Thursday, February 26, 2015

In Scott Walker's mind, the democratic right to protest is the same as ISIS

Governor compares 2011 Wisconsin Uprising to militant, violent fundamentalists

Earlier today, Gov. Scott Walker compared the citizens of Wisconsin, those who took to the streets to exercise their democratic rights to petition their government in 2011, to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an extremist organization of radical religious fundamentalists who engage in brutal acts of terror and murder.

“If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world,” Walker said confidently, closing a statement in which he described the need to go after ISIS directly.

It’s unclear whether Walker understands what President Barack Obama is doing currently with ISIS. Last year the president outlined his plan for targeted airstrikes against the terrorist organization, and just this month sent a war authorization package to Congress.

But whether Walker understands the president’s actions or not, one thing we can be certain on following these comments is that he has utter disdain and disgust for many of his constituents.

Making a comparison like this -- that protesters in Wisconsin are similar to ISIS -- should put to rest any lingering doubts about Walker’s governing style: it isn’t about doing what’s right for constituents, it’s about deflating and defeating your political opponents.

If Walker indeed feels this way about the protesters, then it’s a war for him, and always has been, to defeat those who stand in his way. We have every reason to believe this now, given these recent remarks and Walker’s own actions while in office.

A prank phone call Walker took in 2011 fits with this conclusion. Believing he was speaking to one of the Koch brothers, Gov. Walker said he had considered placing instigators in the crowds in order to discredit the protesters, choosing not to do so only after considering the ramifications of getting caught.

Comparing Wisconsin Uprising protesters to ISIS militants is completely unwarranted and disrespectful to the people Walker is supposed to be representing. Yes, it’s clear that those who showed up in 2011 to stand up against the end of collective bargaining rights probably didn’t vote for him. But that doesn’t mean Walker isn’t meant to represent those people in the office he holds. And it certainly doesn’t give him permission to compare those protesters to murderous, fundamentalist militants.

The duties of the governor are to serve the people of this state. It seems that, in the past four years, Scott Walker, perhaps willfully, has forgotten that.

#Solidarity with Wisconsin blogger Jeff Simpson

From our friends at Cognitive Dissidence comes some upsetting news to report: contributor Jeff Simpson, a survivor of cancer, has had a recurrence.
While Jeff is experiencing some anxiety, which is utterly understandable and perfectly normal, he is maintaining a very positive attitude and is confident that he will overcome this as he has every other obstacle.


Jeff and his family also invite us to join them in lighting a candle at 9 pm tonight in a show of solidarity and well-wishing.
You can also help Jeff and his family directly by donating funds to him at this difficult time. Go to Cognitive Dissidence to find out how, or go directly to the PayPal site here.

Hang in there, Jeff! We’re rooting for you! #Solidarity

Image via Cognitive Dissidence

How to respond to “Let’s just raise the minimum wage to $100 an hour!” -- A reference guide

Arguing on extremes in minimum wage debate makes no sense (or cents)

In the debate over raising the minimum wage, invariably someone who opposes raising it will make an irrational point. It goes a little like this:
“If raising the wage is SO GOOD for us, why should we stop at $10.10 an hour? Why not raise it to $20 an hour? Or $100 an hour? Huh??”
I’ve been dumbfounded by this question on many occasions. Not because it’s too complex for my mind to comprehend (though that opinion has been offered many times) but rather because it’s too simplistic to warrant an answer.

OF COURSE raising the minimum wage to outrageous levels would be a dumb idea. Admitting that point, however, seems to give these opponents a certain level of satisfaction. But the argument doesn’t stop there. There’s another side to the debate that these irrational naysayers are unconsciously making.

In arguing over raising the wage to these unheard of levels, these individuals are choosing to use an extreme argument. So go to the OTHER extreme -- argue about the hazards of having NO minimum wage. It would be ludicrous and detrimental to our society to get rid of the minimum wage completely, and no rational person would say otherwise (coincidentally, if the person argues in favor of eliminating the minimum wage, you know you’re arguing with an irrational person).

Use that as a starting point, or if needed, as “reset button” in your argument: you both agree that extremes in either direction are bad. So the argument isn’t about the extremes -- it’s about finding that common ground in the middle, where workers get paid a fair wage and employers aren’t overwhelmed paying it.

Once you agree to those terms, you can return to the original talking points. Show that the minimum wage isn’t just for teenagers. A raise in the minimum wage would primarily affect older workers, with 88 percent of those benefiting from a wage increase being over the age of 20. Most small businesses also support raising the wage as doing so would mean that more consumers could purchase their goods (it’s the Henry Ford effect -- he paid his workers a salary that allowed them to purchase his own product).

And of course, you can’t forget this one: the minimum wage, if it had kept pace with inflation since 1968, would presently be around $10.75 an hour. That means workers today are earning less than what their counterparts in the 1960s earned. How is that fair?

It’s true that some political debates warrant arguing in extremes, but the minimum wage debate isn’t one of them. A thoughtful dialogue on the merits of raising the wage to a reasonable rate requires both sides to argue earnestly. As much as opponents to a wage increase think they’re making a profound point, no one is arguing in favor of an extreme and unmanageable minimum wage.

So don’t let that talking point gain steam -- step on the brakes when someone makes that argument, and bring them back to reality.