpayers who pay their salaries.”

    I second the motion to back big talk with actual knowledge. Sources or STFU.

  15. “In school district after school district, teachers make more than many of the taxpayers who pay their salaries.”

    My partner is in a union (he’s not a teacher nor does he work for a school district) and he makes more way more money than I, a non-union member. I don’t think he shouldn’t be in a union, I think that I should be in one too.

    I don’t understand the mentality that says, “Hey, that person is doing better than I, so I should make it worse for that person.” I think, “I want my circumstances to improve!”

    People who have a knee-jerk reaction that unions = evil need to rethink their fundamental world view. Unions can do things that are negative for society, but that doesn’t mean that they should disappear.

    This a great moment. I commend all the people who are foregoing other entertainment to pay attention to this.

  16. Oh for heaven sakes – teachers SHOULD be comfortably middle class – they’re the role models we provide to our kids – they people they aspire to be for much of their growing years

  17. Just some quick info-
    I work as a teacher in MA (which, I suspect, has different requirements…)
    We (teachers) are *required* by law to have a master’s degree to work in the field- Sure, you can get hired with a BA/BS, but you need to get a Master’s pretty quickly to maintain your license to teach.
    So before people get all “teachers are paid above average,” I’m struggling to think of another job that *requires by law* such advanced education and pays so little.
    Anyone? Anyone?

    1. Thanks for being a teacher.

      This union busting bullsh*t also cuts into prison guard unions.

      You know those fatcat prison guards, lording their daily risk of HIV, Hep and god knows what else over us. It takes a lot of training and a year of probation to be get that cushy job. Then the people prison guards are guarding us from want to play and violence could break out at any moment. Cushy. Yeah, that’s what I call that job.

  18. @#40 – you are making the wrong comparison. Teachers are typically paid somewhat LESS than individuals with professional jobs and equivalent education and training. Compare what an MBA will get you compared to a Master’s in Eduction, then you’ll be looking in the right direction.

  19. We won the cops over and were granted permission to sleep there again. No arrests were necessary. And we won over Rep. Dale Schultz (R) so we only need 2 more republicans to vote no.
    Now if we could only get some proper media coverage…

    1. Glad to hear it!

      DemocracyNow!’s all over it of course, as are all the union newsletters across the nation.

  20. (American Public puts well worn copy of People magazine down)

    What are you guys talking about?? Like, why are you ALWAYS soooo negative and booooring? You’re missing the STARS on the RED CARPET right now!!!! O-M-G!!!!!!!!!!

  21. I’m always amazed to hear so many people outside the teaching field say what an easy overpaid racket it is. You’d think think these people would decide to just become good hardworking teachers, and enjoy the easy life with their huge wads of cash, but somehow they just decided to work a different job, but spend plenty of time griping about teachers.

  22. “… everyone should be totally free to ask their boss for a pay cut.”

    Which is exactly what Scott Walker did, giving tax breaks to WI businesses. He asked the boss for a pay cut.

    What kind of person thinks “Hmm, we just had another kid, my car’s on its last legs, and the roof is leaking. I think I’ll go ask my boss to reduce my salary”?

    Answer: a doctrinaire conservative.

    Walker and his ilk have a simple goal – demolish what little remains of the New Deal and the Great Society. They won’t stop until Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are dismantled, their funding handed out among their wealthy friends.

    They have a pretty good start on this through their massive borrowing from the Social Security trust fund. If they can make us forget that that was our retirement savings, NOT general fund tax dollars, they’ll never have to repay that money. Social Security will simply fade out. We might be the world’s richest nation, but sorry, we just can’t afford it.

    They intend to tear down the rest by bankrupting the states individually and the nation collectively. The plan to “get government down to the size where [they] can drown it in the bath.”

    They are well on their way. And now that they effectively control the media, thanks to a crippled FCC and the Citizens United case, they should be able to finish the job well within a decade.

    Welcome to the third world.

  23. Back during the last few economic bubbles I didn’t hear one stink about public workers making less than their private counterparts, or their paltry pensions that didn’t compare to instant millionaire IPO stock options or house flips.

    Was my then shortsighted, yet long term investment in the public sector such a waste after all?

    Modern capitalism -> lowest common denominator

  24. Anonymous (#14) said:

    Is there a Godwin equivalent for when people start throwing out terms like “socialism” or “fascism” without knowing what they mean?

    I propose the Teabagger Inevitability: As a political discussion gains the attention of people distant from the middle of the political spectrum, the probability of one side being accused of a talking-point term without the user knowing what it means (e.g. X is socialist) approaches 1.

    I suppose this could be a corollary to Godwin’s Law, too.

  25. It’s time for change. It’s been time for real change for a long time. I think people are realizing you don’t find change in one person, a president or anything like that. The change has to come from the people, from the community. You can’t depend on rich people to care of you, because many of them got rich by abandoning principles in the first place. People are finally waking up. Peaceful protests and solidarity are the only way to go and it’s happening here and all over the world. They can shoot us, they can beat us, they can take away our health care, but they can’t stop the human spirit. This is possibly the best time to live in the USA in its history if this keep going and spreading.

    Fox “News” can’t stop truth and justice but for so long until people start askin’ questions.

    1. @Cowicide – Hey you sound like me from a couple months back… that’s what I’ve been saying!

      The only way for change to actually happen is for people to get together and MAKE it happen. This country is run by the corrupt to line the pockets of the even-more-corrupt. Who also happen to be smart enough to know that if they entertain us cheaply enough with network TV, we’ll sit down and shut up.

      I think people wonder in the back of their heads if what’s happening in the Middle East could happen in the U.S. I think it could, but it won’t happen for many years. We’ll be rising up against the corrupt people who take our money, when we finally do. And unless we put in place a true big D Democracy, rather than another oligarchy, we will just be setting ourselves up for the next cycle: from King George to Wall Street to the next bunch of plutocrats. It’s sad.

      1. I think people wonder in the back of their heads if what’s happening in the Middle East could happen in the U.S. I think it could, but it won’t happen for many years.

        I think it’s starting now. We’ll just see if it gains more traction. Revolution is in the air and it’s far more potent than “astroturfunded” things like the tea baggers.

        This is a response to the tea baggers and corporatists like the Koch brothers that fund them. I just hope some of the tea baggers that “can see” will finally quit being corporatist stooges, wake up and get on the right side of history. But, then again, I don’t think we really need them. These large scale protests show how the media makes the tea bagger numbers seem much larger than they really are.

        Ignorance is becoming outnumbered and it’s for the tea baggers own good whether they’re too dumb to know it or not it doesn’t really matter in the end.

        1. I hope you’re right, Cowicide. The Tea Baggers I know are first libertarian/egalitarian types who want low taxes and small government and hate police and TSA brutality, just like we do.

          But, here’s where it all goes awry:

          Second to that, they are somewhat socially conservative. (Not gay-bashing old skool retards, but the new kind of gun-loving social retard.) Third, they found closest affinity to the neo-cons in wolf-clothing, the Palins and Pauls who talk a big talk but haven’t really a clue.

          I agree that they’ll burn out and fade away soon enough, as Palin slowly implodes herself in the run-up to 2012. But they’ll be replaced with a NEW crop of media-darling third-party insanity.

          What I have a problem with is HOW to divorce ourselves from the corporatism and greed that drives this huge machine. With everybody watching TV and tuning into this shit, it just gets reinforced and perpetuated.

          The Middle East happened because people stopped tuning in to state-run media, and instead tuned in to each other. Collectively outraged, they built it into a conflagration, nation by nation, just like a Gladwell tipping point.

          Will that happen here? I still don’t think it will happen soon. Many years. We’re too fat and happy right now with our fast food and cheap gas and House M.D.

  26. You guys are really giving Austin way too much of your time and energy. Weakly supported talking points on internet message boards are like herpes; they go away if you just ignore them. Wait, that is how herpes works right? Just uhhhh, just cures itself?
    Anyways, good luck in Wisconsin. I support the protests there very much and wish them all the best.

    1. You guys are really giving Austin way too much of your time and energy.

      True. But sometimes you just want to slap a fool for being a fool.

  27. This is a good article from the NY Times about who is paid more and how it depends on education. Of course the data are mixed.


    But clearly, in some places (such as California for those without college degrees), state workers are overpaid compared with private sector jobs.

    Additionally, state jobs tend to be more secure than private sector jobs. Shouldn’t a more secure job be offset by lower pay?

  28. We’re all human. Managers, politicians, teachers, workers, and students. We can all be corrupted by power.

    If management has too much power, they will abuse workers.
    If unions have too much power, they will abuse management. (Really!)

    Everybody’s in it for themselves. Neither one is inherently bad. It’s all about balancing selfishness.

    Where I am in California, unions have too much power.

  29. For all those worried about Socialism? Do you know what causes Socialist revolutions? Treating workers like crap…

  30. I just looked up that Wa state teachers salaries, at least the state component. It may be higher in some jurisdictions based on the contracts there, but it’s a rough guide.

    Starting, BA: 34k, MA 41k
    After 10 years: low 50k (it’s not straight across, since you need continuing education credits, so you’ll move up in education as well as salary. )
    The top listed salary is for PHDs with 16+ yrs of experience at 64k.

    They’re not getting rich on that.

  31. I’ve been born and raised in the former German Democratic Republic, known to most as East Germany. As you might remember, this country was officially a socialist country. Now it is easy to look at history and point out how socialism is a failure and how history has proven that.

    But that is wrong. What history actually has shown is that dictatorship is a failure and that the people who endured it finally rose and overthrew their dictators. It happend in my country and it shows again in countries like Lybia, Egypt a.s.f..

    What’s true though is that dictatorships often use the theory of socialism and the promise that comes with it to bond the people under their reign until it is too late. Promises of prosperity for all, of justice and equality are very attractive — especially for the poor and working class masses. Those masses did act as the basis for those dictatorships. The post-WW1 and -WW2 movements in my country has proven how fateful those combinations can work out.
    What follows is that socialism is very susceptile for dictaturships. That might be true. But what acutally happened? On one side was a poor and beaten mass of people who were longing for a better life and on the other hand we have some pretty clever demagogic elite who understand well enough wich alluring theory would work quite well for their goal to control a population and use it for their own beliefs in elitarism and supremacy. Of course they would use the most alluring theory to the masses because that would mean to control those masses: socialism. But it is only the tool. A tool to catch them.

    Does this make the theory bad? Do people who truly believe in justice, equality and prosperity for all have the wrong intentions? Are they bad people? What is the main root for the bad things happen?

    Whatever society you live in, you will always find those who try to take advantage over their fellow citizens by bending and breaking morality, law and humanity. And that should be the main cause for protest. And it is. And that is what’s just happening in Wisconsin.

    My wife is teacher in Illinois and has a M.A. Her gross salary is less than 38.000. That is below national and state wide average. Yes, there are benefits, but she has to copay them heavily. People tend to forget that most teachers have a workload of more than 60 hours a week. 60 hours of sometimes life threatening heavy duty.

    Go Wisconsin.

  32. This joke is making the fb rounds this evening here in Madison.

    A CEO, a tea party member and a unionized public employee are sitting at a table. In the middle of the table is a plate with a dozen cookies on it. The CEO reaches across the table and takes 11 cookies, looks at the tea partier and says, “Watch out for that union guy, he wants a piece of your cookie.”

  33. It’s surprising that someone can have the smarts to run a successful campaign for governor, but then be so dumb that they think the way to win popular support in a democracy is to paint yourself as a dictator who is going to have his police fuck up anyone who stands in his way.

    He’s not just a bad governor he’s a terrible authoritarian, too. Stalin may have had people shot whenever he damn well pleased, but he didn’t go around bragging about it to the citizens. Not even in real dictatorships do you get away with openly telling the public you just don’t give a shit and will make them do whatever you want them to.

    This guy sincerely seems to think that being completely candid about his desire to oppress the public is going to make them comply. It’s so unintelligent it veers into the surreal.

  34. I’m always bemused by the people who blithely follow the charge to disband unions due to displays of corruption, but would never even entertaining the thought of insisting on the same level of integrity from the powers arrayed opposite the unions.

    And why the hell are we suggesting that teaching should be a crappy paying job? So it can drive away the talented people from educating the future of our country? TEACHING IS AN IMPORTANT JOB! Just because you, personally, don’t sit in a classroom every day being taught by an educator doesn’t mean you should dismiss or trivialize what they are doing. But hey, you’ve got your education already. Why should you have to keep paying teachers’ salaries?

  35. Why do american middle and working class argue for their own demise?

    The powerful and rich in america stay rich and the poor stay poor (http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2006/04/b1579981.html) so why do the poor continue to argue that the rich and powerfull should be spared and if possible given even more power?

    The elites in the US had enough time to establish themselves and their prosperity is well defended. Why do americans fail to grasp the difference between socialist (from latin societas meaning alliance) and communists (latin communis ‘collective’).

    America has been made great by the strong mobility it had, where a dishwasher could become president. Current studies show that the mobility in the US is lower than in most other countries.

  36. Dude/ette-

    As an American, and one who comments on BB, um DUH! We know America is imploding, Ozzy’s son Jack told us as much on their reality TV show.

    And unless you are a citizen of BRIC, yours done imploded too.

    And, damn straight we got our kids learning Cantonese. We are looking in our rear view mirror as we try to flee from the inevitable.

    So what is your point? Do you want me to be angry about something other than someone who has a firm grasp of the obvious? If so, give me something new or STFU.

  37. I finally made it down to Madison yesterday to see all of this firsthand. It was very, very inspiring. The corporate media would like you to believe that these protests are coming from some tiny group of professional activists. Nothing could be further from the truth. The people I saw at the capitol in Madison were rank-and-file union members. Teachers, firefighters, sanitation workers — the whole panoply of workers who keep this society functioning. The level of commitment I saw in their faces and heard in their voices was staggering. These are people who will not back down. They’ve seen their pay eroded for years by the actions of a few greedy rich people, and they’re not going to wait until their children are starving to do something about it.

    There are many competing ideas about what “democracy” should mean in our society. Unfortunately, the people who believe that democracy is equivalent to “he who has the most gold, rules” hold most of the positions of power. But there is another definition of democracy, the definition I saw yesterday in Madison, and that I hope to see tomorrow everywhere: Regular people coming together to speak their minds without fear of reprisal, and collectively make decisions for their own betterment. That vision of democracy will never die, no matter how much mud is slung by the greedy rich and their servants in the corporate media.

    1. A fleet of them, you mean?

      For a “chartered jet” is not what most would term a “private jet”.

      No cite as to the fleet of private jets required to move 100+ , so your insult…if that’s what it was meant to be?…must fail.

  38. Oop, I was inaccurate. It wasn’t yesterday, it was Thursday. And it wasn’t 100+ people. It was 180 people. The quote from the SF Chronicle: “On Thursday, 180 union workers from Los Angeles flew in by private jet..” It just reads funny, UC. You know – LA, private jet, union protest over loss of money. Funny.

  39. Wow. Teabaggers are everywhere–even at Boing Boing! Unfortunately, Boing Boing’s TP reps are as misinformed as TP reps found elsewhere. Their use of the word “socialist” as a condemnation is interesting. Anyone who opposes our nation’s race to the bottom is a socialist. Well, if that’s the case, count me in as a proud socialst. Of course, a Teabagger’s socialist is pretty middle of the road outside of this country.

    1. Of course, a Teabagger’s socialist is pretty middle of the road *both inside and* outside of this country.

      Fixed it for ya.

  40. I admit it is funny to hear these made up names like teabaggers and kochsuckers, but why all the sexual innuendoes?

    How about just plain old stupid ignorance. Which is what it always was, always will be.

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