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John Cory begins by recalling the words of Steinbeck: "When he began the book, he wrote: 'I want to put a tag of shame on the greedy bastards who are responsible for this.'"

From Dorothea Lange's 'Migrant Mother' (Florence Owens Thompson) series, Nipomo, California, early spring 1936. (photo: Dorothea Lange)
From Dorothea Lange's 'Migrant Mother' (Florence Owens Thompson) series, Nipomo, California, early spring 1936. (photo: Dorothea Lange)




Beautiful Wisconsin

By John Cory, Reader Supported News

28 February 11


Reader Supported News | Perspective

RSN Special Coverage: GOP's War on American Labor

hen he began the book, he wrote: "I want to put a tag of shame on the greedy bastards who are responsible for this."

It started three years earlier as a series of articles for the San Francisco News. He investigated camp life, and even drove Route 66 so he would know the terrain. He walked and talked with the people, capturing language and lives, and then put ink to paper.

The book was an immediate bestseller - revered and reviled - banned and bought. The corporate world denounced the author; the FBI compiled a file to track him, and radio and political pundits pummeled him. He was called a socialist, a communist, a propagandist, and for good measure, a socialistic communist propagandist agitator. One slur is never enough.

The book spent a year on the bestseller list and won a Pulitzer Prize. A year later it was turned into a movie. Twenty years after its publication, the author won the Nobel Prize in Literature.

John Steinbeck wrote "The Grapes of Wrath" to tell the story of the Great Depression. Of farmers turned into migrants, of every-day citizens turned into beggars, while the corporate owners grew fat and fierce and greedy for more. He wrote to give hope amidst the vicious and divisive tactics of corporations and to remind them and us: "... the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed."

At the end of the film version of "The Grapes of Wrath," Tom Joad lays it out: "... A fella ain't got a soul of his own - just a little piece of a big soul. The one big soul that belongs to everybody ..."

And there is the beauty of Wisconsin.

The big soul gathered together, just like the motto says, "From the many - one."

And that is the fear of the corporate sponsors of Gov. Walker and the would-be owners of America. The people. We, the people - coming together.

The facile mantra of "what's good for business is good for America" is nothing more than the promotion of indentured servitude. And if we accept it then we are truly lost.

The Wisconsin issue is not about politics, economics, or good governance. It is about stopping "we the people" from gathering together. It is about stirring envy and crisis in order to corporatize, consumerize, and conformitize the masses for the profit of the few, the rich - the privileged owners of America.

This is all about the separation of we, the people - divide and conquer - about turning neighbor against neighbor, scrabbling for crumbs while the corporation steals the loaf.

Where once we cheered 'united we stand, divided we fall,' we are now sold on 'looking out for #1.'

Steinbeck learned that those greedy bastards couldn't be shamed. They could be blocked if we banded together and supported one another in the battle for rights and equality and dignity.

What does it say about America when unions are more regulated, more controlled, and have more oversight than Wall Street, or corporations that profit from pollution and poison? What does it say about America that our Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are persons and money is free speech and therefore persons with lots of money have more free speech than persons without money?

The people of Wisconsin say different.

Wisconsin says that people matter, that we, the people matter, and that we, the people belong to one another and not the corporate states of America.

The banks and Wall Street profit from selling us a house and they profit from our mortgage debt by slicing it up in multiple slivers for investors to profit off our payments, and when our jobs go away, the banks and investors profit off foreclosure. Heads, they win. Tails, they win. And when we have nothing, they tell us we must sacrifice more in order to save The American Dream, Inc.

Tom Joad said: "They breathe profits; they eat the interest on money. If they don't get it, they die the way you die without air, without side-meat ... The bank is something more than men, I tell you. It's the monster. Men made it, but they can't control it."

Too big to fail. Too big to be managed. Too big to be held accountable.

The beauty of Wisconsin is that the people have no fear. The fear comes from the political puppets of corporate sponsorship. The people do not fear the power of the wealthy; the corporate lackeys fear the loss of power over we, the people.

Maybe it is true that the wealthy manipulators of the Tea Party and corporate conservatism of the modern GOP are taking America backwards, back to the Gilded Age of 1890. But we can only go backwards, even a single step, if we allow ourselves to be pushed without pushing back. And that is the beauty of Wisconsin.

"The great owner ignored the three cries of history. The land fell into fewer hands, the number of dispossessed increased, and every effort of the great owners was directed at repression ... For a man, unlike any other thing organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, and emerges ahead of his accomplishments ... he may slip back, but only half a step, never a full step back ..."

That is what the barons of business fear most, and why they grab as much as they can, as fast as they can. They may not acknowledge that "little screaming fact" of history, but deep inside their soulless hearts and minds, they know it is coming. That is their fear - the fear of we, the people.

And that is the beauty of Wisconsin. Even in the snow, 70,000 - 100,000 people showed up this weekend. Thousands of people across the country did the same in their own communities in support of Wisconsin, regardless of whether the corporate media covered any of it.

The people know.

The people understand.

"... in the eyes of the people there is the failure: and in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage."

Beautiful Wisconsin.


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+110 # pirugenia 2011-02-28 23:13
ah John Steinbeck thank you for your words, hail Dorothea Lange for your pictures! How we need you both in these times of Goldman SacKs and the Kockroach bros! May these times pass sooooon!
 
 
+98 # jan dederick 2011-02-28 23:35
what a beautiful poem. a fitting tribute to Steinbeck, a fitting honor to compare Wisconsin with Steinbeck, a touching and moving reflection on what is happening, on all levels. Lovely. Thank you.
 
 
-197 # lovell smith 2011-02-28 23:38
It appears that the people of Wisconsin have spoken. Republican legislature, Republican Governor, and 60+ percent of the voters support the Gov. Do you think Tom Joad would have wanted to pay for public employees retirements? Nice try. Power to the people!
 
 
+104 # karenvista 2011-03-01 01:13
Lovell Smith says-"Do you think Tom Joad would have wanted to pay for public employees retirements? Nice try. Power to the people!" By "the people" do you mean the Koch Brothers"

Apparently you've never found it necessary to become literate since you've obviously never read "The Grapes of Wrath." Those people cared for each other, often beyond what their means would allow. They worked together to try to gain bearable wages and decent respect from those who thought they were better than they. They fought the banks. They were treated like illegal immigrants and had to fight for a chance everywhere they went-except for the U.S. Government Camp, which was run by a committee made up of residents and was the best place they found.

You're apparently confusing Tom Joad with Glenn Beck.

A few years ago, under the Bush Regime, I saw this coming again and pulled out my copy of Steinbeck's classic for another lesson on the rich man's inhumanity to other men and what the rest of us will need to do to survive.

We already have the most income inequality in the industrialized world. The last time it was this bad was right before the Great Depression. As I used to say when George W. stole the presidency-"Tho se who flunked history will doom us to repeat it."
 
 
0 # Wolfchen 2011-03-05 09:35
Bravo! How would you like to be on the front lines with such bozos? They're the kind of quislings who are the first to retreat in the face of danger...all the time waving the flag. That's assuming they ever served in the military. Often these bravados are too busy being arm chair generals than actually serving their country during times of crisis. Keep up the good fight…you’re a patriot in the best sense of the word.
 
 
+34 # rf 2011-03-01 07:05
It is not that public employes are getting rich, it is that the rest of of have had our incomes and pensions and health care stolen by the wealthy. Yes! Stolen! You have only been paying attention to the news stories about the police doing tons of overtime to bump their pension into the 6 figure status sphere. That abuse should be fixed and retroactively. (The military pensions need looked at to!)
 
 
+81 # Bruce Gruber 2011-03-01 07:42
The public employee is your neighbor. For years he took lower pay for security and benefits hard won in negotiations with your other fellow citizen, the elected official who, most likely lived 'up on the hill'.
Now that corporations have either moved overseas (avoiding taxes and seeking slave wage labor) and your job (which used to be BETTER than the postman's or the teacher's or the snow plow operator's) is always AT RISK, you want to punish your neighbor?!?
We ALL pay for people who work for us, whether soldiers, US Senators, or teachers). They ALL contribute taxes, too. The hedge funder gets away with only paying 15% on billions of income - and NO Social Security or Medicare contribution. The oil companies enjoy "fake" depletion allowances and pay NO taxes on their billions in profits with no contributions for their "personhood" to Social Security and Medicare. And you want to punish your neighbor - because he and others around town negotiate together and say, "No, we deserve better conditions, need more health care cost assistance to insure the health of our families, or have to suffer large classes of spoiled, disrespectful children or gun toting outlaws."
You, lovell, speak with the words finely tuned by Koch money for Rush, Hannity, Beck, Ingram to manipulate your anger toward your friends and neighbors. THINK!
 
 
+10 # genierae 2011-03-02 08:11
Excellent comment, Mr. Gruber! The rich elitists get their way by turning the rest of us against each other, and we must stop allowing this. Mr. Smith is showing his ignorance, that's for sure.
 
 
+69 # BridgeWalker 2011-03-01 07:45
Hellooo: Slight corrections, the corporations of WI have spoken, in particular Koch Industries. At this point, at least 67% of the people do not support Walker's bill. Please take your nose out of fox news and become informed. Tom Joad was a man of principle and character. I don't know that he would or wouldn't have wanted to pay for their retirements but it's a moot point since the magic of 'deferred compensation' has already seen to it that public employees have paid their way. Go to Madison and you will see 'Power to the People' in action. Due your due diligence before making foolish comments.
 
 
-1 # CECILE 2011-03-02 15:39
Amen to that, Bridge!
 
 
+38 # dianne brown 2011-03-01 07:53
Tom Joad would understand the complexities of public pensions. He would be right out in the middle of the teachers and government workers supporting their right to bargain.
 
 
+45 # ER444 2011-03-01 07:57
We will see Mr. Smith. The next election will come, and if the people remember how they have been betrayed they will vote differently next time. By the way, the public workers pay for their own retirement. The rumor going around that the tax payers pay for public employees retirement is another example of Faux and co's machine churning out one lie after another. What the state does pay for is the health benefits, AND the union has already offered to change that. Your Republican Governor wants more. I don't think he will get it, and I think he has stirred up a hornets nest and is destined to get severely stung. Mark my words Mr.Smith. Goading is very dangerous !
 
 
+23 # wanagiakicita 2011-03-01 16:56
Why wait for the next election.....th ere is always RECALL!!! Don't wait, do it NOW Wisconsin..reca ll this traitor to the American Middle Class.
 
 
+5 # CECILE 2011-03-02 15:42
Quoting wanagiakicita:
Why wait for the next election.....there is always RECALL!!! Don't wait, do it NOW Wisconsin..recall this traitor to the American Middle Class.

Unfortunately, the laws of Wisconsin say that we have to endure the jackass for a full year before we can recall. My fear is that he will have so much harm to our democracy by locking us out of the Capitol ILLEGALLY that our Democracy will not be recognizable!
 
 
+51 # genierae 2011-03-01 08:07
lovell smith: The Wisconsin people who were asleep, are waking up with a vengeance! A poll report yesterday said that if Walker ran today, he would LOSE!! All recent polls show that the people of Wisconsin reject Walker's attack on unions, they are on the side of the public workers. To all those who are standing up across this country for workers' rights: Bravo!!!
 
 
+12 # mikberg 2011-03-01 12:12
Public education no longer has support in this country. The rich send their kids to private school. The middle class has aged and no longer has kids in school. The poor and the young don't vote.
That's where your 60% comes from.
 
 
+13 # April 2011-03-01 13:09
Lovell, a corporate shill? Which one? BP...GE...Koch? Is the money worth it?
 
 
+26 # Jean 2011-03-01 14:19
Actually, today's polls show Walker would loose the election against his previous opponent if the election were held now. And why? Because he is not doing what he campaigned on in the way he said he would. He is going for much more and against the wishes and the will of the people of Wisconsin which he swore to serve. He has broken his oath of office already.
 
 
+14 # wanagiakicita 2011-03-01 16:54
Where did you get YOUR figures? FAUX NEWS? It seems 60% of ALL Americans support the right of Unions to bargain collectively and a clear majority are against cutting their wages and/or benefits. Do YOU want a paycut? I'm sure they'd love to have volunteers if it is so important to you.
 
 
+1 # CECILE 2011-03-02 15:47
Quoting wanagiakicita:
Where did you get YOUR figures? FAUX NEWS? It seems 60% of ALL Americans support the right of Unions to bargain collectively and a clear majority are against cutting their wages and/or benefits. Do YOU want a paycut? I'm sure they'd love to have volunteers if it is so important to you.

The Bill Of Rights also gives us the RIGHT of free expression, the RIGHT to assemble, the RIGHT to form associations (A.k.a. Unions) and the RIGHT to petition our government for redress, A.k.a : BARGAINING. What Walker is doing not is un-American and is contrary to the spirit of the Bill of Rights, if not to the letter.
 
 
+7 # w wheelock 2011-03-02 08:48
CONGRATS! tHIS IS THE LOWEST RATING I HAVE AVER SEEN ON A BLOG AND IT IS SO WELL DESERVED. AS TAXPAYERS, WE IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR HAVE PAID INTO OUR RETIREMENTS! THOSE GREEDY BASTARDS ON WALL STREET HAVE NOT-THEY JUST STEAL OUR PENSIONS!
 
 
+5 # Lesabre 2011-03-02 11:38
I think you have your figures switched. I believe the poles show that 60% of the voters would not have voted for Walker if they had known what he would be doing. He is hiding behind the old "the American people have spoken" theme, but he didn't tell them the rest of the story.
 
 
+1 # bruceleier 2011-03-02 13:57
Of course he would have. The ability to retire with dignity and security is one of the basic he was fighting for. Not the insecure future of a 401K that might be worthless after the "money managers" steal from it again in the next bubble they create.
Quoting lovell smith:
It appears that the people of Wisconsin have spoken. Republican legislature, Republican Governor, and 60+ percent of the voters support the Gov. Do you think Tom Joad would have wanted to pay for public employees retirements? Nice try. Power to the people!
 
 
+5 # CECILE 2011-03-02 15:37
Quoting lovell smith:
It appears that the people of Wisconsin have spoken. Republican legislature, Republican Governor, and 60+ percent of the voters support the Gov.

Oh, Really? Only if he ILLEGALLY closes our Capitol, ILLEGALLY ignores a court order, ILLEGALLY confiscate pensions that the State has not contributed to. My pension, sir, came out of my salary before I could spend it. It is called DEFERRED COMPENSATION. Over the years, I have paid for 100% of what I'm receiving now. The State of Wisconsin does NOT contribute to the Employee Trust Fund, which is the entity that signs my retirement check. Educate yourself, sir before you write such drivel!
 
 
+1 # Rick Kissell 2011-03-02 17:39
Quoting lovell smith:
It appears that the people of Wisconsin have spoken. Republican legislature, Republican Governor, and 60+ percent of the voters support the Gov. Do you think Tom Joad would have wanted to pay for public employees retirements? Nice try. Power to the people!


Funny how the Republicans rejected PRECISELY that line of argumentation on Obama's health care reforms, despite the Demcorats' sweep in 2008.
 
 
+48 # Susanna Miller 2011-03-01 00:16
This beautiful essay was like a poem--

And so right on!-- It is time that we push back-- the rich and the greedy never really win- so many end up so unhappily--thei r children suffer- there are so many examples- the sad life of the recently deceased J.Paul Getty II- suffered so much because of his greedy father.

We have to take back our power-- only when there is a strong, powerful middle class, will the country be healthy again-

Bravo to Wisconsin- and their supporters everywhere.
 
 
+37 # Davidson Loehr 2011-03-01 00:33
It's encouraging to see that a poll taken in Wisconsin says the governor would not be elected today. It's a pity the Democrats still can't remember where they left their backbones, but maybe this time we must save ourselves. How ironic that the Arabs are now able to be role models for us, and inspirations that might make some of their courage rub off on us. Meanwhile, the governments of the USA and Israel show rising percentages falling into poverty. So in two countries that love to say they're democracies, the overwhelming majority of their people -- the Arabs and about 95% of US citizens -- must rise up -- nonviolently -- against their "democratic" governments that would rather rule us than serve us. It's too bad irony can be so painful....
 
 
+31 # teineitalia 2011-03-01 00:38
a beautifully written commentary... very stirring. I am encouraged by what I am seeing in Wisconsin. If I were a rich person, I would send all my money there...

to the people who understand that it is all about "e plurbus unum" and little else matters.
 
 
+34 # David Cliff 2011-03-01 00:42
I am a a writer who is revitalised by this great article. I want to pass it on to people I know who may learn about life as a result
 
 
+34 # Txak 2011-03-01 01:04
Wow - John Cory is an incredible writer. You captured exactly what I've been thinking, feeling, and talking about with regards to the current state of America. God helps those that helps themselves - lets go, We the People!
 
 
+47 # bubbiesue 2011-03-01 01:53
What we have in Scott Walker is not what many people voted for. Despite the abrupt party swing last November, I believe assumptions were made about good faith, good government, compromise and Forward. We got none of those--rather, we got a naked power grab. He might live to regret it.

He can be recalled with the circulation of petitions beginning 11/3/11, and many of us are itching to carry them. We only hope that, first, the Democratic Senators can hold out in IL and second, that Walker and cohorts don't do too much damage before he's kicked out. Hmmm--perhaps there's a cosmic reason Russ Feingold is no longer in the U.S. Senate, despite his stated disinterest in executive office. Hmmm...
 
 
+37 # BridgeWalker 2011-03-01 08:14
Right! Russ for Gov. sounds pretty sweet about now.
 
 
+6 # karenvista 2011-03-04 03:28
Quoting bubbiesue:
What we have in Scott Walker is not what many people voted for. Despite the abrupt party swing last November, I believe assumptions were made about good faith, good government, compromise and Forward. We got none of those--rather, we got a naked power grab.


I'm from Texas. We don't have a single state-wide office that's not held by Republicans. Our Supreme Court is all Republican. They always side with big business.

We inflicted three Presidents on the rest of the nation. It's hard to tell who the least bad was but at least LBJ suffered for the mistakes he made. He dragged us into Vietnam because he was afraid the Republicans would say he was a chicken if he didn't, and they would have. The other two twits probably just did what they were told the whole time they were in the White House (and made some really profitable connections.)

From our experience with the nitwits and crooks we have here and from Wisconsins experience with Republican politicians who lied and sold out to the fat cats (surprise!!) let's all agree not to make the mistake of thinking that Republicans are out for anyone but themselves and the guys who bankroll them. Don't vote for Republicans no matter what lies they tell you. We see what they do all across the country when they get in office. They are not going to change their stripes.
 
 
+38 # Tom Joad 2011-03-01 03:15
Waltker the 'chameleon' and he's out to crack the Middle Class, the last bastion of sanity........T ea Baggers absolutely BLIND to the corporate Banksters bankrolling 'em and why are they attacking and vilifying snow-plow drivers and teachers, while FAT CAT hedge fund managers and others getting fat bonuses again???? Tea Party, you're going after your very own middle-class, and I remind all, over half the TP drawing FEDERAL benefits, from disability, medicaid, and OH MY GOD, that socialized evil called MEDICARE...but that's OK, 'are there not enough prisons and workhouses' Uncle Ebenezer?
 
 
+41 # eldoryder 2011-03-01 06:09
It appears that the small number of eligible voters that DID turn out in 2010 "trended" Republican, with NO forewarning that their new governor was going to GIVE AWAY an obscene amount of money to corporations and the rich (in tax breaks), and then claim that same amount as the deficit, which could ONLY be resolved if the public employees unions were broken. Standard Republican/Libe rtarian bait and switch!
 
 
+25 # roberto 2011-03-01 06:19
Heartwarmingly beautiful and fills me with hope
 
 
+21 # Lib Hutchby 2011-03-01 07:25
Profound and prophetic writing, much appreciated by one whose oldest relative is now almost 100yrs. old and lives with the childhood memory of having only potatoes for two months and was glad she didn't starve.
 
 
+50 # Todd Williams 2011-03-01 07:26
Mr. Lovell Smith, you have no heart, no soul. This article was written about you and written for you. It exposes you and your kind for whom you truly are. I don't know you, but I do know that you are either very rich and afraid or you are a dupe of the very rich and fearful. I feel sorry for you and at the same time despise you for your fear. This article was not "a nice try" as you so dismissively put it. It was warning from the past. Either we heed this warning or we a doomed for failure. Steinbeck knew and would be ashamed of us today. Mr. Lovell Smith, please wake up. We need good, honest Americans to repair the damage done, not dupes of the corporate state.
 
 
+10 # Gary Ray Pierson 2011-03-01 13:27
Quoting Todd Williams:
Mr. Lovell Smith, you have no heart, no soul. This article was written about you and written for you. It exposes you and your kind for whom you truly are. I don't know you, but I do know that you are either very rich and afraid or you are a dupe of the very rich and fearful. I feel sorry for you and at the same time despise you for your fear. This article was not "a nice try" as you so dismissively put it. It was warning from the past. Either we heed this warning or we a doomed for failure. Steinbeck knew and would be ashamed of us today. Mr. Lovell Smith, please wake up. We need good, honest Americans to repair the damage done, not dupes of the corporate state.
Bingo! gary pierson
 
 
+31 # Linda 2011-03-01 07:51
lobell smith, no matter how many times you say it you will not convince the people who know better. Public workers pay into their own retirement fund tax payers don't pay one dime for it !
Thankfully my friend and companion has drawn out his pension and took an early retirement so these crooks won't steal the money he worked for and put towards his retirement.
Those people like this fool who had the audacity to post these lies better wake up because if these people are willing to steal workers pensions your pension could be next.
What is the difference between a bank robber robbing people savings and these people robbing our pension funds ? Nothing they are both thieves and should be behind bars not elected officials or wealthy oil barons !
 
 
+21 # Gringaryan 2011-03-01 08:15
What a beautiful and moving piece. Here's hoping that in Wisconsin will begin the spark that can awaken the sleeping giant of a people who have been given too little of what they have earned.. who have been brainwashed and fed too many lies for too long.
 
 
+35 # motamanx 2011-03-01 08:29
The Republicans won because they promised "jobs". They lied. The jobs had already been sent overseas. Now they want to bust the unions too. Lazy Democrats have allowed them to get this far. Now it's time to halt this madness, and stymie the likes of Governor Walker and his puppeteers.
 
 
+18 # Tzul el Chapin 2011-03-01 08:36
Those who should remember the Great Depression and the USA before unions gave everyone a higher standard of living, have short memories. The 20-30 somethings think the Great Depression is a meteor crater. And very few Americans know that the Depression ended only because of WW II. Get ready to see history repeat itself.
 
 
+26 # cydfan 2011-03-01 08:47
Although it should never have happened at all, thank god it happened under a democratic president and not Bush. While Obama hasn't quite shown all the support he promised on the campaign trail, at least he is sending a team in to aid the demonstrators in their cause. Imagine for a moment if Dubya had been there. We might have seen Qadhafi's special forces clearing out the state house and rounding up the wayward senators! On a more serious note though, this article spells out exactly what Steinbeck was trying to impart; a hope for America's future based in the spirit of its people not its corporations(th ey saw what that got them during the stock market crash of the 20's) and a faith that, whatever happened we would do what was truly right for each other not just ourselves. No corporation could ever say that.
 
 
0 # karenvista 2011-03-04 03:40
Quoting cydfan:
On a more serious note though, this article spells out exactly what Steinbeck was trying to impart; a hope for America's future based in the spirit of its people not its corporations(they saw what that got them during the stock market crash of the 20's) and a faith that, whatever happened we would do what was truly right for each other not just ourselves. No corporation could ever say that.


And would we be surprised to find out that Goldman Sachs was a major player in bringing on the Great Depression by selling fraudulent bonds? Read Matt Taibi's Griftopia to see how they've been behind most of the major Watt Street crime in this country and never get punished.


Fact is though, in concert with FDR many corporations came up with plans to keep from laying a lot of people off and the government created jobs through public infrastructure projects that did help people.
 
 
+32 # fredboy 2011-03-01 08:57
So true--where are the jobs? The Florida governor was elected on a "jobs" platform, yet has created none. In fact, he eliminated 200,000 high speed rail construction jobs last week just to shame Obama.

Republicans, your intentional delay of our nation's economic recovery will body slam you in 2012. And your attempts then to blame our first black president for the problem will also backfire, showing you are all lying bastards.
 
 
+2 # CECILE 2011-03-02 16:13
And now, Walker, like the little fascist that he is threatens to lay off thousands of teachers if the Fab 14 don't come back. How is that for coercion/ extortion!
The Repugnant Repubs Senators in WI have voted to punish their Democratic colleagues to the tune of $100.00/day. The fact is that there is no law forcing a Senator to vote or to be present. They are just making the laws as they go. Should we start fining every Senator and Congressman who is absent for any vote? (State or Federal)
 
 
+29 # Keen Observer 2011-03-01 09:31
Some people, like Lovell Smith, seem to worry about taxpayers paying public employees for their work and their health and retirement benefits. Yes, p3eople pay those taxes. And people also pay a markup on everything we buy from the private sector which often include profits for the owners of the companites. Yes, It's almost the same as a tax, but it is better hidden. And we don't get to elect the people who decide how to spend this money. Yes, some is donated to good causes, but most goes to make the most wealthy even nore wealthy - with money to buy the influence of too many of our elected officials, like the Koch brothers. Shame on them. Hooray for the Tom Joads.
 
 
+1 # CECILE 2011-03-02 16:16
Right on! My union is a REPRESENTATIVE body. When I buy something Koch sells, I have no say as to how they will use this money. That is indeed the difference.
 
 
+21 # SouthBrun 2011-03-01 09:34
The GOP is preaching and pushing Gotterdammerung regarding workers rights and unions. They try to make it appear that any benefits have been stolen by the workers. They have been earned and achieved by way of collective bargaining. Grapes of Wrath is being rewritten in Wisconsin.
 
 
+30 # DPM 2011-03-01 09:38
On Wisconsin!
Another reader, A. Zide and I both believe you have to hit them in the wallet and start small. Stop buying Koch products. Start with Brawny towels, Sparkle glass cleaner and Northern tissue. You don't need them. Switch to something else.
I encourage everyone to close their BofA accounts and put their money into credit unions.
Small steps, but if you pass it along to everyone you speak with, it will start a domino effect. Then...we go from there. It's much better than just complaining.
 
 
+5 # Gringaryan 2011-03-02 09:11
Absolutely, in order to "vote with your wallet" be aware of what the implications are of products you buy and to whom you give your money. The "small steps" are critical and if there is a cloud in this financial crises to me it is all about getting back to basics and the simpler pleasures that are free. Visiting friends and family, reading. However, the point we are at now requires BIG changes. Go WISCONSIN! Get out on the streets of your town. Write your representatives . Work for candidates in your state. Get right in there and work for your political preferences. We have the options to do grass roots in a David and Goliath way.. but as one contributer said at least we don't have GW as pres now. We have a moment here in which we can just keep getting louder.... it has happened before and can happen again. Peace and justice for all.
 
 
+24 # BradFromSalem 2011-03-01 09:56
This article reminds me why Steinbeck has been a favorite author of mine since I was 15.

Tom Joad was a symbolic character, who represented the youth and the future of Depresion era America. As he saw his future crumble, he was able to see through the facade of lies and greed that left him destitude.

America's true hope lies with the modern day Tom Joads. I pray our educators have provided our youth with the intellectual tools to see through the same facade we have today that existed in the 1930's. If not, then the Banks and the Corporations have succeeded.
 
 
+15 # Oliver417 2011-03-01 10:12
In the book "Tragedy and Hope" the writer states that when the Russian revolution happened, ushering in the Communist era, Cecil Rhodes and other wealthy/powerfu l people decided that the disparity in wealth that triggered the revolution should not be allowed to happen again. An organization, still in existence today, was formed to ensure an equitable balance is maintained. Sadly humans too quickly forget the past and need to remember what follows when that happens.
 
 
+26 # castaway5555 2011-03-01 10:12
Well said ... if there's anything in this mess for which I'm grateful, it's this: Scott has revealed the GOP playbook for America. If they have their way, it'll mean wretchedness for The Land and its People, and high privilege for a few.

Steinbeck was right - greedy bastards have always been around, and always seeking to be King of the Hill. Sadly, the GOP has become nothing but a toady for reactionary forces.

Maybe this will awaken Americans before it's too late.
 
 
+26 # THOMAS J. 2011-03-01 10:29
I can only add the comments of my late uncle Jim.He survived the GREAT DEPRESSION and with his wife raised eight children.He was a FIRE breathing UNION advocate. The one statement he made throughout his life. "REPUBLICANS,RE PUBLICANS NEVER DID A DAMM THING FOR THE WORKINJG MAN" How true how true,it still rings in my ears today,rightly so.
 
 
0 # CECILE 2011-03-02 16:21
Abraham Lincoln was a great Republican President, perhaps our last one. He knew the value of workers, and helped then all his life. He was pro-union before Unions even existed.
 
 
+11 # Capn Canard 2011-03-01 10:43
Nice article, well said. I am really thinking that the next election will swing the other way.(However, if the vote is fixed this could get very, very ugly.) It will be very interesting to watch what happens.
 
 
+4 # mtnview 2011-03-01 10:57
We the people have always had the power. We must be willing to not pay our monthly insurance premiums, not pay our credit card bill, not pay our cable, phone, utility monthly bills. In this way, we can demonstrate our power collectively. As Steinbeck wrote, the monster survives by profit. If We the People can courageously refuse to pay our monthly bills, united, we can starve the beast. More than anything, the beast, the greedy, are afraid of collective action.
 
 
+20 # Jean Louise 2011-03-01 11:05
Here's a "joke", but it's really a concise parable for what the tea party is really all about:

A union member, a Tea Party member, and the CEO of a corporation are sitting at a table. In the middle of the table there is a plate with a dozen cookies on it. The CEO reaches across and takes 11 cookies looks at the tea partier and says, "look out for that union guy, he wants a piece of your cookie".
 
 
+2 # wanagiakicita 2011-03-01 17:01
I don't know who wrote that but may I use it on other blogs with your permission? It says it ALL!!!
 
 
0 # Jean Louise 2011-03-02 08:59
I didn't make it up, but I don't think it's copyrighted!
 
 
-1 # CECILE 2011-03-02 16:23
I have a few Repubs that I can forward that too. I'll put it on Facebook too!
 
 
+2 # charsjcca 2011-03-01 11:46
It may be time to end taxation as we know it. Without your dime and my dime there is nothing to argue about.
 
 
+7 # Gary Ray Pierson 2011-03-01 12:44
As with many who have seen the ugly side of mankind... John has a special view and a way with words that gets the point across.. Maybe it's because John walked point and learned to listen to his instincts and what he saw in war opened his eyes to what we do to each other.. We can stop this..... We are the PEOPLE.. And god speaks to our conscience and wakens what's sleeping through people like Stienway and men like John Cory.. As usual, damn good John.. Thank You my fellow veteran. formally; CPL. Pierson, 101st Airborne," Balls of the Eagle, SIR! Vietnam and Son of the American Revolution and the Cherokee Nation..
 
 
+9 # KittatinyHawk 2011-03-01 13:47
I would love to see this Published in Local Newspapers. Thank you for a poignant story and reminder of the times of our parents and grandparents.
Future should never be a repeat of History but a chance to bring pieces of that time with us so we can make it better. Guess only the Real Americans learned the lesson.

Excellent Article, Mr Cory
 
 
+8 # giraffee2012 2011-03-01 14:03
Thank you John Cory - Again you brought the words from the past to the present in describing the "soul" of Wisconsin.

Vote in 2012 please Dems for the Kockroaches can be overcome by our vote.
 
 
+19 # Keith Johnson 2011-03-01 15:25
I'm all for boycotting Koch products which generate monies for tea party shenanigans. Boycott Sparkle glass cleaner and use Vinegar! avoid Brawny towels and use old newspapers....w hile they are still around. The GOP wants austerity... then give them what they want and avoid their products.
 
 
+10 # wanagiakicita 2011-03-01 17:03
My wife is way ahead of me here. She used to use Brawny paper towels and now used Viva. She has threatened me with disembowelment is I use any Georgia Pacific products in our work place and she MEANS it.
 
 
+11 # granny 2011-03-01 16:27
This should also be a wake up all to all the union members who were too busy or tired or disinterested to vote in November. And it should be a wake up call to the Milwaukee Journal/Sentine l to do much better at researching and reporting on the candidates for public office. How is it that Scott Walker's criminal tendencies were not reported before the election?
 
 
+2 # w wheelock 2011-03-02 08:36
Bravo! Me too. I heard somewhere that they have a stake in Coca-cola?
 
 
+13 # Keith Johnson 2011-03-01 18:09
Maybe it's no accident that the scope of activist fervor in Madison follows the coverage of unrest in the mideast. It's really amazing to see peaceful protests for workers rights. I hope success in battling corporate greed can lead to empowerment in ending our wars abroad. If we can emulate Vietnam era protests...it might happen. LBJ abandoned re-election plans after anti-war protests made him a "prisoner" in the White House. The war affects more than soldiers' families.Thus it's workers rights first, then turn off the budget busting war machine. Well....we can hope. I'm tired of seeing the "women in black" stand alone on our street corners!
 
 
+5 # Darwin26 2011-03-02 01:28
The Problem is Capitalism; Wedded to this genetic spike in the evolution continuum.
This is all about re-distribution of wealth thru De-regulation and Tax evasion of all kinds.
The Stockholder model is showing signs of cracking... Fascism is the Default of Capitalism under attack.
Thomas Paine would be proud as well Joe Hill but we have to get some serious changes made...national ize: Banking, health care ins, Big AG, Transportation and Energy. Otherwise it will just be more of the same and with scum like the Neo-Libs in the Dirty House now - they (DLC maybe purged but they stench never goes away) have a tendency to con with alacrity.
i will never forget the Dorothy Lang photo Exhibition at the Getty/405 - what a sad documentary. And it's happening here and now.


Industrial Workers of the World
fw 371037
 
 
+5 # w wheelock 2011-03-02 08:34
God Bless John nSteinbeck! Considering the reaction by the FBI (who even attacked JFK and Dr. King) and the banksters, he indeed hit a raw nerve amongst the same type of "greedy bastards" who finances Hitler's rise to power. The same label applies to all those on Wall Street or wherever and their accomplices in every level of government that have brought our beloved nation to the brink of ruin. God has blessed America for a long time, but unless these vultures are stopped maybe He will wash his hands of us.
 
 
+5 # Anarchist 23 2011-03-02 11:45
We the People, in order to form a more perfect Union and to promote the Common Welfare....That is the real Constitutional argument! On Wisconsin!
 
 
+5 # Heartbeatt 2011-03-02 12:23
A salute to the people of Wisconsin from Europe!
May more rise up and protest the injustices that have grown unbearable.
 
 
-11 # ted baldwin 2011-03-02 13:07
Maybe if Tom Joad was not a drunken murderer he could have done something to help his family instead of languishing in prison for four years. And maybe if FDR had not taxed the population into oblivion there would have been some job creation - or if they had not slaughtered ten million piglets to artificially prop up prices they could have had meat to eat. And maybe if the pollsters in Wisconsin had not polled predominately democratic households with union workers the poll showing support for Walker might show what it really is.
 
 
0 # Dennis M. Senchuk 2011-03-04 12:22
It's high time demonstrators made Gov. Walker uneasy by starting a recall campaign.
Some suggested placards:
Walker take a hike!
Do you RECALL voting for denying rights?
Recall the Gov.
Impeach Walker

--DMS
 
 
-2 # karrwisc 2011-03-05 19:58
ccrporate stockholders pay for workers' retirement, and the employees dont have to kick in a penny if they dont want to. we the taxpayers are the stakeholders in governments, so we pay for public employees' retirement. Are they supposed to forego pensions because they serve the public?
 

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