Total Recall III: Revenge of the Badgers

We've seen this movie before

Yes, that meme was way overused when California Governor Gray Davis was recalled and the original actor from the movie, Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected to replace him. But when Wisconsin citizens are collecting signatures to recall all eight eligible Republican Senators, all eight Democratic Senators, and quite possibly Governor Scott Walker, it really is a Total Recall. At least I didn’t use ‘Revenge of the Cheeseheads’.

So what is the possibility of a successful recall in Wisconsin? It turns out that Wisconsinites are actually very familiar with the process. In 1996 they recalled State Senator George Petak and in 2003, State Senator Gary George. In 2002, eight elected officials were recalled in Milwaukee County due to a retirement pension scandal. When Wisconsinites make up their minds about something, they show no reluctance in pursuing it.

Nationally, there have only been two successful gubernatorial recalls; the aforementioned Gray Davis of California in 2003 and Lynn Frazier of North Dakota way back in 1921 (There have actually been three successful recall drives but the third was cancelled because Arizona Governor Evan Mecham was impeached in 1988 before the recall could be completed).

Recall procedures vary from state to state and currently only eighteen states allow recalls at the state level. Illinois allows for a Governor only recall (Note: Rod Blagojevich was impeached in 2009 by a near unanimous vote of 114-1 making a recall unnecessary). All recall procedures have a couple of things in common in order to get on the ballot; collection of signatures from a specific portion of the population and a time period in which to accomplish that.

Wisconsin procedures under article XIII of the Wisconsin Constitution allows for a recall of any elected official only after they have served at least one year. Since Senate races are staggered every two years that means that half the Senators are eligible at any given time. The number of signatures required is “25% of the number of voters that voted in the preceding election of the office of governor within the electoral district of the officer sought to be recalled” (roughly 10,000 – 20,000 per district). Petitioners usually try to exceed that number since the official targeted has the right to challenge signature validity for ten days following submission of the signatures. Recall petitions must be completed within 60 days after registration with the Government Accountability Board.

Of the eight Democratic officials targeted for recall only Jim Holperin had a close race with 51% of the votes in his district. As members of the ‘Wisconsin 14’, these officials have achieved near hero status so it would be surprising if any of them were actually recalled.

Justice was peeking

Of the eight Republican officials targeted, at least three are in danger of being recalled although with the animus stirred by Governor Walker’s union scandal I suspect none of them feel very safe at the moment. Both Alberta Darling and Randy Hopper won their districts with 50% of the vote. Additionally Hopper has become embroiled in a scandal for leaving his wife to move in with his 26 year old girlfriend who doesn’t even live in his district. The third on the endangered list is Dan Kapanke with 51% of the vote in his district. The safest of the Republicans is Glenn Grothman who won his district with 80% of the vote but he hasn’t done himself any favours by calling the protestors losers on national television. Only three Republican losses are required to tip the balance of power in the Senate.

Recall petitions for the Governor cannot begin circulating until January 3rd, 2012 but preparations are already underway. This will be a bigger hill to climb as a recall for the Governor will require 540,000 signatures (roughly 1/10 of the population) and there’s plenty of time for the enthusiasm to have died down between now and January 3rd. Walker won the Gubernatorial election with 52% of the vote so a recall is certainly within the realm of possibility. A lot will hinge on the outcomes of the State Senate recalls. If the Republican recalls are successful the voters may be bolstered by that success and pursue Walker with fervour.

Democrats report that they are over halfway there in just two weeks while the Republicans are lagging behind in signature collections. Most of the petitions are due between late April and May 3rd so Wisconsin politics will get pretty interesting in June depending on which recall efforts are certified. Then we will know with certainty whether Wisconsinites have indeed acquired a healthy dose of buyers remorse.

    About Mr. Universe

    Mr. Universe is a musician/songwriter and an ex-patriot of the south. He currently lives and teaches at a University in the Pacific Northwest. He is a long distance hiker who has hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. He is also an author and woodworker. An outspoken political voice, he takes a decidedly liberal stance in politics.
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    57 Responses to Total Recall III: Revenge of the Badgers

    1. NotImpressed says:

      I expected to see voters turning against the Republicans who were elected in 2010. But, I admit, not so quickly. We’re not even three months into 2011, and already the voters are anxious for a change. Talk about overreaching too far too fast!

    2. filistro says:

      Republicans have clearly decided nationwide that now is the time to crush unions and consolidate corporate power. I think they badly underestimated the public response and now are stuck in an incerasingly precarious situation.

      Some Republican legislators in Ohio are looking to scale back a few of the more draconian measures in their bill (being voted on today, likely signed into law by Kasich tomorrow) because the unions are already mobilizing to get the issue on the ballot as an initiative, which would drive Dem turnout and seriously jeopardize every Republican on the ballot.

      But, like Walker in Wisconsin, the Ohio GOP is silencing these voices of caution (sometimes by peremptorily removing them from committees) and bulling ahead with the agenda.

      It’s like they’ve all been listening to Elvis.

    3. dcpetterson says:

      Unions have become the new ACORN, the new socialism — a boogeyman on which to hang the blame for Republican mismanagement (in this case, mismanagement of the economy). In a previous post, I suggested the attack on public employee unions is merely a prelude to an all-out Republican assault on worker rights — the five-day work week, paid vacations, safety regulations, child labor laws, minimum wage, you name it — all the things collective bargaining has earned the American worker, all the things the Republicans have opposed yet have been unable to dismantle so long as unions exist.

      Another aspect to it is to control campaign spending. In the run-up to the 2012 elections, and in the wake of Citizens United, Republicans are doing their best to insure that unions are financially crippled, and unable to counter the destructive tsunami of corporate money into our political system. Now we know what the “tsunami of epic proportions” predicted for 2010 was really all about; and we know why Republicans were so anxious to use that particular piece of symbolism. We’ve seen how destructive a real tsunami is. Watch as the Republicans try to have the same effect on our elections.

    4. Mainer says:

      dc many on here have commented on Republican over reach but I doubt any of us would have predicted this. I must dig up a piece I read the other night that was talking about the total amount of tax breaks or give aways that Republican govs are pushing for corporations and the fact that no one from any corporitist level or even the US chanmber of comerace has said that such actions will result in business providing even one job from it. This is most likely going to go down in history as the biggest heist of state money ever.

      So…..recall……you talk about recall……..didn’t we used to hang folks for less?

    5. shortchain says:

      In order to understand the import of all this you have to understand the way a lot of people in the upper midwest think about politics. There’s a pervasive independent streak in even those who pretty reliably vote for one party or the other up here, and it tends to come out in situations like this. If you ask a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat or a relentless Republican up here, they’re probably not that outraged about the way the GOP is acting in Wisconsin, although the Democrat definitely won’t be happy.

      But if you ask one of the independent types, be ready to dodge spit. Nothing makes independent types more angry than a naked, partisan power play.

      That phenomenon was at the base of the GOP’s electoral success in 2010, because the GOP managed to portray a lot of what happened in the previous 2 years as partisan politics by the Democrats.

      When you turn around within seconds of getting into power and out-do the partisanship of the opposing party, you’ve just shot your leg off at the hip, as regards the independents. And the way these feelings work is that, once they’ve been internalized, everything that the GOP in Wisconsin does from now until election day, 2012, is going to drive that nail farther into the plank.

      Expect massive turnarounds come the next elections, whether it happens this year or next.

    6. mclever says:


      Regarding the attitudes of voters here in the Midwest, I think you’ve captured it pretty well. Instead of being all-fired irate, most Democrats around here have an attitude of, “Yeah? What did you expect?” They’re not surprised by the Republican actions in places like Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana, etc., so it doesn’t steam them as much as one might expect. Most Republicans are either indifferent or glad. It’s the Independents who are really steamed about things, because they thought the Republicans were going to bring “balance” to the political sphere after what they perceived as Democratic overreach during 2009-10. (Democrats really need to work on their messaging.) But the recent Republican actions are very hard to disguise as anything other than naked partisan power grabs. You’re right. That absolutely pisses off the moderates and independents around here.

      (I think I posted before about how “pragmatism” is valued, especially here in Iowa and in other Midwest states. Partisanship is seen as the opposite of that.)

      I don’t know if the anger has staying power, and I don’t know if it will sustain all the way until the 2012 elections. I’m hopeful, of course. But, I worry about the short attention span of most voters, especially those who aren’t even paying any attention right now.

    7. Whatevs says:

      The Citizens United is the most dangerous ruling ever handed down in recent memory. Why have I not heard of anybody trying to overturn this?

    8. Max aka Birdpilot says:


      It’d take a Constitutional Amendment.

      Two-thirds of both Houses (GOP won’t let it get out of the Congress) and three-fourths of the state legislatures.

      Do you see anyway of that happening in the immediate future?

      Here’s a suggestion. You are welcome to spread it around:

      Draft Constitutional Personhood Amendment

      Section 1. The fundamental and inherent Rights of the People of the United States, and those Rights enumerated within this Constitution and the Constitutions of the respective States shall be so construed as to pertain only to natural Persons who are citizens of the United States and those natural Persons living within, or under the jurisdiction of, these States, the recognized Territories and diplomatic areas.

      Section 2. Created corporate and legal entities of whatever sort, their Creation and Existence being a matter of Legislative action for the sole purpose of commercial activity and therefore are not natural People or Persons, shall at all times be subject to all such laws as enacted by Congress, or by the Legislatures of the respective States.

    9. Mainer says:

      Mac, as I hve said on here before I really don’t have a great in with people in that neck of the woods but for the ones do some interesting stuff seems to be percolating. My best source in Wisconsin thinks this does have legs and he too starts with the independents of which there are apparently many in his family. His read on them would mirror what has been said already on here they feel really betrayed and they are pissed enough to do some thing about it. Oddly the other group my friend has identified from his extended family there are moderate Republicans. Now I have no idea what kind of size group that would constitute but another friend seems to think it might be substantial based on his work out there and apparently they are not exactly in a let it lay mood either.

      No one likes to be lied to. Well most don’t I will not try to explain or understand the Foxadones but I can compare some of it to my own state. Our new gov. besides becoming a laughing stock seems to be working over time to alienate some of his massive 38% mandate voters. I just heard this afternoon that there has or will shortly be a poll out from here that could show our new gov and his teaper friends at about 25% approval. Now that sounds low to me as we have a usual 30% in this state with their heads up their keysters but some of the rural rustics that put LePage in as gov are just now realizing what I have said all along. They are going to take the brunt of his slash and burn campaign and they are getting antsy. The rabid right could not care less…..but the moderate Republicans here (many of which didn’t vote for the new gov. are making serious noise about what his nibs is doing to the party……..and for the most part they are the money behind the power up here.

      We are poor as church mice. The gov wants to hand out 203 million in tax breaks to business. Not one business individual here has stated that it will save or create even one job. On the other hand I actually know several business owners that think the govs actions will drive people like themselves to consider new business oportunities some where else. People that are here for the life style and the clean environment don’t find our bufoon in chief in Augusta very entertaining. I was in NJ last week and the folks I was working with are not happy with their gov but they felt bad for me… that is a sad situation.

    10. allornothing says:

      I’ve been reading for a while. I thought I’d say something about the Citizens ruling that I’m not sure if someone has mentioned here. If someone has said it already, I apologize.

      The problem with a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens is this: do persons have less rights when they band together in groups than when when they are as individuals? Why can’t a group of persons get together and choose jointly to support a candidate or a cause? That’s all Citizens said. That a corporation or interest group can support a candidate or a cause, because the corp or group is just a bunch of persons.

      We have class action lawsuits, and we have the Constitutional right to assemble. That’s all just groups of people. We have laws that protect groups of people, like minorities or women or gays. Why shouldn’t a group be allowed to buy a TV ad? That’s all the Citizens ruling said. Should a group of persons have less right to political speech than a single person?

    11. filistro says:

      @allornothing… Should a group of persons have less right to political speech than a single person?

      There’s just so much wrong with that statement, I hardly know where to begin. I think I’ll leave it for others to address.

      Nevertheless, welcome to the site, aon. It’s always nice to see a new voice.

      (And after such a long, long, winter, it’s also kind of nice to see a green snowflake. :-))

    12. Mainer says:

      A or N on the surface sure why not. But then one gets into the weeds of the issue. If Citizens was structured around a majority of the stockholders voting to use their mutual corporate assets to advance their political position then what you say is plausable. But stockholders never get to make that decision. The decision is being made by a very few to support their political view and quite possibly not the actual owners of a given company. Even worse is the door it opened to the likes of the Kochs where you now have a privetly held company that can now use the enormous fortunes of two private individuals with out restriction.
      I find it very odd that those seemingly most in favor of Citizens united where in most cases stockholders (the actual owners) are ignored while millions of their money are dumped into political process are generally the first to denigrate and find fault with labor unions that are doing similar actions but that at lest tend to reflect the membership. Odd indeed.

      Another rant. On other boards there is much about looming teacher layoffs and how the tenure/senority system is going to mean that great young teachers are going to be let go over older more experienced teachers. Could this be from the same people that are also wanting teachers to have to teach into their mid late 60’s to gain retirement but that also want to dump older more experienced less expnsive teachers at the first opportunity? What is wrong with this picture?

    13. Max aka Birdpilot says:


      If I may:

      Do persons have less rights when they band together in groups than when when they are as individuals? It depends. at the same time, NONE of their INDIVIDUAL rights are curtailed.

      Why can’t a group of persons get together and choose jointly to support a candidate or a cause? They may. Certain groups are called ‘political parties”.

      Why shouldn’t a group be allowed to buy a TV ad? They Should be able to, but there are laws that limit what individuals may do, corporations should be limited as well.

      That’s all the Citizens ruling said. Should a group of persons have less right to political speech than a single person? Same answer as above.

      Let’s rephrase your question: Should a single person have less right to political speech than a group of people? No. Only if a person runs for office may they spend unlimited amounts of money. Since a legal entity cannot run for office (or do you think it should be able, under your view?) limits should be able to be placed on those entities.

      Should not, since created legal entities are formed by legislative action, not born, should not the same legislative action be able to form restrictions on those entities so created? Once artificial intelligence is a reality, do you think that the computer in which the AI resides should be given the status of a natural born person?

      At NO TIME are the individual rights as stated in the Constitution being taken from natural persons when such an amendment is proposed. The First Amendment, under the right to assemble and petition, does not guarantee the right of unlimited financial influence.

      Even the right to free speech has restrictions!

    14. allornothing says:

      Mainer and Max, thank you for your thoughts!

      Mainer, you said, “I find it very odd that those seemingly most in favor of Citizens united where in most cases stockholders (the actual owners) are ignored while millions of their money are dumped into political process …” and so on.

      If the stockholders don’t like what the officers of the corporation say in their name, they can fire the officers, or sell their shares. I’m afraid I don’t see the problem.

      Your comments about teachers deserve some thought, but I’m afraid it would be off-topic for my current comment 🙂

      Max, you said, “Even the right to free speech has restrictions!” Yes it does, in cases that cause immediate danger, the classic example being when you call “fire!” in a crowded building. But political speech is specifically protected, and does not fall into those restrictions.

      You talk about the speech of created entities, and I understand your objection. But I am saying that the Citizens decision dealt with the speech of a group of persons, and so is no different, really, from collective bargaining. If you are going to defend the latter, I cannot see how you can disapprove of the former.

      You are right that there are limits on the speech of individuals, beyond the “immediate danger” things. For instance, there are limits on how much money I am allowed to contribute to political campaigns. I object to those limits. I think there should be no such limit on free political speech. Therefore, the idea of people forming a group to pool their money for political purposes seems to me to be a good thing. I can’t understand how anyone who enjoys democracy can oppose that idea.

    15. allornothing says:

      Thank you for the welcome, Filistro! I would like to attempt some polite dissent from what seems to be the majority opinion here. I promise to attempt to be at least as polite as those who disagree with me!

      I think any blog will tend to have a slant. To the left or the right or maybe off-kilter 🙂 There’s nothing wrong with that. But I think we all can learn from varied viewpoints, and I think I would enjoy contributing some variation!

    16. drfunguy says:

      Nice of you to drop in.
      Personally I think that our political system is in bad shape.
      Mostly due to the unmitigated influence of money on political campaigns; secondarily due to the lack of participation by large numbers of citizens (partly because of the first issue).
      I don’t think it is healthy for a democracy to allow unlimited spending by foreign entities to influence its political processes. Or unlimited spending by anyone for campaigning or lobbying for that matter.
      When dollars influence the volume of your voice, one person can drown out the rest. Why should Rupert Murdoch or the Koch brothers or George Soros have a voice that trumps all other citizens? I don’t consider that democratic and to the best of my knowledge neither does any other western democracy outside of the US.

    17. drfunguy says:

      p.s. the ruling didn’t just say that a gruop could buy an ad, it said that (barring a constitutional amendment) we cannot restrict the number of ads that any group can buy. Big difference.

    18. allornothing says:

      drfunguy says: “we cannot restrict the number of ads that any group can buy”

      Well, sure! Why would we want to limit anyone’s free speach?

    19. Max aka Birdpilot says:


      Here, I think, is the fallacy in your reasonings:

      If the stockholders don’t like what the officers of the corporation say in their name, they can fire the officers, or sell their shares. I’m afraid I don’t see the problem.

      By that statement, it is the axis on which your argument turns. The problem is that, particularly commercial corporations, those entities are NOT presenting their shareholders with any options on political statements. Those decisions are made by either the CEO or less than a dozen Directors. Millions of shareholders, individuals all, because they may not have sufficient numbers of stock to overturn those decisions, are NOT HAVING THEIR VIEWS promulgated by the company. For the same reason, they may not be able to “fire” officers and Directors with whom they disagree politically. Besides, they did NOT buy stock for political purposes, but for commercial reasons.

      Just take a look at the serious issues concerning shareholder rights and corporate malfeasance and you will see the weakness of your argument there. Is millions of shareholders, many of whom own their shares only indirectly through mutual funds and retirement funds cannot do anything against people like Mozilla, etc. it is apparent that they have little power of political speech through the corporate voice.

      Apples and oranges.

      I am saying that the Citizens decision dealt with the speech of a group of persons, and so is no different, really, from collective bargaining. If you are going to defend the latter, I cannot see how you can disapprove of the former.

      I HAVE NOT defended the latter. You did not hear me say that. Respectfully, you made a false charge and a false linkage, by your quote above.

      There is NOTHING in my “Proposed Amendment” that protects unions from being held to the same legislative restrictions as corporations or any other created legal entity. For the record, I would recommend, whatever the restrictions, that ALL entities be treated the same by the legislatures.

      Welcome aboard. You make good points. I welcome the opportunity of challenging them and the challenge by you of mine.

    20. Max aka Birdpilot says:

      “are” millions, not “is”!!!

    21. drfugnuy says:

      “Why would we want to limit anyone’s free speach?”
      To prevent undo foreign influence on our elections.

    22. drfunguy says:

      “Why would we want to limit anyone’s free speach?”
      Conversely, why should we allow those with the most financial resources to drown out the voices of those with less? What is democratic about that?

    23. filistro says:

      @doc… Conversely, why should we allow those with the most financial resources to drown out the voices of those with less?

      This may be simplistic and naive of me… but isn’t it the same as allowing a group of people to form a corporation, endowing the corporation with “personhood” and then giving the corporation a vote, thus allowing each member to have more than a single vote?

    24. allornothing says:

      I get the issue people are raising about foreign influence in our elections. As I understand it, foreign companies may purchase advertising in American media. They may also hire lobbyists. They may also write opinion pieces for American magazines. Unless you are prepared to limit the speech of foreigners, I’m not sure what can be done about that. Should be we isolationists?

      As for not everyone in a corporation agreeing to the political ads a corporation buys. That may be so. But then not all members of a union agree with the contracts a union negotiates. In a nation run by majority rule rather than by consensus, these sorts of things are going to happen. Again, if a person does not approve of the actions which the officers of a corporation take, they may register their disapproval in a number of ways. They may complain. They may quit or withdraw their money. They are even free to take out competing ads.

      I fear we may be starting to just go ’round in circles 🙂 If I missed an important point to which you’d like me to respond, please repeat it, and I’ll try to offer an opinion. Thanks!

    25. drfunguy says:

      We did until recently limit the political speech of foreigner re. lobbying as they were expressly prohibited form lobbying congress.
      I think its ok to limit foreign influence on our elections. If you want to call that limiting ‘speech’ fine.
      You have yet to respond to the question of how it is democratic to allow those with more money to drown out the voices of those with less. What is wrong with limiting political advertising (and identifying who pays for it) in the interest of promoting discourse?

    26. shortchain says:


      Since a corporation is organized by the rule that “the person with the most money has the most say”, it is a little jarring to hear you then say that “In a nation run by majority rule rather than by consensus, these sorts of things are going to happen.”

      Corporations are not run by majority rule. They’re not even run by consensus. Thus, your comment makes no sense in this context.

      For me the primary reason why corporations should be barred from political speech is precisely because they operate by “money=speech”. Money is not speech, nor should it be, or we might as well change the name of our political system from “democracy” to plutocracy in recognition of the fact.

    27. allornothing says:

      I don’t think more voices “drown out” other voices. Sometimes a whisper is more effective than a shout.

      Yes, someone with more money can purchase more ads than someone with less money. Isn’t that how capitalism works? Isn’t our nation capitalist as well as being democratic?

      I understand the danger of monopolies. But isn’t this very blog proof positive that voices exist, and can speak, regardless of who buys what advertising?

      I can still speak, can’t I, even if you can speak more?

    28. shortchain says:


      Try your whisper the next time you go to a stadium, arena, or outdoor rally. Let us know how effective it is.

    29. allornothing says:

      shortchain, the Constitution guarantees the right to speak. It does not guarantee the ability to be persuasive. Nor does it insure or require that others will pay attention. It only assures us that we may always speak.

    30. Max aka Birdpilot says:


      Please tell us how limiting created legal entities through legislation negates an individual’s rights of expression in the political arena.

      So far, your argument of “all or nothing” (appropriate handle :-)) is no different than advocating the right to yell “fire” in a crowded room, or to expect to be able to negate cities requirement for parade permits. I believe it has been found that those permits are constitutional. Yet they are regulation of the very group activity you are saying should be unfettered.

      Could we hear your points on that matter?

    31. allornothing says:

      Max, I did choose my handle with care 🙂

      As to your first question about limiting the speech rights “created legal entities,” as I pointed out before, those “created legal entities” represent the persons who comprise them. To be a little more specific, they represent the persons who are empowered to make the decisions for those entities. (Rather like any representative body.) Since the “entities” are made of persons, if you limit the speech rights of the “entity,” you are limiting the rights of the persons to assemble and to speak. That is my understanding, anyway.

      The example about shouting “fire!” has to do with causing immediate danger. I think it is similar to incitements to riot and the like. If a group of persons does this, then yes, that should be legally limited. But supporting a cause or a candidate, no.

      Parade permits are issued because parades use the public commons and cost public money in the form of police, cleanup, etc. This differs from speech, particularly when the speaker is paying for the resources used.

      Did I address your questions?

    32. allornothing says:

      shortchain, you say “Money is not speech.” That is a reasonable argument. But SCOTUS has ruled that money actually IS speech. And unless we get a contrary ruling in the future, we must operate under the rules established by SCOTUS. We can debate whether it SHOULD be so. But for now, it IS so.

    33. TMS says:

      I doubt that voters will be supporting the unions outside of the midwest, where unions are still a way of life. Besides, government unions do far more harm than good.

    34. NotImpressed says:


      There are no unionized dockworkers or cab drivers on the East Coast? No actors unions in California? And no one outside of unions who has benefited from having workplace safety rules or paid vacations? Okay, if you say so.

      Oh, can you list what harm government unions have done? Perhaps they convinced G. W. Bush to invade Iraq? Or maybe they caused Katrina or the Gulf oil spill? Perhaps they overplayed the stack market and caused the collapse of the world economy in ’08?

    35. TMS says:

      Where did I say that there were NO unions outside of the midwest?

      The harm is done by holding taxpayers hostage. Unlike other industries, government has by definition a monopoly. This leaves taxpayers in the position of agreeing to the unions’ demands or doing without necessary services that cannot be replaced by someone else. That’s extortion, not negotiation.

      Compare this to private industry. In private industry, if the union squeezes too hard, the parent company is bankrupted, and some other company steps in to fill the void. With government, the union squeezes harder, and the taxpayers are left with a choice between more taxes for the same level of service, or less service for the same level of taxation. Neither of these helps the community.

    36. filistro says:

      Welcome, TMS, we’re glad to have you here. (It looks like all those links I’ve been scattering at right-wing sites lately are starting to pay off 😉

      I’m not entirely sure how I feel about unions… particularly in the public sector. When I was a young teacher I once crossed a picket line because I didn’t believe my colleagues should have the right to strike.

      Now that I’m older and have seen a bit of the world, my view is more… nuanced….

      But I have no doubt how I feel about the way state Republicans are handling this issue. The arrogance, high-handedness and blatant disregard of public opinion and the rule of law are simply breathtaking.

      It’s like… “Democracy? We don’t need no stinkin’ democracy. We’re in charge here!”

    37. drfunguy says:

      “Yes, someone with more money can purchase more ads than someone with less money. Isn’t that how capitalism works? Isn’t our nation capitalist as well as being democratic?”
      That we are capitalistic doesn’t require us to sell our political offices.
      You seem to advocate plutocracy.

    38. allornothing says:

      Plutocracy? Not at all. The ability to speak is not the same as being in charge. Anyone with kids will tell you that. You can yell at them all you want, but do they do what you tell them? 🙂

      Just because someone buys a lot of ads, that doesn’t mean that person is ruling the country. Otherwise the guy on TV with the vegetable chopper would be king!

    39. Max aka Birdpilot says:


      So, the obvious, immediate danger of a panic in the case of “fire” being shouted, and fiscal, and other, costs of police and cleanup in the case of parades (and other similar gatherings so regulated) is OK for regulation by you under your concepts in re: Citizens. These are, in fact, discrete and present dangers to society as a whole and as such, SHOULD, and by right, ought to be regulated.

      For those of us who disagree, we see the discrete, present AND future damage to the institution of our democratic republican society, in allowing the concentration of the power to influence in the hands of essentially oligarchs, as a danger as well. As the Constitution concedes to:
      We the People . . .”
      “by the People of the several States . . .”
      “whole Number of free Persons . . .”
      “A Person charged in any State . . .”
      All persons born or naturalized . . . are citizens . . .”
      and the 15th Amendment – The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” as inherent and enumerates other freedoms, ALL these speak to natural persons without mention of corporate entities.

      Corporate entities, are STATE, NOT FEDERAL, creations, organized and chartered by legislation.

      The bulk of the argument being made by Gov. Walker of Wisconsin and many in the GOP, concerning the role of public service unions go against the concept you hold, that individuals have every right to speak as a “group”, and thus, they say, may be regulated.

      Further, in cases argued and decided under the 1st Amendment, “free speech zones” that regulate individual political speech ARE allowed.

      Again, I, and most others agreeing with my view, is NOT the banishment of political speech for legal entities, but the rightful regulation thereof, with the above examples as the groundwork. That an individual may not be “counted twice”, once as an individual and again as a corporate entity.

    40. Mr. Universe says:


      California and Nevada are big Union players; Particularly Vegas.

    41. shortchain says:


      You may say “not at all” about plutocracy, but when you advocate no limits on speech, you are, in effect and to all practical purposes, proposing exactly plutocracy. It isn’t wise to confuse our financial methodology, which is regulated capitalism, with our political methodology, which is, supposedly, one man, one vote democracy.

      You seem unclear on the difference. Observe, please, that, even with a fair amount of regulation, our financial system undergoes periodic, dramatic “corrections”, which end up leaving our economy floundering, occasionally for years. I don’t think we really want to mimic that in our politics. Rather we want our political system to ameliorate some of the problems created by our capitalistic financial system.

    42. allornothing says:

      Max and shortchain, I think you are confusing government with speech. Or perhaps confusing voting with speech. No matter how many ads I buy, I still only vote once. I am not advocating that we allow people to vote more times based on the amount of speech they engage in.

      Voting is regulated. One person, one vote. Speech should not be regulated. The First Amendment says we shouldn’t.

      Max I understand you see a danger in unregulated speech. I see a danger in restricting speech. As I read the First Amendment, the Founders agreed with me.

    43. shortchain says:


      So, since government and speech are totally unrelated, that means the millions upon millions of dollars invested by the corporate and wealthy interests in 2010 were completely wasted.

      I’m not advocating any restrictions on speech — I’m just suggesting that people don’t get to use their money for a megaphone to drown out the opposition. This isn’t hard to understand: if your signal-to-noise ratio is too small, you won’t be able to understand the signal. The wealthy and the corporations understand this. They already drown out your voice when it comes to sitting legislators. By giving a lot of money to those legislators, they get access and the ability to talk to them personally. You don’t. Ever tried to call and actually talk to your congressman?

      Now, with CU, they can drown out your voice when it comes to talking to everybody else. There isn’t an unlimited amount of spectrum, nor an unlimited amount of attention by the electorate. That means some voices will not be heard. Signal to noise.

    44. Max aka Birdpilot says:

      Actually, aon, they did not.

      Free speech has always been considered to have restrictions. We already covered the “fire” case.

      Free speech is not an absolute. It is, as always, the duty and obligation of a free society to put the fewest limits on the expression of ideas while still protecting the public at large from those who abuse the right to freedom of speech.

      That is the current dilemma which we are trying to resolve: Some regulation is necessary. What and to what extent is the real debate.

    45. Max aka Birdpilot says:

      BTW, aon, if you can produce ANY quotes from a consensus of the Founding Fathers that fully support unrestricted free speech, I’ll be glad to admit defeat.

    46. Max,
      It’s clear from reading the historical documents that they wanted speech, especially political speech, to be as unrestricted as possible, while protecting the general populace from harm to life or limb.

    47. Max aka Birdpilot says:


      As usual, you are correct.

      The keywords are “unrestricted as possible“. It was never “unrestricted” or “unlimited”.

    48. allornothing says:

      You needn’t “admit defeat” Max. It’s enough to have exchanged thoughts and understandings.

      The best quote I can think of that seems to express their consensus of opinion is, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

      The Constitutional prohibition that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech … or the right of the people peaceably to assemble” would seem to be pretty clear and straightforward. I don’t see much in the way of wiggle room there, and the intent also doesn’t seem hard to discern.

    49. TMS says:

      Yes, there are plenty of union workers in California, but they hardly make up a majority of the people. And the rest aren’t very happy with government union workers. Even San Francisco, bleeding heart of the west, voted heavily against the bus union there last year. The same people who overwhelmingly reelected Pelosi.

      It looks to me like the government union members who run this site don’t understand what’s happening outside that insulated world.

    50. aon,
      The key is the definition of “freedom of speech”. Look at English common law to understand that it has inherent limitations.

    51. Max aka Birdpilot says:


      “I don’t see much in the way of wiggle room there, and the intent also doesn’t seem hard to discern.”

      But you admit to restrictions for “fire”. They exist. They exist for a reason. The freedom therefore is NOT “unrestricted”.

      Wiggle room.

    52. allornothing says:

      Michael Weiss, that sounds interesting. What are the restrictions on freedom of speech in English common law? And how do you feel they relate to the American Constitution? That sounds like an interesting historical subject.

      Max, as I’ve pointed out, the “Fire!” restrictions have to do with immediate danger. This does not apply to political speech. And I think the “Fire!”-type restrictions came later, not from the drafters of the Constitution. You requested a quote from the Founders depicting their opinions on free speech, and I provided one. (You’re welcome :)) Have you got a quote from the Founders depicting a consensus in favor of putting restrictions on political speech?

    53. allornothing,
      Here is a decent place to start.

    54. drfunguy says:

      “This does not apply to political speech.”
      I don’t agree.
      Advocating the overthrow of the government by violence is not an immediate threat, yet is forbidden.

    55. allornothing says:

      Thank you Michael. Looks like interesting reading!

    56. Max aka Birdpilot says:


      Unless you can come up with definitive evidence wherein the Founding Fathers intended that the citizenship rights under the Constitution, whether inherent or enumerated, belonged to any but natural persons, we are going to have to “agree to disagree”.

      I would, as a last point, demonstrate that the FF did NOT even include all natural persons as holding the rights of citizens. ( and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.”) And further, only without doing so in a decision, in the Railroad cases, the SCOTUS has then repeatedly been the ONLY branch to argue that full citizenship rights extend to legal entities.

      A good argument, which shall continue until my proposed Amendment. or it’s close parallel, is ratified!

    57. allornothing says:

      Max, yes it was a good discussion. I’ll just end my part by reiterating that the Citzens ruling ultimately defended the rights of “natural persons” who create political speech, even if they pool their resources to do so. I do not believe they should have their rights be restricted merely because they freely assembled. That’s the way I understand the ruling.

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