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‘Left, Right & Center’: Wisconsin Showdown, Mideast Crackdown, Budget Throwdown

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Posted on Feb 18, 2011
Left, Right & Center

In Wisconsin, in the midst of a deep state budget crisis, thousands of public sector employees have been protesting a bill that would slash their collective bargaining rights. Is this a preview of budget fights to come in other states? Also, House Republicans continue the largest series of spending cuts in recent history—has their enthusiasm taken them too far? And in the Middle East, state security forces have stepped up violence against protesters in Bahrain, Yemen and Libya.

All this, and a couple rants, is on this week’s menu for returning “Left, Right & Center” champs Tony Blankley, Matt Miller and Robert Scheer. Listen in below.



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By jltnol, February 23, 2011 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@ Call Me Roy

The education system is in such disrepair because the current mantra is “LESS
GOVERNMENT”.  Now, which party do you think best aligns itself with that statement ?

Taken to the extreme, which is where the far right would like us to be, there would be NO
money for public education.  Just think of all the corporate tax breaks that could enacted if
the Department of Education just disappeared?  You want your kids to be smart?  Think
home schooling, or do what the RICH do.. expensive private schools.

Teachers care for their students, and if you think otherwise, you’ve never been a teacher. 
How else could you possibly explain the very low pay they receive for a often impossible

Yes, our test scores ARE down… and so the answer to that dilemma is to what?... yeah
thats right.. cut education funding some more… that’ll surely help!

We are fast approaching a society where the rich are rich enough to form their own
governments within their enclaves, shutting out the rest of the peons.

It can’t last forever, and just like in Egypt, ruled by a dictator for years, could it be that the
US if FINALLY ready to throw off the yoke of oppression granted to us by the corporations
that run the country, and the politicians who do their bidding?

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By Sol, February 23, 2011 at 11:18 am Link to this comment

My blood pressure also goes up when I listen to this program that is for sure. I can understand why people are on the right when it comes to believe in the market as their God and all that jazz, but lack of principles and ethics is something I cannot accept as being part of an ideology. Tony show complete disregard for whoever is not in is elite team which is today very common on the right and that was spread as the Truth by George Bush. Matt seems to believe in what is convinient at the time. Bob is the only consistent person in the group. Arianna is fine but I sometimes wonder about her convictions. I am surprised Bob is still in the program. Sometimes I wonder when he is going to just rip Tony to pieces.

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By SteveL, February 23, 2011 at 12:49 am Link to this comment

Remember a few episodes back when Tony did not want the U.S. to get too rough with B.P. for fear of what it might do to the U.K. shareholders of B.P.?  Life must be good in the world of double standards.

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By test, February 21, 2011 at 9:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Robert Scheer produce your own podcast and website. KCRW and the rest of the gang of “Left, Right & Center” are historical for the level they spread’em for corporate dollars.

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By Disgusted, February 19, 2011 at 10:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


This episode (2/18/11) was just mind blowing. Kudos to Robert Scheer for
being able to keep hammering away on the facts in the face of such opposition.
My blood pressure always seems to rise when I listen to this show.

Tony is heartless and removed from reality, about what I expect from the Right
these days. Matt has no convictions and misunderstands the basics, too
obsessed with defining the Center. Arianna is good just never around.

I’ll keep listening.

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By call me roy, February 19, 2011 at 10:03 pm Link to this comment

In Wisconsin, you’ve got teachers closing down the schools via a “sick-out” (Yeah, they really care about the kids they’re teaching). They’re also getting students to march for them, which is disgusting. Parents trust teachers to instruct their kids and they’re using that opportunity to fill their heads with propaganda and use them for their own purposes.
Why all this drama? Because Wisconsin is broke and they’re desperately trying to pay their bills, take back some of the overly generous payments that have been given to unions, and prevent the unions from continuing to break the state’s budget. While everybody else is suffering in a recession and trying to figure out how to pay our bills, the teachers’ unions of Wisconsin want to keep living high on the hog at everyone else’s expense.

America’s education system is in crisis. Test scores show us that students across America are performing at levels far below their peers overseas. In addition to test scores that aren’t up to par, graduation rates are shamefully low. There is no doubt that America’s students deserve better.
In a rapidly changing world, our students are not being taught the basic knowledge and skills they need to succeed. It’s time to get to the root of the problem.
America’s teachers unions — particularly the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers — are the most organized and powerful voices in education politics. These unions continue to block reforms needed to improve our nation’s schools by putting their focus on teachers rather than on the students they teach.
Our education system is in desperate need of reform and it’s time we stop letting teachers unions stand in the way.

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By call me roy, February 19, 2011 at 10:01 pm Link to this comment

Trade unionism is a recent development in public education. During the first 100 years of taxpayer-funded public schools, teachers had no collective bargaining rights, though many enjoyed civil-service protection. While the public schools made steady progress during those years, it’s indisputable that teachers were underpaid and often were moved around like interchangeable parts in a one-size-fits-all system. Many teachers, along with principals and other administrators, belonged to a staid professional organization called the National Education Association, to which the words “unionism” and “strike” were anathema.Inevitably, teachers working in a factory-style system figured they might as well organize themselves into factory-style unions. The struggle was about more than mere bread-and-butter issues—that it was also about improving the quality of public education and strengthening democracy—the contract the UFT signed with the New York City Board of Education nevertheless reflected the traditional industrial model. It set up uniform pay scales and seniority rights for teachers, limited their classroom hours, and required new teachers to be automatically enrolled in the union and have their dues deducted from their paychecks.
Following this example, the once conservative NEA also veered toward militant trade unionism. By the mid-seventies it had a majority of the nation’s teachers covered by collective bargaining agreements. Now the NEA and the AFT, the national parent body of New York’s UFT, together represent more than 3 million school employees, including 80 percent of the nation’s 3 million public school teachers. The two unions and their state and local affiliates take in $1.3 billion each year from dues and employ 6,000 full-time staff members.
Today the two national unions cast a giant shadow over not just American public education but also Democratic Party politics. As a California judge recently found, that state’s NEA affiliate spent only half of its dues income on activities related to collective bargaining and used the other half for electoral politics, lobbying, and general advocacy for social, educational, and political causes. Nationally, in the 1996 election, the teachers’ unions contributed more than $9 million directly to Bill Clinton and other Democratic candidates through political action committees. But the PACs were just the visible tip of a vast iceberg of soft money, independent media buys, thousands of full-time campaign workers paid with union dues, and in-kind services such as phone banks and direct mail advertising. Myron Lieberman, author of a forthcoming book on teachers’ unions, estimates that the NEA and AFT together spent at least $50 million for the campaign compared to the $35 million that the AFL-CIO spent. And at last summer’s Democratic convention, the teachers’ union caucus constituted 11 percent of all delegates—a bigger share than the delegation from California.
These political investments have paid off. In the Clinton Department of Education, former NEA issues director Sharon Robinson is assistant secretary for research and educational improvement, shaping the national education debate with her office’s research reports and assessments of student performance. And when the Republican Congress was on the verge of passing legislation last year to rescue a few thousand poor students from Washington, D.C.‘s hopelessly broken public school system by offering them private school scholarships, the NEA, fearful that these vouchers might encourage similar legislation in the states, furiously lobbied the White House. President Clinton, who had first indicated that he would sign the bill, backtracked and said he would veto it.
Sol Stern

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By BarbieQue, February 19, 2011 at 7:22 pm Link to this comment

I tried to think of another American “reporter” or “Journalist” that does what Robert Scheer does in this amazing 30 minute clip.

I was unsuccessful.

100 Robert Scheers, even 10, might at least begin to wake up the majority.

Sadly there seems to be only one. Seriously. Who else is demanding truth? EJ Dionne? ROFL. Eugene Robinson? Come on. OK Maybe Hedges. So there’s 2. But Hedges is almost invisible to the masses.

Kudos Mr. Scheer, I’ll be tuning in every week.

If you were as impressed as I was please forward the link to this page to everyone you know.

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By Sol, February 19, 2011 at 2:44 pm Link to this comment

Bob keeps hammering that as far as the government is concerned as well as the Republican Party supporters it is alright to find money, this time as much as 600 billion to help the banks but God forbid to get the same money to bail out the states. Somehow Tony does not understand that is absolutely wrong and neither does Matt. Why? Why is it that people do not get that this is bogus? To be honest, this infuriates me. I am considering stopping listening to this program because both Tony and Matt are too far right for me to be able to take it despite the fact that I strongly believe in democracy and it is their right to believe what they do, but gosh this is outrageous.

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By SteveL, February 19, 2011 at 1:25 am Link to this comment

Tony stated that General Petraeus may be leaving Afganistan.  How will the administration twist facts and logic to keep the stupid war going?

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By Alan, February 18, 2011 at 11:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So, look, Arianna is the hell outta there,
so take her picture off the group photo already. 
Tony is sleeping under the table,
so we take this opportunity to continue to
wonder what the hell happened to Bill Maher?
In tonight’s opening monologue he has some stupid
puerile nonsense joke about Wisconsin teachers.
Doesn’t he get it anymore, the fascists are smashing the unions, controlling the press and
robbing Peter to pay Rupert.
Has Maher turned into an idiot ? a tea bagger?
a fox devotee?

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