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Posted at 2:04 PM ET, 12/10/2010

It's war! AFSCME targets Glenn Beck

By Greg Sargent

The campaign by some Republican politicians and right wing media figures against public service workers shows no signs of abating, and is likely to get more intense when the GOP takes over the House next year.

One leading group on the left pushing back on this assault is the labor powerhouse AFSCME, which has launched a campaign to defend public workers from the steady stream of falsehoods about them coming from the right.

Now AFSCME is about to take this campaign to a new level, directly engaging Glenn Beck in a way that is likely to turn up the temperature of this ongoing confrontation.

Yesterday Beck accused AFSCME of launching a "boycott" against right wing media figures over their attacks on public workers. Adding insult to injury, Beck described AFSCME as a "government union."

AFSCME sends over a statement hitting back and demanding that he stop lying about public service workers:

Yesterday, FOX news personality Glenn Beck lied about AFSCME when he told his national audience that "the government union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFSCME, has decided to boycott, coincidentally, me, Rush and John Stossel."

First of all, AFSCME is not a "government union." We are an independent, democratic union representing 1.6 million nurses, corrections officers, child care providers, EMTs, sanitation workers and others who work in public services.

More importantly, our Stop the Lies campaign is not a boycott. It is a multi-media, grassroots effort to respond to right-wing lies. Glenn Beck needs to stop his lies about AFSCME and the vital public services that AFSCME members provide in communities across the country.

One imagines that Beck will relish this confrontation and is unlikely to issue a correction anytime soon.

More broadly, the problem for public workers is that even some Democratic politicians have stopped seeing them as a protected class and seem willing to target them -- albeit far less stridently than the right -- amid public anger about the economy. Obama's pay freeze for federal workers didn't help matters, and the ferocity of AFSCME's response suggests that people speaking on behalf of public workers know the political climate is going to get far worse for them before it gets any better.

UPDATE, 2:22 p.m.: Beck's ongoing chalkboard argument has been that "the unions are in bed with Washington and special interests," and now he's claiming AFSCME is part of a conspiracy to silence right-wing media.

By Greg Sargent  | December 10, 2010; 2:04 PM ET
Categories:  Labor, Political media, economy  
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Comments

AFSCME is a government union. They better make a virtue of that or they have already lost this PR battle.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 10, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse


54465446

I think the word out there is that Obama people have said that they want this tax bill to be a stimulus - to try to help Obama's re-election


We realize you are trying to manage expectations here.

Extending unemployment benefits has a stimulus effect - as does the SS tax holiday.


________________


However, clearly the "stimulus" from those two items is limited - and a case can be made that those help China more than the US economy.


The US has to borrow to put this money out there, then borrow again to finance the trade deficit and then borrow a third time to finance the interest payments.


What are we thinking ?


Obama has put the nation in an OBAMA DEBT SPIRAL that we have to get out of somehow.


Bernie Sanders - I love that guy

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 10, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

"...the problem for public workers is that even some Democratic politicians have stopped seeing them as a protected class..."

But their contracts establish them as a protected class, that is the whole point of having a government union. When John Kitzhaber ran for Oregon Governor again this year, he put AFSCME's chief on his campaign staff. Brilliant. The loser, Chris Dudley only had people like pesticide industry lobbyists on his.

You pay you play, that is what the free enterprise system is all about. Why should public employees be in on the spoils system? What are they 2nd class citizens?

Posted by: shrink2 | December 10, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

By all means, government labor union, wage war against Mr Beck. Nothing will help us expose the scam that is public service unions better than a peeing match with a popular critic of the situation.

For AFSCME, and SEIU to for that matter, the situation is a perfect closed loop. The union extracts "dues" from government employees and "bargains" on their behalf for raises which are funded by taxpayers. Those raises must be approved by politicians and nothing will earn the approval of a politician faster than a campaign contribution. So AFSCME spends like a drunk sailor on leave during elections backing Democrat politicians who will, in turn, approve raises for public employees. they will also approve a growing government work force which means more union members which means more dues which means more campaign contributions.

Stepping back and looking at this in totality what we see here is GREECE.

If you doubt me, let me offer a couple of facts:

In the recent mid term election AFSCME accounted for about 30% of the total spent on Democrats. The union ponied up a whopping 87.5 million in fundage to keep their gravy train from leaving the station

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303339504575566481761790288.html?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTTopStories

Here's a fabulous quote:
"We're the big dog," said Larry Scanlon, the head of AFSCME's political operations. "But we don't like to brag."

According to Steven Malanga, in his recently released book "Shakedown" the amount owed by state and local governments for employee pensions is 3 TRILLION. that's our money and the unions want it NOW.

so a war is just what we need. Let the battle lines be drawn. Let's watch Democrat politicians get thier strings pulled by the AFSCME guys while the taxpayers watch.

Yeah union boys, bring it. By all means call attention to the racket you've got going on. Should do wonders for your future.


Posted by: skipsailing28 | December 10, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Well yeah skip, it is all true, but the ASCME folks ask me, why should everybody else get to pay to play and not us?

Your votes gave us Citizens United, which established the person status of government employee unions, just as government contractors like Goldman Sachs, Haliburton, Xe and Boeing have rights under the First Amendment.

You see, pay to play was envisioned by the founding fathers. We know this because the Republicans on the SCOTUS are strict constitutional originalists or constructivists or whatever neologism you want to create to rationalize right wing activism. The left is just playing along, we do what we're told don't ya know.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 10, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Beck really ought to check out this informative video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3mw49mk_x0

You got that!?

Posted by: Viktor3000 | December 10, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Greg,

You are asleep at the switch. Senator Bernie Sanders is engaging in a real filibuster of the Obama tax deal. He has been talking for hours on the Senate Floor.

Get on it.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 10, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

TPM is carrying a video link of Senator Sanders real filibuster.

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/12/sanders-launches-actual-filibuster-of-tax-relief.php?ref=fpa

Posted by: Liam-still | December 10, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

No one is against public workers


It is the NUMBER of public workers that people are upset about


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 10, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

So let me be sure I'm understanding you correctly M. Le docteur. You seem to be saying that the taxpayers should be OK with the closed loop scam between politicians and unions because the supreme court took a decision you don't like.

I don't deny AFSCME's first amendment rights. I doubt its right to exist. I see no reason of public service unions and I believe it is well within the rights of the citizens to make unionization of gummint employees unlawful.

In my view it all comes down to the same problem: crappy legislators. We the people have to clean out this den of thieves but the election game has now been distorted beyond anything the founder's envisioned. For example, I'm certain that no one present at the writing of our constitution imagined that congress would pass a law mandating racial gerrymandering. I also doubt that the founders envisioned a situation where a large proportion of the voting public pays no income taxes but can elect legislators will increase the amount taken from those that do pay income tax.

We are in big trouble in my opinion. We are heading at a breakneck speed directly for a Grecian meltdown. The union bosses don't give a darn about anything but themselves. The legislators are swarmed over with self interested people who see influence in DC as the path to riches. Meanwhile the rest of us stupid enough to keep working are no longer willing to sit idly by while the deck chairs on this particular titanic are rearranged yet again.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | December 10, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

liam

I just got back from the airport and have been listening to Bernie. OMG, a real filibuster. Go BERNIE. Has it really been 5 hours and I heard a couple of other Senator joined him. I heard they want to go at least 30 hours.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 10, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

And he's even making the point I've been making for days. SS is under attack from Republicans and Democrats alike. Thanks Obama.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 10, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

"Post a comment

Sorry, but you have been banned from commenting."

Lol. Guess Huffington Post can't take the heat.

Oh well.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | December 10, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I'm listening to him, too. Evidently, what this country needs is a lot more socialists.

GO BERNIE GO!

Posted by: wbgonne | December 10, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

shrink:

"pay to play"

You use this term often. Would you care to specify in specifc and real terms what it is you are talking about?

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 10, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Liam,

I much admire Bernie Sanders, but what he is doing is not a 'real' filibuster. It's a floor speech. A very long floor speech. (He even said so on Twitter.)

A filibuster prevents action on a bill. He's not preventing anything.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | December 10, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

We wouldn't be in this mess if we had 75 Senators like Bernie Sanders, the man with steel gonads. Sherrod Brown is a good man who is helping him out, but Landrieu is a self serving sleaze. Where are Franken, Boxer, Durbin, Harkin, etc. to help Bernie with the heavy lifting.
Go Bernie Go!
Ultimately, this will all go for nought. However, the more ink and TV time Bernie gets, the more the average American realizes that it's only the Democratic Party that cares about them when the going gets tough. Whether that message resonates will depend on our lazy and gutless MSM.

Posted by: filmnoia | December 10, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

All, my take on why Obama is having such a tough time selling his tax cut deal:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/12/will_obama_make_good_on_vow_to.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | December 10, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

"The union bosses don't give a darn about anything but themselves."

This does not distinguish them from anyone, does it? Speaking of deck chairs, public employees have the front row seats for their electeds' spoils system's operations and how that is working for the ship of state.

How can a person with first amendment rights not have the right to exist? Call Clarence Thomas and ask him. He'd have to put Saving Private Ryan on pause, so you probably won't get through right away.

"We are in big trouble in my opinion." Bilateral agreement!, more evidence of Obama's leadership.

So, do you think the founders would like the idea of Citizens United? I don'[t. They would have thought it a good idea to know whose money is in that bag the elected official received.

Point is, I am saying the taxpayers should not be OK with the closed loop scam between politicians and unions just because the Republicans on the supreme court took a decision that makes pay to play corruption legal.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 10, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

And he's even making the point I've been making for days. SS is under attack from Republicans and Democrats alike. Thanks Obama.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 10, 2010 3:31 PM

.........................

I think Obama is burned out and a spent force. He made a deal with Republican leaders only, even though Democrats still control the Senate.

He should not run again, and give us time to select a new torch bearer.

An update on his ralling chants.

Yes They Can.
Yes They Can.

Burned Out,
Ready To Fold.

Burned Out,
Ready To Fold.

Bernie has the courage of Obama's expressed convictions.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 10, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

@filmnoia: "We wouldn't be in this mess if we had 75 Senators like Bernie Sanders"

We also wouldn't be in this mess if we had a $17 kadrillion surplus. Memo to "Liberals": ideology and daydreaming are NOT reality.

That said, I love me some Bernie Sanders.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 10, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

sue

A technicality only re filibuster. Good for him, whether it does any good or not, I fully support his "floor speech".

Posted by: lmsinca | December 10, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

"We also wouldn't be in this mess if we had a $17 kadrillion surplus. Memo to "Liberals": ideology and daydreaming are NOT reality."

But fighting an uphill battle is the American way. I'm not going to roll over and accept something that I know is both wrong and short-sighted. You can call it daydreaming if you want, I call it having the courage of your convictions.

Posted by: lmsinca | December 10, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Yes, actually it does distinguish them from others. How many here have responded to my request for a moral support for progressive tax rates with their own version of altruism.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | December 10, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Ims,

Yes, a technicality, but an important distinction IMO, especially since the filibuster has been used very effectively against us for two years. His floor speech is different, and so let's call it what it is.

And I agree, good for him.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | December 10, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

It is the most like a real filibuster that we have seen conducted in our time. I hope that a few others will join him, and keep the marathon going.

Call all your friends, and urge them to call their senators, and urge them to join Bernie in running out the clock, until the Bush Era failed trickle down tax cuts have expired.

The poor have been trickled on by the Oligarchy far too much.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 10, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

"Would you care to specify in specifc and real terms what it is you are talking about?"

Call Sharron Angle and ask her about juice, you know, in real and specific terms. Ask Mr. Thune about ethanol subsidies. Soon, you'll get the picture, but you'll never get any real and specific terms. Only a public employee union is capable of a closed loop scam, I know you understand that. Everything else is the "free" enterprise system, right?

Posted by: shrink2 | December 10, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

lmsinca: "You can call it daydreaming if you want, I call it having the courage of your convictions."

Please don't put words in my mouth, lmsinca. I said that having 75 Senators like Bernie Sanders is daydreaming, not protesting something you think is wrong.

By all means, I support everyone's right to protest vociferously, but I would ask everyone to please do so on realistic terms and not terms based on purity of ideology or on a total fabrication of numbers (i.e. 75 Bernie Sanders or $17 kajillion suplus). Use FACTS! Goes for both sides of the aisle.

I think that when you look at the facts, President Obama had to compromise on the tax cut package. If you disagree and can show me why, and it's based on facts, great!

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 10, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

An update on his ralling chants.

Yes They Can.
Yes They Can.

Burned Out,
Ready To Fold.

Burned Out,
Ready To Fold.

Bernie has the courage of Obama's expressed convictions.

Liam:

And my personal favorite:

No We Can't!
No We Can't!
No We Can't

Posted by: wbgonne | December 10, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

And my personal favorite:

No We Can't!
No We Can't!
No We Can't

Posted by: wbgonne | December 10, 2010 4:44 PM |

And how about:

Keep Nope Alive.

Keep Nope Alive.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 10, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Called Kerry and Brown. Neither presently has a position on the tax bill.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 10, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Ted Kennedy would have had a position on it, and he would have been appalled at what Obama has agreed to.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 10, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Kerry has already declared himself in favor of the bill. He's just shucking and jiving and reminding everyone why he didn't become president. Brown might actually oppose b/c he got elected (supposedly) to lower the deficit. But the GOP will put the screws to Brown if they need him to move this gravy train.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 10, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Conservatives hate unions because they begrudge their fellow man a decent living, long and short of it. It seems like every service they get they take for granted and every dime they give in return is like pulling a single nose hair. If it looks like the garbage man or mail man isn't sweating enough or isn't yet crippled by his work, they seek to cut their numbers so the remainders are soon broken on the wheel. Then they don't have the mercy to spear the survivors of their policies, preferring to have no shortage of impoverished and broken men to complain about and sometimes make loud demonstrations of their niggling level of compassion via disability payments and charity donations.
This country needs a leader who will not just sallowly let the tax cuts expire, but who has the testicular fortitude to demand top rates like the glory days of this country, coupled with an ongoing and merciless investigation of our economic malefactors of great wealth. If Obama and Biden step down now, Pelosi can still take over giving us 16 years potentially to repair the damage Reagan began.

Posted by: sparkplug1 | December 10, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

BTW: I asked Kerry's office if the Senator would be joining Sanders' filibuster.

"Er, no he won't."

I LOVE it.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 10, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

"I said that having 75 Senators like Bernie Sanders is daydreaming, not protesting something you think is wrong."

Ethan -

Being the one that made that statement, I'd say it was more wish fulfillment than anything. It's my egregious way of saying that we need more legislators that are for the common good than just their own parochial interests. That's where public financing of campaigns come into play, which I don't expect to happen in my life time.

Posted by: filmnoia | December 10, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Harry Reid is the majority leader. He does not have to call the damn bill up for a vote. He actually can pocket veto the damn thing.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 10, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

It would be better if the expiration had never been discussed, or even mentioned.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 10, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

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