Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

The Sock Puppet That Ate Milwaukee (Updated)

When you first see photos of Scott Walker, newly minted governor of Wisconsin, one can’t help but notice a peculiar look of arrogance; haughtiness, superiority.  Perhaps Mr Walker thinks no one can stand against the power and money that is backing him. Truth is, Scott Walker runs on Koch Money:

… fueled by groups funded by the Koch brothers, David and Charles. David Koch, the son of a radical founding member of the John Birch Society, which has long been obsessed with claims about socialism and advocated the repeal of civil rights laws, personally donated $1 million to the Republican Governors Association (RGA) in June of last year. This was the most he had ever personally given to that group. (Fellow billionaire Rupert Murdoch matched Koch’s donation to the RGA with a $1 million donation from his company News Corporation, parent company of FOX “News” Channel.)

Citizen’s United: Slow Motion Coup

Now that corporations or wealthy individuals can anonymously donate unlimited, obscene amounts of money to candidates and organizations, we are witnessing a vast attempt to buy/game our political system. Corporations want unfettered access to the markets and a chance to squeeze the middle class dry. Union busting is part of the master plan. The master plan; now we come to it, the basic difference between left and right and what is really at stake in this epic battle.

Conservative thought assaults common sense

There was a time, not so long ago, when Liberals and Conservatives could work together. That time seems to be gone, with the radicalization of the right. Now, they want what they want and damn everyone else. What Conservatives Really Want, by George Lakoff, clearly and concisely gets to the meat:

Conservatives really want to change the basis of American life, to make America run according to the conservative moral worldview in all areas of life.

In the 2008 campaign, candidate Obama accurately described the basis of American democracy: empathy – citizens caring for each other, both social and personal responsibility – acting on that care, and an ethic of excellence. From these, our freedoms and our way of life follow, as does the role of government: to protect and empower everyone equally. Protection includes safety, health, the environment, pensions. Empowerment starts with education and infrastructure. No one can be free without these, and without a commitment to care and act on that care by one’s fellow citizens.

The conservative worldview rejects all of that.

Conservatives believe in individual responsibility alone, not social responsibility. They don’t think government should help its citizens. That is, they don’t think citizens should help each other. The part of government they want to cut is not the military (we have 174 bases around the world), not government subsidies to corporations, not the aspect of government that fits their worldview. They want to cut the part that helps people. Why? Because that violates individual responsibility

In the heart of Liberalism

No room for compromise in the conservative world view. The Democratic, Liberal world view is under constant assault since this last election; Republicans have claimed public support for busting unions, assaulting women’s rights, privatizing Medicare, cutting Social Security and on and on. All this can tend to make an empathetic Liberal despair.

It is plain what is in those dark conservative hearts, but what is it at the heart of Liberal thought? Mark Sumner, over at DKos, has posted a piece that really touches on a basic truth: if anything, Union is the measure:

From its founding, the story of this nation has been the story of union. It is the story of two centuries spent in building up the ability of ordinary citizens to treat with wealthy, powerful, politically connected entities. That story contains instances of tragedy. Thousands died in the struggle, many thousands more suffered poverty or were outcast from communities. But the story of union also contains far-reaching triumphs. Every paid vacation, every weekend, every overtime dollar, every protection from arbitrary dismissal and unfair treatment, everything that makes your working life tolerable, came because people stood together in union at risk to their own livelihoods and often their own lives. Some of those laws exist only because workers stood in union when not only corporations but their own government attacked them not just with guns, but with bombers. They paid the price. You reap the benefits.


Whether in a union of states and nations or a union of workers and citizens, only by working in concert can rights be wrested from oppressors and held against despots. That’s why tyrants quake at the sound of union. That’s why the right to act in union is the ability that the downtrodden most desire and authorities first attack.  Union is the measure of freedom.

The outlawing of independent unions is the clearest and most consistent marker of despotism around the world. When Gaddafi seized control of Libya in 1969, his first speech proclaimed the end of labor unions. No sooner had he secured control of Cuba than Fidel Castro banned the ability of unions to strike or to bargain over salary and benefits, saying such demands were detrimental to “the national economy.” In Colombia today, right-wing militias work together with corporations to keep down costs and demands for decent working conditions in the most effective way they know-they execute union leaders.

There’s a good reason why governments and corporations alike show trepidation when people are able to organize. Union is effective. For all the pretty speeches and all the ham-handed threats, the signal that the Iron Curtain was finally rising didn’t come in Berlin or Washington, D.C., it came in the shipyards of Gdansk, when men dared to wave the flag of an independent union. Want to determine where governments are actually concerned about the rights of their people? You only have to look at how free people are to organize for a cause. Without that, no other rights matter. With it, all other rights will follow.

So, defending our freedoms and rights, folks are standing together against Scott Walker who is bought and paid for by the corporations who would break our unions; labor unions and our unions with each other. Scott Walker is the arrogance and brutality of conservative thought that threatens our way of life. The people manning the protest lines, the Democratic pols that fled the state, and even we who are nothing but inspired by all this doing what we can from afar, are the strength of union. This sock puppet, at this moment is munching his way through Milwaukee already beating his chest.

If the unions are busted, the next sock puppet won’t be far behind.

Update 2-22-11:

The state of Michigan approved a plan for Detroit to close about half of its public schools and increase the average size of high-school classrooms to 60 students over the next four years to eliminate a $327 million deficit.

Their only way forward is to balance the budget on the backs of school children? You may as well tell the students to forget school and go home. Classrooms with 60 high school aged teens, many from low socio-economic families, is reprehensible.
They may as well close ALL the schools for good as make the changes mistakes they are making.

Thanks to Strummerson for the heads up on this story.


  1. campaigned as a moderate Republican. We have a history of those in this state. Unfortunately, he has shown his true colors with his new budget proposal. I’m planning on writing a diary about this so I don’t want to go into too much detail here, however I can say that the cuts and revenue increases are going to be on the back of the retired and education. He plans on giving breaks to the rich financed by the most vulnerable in our society. That doesn’t sound very moderate to me. It actually sounds just like any other Republican today.

  2. HappyinVT

    budget.  No bid contracts and cronyism abound.  Balloon Juice had a good post up about it this morning.  I also like the way he tried to get the legislature to ram this through, something Republicans slam the Dems for doing.

  3. Shaun Appleby

    Ayn Rand comic book.  I hope the American public gets it.  The slow takeover of the media by the false equivalences of the Right wing Wurlitzer is an enormous threat to our ethics, morals and values.

    I sincerely hope their arrogance is our best chance and that they have overreached themselves at last.  We’ll see.

  4. Jjc2008

    over on dkos.

    Thank you for adding even more. I will share this on FB.  I know that not all my FB friends/relatives agree with me. But no matter what, I will make sure the fact are out there.

    One can like being conservative, believe it is the “Christian” way as some have told me (I strongly gave them some factual reasons. historical and biblical as to why I disagree), or use conservative spin to justify/rationalize their greed.

    As someone else says, one can have any opinion one wants, but one cannot create one’s own facts.

    Tomorrow I will head downtown here to join in a rally at noon with others to show solidarity with the folks in WI.  Don’t know how big it will be here, and I imagine some crazy tea partiers will show up, with their guns, but I am going anyway.

  5. Strummerson

    There’s a proposal going forward to close half of the Detroit public schools over the next 2 years and to increase maximum class sizes to…wait for it…no, it’s worse than that…yep, a bit more…60.

    60 students/1 teacher!  That’ll surely get them prepared for college.  Why are black–gulp, I mean urban–youth so lazy and disaffected?  Where does the nihilism come from.

  6. Strummerson

    but do any of you check the RCP tracking of Obama’s approval ratings?  If so, can anyone explain why they keep factoring in Rasmussen?  A simple glance at the history shows that it is a consistent outlier that consistentle skews the average significantly in only one direction.  How is this defensible?

  7. Stipes

    “This is what I mean by my constant insistence on ‘moderation’ in government. Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid,” – president Eisenhower, as a counterpoint to FDR.


  8. Jjc2008

    a SOLIDARITY with WI rally here in my ultra conservative community.  It was not a large crowd (maybe 200 people at lunchtime). but for here it was good.  There were firefighters, electricians, retired teachers, and people from the Lesbian/Gay community and from AA church/community group.

    Also, unfortunately a few tea bagger types were there in the form of old white men (they were probably my age chronologically, but they seemed old to me).  I had promised myself to not engage with those types. Unfortunately when they started trashing teachers as being horrid and not deserving whatever, and then saying “teachers don’t pay taxes, they just give back some of the money, the community GIVES to them,”  I could not shut up.  

    Not that I changed their minds with facts.  

    Oh well……at least they did not bring their guns…that I could see.

  9. HappyinVT

    WI and dropped the idea of “right to work” bills.  Daniels’ change of heart came after Democratic lawmakers left the state to prevent a vote.

  10. h/t to Crooks and Liars

    This employment ad can be found on the jobs site

    Energy client is looking for experienced Plant Managers for multiple power plants located in Wisconsin. You need 15+ years of operations & maintenance experience in a power plant environment. You should have at least 5 years of experience managing operations & maintenance teams in an operational power plant. The ideal candidate has experience in a coal fired power plant. Salary is commensurate with experience.

    It appears the Koch brothers already have plans for those power plants Scott Walker plans on selling for no-bid offers.  

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