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Posted at 12:28 PM ET, 02/21/2011

This goes far beyond Wisconsin

By Greg Sargent

Paul Krugman frames the stakes in the Wisconsin standoff:

In principle, every American citizen has an equal say in our political process. In practice, of course, some of us are more equal than others. Billionaires can field armies of lobbyists; they can finance think tanks that put the desired spin on policy issues; they can funnel cash to politicians with sympathetic views (as the Koch brothers did in the case of Mr. Walker). On paper, we're a one-person-one-vote nation; in reality, we're more than a bit of an oligarchy, in which a handful of wealthy people dominate.

Given this reality, it's important to have institutions that can act as counterweights to the power of big money. And unions are among the most important of these institutions.

You don't have to love unions, you don't have to believe that their policy positions are always right, to recognize that they're among the few influential players in our political system representing the interests of middle- and working-class Americans, as opposed to the wealthy. Indeed, if America has become more oligarchic and less democratic over the last 30 years -- which it has -- that's to an important extent due to the decline of private-sector unions.

And now Mr. Walker and his backers are trying to get rid of public-sector unions, too.

Absolutely, but another crucial piece of context here is that people on both sides of this fight view it as a precedent-setter for other similar efforts that are currently being planned to roll back public employee union rights in other states. As I noted here last week, and as Ben Smith and Maggie Haberman report out in more detail today, one key reason national unions are staking so much on this fight is that a victory by labor here could put other governments mulling similar efforts on alert: If they move forward, they can expect another massive war on the scale of the one in Wisconsin. This is why ActBlue has already raised $250,000 to support the efforts of Wisconsin Dems who are holding out against Governor Scott Walker.

The flip side of this is that if labor loses after elevating the Wisconsin battle into a national battle, anti-labor activists will seize on it to embolden other governments to move forward. Indeed, I spoke to one anti-labor activist who said he's relishing a defeat for labor in Wisconsin, because it will stiffen the spines of other governments eyeing similar efforts. In other words, what happens in Wisconsin could have major ramifications for whether the phenonemon Krugman describes -- the undermining of one of the last institutions representing the interests of middle-class and working-class Americans -- will continue apace with the further erosion of public employee rights in other states.

By Greg Sargent  | February 21, 2011; 12:28 PM ET
Categories:  Labor  
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Next: First look: Unions launch TV ad campaign backing Wisconsin public employees

Comments

Non Union workers. You better fight to defend the rights of workers to form Unions, because once they are gone, the Fat Cat overlords will come after all your wages and benefit packages next.

First they came for the Unions, and since you were not a member of a Union, you did not speak up.

Then they came after you, but since the Unions had been destroyed, you were on your own.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Paul Krugman babbled: In principle, every American citizen has an equal say in our political process. In practice, of course, some of us are more equal than others. Billionaires can field armies of lobbyists;..."
-----------------------------------------Which is how the Dems OUTSPENT Repubs in the mid terms.

Greg, you have ZERO cred when you publish garbage like that.

Posted by: illogicbuster | February 21, 2011 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Non Union workers. You better fight to defend the rights of workers to form Unions, because once they are gone, the Fat Cat overlords will come after all your wages and benefit packages next.

First they came for the Unions, and since you were not a member of a Union, you did not speak up.

Then they came after you, but since the Unions had been destroyed, you were on your own.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse

GOP: Because the backs of teachers is an easier sell than millionaires and billionaires.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 21, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

In addition to eliminating collective bargaing, the bill also sells off Wisconsin's power plants at firesale prices to Walker's buddies, (Koch brothers? Oh what a surprise.) H/T Ed at ginandtacos and Rortybomb

http://rortybomb.wordpress.com/2011/02/21/the-less-discussed-part-of-walkers-wisconsin-plan-no-bid-energy-assets-firesales/

Posted by: don41na | February 21, 2011 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Walker is corrupt, and he has one family in charge of both houses of the legislature, and The State Police.

Hosni Mubarak wishes he had a corrupt crony regime that functioned like Hosni Walker's regime does.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

don41na, why should PUBLIC EMPLOYEES get collective bargaining rights.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 21, 2011 12:57 PM | Report abuse

When the going got tough, the Quitter got going.

How are you going to keep her up on The Tundra, after she's seen Neiman Marcus?

From Politicalwire.com

"Quote of the Day
"I hate this damn job."

-- Sarah Palin, quoted by the Anchorage Daily News, in an email sent to a staffer before she resigned as governor.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Wow so Koch was hoping to plan to slip by his corporate giveaway in Walkers budget. And the right will remain silent of course because thug teachers don't deserve the rights others have.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 21, 2011 1:10 PM | Report abuse

@Paul Kurgman: "in reality, we're more than a bit of an oligarchy, in which a handful of wealthy people dominate."

In reality, every human society is like that, except those in which a handful of powerful people crush everybody like powder. Collective bargaining ends up putting a modicum of power in the hands of union leaders--the bulk of people continue to have minimal leverage re the oligarchs, be they the wealthy billionaires or the less wealthy, but still powerful union leadership. In any arrangement, every system is dominated by the wealthy and/or powerful, and everybody else enjoys a minimal say in the overall society.

Given how those people often speak (fewer social services, less taxes! . . . or, more entitlements, but still, lower taxes!), Krugman, and those like them, don't actually want those people to have any more say or power over how they are governed--rather, they just want more power in the hands of the right •kind• of oligarchy--one made up of enlightened folks (like themselves) who know what is best for those people, even if those poor saps are too dumb to know what is actually in their own best interest.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 21, 2011 1:11 PM | Report abuse

"-the bulk of people continue to have minimal leverage re the oligarchs,"

Yeah so, let's take away more of those rights ala Walker.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 21, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Kevin Willis has learned to embrace his Inner Koch Sucker!

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Someone asked why public employees should have collective bargaining rights. The answer is that we STILL have the right to associate with whom we please and to petition the government! (PS: that is the legal basis for lobbying - it is also what the AMA, ABA, and every other professional organization does).

Posted by: AMviennaVA | February 21, 2011 1:18 PM | Report abuse

...disgusting...

"Arab-American Nasr Anaizi tweets: "Civilians marching from #Mesrata toward #Tripoli are being fired upon from Apache helicopters. Real massacres are taking place in #Libya."

Posted by: shrink2 | February 21, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Donal Rumsfeld's level of gross arrogance, is only exceeded by his level of gross incompetence.

He is now going around telling interviewers that if any of the miltary brass had any problems with the size of the Iraq Invasion and Occupation forces, they should have spoken up.

Of course the spineless or ignorant interviewers never challenge him on that, by pointing out the General Shinseki did just that, and Rumsfeld hounded him into retirement, for doing so.

I hope David Letterman does his homework, and does not let Rumsfeld get away with telling his Big Lies, tonight.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

a protracted civil war (tribal war in truth) is possible

"The BBC has received reports of ongoing fighting west of Tripoli between regular soldiers and forces loyal to the regime."

this is not Egypt

Posted by: shrink2 | February 21, 2011 1:26 PM | Report abuse

AMviennaVA, this is not about the First Amendment freedom of association. No one has the RIGHT to a job. Just like Reagan had to fire air traffic controllers, public employee unions should not be allowed to strike. They work for US not the other way around. As of freedom to petition the government, go for it. What those of us in the private sector don't get to do is ELECT our bosses. See the difference? Democrats in charge of government are not "hostile" management. There's no free market competition for government jobs, so as far as I see it, there's no need for collective bargaining rights with PUBLIC employees.

Keep in mind that most teachers also get the summer off, yet they complain about not getting paid enough. How many of us are forced to homeschool / private school because of the poor conditions at public school? Maybe when teachers' unions stop protecting bad teachers, we can pay the good teachers more. How much better would our public schools be without the children of illegal immigrants?

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 21, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Wait, Fat Cat overlords are coming? Last I checked, tax payers pay for state and federal union workers. So we should welcome our new "overlords". Putting control in the hands of the tax payers, who voted in droves for Republicans across the board in Wisconsin is called democracy in action. To limit the ability of tax payers to negotiate the price of their servants is an afront to freedom. Democrats and liberal and the frothing state union lovers are completely out of line, as are the media who pretend this is some sort of battle against corporate power, rather than civil servants extorting the tax payers.

Posted by: Demosthenes-V | February 21, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Say all you want about anti-Union "right to work" states like North Carolina –– if it wasn't for the mere existence of these unions all over America, many more in NC would be without benefits, competitive wages and due process.

All fought for by unions.

Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | February 21, 2011 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Like I said, shrink2, this will be Obama's downfall. $5.00 per gallon gas and inflation here we come!

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 21, 2011 1:34 PM | Report abuse

tony_in_Durham_NC, you are aware that Walker is only talking about PUBLIC EMPLOYEE unions, right?

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 21, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

shrink

Libya's a mess isn't it? Some of the pilots diverted to Malta when they were told to fire on protesters, at least that's what AJEnglish is saying. It's going to be a long week for the people. Gadaffi's son's speech was so strange and disjointed last night I thought maybe they were going to end up giving up, but appear to have doubled down instead.

Posted by: lmsinca | February 21, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Idiots, such as that Joe The Plumber moron, are ignorant of labor history. They do not have a clue as to how abused workers were in America before Unions were established. Hell, you already have some elected Republicans dropping hints about getting rid of child labor restrictions.

Those Tea Party members are mostly a collection of useful idiots, who are erecting the scaffolds that will be used to stretch their own necks. That is why I have labeled them; A Bunch Of Stupid Koch Suckers.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Yes it appears the regime loyal forces are African mercenaries, one hopes the Arab tribes can defeat them rapidly. Without Arab support (even the Arab league says The Guide is done), the regime can not survive. The question of who dies in the process, what scores get settled and who takes over next is frightening. Obviously they have no cultural history of anything resembling democracy, just tribalism, to Islamic theocracy and then colonialism to dictatorship.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 21, 2011 1:49 PM | Report abuse

OT:

Chris Cristie admits that being overweight puts his health at risk

Christie: "I don't want to be in a situation where, as I get older, my health is really at risk."

http://politicalwire.com/archives/2011/02/21/christie_drops_some_weight.html

Good for him for losing some pounds...

Maybe he should be the one to tell Glenn Beck and Michelle Malkin to stop harassing Michelle Obama for trying to prevent childhood obesity and for encouraging Americans to eat healthy foods.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 21, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Let's see... the unions agree that the standoff in Wisconsin MUST be be won. Gov. Walker has more votes in his pocket than Pres. Obama had in passing health care reform. If the Republicans can hold their caucus together the way Obama held his, the unions will lose in Wisconsin.

It's a high stakes battle--and I think the tactic of Democratic Senators fleeing the state could backfire on them. Now the Republicans can rewrite their bill to put all the collective bargaining changes in a non-fiscal bill and have the Republicans vote on that alone. The moderate Repubs can vote against it while the more conservative Repubs vote for it. With no Democrats to block the bill, Walker can break the back of the unions without forcing any GOP Senator to take a risk.

While they're at it, the GOP can run the table on social issues... defunding Planned Parenthood, opposing gay marriage, etc., etc. While the DemoCat's away, the RepubliMouse will play...

Posted by: SWSomerville | February 21, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Same Americans Who Made Taylor Swift Popular Polled On Constitutionality Of Health Care Reform

http://www.theonion.com/articles/same-americans-who-made-taylor-swift-popular-polle,19249/

"WASHINGTON—Americans, a group of people directly responsible for the popularity of country-pop singer Taylor Swift, were asked by an independent research group Wednesday to share their thoughts on the constitutional implications of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. "They can't force me to get insurance," survey taker Carrie Hunstley, a woman who will purchase almost any magazine with an image of Swift on the cover and is intimately aware of the fact that the musician briefly dated Jake Gyllenhaal last year, said of the massive federal statute. "We need to protect the Constitution." The survey also asked U.S. citizens, 1 in 15 of whom tuned in to watch the episode of CSI during which Taylor Swift made her primetime TV acting debut, for their perspectives on the nation's fiscal policy."

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 2:02 PM | Report abuse

" How many of us are forced to homeschool / private school because of the poor conditions at public school? "

Conditions due to complex social innequalties creating inadequate teaching environments. Regardless, this does not justify gong after teachers so lopsidedly.

All taxpayers should share the sacrifice to tighten up a budget. Millionaires and billionaires should have a stake in the game.

Why you vehemently protect millionaire but ruthlessly go after teachers wages seems incomprehensable to anyone barely getting by.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 21, 2011 2:12 PM | Report abuse

@Liam-still "Same Americans Who Made Taylor Swift Popular Polled On Constitutionality Of Health Care Reform

http://www.theonion.com/articles/same-americans-who-made-taylor-swift-popular-polle,19249/

"WASHINGTON—Americans, a group of people directly responsible for the popularity of country-pop singer Taylor Swift, were asked by an independent research group Wednesday to share their thoughts on the constitutional implications of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. "They can't force me to get insurance," survey taker Carrie Hunstley, a woman who will purchase almost any magazine with an image of Swift on the cover and is intimately aware of the fact that the musician briefly dated Jake Gyllenhaal last year, said of the massive federal statute. "We need to protect the Constitution." The survey also asked U.S. citizens, 1 in 15 of whom tuned in to watch the episode of CSI during which Taylor Swift made her primetime TV acting debut, for their perspectives on the nation's fiscal policy.""

This is still the best:

"Recession-Plagued Nation Demands New Bubble To Invest In

WASHINGTON—A panel of top business leaders testified before Congress about the worsening recession Monday, demanding the government provide Americans with a new irresponsible and largely illusory economic bubble in which to invest.

"What America needs right now is not more talk and long-term strategy, but a concrete way to create more imaginary wealth in the very immediate future," said Thomas Jenkins, CFO of the Boston-area Jenkins Financial Group, a bubble-based investment firm. "We are in a crisis, and that crisis demands an unviable short-term solution."

The current economic woes, brought on by the collapse of the so-called "housing bubble," are considered the worst to hit investors since the equally untenable dot-com bubble burst in 2001. According to investment experts, now that the option of making millions of dollars in a short time with imaginary profits from bad real-estate deals has disappeared, the need for another spontaneous make-believe source of wealth has never been more urgent."

http://www.theonion.com/articles/recessionplagued-nation-demands-new-bubble-to-inve,2486/

Posted by: jnc4p | February 21, 2011 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Of Unions And The Middle Class.

When Unions were at their strongest, so was the American Middle class.

As the Unions were assaulted and dismantled, starting with Ronald Reagan, the Middle Class also went into decline, which has brought about the inordinate concentration of wealth among the Oligarchs, who historically have created financial disasters, and then sat on their wealth, until the Government and taxpayers have stimulated recoveries.

Trickle down is rubbish. It is actually financial Osmosis; whereby the ever increasing concentration of wealth, leeches more and more out of the anemic working class, until they have no more blood left to give.

The Tea Party members are just a bunch witless steerage passengers, who can not comprehend that the ship is sinking, and believe that all they have to do is keep on singing Nearer My Koch To Thee, and they will not drown.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Western publicity hounds like N Kristof and A Cooper aren't planning to get themselves in trouble in Tripoli, not this time, not that place.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 21, 2011 2:14 PM | Report abuse

@Liam-still "Of Unions And The Middle Class.

When Unions were at their strongest, so was the American Middle class.

As the Unions were assaulted and dismantled, starting with Ronald Reagan, the Middle Class also went into decline, which has brought about the inordinate concentration of wealth among the Oligarchs, who historically have created financial disasters, and then sat on their wealth, until the Government and taxpayers have stimulated recoveries.

Trickle down is rubbish. It is actually financial Osmosis; whereby the ever increasing concentration of wealth, leeches more and more out of the anemic working class, until they have no more blood left to give.

The Tea Party members are just a bunch witless steerage passengers, who can not comprehend that the ship is sinking, and believe that all they have to do is keep on singing Nearer My Koch To Thee, and they will not drown."

And your explanation for Michigan is?

Posted by: jnc4p | February 21, 2011 2:17 PM | Report abuse

"Like I said, shrink2, this will be Obama's downfall"

Wait, I thought it was Egypt.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 21, 2011 2:22 PM | Report abuse

mikefromArlington, Egypt was the fuse for the entire region.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 21, 2011 2:31 PM | Report abuse

"Krugman, and those like them, don't actually want those people to have any more say or power over how they are governed--rather, they just want more power in the hands of the right •kind• of oligarchy--one made up of enlightened folks (like themselves) who know what is best for those people, even if those poor saps are too dumb to know what is actually in their own best interest. "

Uh oh, is this one of those instances where a Conservative can't name a single reason a middle class citizen would vote Republican and also doesn't want to admit that his side is buying elections, so he just goes on to call everyone elitist.

I better buy a big ol' mallet and hire someone to whack me on the head at about 10PM, because I sure don't think I can sleep with all this elitism on my conscious.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 21, 2011 2:31 PM | Report abuse

OT:

OIL!!!

Brent crude oil prices surged to more than $105 a barrel for the first time since 2008
on Monday on fears that spiraling violence in Libya could lead to wider supply disruptions from the OPEC member.

U.S. oil prices led the rally to surge by over $5, their most in more than two years, as traders also rushed to cover short positions in the key Brent/WTI spread, which had blown out to an unprecedented $16 a barrel. The April spread narrowed to nearly $10 on Monday, its thinnest in weeks.

The focus was on deadly clashes in Libya, where one oil firm was shutting down some 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) of production and others evacuated staff. The leader of the Al-Zuwayya tribe threatened oil exports to the West would be cut off unless authorities stopped violence.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/21/markets-oil-idUSLDE71K0TK20110221

Why are Republicans on the side of dirty oil from unstable countries?!?!??!

Oh right.

They're Koch Suckers.

Wheee! Selling our future to oil companies is awesome! Thank you GOP! Thank you OPEC!

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 21, 2011 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Michigan is a part of the USA, and not an Independant nation.

Right to work states, outsourcing, and importing of products produced in countries that pay workers a dollar an hour, no benifits, and with no enviromental or health protection standards is what has allowed The Oligarchs to destroy the Middle Class, and Michigan was just another victim of the Oligarchy that is turning American into a third world economy, where a few at the top own all, and rule all, and the masses are left destitute and subservient.

Tea Party Members; time to sing Nearer My Koch To Thee again, because the water is starting to lap at your ankles.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 2:33 PM | Report abuse

"And your explanation for Michigan is?"

And the next 8 out of 12 states are non unionized states. What's their excuse?

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 21, 2011 2:33 PM | Report abuse

@Liam-still "Michigan is a part of the USA, and not an Independant nation.

Right to work states, outsourcing, and importing of products produced in countries that pay workers a dollar an hour, no benifits, and with no enviromental or health protection standards is what has allowed The Oligarchs to destroy the Middle Class, and Michigan was just another victim of the Oligarchy that is turning American into a third world economy, where a few at the top own all, and rule all, and the masses are left destitute and subservient."

Getting rid of free trade to preserve unions and manufacturing wage levels is a fair argument to make, but I don't see either party embracing it anytime soon.

Posted by: jnc4p | February 21, 2011 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Please BOYCOTT these Koch Industries brands of paper products (and pass this list along to your friends): Quilted Northern, Angel Soft, Brawny, Sparkle, Vanity Fair, Dixie Cups

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 21, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

This post misses the REALLY BIG STORY. The bill being battled over contains language that can potentially mean MILLIONS of quid pro quo dollars for the Koch bros, (in no bid utility handouts). They brazenly buy the governor, encourage his union busting, and can't help but stick it to Wisconsin tax payers in one fell swoop. What better way to laugh at the clowns who you are using to fight your fight.

Posted by: whereareweandwhatarewedoinginthishandbasket | February 21, 2011 2:54 PM | Report abuse

University of Wisconsin Medical School Investigating Doctors for Writing Fake Sick Notes to Union Protesters
http://politics.blogs.foxnews.com/2011/02/21/university-wisconsin-medical-school-investigating-doctors-notes-protest

*fraud*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 21, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

"This post misses the REALLY BIG STORY. The bill being battled over contains language that can potentially mean MILLIONS of quid pro quo dollars for the Koch bros, (in no bid utility handouts). They brazenly buy the governor, encourage his union busting, and can't help but stick it to Wisconsin tax payers in one fell swoop. "

Ding ding ding.

We have a winner.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 21, 2011 3:01 PM | Report abuse

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/02/awol-wisconsin-dem-worries-gop-may-force-through-budget-without-him.php?ref=fpa

Update: In a pair of new AP reports, Erpenbach's fears appear to have been alleviated. Republicans in the state legislature say they won't end collective bargaining while the Democrats are in town -- and that fact could show a weakness in Walker's GOP coalition.
Erpenbach told the wire service that there are around "five or six" moderate GOP state Senators "who have ties to organized labor" and therefore are less interested in wholesale union busting than the Walker-types in Madison seem to be. One of the Senate's moderates, Sen. Dale Schultz (R), floated a plan last week that would have kept collective bargaining in place over the long haul, but banned it for two years. That plan seemed to go nowhere when Walker (and the unions) said no way to the scheme.
But Erpenbach told the AP that the plan may be a sign that there is dissension in the GOP ranks, pointing to the handful of moderate Republicans -- only three of which need to vote against their party to kill the Walker budget in the state Senate.
Now comes evidence that Erpenbach could be right. After he raised fears of the GOP going its own way and ending collective bargaining without the Democrats, the state Senate Republican leader told the AP the Senate won't vote on collective bargaining unless the Democrats are in town. That means that if Walker wants to reform the way his state works with unions, he'll have to get Erpenbach and his AWOL Democratic colleagues back to Madison.

Posted by: DinOH | February 21, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Greg, would you say this is the first big issue that has united Dem activists, blogs, Op Ed writers in a couple years?

If anything, we should thank Koch sponsored Walker for uniting Dems around a common cause.

Just scanning the usual suspects out there the lack of anti-Obama articles is apparent.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 21, 2011 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Since The Onion can not cover every story:

Breaking; This just in;

Governor Walker of Wisconsin offers Asylum to Hosni Mubarak, and Momar Qaddafi.

Stated Walker: In a line that is sure to be remembered in the History Books;

Despots Of A Feather Koch Together.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

@mikefromArlington "Greg, would you say this is the first big issue that has united Dem activists, blogs, Op Ed writers in a couple years?

If anything, we should thank Koch sponsored Walker for uniting Dems around a common cause.

Just scanning the usual suspects out there the lack of anti-Obama articles is apparent."

Single Payer/Public Option?

Posted by: jnc4p | February 21, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Paging all Tea Party Koch Suckers!

Per Think Progress:

"Disgraced Former Tea Party Leader Calls On Right-Wing Activists To Pose As SEIU Organizers

National tea party groups like Americans for Prosperity have been bussing conservative activists to Madison, WI to confront protesters there standing up to Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) union busting. But Tea Party Nation and Mark Williams, the disgraced former chairman of Tea Party Express, who was forced to resign after making offensive racial comments, are calling for a more radical approach. In an email alert to supporters sent last night, Tea Party Nation promotes Williams’ “great idea” to impersonate SEIU organizers at upcoming labor rallies in an attempt to embarrass and discredit the union.

Williams lays out a highly dishonest and fairly involved scheme to have “plants” sign up on the SEIU website to be organizers for an upcoming rally, dress up in SEIU shirts, and to then make outrageous comments to reporters covering the events in order to “make the gathering look as greedy and goonish as we know that it is”:"

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 3:35 PM | Report abuse

On another note, I don't envy the Obama administration in trying to deal with this:

"U.S. officials: Raymond Davis, accused in Pakistan shootings, worked for CIA"

"The American who fatally shot two men in Pakistan last month and who has been described publicly as a diplomat is a security contractor for the CIA who was part of a secret agency team operating out of a safe house in Lahore, U.S. officials said.

The contractor, Raymond A. Davis, 36, has been detained in a Pakistani jail since his arrest. He has said he opened fire on two Pakistani men at a traffic signal in Lahore after they attempted to rob him.

The disclosure compounds an already combustible stand-off between the United States and Pakistan at a time of growing distrust between them and complicates U.S. efforts to win Davis's release.

President Obama and other senior administration officials have repeatedly described Davis as a diplomat who was assigned to the U.S. consulate in Lahore, and said he is entitled to immunity from prosecution in Pakistan.

But in fact Davis has spent much of the past two years working as part of a group of covert CIA operatives, whose mission appears to have centered on conducting surveillance of militant groups in large cities including Lahore.

At the time of his arrest, Davis was based at a house with five other CIA contractors as well as an agency employee, a U.S. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

The official said the impact of the disclosure that Davis is a CIA employee "will be serious." "

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/21/AR2011022102801.html?hpid=topnews

Posted by: jnc4p | February 21, 2011 3:35 PM | Report abuse

"The bill being battled over contains language that can potentially mean MILLIONS of quid pro quo dollars for the Koch bros, (in no bid utility handouts)"

Yeah. Wow.

MORE REPORTING ON THIS PLEASE!!!

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 21, 2011 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Should the Swallows return to Capistrano, one minute late this year, it will be "Obama's Downfall"!!!

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse

An extremely long and detailed report, so posting an excerpt would not do it justice. Use the link, and read the report. It is well worth your time to do so.

"How John Birch Society Extremism Never Dies: The Fortune Behind Scott Walker’s Union-Busting Campaign "

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/21/zombie-johnbirch-walker/

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 3:44 PM | Report abuse

No Republican would ever claim that.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 21, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

OT, from AJ English.

""10:40pm: Yusuf Al Qardawi, a leading Sunni cleric, has just issued a fatwa on Al Jazeera Arabic, encouraging the assassination of Gaddafi.

10:37pm: Online reports say the Libyan-Egyptian border is now open, with crossing points unstaffed.

10:32pm: Al Jazeera confirms Brazilian construction company Odebrecht ordering mandatory evacuation of all its 5,000 foreign staff - including 187 Brazilians - from Libya. the company has the main contract to build Tripoli airport, as well as the city's ring road - deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars. All projects are immediately halted, they annouce.

10:25pm: More on the resignation of the two diplomats from the embassy in Washington DC. Counsels Saleh Ali Al Majbari and Jumaa Faris denounced Gaddafi, saying he "bears responsibility for genocide against the Libyan people in which he has used mercenaries".

They said they had nothing to do with the events and they no longer represent Gaddafi’s regime - but that they represent the Libyan people. The pair also called on Barack Obama to "work urgently with the international community to press for an immediate cessation of the massacres of the Libyan people", and they are asking the United Nations to impose a no-fly zone imposed on Libya to prevent the arrival of mercenaries to Libya.""

Posted by: lmsinca | February 21, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

I still don't understand why the protesters in Libya were not satisfied as the arial assault on them was being implemented, when The Guide's son (who I have to say is no Barak Obama when it comes to speech making) promised to consider thinking about a few vague reforms, potentially including a new flag and even, a new national anthem.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 21, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

@shrink2 "I still don't understand why the protesters in Libya were not satisfied as the arial assault on them was being implemented, when The Guide's son (who I have to say is no Barak Obama when it comes to speech making) promised to consider thinking about a few vague reforms, potentially including a new flag and even, a new national anthem. "

As an aside, it's interesting to see the 1960's "domino" theory finally in action.

Posted by: jnc4p | February 21, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

lmsinca, check this article out too:

-Oil Companies Plan Evacuations From Libya-

The largest and most established foreign energy producer in Libya, Eni of Italy, said in a statement that it had begun repatriating “nonessential personnel” and the families of its employees.

The Norwegian energy company Statoil, which operates in Libya in partnership with Repsol of Spain and Total of France, said that it would close its office in Tripoli and that a handful of foreign workers were leaving. “The safety of our personnel is our main priority,” said a spokesman, Bard Glad Pedersen.

OMV of Austria, which produces about 34,000 barrels of oil a day in Libya, said it planned to evacuate 11 workers and their families, leaving only essential staff.

...

Shares in Eni and OMV dropped Monday, while the price of Brent crude, an important benchmark for oil traded in London, rose to $104.60 a barrel, the highest level since 2008.

“We’re concerned, and of course we’d like to see a solution sooner rather than later,” said Jason Kenney, an analyst with ING Financial Markets. “It’s very difficult to see how this is going to go. The oil price will be volatile.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/world/africa/22oil.html

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 21, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Gov. Walker press conference at 6:00 PM Eastern.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 21, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

He should have thrown in Lapel Flag Pins and a Libyan Patriot Act, and he would have won them over.

Here in America, we call that: Serving Tea Party Members; Chicken Koch A Tory. They can not get enough of it, and are willing to fly to Madison Wi, for to receive extra helpings of it.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Walker needs to be asked....
16.896 Sale or contractual operation of state−owned heating, cooling, and power plants. (1) Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the department may sell any state−owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state. Notwithstanding ss. 196.49 and 196.80, no approval or certification of the public service commission is necessary for a public utility to purchase, or contract for the operation of, such a plant, and any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest and to comply with the criteria for certification of a project under s. 196.49 (3) (b).

Posted by: whereareweandwhatarewedoinginthishandbasket | February 21, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse

jnc4, indeed. Though the details of each country's situation are all very different, there is one thing that is the same, centuries of absolute monarchy or military/dictatorial control of the apparatus of the state and utterly corrupt economic systems/wealth distribution mechanisms. Unfortunately this also means the flowering of what we recognize as democracy is most improbable. One protester just tweeted, "We don't want foreign (and western) intervention, only condemnation and humanitarian aid." Ok, bon chance.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 21, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Koch slashed jobs at their Green Bay plant

Officials at Georgia-Pacific said the company is laying off 158 workers at its Day Street plant because out-of-date equipment at the facility is being replaced with newer, more-efficient equipment. The company said much of the new, papermaking equipment will be automated. [...] Malach tells FOX 11 that the layoffs are not because of a drop in demand. In fact, Malach said demand is high for the bath tissue and napkins manufactured at the plant.

Koch Industries was one of the biggest contributors to Walker’s gubernatorial campaign, funneling $43,000 over the course of last year. In return, Koch front groups are closely guiding the Walker agenda. The American Legislative Exchange Council, another Koch-funded group, advised Walker and the GOP legislature on its anti-labor legislation and its first corporate tax cuts.

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/18/business-teaparty-wisconsin/

Boycott these Koch paper products:

Quilted Northern
Angel Soft
Brawny
Sparkle
Vanity Fair
Dixie Cups
Mardi Gras

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 21, 2011 4:17 PM | Report abuse

"Gov. Walker press conference at 6:00 PM Eastern. "

Interesting. I wonder if we'll be able to see the Koch brothers' arms up his arse pulling the levers to make his mouth move.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | February 21, 2011 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I support labor, and I support labor in Wisconsin. We need labor to counter-balance the effect wealth has on politics. This is, as Plum says, basically an oligarchic nation, not a democratic republic. The rights of all workers suffer when labor becomes powerless.

However, I have severe misgivings about the flee-to-avoid-a-vote tactics used by the Wisconsin Democratic legislators. What goes around comes around, and this tool may someday serve the Conservatives.

Posted by: samsara15 | February 21, 2011 4:18 PM | Report abuse

See, The Guide was prescient when he hired the forty (virgins of course) woman Amazonian Body Guard..."influential Muslim cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi told the al-Jazeera TV network that any Libyan soldier who has the oppotunity should shoot and kill Col Gaddafi."

Posted by: shrink2 | February 21, 2011 4:20 PM | Report abuse

@shrink2 "jnc4, indeed. Though the details of each country's situation are all very different, there is one thing that is the same, centuries of absolute monarchy or military/dictatorial control of the apparatus of the state and utterly corrupt economic systems/wealth distribution mechanisms. Unfortunately this also means the flowering of what we recognize as democracy is most improbable. One protester just tweeted, "We don't want foreign (and western) intervention, only condemnation and humanitarian aid." Ok, bon chance."

Mohamed Bouazizi, the protester who set himself on fire in Tunisia and started all of this should be Time Magazine's Man of the Year for 2011.

Posted by: jnc4p | February 21, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

No, schrodingerscat, the Koch brothers learned from the mistakes of Soros controlling Obama via TelePrompter and have hired Terry Fator instead.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 21, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

How much money did these things cost us again? Anyone on either side cut the budget of Homeland Security yet?

""An undercover TSA agent was able to get through security at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport with a handgun during testing of the enhanced-imaging body scanners, according to a high-ranking, inside source at the Transportation Security Administration.

The source said the undercover agent carried a pistol in her undergarments when she put the body scanners to the test. The officer successfully made it through the airport's body scanners every time she tried, the source said.

"In this case, where they had a test, and it was just a dismal failure as I'm told," said Larry Wansley, former head of security at American Airlines. "As I've heard (it), you got a problem, especially with a fire arm."

Wansley said covert testing by the TSA is commonplace -- although failing should be rare.""

http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local-beat/TSA-Agent-Slips-Through-DFW-Body-Scanner-With-a-Gun-116497568.html

Posted by: lmsinca | February 21, 2011 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Libya’s U.N. Diplomats Break With Qaddafi

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/world/africa/22nations.html?hp

Excerpt:

"Members of Libya’s mission to the United Nations renounced Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi on Monday, calling him a genocidal war criminal responsible for mass shootings of demonstrators protesting against his four decades in power. They called upon him to resign.

The repudiation, led by Libya’s deputy permanent representative at a news conference at the mission’s headquarters in New York, amounted to the most high-profile defection of Libyan diplomats in the anti-Qaddafi uprising that has convulsed Libya over the past week."

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

It is also being reported that two Libyan Fighter Jet Pilots have defected and landed in Malta.

It would have been much better if they had strafed Qaddafi, before departing.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 4:35 PM | Report abuse

I am somewhat surprised that there has not been large protests in Syria so far. It too is ruled by a despotic dynastic family. They also happen to be Shiite rulers over a mostly Sunni population. I wonder why there has been not a lot of unrest there yet?

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 4:42 PM | Report abuse

"Al-Arabiya is reporting that Col Gaddafi is to make an "imminent" speech."

This ought to be a classic.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 21, 2011 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Another One who has undergone a Gallows Step conversion:

From Bloomberg News:

"Jordan's King Abdullah Seeks Rapid Change From New Government Amid Protest"

Yes Abdullah, but are your swift enough to outrun the Tsunami?

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

" When tyrants tremble, sick with fear,

And hear their death-knell ringing,

When friends rejoice both far and near,

How can I keep from singing?

In prison cell and dungeon vile,

Our thoughts to them go winging;

When friends by shame are undefiled,

How can I keep from singing?"

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 4:49 PM | Report abuse

"I wonder why there has been not a lot of unrest there yet?"

Iran.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 21, 2011 4:49 PM | Report abuse

The battle in Wisconsin has subsumed two entirely different issues and confused them to the point where they have become hopelessly meshed. Such confusion has never worked to the benefit of the community. The Wisconsin battle is misrepresented when it is described as being solely about union rights. While union rights are a part of the battle, the unsupportable size of all governments is equally in the mix. Those who think the government is too expensive, too pervasive and needs to be downsized aren't all against unions, but are against the size of governments that have reached a point where they are an albatross around the neck of the community. Average Fed salary 81,258, average private sector 41791, average Fed benefits 50,462, average private benefits 10, 589. from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. What's wrong with this picture? While the long heard cry from public sector workers was for parity, I can only wonder how they would react to retirement and benefit parity. If the point has been reached where union rights can’t be respected without overlooking the question of the disproportionate size and expense of government, then we are in a sorry state indeed.
Citizen Editorial Cartoons http://www.saintpeterii.com

Posted by: saintpeterii | February 21, 2011 4:49 PM | Report abuse

OT:

Indiana GOP lines up behind Lugar's primary challenger

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/senate/indiana-gop-lines-up-behind-lu.html

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 21, 2011 4:54 PM | Report abuse

@mike: "Yeah so, let's take away more of those rights ala Walker."

So, are you supporting Walker in his effort to take away collective bargaining rights? Or are you suggesting I do? Because the latter is not accurate.

@Liam-still: "Kevin Willis has learned to embrace his Inner Koch Sucker!"

Um, okay. You care to offer any clarification, or is just tossing off insults enough to satisfy your need to participate in the discussion?

@DDAWD: "Uh oh, is this one of those instances where a Conservative can't name a single reason a middle class citizen would vote Republican and also doesn't want to admit that his side is buying elections, so he just goes on to call everyone elitist."

Uh-oh. •That• is one of those instances where a Liberal can't come up with a rational retort (or even stay on topic) so constructs and easy to disassemble strawman in order to promptly knock it down and declare victory. :-)

I'm not calling everybody elitist, or trying to make an argument as to why the middle-class should vote for Republicans (the only reason I can, and have, really given in recent memory is this: they are an alternative to Democrats).

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 21, 2011 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Breaking @ CNN:

The Arab League will hold an urgent summit Tuesday about Libya, Egypt's official news agency reports.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 21, 2011 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Wisconsin politicians threw in generous pension plans, in lieu of having to pay teachers what they could earn in the private sector. It was politicians kicking the can down the road, and not the public workers.

Now Hosni Walker wants to renege on the Pension benefits, and at the same time, prevent the Unions from being able to negotiate pay raises, that would close the gap on their compensation levels, compared to the private sector.

If Walker gets what he wants, then as soon as the economy picks up, well educated teachers will quit in droves, to take better paying private sector jobs.

The Kids will end up being the ones who will suffer. Of course isn't that always the case when ever those Republican "Pro-life" hypocrites are involved in determining the future for America's children.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Wow:

Police in Zimbabwe have arrested dozens of political activists and trade union members for allegedly plotting an Egyptian-style uprising in the southern African country.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/02/21/zimbabwe.unrest.arrests/index.html

SUDAN, 3:24 p.m. ET, 11:24 p.m. local: Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir says he will not run for re-election four years from now, a senior member of the country's ruling National Congress Party announced Monday.

"He will also leave his post as chair of the NCP to allow for the transformation of power to a new generation," said Rabi Abd al-Ati. The senior NCP member rejected the notion that al-Bashir's decision was prompted by popular uprisings in the region, including neighboring Egypt.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/02/21/sudan.bashir.re.election/index.html

Stuff is GOIN' DOWN all over the place!

Woo hoo!

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 21, 2011 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Kevin,

You tossed out an insult at me, earlier than that. I did not whine about it, so hitch up your Koch Sucker Big Boy pants, and take it like you dish it out.

You are starting to morph into Skippy.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 5:02 PM | Report abuse

"Mohamed Bouazizi, the protester who set himself on fire in Tunisia and started all of this should be Time Magazine's Man of the Year for 2011."

I also made the argument a few days ago that perhaps it was watching pretty and absurdly innocent 'Neda' exsanguinate, shot as a bystander on the street in Iran by the Basij (no one even knows why), then seeing their popular protest crushed that galvanized these do-or-die-trying movements in the Arab world. I have heard them say again and again variations of, "we are not afraid to die, we will not live like this." People in Damascus and also in Iran, they must still be afraid to die.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 21, 2011 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Um, okay, can Republicans here at least drop the BS and admit that this was a coordinated political assault on unions?

-Union dues in crosshairs of John Thrasher bill-

Sen. John Thrasher, former state GOP chairman, looks like he has filed a bill (SB830) to starve unions like the Florida Education Association, SEIU, AFL-CIO, firefighters, police unions or AFSCME by banning the Democratic-leaning organizations from using salary deductions for political purposes. The legislation also says any "public employer may not deduct or collect" union dues, etc. Lastly, it says that any public employee who didn't specifically authorize the use of his money could be entitled to a partial refund.

The bill doesn't seem to go as far as Wisconsin's by ending collective bargaining rights in Florida, though in a right-to-work state there's only so much union bargaining that can take place. Still, the language about union dues sure looks like it's right out of the play book of the tea party/Wisconsin's Gov. Scott Walker (who incidentally is not a high-speed rail fan, either).

http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/content/union-dues-crosshairs-john-thrasher-bill

The Arab world is on fire protesting for democracy...

...and here in the land of the free, home of the brave, we have the Republican Party attempting to systematically destroy it.

This is truly an unbelievable and historic set of parallel events.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 21, 2011 5:04 PM | Report abuse

@shrink2 ""Mohamed Bouazizi, the protester who set himself on fire in Tunisia and started all of this should be Time Magazine's Man of the Year for 2011."

I also made the argument a few days ago that perhaps it was watching pretty and absurdly innocent 'Neda' exsanguinate, shot as a bystander on the street in Iran by the Basij (no one even knows why), then seeing their popular protest crushed that galvanized these do-or-die-trying movements in the Arab world. I have heard them say again and again variations of, "we are not afraid to die, we will not live like this." People in Damascus and also in Iran, they must still be afraid to die."

It's worth noting that the original guy in Tunis wasn't looking for more political freedom, but simply the ability to earn a living as a street vendor without being harassed by the corrupt police.

Posted by: jnc4p | February 21, 2011 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Yes, if some hard core militant gets killed, they'll still call him a martyr, but in general, the more innocent martyrs are, the better they fly.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 21, 2011 5:08 PM | Report abuse

@Liam: "You tossed out an insult at me, earlier than that. I did not whine about it, so hitch up your Koch Sucker Big Boy pants, and take it like you dish it out."

I repeat: what are you talking about? And point to me where I called you anything equivalent of "Koch Sucker"--or anything like it. You can't, because I didn't. I think, perhaps, the most insulting thing I said to you was: "Well, it's a good thing the only place that happens in any measurable quantity is in your imagination. :-)"

Which, while perhaps something short of unabashed praise, isn't exactly "Koch Sucker".

However, your approach is indicative, perhaps, in regards to the substance of your arguments. Or my ability to parse them, such as they are: I'm still not sure what you're talking about. Do you think I'm affiliated with Koch in some way, or support them, or Walker, or am opposed to public sector unions? Other than thinking that being informed about what home schooling actually is before passing judgement on it is a good idea, I'm not sure what, specifically, were in such tragic disagreement on.

Although I'm sure it's something. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 21, 2011 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Please explain to me why State Government workers need a closed shop union?

If the government is such an evil employer in a monopolistic field (obviously much worse than the private sector as the unionization rate is so much higher). Then it would seem to me that we should get the State Government out of such activities rather than have them employ and abuse employees.

I agree that it is a power struggle - but why are we stacking the deck for the unions against the taxpayers? Maybe we need a taxpayers union. . .

Posted by: NBSackett | February 21, 2011 5:20 PM | Report abuse

"Um, okay, can Republicans here at least drop the BS and admit that this was a coordinated political assault on unions?"

So you are claiming that compulsor/government deduction of union dues is pure politics?

"and here in the land of the free, home of the brave, we have the Republican Party attempting to systematically destroy it."

First, the United States isn't a democracy, nor is any state.

Second, government unions and their enforced collective bargaining "rights," and their enablement by government dues collection and patronage politics, aren't in any sense an expression of democracy (or republican self-government). They are, if anything, a perversion of it.

What you call "democracy" is what happened in November when people voted -- against you liberal wackos. What government unions do is entrnch relationships with government officials through their compulsory dues collection and use of the dues to fund liberal Democrat candidates, who repay them with favors and fat salaries and benefits. They tax the rest of us to use our money to enrich themselves, reward each other, and stick it to the public.

It is classic political corruption on a large scale, most of it taking place right in the open under the false flag of "worker rights." And think about how plain stupid their argument is: where is the threat to their work week, their week end, etc., when they are employed by government -- the same government that enforces the laws establishing the 40-hour week? If this were about "democracy," these people would not be fixated on compulsory unionism and collective bargaining "rights."


Posted by: quarterback1 | February 21, 2011 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Governor Hosni Walker's Wisconsin Ba'ath Party Apparatchiks.

" Fitzgerald cronyism would make Chicago’s Daleys blush"

http://host.madison.com/ct/news/opinion/editorial/article_aea2e338-4164-57e7-85e4-2ef5a4e9b25e.html

"We’ve got a Fitzgerald family member, Scott, serving as Senate majority leader.

We’ve got a Fitzgerald family member, Scott’s brother Jeff Fitzgerald, serving as Assembly speaker.

And now we’ve got a Fitzgerald family member, their dad Steve, taking over the State Patrol.

Steve Fitzgerald just got the $105,678 State Patrol job and will start his new job on Monday.

Much is being made of Steve Fitzgerald’s law enforcement experience, which is extensive. But it is his political experience that merits note now. Fitzgerald, 68, was elected sheriff of Dodge County in 1988. President Bush appointed him in 2002 as U.S. marshal for western Wisconsin, and reappointed him in 2006 for another four-year term. Then Fitzgerald ran again for Dodge County sheriff but lost in the Republican primary last September to incumbent Todd Nehls.

While the elder Fitzgerald has held law enforcement positions, he has never been associated with the State Patrol. In contrast, another applicant, David Collins, has extensive experience as a State Patrol administrator. In fact, Collins has in recent months served as acting superintendent of the State Patrol. The other four applicants also had extensive experience with the state Department of Transportation, which includes the State Patrol."

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

That is one nice little Fascist Police State that Hosni Walker has set up for himself in Wisconsin. He is the one who appointed the Father of the Two Brothers who run both legislative houses, as head of The State Patrol, even thought there were far more qualified candidates at hand"

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Gaddafi is done. You just can't have some of your air corpse* bombing your own capital while still others pilots defect...and think you are going to make a comeback. But this country doesn't even have political parties, not one. All they have are tribes and it will get tribal, if it hasn't already.

*winky

Posted by: shrink2 | February 21, 2011 5:31 PM | Report abuse

As Mr Krugman says its an unfair world. The Koch brothers, George Soros, and other billionaires can afford lobbyists. Major companies and unions can spend money on major political issues. Obama can spend $750 million on a Presidential campaign besting the next closest campaign by $400 million. And he, Krugman, as a voice at the NY Times, has far more influence that I with this little post. But I, as a little person, has some power- in a vote, in my community or in a collective. As such I can support unions when they are in my best interest and not when they are not. As a private sector taxpayer they are not.

Posted by: flyover22 | February 21, 2011 5:31 PM | Report abuse

@Liam-still "That is one nice little Fascist Police State that Hosni Walker has set up for himself in Wisconsin. He is the one who appointed the Father of the Two Brothers who run both legislative houses, as head of The State Patrol, even thought there were far more qualified candidates at hand"

Well, that's what happens when you have a free and fair election. President Obama tried to tell you guys:

"One closing remark that I want to make: It is inexcusable for any Democrat or progressive right now to stand on the sidelines in this midterm election. There may be complaints about us not having gotten certain things done, not fast enough, making certain legislative compromises. But right now, we've got a choice between a Republican Party that has moved to the right of George Bush and is looking to lock in the same policies that got us into these disasters in the first place, versus an administration that, with some admitted warts, has been the most successful administration in a generation in moving progressive agendas forward.

The idea that we've got a lack of enthusiasm in the Democratic base, that people are sitting on their hands complaining, is just irresponsible.

Everybody out there has to be thinking about what's at stake in this election and if they want to move forward over the next two years or six years or 10 years on key issues like climate change, key issues like how we restore a sense of equity and optimism to middle-class families who have seen their incomes decline by five percent over the last decade. If we want the kind of country that respects civil rights and civil liberties, we'd better fight in this election. And right now, we are getting outspent eight to one by these 527s that the Roberts court says can spend with impunity without disclosing where their money's coming from. In every single one of these congressional districts, you are seeing these independent organizations outspend political parties and the candidates by, as I said, factors of four to one, five to one, eight to one, 10 to one.

We have to get folks off the sidelines. People need to shake off this lethargy, people need to buck up. Bringing about change is hard — that's what I said during the campaign. It has been hard, and we've got some lumps to show for it. But if people now want to take their ball and go home, that tells me folks weren't serious in the first place."

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/obama-in-command-br-the-rolling-stone-interview-20100928?page=7

Guess you guys really showed him that you "weren't serious in the first place."

Posted by: jnc4p | February 21, 2011 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Kevin,

You are the one who practices drive by hits, on my comments, and then gets upset when I return fire. Why are so many of you rabid right wingers incapable of posting any self generated comments. Guys like you , Scott C. QB, Skippy etc, appear to be only capable of attacking other people's observations, and rarely post any observations that are not mere reactionary outbursts. You have gotten to the point, where you mostly extract snippets from several different comments, and attach your little attacks to them. Stand on your own two legs, and have an original comment of your own, once in a while.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Yes indeed, it is President Obama's fault, according to another Rabid Right Winger, that Hosni Walker has set up a despotic police state regime in Wisconsin.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 5:38 PM | Report abuse

QB: "First, the United States isn't a democracy, nor is any state."

We're a democratic Republic, which is generally what people mean when they say "democracy". If we mean "direct democracy", we usually say so. I think you're quibbling. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 21, 2011 5:41 PM | Report abuse

@Liam-still "Yes indeed, it is President Obama's fault, according to another Rabid Right Winger, that Hosni Walker has set up a despotic police state regime in Wisconsin."

Nope. He tried to warn you guys. It's the fault of the progressive/liberal Wisconsin voters who stayed home because they were upset with President Obama for one thing or another and wanted to prove a point.

You guys have no one to blame but yourselves.

Posted by: jnc4p | February 21, 2011 5:42 PM | Report abuse

@Liam: "You are the one who practices drive by hits, on my comments,"

Except that I don't, Liam. I asked you to cite an example of what you consider a "drive by hit". If you don't, I'm assuming it's because you can't.

"and then gets upset when I return fire"

Trying to get clarification is not really "getting upset". I'd just like to make sure we're on the same page.

"Why are so many of you rabid right wingers incapable of posting any self generated comments."

Really? Are you serious? Based on *what* exactly am I suppose to treat that as a serious criticism?

"Guys like you , Scott C. QB, Skippy etc, appear to be only capable of attacking other people's observations, and rarely post any observations that are not mere reactionary outbursts."

Normally, I'm reacting to stuff that Greg has posted or someone has said in the comments. Guilty as charged. I kind of see that as what goes on in a comments section on a blog. Although I'm occasionally off topic, I suppose.

"You have gotten to the point, where you mostly extract snippets from several different comments, and attach your little attacks to them."

I dispute the notion that they are "attacks".

"Stand on your own two legs, and have an original comment of your own, once in a while."

Um. Okay.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 21, 2011 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Yikes.

http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/food/10-dirty-fruits-and-veggies-2451593/

"The Environmental Working Group (EWG) studied 100,000 produce pesticide reports from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to create a list of 49 of the dirtiest and cleanest produce."

"Celery
This stalky vegetable tops the dirty list. Research showed that a single celery stalk had 13 pesticides, while, on the whole, celery contained as many as 67 pesticides.

Chemicals fester on this vegetable as it has no protective skin and its stems cup inward, making it difficult to wash the entire surface of the stalk. It’s not easy to find locally grown celery, so if you like this crunchy veggie, go organic.

Peaches
Peaches are laced with 67 different chemicals, placing it second on the list of most contaminated fruits and vegetables. They have soft fuzzy skin, a delicate structure, and high susceptibility to most pests, causing them to sprayed more frequently.


Strawberries
This red, juicy fruit has a soft, seedy skin, allowing easier absorption of pesticides. Research showed that strawberries contained 53 pesticides. Try to buy strawberries at a local farmer’s market for a sweet dessert.

Apples
Apples are high-maintenance fruit, needing many pesticides to stave off mold, pests, and diseases. The EWG found 47 different kinds of pesticides on apples, and while produce washes can help remove some of the residue, they’re not 100% effective.

Blueberries (domestic)
These antioxidant-rich berries have a thin layer of skin that allows chemicals to more easily contaminate the fruit. Domestic blueberries were loaded with 13 pesticides on a single sample, according to the EWG. Imported blueberries also made the list at No. 14 for the dirtiest produce.


Sweet bell pepper
This crunchy, yet thin-skinned, vegetable is highly susceptible to pesticides. According to the EWG, sweet bell peppers showed traces of 63 types of pesticides. While some pesticides can be washed away, many still remain.

Spinach, kale, collard greens
These leafy green vegetables are on the list, with spinach loaded with 45 different kinds of pesticides and kale 57.

In 2006, Dole recalled bagged baby spinach after multiple E. coli illnesses associated with the vegetable made their way across the country.


Grapes (imported)
These tiny fruit have extremely thin skins, allowing for easy absorption of pesticides. And think twice before buying imported wine. The grapes that go into the wine could be coming from vineyards that use too many pesticides.

Potatoes
Have you ever indulged in a potato skin at your favorite restaurant? You might want to think twice before eating the skin. This spud was highly laced with pesticides—36, according to the EWG—that are needed to prevent pests and diseases."

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Kevin,

No, I don't consider it quibbling at all. It's a distinction that matters, and liberals consistently mischaracterize our system as being democratic. That isn't just an accident or innocent shorthand, and reminders are important, imo.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 21, 2011 5:48 PM | Report abuse

jnc, as you know I took umbrage at some parts of Obama's speech you cited for reasons I've fully articulated, perhaps too many times. That said, Republicans think some sea-change happened in November. It didn't. The next chance you get to get in the drivers' seat in this era of the American Imperial Presidency will be 2012 and I'm hearing crickets already.

We'll see who gets out the vote when it matters; we beat The Clintons when they were already planning on moving back in and we just can't wait to see who survives Tampa. Now this isn't meant to be a taunt or to be taken personally, I like you and respect you, I just have to add that given the 'atmosphere' around here.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 21, 2011 5:48 PM | Report abuse

"So you are claiming that compulsor/government deduction of union dues is pure politics?"

What we are seeing is clearly a coordinated political assault on unions by Republicans.

I just find it ironic that Republicans are trying to eliminate the American Middle Class while, simultaneously, socially and economically repressed countries in the middle east are crying out for an expansion of their socioeconomic freedom.

It is not an accident. It is truly an incredible juxtaposition of autocratic rules in the Middle East, and their compatriots here in the American Republican Party.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 21, 2011 5:48 PM | Report abuse

"Uh-oh. •That• is one of those instances where a Liberal can't come up with a rational retort (or even stay on topic) so constructs and easy to disassemble strawman in order to promptly knock it down and declare victory. :-)"

Sorry, I guess you missed the context behind what I said. I guess it was a few weeks ago, we were talking about whether the GOP was buying elections or whether non-Conservatives were simply being elitist by saying so. The point I made was that the whole, "non-Conservatives are elitist
point is much easier to make if Conservatives could point out perhaps a few good reasons why a middle class voter would vote Republican. Keep in mind that the reason would have to be authentic. You can't say it was a concern over deficits since Democrats are better on the deficit than Republicans. In other words, if you claimed the middle class votes Republican because of deficits, it would be evidence of advertising triumphing over policy.

So this basically led to a several hour long attempt for the Conservatives on here to name even ONE reason why the middle class would vote Republican. Each time that question was met with accusations of elitism. It was basically like asking a teenager why it's ok that he burned down the school. (IT JUST IS! YOU'LL NEVER UNDERSTAND!!! though an arsonist teenager likely doesn't watch much Sean Hannity so he doesn't have a reflex to use the word "elitist")

I think we managed to get the Conservative braintrust to eventually give some reason. But it's just funny with how much contempt you people look at the middle class. You expect their votes, but can't provide a reason to do so. And yet somehow, the non-Conservatives are the elitist ones.

But I understand. It's far easier to simply call people elitist rather than to do the hard work of considering what exactly you have to offer the middle class. Sean Hannity isn't going to provide you with that talking point.

KW, if you want to offer your points on what the GOP does for the middle class, I'll listen. If you don't, I'll just take that as an implicit accusation of my elitism. If you're real busy, you don't have to take the time to actually tell me.

But remember, only actual reasons, not pretend ones. So nothing about deficits, nothing about jobs. Dems are far better in those two areas and I'm not pretending this is up for debate. It's not.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 21, 2011 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Kevin;

You are going to exhaust your supply of "um" if you do not learn to post a few comments without using it.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Boycott these Koch paper products:

Quilted Northern
Angel Soft

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 21, 2011 4:17 PM
===========================================

You've already boycotted them, as well as their competitors. Those products are for people who wipe their butts and wash their hands after using the toilet, not for lowrollers like you and Liam.

Posted by: Brigade | February 21, 2011 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Yay. "In Bahrain, the king has ordered the release of some Shia held prisoner, and decreed that others should have their [sedition/treason] trials cancelled."

Posted by: shrink2 | February 21, 2011 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Liam,

Yes. I compiled a similar list for the ladies in my life who run households.

Most of the common produce that you buy in the store contains pesticides. Of almost all of the major fruits and vegetables, over 90% of individual fruits or vegetables contained pesticides.

I haven't bought conventionally grown produce in years. Strictly organic is the only way to go. Thanks for posting that.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 21, 2011 5:54 PM | Report abuse

"Libya's foreign ministry says the leader will speak soon."

Can't wait...I hope he is like drunk or something and falls off the dais...

Posted by: shrink2 | February 21, 2011 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Just amazing how low the discussions go here when Jake, QB, and Brigade show up.

And Greg, you really ought to ban JakeD/clawrence for posting those home addresses, that's inexcusable post-Tucson.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 21, 2011
=========================================

This dipsh*t always seems to know what's posted by the people he claims to have blocked. The howler of the day is him calling for someone else to be banned. What happened to Rainforest? I notice the commie didn't even reference him this time.

Posted by: Brigade | February 21, 2011 5:56 PM | Report abuse

@shrink2 "jnc, as you know I took umbrage at some parts of Obama's speech you cited for reasons I've fully articulated, perhaps too many times. That said, Republicans think some sea-change happened in November. It didn't. The next chance you get to get in the drivers' seat in this era of the American Imperial Presidency will be 2012 and I'm hearing crickets already.

We'll see who gets out the vote when it matters; we beat The Clintons when they were already planning on moving back in and we just can't wait to see who survives Tampa. Now this isn't meant to be a taunt or to be taken personally, I like you and respect you, I just have to add that given the 'atmosphere' around here."

I thought it was worth quoting again, given that apparently Wisconsin has become a "Fascist Police State" as the result of the last election.

Hopefully the State Police will at least get cool new uniforms. I'm thinking something like the Death Star technicians from Star Wars with the big helmets.

You are right that there wasn't a "sea-change" election in November. There was Democratic overreach with the health care law, and a reaction, coupled with the usual ability of liberals and progressives to shoot themselves in the foot when their leaders aren't "pure enough". However, resentment against the benefits (and work rules & termination restrictions) enjoyed by the public employees at taxpayer expense have been building for some time so this isn't new either.

Posted by: jnc4p | February 21, 2011 5:57 PM | Report abuse

"Please explain to me why State Government workers need a closed shop union?"

Of course, the nuts will never try to explain this, because it's all a corrupt scheme of political power and graft. The government unions get the governments to impose compulsory dues payment and even get the government to deduct the dues and send them straight to the union bosses, who give handsome portions back to Democratic candidates -- the same ones who write the union-enriching laws and appoint the bureaucrats who "bargain" with the unions.

It's the unions buying their own bosses, with our money. It's a system of corruption, pure and simple.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 21, 2011 5:58 PM | Report abuse

"You've already boycotted them"

That's true. I would never buy low-grade garbage that is made with carcinogenic toxins like dioxin.

As with produce (see above), I've been using 100% recycled non-bleached, tree-free paper products for several years. That's why some of the big paper producing companies have added "green" product lines (Marcal, Kimberly-Clark). More power to them. But it's actually less because they want to "save the trees" and more because -- despite your Glenn Beck, GOP war against all things "green" -- there is a MASSIVE multi-billion dollar industry in providing sustainable products for people who are socially and environmentally responsible.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 21, 2011 5:59 PM | Report abuse

"What happened to Rainforest?"

Kevin did it. Kevin gave us the choice and we banned him. Or maybe that was his poly-sci research project for University of Phoenix and the data gathering phase is complete.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 21, 2011 6:00 PM | Report abuse

@shrink2

P.S. It's Jeb Bush & Chris Christie as the ticket in 2012.

Posted by: jnc4p | February 21, 2011 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Qaddafi should blame the unrest on Feminists, Pro-Choicers, and Civil Servants, and the Koch Brothers will immediately dispatch legions of Tea Party members to defend him.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 6:00 PM | Report abuse

@Liam: "You are going to exhaust your supply of "um" if you do not learn to post a few comments without using it."

This is where you're wrong! I purchased ten thousand gross cases of "um" back in the early 80s for pennies on the dollar. My supplies of "um" (as well as my equally savvy dealing on a warehouse full of "uh, okay") has me stockpiled well into my nineties.

:)


But, um. If you say so.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 21, 2011 6:00 PM | Report abuse

If Walker gets what he wants, then as soon as the economy picks up, well educated teachers will quit in droves, to take better paying private sector jobs.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 4:58 PM
===========================================

Hahahahaha. Most of them couldn't compete in the private sector. Maybe they can become bartenders.

Posted by: Brigade | February 21, 2011 6:01 PM | Report abuse

"That said, Republicans think some sea-change happened in November. It didn't."

Yet Democrats pretended one occurred in 2008. How well I recall the months and months of gloating on this very blog about how the GOP was permanently finished and no more than a regional, southern, "rump" party of rednecks that would never again have electoral significance.

So either that was bunk or there was another sea change. Gee, which d'ya think?

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 21, 2011 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Must be a spring thaw, that has flooded the sewers, and flushed Brigade out!

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 6:05 PM | Report abuse

I haven't bought conventionally grown produce in years. Strictly organic is the only way to go. Thanks for posting that.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 21, 2011 5:54 PM
.................

I am going to make a fortune with my new line of flavored pesticides. Kids will love them for breakfast. It cuts out the middle man, by skipping all that crop planting and harvesting.

100% genuine pesticides. Yummy!

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 6:10 PM | Report abuse

qb, that was bunk, the people who said the Rs were finished because Obama got elected were silly. But I said they wouldn't be back in power at the national level until 2016 and by that I mean, either both houses of Congress, or the White House or both. Either way, we're a two party system that will keep cycling.

jnc, 2016, I'm buying that ticket, 2012, not a chance.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 21, 2011 6:12 PM | Report abuse

"What we are seeing is clearly a coordinated political assault on unions by Republicans."

Not a very effective dodge. You said it is a political assault because it targets dues collection. It's okay. We understand; you unwittingly admitted the underlying truth that the dues racket is purely a political power scheme used to entrench union interests at the public's expense.

"It is not an accident. It is truly an incredible juxtaposition of autocratic rules in the Middle East, and their compatriots here in the American Republican Party."

You're dwelling in an alternate reality. What is happening in states here is the the operation of the legitimate, ordinary process of legislation and self-government. It's the government unions that are challenging and compromising the American system of self-government.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 21, 2011 6:12 PM | Report abuse

@DDAWD: "KW, if you want to offer your points on what the GOP does for the middle class, I'll listen."

I don't think the Republicans offer much to the middle-class, other than being an alternative to Democrats, who I also don't believe seriously offer much to the middle-class. I think sometimes, via the battle between sides, some legislation that is of some benefit happens, eventually. In each case, one side acts as a constraint while another acts as the momentum against the constraint. The result is imperfect, but better, I think, than one party unconstrained, or one part with no momentum for initiative or change.

"But remember, only actual reasons, not pretend ones. So nothing about deficits, nothing about jobs. Dems are far better in those two areas and I'm not pretending this is up for debate. It's not."

I don't think other side is very good in that regards, although the Republicans have certainly been worse about the deficit, and seem (so far) to be as unserious about jobs as the Democrats. From my perspective. I personally believe that the Republicans are better in regards to domestic energy exploration (which I support), and in regards to not banning lightbulbs. If the Democrats didn't hate incandescent light bulbs, I might feel differently about them.

I think most politicians, in both parties, tend to be elitist by nature. But in the case of my original comment, I was reacting to Krugman, not defending Republican politicians particularly, or attacking Democratic ones.

I'm ambivalent about public union busting. I'm looking at a great distance from Wisconsin, but I don't see how Walker doesn't end up doing damage to the GOP in that state, thus getting himself kicked out. Chris Christie he is not.

Furthermore, I think there's real problem with identifying something you don't like (unions! taxes! Republicans! the income gap!) and then crafting policy as if you somehow get rid of unions, or get rid of all taxes, or get rid of all tax cuts, or erase the disparity between rich and poor will make every other thing fall into place . . . it's a bad idea. Acting as if there aren't good reasons for public sector unions, or tax cuts, or roving wiretaps . . . is also, in my opinion, a bad idea.

But, back to the top, as in reasons to vote for Republicans, well . . . Republicans or Democrats, if you want middle-class votes and you're a politician, that's your job to earn 'em. I'm not helping you!

I think people should vote for the politicians they think will do the best job. If the Republicans haven't earned your vote (or, have earned a vote against them), for you . . . fair enough. Vote accordingly.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 21, 2011 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Al Jazz reports a group of Libyan Army officers issued a statement urging fellow soldiers to "join the people" and help to remove Col Gaddafi. A full scale mutiny. Meanwhile, the current broadcast on Libyan State TV: a full costume musical/dance performance.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 21, 2011 6:18 PM | Report abuse

@shrink: "Or maybe that was his poly-sci research project for University of Phoenix and the data gathering phase is complete."

Performance art needs an audience!

He may have found a more rewarding venue, though.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 21, 2011 6:19 PM | Report abuse

@qb: "No, I don't consider it quibbling at all. It's a distinction that matters, and liberals consistently mischaracterize our system as being democratic. That isn't just an accident or innocent shorthand, and reminders are important, imo."

Fair enough. I complained about Garrison Keillor in Homegrown Democrat, constantly using the term "simple democracy of . . . " x when talking about enforced equality of outcomes which, I'm pretty sure, is not actually democracy.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 21, 2011 6:22 PM | Report abuse


Some of the more lucid liberal comments from today:

==========================================

The Wisconsin Democrats are mostly a collection of useful idiots, who are erecting the scaffolds that will be used to stretch their own necks. That is why I have labeled them; A Bunch Of Stupid Koch Suckers.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 1:43 PM
========================================

I'm a Koch Sucker.

Wheee!!

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 21, 2011 2:32 PM

========================================

The Wisconsin union members are just a bunch of witless steerage passengers, who can not comprehend that the ship is sinking. I believe that all I have to do is keep on singing Nearer Your Koch To Me, and I will not choke.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 2:14 PM
===========================================

Posted by: Brigade | February 21, 2011 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Brigade,

"This dipsh*t always seems to know what's posted by the people he claims to have blocked. The howler of the day is him calling for someone else to be banned."

Indeed. And it's precious how he styles himself a PL gatekeeper and arbiter of decency in commenters. His achievements in phoniness, hypocrisy, presumption, vanity, self-delusion, and sheer moral depravity are unequaled.

If I could reverse troll-hunt myself to keep him to his own word, I would.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 21, 2011 6:26 PM | Report abuse

"Given this reality, it's important to have institutions that can act as counterweights to the power of big money. And unions are among the most important of these institutions." P Krugman. Not only big money in my mind but big power and influence as well.

So tell me how a public sector union fights big money (or power or influence). The most powerful, influential group effecting my life is government and my big single expense is taxes. The union is not reducing the size and or influence of Government. In the fact the reverse is true. The government collect dues for public unions which expands the size, influence, power, and money of government.
Government office holders support by union dues, negotiate lucrative contract for unions to collect more dues, for better contracts. The cycle continues.

If the Steelworkers or UAW contract effects product cost, quality or value I can buy steel or cars from somebody else.
What choice do I have on government cost, service or value?

The public sector union doesn't attack big money. It attacks the private sector taxpayers and concentrates political power which diminishes my vote.

Posted by: flyover22 | February 21, 2011 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Public employee unions do not represent the middle class or average working people. They function to enrich their members at the expense of average people, who are forced to pay their bills with little recourse.

Private sector unions are checked by the possibility of their employer either leaving town or going out of business. Neither is possible with public sector unions. This imbalance is a great threat to the long term viability of a free state.

What we are witnessing in Wisconsin is a variety of corruption, in which a small group (public employees) band together with their political allies to shut down the government itself unless their demands are met (in this case, to exist). They are an extra-constitutional actor working directly against an established, constitutional-level institution (the legislature). That really must be stopped.

If it were just about benefits and working conditions, why wouldn't it be sufficient for legislators sympathetic to public employees to vote them better pay and conditions? That answer is that it's not only about that, but about power--power to influence that state by a non-elected entity. Somebody needs protection, but it's not public employees from a few rich people. It's average people who need protection, from those employed by their government threatening to control it in significant ways.

Posted by: wavygravy | February 21, 2011 6:31 PM | Report abuse

"I don't think other side is very good in that regards, although the Republicans have certainly been worse about the deficit, and seem (so far) to be as unserious about jobs as the Democrats."

Looks like the advertising wins. From the start, Obama and the Democrats have been trying to pass stimulus plans. They passed one which clearly wasn't enough mainly because the dollar amount wasn't that high and so much of it was in tax cuts. This was their agenda from the start.

Republicans have yet to introduce anything resembling a jobs bill. By this point in 2009, the ARRA was introduced, debated, passed by both chambers and signed into law. What are Republicans focused on now? The deficit increasing repeal of the PPACA. A ridiculous hatchet job of a budget. We're looking at 9% unemployment and this seems to be of absolutely no concern to Republicans.

You want to say that Dems and Rs are equally bad at jobs? Of course they aren't. Dems are better and it's not even close.

Since the rest of your posts seems to be all about strawmen (get rid of all taxes, or get rid of all tax cuts) and weird asides (and in regards to not banning lightbulbs. If the Democrats didn't hate incandescent light bulbs, I might feel differently about them. ) and I know you hate strawmen and weird asides, so I won't talk about them.

Although let me say that the reason that we still have tungsten bulbs today is due to focus on recycling and switching to fluorescent bulbs - preserving our dwindling tungsten supplies. But I'm sure all this focus on conservation and recycling is all cuz of the Republicans, right?

Posted by: DDAWD | February 21, 2011 6:35 PM | Report abuse

"He may have found a more rewarding venue, though."

He was a lot more persistent than I thought he'd be. He stayed on long after people started blocking him.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 21, 2011 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Gov. Walker (R-WI) is on right now. CNN is reporting that protests are tapering off. Hopefully, they will stop once the snow starts falling again.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 21, 2011 6:40 PM | Report abuse

I see that Brigade, Plumline's Lobotomized Nelson Muntz, is up to his usual infantile stunt, of changing people's words, and reposting his forged version of them.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Yuval Levin echoes FDR:

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/260241/collective-bargaining-public-sector-yuval-levin


Common sense for which the left has no answer, since they fully recognize the truth.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 21, 2011 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Walker admits that when Democrats turned over
Wisconsin to him, the state unemployment rate was at 7.5%. That is a fantastic number, considering how Bush/Cheney destroyed the national economy, and it also gives the lie to Walker's claim that he needs to end collective bargaining in order to create jobs. Democrats in Wisconsin were already doing that, without engaging in Union Busting.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Horray for Gov. Walker. Being from WI, a small business owner,and a father of 4, we(my wife and i)have no bargaining rights for our health insurance,life insurance,job security,or a pension,other than the amount of money we can invest and still pay the bills(hard to do these days). So why does being a state union member entitle you. These state unoin members have had the good life for some time and i understand where they
are coming from, but we (the private sector) pay for our own pension,health and life insurance,and job security ontop of paying state union workers benefits. It's about time for these state union workers to pull their own weight, in my opinion the only people left standing to pay for this entitlement will be the entitlees . If you loose taxpayers(revenue)who is going to pick up the slack,the remaining private sector and state union workers will as they have done for years. I have 4 college educations to pay for and i am guessing that the price of my childrens education just went up again(thanks union)along with rising tax dollars to pay for teacher benefits(entitlement). State union workers should "Pay your own way",if u can't,too bad, the private sector does year after year even during hard economic times. Just a dollar comparision, i need to clear nearly $100,000 to equal the pay and benefits of a state employee who makes $50-60,000 with benefits and the teachers only work 184 days every school year(under contract), i work 6-7 days a week all year and can no longer support paying for their benefits.

Posted by: UofW | February 21, 2011 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Well it is almost 2am in Tripoli and state TV interrupted the 'Ballet' to say The Guide will come on "soon" and demolish the "vicious rumors" about him...

Posted by: shrink2 | February 21, 2011 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Obama bobblehead and diehard, liberal Democrat, E.J. Dionne, Jr, is telling everyone that the TEA PARTY is winning.

SSSSSSSSssssssssssssssshhhhhhhhhh!

Don't tell Sarge Greg.

His left ventricle would pop.

Dead of a broken heart!

Posted by: battleground51 | February 21, 2011 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Be prepared for Qaddafi to ramble incoherently for about two hours. He goes that long, even when he is supposed to talk for just fifteen minutes.

This would be a good time for those two fighter jet pilots to fly back from Malta and strafe the Arse of that mad man. I suppose he probably has a deep bomb proof bunker now, after Reagan had him bombed back in the 80s.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 7:01 PM | Report abuse

"we (the private sector) pay for our own pension,health and life insurance,and job security ontop of paying state union workers benefits. It's about time for these state union workers to pull their own weight,"

Yeah, but if public employees demand a salary on par with their private counterparts, are you guys willing to give that to them?

Posted by: DDAWD | February 21, 2011 7:01 PM | Report abuse

I see that Brigade, Plumline's brightest star, is up to his usual stuff, changing people's words and reposting his improved version of them.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 6:51 PM
=========================================

Your gibberish simply makes no sense until someone fixes it.

Posted by: Brigade | February 21, 2011 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Brigade, Plumline's Lobotomized Nelson Muntz strikes again; Hah Hah!!!

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, but if public employees demand a salary on par with their private counterparts, are you guys willing to give that to them?

Posted by: DDAWD | February 21, 2011 7:01 PM
========================================

Many of them would be out of work if their treatment was comparable to that of the private sector---and replaced by others more competent. They're already overpaid by comparison.

Posted by: Brigade | February 21, 2011 7:10 PM | Report abuse

I see that Brigade, Plumline's Lobotomized Nelson Muntz, is up to his usual infantile stunt, of changing people's words, and reposting his forged version of them.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 7:11 PM | Report abuse

What a disappointment!

He came on suddenly and said, "I am in Tripoli and not in Venezuela," then disappeared...

I was looking forward to a rant.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 21, 2011 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Qaddafi left speechless. That speaks volumes about how rattled the protests have made him.

I am not in Venezuela is his version of: I am not a crook.

It makes him look like he has been greatly weakened. There will probably be a military coup by Friday, or even sooner.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 7:19 PM | Report abuse

"There will probably be a military coup by Friday."

I hope his body guards don't get hurt, they look pretty sweet, lovely really, though I understand that they're reported to be trained killers, sorta like, he watched too many James Bond movies back in the day (I promise I won't start posting Pussy Galore script snips).

Posted by: shrink2 | February 21, 2011 7:29 PM | Report abuse

shrink,

I think they're more an "In Like Flint" thing.

{{{Jim Coburn, one of the coolest ever!}}}

Posted by: tao9 | February 21, 2011 7:33 PM | Report abuse

DDAWD,I would gladly give that to them,the only problem is that i would get the pay raise they wouldn't. The unions have driven the cost of production up, be it auto makers,cheesemakers, or teachers unions.The problem i see is that you can not afford to increase labor rates or benefit rates if the money is not there. And lets face it, a person working at chrysler or gm putting on a radiator cap is not worth $40-50,000/yr plus benefits compared to a teacher who works part time(184 days)/yr, but an electrician who puts his life in danger every day he works is probably worth that much or more.All i am saying is that the people paying for the union workers benefits are dissappering so they(union workers) should pay their own way.

Posted by: UofW | February 21, 2011 7:35 PM | Report abuse

As Billy Connolly once observed:

"Once they start designing their own uniforms, or asan in the case of the Pope; "red slippers; oh lovely" you know they are feckin' wacked!"

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 7:35 PM | Report abuse

DDAWD,I would gladly give that to them,the only problem is that i would get the pay raise they wouldn't. The unions have driven the cost of production up, be it auto makers,cheesemakers, or teachers unions.The problem i see is that you can not afford to increase labor rates or benefit rates if the money is not there. And lets face it, a person working at chrysler or gm putting on a radiator cap is not worth $40-50,000/yr plus benefits compared to a teacher who works part time(184 days)/yr, but an electrician who puts his life in danger every day he works is probably worth that much or more.All i am saying is that the people paying for the union workers benefits are dissappering so they(union workers) should pay their own way.

Posted by: UofW | February 21, 2011 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Oil. Always the Oil.

Remember that the British Government freed the Lockerbie Bomber, because BP wanted them to do so, in order to win a big oil contract from Qaddafi.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Nonsense, that was done for humanitarian reasons because they knew he would stop dying of cancer if he returned to Libya and...they were right.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 21, 2011 7:56 PM | Report abuse

UoW, first of all, I'm firmly against Walker's plan because of the stripping of bargaining rights. We might disagree on specific benefits and compensation, but we can probably agree that they should at least be allowed at a spot at their own bargaining table. No one is compelling the state to accept a deal they feel is unfair. And that's the main concern. The unions have agreed to the reductions in benefits. They aren't willing to have their unions destroyed.

Second, unions have generally taken pay cuts to get these benefits. Essentially, the public would pay them less than market value now and make up for it later. Now, the public doesn't want to make up for it later. Pretty raw deal if you spent your life working as a public employee at less than market rate.

That being said, the economic problems aren't the fault of the people of Wisconsin. Everyone needs to make sacrifices.

What's criminal is that the unions are being asked to give up what they were promised while the upper class is getting showered with tax cuts. This is not shared sacrifice. I'm fine with public employees getting reductions in benefits, but right now the burden is being placed on the people who have lost their jobs and middle class workers. This is just wrong.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 21, 2011 7:59 PM | Report abuse

And don't forget the Democrats left Wisconsin with a much lower unemployment rate that most other states, so Walker is lying through his teeth about his reason for wanting to destroy the Unions.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 8:09 PM | Report abuse

ASAP the Dems in WI need to start pushing for a legislative vote on eliminating Collective Bargaining AFTER the 2012 elections. Walker is over-reaching on his mandate for a balanced budget and that is becoming clearer and clearer to people watching this. The unions agreed to go along with Walkers budget-related proposals; just not the CB. The people in Wisconsin are starting to wake up to this fact. So, put out there that the vote should happen later and in the meantime both sides can organize.

If the Dems and the Unions laid it out this way, they are well positioned for 2012 regardless of the outcome now.

This strategy can work across the country. Make the GOP prove this mandate in the 2012 elections when Obama is at the top of the ticket and the unions have 2 years to seriously organize.

The window to stake out this position is closing fast in Wisconsin.

Posted by: matt_ahrens | February 21, 2011 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Private sector unions negotiate for their members vs. Companies

Public sector unions negotiate for their members vs. the People.

Posted by: TominColorado | February 21, 2011 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Tom In Colorado is a master of the obvious.

Regardless; Unions engage in collective bargaining with their employers, be it a private corporation or some government entity.

I know that the school teachers' union in my district does not engage in collective bargaining with me or my neighbors.

Apparently some Grifters out in Colorado have conned Tom into negotiating with them.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 21, 2011 8:29 PM | Report abuse

well matt_ahrens, the newly elected governor of Wisconsin DID campaign on exactly the legislation they will eventually vote on. As Barack has said on more than one occasion, elections have consequences. If the Democrats believe they can thwart this by staying away the remaining republicans can simply vote on those elements of the bill that don't impact the budget (i.e., annual votes to retain union membership, which is the real issue that unions are decrying.)

The unions are screwed, as they should be. The push for more, no matter the consequences, has come to an end. Good riddance.

Posted by: liseliz | February 21, 2011 8:54 PM | Report abuse

The Dems alsom left us 3.6 BILLION in the hole, not all their doing by any means,what was left was a huge hole to climb out of. The voters(union and private) elected a change and we are seeing that change. I believe that a state union employee should have to pay their own retirement,health and life insurance,and have the same bargaining rights as the private sector,which is job performance. Bargaining rights in the private sector amount to what one can afford and how well the job is done. The state union employees job performance should be their bargaining chip(as an individual not a collective union). What's criminal is that i have to pay my own way plus have to contribute to an entitled group such as the state union employees who believe that they have the right to bargain as a group at the private sectors expense.

Posted by: UofW | February 21, 2011 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Um, okay. You care to offer any clarification, or is just tossing off insults enough to satisfy your need to participate in the discussion?

==

Your post trying to curry resentment against "union leaders" as a distraction from the legitimate role unions play in worker representation was an utterly vile act of manipulation.

You should be ashamed, but you won't be, your ideology repudiates shame along with morals.

No good news coming out of America,

Posted by: caothien9 | February 21, 2011 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I'm really baffled by this. People claiming rich guys should get to keep the money they earned through tax cuts, but middle class workers shouldn't get to keep the money and benefits they were promised??

Well, it's not that confusing, I guess. Union workers don't get their own cable shows.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 21, 2011 10:13 PM | Report abuse

No good posts coming out of Vietnam.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 21, 2011 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Note the reflexive pitting of worker against worker .. public employees versus private, u ion leaders versus union members. The winning framing of the issue will be all workers, public and private, rank and file and officials, against the wealthy beneficiaries of Walker's tax cuts.

That's the ball to keep the eye on. Yes this is class warfare, make no mistake about it, and the conservative wealthy are going for extermination. The middle class owes its very existence to labor organization and it's the middle class that's under attack here, attacked by a hyper-wealthy upper class that wants to restore the natural feudal order that prevailed before labor organization.

Masters and serfs.

And, yes, as someone noted above, do some research on what life was like for working people before unions. The grinding poverty, the despair, the unheated homes.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 21, 2011 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Wisconsin State Senator, Jon Erpenbach has admitted that he is in Chicago and cannot return because, under Wisconsin law, the State Patrol can "compel" them to vote. If these Dems can do interviews with the lamestream media, then they should be able to be tracked by law enforcement and/or bounty hunters.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 21, 2011 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Funny time for news ... democracy breaking out in the Muslim world, disintegrating in America.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 21, 2011 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Cao, I tend to think you go over the top a lot, but not this time. This is a pure attack on the middle class. Nothing less. It's about breaking unions and taking away the strongest collective power the middle class has.

I'm glad this is getting so much attention. Republicans have been successful at chipping away at the middle class, but this is just a huge grab. I am sure that it will fail now.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 21, 2011 11:10 PM | Report abuse

"Funny time for news ... democracy breaking out in the Muslim world, disintegrating in America."

If that's democracy, I'll take a little ruin.

http://charlesrowley.wordpress.com/2009/12/08/a-great-deal-of-ruin-in-a-nation/

Mr. Obama has not yet strafed Columbus.

Posted by: tao9 | February 21, 2011 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Thanks (I guess) for that concession, DDAWD. I'm surprised this is getting so much press and I hope the discussion coming out of it helps people realize just how much is at stake.

And at the risk of going over the top again, I remain perplexed at how anyone not in the multimillionaire or higher brackets could think he has a stake in seeing the unions lose. Anyone who has to show up at work has interests congruent with the unions and at odds with the millionaires whose tax breaks are on the other side of this fight. I reiterate: the political allegiances of people who stand to lose here with the Republican governor signifies a fundamental breakdown of the process of democracy, the informed self-interest of the electorate.

I guess that's what happens when "informed" is supplanted by "prejudiced." Look at all the posts about "union bosses" and resentment of public sector workers who have negotiated their benefits in good faith. There is nobody reading this blog whose self-interest is aligned against the unions. But it's long past time trying to figure out why people would behave this way, time to accept the fact that they do, and thwart them.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 21, 2011 11:45 PM | Report abuse

@DDAWD: "Looks like the advertising wins. From the start, Obama and the Democrats have been trying to pass stimulus plans."

Which was "the advertising", as far as I can tell.

"They passed one which clearly wasn't enough mainly because the dollar amount wasn't that high"

Except for the part where it was the largest stimulus ever.

"and so much of it was in tax cuts"

Temporary credits. Not cuts. Hate to quibble, but language.

"This was their agenda from the start."

The agenda of the super-intelligent, ultra-evil Republicans who outwitted the most awesome democrats ever and fooled them into passing this just-barely-not-enough legislation so they could . . . sign over the world to the Koch brothers, I guess?

Maybe. They didn't seem serious about trying to get something positive done then, to me, and don't now. And I'm talking about the Republicans, but I guess I could mean the Democrats, too.

"Republicans have yet to introduce anything resembling a jobs bill."

Correct! Why, that resembles •my• complain most auspiciously!

"By this point in 2009, the ARRA was introduced, debated, passed by both chambers and signed into law."

Well, you were won over by the advertising, I was not. You may be right, I'm wrong. Unserious giveaways to lobbyists, donors, and rich powerful people was not my idea of a sincere jobs bills. Unemployment went up, not down, but I'm assured it would have been totally worse without the ARRA.

That being said, it was, at least, more than the Republicans have done, thus far. Which isn't saying much.

"What are Republicans focused on now? The deficit increasing repeal of the PPACA."

Not the best use of their time, though I don't think the PPACA is a great bill, per se, or deficit reducing. But there are bigger fish to fry.

"A ridiculous hatchet job of a budget."

Fair enough.

"We're looking at 9% unemployment and this seems to be of absolutely no concern to Republicans."

In regards to those elected to public office, I'd say you're probably right.

"You want to say that Dems and Rs are equally bad at jobs? Of course they aren't. Dems are better and it's not even close."

Well, you might say "the advertising wins", then. I'll just say we're going to have to agree to disagree.

"Since the rest of your posts seems to be all about strawmen (get rid of all taxes, or get rid of all tax cuts)"

Those aren't strawmen--their like callouts, or nut graphs. A quick slideshow to review the history. I try to represent both sides equally. It's actually an extremely egalitarian approach.

"and weird asides"

Hi, I'm Kevin. Have we met?

"and I know you hate strawmen and weird asides"

They weren't strawmen, darn it! And I have never said anything bad about weird asides, ever, that I can think of. But they have to be truly weird.

"Although let me say that the reason that we still have tungsten bulbs today is due to focus on recycling and switching to fluorescent bulbs"

Love recycling. Hate lightbulb ban. Love CFLs. Hate ban.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 21, 2011 11:53 PM | Report abuse

@cao: "I remain perplexed at how anyone not in the multimillionaire or higher brackets could think he has a stake in seeing the unions lose. Anyone who has to show up at work has interests congruent with the unions and at odds with the millionaires whose tax breaks are on the other side of this fight. I reiterate: the political allegiances of people who stand to lose here with the Republican governor signifies a fundamental breakdown of the process of democracy, the informed self-interest of the electorate."

Public sector unions apparently aren't very good with the PR. People who know better apparently are terrible at education those who do not.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 22, 2011 12:00 AM | Report abuse

@ UofW

As a teacher in a low performing school, what exactly is "job performance" to you?

Is it coming to school everyday prepared?
Making sure all my kids pass state tests?
Creating individualized instruction for each student?

Because if it's just about the tests, we aren't really teaching students anything.
What about the parents who can't help their child with their homework, so the kid can't succeed as well. Or the ones who go home to broken homes? Those without school supplies? those in my classroom that happens to lack heat, insulation, and any parent volunteers. So with all of these other causes, I should be fired because I'm not doing a good enough job? Sounds like a GREAT way to keep your employees.

How would we ever get anyone to teach IF they could be fired due to the actions of society, their students, and their parents, but not them? Who wants to work in a failing school if you'll simply be fired?

Seems pretty dumb to me.
Oh yea, and me working "part time" is bull. It's midnight here on the east coast, and I've been working since 5 for stuff for my class tomorrow. Oh, and thats how late I go to bed each day. I may not work 2 months out of the year, but I'm fairly certain I give it back, unpaid, the rest of the year, since I essentially work 8am - midnight each day (minus hour long commute, lunch, and dinner)

So yes, I work 10 months out of the year. I work my behind off that entire time. I think I get some vacation, which is nearly impossible, and irresponsible of me, to take during the school year.

Posted by: Rufusgoofus | February 22, 2011 12:01 AM | Report abuse

@DDAWD: "Yeah, I'm really baffled by this. People claiming rich guys should get to keep the money they earned through tax cuts, but middle class workers shouldn't get to keep the money and benefits they were promised?"

Some of us are for both things. Does it make sense to argue that middle class workers should get to keep the money and benefits they were promised, but that rich people shouldn't get to keep money they earned?

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 22, 2011 12:01 AM | Report abuse

@DDAWD: "Yeah, I'm really baffled by this. People claiming rich guys should get to keep the money they earned through tax cuts, but middle class workers shouldn't get to keep the money and benefits they were promised?"

Some of us are for both things. Does it make sense to argue that middle class workers should get to keep the money and benefits they were promised, but that rich people shouldn't get to keep money they earned?

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 22, 2011 12:01 AM | Report abuse

Yeah DDAWD, love the "elitist" thing, don't you? It's such an all-calories-no-nutrition accusation. All implication, no substance.

Euphemism of course for "educated," stoking the resentment of those hordes who didn't understand algebra. And what's the opposite of elitist? Who is arrayed on the other side? Well, it isn't the people being screwed by the attack on worker's rights. Hmmm.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 22, 2011 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Some of us are for both things. Does it make sense to argue that middle class workers should get to keep the money and benefits they were promised, but that rich people shouldn't get to keep money they earned?

==

How do you figure "earned?"

Maybe I'm old fashioned but I think of earning as the fruit of labor, be it toil or innovation. Just doesn't sit well with me to lobby for tax breaks and treat with the same aplomb as labor.

I think progressive taxation makes clear moral sense. And it is vital ton the preservation of democracy to prevent the concentration of wealth.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 22, 2011 12:15 AM | Report abuse

Rufusgoofus, maybe you shouldn't be posting here and sleeping instead?

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 22, 2011 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Vital ton?

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 22, 2011 12:30 AM | Report abuse

""This was their agenda from the start."

The agenda of the super-intelligent, ultra-evil Republicans who outwitted the most awesome democrats ever and fooled them into passing this just-barely-not-enough legislation so they could . . . sign over the world to the Koch brothers, I guess?"

Dude, do you even read what I write or do you just copy and paste your lines from a spreadsheet or something??? Just because I use the word "agenda" doesn't mean I was referring to Republicans.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 22, 2011 12:41 AM | Report abuse

"Euphemism of course for "educated," stoking the resentment of those hordes who didn't understand algebra. And what's the opposite of elitist? Who is arrayed on the other side? Well, it isn't the people being screwed by the attack on worker's rights. Hmmm."

Actually, "elitist" has become a euphemism for "I have no reason for people to vote for my club, but I also don't want to admit that people are likely doing so because of 24-7 cable news and an unlimited advertising budget"

Posted by: DDAWD | February 22, 2011 12:43 AM | Report abuse

"Over time, organized labor managed to abolish child labor all together, as well as institute an 8 hour work day, 40 hour work week, mandatory breaks, safety guidelines, grievance procedures, a minimum wage, the concept of a work free weekend, workers comp, pensions, health safeguards, and paid sick days, vacation days, and holidays."

And the demise of organized labor could reverse all these gains.

Worth noting that in industries where unions have made no mark e.g. software development, six- and seven-day work weeks well in excess of 40 hours are the expectation, and in fact termination for missing a Saturday is all but the rule at places like Microsoft. I know one guy who had a head injury one Saturday and when he showed up Monday in stitches and bandages he was fired on the spot.

You guys who think you're so tough-minded and independent really ought to learn more about workers' life before unions and ask yourselves if you really want to return to that.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 22, 2011 12:48 AM | Report abuse

Isn't the Bush family (Skull & Bones @ Yale no less) "elitist"?

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 22, 2011 12:51 AM | Report abuse

"How do you figure "earned?"

Maybe I'm old fashioned but I think of earning as the fruit of labor, be it toil or innovation. Just doesn't sit well with me to lobby for tax breaks and treat with the same aplomb as labor.

I think progressive taxation makes clear moral sense. And it is vital ton the preservation of democracy to prevent the concentration of wealth."

I don't really care how people get their money aside from crime and exploitation. And if it were feasible to continue running a deficit forever, I'd be all for reducing the tax burden on everyone to zero. Problem is that we can't run deficits forever. We need to pay for the military. We need to pay for social programs. We need to pay for infrastructure. Not having these things is not an option. Not paying for these things is not an option either. Conservatives like to frame taxation of the upper class as some kind of class warfare or vengeance. That's because they are idiots who can't support their beliefs, so they make it into some moral argument. A graduated tax bracket is a pragmatic way of getting the money we need to pay for military, social, and infrastructure programs in a way that has the least economic impact. It's about doing what's best for the country and continuously clamoring for further and further tax cuts for the rich is simply counterproductive to the goal of an economically sound nation.

This is why I vote Democrat. They aren't perfect, but they generally have gotten their economic theory right with errors in the margin. What astounds me is that the Republicans are such a viable political party, yet their economics are completely bass ackwards. I mean, really? Unemployment is at 9% and all of a sudden you want to start slashing the budget??? It just goes to show how ignorant much of the population is that Conservatives aren't laughed out of the room every time they open their mouths. They aren't just kind of wrong. They are so far off base that it's just mind-blowing.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 22, 2011 12:58 AM | Report abuse

Gallup finds 14 solidly Democratic states in 2010, based on their residents' party affiliation, down from 30 in 2008. There are now 18 competitive states, up from 10. Maryland, Massachusetts, Vermont, and the District of Columbia are the most Democratic; Wyoming and Utah, the most Republican.

You diehard Democrats can thank Barack and the Pelosites along with all the little, sacrificial Obamacrats for the above fact.

Let's all hear it!! THANK YOU BARACK!!

Posted by: battleground51 | February 22, 2011 6:15 AM | Report abuse

"It just goes to show how ignorant much of the population is that Conservatives aren't laughed out of the room every time they open their mouths. They aren't just kind of wrong. They are so far off base that it's just mind-blowing."

Or it could be that everything you just said is complete bunk, because you don't know what you're talking about. And more and more people are realizing it.

"Conservatives like to frame taxation of the upper class as some kind of class warfare or vengeance. That's because they are idiots who can't support their beliefs, so they make it into some moral argument."

This is the kind of intellectually weighty argument that really advances a discussion. Awesome job.

In any event, you should be happy with the current situation, because economic analyses show that the US has the most "progressive" tax system among developed countries, despite what you characterize as continuous tax cuts for high earners.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 22, 2011 6:16 AM | Report abuse


Barack Hosni Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi:

The AXIS of Democrat destruction!

Posted by: battleground51 | February 22, 2011 6:28 AM | Report abuse

I was driving yesterday afternoon and heard Michael Medved discussing a recent Gallup poll that is fascinating.

Republicans polled considered the three greatest Presidents to be Reagan, Washington, and Lincoln, but Democrats ranked the three greatest as Clinton, Kennedy, and Obama.

What else is there to say? I'm just sad that Carter didn't crack their top three.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 22, 2011 6:34 AM | Report abuse

It just goes to show how ignorant much of the population is that Conservatives aren't laughed out of the room every time they open their mouths. They aren't just kind of wrong. They are so far off base that it's just mind-blowing.

==

But these sorts of arithmetic- and history-defying ideas *were* laughed out of the room .. until about 1980. Suddenly logic went out the window, evidence became the stuff of overeducated "elitists," and membership in the new Conservative Club required passing an initiation consisting of repeating this junk without busting out laughing.

Yea, the wealth will trickle down. Cutting taxes will actually increase revenue. What's good for the top 0.1% is good for everyone.

So the global Keynesian consensus with its "pretty good" track record was jettisoned in favor of a new system where the numbers don't work and the practice has failed to notch up a single success. But the more it fails, the longer it goes without working, the more firm the conviction of the Conservatives. Deficits and recessions? Look! The market worked!

And true to form, right after you comes that dịckhead QB doing by way of rejoinder exactly what he groundlessly accuses you of. This is the nitwit who claims he "studied Keynes but found him wanting/" Does anyone believe that? Show of hands. Like hell.

So the noble experiment that was America, the triumphal crowning of the 18th century, goes sour at the end of the 20th and goes into the 21st with the core rotting out, the crown of the tree already dead, eaten away hollow, one minor calamity away from collapse. The financialization all but wrapped up, irrecoverable, a transcontinental banana republic where a few hundred families have almost all the wealth and nearly half of children live in poverty.

And you can bet your last two pennies that when the collapse comes the idiot Conservatives will crow their triumph.

Look! The market worked!

Bah.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 22, 2011 6:40 AM | Report abuse

All, this is a pretty significant development in the Wisconsin standoff:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/02/first_look_national_unions_lau.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | February 22, 2011 6:43 AM | Report abuse

@cao: ""Euphemism of course for "educated," ""

Actually, it's often a euphemism for claiming to want to give the average, everyday working joe a say in his life while, in fact, not doing anything in the sort--because, frankly, they can't be trusted with the reins of their own lives.

Just a point of clarity.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 22, 2011 7:59 AM | Report abuse

@cao: "But these sorts of arithmetic- and history-defying ideas *were* laughed out of the room .. until about 1980"

FDR was opposed to public sector unions. Was he laughed out of the room? And "history-defying"? We've had public sector unions for 49 years, and serious growth was in the last 70s and 80s (indeed, "until about 1980" is an interesting demarcation point, given the impressive growth of public sector union membership in the 1980s).

@DDAWD: ""It just goes to show how ignorant much of the population is that Conservatives aren't laughed out of the room every time they open their mouths""

Well, we're not. And until you can find some way of actually preventing us from voting, musing about how ignorant and stupid conservatives (and, presumably, anyone foolish enough to disagree with you) are may be emotionally gratifying, but not in the same way November 2010 was emotionally gratifying for many conservatives.

Just sayin'.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 22, 2011 8:19 AM | Report abuse

@qb: ""Republicans polled considered the three greatest Presidents to be Reagan, Washington, and Lincoln, but Democrats ranked the three greatest as Clinton, Kennedy, and Obama.""

That's interesting. (A) for all the liberals talk about their more sophisticated understanding of history, Clinton and Obama beat FDR? Okay, then.

(B) I've seen polls like that before. Democrats really give high marks to whichever Democrat is in power at the moment.

But, their so smart, conservatives are so stupid, don't know anything about history, yada-yada, yawn. Zzzzz.

If I were to compile a list of the greatest Democratic presidents, I'd probably put JFK in there, and FDR. Clinton had a lot of personal issues, but if I left those out, I could see including him. But I'd pick Truman first--he dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, not only (probably) saving millions of American and Japanese lives in conventional, island-to-island combat, but perhaps preventing nuclear weapons from ever being used in combat again.

My personal top three would be Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 22, 2011 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Actually, it's often a euphemism for claiming to want to give the average, everyday working joe a say in his life while, in fact, not doing anything in the sort--because, frankly, they can't be trusted with the reins of their own lives.

==

And it's your belief that they can?

Never ceases to amaze me how two people can look at the same thing and see such different things. Like how one man's pristine wilderness is some jerk's idea of a strip mall waiting to be built.

Kevin, go google up the videos of shoppers waiting for stores to open the day after Thanksgiving last year. At your leisure, get back to me on that "reins of their own lives" thing.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 22, 2011 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Kevin,

As an R, I wouldn't necessarily put Reagan above Washington or Lincoln either (although I have mixed feelings about Lincoln -- he sort of both saved and hurt the country in some ways).

But the D rankings are so obviously emotional and superficial. Kennedy -- Bay of Pigs? Vietnam? Tax cuts? Clinton -- aved from himself by Newt's revolution? Obama??? Okay, he did get the Nobel Prize before being inaugurated, so I guess he might as well be declared great.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 22, 2011 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I have nothing against Union Members but understand that Unions, albeit probably needed, are really nothing but very large corporations worried about their survival and care nothing about their members except the revenue lost if they lose.

Posted by: dnelson8 | February 22, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse

i don't get something. if modern liberal theory is that government can and must be trusted to regulate business and make sure that business plays fair, then why don't liberals trust government to set fair wages and benefits for its own workers without collective bargaining? is government all knowing and all fair, or isn't it?

keevan d. morgan, esq., chicago

Posted by: oakhill1863 | February 22, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I believe there is an immportant role for unions, but everyone hears stories about incompetent teachers that can't be fired because the unions protect them. The problem with teacher's unions is that they place teachers ahead of students, which is not what teaching is supposed to be about.

Posted by: sceptic5 | February 22, 2011 3:49 PM | Report abuse

The taxpayers are busting up something that's coming to bust them.

Sounds like self-defense to me...

Posted by: EnvironMental | February 22, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

The issue in WI is NOT unions. It IS public employee unions who sell their votes to politicians who, in turn, "bargain" employee pay, beneifts and PENSIONS. This is corrupt.

Majority of 4th and 8th graders can NOT read at grade level.

investmentwatchblog.com/doe-two-thirds-of-wi-... - 4 hours ago - Similar

This is NOT the result taxpayers want

Posted by: JohnLeeHooker1 | February 22, 2011 4:09 PM | Report abuse

I will just say right here, right now --
"Liam-still" is an absolute IDIOT.
Holy Cow!! Did someone open the gates to the loony bin?

Posted by: rdb2 | February 22, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Most hilarious left-wing euphemism of the day: "Anti-labor activist." How about "pro-taxpayer, pro-business" activist? By the way, it's not very pro-labor do drive a business or a state bankrupt. Then there aren't any jobs. Good day.

Posted by: rogueoperator | February 22, 2011 4:20 PM | Report abuse

one man's anti-union activist is another's freedom fighter. Unions are organizing for the sake of taking more money from the citizens. It is an assault on equality (favoring the union members) and ought not be allowed in the public sector. bethsaidafigtree.wordpress.com

Posted by: nomasir | February 22, 2011 4:32 PM | Report abuse

The unions we are talking about in Wisconsin don't represent the interests of anyone except their members. Not only that, but by constantly pushing for tax increases and funding the election of democats, who in turn pay them off with oversized wage and benefit packages, they are actually hurting the average working people of Wisconsin and the nation! FDR was opposed to collective bargaining for public employee unions. He knew that it would end in corruption and he was right. The corrupt gravy train being run by the public employee unions and the democrats has to come to end so we can get our fiscal houses in order and get people back to work. The democrats should honor FDR, go back to the Capital, and vote with the Republicans!

Posted by: valwayne | February 22, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

James Taranto and George Will nailed it:

There is a fundamental difference between private- and public-sector workers. A private-sector labor dispute is a clear clash of competing interests, with management representing shareholders and unions representing workers. In the public sector, as George Will notes, taxpayers--whose position is analogous to that of shareholders--are usually denied a seat at the table:

Such unions are government organized as an interest group to lobby itself to do what it always wants to do anyway - grow. These unions use dues extracted from members to elect their members' employers. And governments, not disciplined by the need to make a profit, extract government employees' salaries from taxpayers. Government sits on both sides of the table in cozy "negotiations" with unions.

Posted by: RicardoPobre | February 22, 2011 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Unions in the abstract (as described in this article) are one thing. Unions in real life are something entirely different. When workers are forced to join and their dues are used to support political causes to which they object, then unions become coercive tyrants. The taxpayers should not be bullied by these thugs.

Posted by: CEBFburg | February 22, 2011 5:05 PM | Report abuse

To Public Employees:
Collective bargaining is not a right, it's a gift given you by your employers, the voting public. You have abused both that privileged and the political system to gorge yourselves at the public trough- to the detriment of the common good. Therefore we the people aim to rescind the gift. You have proven yourselves unworthy of our trust and outbenevolence. If you don't like it, GET A REAL JOB.

Posted by: jpat | February 22, 2011 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Liam-still, when I hear the phrase "Fat Cat", I immediately picture a union boss. Don't you?

Posted by: tompinch | February 22, 2011 5:13 PM | Report abuse

I think most traditional schooling could easily be replaced by current technology. Find the best teacher in the United States in each subject and have him or her teach every student in the country via an ipad or similar tablet computer. That would be the fairest, most efficient, and most economical way of educating our kids. No more missed days because of snow or bad weather. No more missed learning opportunities because the teacher was sick or was protesting. No student would have to suffer the disadvantage of having a poor teacher through no fault of his or her own. It would provide the best learning opportunity to all, particularly for those kids who are in poor neighborhoods because they would be learning from the same best teacher as everyone else via their tablet computer. It would save tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer dollars every year in teacher salaries. This is no longer the 20th century. There are better ways of doing things. This type of teaching could be interactive and fun, and could be structured so that kids could accelerate their pace of learning if they were motivated to do so. With our current drop out rate and horrible test scores compared to other nations there is nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Posted by: JJHLH1 | February 22, 2011 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Of course money=power in America. That is why Carly Fiorina is the Senator from CA, Linda McMahon used her million to defeat Blumenthal in CT and Meg Wittman is the govenor of CA. Of course money did not prevail in any of those races. The real power in the real power is not the wealthy but the unions. They have both wealth and numbers. They use that wealth and population base to strong arm the government and companies into bankruptcy. Why are jobs going over seas? because companies cannot compete if they manufacture in the US. Its not just the high salaries they pay but the high taxes they have to pay to support public employee wages and benefits. The unions only care about the middle class if they can take a cut of the workers pay. The real fear for the unions in Wisconsin is the provision that workers could opt out...if being in a union was such a good deal then why would that scare the unions so much.

Posted by: PSOG | February 22, 2011 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Support the Union!

Kill The Bill!

And then after about 12,000 public workers are laid off you can celebrate your victory.

What part of the states are out of money do people fail to understand?

Posted by: TECWRITE | February 22, 2011 6:01 PM | Report abuse

The public union is being supported by a Nazi collaberator. What a surprise.

Posted by: mges123 | February 22, 2011 6:03 PM | Report abuse

when a columinist stoops to quoting Leftwingnut krugman, then they are really in trouble. Elections have consequences. To quote a harvard grad "WE WON", get over it.

The party of Cowards, ie the Dims are jutifiably represented by a Donkey because thats what they are.

Posted by: morphy | February 22, 2011 6:05 PM | Report abuse

How do unions represent the middle class? I don't get it.

Unions lobby against free trade agreements. Isn't it pretty well established that free trade increases economic growth and reduces consumer prices? Isn't that good for the middle class?

Public sector unions make it more expensive to operate governments thus reducing the resources available for education, healthcare and infrastructure. Wouldn't the middle class be better off if more resources could be put directly into those programs?

How do the higher income, property and sales taxes in heavily unionized states help the middle class? Property and especially sales taxes are much more of a burden for the poor and middle class than they are for the wealthy.

Isn't unemployment the most pressing problem right now? If so, then how are "institutions" that artificially increase the cost of doing business good for the middle class? Couldn't companies and governments employ more people at market wages than they do at union wages?

Unions only represent their members and the vast majority of the middle class is not part of that membership. They do not represent the middle class.

Posted by: fallsmeadjc | February 22, 2011 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Tecwrite, you are exactly right, Wisconsin is proof teh union only cares about the dues and not the workers. They would rather lose 12,000 jobs for hardworking members than than power to compel those workers to pay the dues.

Posted by: PSOG | February 22, 2011 6:14 PM | Report abuse

If the public unions lose, does this mean that they and their political lapdogs will finally shut up?

Let's see, if the public unions win... several thousand will be fired in Wisconsin. If the public unions lose, they get to keep their jobs but don't make as much in salary an benefits...

Frankly, I hope they "win" and they all get fired... and then they pass the bill once the unions have had a strong dose of reality.

Posted by: Matt_in_Chicago | February 22, 2011 6:22 PM | Report abuse

MOST OF YOU HAVE MISSED THE POINT!

Don't you get it? IF the union busters win, they, the busters, the fat-rats lose forever!

The union busters are already creating an environment, Cairo-like, Mubarak-like, Qadaffi-like, with one exception that the busters seemingly have not considered: Americans are trained in a high tech/nuclear era.

If there is nothing left to lose to Americans, then why not take it ALL down, fat-rats and all?

That day is coming if the fat-rats continue.

The assumptions by politicians and the fat-rats is that no one will respond violently against them.

They are pursuing a false assumption to their own detriment. Haven't any of the politicians or fat-rats READ History?

Apparently not.

Posted by: gglenc | February 22, 2011 6:25 PM | Report abuse

"Less democratic??" How do you get that? Historically, change at the Congressional level was literally generational.
Think of it, since 1994, the Congress has "flipped" parties either in part or in whole four times in less than twenty years without a drop of blood being shed!!
Sorry, but to me, that's democracy in action.

Posted by: backsds | February 22, 2011 6:34 PM | Report abuse

gglenc...if your post were not so sad it would be funny. In the immortal words of Mike Tyson "you are ludicrous" to compare egyptians making two dollars a day to public employees. A public employee making 70K a year can retire after 30 years without making a significant contribution to his/her retirement. They will get between 75-85% of their pay plus health insurance for the rest of their life (+ cost of living increases...those poor poor souls...how will they survive? Additionally teachers, police and firefighters are allowed to contract back with their employers while still collecting pension benefits..essentially double dipping the system. A 70k public employee has the equivelent in pension and benefits of 3 million dollars saved up when they retire (though they pay almost noting into the system)...a 70k a year private sector employee would have to save every single after tax dollar he/she makes in 30 years just to catch up to the public sector employee by retirement...how have those public employees endured the tyranny?...those poor dears...must be just like living Mubarak's Egypt...what a pathetic joke

Posted by: PSOG | February 22, 2011 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Unions are simply wounded beasts. They aren't looking out for anything other than their own survival. Nothing has changed in 30 years.

Posted by: metanis | February 22, 2011 6:46 PM | Report abuse

lord is the kid an idiot. why don't you just crawl up krugman's rear, greg? "one of the last institutions representing working families..." puh-lease. public sector unions are about their own power, their ability to continue to press the lazy/unproductive/entitled agenda for "civil servants", and getting as much as they can off the backs of the rest of us as possible. these people have no idea what it means to work hard, to fend for yourself, to be responsible. it's high time these thuggish institutions were broken. what you think of that, greg? idiot.

Posted by: subframer | February 22, 2011 6:47 PM | Report abuse

AH,HA,HA,HA,HA,HA,HA,HARDY HAR.
Let me get this straight, the Democrat sitting on the other side of the union bargaining table is going to represent the taxpayers after that same union just gave him his campaign cash and (called in sick) workers so he could get elected??
Pardon me while I laugh out loud!!
AH,HA,HA,HA,HA,HA,HA,HARDY HAR.
Too funny!!

Posted by: backsds | February 22, 2011 7:05 PM | Report abuse

backsds...not only that, but then they have to audacity to tell us that the contract was negotiated in "good faith"...in this case "good faith" means the only people cheated by this fraud is the tax payers.

Posted by: PSOG | February 22, 2011 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Here's the issue: public sector unions don't make sense - you already elected your boss, you don't get the chance to cast another vote when it comes time to make the budget and negotiate pay scales. There's too much conflict there. That doesn't apply to private unions at all. That's too subtle for Krugman, but where's the surprise in that. Unions can give a voice to labor - that's good. Government employees are not labor, they are civil servants, so that doesn't apply. Private sector unions can be good for the middle class - I agree. Great. So where are they? Unions don't exist in the private sector because they don't actually do anything useful anymore. "Because of unions we have..." fine, but what about during the last 50 years? Right now if a company gets unionized, unions get more members, but the company winds up having to support this expensive organization and gets no actual benefit. So it goes out of business, and the number of union members drops again. As long as unions keep driving companies out of business the level of union membership in the private sector can't grow. That is the fundamental issue for unions - how to contribute to companies in the private sector. The public sector unions fiasco is just an attempt to avoid the issue.

Posted by: mnemos | February 22, 2011 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Unions chase employers out of the country. One of the biggest concerns manufacturers take into consideration when deciding where to build a manufacturing plant is the cost of transporting goods to market and raw materials to the plant. The cost of shipping goods by rail should be cheaper than by individual semi. In much of the world it is. However, cargo trains are required by the union to have a fireman on each train. A fireman used to tend the coal fires on steam engines. Now the fireman rides the rails and makes 40-50 dollars an hour. There is a cabboose operator on every train...no caboose anymore...because the caboose operator was responsible for tripping the switches which now are done remotely by computer. Virutally all loading is mechanized and completed by one guy...but that does not keep them from having four union guys, one of which is a foreman, on-site for loading cargo. Its a disaster and its killing business and consumers in this country.

Posted by: PSOG | February 22, 2011 7:31 PM | Report abuse

While Paul Krugman is not America's most astute commentator, Bugs Bunny is America's most astute commentator on Paul Krugman: "What a maroon".

Krugman makes Elmer Fudd look like a genius.

Posted by: muskokaandtahoe | February 22, 2011 7:54 PM | Report abuse

1)If I were the Wisconsin governor, I would fire every teacher who called in sick, without exception.
2)If I were a legislator in Wisconsin, I would introduce right-to-work legislation immediately.

Posted by: MrMeaner | February 22, 2011 8:20 PM | Report abuse

When the PEUs negotiate with politicians, the taxpayer is not represented. The guy actually left with the responsibility to pay up is kept locked outside the negotiation. So "fairness" is never really around as it applies to the poor sucker taxpayer.
THE ANSWER? 100% school choice through the issuance of a tuition voucher for EVERY K-12 student. Give the public employee unions all of their demands. Then force them to compete against non-union (education) shops.
The "party of choice", the Dems, want to deprive you of your choice of schools.
Private school tuition is about 2/3 the cost of public (union-dominated) education. Google it.
There. I just ended budget shortfalls in about 30 states.

Posted by: ziggurat56 | February 22, 2011 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Unions will bleed the taxpayer dry for constant demands of more. Democrats will be bribed. Businesses will leave with the rich and taxes will rise for everyone that is left. We will be Greece. All because of unions.

Posted by: jschmidt2 | February 22, 2011 10:06 PM | Report abuse

No kidding it goes beyond Wisconson. and it goes way beyond the phony but carefully orchestrated trumped-up issue of "Workers Rights" as well.

The fact is that our nation's economy is breaking down as we are facing bankruptcy and our president has contibuted significantly in continuing to bankrupt the federal government so that the federal government is completely unable to bail out the states.

Meanwhile this sorry excuse for a president glibly encourages civil unrest because he calculates that he can use it for political gain regardless of the dire consequences wrought upon the nation as a whole.

When did Presidents of the United States cease to be leaders and statesman and instead become reduced to being craven political hacks? Probably right about the time when half the nation got suckered into electing a community organizer from the corrupt city of Chicago who voted present half the time in his one year of experience as a US senator.

2012 may be to late at the rate these treasonous political cut-throats and their many willing sycophants are destroying the country.

Posted by: HeywoodJabuzov | February 22, 2011 10:21 PM | Report abuse

No kidding it goes beyond Wisconson. and it goes way beyond the phony but carefully orchestrated trumped-up issue of "Workers Rights" as well.

The fact is that our nation's economy is breaking down as we are facing bankruptcy and our president has contibuted significantly in continuing to bankrupt the federal government so that the federal government is completely unable to bail out the states.

Meanwhile this sorry excuse for a president glibly encourages civil unrest because he calculates that he can use it for political gain regardless of the dire consequences wrought upon the nation as a whole.

When did Presidents of the United States cease to be leaders and statesman and instead become reduced to being craven political hacks? Probably right about the time when half the nation got suckered into electing a community organizer from the corrupt city of Chicago who voted present half the time in his one year of experience as a US senator.

2012 may be to late at the rate these treasonous political cut-throats and their many willing sycophants are destroying the country.

Posted by: HeywoodJabuzov | February 22, 2011 10:22 PM | Report abuse

You Inside-the-Beltway media buffoons remain clueless.
Don't you get it YET?
The whining of the union parasites has finally awakened the American taxpayer.
They heard the account of the beyond-obscene salaries of the public sector workers in the Bell, California, municipal government, and the fuse was lit.
Americans all over the country started doing a little digging, and they did not like what they found.
They discovered that the folks whose salaries they pay are making more than they are!
They see a Wisconsin school teacher whose salary averages $54k a year, and then they learn that, with benefits, it's actually $101K annually.
As if that doesn't chap them enough, they subsequently realize that this person is "On Vacation" THREE months out of the year, not including all the official state holidays.
To top it off, they then learn that their kids are NOT learning:
Two-thirds (that's 2/3) of 8th Graders in the Wisconsin School System have reading skills below the Acceptable Performance Level. (source: US Dept of Education website)
The WH needs the unions to shore up its dwindling support.
The unions know this could be their "Last Stand".
They are the dinosaurs of the labor industry, and they are the only ones who haven't yet recognized that.

Posted by: Rocks66 | February 22, 2011 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Unions had their place. Early on, unions played key roles in ending child labor and getting better and safer workplace conditions. That being said, unions have outlived their usefulness. I would be far more sympathetic to the plight of Wisconsin teachers had SEIU, Code Blue and other lobbying groups that have a financial stake in claiming the first part of every union workers' paycheck weren't deeply entrenched. We have already seen how unions killed GM-although the freakish zombie corporation still exists thanks to feeding on the taxpayers' money. Now we are seeing how unionizing the public sector allows the upper hand to union organizers and leaders at every turn. While they claim to represent the rank and file, the millions spent lobbying Congress could have gone to build daycare centers or lower insurance costs for their rank and file. The rank and file don't matter. What matters is consolidating power. Unions want to takeover power from businesses via government fiat. If that happens, the seeping wound of business leaving this country will become a gush of revenue. And the saddest commentary on that is that union leadership Does Not Care.

Posted by: TruBluTopaz | February 22, 2011 10:48 PM | Report abuse

It is high time to bring the un-holy alliance of the unions and the Democrat party that they have totally corrupted to an end. This absolute corruption must end if our great country is to survive.

The American voters spoke loud and clear in 2010 that they strongly rejected the "progressive" (socialist) agenda of the Democrats. The labor unions are merely a wing of that corrupt Party.

ALL states need strong right to work laws, and membership in unions by public employees should be outlawed on a national level. Even FDR opposed unionization of public employees, and with good reason.

Federal labor laws now on the books make labor unions obsolete. The unions should be busted, first for public employees, then for privately owned companies.

The unions have destroyed the US steel industry, the auto industry, and are largely responsible for the migration of US jobs overseas. Their time has come and gone. They are now nothing but a destructive force in America. We would be much better off without them.

Posted by: samadams25 | February 22, 2011 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Here's why I refuse to accept union membership as a teacher.
My Dad worked for a company you may know as Uniroyal. Once upon a time in a smallish state, there was a Keds plant. A few years later there was a tire plant built by the same company. Things were fine for awhile. Both sets of workers were represented by unions. But the economy went bad and Keds weren't in fashion so the plant closed. But since those workers had seniority, the shoe makers were moved to the tire plant and the tire makers were laid off. The result was years of bad tires that nearly closed down the company. My Dad worked as a saleman to industries and had to deal with both sides. In the end, the company nearly went broke. Unions do not care about quality. The do not care about giving a day's work for a day's wages. All they care about is maintaining a flow of money into their coffers to use for political manipulation. The NEA has taken in millions from teachers and in return all teachers have gotten is poor representation and a lot of very well compensated lobbyists. As a teacher myself, I think we can all do better with our money ourselves.

Posted by: TruBluTopaz | February 22, 2011 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Watch out for those oligarchic overlords like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and George Soros. Oh wait, they're good billionairs. The Left are such hypocrits, why does anyone listen to them?

Posted by: wildbillcuster | February 22, 2011 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Dems and unions have lost their supporters.

Cry all you want about it.

When three years of college grads cannot get jobs...homeowners have lost their homes, real unemployment is nearly 20%, there is no way that the people who are still paying taxes can pay any more for union benefits.

Game over.

Posted by: letscheck | February 23, 2011 4:02 AM | Report abuse

From the comments here, you would think that the WaPo had purchased the Huffington Post instead of AOL...

The other part of the story that has received little mention is the forced association ( as opposed to the free association cited so often above) of the Teachers Union members with the union agenda.

You have to join, you have to funnel $1,000 into the union coffers (of which less than $100 is required to run the union activities beyond lobbying) and you have to show up to events or your tenure will not be defended. No coercion there I guess.

The fact that the contributions went to a single party receives no comment here either. The fact that the unions hold no internal guidance polls on how to spend the lobbying money receives no comment here (the teachers that pay the money need have no voice in how it's spent) and the fact that the unions support election-thwarting behavior doesn't even deserve comment here either.

The net is that the only principles of merit for discussion are naked power. I wonder if this group sees any hypocrisy or satiric conflict when they condemn Qadafi's current actions while they are encouraging elected representatives to avoid governmental duties or are coercing people to pay money to support the causes of others choice?

But of course, that's different... he's a bad guy.

Posted by: preposterous | February 23, 2011 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Greg Sargent is doing his part as one of the cogs of the Democrat-Media-Union machine.

Posted by: RomeoHotel | February 24, 2011 12:01 AM | Report abuse

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