Breaking news: Wisconsin GOP passed controversial legislation using backdoor maneuver

Tonight, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker passed a controversial law that will make it illegal for certain classes of public workers to bargain collectively on important issues like working conditions and benefits. Up until now, he and the state's GOP senators had been prevented from passing the law because they didn't have quorum—all 14 Democratic senators left the state so the bill couldn't be voted on.

But it turns out that that only works if the anti-union laws were being voted on as part of a larger fiscal package. Tonight, Wisconsin Republicans split the anti-union parts out into a separate piece of legislation. And, around 6:30 Central, they passed it—18-1. The only "nay" vote being GOP Senator Dale Schultz. (Who certainly deserves some nice notes in thanks for his bravery on this. I can't imagine that vote is going to be a career boost for him.) The new bill now goes to the legislature, where it's expected to be very quickly passed the Republican majority.

Dave Weigel at Slate says:

This is incoherent in a number of ways. First, Gov. Scott Walker's argument for not putting the collective bargaining and union dues/formation reforms on the negotiating table has been, since the beginning, that they were necessary for letting local governments balance their budgets. They are, technically, not "fiscal components" -- they just deal with huge sums of money. Second, Republicans punted on a voting reform bill two weeks ago because they did not want to split the fiscal portions of the bill -- funding for IDs, for those who couldn't afford them -- from the rest of it.

This is a desperation move. It's happening, say Democrats, before they read the new bill. Obviously, had Democrats not fled the state, the un-changed legislation would have passed last month. But this happens a day after e-mails from the governor's office floated the possibility -- which Democrats didn't quite buy -- of negotiation on the collective bargaining parts of the bill.

I'm hearing from friends in Madison tonight that people are flooding the Capitol building, even as the Senate session ended. If I hear more, I'll keep you updated.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin's Democratic senators are on their way home, pledging to join the people of Wisconsin in taking back the government.


  1. So they used a technicality to beat a technicality. While I don’t generally agree with the bill, I’m not sure I have a problem with the method used to pass it.

    1. I was thinking the same thing about technicalities, but also how pathetic it is that our political system relies on all these ridiculous maneuvers to make anything happen one way or another. It’s maddening.

      For the record, I’m completely against removing negotiation rights for unions. I don’t always like unions or all of their methods either, but there are very specific reasons why workers actually need unions.

  2. You contradict yourself in the first line. You say Walker signed the bill (he didn’t) and then say in the 2nd paragraph that only the Senate passed it.

    But this is seriously messed up.

  3. i mean, where I come from, a “Bill” without money involved does not count for much….maybe that’s different in Wisconsin, or the US generally.

  4. I’ve heard some murmurs that why they did was not legal under WI law. Either by virtue of not giving 24 hours notice or by the bill not necessarily being non-fiscal. BUT… if the Dems come back, couldn’t Walker just call a quorum and get the original budget bill, union busting and all passed?

    Maybe Walker knows that this bill won’t hold up under judicial review but he’s just luring the Dems back to get a quorum?

    I don’t know WI law but this seems like a weaselly thing that The Weasel would do. And how come nobody calls him The Weasel? He looks just like one with those beady/crossed eyes of his!

    The Weasel strikes again! And here I thought Wisconsin’s mascot was a badger!

    1. Ooooo the badger is a brilliantly evil beast.
      n the context of another politician, this was once said of the badger:

      “It was Richard Nixon who got me into politics, and now that he’s gone, I feel lonely. He was a giant in his way. As long as Nixon was politically alive–and he was, all the way to the end–we could always be sure of finding the enemy on the Low Road. There was no need to look anywhere else for the evil bastard. He had the fighting instincts of a BADGER trapped by hounds. The BADGER will roll over on its back and emit a smell of death, which confuses the dogs and lures them in for the traditional ripping and tearing action. But it is usually the BADGER who does the ripping and tearing. It is a beast that fights best on its back: rolling under the throat of the enemy and seizing it by the head with all four claws.

      That was Nixon’s style–and if you forgot, he would kill you as a lesson to the others. BADGERS don’t fight fair, bubba. That’s why God made dachshunds. [Emphasis mine – UC]


      Badgers? Brrrrrrrr……

    2. Courts can do almost nothing about the internal processes of legislatures. It’s the Enrolled Bill Doctrine and courts never — indeed, cannot — ask about whether or not regular order was followed in the passing of a bill. It’s fundamental to having co-equal branches and applies absolutely in this case.

      1. That seems preposterous. If courts cannot review whether a law was actually passed or not, how do you know what the law is? What would stop one senator from standing up, saying he passed a law, and then having the executive sign that law and subsequently enforce that? Are you saying that would be non-justiciable?

  5. the methodology used to pass this Bill is utterly filthy. One commenter also pointed out that since 24 hours notice is required for a public meeting [such as the one that saw the bill pass], the vote itself is not legal.

    Money *is* involved in this Bill. Massive amounts. it just isn’t about fiscal policy.

    [I am not a Lawyer, and this is my opinion based on what I’ve read]

  6. Why, after all the Egypt Moments we’ve been seeing around the world, would authority figures continue this game of chicken with the populace?

    It seems like showdown time. There are more of us than them.

    I’m warming up my brick now.

  7. I can’t say I’m sad to see this. Only in my wildest dreams would I have thought these assholes would be so open, so ridiculous. My honest hope is that it helps to speed up the process of change. A slow bleeding out is being replaced with their nuclear option, in various places around the country. Maybe it’ll be enough to to cast off the mythos of Republican ‘conservatism’ that they’ve hidden behind for decades.

    1. I reckon you’re onto something. Clinton got hammered in his first term and had Republican majorities to deal with, but they fucked it up and gave him a second term.

    2. Indeed.

      A silver lining in Wisconsin? The plutocracy’s attack on American working people has been a slow, steady, and foggy war by degrees for decades. The brazenness of these attacks in Wisconsin has really removed the mask and shown even the more comfortable (i.e. middle) classes in this country just how ugly it is. The plutocrat roaches (and their hangers on) are in the spotlight. Let’s hope their overreaching gets them squashed.


    Well, jokes aside, ThomDowting provides an astute political analysis. Even if this bill gets chucked as illegal, if they call a quorum, they’ll be able to pass the original legislation anyway.

    So, one way or another, striking will probably be the last resort.

  9. To be honest I’m surprised that it took them this long to figure out the hack. The law says that you need 20 senators to pass a law involving money; so, just take out the part about the money and move on. I’d vote to impeach the republicans simply because they are too stupid to figure this out sooner.

  10. “In an interview with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly moments ago, State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-WI), one of Walker’s closest allies in the legislature, confirmed the true political motive of Walker’s anti-union push. Fitzgerald explained that “this battle” is about eliminating unions so that “the money is not there” for the labor movement. Specifically, he said that the destruction of unions will make it “much more difficult” for President Obama to win reelection in Wisconsin…”

    via w/video

    1. Thanks for posting a link to that video. In case it got lost in the comment thread, the Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader basically admitted, on Fox News, that this is a partisan power grab.

      Watch it yourself:

      I think Tea Party people who care about democracy will care about this. The ruling party is using their position to make sure they stay the ruling party.

  11. Jeez. When Democratic senator flee the state to prevent a vote on the original bill, Boing Boing hails them as heroes; when the Republicans figure out a way to do their jobs despite this blatant, extra-procedural obstructionism, they are slammed for using “backdoor” maneuvers. Hypocrisy much?

    Wisconsin’s senators, Democrats and Republicans alike, were elected by the people of Wisconsin. If you like democracy, you can’t like it only when it generates results you support.

      1. And I forgot about how politicians are only allowed to do something in office if they specifically mention that they will do that exact thing while campaigning.

        Walker and the Republicans were elected with a mandate to ensure Wisconsin’s fiscal soundness and sustainability. They feel this move is needed to accomplish that goal. If the people disagree, they can replace them with new politicians who will reinstate collective bargaining. Until then, enjoy your ride on the WAAAHmbulance.

        1. You realize that while a policy of collective bargaining can be rescinded by a government, the right to withdraw one’s labor from the market (not to mention the right of association) is much harder to revoke.

          1. Seeing you added nothing to the discussion to anything other than shut up and stop complaining I would classify you as a troll.

        2. WAAAHmbulance

          Hahaha! I get it! That’s a pun aimed at my belief that workers should have the right to negotiate a fair wage!

          If there’s one thing we were lacking in this serious debate on the kind of country we want to live in, it’s comic relief!

          1. We’re not talking about my way. This isn’t a popularity contest, or a poll on how we feel about Lady Gaga’s newest outfit.

            You sit here, typing, reveling in the fact that the public workers of Wisconsin have just been stripped of their rights.

            So if you want to be that guy, you go right ahead. But take the ad hominem attacks, and please keep them on that side of the keyboard. Debate on the validity of your arguments, or leave it to the people who are willing to.

          2. “Riding the WAAAHmbulance” is merely my catchy way of describing your refusal to accept democratic process when it yields results you don’t approve of.

            As such, it’s a critique of the nature your objections, not of you as a person, and hence, it’s not ad hominem. Indeed, it’s downright mild in comparison to some of the vituperation regularly heaped upon conservatives here at BoingBoing.

            But if it riles you up so much, fine: Consider my sentence “Enjoy your ride on the WAAAHmbulance” withdrawn and replaced with the longer, more boring, “I do not believe it is appropriate for someone to condemn our country’s democratic processes when it yields results of which he or she does not approve.”

          3. Nothing exemplifies our democratic system like using it to take away the people’s right to negotiate!

            I’m going to go ahead and stick with the America we deserve, as human beings, and disregard your quasi-fascist State of the Iron Fist, where a few dozen old white men can effectively disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of citizens.

          4. You have the right to look for a higher-paying job if you don’t think the one you have is paying you what you’re worth. That’s what most of us in the private sector have to do.

          5. And the solution to that problem is not to drag the rest of the world down to the level that you’ve been dragged to.

            Hey, you know what might benefit your job security, pay and benefits?


          6. I rely upon my skillset and job performance to “benefit your job security, pay and benefits.” No unions for me, thanks.

          7. “You have the right to look for a higher-paying job if you don’t think the one you have is paying you what you’re worth. That’s what most of us in the private sector have to do.”

            And this means that if you make public sector jobs less lucrative and less attractive, we’ll have people in those professions leave for the private sector. A smart friend got tired of being a poor but good teacher, left the field and became a richer financial adviser. A friend who is one of the nicest most decent guys I know, stayed a cop for twenty years, partly because his union made sure he had a livable salary and decent benefits. Had he been shabbily treated like a rent-a-cop, he likely would have found something more lucrative in the private sector. Would our society benefit from less skilled, less competitive teachers/cops/firefighters?

        3. Funny you should use the metaphor Waahbulance. The fire trucks and ambulances are circling the capitol of WI right now with sirens on, very angry.

          1. Gosh, I guess if they make a lot of noise, they must be right. The Republicans will clearly need bigger trucks with louder sirens if they want to defeat the Democrats on this issue.

          2. Nice triumphalism. Like the style.

            But whoa there Nellie!

            This unconstitutional political stunt may well never survive Court scrutiny.

            An expensive legal battle looms: and the Governor could easily lose – and btw when is that Wisconsin Court up for elections? Any day now, right?

            The Legislature needed a quorum to pass substantive Bills affecting the contractual relations of the State, and they didn’t have one.

            Simple as that, really….

    1. But anyway, if I may:

      Loopholes are okay when you’re using them to do the right thing.

      Loopholes are not okay when you’re using them to advance your class war horseshit.

      It’s wholly possible to believe both of these statements.

        1. I believe in doing the right thing. If your specific limitations involve the stripping of rights from the citizenry, then no, I don’t believe in them. This isn’t a game of chess.

        1. The right thing is the right thing. People having rights, that’s the right thing.

          Your attempt at moral relativism notwithstanding.

    2. Hypocrisy much?
      No, I’d say those two stances are pretty internally consistent. Not much hypocracy going on here.

    3. I’m not American. From my point of view I can’t see anything in the States that even approaches the democratic model. Looks more like a fool’s paradise.

      1. If I may quote the snarkers among us, “America isn’t a democracy, it’s a republic!”

        Well, this is our model in action. Vote for someone to vote for you later. They then do a bunch of things you wouldn’t do yourself, and “You get the government you voted for.”

      2. It’s a Corporatarchy. Their only hope (our only hope) is to make all private funding of political parties illegal. Separation of Corporation and State.

        Even within the GOP there was one poor bastard who couldn’t stomach this shit. The rest of them filed up, did as they were told, and cashed their cheques. And I’m not saying the Deomcrats are any better.

        Well actually maybe I’m saying they’re a little bit better.

    4. You’re right but what’s going on in Wisconsin could be a general disgust with the national GOP. I’m definitely not happy about the GOP abusing procedural rules in the senate to essentially blackmail the Democrats when it came to the healthcare bill.

    5. Yes because as elected officials they are totally representing the views of their constituents that are rallying in the streets against this bill.

    6. Who is this “Boing Boing” you speak of? Boing Boing is not a coherent single voice journalistic enterprise. It is a compendium of individuals with their own opinions and viewpoints. To blame the Boing for their position is a bit silly. Furthermore, this posting is reporting information, with little opinion about the rightness or wrongness of anyone’s actions.

    7. isn’t the republican’s job to represent the people in wisconsin? the wisconsin republicans (most of whom are not the extremists of the tea party) are not taking emails or calls from their constituents. they are evading the people they represent – running from the reality that many of the people who elected them are not in support of this bill.

      every day the 14 senators who delayed the vote gave the republicans time to listen to the people. i’m sure it’s hard to sort through the sheer volumes of contacts – the people who can’t afford the gas to get here much less the time to protest are writing to their senators and representatives and pleading for them to change their minds.

      democracy in my heart means representing the people who elect you – that requires communicating with them and speaking accordingly.

  12. He doesn’t look like a weasel. He looks like a piece of shit.

    Here, here, my friend.

  13. Now is the time to enforce a no-fly zone and call out the remote Predators to get rid of this asshat once and for all. Democracy for Wisconsinites!

  14. The Wisconsin Republicans can vote on what ever they like without quorum present.

    Every idiot that even been in student government knows you have to have quorum to pass anything that matters. The Wisconsin GOP does not have quorum when it votes by itself and no Democrats are present.

    All bills that require spending even $1 of Wisconsin money require quorum.

    If they want spend even freaking $1 Wisconsin state money this year, they are going to negotiate away everything they claim they just passed to get the Democrats to return. They can’t spend one dollar without the Democrats present.

  15. I just hate it when a majority party uses the power gained from a recent election to shove through controversial legislation, using parliamentary trickery, without a single vote from the minority party.

    Don’t you?

    1. Yes indeed – i especially like how they can revoke a quorum requirement, without first having a quorum present.


      What is that, magic?

      1. Are you kidding? Just think about all the windows of possibility this opens up!

        No longer will America have to wait on ‘honest debate’. No longer will our elected officials be forced to writhe about in the chains of their constituencies! Just vote on it!

    2. I’m curious as to what “sneaky maneuver” the wingnuts think Congress employed to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. I can’t keep up with every one of Glenn Beck’s conspiracy theories, but I like to know which ones have found favor with the faithful.

  16. Well, the democrats were free to register their votes on this. Too bad they have chose to hide out in another state avoiding the democratic process.

    1. You haven’t been paying attention. No, their votes would not have been registered.

      Go over to twitter and follow #wiunion. For over three weeks, they have been asked to stay out of the state and keep strong. Please go back and look at articles describing the process and why they left in the first place.

    2. Damn, you’re right!

      If only the Democrats had stayed there and voted, the result would have been the same as it was tonight!

      Democrats are backstabbers!

  17. I wonder how many of you who bash Republicans for this sneaky maneuver also bashed Democrats for the sneaky maneuver they pulled to pass Obamacare, the consequences of which are a mountain to this molehill.

    All politicians suck. Any who think otherwise are blinded by choice.

    1. Oh, you mean the insurance industry’s pet bill that was vigorously debated for over a year, on national network television?

      Those cheeky bastards!

    2. What the hell sneaky thing did the democrats do to pass health care reform?

      Read this document, then tell me how this compares with what Walker and his GOP legislature just did. Hopefully, you will retract your statements in full.

  18. “Meanwhile, Wisconsin’s Democratic senators are on their way home, pledging to join the people of Wisconsin in taking back the government.”
    – Maggie Koerth-Baker, Boing Boing, 2011

    “It’s time to take our country back.”
    – Sarah Palin, CBS News, 2010

    Ms. Koerth-Baker, do you really want to be like Sarah Palin? Aren’t we supposed to be leaving the war metaphors out of this?

  19. @Scarecrow Repair: What sneaky maneuver? Dems had a 60 vote majority to pass the Health Care Reform Act, and they used it. Republicans were allowed to vote, and filibuster (which they did).

    What angers me, having been born and raised in Wisconsin, is that for the most part people in WI are very reasonable and open to compromise. I’m sick about the fact that they seem to have elected such a dictator and his sycophants who have clearly ignored the rule of law (the open meeting law, 24 hour notice) and poisoned the good working relationship with the state workers, who after all offered to compromise on the financial aspects of this bill. I’m all for a recall and general strike for the state.

    Stand up for your right to organize! Forward!

  20. …good…fucking…god… Walker, you’d better have been paid out in billions for this. Because after this, you can’t go home (if home is anywhere in WI).

    This is gradually turning into real facism–and I’m not throwing that out for shock value the way Tea Party nitwits use ‘socialism’ as a synonym for everything they hate. This is a steady push towards authoritarian corporatism in control of the state.

    Whatever you do, Wisconsinites, fight back. You have support from around the world. Don’t let Walker and his corporate puppetmasters get away with this.

    I’m going to go off into a quiet corner for a while and try and find my faith in this world again.

    1. This is gradually turning into real facism

      I believe the word you’re looking for is “oligarchy.”

      I do think the rich are getting a little too good at gaming the system. If the Democrats are forced to get all their funding from the rich (not saying they aren’t voluntarily headed that way, anyway) then there really isn’t any voice left for the poor, is there?

      1. Plutocracy, really. But let’s not beat around the bush. They all basically describe the same thing.

        1. Plutocracy, really. But let’s not beat around the bush. They all basically describe the same thing.

          I was playing off Aristotle’s perception of a democracy (rule by poor), an oligarchy (rule by wealthy), and a republic (mix of both).

          But I suppose what Aristotle considered an oligarchy then is now defined as a plutocracy, yes.

          1. But in modern times, the rich of the plutocracy, the elite of the oligarchy, and the professional capitalists of the fascists are one and the same.

            We really just need a new term.

            I propose the Asshatocracy.

    2. Elected politicians trying to pass a bill = fascism

      Preventing those politicians from passing a bill = FREEDOM!

      Got it.

  21. Of all the people protesting, how many are the 50% that didn’t vote in the 2010 election?

    The voter turnout is just pathetic – if you don’t participate what the hell do you expect to happen?

    “The state Government Accountability Board is predicting up to a 50% turnout in this election, which would be near historical highs. In 2006, voter turnout reached 50.9%, and in 1962 it reached 52.4%.”

    source –

  22. Wow. That’s disrespectful solely for the purpose of being disrespectful. Way to be a jerk.

  23. Meanwhile, Wisconsin’s Democratic senators are on their way home, pledging to join the people of Wisconsin in taking back the government.

    I’m rather mixed on this. They ran away, to stop this from happening. Someone realized the flaw in their plan, NOW they want to roll up their sleeves and “take back” the government.

    The modern US Democratic Party is seriously lacking in the spine department.

    1. The situation changed, so too must the tactics. There are plenty of examples where Democrats lack spines. This isn’t one of them.

  24. I find it fundamentally strange how unions are so… regulated. That we’re even passing laws to weaken or strengthen them like this in the first place.

  25. Paid trolls aside, I took a moment to thank Dale Schultz for his principled and courageous vote, perhaps others think that makes sense as well.

    And I hope Walker gets his thanks in fucking spades.

      1. Ten comments tonight and then nothing for two months. Where you been? You sure *look* like a troll, so I will call you one.

      2. gotta go with trav i n that…”party line”?

        What is this, the 1950s? Or 1930s?

        It’s now sixty years later, and advances in person-to-person information/communication tech has been dismantling tyranny apace for decades now…

        Changes in communications tech = changes in politics

        It is no longer the 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s it’s now the 2010s

        try to keep up

  26. Sheesh. If you Democrat apologists want to forget how the House and Senate passed different crappy bills with the expectation of working out a proper version in conference, go ahead. But I remember that the House wouldn’t have had the votes to pass either the original again or a conference bill, so they had to go with the Senate version, and thus the hairball we have today. I’m sure I have some of the finicky details wrong, but it was definitely a sneaky desperate process.

    The sneakiness was less but the ramifications much greater, not only because it’s such a huge national change, but because the crappy process turned out a really shoddy bill, full of contradictions and placeholders. I personally think they’d have been better off sticking to the principal of crafting a good bill which wouldn’t pass so they could keep pushing it year after year, rather than the shitpile they dumped on everybody.

    But hey, if you think that’s something to be proud of, go ahead.

    You’re all still fools for thinking that any political brand is less sneaky than any other.

    1. You can try all you want to rig up the old Republican/Democrat party lines here.

      Not going to happen.

  27. Criminy. It’s like reading the comment section of CNN here tonight. And here I really thought you all were better than that.

    Seems even at BB the country is so completely divided that we’d rather just hurl insults at each other instead of having a meaningful discussion.

    1. You’re right Jess. In fact I was just about to hurl an insult myself. And that is useless.

      But on the other hand… yeah, this country is terribly divided.
      Me and many others are on one side. And many others on the other. And none of us seem to find any common ground lately.

      How to fix it?


      Beuller… Beuller…

    2. Elitist.

      Seriously though you are closer to right than most days.

      Due to the self selecting media we consume, the confirmation bias and the profit trumps quality reporting aspect of news people all across the country live in self selected mostly homogeneous bubble environments where what they consume reinforces their beliefs.

      Since people live in more homogeneous environments its easy to demonize the “other” rightly or wrongly.

      Right now in the US loads of people can’t agree on what the facts are.

  28. ju2tin said;
    “It’s amusing that anyone who deviates a millimeter from the party line is assumed to be a “paid troll”.”

    – I agree. Personally, when I see someone voice an dumb viewpoint, I assume they really just have dumb views long before I assume deceit on their part.

    A pity no one will grant you the same benefit of the doubt.

    CSMcDonald said;
    “Of all the people protesting, how many are the 50% that didn’t vote in the 2010 election?

    The voter turnout is just pathetic – if you don’t participate what the hell do you expect to happen?…”

    – You are the most correct person in this thread. My only reply is, “Better late than never.”

    1. CSMcDonald said;
      “Of all the people protesting, how many are the 50% that didn’t vote in the 2010 election?

      The voter turnout is just pathetic – if you don’t participate what the hell do you expect to happen?…”

      – You are the most correct person in this thread. My only reply is, “Better late than never.”

      Well, if this act doesn’t inspire voter turnout next election, then Wisconsin really does welcome its new Republican overlords.

    2. It’s worth noting that Walker created this budget shortfall by handing out tax breaks to the rich–and the state unions agreed to all of the fiscal-related cuts Walker proposed.

      I don’t imagine that any of the 50% of the WI population that DID vote in the election, for or against Walker, thought they were voting for or against a Governor that would attempt to dismantle the unions and give no-bid no-oversight sweetheart deals for state utilities to private corporations. If Walker had been running on that platform (yes, I understand how ridiculous that would be, but work with me on this hypothetical), there might’ve been less apathy at the polls.

        1. Because as we all know politifact, and Rachel Maddow, are the most unbiased and trustworthy news sources known to the human race in today’s world.

          I give you credit for at least attempting to provide a citation, however, so you’re a better man than the astroturfing drones that have been hovering around BoingBoing recently. I may disagree with you, but at least you’re working with a measure of intelligence.

  29. Big Money likes to keep us fighting with each other because then we don’t notice them transferring wealth from us to themselves. “Trickle down” was a lie; “trickle up” is real.

  30. if by “backdoor”, you are referencing the citizens of Wisconsin being penetrated anally, then yes, the Republicans used a backdoor maneuver.

  31. Indeed, this is becoming very disturbing and akin to a plutocracy.

    I say fight, fight with all you have Wisconsinites.

  32. I caught a bit of ‘V for Vendetta’ last night. This stuck out.

    People should not be afraid of their governments.
    Governments should be afraid of their people.

    1. “When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.”

    2. Modified from a statement made centuries ago about the “East”, and “oriental despotism”:

      “…in the countries of the Orient, either the subjects must tremble in fear, or the Ruler must tremble in fear.”

      That saying has NO application to modern America: those who say that it does are idiots and fools, and acting upon that statement will lead their Nation to ruin.

      Wars of religion are always induced. By whom?

      1. Lest I be mis-understood, wars of religion are induced, in every case, by the more powerful; all wars of religion have commenced with attacks by those who feel that they are more powerful than their opponents.

        All wars of religion commence with an attack of the strong, upon the weak.

        Maybe all wars start like that, bar none….

        1. Hey Canuck, I went away and missed your discussion with yourself.

          I think the quote can be understood to mean the Government should fear failure to be re-elected, as much as fear angry mobs of anarchists dismembering them on the steps of parliament house.

          1. That’s how I always took it. The uprising in the movie was non-violent, other than V’s revenge killings.

  33. I really hate politicians. I am not directing this at any one party in particular, I really hate them all. Democracy might be better than the alternatives that we have tried, but it frankly sucks. Our election system seems to do nothing but desperately try and divide people into two groups, and then gets egotistical corrupt sociopaths to represent them. Better than having the guy who can kill the most rivals lead, but shit, not by much.

    When is going to try something other than democracy? Majority rule blows.

  34. Because as we all know politifact, and Rachel Maddow, are the most unbiased and trustworthy news sources known to the human race in today’s world.

    Perhaps you would believe Fox News, then, that is purely political and nothing to do with the budget.

    1. I believe Fox News about as much as I can fly. And, I’m a heavy guy, so the closest I can do is fall from an elevated position.

      I’m pretty sure this attempt to dismantle the unions is politically motivated. The budget business is a convenient means to an end.

      1. Sir, this ploy is transparently and quite obviously politically motivated. It’s not just about undercutting the opposition in Wisconsin, it’s about Republicans seizing power nationally. Watch the video below, the Wisconsin senate pejority leader says it outright:

        Collective bargaining and union organization of workers is universally acknowledged as a human right, not just something to be set aside willy-nilly based on blatantly false premises and to the immense benefit of your rich financiers and fellow cronies.

        The more the workers and the people unite in solidarity, the more powerless and illegitimate the “elite” and their machinations become. They are outnumbered. Just watch out for the divide and conquer tactics in the media and in places and ways you might not expect.

  35. “Seems even at BB the country is so completely divided that we’d rather just hurl insults at each other instead of having a meaningful discussion.”

    This, alas, is precisely what has happened. Politics has become a religion. Legions of the faithful stand tall on each side, assiduously screening out any information which might challenge their cherished, tightly-held beliefs. They read, watch, and listen only to the high priests of their respective sects.

    And you know what the bloodiest wars are fought over? Religion.

    This is why I say the US is going to have a tough time avoiding civil war. Every time something like this happens, we lurch closer to outright battle.

    We’re going to see just what the framers did NOT mean by a “well regulated militia.” The right is already well armed. With all the loose-lipped “second amendment solution” blather from their side, that process is getting under way with the left too.

    The time is now for those of us who are peaceful, rational folk to consider finding a saner homeland. It’s going to get ugly here, mark my words.

  36. According to a commenter on DailyKos, Democratic State Senator Jon Erpenbach sent this text:

    Erpenbach: “We are NOT coming home. All of us. The bill that they passed in the Senate, taking away workers rights among other things, still has to go to the Assembly. We are not caving and coming back because the Senate Republicans can still play games. If we come back before this passes the Assembly, they could call us into session and pass the budget repair bill.”

    Let’s hope this is true!

  37. Fascism comes to America.

    As bad and illegal as this action was it doesn’t hold a candle to Michigan where the fascists voted themselves the power to unilaterally nullify contracts, unions and dismiss duly elected representatives and then install their own corporate overseer who will have complete dictatorial control.

    1. Fascism comes to America.

      I don’t think this is fascism. Politically, fascism is far right, however, it also involves an extreme left-wing type of economic policy that essentially eliminates classic economic classes for nationalist, merit-based ones (particularly with military service). I’m quite confident this is not what Republicans have in mind. If anything, they want to protect the upper class above all else. For the good of America, of course.

      1. “I don’t think this is fascism.” — I suppose that when they start actually killing their political opponents that is full blown fascism. Attempting to arrest your opponents because you are butt hurt that they engaged in a parliamentary procedure to defeat you is in the same ball park though.

        Giving the governor of Michigan the power to unilaterally decide when he can terminate legal contracts and to dismiss elected officials or even unincorporate a town and then appoint an unelected corporation to oversee them is dictatorship from the right pure and simple. I am at a loss what else to call authoritarian rule *other* than fascism.

        Fascism is just the name we give to the desire of authoritarians to rule or dictate over others. Totalitarianism from the Left is the same desire wrapped in a different political ideology. There is absolutely zero chance of a Leftist regime in the US today.

        “it also involves an extreme left-wing type of economic policy that essentially eliminates classic economic classes for nationalist, merit-based ones (particularly with military service).

        I was unaware that a society ordered by a strict militaristic hierarchy is “extreme left-wing”. Methinks you’ve been eating too many Orcs.

        “I’m quite confident this is not what Republicans have in mind.”

        The republicans are no longer in charge. The Koch brothers, Pete Peterson and others are through their proxies the nativist Tea Party. What THEY have in mind is an extreme right-wing Libertarian paradise, which is the rule of the strongman or authoritarian rule, which is fascism.

        What has happened is that the above ruling elites have lost faith in the democratic process and are making a bid for complete corporate dictatorship. I think what is happening in Michigan is far more alarming than Wisconsin.

        1. I was unaware that a society ordered by a strict militaristic hierarchy is “extreme left-wing”. Methinks you’ve been eating too many Orcs.

          While it’s true that relying on the opinion of an expert Orc eater seems dubious, I assure you, as well as an Orc eater possibly can, that there is some truth to what I’m saying. I used to think it odd that it’s become popular for neo-cons to call liberals Nazis, given the extreme right wing behavior those fascists were commonly known for. However, it was after a little research that I realized there was their economic component that normally wouldn’t normally be touted by the left (just as the right normally wouldn’t be sending millions of Jews to the gas chamber), but as an extreme, might be. Dismantling economic classes into a merit-based system is not far off from other far-left ideals such as communism when you really think about it.

          That said, there’s really no point in demonizing the Republicans as something they’re not. Their actions probably hurt the middle class, probably hurt the future of Wisconsin’s educational system, and probably made a few old, rich men smirk with glee. But that doesn’t make them fascists. If they start rounding up innocent people into prison camps, however, I’ll speak up.

          1. Dismantling economic classes into a merit-based system is not far off from other far-left ideals such as communism when you really think about it.

            Actually it’s backwards. Communism is ostensibly about “from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs”. Meritocracy gives to each according their abilities.

          2. Actually it’s backwards. Communism is ostensibly about “from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs”. Meritocracy gives to each according their abilities.

            I’m not arguing that the fascist economic system is communist. I’m merely saying that it isn’t a right-wing-preferred capitalist system and instead rewards those who serve the nation above those that don’t, regardless of their economic background. It’s not unlike what communism was perverted into, where those belonging to the Communist party live a much better life than those who don’t.

  38. I’m sure I have some of the finicky details wrong, but it was definitely a sneaky desperate process

    Oh, so by “sneaky desperate process” you meant “unremarkable process with an outcome I didn’t like.”

    But if you thought that was “sneaky desperate” for the House to vote on the unmodified Senate bill, then how do you characterize the Wisconsin assembly vote that the Republicans held open for a few seconds – literally – at 1:00 AM and shut down as soon as it had enough votes for passage – leaving a third of legislators unable to even cast a vote? Say what you will about Pelosi, she didn’t stop John Bohner from saying “Hell no you can’t” to affordable health care or stop him and his caucus from voting for the status quo of rising costs, coverage denial, and insurance industry profiteering.

    And now we have this. Crooked. But hey – Wisconsin voted for crooks, so they’re getting what they voted for, even if it’s not what they wanted. Hopefully they’ll have an opportunity to correct the mistake before Walker et. al. steal their right to vote the same way they stole their right to organize.

    1. I can’t thank you enough for this reply. All the facts that needed to be included and then some…none of the snarkiness I resisted by remaining silent.

    2. One thing I did notice is that when Obamacare passed, the tea partiers did not seek to occupy the U.S. Capitol.

      Instead, they stayed in their home states, raised money for the candidates of their choice, and voted in great numbers.

      If the aggrieved government workers of Wisconsin wish to be seen as Americans exercising their citizenship rights rather than contemporary Greeks clutching their iron rice bowls, they would be advised to do the same.

      1. That right. Instead, the tea partiers brought guns to speeches and shouted-down town hall meetings.

      2. One thing I noticed is that the Tea parties have huge amounts of capital flowing into their coffers from billionaire industrialists and that the rest of us don’t.

      3. If the aggrieved government workers of Wisconsin wish to be seen as Americans exercising their citizenship rights rather than contemporary Greeks clutching their iron rice bowls, they would be advised to do the same.

        The only things contemporary greeks clutch are plastic cups at keggers.

        Know what is really un-American? Taking rights away without negotiation.

      4. There are none so blind.

        Teabaggers didn’t “stay in their home states.” They flocked to DC and shouted “f*gg*t” at Barney Frank, yelled “n*gg*r” at John Lewis, spit on Emanuel Cleaver and waved signs comparing Obama to a monkey.

        Classy ideological comrades you got there, Wally. Real ‘Murkins.

        1. It’s easy to go to any large group of activists, cherry pick a few examples of crude behavior, and pretend to have described the whole.

          I daresay if I were at the Wisconsin capital today I could do more or less the same thing.

          1. Oh, so now you acknowledge teabaggers didn’t just “[stay] in their home states.” Heh.

            And I daresay you couldn’t do more or less the same thing in Wisconsin. Go ahead and try–you’ve got plenty of recorded footage and live feeds to work with. And I’d bet you have a number of wingnut forums you can turn to for help.

          2. One thing I did see (believe it was on CNN) that gave me some serious laffz was a sign bearing the initials “SDS” and calling for “Worker – Student Solidarity”.

            Like, cosmic, man. All we need now is Wavy Gravy to show up.

      5. If the aggrieved government workers of Wisconsin wish to be seen positively by the far right-wing, they had best shut their mouths, let their unions dissolve, and take whatever they are given.

        Everyone else, you might notice, has been cheering their democratic participation. And when the tea party is criticized, it is almost never for their similar actions, but over what they stand for.

  39. The statement in question, in other words, is founded upon bigotry as to one’s fellow humans: and it should be seen for the prejudicial and non-evidenced garbage that it is.

    An excuse for violence, nothing more nor less.

    Useful when you’re selling “violent political action films” to children, and wish to excite them, maybe…

  40. If Walker was hoping to prevent oodles of tractors from clogging up the streets of Madison this weekend, he’s doing it wrong.

  41. Good articles that really illustrate what the agenda on public education really is about, and that is for Corporate schools to take over and make money. Make no mistake, the Repubs and Dems are both behind this. Obama spoke of ‘innovative’ education. Hmm:


    Waiting for Superman and its surrounding campaign reflect an influential trend that has proven adept at dominating education policy in both Republican and Democratic administrations. This bipartisan alliance unites 20th Century conservatives closely aligned with the Republican Party who made the bulk of their money before the dawn of the digital era, and 21st Century billionaires more loosely aligned with the Democratic Party who generally made their fortunes through digitally based technology. (These two groups can loosely be described as analog conservatives and digital billionaires.)
    Despite their differences, both groups embrace market-based reforms, entrepreneurial initiatives, deregulation and data-driven/test-based accountability as the pillars of educational change. Under the banner of challenging bureaucracy and promoting innovation, both groups chafe at public oversight and collective bargaining agreements. Above all, both rely on money to get their way…..
    Today’s bipartisan corporate reformers tend to sidestep democracy altogether by abolishing school boards, promoting mayoral control, and hiring corporate-style CEO’s who answer to a city’s power elite. No longer preoccupied with abolishing the U.S. Department of Education, they instead use their wealth to effectively control it and to dictate reform.

    1. Perhaps this explains why Americans seem no longer to understand what the word “graft” denotes.

  42. I haven’t seen this covered anywhere yet, but a friend of mine who made it into the building after the vote yesterday reported that all the bathrooms in the building were locked at that time, except for a few. They were communicating via Facebook on which ones were open and passing it on. Reprehensible and cowardly.

  43. One thing I did notice is that when Obamacare passed, the tea partiers did not seek to occupy the U.S. Capitol.

    Actually, I noticed that they occupied the capitol. But when they did it, it was rightfully called “protest” rather than “occupation”. I guess if you defend the right of insurers to steal your money and deny you care, you’re a “protestor”, but if you defend the right to assemble and organize, well, then you’re an “occupier”.

  44. Hy ll, ‘m vry nw t bngng.nt. Lv th st, thnk t’s hlrs. ‘m crs thgh, knw t’s nt nws st bt t hs cvrd hvly th ngng vnts n Wscnsn. knw thr’s ftn bn lft-sh slnt n th fw strs ‘v sn, bt ws srprsd tht thr wsn’t wrd n th NPR scndl whl th Wscnsn cvrg ws vrtlly 100% nt-Wlkr.

    s ths hvly lft fvrd vw prtty nrml? nly sk bcs lv gd scl cmmntry n thr sd f th sl

    1. Keep scrolling on the main page or type in “NPR” in the search box. There were two stories on NPR yesterday.

      1. Thnks fr th nf rndthKdd – hd mssd th stry. Bt stll, glncng t th pstd stry t ws plgtc nd frstrtd n tn (wth drct dsclmr t ths vw by thr Xn Jrdn.)

        Ths sms t cnfrm my sspcns thgh bt th bs f th st. thr wy, cn stll njy th nqnss f th st wth mntl fltr rgrdng ts nbshd bs.

        1. “This seems to confirm my suspicions though about the bias of the site.”

          Complaint about the free ice cream duly noted.

    2. Welcome, I think folks here tend to be pretty reasonable. To that end, if you’re looking for a sort of 50/50 balance of “social commentary” including stances defending actions established internationally as fundamental/human rights violations like stripping collective bargaining and other workers’ rights, and also in a way that is in violation of Wisconsin sunshine laws, you probably won’t find that balance here as that stance is pretty “unreasonable.”

  45. Ah, “Democracy in action”, is it?

    I’m not one for analogy, but this one springs to mind; You have the choice, THE CHOICE, to plow and work the land to grow fruits and vegetables. Or you can just cut off your leg and feed it to your family.

    This law, removing the rights of people to organize and negotiate their wages and benefits, is democracy voting to eat itself. Just because you can do a thing doesn’t mean you should…

  46. Of all the dastardly, slippery, sideways maneuvers. I completely underestimated him and his GOP. He is proving to be a good ROI. The Koch brothers bought themselves a real trooper, money well spent. His report card already lists stellar achievements of invoking police on peaceful protesters, banning silent reading, and fishing out technicalities. I’m going down on record: this Walker has a bright future in politics!

    1. I’m going down on record: this Walker has a bright future in politics!

      Just as Walker is going down on Koch.

      Oh, dear. That was unnecessary, wasn’t it?

      I just don’t really have much to add to this situation, but I’d love an update. Supposedly, the building is on lockdown while police try to empty the place of protesters from last night, delaying the bill.

      Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk has also filed a complaint about the underhanded tricks pulled last night.

      People of Wisconsin, we’re behind you all the way. Keep the pressure up and you will win.

  47. The SDS being referenced on that sign was founded in 2006.

    I guess they’re getting the act back together, dude. Sign didn’t say “SDS – The Tribute Band”.

    The last time we had a lot of student activists taking over buildings in the USA, we also had Richard Nixon elected twice. Correlation <> causation, I know…..just sayin’.

    1. I’m sorry that you’ve misinterpreted a sign and think that it’s from a pre-Watergate, defunct organization.

      Are we going to start up some new proxy wars with the USSR now, too? Correlation > causation, I know…..just sayin’.

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