WORTH REPEATING: Shock Doctrine In The USA


NEW YORK TIMES: Here’s a thought: maybe Madison, Wis., isn’t Cairo after all. Maybe it’s Baghdad — specifically, Baghdad in 2003, when the Bush administration put Iraq under the rule of officials chosen for loyalty and political reliability rather than experience and competence. As many readers may recall, the results were spectacular — in a bad way. Instead of focusing on the urgent problems of a shattered economy and society, which would soon descend into a murderous civil war, those Bush appointees were obsessed with imposing a conservative ideological vision. Indeed, with looters still prowling the streets of Baghdad, L. Paul Bremer, the American viceroy, told a Washington Post reporter that one of his top priorities was to “corporatize and privatize state-owned enterprises” — Mr. Bremer’s words, not the reporter’s — and to “wean people from the idea the state supports everything.” The story of the privatization-obsessed Coalition Provisional Authority was the centerpiece of Naomi Klein’s best-selling book “The Shock Doctrine,” which argued that it was part of a broader pattern. From Chile in the 1970s onward, she suggested, right-wing ideologues have exploited crises to push through an agenda that has nothing to do with resolving those crises, and everything to do with imposing their vision of a harsher, more unequal, less democratic society. Which brings us to Wisconsin 2011, where the shock doctrine is on full display. MORE

RELATED: Walker has warned of waves of public-sector layoffs beginning Friday if the budget bill isn’t passed soon, and at least one major state employer – the schools – has already begun sending out preliminary layoff notices. The Hustisford school district, for instance, sent layoff slips to all 34 members of its teaching staff, including librarians and counselors. Among those receiving notices was Lisa Fitzgerald, a counselor who is married to the Senate majority leader. MORE

RELATED: As is being widely reported Friday morning, the body’s Republican leaders used a parliamentary maneuver to end days of a marathon debate over a budget-related bill that would greatly limit the power of the unions. State Assembly Democrats, the political minority, had extended the debate over several days by offering scores of amendments. (Democrats on the Senate side have famously left the state to avoid action in that body since Republicans are one vote shy of what’s needed to advance legislation.)But Republicans came up with a tactic that stunned Democrats. In Friday’s wee hours, they called a lightning vote, opening and closing it within seconds, giving Republicans who had been in the huddle enough time to vote but catching Democrats flat-footed. The contest now moves to the state’s Senate. MORE

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