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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Massive crowds of Wisconsin union protesters. Collective bargaining rights being challenged by right-to-work laws. Union picketing of private homes. Paint bombs. Bullying. Alinskyite tactics. All of this and more is documented in a blog post about the situation in Wisconsin regarding the gubernatorial election and controversial union demands.

Except there’s one very peculiar twist: The blog post is dated April 17, 1956.

Or at least it would have been a blog post, except that back in the ’50s there were no blogs, no Internet. If you wanted to disseminate coverage of unreported political outrages, you had to publish a printed pamphlet and distribute it by hand. Which is is exactly what Herbert Kohler, President of Kohler Co., did in 1956 after he personally witnessed the violent bullying tactics of Wisconsin unions.

I recently discovered this now ultra-rare pamphlet for 25¢ in the “ephemera” section of a local white elephant sale in Oakland. But its contents were so modern-seeming and so relevant to the recall election of Scott Walker happening right now in Wisconsin that it seemed as if it was a blog post written yesterday. The issues, tactics and warring sides are almost exactly the same today as they were 56 years ago. I was so amazed by what I read that I decided to take this April 17, 1956 blog post and finally put it on the Internet.

Why? Because the voters of Wisconsin need to know that this drive by Wisconsin unions to control the employment market and the levers of political power has been going on for an extremely long time; the upheaval that has wracked Wisconsin since Scott Walker first won the nomination to run for governor in 2010 is just the latest battle in a decades-long war.

At the conclusion of this post you will find high-resolution scans of each page from the short pamphlet entitled In Freedom’s Cause: The Menace of UAW-CIO Coercion, by Herbert Kohler. But first, a short explanatory introduction.

In Freedom’s Cause: The Menace of UAW-CIO Coercion

From the 1930s through the late ’60s, Herbert Kohler was the president of Kohler Co., a major plumbing and household supplies manufacturer headquartered in Wisconsin and founded in the 19th century by his immigrant father, John Michael Kohler. In 1954, the UAW tried to unionize all the employees at the Kohler factory, despite the fact that they were already among the best-compensated manual laborers in the state. The UAW played hardball in contract negotiations with Kohler management, and at first won some wage-hikes. But when Kohler resisted additional demands, the UAW ordered a massive strike against Kohler, and things started to get ugly.

The 1954 UAW action is now known as “The Kohler Strike” and is considered one of the most contentious and violent in American history:

Six years of sporadic violence ensued between strikers and strike breakers. In time, the company would charge opponents with more than a thousand acts of vandalism. At one point, more than 300 people were arrested. Calls for a national boycott of Kohler products were vociferous and sometimes effective. Strikers were able to continue their often violent activities because of some $12 million provided by the UAW.

The strike lasted for six years, until 1960, and was not fully resolved until 1965, with a partial victory for the UAW, after the National Labor Relations Board mostly sided with the union (as it almost always does). But Kohler Co. successfuly resisted efforts by the union to take over the corporation, and survived the boycotts, and to this day remains privately owned and very profitable.

In the middle of all this, Herbert Kohler went on a speaking tour around the country trying to warn people about the hyper-aggressive Wisconsin union political tactics and what it meant for American freedom overall. His stump speech was then typed up and supplemented with photographs documenting some of the union behavior, and it was turned into a smal pamphlet entitled In Freedom’s Cause: The Menace of UAW-CIO Coercion, which you can read in its entirety below.

Interestingly, many of the union tactics descibed and documented by Kohler are what would now be called “Alinskyite” tactics. But this is no accident: Saul Alinsky himself said that he learned the ins-and-outs of in-your-face “community organizing” by working with brutal CIO union enforcers in Chicago early in his career.

When reading the 1956 pamphlet, keep in mind its relevance to the 2012 gubernatorial recall election, coming up on June 5. The exact same issues which drove the union-initiated recall and underlie the left’s hatred of governor Scott Walker — collective bargaining, right-to-work laws, union pensions, and so forth — were what spurred the Kohler Strike in the 1950s.

Your vote and your sympathy, now as then, hinge on one question: How much power do you want to grant the unions? And will they bankrupt the state, as they tried to bankrupt Kohler, given a chance?

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The Lovitz Curve

May 11th, 2012 - 5:39 am

Remember the Laffer Curve?

First popularized in the ’70s and ’80s, the Laffer Curve was a brilliantly simple economic graph which demonstrated that government revenue grows as taxes are increased only up to a certain point, after which revenues begin to decline as tax rates approach 100%. (See idealized Laffer Curve on the right; click to enlarge.) The high point on the curve shows the optimal tax rate for bringing in the most revenue.

The reasoning behind this is self-evident. Obviously if tax rates are 0%, then the government will collect no tax revenue; but if tax rates are 100%, then the government will almost certainly also collect no tax revenue, because there would be no motivation for anyone to work, earn or invest, since all their income would go directly to the government. A tax rate of 100% may sound tempting at first, but since it would precipitate an economic collapse, the end result would be no economic activity to tax, and thus no revenue. Therefore, the most effective tax rate is somewhere in the middle; the trick is determining exactly where.

Keep the Laffer Curve in mind as we turn our attention to the astounding recent political transformation of comedian Jon Lovitz. On April 23, a recording of a Lovitz comedy routine savagely criticizing Obama’s “bullsh*t” class warfare rhetoric went viral on the Internet, and before long Lovitz was cropping up everywhere, in great demand as the spokesman for everyone disgusted by Obama’s claims that high earners “don’t pay their fair share” in taxes. And this is coming from a self-described Democrat who voted for Obama.

Most significantly, Lovitz claims that many of his fellow Hollywood liberals agree with him but are too afraid too say it publicly.

And then it struck me. Wealthy Hollywood liberals just love to skewer evil corporate fat cats and country-club Republicans, and up until now no one had encountered a limit to their enthusiasm for leftist class warfare rhetoric. And then…Obama went too far, and suddenly it got personal.

I realized that the principles behind the Laffer Curve also apply to the economic and political relationship between Democratic politicians and the Hollywood elite. Wealthy West Coast liberals will cheer on and swoon over any politician who engages in overheated class warfare rhetoric — up until a certain point, when it suddenly dawns on them that the rhetoric is aimed directly at themselves. Then very quickly their donations, fundraisers and helpful propagandizing start to dry up as the radical rhetoric begins to threaten them personally.

Just as in a Laffer Curve, Revenue and Support from Hollywood (RASH) is at a minimum for any politician who (like President Reagan, for example) doesn’t engage in talk of class warfare and refuses to demonize the rich; but it would also be at a minimum for any politician who’s so extreme (like Lenin, for example) that he’s likely to forcibly confiscate all the money and mansions of the wealthy Hollywood hypocrites. Somewhere in the middle, there is a perfect “sweet spot” for class warfare rhetoric that ensures maximum RASH –  strong enough rhetoric to demonstrate your liberalism, but not so strong as to go “the full Vladimir.”

All this can be explained more clearly in a new graph. And so I hereby present: The Lovitz Curve:

Just as in the Laffer Curve illustration above, this is an idealized, symmetrical version of what the Lovitz Curve would look like. Yet progressive critics of the Laffer Curve claim that the point of optimal revenue is likely not at the exact middle (e.g. a 50% tax rate in that case), but most probably further off to the right of the graph, somewhere around the 70% mark. (On the right you can see what critics say a more accurate Laffer Curve would look like — click to enlarge.)

The same principle holds true for the Lovitz Curve. Hollywood liberals are much more enthused by and generous to politicians closer to the Lenin end of the scale than to anyone near the Reagan end of the scale. It’s not like they’re most enthused by perfectly centrist populists; instead, they tend to give RASH to fairly high levels of class warfare, just so long as it doesn’t get so high that it starts to become scary.

Thus, a more accurate Lovitz Curve would likely look something like this:

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March of the Idiots at OccupyLA May Day

May 8th, 2012 - 6:43 pm

I don’t employ the term “idiot” lightly; but really, there’s no more accurate term to characterize the sheer nitwittedness on display at last week’s May Day march spearheaded by OccupyLA.

As documented by indefatigable photojournalist Ringo in his “Occupy May Day / General Strike – Los Angeles” report, the idiocy manifested in at least four distinct ways:

• Thought disorders
• General ignorance or stupidity
• Foolishness, or the absence of wisdom and insight
• Narcissism

Let’s look at each type of idiocy separately, in the following brief selection of images from Ringo’s massive photo essay. (Ringo posted hundreds of pictures so that, as he puts it, he “can’t be accused of ‘cherry picking’ the worst images.” What you see in this PJM excerpt is just a small appetizer from OccupyLA’s overwhelming all-you-can-stomach idiocy buffet; click the link above to see the rest. All images here were taken by Ringo.)

Thought Disorders

It’s one thing to squat in your darkened basement scribbling word salad messages to the demons in your head. It’s quite another to carefully craft an oversized protest sign intended for public display at the next Occupy protest. But many of the Occupiers could not seem to keep the two behaviors distinct, and the result can only be seen as evidence for major thought disorders among some of the protesters. Occupy Wall Street: serious protest movement, or manifestation of brain malfunction?


Just as in Oakland, the latest fad among teenage anarchists is to fashion riot shields out of plastic garbage cans.

But unlike in Oakland, where they figured out that it’s best to hold the shield upside-down, some of the LA Occupiers held what looked like full-size garbage cans right side up, so that they appeared to the casual observer to be Vaudeville slapstick comedians standing in trash cans for the audience’s amusement. Or, more succinctly: FAIL.

One thing about those nasty olicarks: They know how to spell.

Because everyone admires the environmental records of Soviet Russia and Communist China, protectors of the Earth!


This category is reserved for Occupiers who, through foolishness or “absence of wisdom and insight,” ascribe to political ideologies which have already been thoroughly discredited or debunked. Chief among these is…

…Communism, which seemed to predominate at L.A.’s May Day rally, with communist and socialist groups turning out en masse for the march. My only question at this point is: Where do these people come from?

Second-most popular foolish ideology of the day: Anarchism. Which in many ways is the polar opposite of communism, and equally unfeasible as an actual organizing principle for society — but none of that seemed to matter to the swarms of ignorant youths burning off their hormones by running up and down the street trying to look like rebels. Sad, really.

And then there are those, such as this young lass, whose foolishness has no label, other than perhaps “shameless avarice.” How did we reach a point in history when people could proudly hold up signs saying, essentially, “Give Me Your Money”? The other side of her sign reveals all:

So I guess capitalism is, according to her, a system in which people get to keep their own assets, something which in her foolish universe is entirely unacceptable. Noted.

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Decolonize Oakland May Day Occupy Rally

May 4th, 2012 - 2:02 pm

After spending the first part of May Day in downtown Oakland, which I documented in my Occupy Oakland May Day General Strike report, I next moved down to Fruitvale BART at 3pm, where the day’s second big event was scheduled: the Decolonize Oakland rally, also known as the “March for Dignity and Resistance.”

While downtown’s “general strike” was mostly a playdate for the white Occupiers, the “Decolonize Oakland” rally was designed to attract the city’s Hispanic population. The rally was held at Fruitvale because it’s the heart of the city’s Hispanic neighborhood.

As always at such things, the rally started with some Aztec dancers. The Aztecs have come to symbolize the essence of pre-colonial North America, and since the rally was to “decolonize” Oakland, what better way to kick off the festivities?

In case you may be wondering how exactly they plan to “decolonize” (i.e. kick out all those of European descent) a major American city, the answer can be found at the rally’s astonishing decolonization manifesto page, which should be required reading for anyone who thinks that the left wing is the mellow side of the political spectrum. Titled “For People Who Have Considered Occupation But Found It Is Not Enuf,” the manifesto goes on to explain that “decolonization” is not simply a physical process, but rather is a philosophy, a frame of mind, in which the social structure, attitudes and creations of white people need to be discarded entirely. Furthermore, the decolonization folks see the white-led Occupy movement itself as part of the problem:

Some of us participated in the formation of Occupy People of Color and Queer People of Color groups in order to hold space, or find refuge when encountered with incidents of racism, sexism, or homophobia. The simple fact that our groups served this purpose shows that OWS spaces prioritized the wants, needs, values, and culture of heterosexual white men first. Frankly, many of us have encountered this straight-white-man approach to movement-building too many times to count. In fact, many of the same characters that have attempted to dominate movements in our communities in the past are the same people who lead OWS from the light and shadows.

The physical presence of multitudes of white Occupiers on Wall Street, which was once the site of Native genocide and African chattel slavery, is troubling. Though Occupy activists now widely share the history of Wall Street to show that its foundations are corrupt, they use this truth to justify a new occupation that is 80% white and 68% male.

…This occupation of public space upholds white supremacy….

We demand that our white allies speak with their comrades about the racial privilege that enables their actions…

We demand that Occupy activists cease using their experiences of police repression and brutality to erase the historical and current practices of genocidal violence against our peoples. What does it mean to suggest that people being pepper sprayed or badly injured by a gas canister is somehow on par with the generational traumas and current realities that Native communities, for example, experience?…

We demand that future encampments be organized and led by those who most need them.

Clear enough? They don’t want to take over Oakland; they want to take over the racist Occupy movement. An internal coup is necessary before the final revolution, because even if Occupy succeeds in overthrowing society, it would still be just a bunch of pasty-ass white guys controlling everything, and nothing will have changed.

This is the logical endpoint of modern leftist ideology, with affirmative action and “progressive stacking” and reparations taken to their ultimate conclusion. The Decolonize Oakland group sees the whole world as a gargantuan Apartheid regime, and they are seeking a globalized version of the day that the white South African government voluntarily stepped down and handed power to the oppressed people. Or, to put it more succinctly: Step aside, whitey: It’s our turn!

Despite all that, a surprisingly large number of naive white Occupiers showed up, perhaps unaware of just how unwelcome they were, and just how insufficient their radicalism is.

While the downtown Occupy event was mostly an anarchist affair, down here in Fruitvale it was much more overtly communist. This couple left me wondering: Does the sign on the left advocate the kind of gun-wielding power of their hero Che; or is it a complaint that the white police have unfair advantage; or what? Troubling. And amusing. Depending on how seriously you take it.

The Hispanics were communists…

The white people were communists… (Dude — seriously? Lenin?)…

The Black people were communists…

The Asians were communists…

Heck, it’s a Communist Party!

So many communists, one needs road signs to keep from getting lost in the maze of ideologies. Where can I find such signs…?

Ah, here we go.

The radical anti-capitalism spanned the generations. We had…





…young adults…


…and seniors, all hating racist capitalist America equally! Such a scene of cross-generation harmony brought a tear to my eye.

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Occupy Oakland May Day General Strike

May 4th, 2012 - 11:07 am

On Tuesday, May 1, Occupy Oakland organized a series of events around the city, all as part of what they deemed a “General Strike” in commemoration of May Day, International Workers’ Day.

Ooooh, looks very exciting, doesn’t it?

Well, actually, no. Despite Occupy Oakland’s earnest attempts to stir things up and to attract attention, or at least pose (as in the picture above) for the cameras in such a way that it looks like their protest is newsworthy, in the end very little happened, by Oakland standards at least. Some windows were smashed, some businesses vandalized, a few people were arrested, but that was it — your typical Oakland protest, in other words.

But was there indeed a “general strike”? Did business as usual shut down? Nope. Not even close.

The central rendezvous point for the day’s “General Strike” events was Frank Ogawa Plaza in front of City Hall, which the Occupiers have renamed “Oscar Grant Plaza.” In the morning, there were several “decentralized srike actions” around the city, in which the various Occupy committees would act on specific ideological agendas. For example, the “anti-capitalist” group vandalized banks, the Chamber of Commerce, and other symbols of capitalism; the “anti-gentrification” group tried to force local businesses to obey Occupy’s demand that they shut down for the day’s “General Strike”; and so forth.

After convening at the plaza for a noontime break to rally the troops, in the afternoon everyone would then once again scatter throughout the city wreaking havoc, before meeting up at Fruitvale BART for a mid-afternoon “Decolonization March” back to the plaza, where everyone would rest up for the night’s vandalism.

It was all very confusing and scatterbrained, and there was simply no way one person could keep on top of it all. So (like most of the protesters) I made Oscar Grant Plaza my home base, and monitored the comings and goings from there.

Just as I had assumed, there were several minor street battles on Broadway near the plaza throughout the day. There was no purpose or goal to any of these confrontations; in fact, the act of confrontation was the goal. Everyone would mill around waiting for something to happen, and then some cops would show up, and the crowd would go into a frenzy, for no apparent reason. The mere presence of a policeman is all that it takes to send an Oakland Occupier into either blind rage or a life-affirming adrenaline rush.

This brief video of two random street confrontations (shot by a contributor who wishes to remain anonymous) illustrate the kind of flare-ups that went on all day around downtown Oakland:

In the first half of the video, a small group of police showed up, causing the crowd of Occupiers to swarm like a disturbed hornet’s nest; in the second half, everyone scatters after some anarchist set off a small incendiary device in the crowd.

Neither of these two specific incidents were significant in and of themselves; rather, the video is just illustrative of innumerable similar scenes that played out all day and all night across Oakland.

The Occupiers were all hoping that one of these flare-ups would escalate into a full-fledged riot, but (as far as I could tell at least) that never happened.

The whole day had a very Rashomon-quality to it; each person, depending on where he or she was standing, might have a completely different impression of what happened. For example: After hearing what sounded like a brewing fracas nearby, I rushed past this (then intact) news van to see the action; but the fracas quickly fizzled, and I heard a crunching sound behind me. Thirty seconds later, I returned and took this picture of the van’s smashed windshield, having missed the moment of destruction by just a few yards and a few seconds. The perpetrator was long gone (or perhaps was standing right next to me — who knew?). Yet someone else could very well have been randomly at “the right place at the right time” and witnessed the whole thing.

Similarly, several times throughout the day I was caught up in the middle of various meaningless crowd-swarms in which people would rush at the police, and then retreat, and swirl around and rush again; projectiles would fly overhead; explosions would go off nearby; people would scream and cry and call out for medics; and yet even though I was in the middle of it all, I couldn’t really tell what was happening. It was sheer chaos. Later I would see news videos of police getting hit by paint-bombs, or Occupiers getting arrested, and realize I had been just steps away from the focal point of the action, and yet had not been able to see through the morass of people to the white-hot center of confrontation.

Here, for example, an Occupier threw some kind of smoke bomb over my head, and it landed nearby and exploded. It happened so suddenly that I didn’t see who threw it, nor could I see exactly where it landed, nor at whom it was aimed. Perhaps if the bomb had landed next to me, this would have seemed like a significant incident; but since it landed 40 feet away, it felt like just another trivial and purposeless act of social vandalism barely meriting a mention.

Like I said: Rashomon.

Here’s generally how the day’s ebb and flow played out:

First, a squad of cops would line up on the street.

Next, a line of ludicrous poseur anarchists would face off against them, mainly for the purpose of trying to look cool for the cameras.

Then the cops would start to move forward, and everyone would scatter and scream in outrage.

Then some knucklehead would throw a smoke bomb or a paint bomb or a bottle or some kind of incendiary device at the cops, and everyone would rush around taking photos and screaming “Medic!” because someone got hit by friendly fire or got trampled by the crowd.

Then the cops would arrest someone and retreat, and everyone would wander away, leaving the street deserted just moments after it had been the scene of what felt like a brewing major battle.

This exact same series of steps happened over and over and over throughout the day, to the point where it felt repetitive.

So, what was the purpose of all of this? Nothing. Excitement for the teenage rioters. Moral outrage for the Occupy organizers. Overtime for the cops. Boarded-up windows for the businesses. And higher bills for the taxpayers.

After one of the meaningless battles, I took some photos of the impact points where the Occupiers’ homemade explosives landed.

This one hit a garbage can.

A paint-bomb that missed its mark, though you can see the “splatter shadow” of someone’s foot at the upper right.

There was perhaps less violence this time around because the Oakland police employed a new strategy today; instead of trying to control the whole crowd, they’d just zip in and quickly arrest individual malefactors, and then retreat. The Occupiers tried to stop the arrests, which they dubbed “snatches,” to little avail.

SFGate captured photos of a few arrests, as part of their summary of the day’s events, which they characterized as “a kaleidoscopic variety of protests ranging from skirmishes with police to dancing, chanting throngs of demonstrators peacefully waving signs.”

The “Bay Area Strike” twitter feed archive is a essentially a list of each individual clash, recorded in real-time.

But enough of these pointless skirmishes! Let’s retire back to Oscar Grant Plaza where a colorful parade of eccentric characters and eccentric messages provided entertainment for the whole family.

Some douchebag carried a homemade banner with Obama’s new campaign sloganForward,” while in the background a different douchebag waved an upside-down American flag. Nice juxtaposition!

One of the Occupy security team members behind the main stage wore a shirt that said “Defend Oakland” and pictured an AK-47.

He showed off a rather sharp-looking flip-knife which he carried around — just in case.

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