Don’t Mess With Wisconsin

February 28, 2011

By Christopher Hitchens

"The governor of Wisconsin evidently speaks in a more unbuttoned fashion than usual when he thinks he is talking to David Koch. Hoaxed into believing that it was the libertarian moneybags on the line, Scott Walker allowed the actual caller (a near-incredulous Ian Murphy of BuffaloBeast.com) to ask him about the possible use of agents provocateurs to discredit the union protestors in the capital of his state:"

 Read More (Vanity Fair)

21 comments:

Montana said...

If the Egyptian people can bring down a dictator after 30 years of police state rule, why can’t state employee unions bring down this Governor or at least start a Governor recall effort. This is the United States of America, re-learn how to do it yourself.

Peter Risdon said...

The Governor was democratically elected. A special interest group bringing down democratically elected politicians would be the opposite of what's been happening in the Middle East.

Anonymous said...

Small correction: it's BELLE Case, not Bell.

Badfuzzy said...

This article is an example of why we shouldn't listen to Hitch on anything to do with economics.

Gavin Sullivan said...

Sad that Hitch finds the faux-Koch stunt redounding to Gov. Walkers' discredit:  A rich supporter engages a pol in an off-the-record chat--and suggests an illegal/unethical act.  The politician flatters the contributor's suggestion while explaining that it will not be pursued.  Yawn!

On the positive side, The Dear Trot expresses no support for the public employees' central demand.  Perhaps we're making progress.

What percentage of La Follette-era public employees were unionized?--I wonder.

Anonymous said...

What we are witnessing now is the unintended consequence of unionizing public employees--decades in the making. The unions give dues money to democrat politicians who then give them whatever benifit the ask for, dumping the financial burden on the middle class in the form of crippling taxs at a time when our economy is struggling. In private business it would be called what it is--criminal.

Where's the social justice in that? It is a parody of what the labor movement used to mean.

You can't fire the crap teachers who are ruining our education system. And more money is going into their retirement plans than the class room. Everybody should watch "Waiting for Superman" Lots of "workers" can't afford private school, and are stuck in NEA protected hellholes.

Who is speaking for their children?

Failix said...

Badfuzzy, this article isn't about economics.

Gavin,

"On the positive side, The Dear Trot expresses no support for the public employees' central demand. Perhaps we're making progress."

I thought their central demand was to keep their collective bargaining rights; which Hitchens clearly doesn't oppose. As a matter of fact, the article reads like a tribute to the leftist tradition of Wisconsin.

If opposing labor rights is progress to you, then I must disappoint you because Hitchens is far from your conception of progress.
What amuses me even more than the liberals who call Hitchens an evil neo-con, is those libertarians who delude themselves into thinking he's on their side. Hitchens has always been and (from the looks of things) will always remain a leftist.

Badfuzzy said...

It was absolutely about economics, even if you and Hitch don't realize it, which was kind of my point.

Anonymous said...

"The unions give dues money to democrat politicians who then give them whatever benifit the ask for, dumping the financial burden on the middle class in the form of crippling taxs at a time when our economy is struggling. In private business it would be called what it is--criminal."

As opposed to your "private business"/wall street giving money to Republicans giving them whatever benefit they ask for and providing international economic collapse and then transfering the debt to the general population. Yet, the criminality is from low paid public employees trying to defend themselves.

Ravelstein said...

The corporations give money to Republican politicians who then give them whatever subsidy/tax break they ask for, dumping the financial burden on the middle class in the form of crippling taxes at a time when our economy is struggling. In private business it would be called what it is--business as usual.

Anonymous said...

Let me tell you how the Subsidy business goes Skippy. In 2008, the DEMOCRAT governor of Tennessee promised Volkswagen fast-track on infrastructure, a meager tax credit, and a promise of job training for workers for a one billion dollar plant and 2000 jobs. Quite a good return on the peoples investment. As for Corporate taxes, we already have one of the highest rates in the world.

Anonymous said...

You are aware that the great majority of super-rich movers and shakers on Wall Street are democrats and supported Obama.

Anonymous said...

"Skippy" as in the bush kangaroo?
It's the Corporations and Wall Street that have completely bent you all over and ass-paddled you.

Yet you always want to proportion blame downwards to Librarians & school teachers because they want collective bargaining.

The world kisses it's clenched fingertips at the beauty of your minds. A country that fights itself against universal health care. No wonder Hitchens has spent so long there, it must be like David Attenborough examining a dung hill.

Anonymous said...

wow, somebody's come by again to give you lot another zing of nature's intelligent counterpoint. it makes for beautiful reading, clears the mind and warms the heart strings.

Anonymous said...

"As opposed to your "private business"/wall street giving money to Republicans giving them whatever benefit they ask for and providing international economic collapse and then transfering the debt to the general population. Yet, the criminality is from low paid public employees trying to defend themselves."

The downturn was caused by a collapse in the housing market secondary to sub-prime loans. Maybe you need to go back and see who instigated that cluster f%%%, who ran Fannie and Freddie, who got the largest campaign donations from the mortgage industry, and who protected the fraud ridden programs from scrutiny and reform in congress.

It's also not true that teachers are "low paid" workers. They get competative salaries, and the added bonus of a job for life no matter how poorly they perform.

adey said...

Not being able to get rid of the ineffectual is ridiculous. As is the size of the US deficit being daunting and needs address.

But to those of us who are not in the US, reading these comments and the opprobrium towards public workers & unions, reads at best like misplaced rage.

You've had huge redistribution of income, upwards. Is it 2 milliom home forclosures? You've 50 million without adequate health insurance. Massive unemployment. No safety net. I read something a susbidy for heating oil being scrapped in Americas coldest States.

Yet it sounds that the anger rightly aimed at financial institutions in 2008 is now being directed towards people on low incomes & crap jobs in the public sector.

Drag me in the carpark if you want, but haven't you got the wrong targets for your indignation? Who are going to blame next hobos, pencil sellers & pan handlers?

FGFM said...

"They get competative [sic] salaries..."

Indeed.

Gavin Sullivan said...

While Hitchens expresses a fuzzy nostalgia for the old left, he does not in fact say anything confirming his support for the WI public employees' central demand--and you provide no quotation to the contrary.

To support labor rights, Falix believes I am required to endorse:

Allowing public employees to band together and bargain as a cartel when--across the table from the people's elected representatives--they negotiate the terms of their employment.

When the force of law is used to strengthen public employees' negotiating position--weakening the negotiating position of the people's representatives--does society overall benefit?

I think 'probably not'. Falix thinks 'certainly yes'.

Failix said...

"When the force of law is used to strengthen public employees' negotiating position"

How so? I'm not aware of a law that favors one side over the other in reaching an agreement. Only a law that allows negotiations in the first place. Why should public employees have any less rights than employees of the private sector?

"To support labor rights, Failix believes I am required to endorse..."

Collective bargaining rights are perhaps the most important achievement of the labor movement and recognized in the universal declaration of human rights. So, yes... to support labor rights you are pretty much required to endorse collective bargaining rights. Though rest assured; you aren't required to endorse your characterization of it.

"While Hitchens expresses a fuzzy nostalgia for the old left, he does not in fact say anything confirming his support for the WI public employees' central demand--and you provide no quotation to the contrary. "

That's because his support literally goes without saying. I'm serious. (Unless the central demand of the protesters is something else than collective bargaining rights.)

Failix said...

"When the force of law is used to strengthen public employees' negotiating position"

How so? I'm not aware of a law that favors one side over the other in reaching an agreement. Only a law that allows negotiations in the first place. Why should public employees have any less rights than employees of the private sector?

"To support labor rights, Failix believes I am required to endorse..."

Collective bargaining rights are perhaps the most important achievement of the labor movement and recognized in the universal declaration of human rights. So, yes... to support labor rights you are pretty much required to endorse collective bargaining rights. Though rest assured; you aren't required to endorse your characterization of it.

"While Hitchens expresses a fuzzy nostalgia for the old left, he does not in fact say anything confirming his support for the WI public employees' central demand--and you provide no quotation to the contrary. "

That's because his support literally goes without saying. I'm serious. (Unless the central demand of the protesters is something else than collective bargaining rights.)

Paul Shaughnessy said...

I need your help and maybe I can help you.

Paul

 
 
 

Christopher reads from Hitch-22: A Memoir