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Posted at 12:30 PM ET, 02/25/2011

Breaking the logjam

By Jennifer Rubin

Several events are moving in Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's favor in his standoff with state Democrats. First, the state assembly passed the collective-bargaining measure, raising the pressure on Democratic senators to end their obstruction.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that the assembly's Democrats didn't exemplify the best in representative democracy:

After a bitter, 61-hour debate that was the longest in living memory, the sleep-starved state assembly members voted in just seconds early Friday to approve a watershed proposal repealing most union bargaining rights held by public workers.

Just after 1 a.m., Republicans cut off debate on Gov. Walker's bill, and in pell-mell fashion the body voted 51-17 to pass it. In the confusion, nearly one-third of the body -- 28 lawmakers, including 25 Democrats, two Republicans and the body's lone independent -- did not vote on the bill.

All Democrats voted against the proposal along with four Republicans -- Dean Kaufert of Neenah, Lee Nerison of Westby, Richard Spanbauer of Oshkosh and Travis Tranel of Cuba City.

Democrats erupted after the vote, throwing papers and what appeared to be a drink in the air. They denounced the move to cut off debate, questioning for the second time in the night whether the proper procedure had been followed.

"Shame! Shame! Shame!" Democrats shouted in the faces of Republicans as the GOP lawmakers quietly filed off the floor and a police officer stood between opposing lawmakers.

I can hardly wait for the campaign ads.

Several other events may motivate Democrats to return to their jobs. An official with the Republican Governors' Association told me this morning that school districts are sending out layoff notices. The official commented, "Gov. Walker said there would be no layoffs if his bill passes, so these layoffs are all on the senate Democrats."

And there may be more layoffs on the way, according to the Associated Press

Gov. Scott Walker has said throughout the week some state workers will get layoff notices next week if the Budget Repair Bill does not pass by Friday, which is the state's deadline to refinance bonds.

In response to viewer questions, we asked several experts to explain what that means.

"No matter how you slice it and dice it, if the state is not able to put this particular transaction into place, we will have to find $165 million somewhere else this fiscal year," said Cardinal Stritch business and economics professor Barbara Fischer.

Just as a homeowner can save money by refinancing a mortgage, the state can save money by locking in a more favorable interest rate on the bonds it has issued.

But to do that right now, the bill has to pass.

"If they cannot refinance the debt, they cannot issue new debts. In Wisconsin in recent years, most of the government funding is funded through borrowing," said Marquette economics professor Abdur Chowdhury.

But if layoffs and the loss of a favorable interest rate aren't enough to motivate state senators, maybe their own mortgages are. Tuesday is payday for the legislators. Direct deposit has been cut off. So, as a source with knowledge of the situation said, "If they want their paychecks, they will be in their desks on the Senate floor. And some of those guys need their checks to live on."

If I were a betting gal, I would put my chips on Walker to win this one.

By Jennifer Rubin  | February 25, 2011; 12:30 PM ET
Categories: 
Governors  
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Comments

Here is the youtube video of the scene Jennifer described:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGDp581g9t0&feature=player_embedded

Posted by: Inagua1 | February 25, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Rubin begins this moronic piece with a class non sequitur: "Several events are moving in Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's favor in his standoff with state Democrats. First, the state assembly passed the collective-bargaining measure, raising the pressure on Democratic senators to end their obstruction."

So the state assembly passed the Koch sponsored "collective-bargaining measure." How does this event raise the pressure on Democratic senators to end their obstruction? Is not the exact opposite what a rational person would conclude? Would a rational person not perceive that passage of the measure in the Assembly increases the incentive for Democratic senators to continue their opposition? Apparently no one reviews the absurdities that come out of this column before they are published.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 25, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Rubin begins this moronic piece with a class non sequitur: "Several events are moving in Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's favor in his standoff with state Democrats. First, the state assembly passed the collective-bargaining measure, raising the pressure on Democratic senators to end their obstruction."

So the state assembly passed the Koch sponsored "collective-bargaining measure." How does this event raise the pressure on Democratic senators to end their obstruction? Is not the exact opposite what a rational person would conclude? Would a rational person not perceive that passage of the measure in the Assembly increases the incentive for Democratic senators to continue their opposition? Apparently no one reviews the absurdities that come out of this column before they are published.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 25, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Wait, 61-hour debate? What happened to "we have to pass the law to find out what's in it?"

How did this happen?

Posted by: gopthestupidparty | February 25, 2011 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if "J B A" thinks bad arguments are improved by repetition?

It was widely reported on Wednesday that the democrats in the WI Assembly had given up on their previously declared plan to stall the bill indefinitely with amendments. This decision was widely described as showing at best weak support for the tactics of the Senate democrats.

In any case, to pass the bill must go through both houses. One is now done. Normal people regard that as progress for the bill's proponents.

What we are dealing with here is not so much political opinion (is the bill good or bad?) but with predictions: is the bill now more or less likely to pass?

It is quite true that passage in the Assembly will increase the pressure both the leftist fringe and union leaders will attempt to bring to bear on the Senate democrats to hold the line. So people who live hermetically sealed in the faculty lounge may think this makes final passage less likely. But the opposite is far more likely. Ever more intense support from an ever smaller group does not usually lead to victory.

If professional politicians thought the hard line of the fringe and labor leaders was generally popular, the Assembly democrats would probably never have agreed to limit the number of amendments, and the Obama White House would not have backed away from the issue. Over at Rasmussen the numbers were striking: support for the bill itself is pretty evenly divided, but support for the tactics of the Senate democrats loses by about 25% to 68%


As for the "Koch sponsored" crack, it is a silly use of a scare term. Are all the bills supported by the various groups funded by George Soros "Soros sponsored" ? That kind of fear mongering labeling works only with the terminally committed (of course on either side). Does JBA object to US funding for AIDS in Africa because it was "Bush supported" ?

Posted by: mikem23 | February 25, 2011 1:23 PM | Report abuse

mikem23, Great analysis. The spittle-flecked always seem to revert to "Koch Brothers...."

Posted by: LadyBertrum | February 25, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

mikem23: Would you care to explain how the words "Koch sponsored 'collective-bargaining measure'" becomes, in your mind,"use of a scare term"?

Posted by: J_B_A | February 25, 2011 1:40 PM | Report abuse

In the real world, the middle class, which teachers & union members say they belong to, do not get to negotiate how much they pay for insurance and how much their employer contributes to the employee's retirement.

It just is.

Posted by: gopthestupidparty | February 25, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

The irresponsibility of the Democrats is astonishing even by their own standards. Not only that, but they have put themselves in a politically untenable position. If they remain in Illinois, they will cost the taxpayers $165 million in savings from a bond refinancing necessitating layoffs of thousands of state employees. If they return, the unions will never forgive them. We're learning where their true loyalty lies -- to the unions.

Posted by: eoniii | February 25, 2011 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone wondered if folks like JBA, jiji1 and fingersfly are paid to comment on conservative blogs by some left leaning groups? I believe that was a tactic that was used leading up to the 2008 elections (Axelrod inspired?).

The constant repetition of the Koch Brothers non-issue seems as if it was decided at headquarters that the Left needed to go after someone on the Right and to portray them as the Darth Vader of this whole Wisconsin/union confrontation. JBA, jiji1 and fingersfly et al look as though they have taken their marching orders with relish.

Posted by: RitchieEmmons | February 25, 2011 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: eoniii : The irresponsibility of the Democrats is astonishing . . . We're learning where their true loyalty lies -- to the unions.
______________

Actually their loyalty is to their constituents and the 56 % of Wisconsinites who oppose Waller’s proposed union-destroying bill.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 25, 2011 2:40 PM | Report abuse

This reads like that post she made where she questioned why Obama hadn't convinced Mubarak to resign, and then within a matter of hours he did. Things are not going well for Gov. Walker. The Palin option--quitting to make more money off the rubes--must be looking quite good to him now.

Posted by: oldabandonedbeachhouse | February 25, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

RitchieEmmons wrote: Has anyone wondered if folks like JBA, jiji1 and fingersfly are paid to comment on conservative blogs by some left leaning groups?
_______________________

Thanks for the complement, Ritchie, but no. We do it for free.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 25, 2011 2:53 PM | Report abuse

A bit like the Grimm's or Anderson's fairy tale of the Fisherman and his wife who take each others' place for a day -- have some laid-off teachers come sit in the Senate, and the AWOL legislators can go sub for them in their classrooms. With sliced and diced pizza for lunch. Then Pharaoh Walker can mount the podium from his camel for the lyceum and lecture us all why Moses shall have been a fool.

Posted by: aardunza | February 25, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Surely George Soros can pony up with a short-term sweetheart loan for Wisconsin state government to keep afloat; he's rolling in billions. At a certain point, how much more money does he need? Oh yeah, prioritization. Maybe he can throw a charity dig for the Koches under some subterfuge or another.

Posted by: aardunza | February 25, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

What do you suppose the reaction would be if the shoe was on the other foot, and the GOP used the same tactics as the Dems are using? I think that the Dems are opening Pandora's Box with their action, because like the infinite Hatfield vs. McCoy feud, nobody will remember or even care decades down the road who gave birth to this political tactic, just that both sides have used it (and if the Dems get their way because of using this tactic, you can bet your last dollar that the GOP will use it as well).

Posted by: coffeetime | February 25, 2011 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to mention this, J_B_A, but the word is spelled "compliment." Your and the others' comments are sometimes complimentary but, more often, complementary.

Posted by: aardunza | February 25, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: aardunza: Sorry to mention this, J_B_A, but the word is spelled "compliment." Your and the others' comments are sometimes complimentary but, more often, complementary.
___________

Good catch and great pun! You should join us.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 25, 2011 3:45 PM | Report abuse

And did I mention I'm an excellent driver? Yummy yummy yummy I got love in my tummy...

Posted by: aardunza | February 25, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

J_B_A -- Full disclosure needed. Right now (not always) I am actually on dialup, (one of the very few remaining in the state I bet), and hence don't have the throughput to read 'em as they come, just after a few minutes lag time. So I couldn't read yours until after mine was submitted and refreshed. Thanks for the stroke. Ghhhaaghhh....! :-)

Posted by: aardunza | February 25, 2011 3:58 PM | Report abuse

However you get here, great to have you!

Posted by: J_B_A | February 25, 2011 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Coffeetime,

The risk of the walkout strategy starting a trend is small because the public disapproves of it by a large margin and because Democrats only resorted to it because this particular issue so uniquely important to the Democratic Party. There are over 3 million public school teachers; they are heavily Democratic; some 550 of them were elected delegates at the last Democratic National Convention; they contribute megabucks to the party; they are the best public face for unionism; the Democrats have to be seen as going all out for this group, even if the chances of success this round appear to be slim. And the intensity of this resistence will reduce the chances of other Republican governors following Walker's example.

Posted by: Inagua1 | February 25, 2011 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Coffetime at 3:17 wrote:
"What do you suppose the reaction would be if the shoe was on the other foot, and the GOP used the same tactics as the Dems are using?"

What do you call Republican fillibusters in the US Senate? The only substantive difference is that the Democrats have to pay for hotel rooms.

Posted by: Tbel | February 25, 2011 4:09 PM | Report abuse

What buffoonish analysis. The unions have already agreed to the compensation and benefit cuts requested by the governor. If the governor wants to refinance the state's debt to lower the state's interest rates, take the deal and leave the games for another day. Americans understand bulls**t when they hear it -- the governor has overreached and we all know it.

Posted by: wswest | February 25, 2011 4:17 PM | Report abuse

wswest,

What is the overreach, exactly? Direct payment of union dues? Annual recertification? Wage increases limited to CPI? Loss of collective rights for benefits?

Posted by: Inagua1 | February 25, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Times are tough, let the union hire people to collect the dues. From some of the vids' I've seen, they have quite a few with the right temperment.

Posted by: gopthestupidparty | February 25, 2011 5:16 PM | Report abuse

The public unions are nothing more than gangsters - first they forced their members to toe the line and pay their extortion demands and now they're demanding that the taxpayer pay up or else.

Posted by: Otiose1 | February 25, 2011 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Every time I read the comments to one of Jen's brilliant pieces, I come away amazed. In order to be a "progressive" one apparently must have an IQ of about 70, and naturally, a whole lot of time on one's hands, given the incessant, repetitive, tiresome and stupid drivel certain "progressives" post over and over again.

Posted by: jafco | February 25, 2011 6:49 PM | Report abuse

jafco,

I have been looking for one of your brilliant posts and haven't found it. Do IQ enter into the picture in your case?

Posted by: J_B_A | February 25, 2011 6:58 PM | Report abuse

J_B_A,

I admire your tenacity in continuing to post after what Skipsailing did to you on that other thread. Don't worry, I won't try and engage you on the specific issues in Wisconsin, as I understand that you are not interested in that stuff. I hope you upgrade from dial-up soon, as a poster of your frequency would benefit from a faster connection.

Posted by: Inagua1 | February 25, 2011 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Yes. Skip really battled me to a standstill in your mind, didn't he, Archie. Can't think how I survived it.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 25, 2011 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Quick note to the right wingers who (purportedly) believe that Rubin has a clue what she is talking about:

Presumably you have been watching Fox News today, and are therefore unaware that the whole Scott Walker/David Koch, anti-union campaign is disintegrating before your very eyes. Even right wing pollsters are forced to admit that Wisconsin has swung dramatically against Walker. Republican governors of other states are conspicuously MIA as far as support for Walker is concerned. Nice try Rubin. Your banner proclamation about Walker "winning" is just one more example of right wing misinformation.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 25, 2011 10:46 PM | Report abuse

"Presumably you have been watching Fox News today, and are therefore unaware that the whole Scott Walker/David Koch, anti-union campaign is disintegrating before your very eyes. Even right wing pollsters are forced to admit that Wisconsin has swung dramatically against Walker."

I have just read through some stories from the NY Times, LA Times, Washington Post, AFP and the Christian Science Monitor and I remain equally unaware of any "disintegration." Perhaps MSNBC has the inside scoop on such things.

Posted by: adam62 | February 25, 2011 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Hee hee -- the (neo)con troll with the stupid drivel on dialup strikes again! To plagiarize GB Shaw (who was talking critics) "commenters to blogs are like legless men who teach swimming."

And folks, if your egos get bruised in the rough and tumble, don't say 'Bite me', just sing the "Rum Song" (to the tune of Beverly Hillbillies) from The Fatal Shore p. 292

Cut yer name across me backbone
Stretch me skin across a drum,
Iron me up to Pinchgut Island
From today till Kingdom Come!
I will eat your Norfolk Dumpling
Like a juicy Spanish plum,
Even dance the Newgate hornpipe,
If you'll only give me rum!

Posted by: aardunza | February 25, 2011 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, the line justifier/marginizer software stripped out the three spaces indentation of every other line of the ditty. Dialup is a pain to preview and edit; I won't mention it again, promise!

Posted by: aardunza | February 25, 2011 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Gotta type the footnote for youze guys, it's cool:

*It is not certain whether this canting, defiant ditty, quoted in Russel Ward, "Australia Since the Coming of Man" (Sydney, 1965), was written before or after 1880. It is not, however, an English music-hall song like the spurious jingle "Botany Bay", ca. 1880. "Pinchgut Island" or plain "Pinchgut," was a bare knob of rock in Sydney Harbor, now occupied by Fort Denison, where recalcitrant convicts were sometimes chained in semi-starvation. The "Norfolk Dumpling" was 100 lashes, and the "Newgate hornpipe" the hanged man's twitching in air.

Posted by: aardunza | February 25, 2011 11:33 PM | Report abuse

On 60 minutes a few yrs. ago, Julian Schnabel the artist called Robert Hughes the critic a bum. (Hughes wrote The Fatal Shore.) So there you go.

Posted by: aardunza | February 25, 2011 11:41 PM | Report abuse

The not-so-stellar Jennifer Rubin began this column as follows: "Several events are moving in Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's favor in his standoff with state Democrats."

Princeton Professor and Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman has expressed a different view of the news from Wisconsin. Krugman's latest column, entitled "True Goal of GOP Privatization and Union-busting," includes the following:
"The good news from Wisconsin is that the upsurge of public outrage -- aided by maneuvering of Democrats in the state Senate, who absented themselves to deny Republicans a quorum -- has slowed the bum's rush. If Walker's plan was to push his bill through before anyone had a chance to realize his true goals, that plan has been foiled. And events in Wisconsin may have given pause to other Republican governors, who seem to be backing off similar moves."

Posted by: J_B_A | February 26, 2011 10:47 AM | Report abuse

"Princeton Professor and Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman has expressed a different view of the news from Wisconsin. Krugman's latest column, entitled "True Goal of GOP Privatization and Union-busting," includes the following:
"The good news from Wisconsin is that the upsurge of public outrage -- aided by maneuvering of Democrats in the state Senate, who absented themselves to deny Republicans a quorum -- has slowed the bum's rush. If Walker's plan was to push his bill through before anyone had a chance to realize his true goals, that plan has been foiled. And events in Wisconsin may have given pause to other Republican governors, who seem to be backing off similar moves."


Posted by: J_B_A"

This is the same Paul Krugman who asserted that the Tucson shooter was probably acting out of political motives, and most likely incited by the "eliminationist" rhetoric of Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin's target, right? And who believes that the British National Health Service runs like clockwork?

If Krugman's fantasy of insurgent outrage is your evidence of "disintegration," you'd better get back to the drawing board.

Posted by: adam62 | February 26, 2011 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Yes. He pretty much nails it every time -- which is why he's a Princeton Professor and Nobel Prize winner and you're not.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 26, 2011 11:13 AM | Report abuse

"Yes. He pretty much nails it every time -- which is why he's a Princeton Professor and Nobel Prize winner and you're not."

A devastating response. It's fascinating--like speaking with, or, really, observing, the members of a cult. Meathead--dead from the neck up.

Posted by: adam62 | February 26, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Now we are both devastated. After I pull myself off the floor I will pose the question whether anyone actually believes that Tucscon was not poitically motivated -- anyone whom gets information from a source other than Fox News, that is.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 26, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

"I will pose the question whether anyone actually believes that Tucscon was not poitically motivated"

Most people believe it wasn't, since it obviously wasn't, and no one has provided evidence that it was. The only people believing it was political motivated (Loughner believed what, exactly, and how do you know...) are in the same category as 9/11 truthers--i.e., embittered partisan lunatics. So, in your next comment, I expect to see something like "is there anyone who doesn't get their news from FOX who doesn't believe that Bush and Cheney took down the Towers?"

Posted by: adam62 | February 26, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Gee, what a surprise to observed another right winger express conviction that Loughner's motive for attempting to murder Democratic reprentative Giffords could not have been politically motivated.

Why don't you really surprise me with your theory about the -- obviously non-political -- question posed to Republican representative Paul Broun, "Who is going to shoot President Obama?"

Posted by: J_B_A | February 26, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I even forgot (a sign that I was really stunned) that President Obama himself repudiated the idea that political discourse was somehow responsible for the Tucson shooting. But, of course, once we actually have to start pointing such things out, there's a deeper problem. I have to assume that the Left, or large sections of it, is creating an elaborate defense mechanism to protect themselves from knowledge of what happened to them in the last election--and what is going to happen to them know that more and more governors are taking aim that the public employee unions. Those with bigger hearts than mine might pity them, but there's no point speaking with them.

Posted by: adam62 | February 26, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I don't see the left spinning any tales about the last election, much less using code to communicate to each other. The paltry turn out in the last election included a much higher percentage of right wingers than progressives. That is neither surprising nor paticularly distressing to the left.

If I were a right winger, however, I would be very distressed about the political storm Scott Walker is even now creating. Very, very distressed.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 26, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

"Gee, what a surprise to observed another right winger express conviction that Loughner's motive for attempting to murder Democratic reprentative Giffords could not have been politically motivated."

This is the product of a pretty sick mind--not so much an individual's sick mind, but a mind saturated with a sick ideology. There are two possible claims one could make about the Tucson shooting: according to the evidence we have, it was politically motivated, or it wasn't--one could not be sure, but it is one of those possibilities one isn't sure about. Even saying it was politically motivated in indirect ways, or politically motivated in addition to some other motivation would still require an answer to that question. Look at what the demented leftist does: he creates a new question: which ideological world do you live in? If you live in the right political world, a political motivation is a never excluded possibility, due to purely doctrinal considerations. If you live in the wrong political world--well, you have rejected that doctrinal orthodoxy by actually answering the question according to the evidence, and thereby marked yourself as "other." This is pure Communist and Nazi style thinking, and maybe it's good that there are still examples of it around--it is simply politically inconvenient to say that according to everything we know Loughner didn't act in accord with political motives. He could have; and the Koch brothers could have been on the grassy knoll--can you prove they weren't? How surprising that a right winger would exclude that possibility!

Posted by: adam62 | February 26, 2011 1:49 PM | Report abuse

"I don't see the left spinning any tales about the last election, much less using code to communicate to each other. The paltry turn out in the last election included a much higher percentage of right wingers than progressives. That is neither surprising nor paticularly distressing to the left."

No tales, no code--just a kind PTSD. I'm sure that no one on the left is distressed by losing the House and about 700 or seats in state legislatures across the country (and how many governorships?). Everything's going according to plan, comrades! Your own comment is proof of what I'm saying--nothing to see here folks, move along...

"If I were a right winger, however, I would be very distressed about the political storm Scott Walker is even now creating. Very, very distressed."

Interestingly, in my daily perusals of the right wing blogosphere, I see absolutely no distress--there's always some concern about whether Republican officials will withstand the hysterics of the left, but certainly no concern about what will happen if the WI bill does get passed.

Posted by: adam62 | February 26, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Dr. George Tiller shot dead by Scott Roeder
Stephen Tyrone Johns shot dead by James Wenneker von Brunn
Brisenia Flores and Raul Flores shot dead by Shawna Forde
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (and others) shot and wounded by Jared Loughner
Two Pentagon police officers shot and wounded by John Patrick Bedell
Greg McKendry and Linda Kraeger shot dead by Jim David Adkisson

Good thing there is no politically motivated violence in USA

Posted by: J_B_A | February 26, 2011 4:39 PM | Report abuse

"Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (and others) shot and wounded by Jared Loughner"

One of these things is not like the others. (Not that I stipulate to all of your cases, only two of which I have heard of, and one of which--the shooting of the Holocaust Musuem guard--was at least as left as right in terms of its political motivation. I am also curious as to why you left off Major Nidal Malik Hassan's jihad slaying and Fort Hood, probably the most clear and egregious political killing in the US since 9/11.)

I remain fascinated though. In response to a claim, which you haven't and can't address, that the Loughner shooting had no political motivation as far as anyone knows, you put it on a list of politically motivated shootings. As if putting it on the list proves that it belongs on the list. Or as if the fact that there is a list means that every shooting belongs on it. This is really becoming a kind of laboratory of the ideological mind-set.

Posted by: adam62 | February 26, 2011 5:07 PM | Report abuse

You know the answer to your question. Jihah belongs to your side, not mine.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 26, 2011 5:42 PM | Report abuse

"Jihah belongs to your side, not mine."

Exactly. Jihad is not a part of Islamic doctrine--or, for that matter, not part of it; or part of it, but interpretable in differing ways--it's either "yours" or "mine." That is, unlike normal people, who want to find out what something is before they determine its meaning (political or otherwise) the ideologically intoxicated first determine whether a term fits into their ideological system and on that basis pronounce on its reality.

Again, fascinating.

Posted by: adam62 | February 26, 2011 5:53 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a "jihad" expert, but it seems to be associated with the following:

(1) Jingoism
(2) Male tyranny over females
(3) Physical violence
(4) Dogmatic religiosity
(5) Dogmatic adherence to ancestral world views
(6) Suppression of dissent
(7) Dogmatic belief in "bright line" moral classifications
(8) Rigid societal hierarchical classifications
(9) Dogmatic beliefs relating to future events (prophecy), and correlative belief that the end justifies the means.

I have no quarrel with people who prefer to classify the foregoing as cultural phenomena, or religious phenomena, or even -- to some degree -- racial phenomena. What I am reminded of, however, is the contemporary American political scene.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 26, 2011 6:32 PM | Report abuse

"I'm not a "jihad" expert, but it seems to be associated with the following:

(1) Jingoism
(2) Male tyranny over females
(3) Physical violence
(4) Dogmatic religiosity
(5) Dogmatic adherence to ancestral world views
(6) Suppression of dissent
(7) Dogmatic belief in "bright line" moral classifications
(8) Rigid societal hierarchical classifications
(9) Dogmatic beliefs relating to future events (prophecy), and correlative belief that the end justifies the means.

I have no quarrel with people who prefer to classify the foregoing as cultural phenomena, or religious phenomena, or even -- to some degree -- racial phenomena. What I am reminded of, however, is the contemporary American political scene.


Posted by: J_B_A"

And yet you somehow left out "war of Muslims against infidels." I guess you've never come across that. (I know--that part of it is "mine"). Otherwise, judging from your posts, much of your list seems a self-description--at least 4-9. (maybe that's why it reminds you of the contemporary American political scene.)

Another fascinating thing about leftists--Shingo, a common visitor to this blog displays it vividly as well--is the need to resist any difference between this, free and prosperous society, and the most unfree and impoverished (through self-imposition) ones. As if any acknowledgement that the US is qualitatively different from, say, Yemen, would explode their ideological system.

Posted by: adam62 | February 26, 2011 6:51 PM | Report abuse

You might as well say, war of Catholics against Protestants; war of Protestants against Jews; war of Christendom against Islam -- or, for that matter, war of European immigrants to North America and Australia against indigenous people (savages), all subsumed in nos. 3, 4, 5 and 9.

The "self description" part is a mystery known only to yourself.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 26, 2011 7:18 PM | Report abuse

"You might as well say, war of Catholics against Protestants; war of Protestants against Jews; war of Christendom against Islam -- or, for that matter, war of European immigrants to North America and Australia against indigenous people (savages), all subsumed in nos. 3, 4, 5 and 9."

Yes, yes, you might as well--anything is better than inquiring into whether Islam might have its own, let's say, peculiarities.

"The "self description" part is a mystery known only to yourself"

Well, it may not be known to you, but that's it known only to me doesn't follow. I will just mention that your belief in "bright line moral classifications" (leftist good/conservatives bad) seems pretty dogmatic to me. You seem to wish the Kochs silenced in some manner (I'll bet you're fuming about the Citizens United decision), and you seem pretty sure about certain future events (the popular outrage and political surge against the demon Koch/Walker). But you wouldn't, I suppose, see leftism as the religion it so obviously is.

Posted by: adam62 | February 26, 2011 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Yes, yes, you might as well--anything is better than inquiring into whether Islam might have its own, let's say, peculiarities.

"The "self description" part is a mystery known only to yourself"

Well, it may not be known to you, but that's it known only to me doesn't follow. I will just mention that your belief in "bright line moral classifications" (leftist good/conservatives bad) seems pretty dogmatic to me. You seem to wish the Kochs silenced in some manner (I'll bet you're fuming about the Citizens United decision), and you seem pretty sure about certain future events (the popular outrage and political surge against the demon Koch/Walker). But you wouldn't, I suppose, see leftism as the religion it so obviously is.
--------------

Obviously Islam's (purported) war against Infidels is not peculiar at all. All of the wars I listed are against "infidels" -- substitute whatever label you like.

It's not my "bright line moral classification." I'm a big on gray -- even as regards left-right. (Eisenhower is not, in my mind, the equivalent of David Duke.)

I certainly don't wish the Kochs silenced. I wish them to be known for what they are -- far, wide and universally.

Citizens United is the quintessential use of the US Supreme Court to achieve the right wing political agenda. No prestidigitation of logic or contortion of the English language can contrive to fit "corporation" within the meaning of "person" as used in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments (and the "corporation" is just an association of natural persons theory is even less defensible).

When you say things like "leftism is religion" you only manage to make nonsense of the English language. No one pays the slightest attention to such inanities.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 26, 2011 8:07 PM | Report abuse

"I certainly don't wish the Kochs silenced. I wish them to be known for what they are -- far, wide and universally.

Citizens United is the quintessential use of the US Supreme Court to achieve the right wing political agenda. No prestidigitation of logic or contortion of the English language can contrive to fit "corporation" within the meaning of "person" as used in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments (and the "corporation" is just an association of natural persons theory is even less defensible)."

Your argument here would lead to a lot of silencing. It's the left's fetish about corporations being, presumably, mythical beings, that no one outside the left pays any attention to--I hardly invented the claim that leftism is religion, and it is taken seriously by plenty of people--although not, I am sure on the left itself. Anyway, since corporations are made up of people (of what else, after all), it is very hard to see why one person's right to speak disappears once he joins with other people in a corporation. Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech. The First Amendment doesn't say whose speech. Obviously, you'd like to decide whose speech should be allowed and whose abridged-which was my point.

Posted by: adam62 | February 26, 2011 8:51 PM | Report abuse

You argument fails for a multitude of reasons. First, a corporation is by definition a legal fiction. It has no existence apart from the totality of applicable laws that define its existence, duration and scope of operation. It is emphatically not "made up of people." A corporation has no existence apart from the attributes rendered by the totality of applicable laws. Your notion that "it is very hard to see why one person's right to speak disappears once he joins with other people" is an Ignorantio Elenchi. A person's right to speak never disappears, and no one says it does or should. As far as constitutional protections are concerned, however, nothing prevents the government from regulating corporate speech in whatever way the Legislature sees fit.

Re your citation of the speech clause of the First Amendment, all First Amendment rights are vouchsafed from infringement by state governments by virtue of the Fourteenth Amendment, which expressly defines rights in terms of "persons." The word "person" plainly refers to natural persons, not legal fictions known as "corporations."

This is not a close question. The case is a open and shut as they come.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 26, 2011 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, back in the real world the recalls have started for the absent senators:

http://www.wxow.com/Global/story.asp?S=14148779

Posted by: Inagua1 | February 26, 2011 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Prediction: The Gov will be recalled before even 1 Democratic Senator.

Let's see how this shakes out.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 26, 2011 11:20 PM | Report abuse

"This is not a close question. The case is a open and shut as they come."

Yes, I know. I'm familiar with the ruling in Citizens United.

Posted by: adam62 | February 26, 2011 11:33 PM | Report abuse

J_B_A,

Are you aware that the governor must be in office for a year before he can be recalled?

Posted by: Inagua1 | February 26, 2011 11:41 PM | Report abuse

J_B_A,

Are you aware that the governor must be in office for a year before he can be recalled?

Posted by: Inagua1 | February 26, 2011 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Oh yes. And that there is a time limit of some kind once the petition signature process begins.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 27, 2011 10:33 AM | Report abuse

"This is not a close question. The case is a open and shut as they come."

Yes, I know. I'm familiar with the ruling in Citizens United.
___

The first clue should have been that corporate involvement in elections has been regulated in USA for a hundred years. What a surprise, then, that, while neither the US Constitution nor the definition of "corporation" changed, the makeup of the USSCt did. Abracadabra: corporations suddenly become "persons" -- except, of course, that they are now uber-persons who live forever, can never be imprisoned, and have various other distinctly non-person attributes.

My what magic can be accomplished in USA by making the right campaign contribution to the right politician at the right time.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 27, 2011 10:50 AM | Report abuse

These arguments about "personhood" seem silly to me. If the right to free speech is only for single, isolated individuals, what good is it? If I want to join with a bunch of other people and form a little publishing house to publish conservative pamphlets, on what grounds can the government say I can only spend or solicit a certain amount of money, or only publish my materials at certain times? Why do we need the 14th Amendment to clarify the first amendment (which doesn't mention "persons")? Especially since the first amendment already pertains to the federal government, while the 14th and 15th were just ensuring that the states lived up to federal standards. I understand that for a while, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with rise of giant corporations, then a new phenomenon, there was an attempt to limit their influence--I suspect those attempts were also of dubious constitutionality, but at least they were narrowly targeted. Now, there is not only less need for such limitations, because there are so many corporations with so many different perspectives, but the law is much more diffuse--even an independent group formed to advance political speech, for a particular candidate or a specific issue, can be regulated. What does that have to do with the original purpose of trying to make sure the Rockefellers and JP Morgan don't buy candidates?

At any rate, my original point at the start of this discussion stands unrefuted, even unquestioned--you want to decide, or you want the government to decide, who gets to speak and who must remain silent. I.e., you are in favor of suppressing dissent.

Posted by: adam62 | February 27, 2011 3:55 PM | Report abuse

J_B_A: Your self-righteousness is matched only by your ignorance of so many things - including the Citizens United case. Maybe that's why your rants are emotional outbursts rather than reasoned arguments backed by facts or documented sources. As with so many on the left, your opinion of the Citizens United case is based on myths. That's because your opinion is based on the mischaracterizations and talking points of others rather than your own informed reading of the actual case. But it's not all your fault - the President has been been guilty of repeating some of these myths - and he was a Constitutional Law professor!

It is a myth that the Court overturned a century of law that prohibited corporations from directly contributing to federal campaigns. That precedent was not an issue in the case and remains precedent. This is the myth Obama has repeated among his other mischaracterizations of the case (like his claim that the decision permits foreign corporations to contribute to federal candidates).

As for the Court,"suddenly" deciding that corporations are "persons" under the Constitution, this is hardly a novel idea. You think this is new? Then can the government search the Washington Post's offices without a warrant? How about quartering soldiers there? Ok, how about an easier one - can the government prohibit the Washington Post from publishing a story critical of an administration policy?

Of course not. Corporations receive the benefit of the Bill of Rights because the amendments are limitations on government action. This is particularly true of the First Amendments Freedom of Speech provision which simply states: "Congress shall make no law....abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press." It is directed at Congress and is not restricted to individuals. Whether the intended target is a person or a corporation is totally irrelevant.

Oh, and Citizens United applies to labor unions to the same extent it does corporations.

Posted by: paco33 | February 27, 2011 4:16 PM | Report abuse

paco33 wrote: Your self-righteousness is matched only by your ignorance of so many things - including the Citizens United case. Maybe that's why your rants are emotional outbursts rather than reasoned arguments backed by facts or documented sources.

Argumentum Ad Hominem. Lame.

paco33 wrote: It is a myth that the Court overturned a century of law that prohibited corporations from directly contributing to federal campaigns. That precedent was not an issue in the case and remains precedent.

Ignorantio Elenchi. Lame.

paco33 wrote: As for the Court,"suddenly" deciding that corporations are "persons" under the Constitution, this is hardly a novel idea. You think this is new? Then can the government search the Washington Post's offices without a warrant? How about quartering soldiers there? Ok, how about an easier one - can the government prohibit the Washington Post from publishing a story critical of an administration policy?

non sequiturand false dilemna. Lame.

paco33 wrote: Corporations receive the benefit of the Bill of Rights because the amendments are limitations on government action. This is particularly true of the First Amendments Freedom of Speech provision which simply states: "Congress shall make no law....abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press." It is directed at Congress and is not restricted to individuals. Whether the intended target is a person or a corporation is totally irrelevant.

Petitio Principii

You are not very good at this, paco33. You can again, or you can just give it up.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 27, 2011 6:59 PM | Report abuse

adam62: These arguments about "personhood" seem silly to me. If the right to free speech is only for single, isolated individuals, what good is it? If I want to join with a bunch of other people and form a little publishing house to publish conservative pamphlets, on what grounds can the government say I can only spend or solicit a certain amount of money, or only publish my materials at certain times?

Because the words of the Constitution control, and there is nothing in the language of the Constitution that even arguably confers rights on -- or, what amount to the same thing, immunizes from governmental regulation -- artificial entities the carry the label "corporation." As I pointed out, it is emphatically not true and corporations are "a bunch of people." A corporation is not a person, nor a group of persons, nor does it have any independent existence of any kind apart from the laws that define it. The Citizens United decision is as phony as a three dollar bill.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 27, 2011 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Vincit omnia veritas

tum podem extulit horridulum

Posted by: paco33 | February 27, 2011 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Vincit omnia veritas

Selbsverständlich

tum podem extulit horridulum

Na. Just identifying your various fallacies with the commonly-used label.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 27, 2011 8:50 PM | Report abuse

"Because the words of the Constitution control, and there is nothing in the language of the Constitution that even arguably confers rights on -- or, what amount to the same thing, immunizes from governmental regulation -- artificial entities the carry the label "corporation." "

The words of the Constitution prohibit Congress from making any law abridging the freedom of speech--it doesn't say anything about whether it is real people or legal fictions speaking--so, unless you want to say that corporations don't really "speak" (in which case, what, exactly, is to be regulated?) then Congress DOES NOT HAVE THE POWER to abridge it. The writers of the Constitution were foresighted enough not to give ground for arguments over who had right by simply saying what government can't do.

Speaking with the Left is like speaking with members of some primitive tribe, with inexplicable fetishes and taboos. Why are they this week all caught up on the Chamber of Commerce, or the Koch brothers; why do they say bizarre things like corporations have no existence outside of the laws which define them, a postmodern claim which could just as easily apply to families, marriages, or any institution recognized by law whatesover. It's tantamount to saying that all social reality is created by the state, and hence regulable by it--even individuals, for that matter, since are we not constituted by the laws which "define" us from birth on up? What is any of us other than the laws which require us to have a birth certificate, a driving license, to go to school, pay taxes, have a social security number, etc.?

Posted by: adam62 | February 27, 2011 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Sorrry, adam62, you are just wrong. First, the First Amendment prohibition against Congress legislating limitations on speech presupposes a "speaker." No contortion of logic can shoehorn a legal abstraction ("corporation") into that role -- which is a fortiori true when you add to the mix the ineluctable truth that money is the supposed means by which a corporation "speaks." Thus, to make a corporation a "speaker" with freedom of speech requires multiple, linked contortions of logic. Second, the First Amendment applies prima facie only to Congress, not the states (which are the entities which create the legal fiction known as "corporations"). First Amendment rights are guaranteed against state governments infringement only by virtue of the Fourteenth Amendment, which expressly extends those rights to that which is commonly known as a "person" -- something a corporation obviously is not.

People generally believe what they want to believe, so don't imagine I think anything I post will persuade you. I write because it is worthwhile pointing out the reasons why the corporatists on the USSCt are full of BS.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 27, 2011 9:18 PM | Report abuse

"First, the First Amendment prohibition against Congress legislating limitations on speech presupposes a "speaker." No contortion of logic can shoehorn a legal abstraction ("corporation") into that role"

In that case, when a corporation, whether it be Wal-Mart, the New York Times, or Common Cause, puts out a statement apologizing for, deploring, endorsing or condmening something, what act is being performed, and by what kind of agent? "The White House" is a "legal abstraction," and it never shuts up.

"which is a fortiori true when you add to the mix the ineluctable truth that money is the supposed means by which a corporation "speaks." "

If I give money to someone else to run for office or to open a newspaper, or run a series of TV ads, I am indeed "speaking" in any meaningful sense of the word--unless you want to say that, for example, only the actor hired to say the words in the commercial is really speaking.

"Second, the First Amendment applies prima facie only to Congress, not the states (which are the entities which create the legal fiction known as "corporations"). First Amendment rights are guaranteed against state governments infringement only by virtue of the Fourteenth Amendment, which expressly extends those rights to that which is commonly known as a "person" -- something a corporation obviously is not."


Yes, but the laws we are discussing are laws passed by Congress. So, the legal fictionality of the entities is irrelevant. I suppose if the states want to regulate corporate speech, they might be able to make a case that the 14th Amendment doesn't apply and they can abridge speech themselves (if the state constitution doesn't also forbid it). I haven't heard of any such case, it seems very unlikely, and would be of marginal concern. At any rate, if we agree that congress can't pass such laws but Alabama or California can, that would seem to me an acceptable compromise.

Quod erat demonstrandum, or whatever, sucker!

Posted by: adam62 | February 27, 2011 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Dude: You are on a fool's errand. You desperately want to find something in the United States Constitution that says that legal "rights" are vouchsafed to "corporations." You can try throughout all eternity and you will never succeed. It is a linguistic, historical and logical impossibility. The US Constitution does not confer rights on corporations.

I could easily dismantle each and every (purported) argument you have raised, but you yourself know in advance that they are futile. The United States Constitution limits what we, as a representative republic, can do vis-à-vis "persons." It has nothing to say about corporations.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 27, 2011 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Adam,

On legal topics J_B_A is hopeless. For example, on the subject of Wisconsin's compulsory attendance requirement for legislators, he began by telling me that Wisconsin did not have such a law; when I showed him that it was a provision in the state constitution, he told me that the provision was unconstitutional. Such arrogant ignorance cannot be addressed in a rational manner. Let us hope that J_B_A is not really as divorced from reality as his posts suggest. Let us hope he is just an adolescent with too much time on his hands and a warped sense of humor who is trying to make Liberals look ridiculous.

Posted by: Inagua1 | February 27, 2011 10:24 PM | Report abuse

"I could easily dismantle each and every (purported) argument you have raised, "

I am certain, based on your past performance, that you can't dent a single one of them. In the end, it is scandalous to you that corporations can be considered "persons," whether or not that's the issue. This is a fetish of the Left going way back, I would guess, to the Progressives in the late 19th to early 20th century. The absurdity of your argument is clear if we ask whether, to use one of my examples, Wal-Mart should be permitted to issue a statement addressing complaints about its labor or environmental policies. In the only possible construal of your view, the government would have every right to tell Wal-Mart that they can't issue such a statement. I wonder--do people really make such an argument--or do they not realize that it obviously leads there?

"Let us hope that J_B_A is not really as divorced from reality as his posts suggest. Let us hope he is just an adolescent with too much time on his hands and a warped sense of humor who is trying to make Liberals look ridiculous."

On the contrary, I hope he is exactly who and how he appears--it would be a sure sign of leftism's death spiral.

Posted by: adam62 | February 27, 2011 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Inagua1: Pretty simple to search for the word "corporation" in the text of the United States Constituion. Any luck?

adam62: You are on a quest to find something in the United States Constitution that persons conversant in the English language would understand to refer to "corporations." How's that workin' out fer ya?

Posted by: J_B_A | February 27, 2011 10:55 PM | Report abuse

"adam62: You are on a quest to find something in the United States Constitution that persons conversant in the English language would understand to refer to "corporations." How's that workin' out fer ya?"

No, just looking for things congress can't do, and it's chock full of them. For some reason, that remains beyond your comprehension.


Posted by: adam62 | February 28, 2011 6:53 AM | Report abuse

adam62: You are on a quest to find something in the United States Constitution that persons conversant in the English language would understand to refer to "corporations."

Still waiting . . . .

Posted by: J_B_A | February 28, 2011 9:21 AM | Report abuse

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