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Posted at 2:39 PM ET, 02/19/2011

Tyranny in Wisconsin, Part 4

By Charles Lane

It has been just over five weeks since a deranged gunman in a Tucson suburb left six people dead and 13 injured, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.). In the wake of that horrific tragedy, Americans reflected on -- and argued about -- the possible connection between the violence and today's often nasty, polarized political discourse.

President Obama, in a moving eulogy for the fallen, called on all Americans to "pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds."

Yet today in Wisconsin, anger and vilification are once again the order of the day -- and the incivility emanates from the progressive end of the spectrum, including, no doubt, many of the same people who blamed right-wing vitriol for creating a climate of violence in Arizona. Union-backed demonstrators, furious at Republican Gov. Scott Walker's plans for reining in public-sector unions, equate him with Hosni Mubarak and Adolf Hitler, in disgusting mimickry of some Tea Party members' inflammatory linkage between Obama and the evil dictators of history. (See Photo no. 10 in this gallery) or Photo 13 in this gallery .

Meanwhile, progressive voices in the media fanned the flames, spreading misinformation and outright falsehoods with a zest that would make Glenn Beck blush: Gov. Walker wants to crush unions with the National Guard; he manufactured a budget crisis to justify his attack on unions; he proposed cutting union workers' pay 20 percent. Neutral sources have debunked it all, but as far as I know only Ezra Klein among these tribunes of truth has seen fit to correct the record.

And, of course, thousands of teachers have abandoned their classrooms to join a boisterous crowd intimidating and obstructing the elected state legislature in Madison -- in scenes reminiscent of the Tea Party's mobbing of Democrats on Capitol Hill during the health-care debate.

This is hypocrisy on an epic scale. I can't think of a more overwhelming refutation of the claim that incivility is the unique province of the American right -- as opposed to what it really is and always has been: a two-way street with both right and left lanes. No wonder so many Americans in the broad center of the political spectrum are turned off by both parties and their sanctimonious "bases."

One certified progressive, Joe Klein, has had the courage to make the case against the unions' attempted short-circuiting of democracy, and for Walker's legislation. Klein brilliantly and succinctly describes the conflict between liberal goals such as quality education and apolitical governance on the one hand, and public-sector unionism as currently practiced on the other.

But Joe Klein is unusual. Perhaps most disappointing of all is that the president himself, rather than living up to the words he spoke so eloquently in Tuscon, has chosen to fuel the fury on the Great Lakes. He labeled Walker's legislation "an assault on unions," while the White House political operation bused in more demonstrators to join those waving Walker = Hitler placards. These are the words and deeds of a partisan politician, not a national leader.

If the brave Gabrielle Giffords could speak normally, what would she say about these events? I hope she would agree with me: This is a sad moment for liberalism, for the Democratic Party, and, really, for the whole country.

By Charles Lane  | February 19, 2011; 2:39 PM ET
Categories:  Lane  | Tags:  Charles Lane  
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Next: For Wisconsin unions, a telling concession

Comments

Are your farking KIDDING?

The Goveror DID create this so-called budget crisis. And what does eliminating collective bargaining rights have to do with solving it?

And yet you compare the public employees in Madison, peacefully protesting to preserve bargaining rights they've had for five decades, to a mass murder!

You clearly show the Big Lie tactic that Republicans have been using for years, and unfortunately, with the media having abrogated its role to report facts and not scurrilous accusations, it is unfortunately working.

Middle class of America -- WAKE UP!

Posted by: theRealCalGal | February 19, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse

It matters not ... just spoiled children stamping their feet ... the money is just not there ... and hell has come to brekfast in the form of an election ... the adults have taken over ... somebody needs some growing up to do ...

Posted by: cunn9305 | February 19, 2011 4:21 PM | Report abuse

theRealCalGal you obviously know nothing about how much taxpayer money is actually used up by these "bargaining rights" unions have.

You are the same person who would whine if they raised taxes to balance the budget which would effect EVERYONE in Wisconsin including those of us already paying more than our share... cause, I pay for those wonderful public schools all the teachers are bailing on even though I don't have kids in school....

or you'd cry foul when the massive lay offs that will occur if this bill isn't passed. Then you'll but up ***** creek without a paddle when people start losing their jobs won't ya. then you'll freak out over that too.


People want the budget balanced but they're not willing to make the necessary sacrifices needed to get the budget back under control. Grow up. Unions do jack squat for people anyway. My sister was forced into a union through her job and she pays hundreds of union dues a year out of her paycheck... and the ONE TIME she needed the union when her superiors bullied her unfairly... they told her to suck it up.

Screw unions.

Posted by: Anniebobannie | February 19, 2011 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Unions are not usefull in the high tech world we live in. In the past unions fought for safe and fair working conditons for factory hands. The profit margin in the private sector was huge. Then, unions moved into the public sector where no profit margin exists and many if not most workers are high tech educated knowledge workers. In Greece, public employees have fought the government when the government ran out of money. The private sector fires people when they run out of money or move the business to China. What makes public employees who make more than the private sector so special?

Posted by: windmill3 | February 19, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

$300,000,000.00 Fund Raiser for """Obama Proof of Eligibility""" Right now millions of Americans want to donate money to any group who will go after Obama and produce all his records? Upwards of 100 million people are demanding his records and willing to pay to see them, even large amounts of money woudl be donated some say by individuals? One person said, "Real long term success and greatness in our country are founded upon the principles that people do not lie, cheat, or steal but Obama does not know the meaning of these words. Our nation is neither succeeding nor is great at this point in time because we have allowed Obama's voice to grow and spread throughout our society. Shame on us, we shuld have said stop the lying long ago...
Our nation does have the potential to be a fabulous nation again; however, let’s stop kidding ourselves in thinking that we are a great nation currently. How is it that America has lost its greatness? One word, Obama!!!!

Posted by: Richie5 | February 19, 2011 4:27 PM | Report abuse

$300,000,000.00 Fund Raiser for """Obama Proof of Eligibility""" Right now millions of Americans want to donate money to any group who will go after Obama and produce all his records? Upwards of 100 million people are demanding his records and willing to pay to see them, even large amounts of money woudl be donated some say by individuals? One person said, "Real long term success and greatness in our country are founded upon the principles that people do not lie, cheat, or steal but Obama does not know the meaning of these words. Our nation is neither succeeding nor is great at this point in time because we have allowed Obama's voice to grow and spread throughout our society. Shame on us, we shuld have said stop the lying long ago...
Our nation does have the potential to be a fabulous nation again; however, let’s stop kidding ourselves in thinking that we are a great nation currently. How is it that America has lost its greatness? One word, Obama!!!!

Posted by: Richie5 | February 19, 2011 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Are you kidding me, RealCalGal? Walker has been office for one month. The "so-called" crisis is real and met him at the door when he moved into the capitol building. And, you are ignoring the point of this article. The left wing has no problem with their demeaning signs and language but has tried to build the entire Tea Party image around demeaning signs, language and violence. In other words, they are hypocrits.

Posted by: bethg1841 | February 19, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

The really sad part here is that I agree that the unions have to agree to givebacks because the state just cannot afford them. I do think taking away their collective bargaining rights is more about the Governor trying to harm a political enemy than Wisconsin's budget crisis.

But Lane completely lost me once he used Congresswoman Giffords for his own purposes. The woman is recovering from a horrible ordeal. Don't use her to score points. Let your argument stand on its own.

Posted by: mustangs79 | February 19, 2011 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Awesome Mr Lane. So while the actual issue is being debated, your time is better spent deciding where the level of discussion (or incivility) lies? How constructive! I'll remember to give your articles a pass in the future.

Posted by: opisfree | February 19, 2011 4:48 PM | Report abuse

This is hypocrisy on an epic scale. I can't think of a more overwhelming refutation of the claim that incivility is the unique province of the American right -- as opposed to what it really is and always has been: a two-way street with both right and left lanes.

==========================================

I know Lane is going to get hammered in the coming hours for this post. What amazes me is not that many people on the left are hypocrites, they simply don't care that they are.

Posted by: bbface21 | February 19, 2011 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Lane: Here's a less cherry-picked Polifact link for you . Note the Scott Walker quote at the top, labeled "pants on fire": "Says under his budget-repair bill, "collective bargaining is fully intact." Which is a blatant lie. The loss of collective bargaining rights is the central issue behind the protests that you, and he, continue to duck.

And the irony of invoking Gabby Giffords to paint loud, but impeccably well-behaved political protestor as 'incivil" is just too rich for words.

Personally, I think igniting unilateral class warfare and then lying about it is worse than loud protests.

Posted by: AnneNonnyMouse | February 19, 2011 4:54 PM | Report abuse

If they made a movie about these Charles Lane anti-worker posts, it would be called Shattered Ass. At least Stephen Glass wrote decent fiction. Charles Lane writes uninformed and viciously anti-public union non-fiction. Walker is making scapegoats out of hardworking employees and trying to take away their rights. All in the name of far right, Koch-backed, teabaggerism. And Lane is complaining about a few signs. Boo hoo.

Posted by: Paleo1 | February 19, 2011 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Lane is just a typical fascist who thinks that the Right should always get their way, and anyone who disagrees is being "incivil."

If violence breaks out, you can bet it will be from Tea Partiers who think democracy means the Right always gets their way, and the Democrats have no rights.

Posted by: thomasmc1957 | February 19, 2011 5:00 PM | Report abuse

This #4 in the series is the most excellent yet. I'm a registered Democrat and strong supporter of everything from ObamaCare to the California initiatives to reduce carbon emissions. But public employee unions in general and teachers' unions in particular have contributed mightily to state government insolvency. Educational reforms which would work would consist of paying teachers more money, eliminating tenure entirely, and requiring teachers to finance their own retirements, as in the case of most private sector workers. It's not the salaries which are bankrupting state governments, it the pension liabilities. Charles Lane has written the best, clearest, and wisest words regarding the goings on in Madison that I've read or heard anywhere, since all of this began.

- Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach, CA

Posted by: lweisenthal | February 19, 2011 5:01 PM | Report abuse

balanced article......this is just the perfect reason why the governments both state and fed should be half or less of what they are today. The nanny state created these public union overhangs....eliminate all regs, cut out all welfare state programs, move to a real free market...and things will be just fine. I forget who said it.....but "liberalism is someone having compassion for their fellow man with other people's money"......this is the state of the public employees and we may as well say that GM has public employee unions....we paid for them instead of letting the free market buy up the parts in bankruptcy. And the very people that would have been protected under the default..many were mom and pops living off the GM bonds....and Obummer screwed them so bad! In every case you look at....unions are protected by Obummer's actions. He's a slimy Chi-Town idiot savant!

Posted by: briankmc | February 19, 2011 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Bravo, Mr. Lane. You are so correct. The Obama administration is bussing in union members to Madison in an effort to energize his base for 2012. How cynical.

Posted by: rwe123 | February 19, 2011 5:02 PM | Report abuse

TYRANNY? You're joking right? When the tea baggers protest, they're just exercising their rights but when civil servants do it it's "intimidating and obstructing the elected state legislature in Madison" and "unions' attempted short-circuiting of democracy". Fact is the unions want to sit down and work out a compromise with the governor but says no meeting and no compromise. His sole goal is union busting and has nothing to do with the budget. There was in fact a surplus in Wisconsin until the governor gave out $137 million dollars in unfunded tax breaks.Those are the facts!!

Posted by: donald14 | February 19, 2011 5:07 PM | Report abuse

You see how long the divider in chief's call for civility lasted. In fact note it was the little naked emperor himself who broke the pledge. American voters got to see the seedy, union loving, community organizer, socialist side sitting in the White House. Thankfully his chances for re-election fall the longer this issue in Wisconsin lasts. Let's hope Gov Walker issues a deadline to return to work and then fires any who remain out of the classroom. Reagan showed the traffic controlers and with today's unemployment rate it won't take them long to fill those empty jobs. Gov Walker open an application process and allow the unemployed to start sending resumes. You can have your classrooms back in session with new teachers within 30 days.

Posted by: Desertdiva1 | February 19, 2011 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Tyrannny?

Doesn't tyranny refer to a tyrant. Since when does peaceful protests equate to tyranny.

Wisconsin's governor's intent was to ramrod his bill through almost overnight without debate and without any effort to allow the state workers whose futures are at stake to offer alternatives and to compromise,

The issue IS Union Busting.

The gap between rich and poor has grown exponentially in the past decade; wages have steadily declined; the middle class is disappearing and we are on the way to being a third world nations.

Why would anyone with a grain of sense blame unions for this sad state of affairs when corporate money just bought an election and The Wisconsin Governor gave away the state's surplus in tax breaks to corporate interests?

Is paying a few less dollars in taxes worth throwing our nation "under the bus" as international corporations who care only for profit continue to take over everything.

Workers have no power to to protect themsleves without being able to organize and bargain collectively and that is what the Governor is trying to strip away.

WAKE UP!

If the protesters lose, hardworking Americans everywhere lose.

Posted by: rjl11 | February 19, 2011 5:21 PM | Report abuse

The best part is that with every crisis it just exposes Obama more and more as the liberal partisan he truly is ... rendering it truly impossible to run as a pragmatic centrist in a general election campaign ... the man can't help but hide behind his ideology and it will doom him in 2012 ...

Posted by: cunn9305 | February 19, 2011 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Lane, I don't think you know much about what is happening in WI. You've been listening to too much right wing spin.
Please watch the WI Republican legislature trying to sneak through passage of the onerous bill on Friday evening. The WI government is in the hands of tyrants. http://71.87.25.133/IVOD/ASM/ASM_110218_4.wmv

Posted by: RealityCheck54 | February 19, 2011 5:32 PM | Report abuse

You fail to point out that Gov. Walker is hardly willing "to talk with each other in a way that heals." He is implacably unwilling to budge from the position he has sprung on Wisconsin with no forewarning and no time to rationally consider. You fail to acknowledge the value of unionism while exaggerating its flaws.

Posted by: patposton | February 19, 2011 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Agitator Obama Agitates for unionism against the people, the class struggle is on, social and economic class war are his trump card in the destruction of America, Marxism - Socialism, the labor theory of value, dialectical materialism, the class struggle, dictatorship of the proletariat, it's in your face everyday with Obama.

Posted by: xthat | February 19, 2011 5:42 PM | Report abuse

BREAKING: Death Toll In Libya Protest 'Hits 120' According to Alex Rossi, Sky News correspondent in Cairo, the situation in Libya was "extremely volatile".

...Describing very strong scenes of unrest in Benghazi, he said: "At least 35 people... had been taken to the morgue. Most of those people shot with live ammunition."

As thousands gathered to mourn the dead on Saturday, snipers began shooting at the crowd.

Up to 15 people were killed and scores more were wounded, according to hospital sources./Tyranny in Tripoli

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 19, 2011 6:13 PM | Report abuse

There was in fact a surplus in Wisconsin until the governor gave out $137 million dollars in unfunded tax breaks.Those are the facts!!

Posted by: donald14

============================================

Uh, no. As Lane mentioned Rachel Maddow tried that same line and Politifact (which is run by one of the most liberal papers in the country, the St. Petersburg Times) rates that as false.

Posted by: bbface21 | February 19, 2011 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Lane:

Do yourself a favor and actually take the time to actually find out what is happening rather than indulging in hyperbole and rumormonging.

As has been pointed out elections have consequences and in the last one the democrats lost in Wisconsin. And to tell the truth the behavior of the public employee unions which have had a long and utterly corrupt association with the political powers that be in Wisconsin (Democrats). An association which has led to unrealistic and irresponsible contracts between state employees and the political powers that be. Nor should we forget the effect of having what amounts to an entrenched interest group on the actions of politicians.

Posted by: werehawk | February 19, 2011 7:38 PM | Report abuse

You conservatives love to dish it out but sure can't take it. As much as you try to complicate the issue, this is about Republicans trying to bust the public sector unions, having already busted most of the private sector unions, and taking away the workers' right to organize and right to collective bargaining in favor of no-strings-attached tax breaks for the wealthy. Having run on a platform of job creation, Republicans are furiously trying to throw as many Americans out of work as they possibly can. Wisconsin is only the beginning - American workers have had enough!

Posted by: dnahatch1 | February 19, 2011 8:24 PM | Report abuse

E.J. Dionne Jr. rises above the rhetoric:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postpartisan/2011/02/wisconsin_dueling_statistics_a.html

Posted by: mmyotis | February 19, 2011 9:16 PM | Report abuse

When the Post and the Chicago Tribune go under for such arrogance against the middle class it will be a better day for America.

Posted by: bobsr1 | February 19, 2011 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Blatant, lying right wing propaganda by Lane. Here are the facts:

"Supporters of Gov. Scott Walker's plan to end collective bargaining for the state's public employees and increase their pension and health payments stood toe-to-toe and nose-to-nose with pro-union protesters. And, according to the Madison Police Department, a remarkable thing happened. A civil, peaceful debate broke out. ...

There were no arrests, according to Joel DeSpain, a spokesman for the Madison Police Department. Nor were there any injuries, he added. DeSpain, who for part of the afternoon watched the swirling crowd from a Capitol Square rooftop, said he was impressed that such an enormous, emotional political gathering could play out so peacefully."

Lane's inflammatory and dishonest right wing rhetoric represents an assault on the democratic right of people to publicly and peacefully express their views. This is what is happening in Wisconsin.


http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_cb861e04-3c86-11e0-8437-001cc4c03286.html

Posted by: twm1 | February 19, 2011 9:31 PM | Report abuse

99% percent of the public doesn't understand how budgets of state/local governments are funded.

If you want to balance the budget of your state/local government - quit putting measures for more services on your ballets and voting for them. Stop the initiatives. Then lawmakers don't have to hire more PUBLIC EMPLOYEES.

Great job Republicans - turn Americans against fellow Americans.

Posted by: FishinDog | February 19, 2011 9:52 PM | Report abuse

The Unions have been giving back, giving back, deferring pay increases for the last 20 years. Now the states that are occupied and controlled by the Republican Tea Party are going for the coup-de-grace. They're attempting to take away the Union members' right to collective bargaining. No collective bargaining means no Union. The attack upon the Unions by the Republican Tea Party is a purely political attack, designed to destroy Union support and funding for the Democrat Party. The corporate bosses give most of their money to Republican Tea party. The Republican Tea Party elected politicians have been bribed, bought and paid for. They're the lap dogs of the rich, the elite, the greedy bankers and the corporate bosses. The Unions did not receive one dime of the massive 11 trillion dollars debt ran up by the borrow and spend Republicans. WORKERS OF AMERICA UNITE. "Share the wealth, tax the rich, pay down the debt."

Posted by: ODDOWL | February 19, 2011 10:22 PM | Report abuse

The problem I see coming if the Democrats don't return to debate this proposal the governor may just pink slip 5,500 state workers. Then what happens? Maybe an impeachment process could be explored. BUT... if there is no money maybe its time to live within the state income annually?

Posted by: npsilver | February 19, 2011 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Regardless of how one feels about the debate in Wisconsin, invoking the name of Gabrielle Giffords in this way is disgusting and you should be ashamed.

Posted by: DougJ3 | February 20, 2011 12:52 AM | Report abuse

"If the brave Gabrielle Giffords could speak normally, what would she say about these events? I hope she would agree with me:"

I hope she recovers quickly and tells you to get stuffed, you despicable ghoul.

Posted by: whowhat | February 20, 2011 1:09 AM | Report abuse

Even with the correction Klein made, his conclusion about Walker's ultimate goal doesn't change in the least. So in addition to having no problem invoking the name of a woman who got shot in the head to support your partisan attacks on the president, you also have no problem misrepresenting colleagues. You're appallingly shameless.

Posted by: stormhit | February 20, 2011 1:28 AM | Report abuse

Whatever strained analogies you want to draw with this silly article, your use of the incapacitated Gabrielle Giffords is beyond the pale.

Disgusting. Just disgusting. Shame on you.

Posted by: zuzu2 | February 20, 2011 1:54 AM | Report abuse

"If the brave Gabrielle Giffords could speak normally, what would she say about these events?"

I think she would say, "Mr. Lane, at long last, have you no sense of decency?"

Posted by: lobosdad | February 20, 2011 2:21 AM | Report abuse

i see its been covered somewhat, but just to point out: mr lane, you are as low as a snake for using rep. giffords for your dummy.

gov. walker's posture in the case at hand will do nothing for the state, while busting up unions. bully for him. and good for you, carrying water for the bullies and demagogues in their assault on working people.

Posted by: werddog | February 20, 2011 2:55 AM | Report abuse

Gabby Giffords does not need your words in her mouth. Shame on you.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | February 20, 2011 4:54 AM | Report abuse

"If the brave Gabrielle Giffords could speak normally..."

Do you have even the slightest clue about how much of a dick statement that is? This is a sad moment for YOU and anyone else unfortunate enough to read this piece of pretentious garbage.

Posted by: ComfortablyDumb | February 20, 2011 5:14 AM | Report abuse

It wasn't long ago that Democrats were saying that the Republicans were the "party of no", complaining that all the Republicans did was reject any proposals. Now the Democrats won't even show up to vote, instead fleeing and hiding like fugitives. Does this make the the "party of go"?

Posted by: justanotherguy | February 20, 2011 5:43 AM | Report abuse

Shredding teacher contracts and wildly see-sawing education budgets are a sure way of attracting teachers to the profession and improving education. President Obama knows that, and now the Wisconsin governor knows that, as do the commenters on this column. Optimum results will come from making teaching very insecure and calling them names, not to mention increasing class sizes and shrinking school budgets. Everyone knows that, which is why we do it: we want our children to fail, and we are creating the conditions for that failure, and ducking the blame by pointing our collective finger at teachers, those powerful and overpaid people.

Posted by: sailhardy | February 20, 2011 6:44 AM | Report abuse

"If the brave Gabrielle Giffords could speak normally, what would she say about these events? I hope she would agree with me: This is a sad moment for liberalism, for the Democratic Party, and, really, for the whole country."

This is repulsive. But thanks for letting us know that the person who can't currently speak - if she COULD speak - would just happen to say EXACTLY what you wanted her to.

Posted by: trupin | February 20, 2011 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Incivility by the "progressives."

When you call people fascists or use thinly-disguised profanity to refer to them, this reveals that the speaker has disregarded a set of norms that restrain speech.

When you then take it on yourself (as the teachers and some government workers did in Wisconsin) to call in sick and then attend a protest, you (a) steal from your employer, (b) reveal that you are willing to disregard rules that restrict conduct. This is not "fighting for your rights."

When you then mass in the capital and show that you can call names en masse and shut down schools and offices by theft and misbehavior, then you demonstrate why a change is needed. The taxpayers are paying you to teach children in the classrom and certainly are justified in their insistance that you be accountable for stealing a day off work. When you sign up for public employment, you are accountable to the public for your actions.

And what possible justification do you have for calling someone a fascist, which means a supporter of a political system characterized by rigid one-party dictatorship, forcible suppression of opposition, private enterprise under centralized government control, and racism? Exactly the opposite is true. The governor and the legislature were elected by people exercising their right to vote for change. A desire to balance the budget and perhaps limit collective bargaining is certainly not dictatorship. If you want to convince the voters that you are right, then stop breaking the law, calling names and exhibiting bad behavior and engage in civil discourse.

The theory that violence is promoted by disregarding the norms of civil discourse by extreme behavior and breaking the law as a means of demonstrating you have power applies equally to progressives. A group of teachers who call in sick so they can attend a rally or demonstration in which elected officials are compared to Hitler (never Stalin for some reason--perhaps it was because he was from the left) are telling others, including their students, that it is acceptable to disregard the rules to promote your perosnal interests. you are telling the prople who voted for the governor they are fascists. Is that what you want to say?

When you take the law into your own hands in this way, you are telling others they can do so too. Perhaps one of those who sees and hears your actions is crazy and you are influencing them to action.

Remember, there are consequences for actions such as yours and that you are accountable to the people of Wisconsin for your actions because they pay your salary. Do not be surprised if the same people who elected the governor and legislature are happy when your pay is cut, your collective bargaining rights are eliminated, and you are fired for illegally leaving work.

Posted by: hbrown906 | February 20, 2011 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Incivility by the "progressives."

When you call people fascists or use thinly-disguised profanity to refer to them, this reveals that the speaker has disregarded a set of norms that restrain speech.

When you then take it on yourself (as the teachers and some government workers did in Wisconsin) to call in sick and then attend a protest, you (a) steal from your employer, (b) reveal that you are willing to disregard rules that restrict conduct. This is not "fighting for your rights."

When you then mass in the capital and show that you can call names en masse and shut down schools and offices by theft and misbehavior, then you demonstrate why a change is needed. The taxpayers are paying you to teach children in the classrom and certainly are justified in their insistance that you be accountable for stealing a day off work. When you sign up for public employment, you are accountable to the public for your actions.

And what possible justification do you have for calling someone a fascist, which means a supporter of a political system characterized by rigid one-party dictatorship, forcible suppression of opposition, private enterprise under centralized government control, and racism? Exactly the opposite is true. The governor and the legislature were elected by people exercising their right to vote for change. A desire to balance the budget and perhaps limit collective bargaining is certainly not dictatorship. If you want to convince the voters that you are right, then stop breaking the law, calling names and exhibiting bad behavior and engage in civil discourse.

The theory that violence is promoted by disregarding the norms of civil discourse by extreme behavior and breaking the law as a means of demonstrating you have power applies equally to progressives. A group of teachers who call in sick so they can attend a rally or demonstration in which elected officials are compared to Hitler (never Stalin for some reason--perhaps it was because he was from the left) are telling others, including their students, that it is acceptable to disregard the rules to promote your perosnal interests. you are telling the prople who voted for the governor they are fascists. Is that what you want to say?

When you take the law into your own hands in this way, you are telling others they can do so too. Perhaps one of those who sees and hears your actions is crazy and you are influencing them to action.

Remember, there are consequences for actions such as yours and that you are accountable to the people of Wisconsin for your actions because they pay your salary. Do not be surprised if the same people who elected the governor and legislature are happy when your pay is cut, your collective bargaining rights are eliminated, and you are fired for illegally leaving work.

Posted by: hbrown906 | February 20, 2011 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Americans reflected on -- and argued about -- the possible connection between the violence and today's often nasty, polarized political discourse.

- Chuck Lane, neocon simpleton
=========================

No, Chuckie, the possible connection was to today's violent rhetoric and gun fetishism, which remain exclusively right-wing phenomena when it comes to political discourse.

As for putting words into the mouth of Gabrielle Giffords to further your anti-worker agenda, have you no sense of shame?
~


Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | February 20, 2011 9:18 AM | Report abuse

"As has been pointed out elections have consequences and in the last one the democrats lost in Wisconsin."

Tell that to the teaparty people, who sought to undermine Obama almost from the moment he was sworn in. And senate Republicans who constantly prevented up or down votes on legislation that had clear majority support among the elected officials in the chamber. What's good for the goose, is good for the gander.


Posted by: Paleo1 | February 20, 2011 9:43 AM | Report abuse

If the brave Gabrielle Giffords could speak normally, what would she say about this article? I hope she would agree with me: Charles Lane is a tragedy exploiting hack who should be ashamed of himself as a journalist and a human being.

Posted by: fakedude2 | February 20, 2011 9:55 AM | Report abuse

"What makes public employees who make more than the private sector so special?"

First of all, one would be curious to know how much *you* make. If it's more than $30-50K a year plus benefits, you're making more than a schoolteacher in Wisconsin. I know I make quite a bit more than that, and I'm on the low end of the corporate professional scale. Secondly, we pay public sector employees to do jobs the rest of us don't want to do, like policing our cities, fighting fires and teaching school. And don't say, "Oh, I'd love to be a schoolteacher for $50K a year!" I seriously doubt you would.

Posted by: zackthedog | February 20, 2011 10:03 AM | Report abuse

HU-ZZAH!!Nailed it!!

Posted by: jpmenavich | February 20, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

And don't say, "Oh, I'd love to be a schoolteacher for $50K a year!" I seriously doubt you would.

Posted by: zackthedog | February 20, 2011 10:03 AM

You are right, Zack Dog...but I WOULD love to teach for the $89K average in salary and benefits that teachers in Madison make. Don't you wonder why they are not posting these numbers in all of these news stories? Could it be that there would be little sympathy for those pulling down that kind of cake while only working for 9 months out of the year? Waddaya say, Dawg??

Posted by: jpmenavich | February 20, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Why is this unhinged person given space in what once was a great newspaper?

Oh -- perhaps I have answered my own question.

And jpmenavich -- you say you'd love to get one of those jobs. Well, hoss, no one is stopping you from applying. Get going.

Posted by: jrmitchell | February 20, 2011 10:39 AM | Report abuse

But Lane completely lost me once he used Congresswoman Giffords for his own purposes. The woman is recovering from a horrible ordeal. Don't use her to score points. Let your argument stand on its own.


Posted by: mustangs79 | February 19, 2011 4:39 PM | Report abuse

But I assume you had no problem with the left using Ms. Giffords' horrible ordeal for the purpose of attempting to silence their opponents? The left rushed to attempt to blame the attack on Ms. Giffords on the political speech of the right, when the attack had absolutely nothing to do with political speech. The calls for "civility" were nothing more than calls for political opponents to shut up. Lane actually made a valid point in his article, while the left just made stuff up about Giffords' attacker. But I'm sure you were okay with that.

Posted by: mbs235 | February 20, 2011 11:10 AM | Report abuse

The whole concept of public unions should be illegal, in that it allows members to be represented twice, once directly at the negotiating table as a union member, and again at the polling booth as a citizen of the locality. Simultaneously, each of those privately-employed citizens who together pay the bulk of the union members’ salaries have but one vote, and effectively no power to fight off the unions’ ever-greedier demands. One man, one vote? Not when there are public unions, who offer nothing but specious rationalizations and thuggery when challenged. Public unions are undemocratic in theory, and stink of nothing but corruption in reality. They must all be dissolved.

Posted by: djman1141 | February 20, 2011 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Why does Lane have the opportunity to post such a repulsive screed? Easy, The Washington Post Co. owns a massive stake in FOR-PROFIT education services. In fact, it's there cash cow, for they certainly don't make much with the paper and website!

Now do you see?

Posted by: szickgraf | February 20, 2011 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Heh - should be 'their' cash cow.

Apologies.

Posted by: szickgraf | February 20, 2011 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Very disappointing article. Walker DID create this problem -- with tax cuts for the rich. I also love how the media keeps playing clips of Walker talking about how EVERYONE has to sacrifice ... but that never seems to include the rich. Odd, considering their spending would most likely not be affected by a small rise in taxes, while "regular" people will have to rein in spending if they make even less than they do already.

And to imply that the tragedy in Tucson somehow means that people can't express their opinions through demonstrations makes no sense whatsoever.

Posted by: libbyrichards | February 20, 2011 11:25 AM | Report abuse

This is a disgusting, repulsive article that presumes to speak for Gabrielle Giffords and Charles Lane ought to be fired for having written it. Pitchforks and torches are coming, Mr. Lane, and you are now in the path of destruction. You will greatly regret being on the wrong side of history and ginning up this class war.

Posted by: xcorley | February 20, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

you poor fools on the right that think this is a left/right issue, and not a rich/poor issue will certainly be disappointed in your teabagger failures once they sell you out.

Posted by: xcorley | February 20, 2011 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Mr Lane,

Sorry, but exploiting this woman's tragedy, is YOUR failure.

It IS an assault on unions and democracy itself.

The truth is, this contempt for the people is a sad moment for conservatism, for the Republican Party, and, really, for the whole country.

Posted by: sickofthemall | February 20, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

It never ceases to amaze me that 80%+ of people who vote GOP are voting against their own self-interest and their own future.

Posted by: kemp13 | February 20, 2011 11:59 AM | Report abuse

"If the brave Gabrielle Giffords could speak normally . . ."

How dare you, Mr. Lane. What a deeply offensive statement.

Posted by: greenrx | February 20, 2011 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Charles, this is what your colleague Ezra Klein said:

"Let's be clear: Whatever fiscal problems Wisconsin is -- or is not -- facing at the moment, they're not caused by labor unions. That's also true for New Jersey, for Ohio and for the other states. There was no sharp rise in collective bargaining in 2006 and 2007, no major reforms of the country's labor laws, no dramatic change in how unions organize. And yet, state budgets collapsed. Revenues plummeted. Taxes had to go up, and spending had to go down, all across the country.

Blame the banks. Blame global capital flows. Blame lax regulation of Wall Street. Blame home buyers, or home sellers. But don't blame the unions. Not for this recession."

You are in no position to accuse others of spreading false information, when you are doing it yourself.

And you are certainly no position to put words in Gabrielle Giffords mouth. How you could even conflate those two events is beyond me.

Posted by: brooklyngirl136 | February 20, 2011 12:11 PM | Report abuse

"This is a sad moment for liberalism, for the Democratic Party, and, really, for the whole country."
----
Why? Because the workers are exercising their first ammendment rights to protest legislation that they consider to be unfair? What should they do? Continue working while all their benefits are stripped and their right to say anything about it is taken away?

I can understand requesting cuts but why did Walker put an end to collective bargaining in the bill? And if he was going to put it into the bill why were policemen and firemen exempted?

Sounds political to me and it probably is. Ask for cuts but do not take away their right to bargain.

Posted by: nyrunner101 | February 20, 2011 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Using Gabrielle Giffords' name is just stupid. If your opinions can't stand on their own (and here they really can't), it's silly to invoke someone else who hasn't commented on the issue at all. It's amazing how people are always sure that someone (usually famous and dead--George Orwell, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill) would agree with them, no matter what the issue. And in Ms. Gifford's case it's truly appalling and ghoulish.

How you got from the tragedy in Arizona to the Koch-funded governor's own self-created budget problems in Wisconsin is truly a leap of logic that defies belief.

Posted by: dogofthesouth | February 20, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Collective action is the only way to effectively challenge entrenched power and the wealth that Power commands.
That is why the Koch brothers financed Gov. Scott Walker's attack on collective bargaining rights.
That is why Reagan attacked the unions.
That is why Republicans disenfranchise voters whether they're stopping the vote count in Florida or defunding Acorn.

Posted by: karenfink | February 20, 2011 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Tyranny? What's got you clutching your pearls Chuckie? The fact that people are actually protesting this? You'd rather continue the disintegration of the middle class in this country. Chuckie just wants everyone to bow down to the corporations and their lackeys the GOP. What a right wing shill!

Posted by: JBN59 | February 20, 2011 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Unions will be unnecessary when capital stops being consolidated in the hands of a few or when God creates a world in which fairness, integrity, and honesty are universal values. Whichever comes first.

Walker's attack on the unions have nothing to do with the budget and everything to do with destroying the only institution that allows individuals in workplaces to stand together and have any sway.

And it certainly isn't a coincidence that Walker and his ilk are taking on the unions, given that the unions are the only organizations on the Democratic side that even come close to matching the resources on the right, those of the Koch brothers, Newt's PAC, and so on, and so on.

Posted by: midwestFrances | February 20, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I see what you did there, Charles.

Link to pics of TWO out of oh, about 100,000 protesters who have shown up in the last couple of weeks, who carry signs with childish messages on them...ONE of which compares Walker to Mubarak and Hitler. Extrapolate that into "[u]nion-backed demonstrators, furious at Republican Gov. Scott Walker's plans for reining in public-sector unions, equate him with Hosni Mubarak and Adolf Hitler."

Extrapolate that into a claim that, despite ALL media reports that the demonstrations have been peaceful, "anger and vilification are once again the order of the day" -- and the incivility emanates from the progressive end of the spectrum."

Then claim the "White House political operation bused in more demonstrators to join those waving Walker = Hitler placards." Note the word "join" - implying that those busees would wave those placards too. Even though, again, it was ONE person carrying that sign.

Oh, and please explain exactly what "White House political operation" you are talking about, Charles. Be specific. You wouldn't want to make baseless claims now, would you?

Finally, Charles tops off the absurdity with a truly despicable insinuation that the wounded Rep. Giffords would agree with him, if only she could talk. Must say this is one of the most disgusting things I've read in a long time. Unfortunately, given the nasty and untruthful nature of the entire piece, it's not surprising.

Posted by: zuzu2 | February 20, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I see what you did there, Charles.

Link to pics of TWO out of oh, about 100,000 protesters who have shown up in the last couple of weeks, who carry signs with childish messages on them...ONE of which compares Walker to Mubarak and Hitler. Extrapolate that ONE protester into "[u]nion-backed demonstrators, furious at Republican Gov. Scott Walker's plans for reining in public-sector unions, equate him with Hosni Mubarak and Adolf Hitler."

Extrapolate that into a claim that, despite ALL media reports that the demonstrations have been peaceful, "anger and vilification are once again the order of the day" -- and the incivility emanates from the progressive end of the spectrum."

Then claim the "White House political operation bused in more demonstrators to join those waving Walker = Hitler placards." Note the word "join" - implying that those busees would wave those placards too. Even though, again, it was ONE person carrying that sign.

Oh, and please explain exactly what "White House political operation" you are talking about, Charles. Be specific. You wouldn't want to make baseless claims now, would you?

Finally, Charles tops off the absurdity with a truly despicable insinuation that the wounded Rep. Giffords would agree with him, if only she could talk. Must say this is one of the most disgusting things I've read in a long time. Unfortunately, given the nasty and untruthful nature of the entire piece, it's not surprising.

Posted by: zuzu2 | February 20, 2011 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Please tell me this article was meant as a joke.

Please.

Posted by: ottoman88 | February 20, 2011 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Lane, I expect that Gabrielle Giffords' office will ask for an apology here.

You ought to consider resigning your position on the editorial board.

Posted by: tjtucker | February 20, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse

If the Washington Post had a shred of decency, let alone journalistic integrity, it would fire Charles Lane for this piece of right-wing garbage he's written. Then again, if the Post had decency or journalistic integrity it wouldn't have hired Lane and so many other right-wing shills in the first place.

Posted by: Ryking | February 20, 2011 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I was there yesterday, and it's nothing like you describe. If you knew anything about Wisconsin, and especially Madison, you would know we are a rowdy, but good natured bunch. The same Packer and Badger fans you might see at a football game. There was lots of spirited discussion between the pro and con Walker people, but no threats, no violence, no arrests,no meaness. You ought to come by, it's a great party.

Posted by: wyder2 | February 20, 2011 3:18 PM | Report abuse

What in god's name does Gabrielle Giffords have to do with anything? What unconscionable tripe.

Posted by: Gutavo | February 20, 2011 3:19 PM | Report abuse

If Chuck really cared about civility, then he wouldn't be supporting the wingnut governor and the general thrust of the teabggers. I guess canning Steve Glass was the mortal high point of his career.

Posted by: thebuckguy | February 20, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Lane's offer to speak for Gabrielle Giffords is disgusting. That he would go to such disgusting length to score a non-sequitir is baffling.

Posted by: rjctsopnotgnihsaw | February 20, 2011 3:56 PM | Report abuse

TheRealCalGal appears to be a symptom of why that state is going to hell in a handbasket. Someone said that back in the beginning of the last century, somebody tipped the US on its side and everything loose slid to California.

No other explanation why they keep re-electing airheads like Boxer and Brown. Gotta be dumb-juice poured into their water.

Posted by: djman1141 | February 20, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Hey Lane... where did you get the facts? The Gov. Walker did create the crisis but cutting taxes to the Wisconsin rich and business to one of the lowest rate in the country. In order to make up for the shortfall, he is taking it out on the working men and women doing the work the state requires BY LAW! If the state does not want that work done, they should change the law. In the mean time, government workers AND teachers not only deserve a living wage but should have to take the brunt of tax cuts for the wealthy.

In fact, considering the crap many teachers have to take, they deserve a RAISE, not a cut!! We want the teachers to be the guidance to our children, to teach them the skills to grow up, and even babysit some of the worst monsters of either broken home or over privileged backgrounds and you endorse cutting their salaries? If education is so important, then why are you endorsing cutting their salaries?

Once again, another of WaPo's conservatives they hired to look like they are being fair has reared his ugly "I got mine, screw you" head and got it all wrong!!

Posted by: Scott76 | February 20, 2011 5:54 PM | Report abuse

And jpmenavich -- you say you'd love to get one of those jobs. Well, hoss, no one is stopping you from applying. Get going.

Posted by: jrmitchell | February 20, 2011 10:39 AM | Report abuse

I've already got a great job, Hoss...I bang out Liberals all day long. Make them look stupid. Easiest job in the World.

Posted by: jpmenavich | February 20, 2011 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Lane: What gives? Not to be too nit-picky or anything, but there's still something in the 1st Amendment about the right of the people to peaceably assemble and petition their government for redress of grievances. I haven't heard that disclaimers were added rendering those rights null and void once an election's been held.

And as for (irrationally) invoking Gabrielle Griffords, and presuming to do her thinking for her -- shameful. Epic fail on all counts.

Posted by: sandrine1 | February 20, 2011 7:29 PM | Report abuse

"I've already got a great job, Hoss...I bang out Liberals all day long. Make them look stupid. Easiest job in the World.

Posted by: jpmenavich | February 20, 2011 7:15 PM"

From where I sit, it's not 'Liberals' that you're making 'look stupid'.

Posted by: mmyotis | February 20, 2011 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Love that leadership from Obama- ie Wisconsin government actions are an assault on unions.

Once again he is not the President of the Country by the Community Organizer in Chief of Special Interests. Past Presidents have stepped in on NATIONAL transportation strikes, NATIONAL air controllers strikes, and NATIONAL steel worker strikes and only to help settle or resolve issues impacting the NATION'S concerns. This is a state budget issue. There is no national issues here.

Its comforting to know that our President has the time to fight for all his personal special interest groups instead of the NATION'S economy, jobs, medicare fraud, foreign affairs, the budget, deficit spending etc. I bet its comforting for the people who supported Obama's $750M campaign for President (the next closest is $315M) who are getting their money's worth.

Posted by: flyover22 | February 20, 2011 10:37 PM | Report abuse

People have a right to assemble and protest and say what they want. However, the Democrat legislators who fled the state to prevent debate on the issue at hand are clearly disregarding their responsibilities as elected representatives, and are nothing more than cowards for shirking the debate. Grow up - some times in a democracy your side wins, and sometimes the other side wins. If you don't like your side's position, then focus on selecting better candidates next time around, but don't run off like sissies.

Posted by: Illini | February 20, 2011 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Simply classless.

Posted by: LosGatosCA | February 21, 2011 1:29 AM | Report abuse

And jpmenavich -- you say you'd love to get one of those jobs. Well, hoss, no one is stopping you from applying. Get going.

Posted by: jrmitchell | February 20, 2011 10:39 AM |

********************
Maybe jpmenavich can't speak Spanish! LOL LOL LOL

Posted by: ThoughtCrimeFormerlyExpat1 | February 21, 2011 3:54 AM | Report abuse

Hitler ABOLISHED Unions in 1933! - Sound Familiar?

On May 2nd, 1933, the day after Labor day, Nazi groups occupied union halls and labor leaders were arrested. Trade Unions were outlawed by Adolf Hitler, while collective bargaining and the right to strike was abolished. This was the beginning of a consolidation of power by the fascist regime which systematically wiped out all opposition groups, starting with unions, liberals, socialists, and communists using Himmler’s state police.

Fast forward to America today, particularly Wisconsin. Governor Walker and the Republican/Tea Party members of the state legislature are attempting to pass a bill that would not only severely punish public unions (with exception for the police, fire, and state trooper unions that supported his campaign), but it would effectively end 50 years to the right of these workers to collectively bargain.

Collective bargaining is a process of voluntary negotiations between employers and trade unions aimed at reaching agreements which regulate working conditions. Collective agreements usually set out wage scales, working hours, training, health and safety, overtime, grievance mechanisms and rights to participate in workplace or company affairs. -wiki


http://newsjunkiepost.com/2011/02/20/may-1933-hitler-abolishes-unions/

(IS THAT WHY GOP GOT RID OF MANUFACTURING JOBS TO WEAKEN UNIONS?)

Posted by: wdsoulplane | February 21, 2011 6:46 AM | Report abuse

A sad day? When people speak out publicly in person to protect themselves? This must occur more often by more citizens to counter attack on our democracy.
I've never been member of a union, never associated with members of such, but recognize necessity of workers needing such to mediate for them just as we need public officials to mediate for us. Recognize that powerful entities are attempting to decrease mediation for workers as they've done to the rest of Americans by escalating costs of mounting political campaigns.

Posted by: reenie10 | February 21, 2011 9:13 AM | Report abuse

This article sums up the modern conservative movement perfectly. A whiny b***h white male with barely two hairs on his nutsack making an ignorant, vile, and uncivil argument while hiding beneath the skirt of a critically-injured woman who has more cojones than he'll ever dream of. And brought to you by the editors of the Washington Fishwrap. Lane is a disgusting piece of filth, which is why he's so at home among conservatives.

Posted by: jjcomet | February 21, 2011 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Lane seems to disagrees with Dean Wurmer. He apparently feels that fat, drunk, and stupid IS the way to go through life...

Posted by: jjcomet | February 21, 2011 9:40 AM | Report abuse

First of all, shame on Charles Lane (who?) for putting words in Congresswoman Giffords's mouth. She was almost murdered by a wacko spewing some of the same right-wing delusions Lane probably supports himself.

Secondly, regarding the value of unions, I defer to Paul Krugman in his column this morning (read the whole thing): "You don’t have to love unions, you don’t have to believe that their policy positions are always right, to recognize that they’re among the few influential players in our political system representing the interests of middle- and working-class Americans, as opposed to the wealthy. Indeed, if America has become more oligarchic and less democratic over the last 30 years — which it has — that’s to an important extent due to the decline of private-sector unions." http://nyti.ms/hbBoY6

Posted by: petersjas | February 21, 2011 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Very clever attempt at the "both sides do it" argument, Mr Lane; but we'd appreciate it if you'd at least try to stick to the point.

When people stand up and demand what they have a right to expect, we call that democracy. Curiously, you seem to mistake that for tyranny. You must try not to be surprised now, when we mistake you for Baghdad Bob.

Posted by: EvilleMike | February 21, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I laugh when people assume that union-busting will stop at bargaining rights. Then it will be federal workplace laws. 40-hour workweek and overtime laws, safe workplace laws, etc.

Back to the good old days of 18 hour workdays, 7-day workweeks, and no overtime.

Yay.

Posted by: Please_Fix_VAs_Roads | February 21, 2011 11:47 AM | Report abuse

WI has no budget crisis...interesting. Then simply prove it, present it to the people and get them to call their representatives and get this all settled. But for some reason I don't think this will happen...because given the US spending habits we are all pretty well up to our necks in debt thanks to such government spending.

Posted by: staterighter | February 21, 2011 12:11 PM | Report abuse

In Lane"s defense, this is no more stupid than his usual columns, which almost invariably concern things he knows absolutely nothing about (remember the electric car one? LOL)

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 21, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

How can anyone suggest with a straight face that there is not a budget crisis in Wisconsin? or Illinois? or California? or New Jersey? Look around at the private sector and the benefits now offered. Pension and healthcare benefit plans can not go on "as is". The Democratic legislators in Wisconsin (or wherever they may be) are not acting like adults, they are acting like immature teenagers - running away and hiding from problems rather than addressing the issues and solving them.

Also, simply because PolitiFact claims to be non-partisan doesn't mean they are.

Posted by: gardedgarton | February 21, 2011 3:31 PM | Report abuse

ewww, using the Killings of citizens and shooting of Giffords to promote your own agenda.

Have you no shame?

or are you 12 years old

Posted by: newagent99 | February 21, 2011 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Am I missing something? Does anyone seriously believe that teachers are "massively overpaid" and are somehow the cause of Wisconsin's financial problems? Haven't the unions already acknowledged a willingness to take an eight per cent cut in real pay? Have the Wall Street thieves who brought this country to its knees offered to take a cut in their pay? For the last thirty years we have seen the erosion of the middle class as the top 1 per cent has taken 65 per cent of the increased income in the US. (And for God's sake don't give me that BS about how much the wealthy pay in taxes. The richest Americans are paying more because their earnings have grown to staggering proportions and they are paying a lower proportion of their income than at any time in the last sixty years.) The attack on public worker's union is simply stage one of conservatives' effort to completely destroy the tattered remnants of organized labor in this country, leaving Americans working and middle class to the mercy of multi-national corporations whose only allegiance is to the bottom line and who will ship out Americans' jobs at the drop of a hat if it increases their bottom line.

Posted by: SmokyMountainCarpenter | February 21, 2011 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Am I missing something? Does anyone seriously believe that teachers are "massively overpaid" and are somehow the cause of Wisconsin's financial problems? Haven't the unions already acknowledged a willingness to take an eight per cent cut in real pay? Have the Wall Street thieves who brought this country to its knees offered to take a cut in their pay? For the last thirty years we have seen the erosion of the middle class as the top 1 per cent has taken 65 per cent of the increased income in the US. (And for God's sake don't give me that BS about how much the wealthy pay in taxes. The richest Americans are paying more because their earnings have grown to staggering proportions and they are paying a lower proportion of their income than at any time in the last sixty years.) The attack on public worker's union is simply stage one of conservatives' effort to completely destroy the tattered remnants of organized labor in this country, leaving Americans working and middle class to the mercy of multi-national corporations whose only allegiance is to the bottom line and who will ship out Americans' jobs at the drop of a hat if it increases their bottom line.

Posted by: SmokyMountainCarpenter | February 21, 2011 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Did you know that the Koch Brothers were a main component in who won the race for Wis gov and several other Govs around the country, as well as House and Senate seats..they spent 10 mill to make it happen and to send those spin squads(Americans for Prosperity, The Tea Party Patriots and Tea Party Express and about 5 more psuedo organizations that pretend to be grassroots around the country.

Posted by: bkarpus | February 22, 2011 5:46 AM | Report abuse

I don't understand how Mr. Lane can publish this article without being absolutely ashamed of himself.

Posted by: andrewdrinker | February 22, 2011 4:35 PM | Report abuse

The disgusting attempt to make a partisan point by reference to the victim of an assassination attempt is, without question, the lowest I've ever seen the Post stoop. This news organization should set the author adrift immediately, then spend the next year apologizing daily for its utter callousness.

Posted by: FlownOver | February 22, 2011 5:31 PM | Report abuse

"If the brave Gabrielle Giffords could speak normally, what would she say about these events? I hope she would agree with me: This is a sad moment for liberalism, for the Democratic Party, and, really, for the whole country."


Have you no shame? This is repulsive!

Posted by: FoundingMother | February 22, 2011 7:19 PM | Report abuse

The folks over at Wonkette have some words for you, Mr. Lane.
http://wonkette.com/438941/helpful-washington-post-op-ed-columnist-tells-us-what-gabrielle-giffords-would-think-about-wisconsin#idc-cover

Posted by: GunnerAsch | February 22, 2011 7:38 PM | Report abuse

I took the time to register to this insubstantial rag of an online publication just to comment on the Giffords reference; I won't ever touch the other idiocy.

Forcing your inane words into the mouth of a critically injured woman with the trashy and exploitative qualifier "I hope she would agree" is despicable. You are despicable.

Posted by: miosef21 | February 23, 2011 3:31 AM | Report abuse

How dare you exploit Rep. Gifford's tragedy? Disgusting!

Posted by: moiraeve1 | February 24, 2011 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Regardless of how one feels about the debate in Wisconsin, invoking the name of Gabrielle Giffords in this way is disgusting and you should be ashamed.

Posted by: DougJ3 | February 20, 2011 12:52 AM | Report abuse

"If the brave Gabrielle Giffords could speak normally, what would she say about these events? I hope she would agree with me:"

I hope she recovers quickly and tells you to get stuffed, you despicable ghoul.

Posted by: whowhat | February 20, 2011 1:09 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: llrllr | February 25, 2011 9:37 AM | Report abuse

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