A long time ago in America a relatively small group of obscenely rich aristocrats, who had made most of their vast fortunes off the backs of slaves, actually managed to convince thousands of poor southern dirt farmers to fight to preserve their wealth and way of life.

Of course those aristocrats had no intention of improving the lives of the poor men who fought for them, but still they somehow they managed to inspire them to pick up guns.

Over 258, 000 Confederate men died in battle.

In recent times we've seen another small group of obscenely rich aristocrats convince America's nonunion workers that their real enemy is the union workers who enjoy just a little more economic security than they do. (Not much more, mind, but enough to stimulate class envy).

It's a shell game to divide and conquer. It is a decades long war to devastate the middle class and turn the American worker into the American servant.

In 2008 the Koch brothers, the obscenely rich men who created and funded the Tea Party, and inspired millions of hard working Americans to campaign against their own best interests, were listed by Forbes magazine as owners of the second largest privately held company in the United States, with an annual income of $98 billion. Their vast financial empire was built on oil and gas futures by their father, Fred G. Koch.

Fred G. Koch was a founding member of the John Birch Society, the ultra-right wing organization which opposes every piece of legislation that protects workers from the whims of plutocrats. The John Birch Society headquarters is located in Wisconsin and the Koch brothers have just opened a lobby office across the street from Governor Scott Walker's office. If you think it's just a coincidence you haven't been paying attention.

What's happening in Wisconsin is the most significant labor battle in over half a century, in other words. As it goes, so does the nation.

There's more than a hint of the 1930's in Governor Walker's move to all but eliminate the bargaining rights of state employees. He's even asked the National Guard to be armed and ready should Wisconsin workers be so bold as to strike, protest or otherwise disrupt services. (The last time the Guard was called out during a major labor dispute in Wisconsin was in 1934).

President Obama is quite correct. This is a nationwide "assault on unions." It's also an attempt to strip the American middle class worker of every job protection they've ever won.

After all it wasn't union negotiated wages or retirement packages for middle class workers that nearly bankrupted America, it was a cabal of rich criminals on Wall Street and the banking and bonds industry. Not one of them has ever been charged.

Wisconsin is another shell game - one of many - to distract you whilst your pocket is being picked.