Wisconsin Recall: Time For A 'Norma Rae' Moment

by Will Pollock (@wildcatatl)

Hey Wisconsin, I’ve got a little secret: this recall vote ain’t just about you.

You represent us, the nation, in a fight that affects
all of us. And we are standing with you, Wisconsin, as you reclaim your smaller type of “nation.” You are a proud and historic emblem of ideas, principles, tradition - the birthplace of unionization - and Scott Walker wants to redact, retract and obliterate it from existence.

Most of all, though, it’s about making the loudest, boldest, bravest statement you can: companies and those with deep pockets do not own us.

The Supreme Court’s
Citizen’s United ruling, coupled with the spittle-spewing, irrational fervency of the Tea Party, changed the landscape of today’s politics. Scott Walker owes his corrupt rise to power to both of those political animals - the latter being the saddest and most ironic labeled as such - and cannot be allowed to remain in office. If you do, you are complicit in whatever happens after that moment.

If you re-elect him, you are also complicit in crimes that are reportedly going to come out later this summer as
Walker appears about to be the target of a federal investigation. So, that adds another layer to the equation: you’re working to save the right to collectively bargain AND preventing potential crimes to sully the reputation of your great state. Again, you’d be complicit in those crimes.

Does that sound harsh? Yes, it does. It’s tough love. But it’s love for yourself that matters, a critical, self-respecting action you can take to stand up for yourself, for all of us, to defeat this political ideologue and set the balance of power back to an even field.

As I was driving home today I thought of the classic Sally Field film “
Norma Rae,” and how that character (and the woman she’s based on) fought harsh working conditions to get textile workers to rise up. Well, Wisconsin, you need your own “Norma Rae Moment.” We are all holding up the “Union” sign and telling people like Rick Scott, Paul LePaige, John Kasik and so many others what they can go do with themselves.

If we don’t, they’ll continue to run roughshod over our rights to control the destiny of the people - and we’ll be dictated to by
idiots with money, and hollow suits drunk with power.

Will the fight continue even if Walker stays on his throne? Absolutely. Will justice be served if that happens? Absolutely not. Which is why we - you, me, all of us - must act decisively to defeat it now before the problem metastasizes around the country like the aggressive form of blood cancer it’s become.

That cancer may be skulking around our national bloodstream, but we can rid ourselves of it, starting with you.

“Mr. Mason,” Norma Rae says in the clip, “I started this, and I’m gonna finish it.”

That should be your motto over the next 24 hours, Wisconsin. Make us proud.

(photo credit: Charlotte in 2012)

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Chris Matthews has the Exchange of the Year

The GOP “war on women” just got a notch more interesting today on “Hardball.” Chris Matthews hosted Rep. Rodgers from Washington. It was a stunning - and telling - exchange from a woman who is clearly in denial:

Rodgers: I’m a member of Congress. The House released its budget yesterday - and the criticism that came immediately from the Democrat women in the House is that they said it was anti-woman. This is a distraction from the real issues. The reality is that the Republicans won the women’s vote in 2010, and the Democrats know they have to win the women’s vote and they are scared. These are scare tactics to scare women.

Matthews: Who’s tactics are they? How do Democrats get Republican legislators to make these proposals? How tricky are they, these Democrats? They get the Virginia legislators to bring up all this stuff on Abortion? They get Santorum to talk up contraception? These Democrats are ventriloquists? How do they get the Republicans to say all this stuff? They’re really masterful I’d say. I know I’m being sarcastic; you know the evidence is here that a lot of right-wing social activists in your party are giving the Democrats catnip here.

Rodgers: And there’s a lot of left-wing social activists pushing their agenda in various legislatures and in Congress. It’s the same thing.

No, it’s not. When you f*ck with the fundamental right to make decisions about your body - it’s not the same thing. Go back to school and get a better argument.

'Married... With Dignity' - The Fight for Terri Schiavo

Originally filed: March 21, 2005

The recent elevation in national news of the Terri Schiavo case has become an issue pulpit for both sides of the right-to-die debate. Many shades of this case show how off-track we are morally and intellectually in this country. The fight over Terri’s life has brought up a pointed irony that exposes the weakness and fickleness of the religions right, and those in government seeking to insert themselves into the situation. I see people on TV protesting, lying face down in the Florida grass, writhing and waving their hands with their mouths taped shut and sobbing into their bibles, and I just don't get the histrionics. They are praying that the outcome suits (validates?) their religious preferences rather than praying that the result is guided and informed by the practice of marriage – an institution that they, the religious right, have attempted to gild in precious metal for decades now.

But the luster on that precious marriage metal has now tarnished. Why? After a long and intense crusade to define marriage as between a man and a woman, and (one would suppose) upholding the rights created within it, isn’t it ironic that the rights and institution of "traditional" marriage, even one in which a husband took a vow to appropriately represent the wishes of his wife, are being torn down in the face of a religious-based uproar? It’s the same type of paranoia that compelled people in this country to over-define marriage (again, with the religious right in partnership with the GOP and the President) as an institution of a man and woman. In other words, religious factions want the right to build up marriage in their own specific vision and also break it down when some development, opinion or action doesn't suit their preferences. This is dangerous hypocrisy, and those who have the luxury of taking a marriage vow should know that the religious right and/or our legislators could seek to invalidate your partner rights if you don’t act the way they expect you to.

I also see Congress coming to a complete and screeching halt to "save" this poor woman from an inevitability that she's going to be facing no matter what happens (if you believe her doctors, which I do). This is not the purpose of our legislative branches; it is an abuse of our governmental process to allow Tom DeLay & Co. the time to make a religious statement. Do I even NEED to write a letter or make a call and tell someone on Capitol Hill that this is NOT the way we want our representatives to spend their time? I can't believe I'd even need to do that. We’ve got committees doing important work on other domestic issues and we are letting this private family problem engulf lawmakers’ energy?

I've resented other acts of this President and Congress for taking up expensive and useless "missions" (remember how much Bush spent to define marriage? Or perhaps the amount spent on bringing democracy to Iraq?), but this is just utterly unacceptable. Don’t fool yourself for a second: Republicans in Congress do NOT care about Terri Schiavo – investigations and pressure for Tom DeLay’s resignation aside, he and his colleagues just want to whip their conservative base and try to solidify votes and campaign donations. It’s offensive to me and arrogant to think they have some sort of entree into a right-to-die situation that is absolutely, categorically, none of their business, using a woman at the heart of the matter to shore up political positions. And that is clearly what is happening here.

They can use whatever phony spin-doctor language they want ("judicial tyranny" makes sense coming from "activist judges," doesn’t it?). I am disgusted that we’ve lost sight of what this case represents – the right of a husband to determine the wishes of his wife; the unchallenged, incendiary rhetoric by the GOP; and the moral obsession this country has with elected euthanasia and personal rights.

But more than anything, language is at the heart of how this case is being absorbed by the public and broadcast by the media. When are Democrats, Libertarians, Independents or even more moderate Republicans going to counter this nutty, insane verbiage that conservative Republicans are constantly putting out there? White House Spokesman Scott McClellan recently told CNN that “this [case] is about defending life.” They would have you believe that they are fighting a noble, erstwhile fight against evil, but all they are doing is wasting time and pandering to people who are going to vote for them anyway. I am sick and tired of reading incorrect, inflammatory and offensive GOP talking points that make absolutely no rational sense. When are we going to hear alternatives to this, and when as Americans will we hold our representatives to a higher, MUCH higher, communications standard? The moment we accept the party line, fed to us so often as it is from a shiny religious spoon with a acidic aftertaste, we will never be able to uncloud the air and give someone like Terri Schiavo the chance to manage the life she was given in her own vision.

Now that Terri’s condition prevents her from doing that, Terri's husband is her best champion. He is attempting to give her a life result that he promised to uphold, as part of his marriage commitment to her. If anyone would know her wishes, he would, and those who seek to prevent him from asserting this responsibility, this freedom, are cursing and denigrating the marriage institution that many of the same people have sought to idealize. You can’t have it both ways. I’d take stock of that contradiction before taping my mouth shut with a piece of duct tape that reads, “LIFE.” Remember: Terri Schiavo agreed to share and partner her life with her husband’s, and he is attempting to interpret and administer her wishes to bring her peace and justice.

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Contessa Smacks Down A Palin Douchebag


Let's get real about john mccain... at least it's a start