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Why the Wisconsin Fight Matters

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Posted on Feb 28, 2011

By E.J. Dionne, Jr.

This is not the first time that Wisconsin has been at the center of national agitation over the role of unions.

The earlier battle was staged in Sheboygan at Kohler, the legendary manufacturer of kitchen, bath and furniture products. The employees at Kohler had voted to join the United Auto Workers union, and a strike that began in April 1954 was not settled until the early 1960s.

In taking on the unions—as the historian Kim Phillips-Fein recounts in “Invisible Hands: The Businessmen’s Crusade Against the New Deal”—Herbert Kohler, the president of the family company, became a hero to small manufacturers around the country.

“Who runs this country?” Kohler would ask appreciative anti-union audiences. “That is the basic issue at Kohler. That is the potential question for ALL industry. We must meet this issue fighting.”

There is an interesting coda to this story. This past December, as the Green Bay Press-Gazette reported, the members of UAW Local 833 voted 1,152 to 717 to endorse a contract at Kohler that included a five-year wage freeze, higher health care premiums and the creation of a two-tiered wage and benefit system.

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UAW leaders opposed the deal, but were not surprised by the result. “People are under duress,” Dave Bergene, the local UAW president, told the Press-Gazette. “The economy is really bad, and I’m sure that played into part of it.”

That is the background for the confrontation going on now between Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker and the state’s public-employee unions. Private-sector workers are taking it on the chin, and conservatives now see a chance to cripple organized labor altogether by killing off public-sector unions, the most vibrant part of the movement. The underlying argument is actually insidious: If workers in the private sector have it bad, shouldn’t workers in the public sector have it bad, too?

“The game goes like this,” as one pro-union political consultant I spoke with put it. “Destroy private-sector unions, reduce private-sector health and retirement benefits, then say ‘Hey, how come those public employees get such (relatively) good benefits? That’s not fair.’ ” He scoffed at those now insisting that they like private but not public-sector unions: “Private-sector unions are only ‘OK’ once they are completely emasculated.”

Indeed, the new attack follows years of efforts to undermine unions in the private economy by advancing “paycheck protection” schemes (to prevent unions from collecting dues from workers’ paychecks) and by blocking labor law reforms that would enhance the ability of workers to organize.

Nobody denies the recession has tanked state revenues. That’s why even progressive governors have been making budget cuts—and why Wisconsin’s state unions conceded to Walker’s demands for higher pension and health care contributions. What the unions are rightly resisting is a shift in the long-term balance of political power that undercutting collective bargaining would represent.

How do we know this is about power, not budgets? Even as they go after the unions, Walker and his Republican legislative allies are also trying to change the makeup of future Wisconsin electorates in their favor. They are pushing to end same-day voter registration (which currently empowers younger voters, who are more liberal than their elders and move around more) and to pass onerous voter ID laws that would especially burden lower-income voters.

And last week, Walker also signed into law a bill that will require a two-thirds supermajority in the Legislature, or a statewide referendum, to raise income, sales or corporate franchise taxes. Imagine if President Obama had insisted that a two-thirds majority be required to repeal his health care law? This is an anti-democratic effort to lock in the policies of what could prove to be a temporary conservative majority.

It’s said that this fight is all about partisanship—and it’s true that Walker’s proposal is tougher on the most Democratic-leaning public-employee unions than on the ones more sympathetic to Republicans.

But this goes beyond partisanship. The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which swept away decades of restrictions on corporate spending to influence elections, has already tilted the political playing field toward the country’s most formidable business interests. Eviscerating the power of the unions would make Republicans and Democrats alike more dependent than ever on rich and powerful interests and undercut the countervailing strength of working people who, as those Kohler workers know, already have enough problems.

Even critics of public-employee unions should be able to recognize a power grab when they see one.

E.J. Dionne’s e-mail address is ejdionne(at)washpost.com.

© 2011, Washington Post Writers Group

 


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Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, March 9, 2011 at 3:44 pm Link to this comment

Why the Wisconsin Fight Matters

  Of the nearly $7 million labor unions have contributed to state candidates in Wisconsin over the last six election cycles, 93 cents of every dollar has gone to a Democrat.

  Among educators, it’s 75 cents of every buck. For public employees, 73 cents.

  The data compiled by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign for the State Journal starkly illustrate why the high-stakes battle between Republican Gov. Scott Walker and labor unions over the last three weeks is about more than budget shortfalls and bargaining.

  “I consider organized labor to be the backbone of the Democratic Party,” said Mike Tate, state party chairman. “Part of Scott Walker’s strategy is to weaken the infrastructure of the Democratic Party.”

Got that? An attack on unions is an attack on Democrats. That’s a level of honestly that hasn’t made it into the debate much thus far. We’ve heard a lot of talk about “union busting” and the “right” of collective bargaining. We haven’t heard much about where all that money goes after it’s bargained away from the taxpayers.

When the Republican party objects to this set up, they then claim people’s “rights” are being taken away.

Since when is being forced to donate to one political party a right?

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Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, March 4, 2011 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment

Lee, - “obviously,........ no one did notice!”

-

Wrong again wink

High-minded declarations are all well and fine. Perhaps you should attempt to answer just one tough, but pertinent question?

Attempt to explain what makes it O.K. to force individuals to make political donations. - It is, after all, an issue that cuts right to the heart of your, seemingly unconditional, support of Collective Bargaining.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, March 4, 2011 at 10:24 am Link to this comment

GRYM, obviously,........ no one did notice!

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Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, March 4, 2011 at 8:02 am Link to this comment

Lee,

LOL…...

As predicted, when faced with a substantial issue, unable to address a serious question on that issue, you simply change the subject.

What do you do instead?  As predicted you attack the one posing the question, Tea Party, Gov. Walker, Karl Rove, Halliburton, George Bush, the Koch family, any and all republicans, wealthy Oligarchs etc., etc., etc….......

LOL…...Time to move on.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, March 3, 2011 at 10:15 pm Link to this comment

The space between GRYM]s ears appears larger then the black hole.

If Australopithecus, was alive today, he would consider GRYM the cave idiot.

Apparently GRYM,  likes having one oar in the water, GRYMs way of making a point!

Happy rowing GRYM!

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JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, March 3, 2011 at 9:40 pm Link to this comment

Again, union members accounted for, at most, 7% of total campaign spending during the mid-term elections.

It is illegal for unions to use union dues for political contributions without the express authorization of the union member. In fact, unions and corporations are forbidden by federal law from contributing to Federal political campaigns. In some states, unions are prohibited from contributing to local elections. In Federal elections only Political Action Committees are allowed to contribute. All Political Action Committees rely on voluntary contributions.

The Citizens United decision has further complicated already complex campaign contribution law.

Union Political Action Committees spend a huge portion of their funds on “get out the vote” activities.

Oh, those evil unions! They are a detriment to corporate control of elections, and election results. Republicans suffer greatly under the monstrous abuses of evil unions.

LOL! smile What a deluded smug little twit!

(I think I just lost my last little bit of civility. Should I feel guilty? Yes, maybe some day I’ll apologize to the deluded smug little twit, but I doubt it.)

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Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, March 3, 2011 at 7:55 pm Link to this comment

Lee,

Nonsense.

As of today, on this subject, you’ve made only three things clear. 

a. Collective bargaining is good (yet you don’t seem to know why). b. The Koch Brothers are evil (although you never explain how). c. You don’t know anything about the Tea movement (which means you’ve never taken the time to simply listen).

I don’t care who’s words you use. When you get in a jam with your logic and reasoning you quickly change the subject in hopes no one will notice.

-

I’ll not answer one more question before you do the same. 

Perhaps you’d like to explain how forcing political donations, making donations a requirement of employment, is not extortion.  Justify the common union practice, if you can. - If you ignore the issue, yet again, we can simply move on to another thread and another subject.

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drbhelthi's avatar

By drbhelthi, March 3, 2011 at 5:46 pm Link to this comment

For me, it is a given, that there is not enough difference between the
Republican and Democrat parties, in their function in the U.S.
Congress, so as to provide a practical difference in the service that trickles down to the U.S. Citizenry.

Progressing from this concept, I pose one question, with two
alternatives.
Which is better:
1. An employer who pays a salary, to which employees have no recourse, which salary requires a family to use food-stamps, in order to be fed, almost adequately; 
Or,
2. Receiving a salary that keeps a family out of the food-stamp lines, a portion of which salary is paid to union officials, some of whom are crooks.

Whether within the employer inner sanctum, or within the union inner sanctum, crooks will show up.  Both political parties are led by crooks, the majority membership follows suite, as we have seen. Expecting union officials to be behave altruistically is wishful thinking.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, March 3, 2011 at 2:35 pm Link to this comment

I have asked several times for GRM to portray in his own words; as hard as they may be for him to come by; what the Tea Baggers actually stand for, I never asked what they are!  As usual one hears nothing from GRYM but;.....crickets!

The United States needs to take care of home and stop dumping money in constant wars, then there would be lots more money to give to Goldman Slcks and the Koch’s, (though they are probabley in on the war to)  but then the well researched trickle down to the Tea Baggers and GRYM theory would be working properly.

Come on GRYM, a challenge,.... how about addressing the issue, the topic of this article, how about one or two words; .....in your own words why the Wisconsin Fight matters; why Koch Brothers do not matter, why working people should not have collective bargaining!

Maye you can elaborate on How the Koch Brothers and Walkers can hire half the people to fight the other half, come on….....GRYM write something in your own words!

Maybe I can help GRYM,.....Maybe getting rid of the Unions will save lots of money for the Koch Brothers and their bought and paid for Walkers of this world, isn’t this how the perks work?

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Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, March 3, 2011 at 1:08 pm Link to this comment

reynolds, - “so, it’s ok for the noble koch bros. to make political donations according to their ‘beliefs’- but not for union members?”

-

I can only request that you revisit what I’ve written. 

Where did you get the misdirected idea that I would be against union members willingly donating to a union, or any other cause for that matter, according to their beliefs?  I ask because you didn’t get that from anything I’ve written.

-

Lee, - “GRYMie wishes to portray a few anomalous random incidents as being representative of the big picture; this is specious, and pure demagoguery.”

In other words; you and I agree that it’s wrong to portray a few as analogous of the whole.

It seems I found the right tact to bring you think further about your diatribes against the entire Tea movement after all.  Perhaps your calling all protesters Scrotum Licking Racists has been wrong-headed and small?

Wow! And it only took 23 months for you to finely agree.  I call that solid progress.

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By Archie, March 3, 2011 at 12:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

AN ECONOMIC SYSTEM DESIGNED TO FAIL - REGULARLY

Five years ago, no-one agreed with me. Now, almost everyone I talk to is in agreement. The people who disagree, have unearned incomes of over $1 million per year.
I have been studying economics and sociology for over 40 years and would like to provide you with this insight.
The current economic crisis was inevitable because the system is set up to fail on a cyclical basis. What we practice is predatory economics, which always leads to war and massive profits for the few. It also involves the total revocation of all civil rights and collective bargaining privileges.
The consumer revolution is over. If we continue to spend our way out of trouble, the world will drown in garbage, food will be in short supply, fresh water will be $10 a gallon and the air will become toxic.
It must now be obvious to even the dimmest economist that the only effective method of controlling inflation is through credit controls.
Interest rates are only a method of passing purchasing power from the poor to the rich. They cause inflation, when they go down, due to overspending. They also cause inflation, when they go up, due to the increases in prices required to cover this additional cost.
An international cap on income which is the lower of say $1 million or 10 times the lowest income of employees, would force the greedy to support the idea of increasing incomes of the poor. Foreign banks would be forced to send any excess deposits back to the country of origin as a tax.
A cap of $1 million dollars on inherited wealth would prevent the working capital of the world from being concentrated in the hands of incompetents.
The cancellation of rights to ‘short sell’ stocks would help to support companies in bad times.
In the commodities market, the first buyer should be forced to take delivery. This would take the speculators out of the equation.
It is time to return to reality and take back all the money being hoarded by international thieves.
The alternative is war throughout the world as the Billionaires are executed and new tyrants arise to take their place.
The Middle East crisis is just a prelude to much worse repercussions of rampant greed.
Archie McLachlan


Please see: http://buildabetterworld2011.blogspot.com/2011/03/build-better-world.html

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, March 3, 2011 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment

Accurate comments JD,

GRMie I believe has never addressed an issue? GRMIe’s meandering path leads us through the Happy Hands massage parlors to his brain dead comment and anything else he can conjure up from Fox opinion!

Yes! I am really outraged….. GRMie writes in colors but never has addressed an issue.  In this thread not addressing peoples rights, specifically peoples right to collective bargaining.

Below JD describes GRMIe,.... to a Tea Bag!

“Back to false equivalency, GRYMie wishes to portray a few anomalous random incidents as being representative of the big picture; this is specious, and pure demagoguery.”

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JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, March 3, 2011 at 11:34 am Link to this comment

Heather from crooks and liars writes the following:

“I guess after this greeting he got from the protesters today while trying to enter the capitol building that they were locked out of, he’s even less happy with those “slobs”. I refuse to link to him, but this video is posted at The Gateway Pundit’s site, or as Media Matters calls him, the Dumbest Man on the Internet, under the breathless headline Breaking: Wisconsin GOP Senator Glenn Grothman Mobbed at Wisconsin Capitol. I guess if by “mobbed” you mean followed and having a bunch of people yell “Shame!” at you and then after being talked to by one of the Democratic congressmen and some others, people leaving with chants of ‘Peaceful protests!’”.

Seeing as how this is a breaking story, maybe we should refrain from knee jerk demagoguery.

Before we rely on GRYMie’s analysis of video, we should remember that GRYMie’s response to the video released by wikileaks showing the barbarous murder of innocents was not outrage; he was too busy trying to justify those murders.

Again GRYMie resorts to false equivalency, maybe I should re-post the “Insurrection Timeline” that documents the many incidences of right-wing violence that has occurred since Obama was elected, in order to put things into perspective,

An interesting side story of these documented accounts of right-wing violence pertains to the militia vigilantes who began patrolling the border between the U.S. and Mexico. Some people warned that these militia types were: dangerous, prone to violence, looking for a fight, looking for blood, and looking to be perceived as heroes. These warnings were met with claims from the Right that these vigilantes were patriots, and civic minded Americans, were well trained and not prone to violence. As it turns out, one of the leaders of those patriotic scoundrels has been convicted of murder.

People shouting “Fox lies” and “Shame” are exercising their right to free speech, and not shouting Fox in a crowded theater. Personally I think it’s a great tribute to democracy that a relatively small group of protestors can silence the representatives of Fox News, and obstruct the lies perpetrated by the corporate Fox News leviathan.

Back to false equivalency, GRYMie wishes to portray a few anomalous random incidents as being representative of the big picture; this is specious, and pure demagoguery.

I am not at all outraged by the actions of non-violent union demonstrators in Wisconsin and elsewhere, I have been advocating such action all along. I am only slightly concerned with the possibility that a small minority of radicals will become unruly, or that agents provocateur will infiltrate the demonstrators and “Cause trouble”, which will give people from the Right fuel for their demagoguery.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, March 3, 2011 at 11:33 am Link to this comment

This is a well written article on the rights of the working people, This article by E.J. Dionne, Jr. calls attention to the constant inequities and manipulations workers must endure from opportunists and their benefactors like the Koch Brothers.

This obvious power grab by walker, shows no interest in the people of his state, such is the quest for power!  Walker by handing over tax cuts to special interests shows us the usual but now more blatant good old boy routine.

I happen to believe in the right to collective bargaining, not just in Wisconsin, but for all working people in the world, a toll order I suppose. 

The Walkers of this world say they need to take away the peoples right to collective bargaining in order to balance the budget. Not so in other states such as Minnesota. This seems a well timed and choreographed political move to destroy unions.

Collective bargaining a human right, once taken away,  the obvious next step is lay offs and lower wages even further then the unions concessions.


Smaller governemnt for Conservative people like Walker and his irk, looks to me very much like the Omar Qaddafi concept of small government, him and his two sons plus hand selected cronies. Unfortunate for Walker, he doesn’t happen to have an army at his disposal to give to two sons, But Walker has hand picked a crony to run the state police. Cronyism the Conservative way, I cannot wait for the book to come out!

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By reynolds, March 3, 2011 at 10:27 am Link to this comment

gfys; so, it’s ok for the noble koch bros. to make
political donations according to their ‘beliefs’- but
not for union members?
i think it’s going to rain. does that betray my leftist
bent?

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Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, March 3, 2011 at 9:20 am Link to this comment

Lee,

Your righteous indignation and sense of outrage brings to mind, what I believe to be, a truism.

A liberal is a person whose interests aren’t at stake at the moment.”

You do appear quite comfortable with holding two sets of values.  One you hold very close.  The other is rapidly tossed when your own interests are on the line.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, March 2, 2011 at 10:26 pm Link to this comment

Heavenly Touch Massage Parlor is a franchise, they are trying out a new concept buying up the old Windy burger stands near Republican Headquarters for now, but only as a touchy feely pilot program.

If the plan works out and looks as if it may be successful, Heavenly Touch Massage Parlors hopes to develop a series of drive through High Colonic franchises with fast massages available inside, for some unknowing reason this is anticipated to only happen in the Red States?

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Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, March 2, 2011 at 8:42 pm Link to this comment

Postcresentcom
Appleton Wisconsin

Wisconsin Rep. Gordon Hintz apologizes for comments made on Assembly floor following budget vote

An Oshkosh Assemblyman apologized to a colleague Monday for comments he made on the floor of the Assembly last week immediately following a vote on a contentious budget repair bill.

Rep. Gordon Hintz, D Oshkosh, apologized to Rep. Michelle Litjens, R-Winneconne, for shouting out an obscenity that included the words “you’re dead” that Litjens and other witnesses heard in the chaotic scene after Republicans approved the bill.

Litjens said she accepted the apology, but has asked the Assembly leadership to discipline Hintz.

Litjens said she did not believe Hintz’ comments were meant for her personally. Rather, the comment was directed at the Republican Party as a whole for moving ahead on the governor’s bill.

“We should be able to civilly discuss issues we are passionate about without feeling threatened,” she said.

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Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, March 2, 2011 at 8:28 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller, - “Again deliberately taking something out of context”

-

Deliberately out of context?  You sure do have me pegged.

But, wait. According to Politico, where I got the story, the phrase brain-dead did not appear. Neither does it appear in this 620 WTMJ NewsRadio Web site Search Result:

UPDATED: GORDON HINTZ: “YOU ARE F’N DEAD!”
(emphasis theirs)

By Charlie Sykes
Story Created: Feb 28, 2011

Last week, we heard thatState Rep. Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) had been busted in a prostitution sting.

State Rep. Gordon Hintz was issued a municipal citation in Appleton earlier this month for violating a city sexual misconduct ordinance.

Appleton police said the citation was issued Feb. 10 in conjunction with an ongoing investigation of Heavenly Touch Massage Parlor, 342 W. Wisconsin Ave., in Appleton. Police searched the business and a nearby residence in the 1300 block of North Division Street Jan. 28, after investigators had staked out the properties for several days after receiving a tip.

**

Last Friday…. after the Assembly voted to engross the Budget Repair Bill, Hintz turned to a female colleague, Rep. Michelle Litjens and said: “You are F***king dead!”

-

Makes no difference, Lee. Next you’ll vehemently claim that WTMJ NewsRadio must have taken Mr. Hintz out of context also.

You’ve already made it clear that the whole incident may have been manufactured by the evil rethugs or the always immoral and nasty, scrotum-sucking, Tea people. - And why do you believe that likely?  According to you, and keeping in context, you belong to an elite group of highly intelligent, highly moral and altruistic, super-humans whom rarely display mortal human tendencies. - I’m sure you’re right.

Isn’t it fascinating that this reported threatening F-Bomb, thrown from the Left, is nearly missing from the “Conservative” Mainstream Media?

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, March 2, 2011 at 6:04 pm Link to this comment

GRYM accounting; “According to local WTMJ news radio, a number of witnesses heard Rep. Gordon Hintz Shout at Rep. Michelle Litjens “You’re f***ing dead!”

Again deliberately taking something out of context, Rep Gordon Hintz actually shouted; “you’re Fucking brain dead”! NOT F***ING DEAD’

I am so outraged!

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Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, March 2, 2011 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller,

LOL….those awful republicans are at fault once again. 

How very original.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, March 2, 2011 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment

All Union members are thugs, I would not put it past the Republicans to script this episode on purpose, just so GRYM can do his normal outraged incensed gloat routine! 

Yes,.... I am outraged that people being screwed and turned out of their jobs, loosing their livelihoods and rights have become physically offensive, like those tea party celebrators who stomped on a ladies head.  Now if this was really as outrageous as GRYM likes to portray, me thinks real Union thugs would have stomped on the Republicans head just to show how empty it was.

Yes, those Union thugs must have done something to GRYM in the past, he seems so obsessed and outraged…...  Yeah GRYM I am really outraged too, just like I was outraged to hear Union thugs hanged Mussolini on the street.

It can be said all Union thugs are incidental until until proven guilty by GRYM!

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Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, March 2, 2011 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment

Breaking Report: Wisconsin Republican Glenn Grothman was mobbed by a group of union thugs.

Republican Senator was mobbed by union thugs as he approached the capitol today. He was held for several minutes and was forced to call for assistance. The whole incident was captured on camera.

Where’s the outrage?

-

In another outrageous incident a democratic lawmaker in Wisconsin shouted at another lawmaker; “Your F*cking Dead!”

According to local WTMJ news radio, a number of witnesses heard Rep. Gordon Hintz Shout at Rep. Michelle Litjens “You’re f***ing dead!”

Where’s the outrage?

-

Anyone remember Mr. Gladney being attacked by Union thugs last year?

Kenneth Gladney, 38, said he was attacked by some of those arrested as he handed out yellow flags with “Don’t tread on me” printed on them. He spoke to the Post-Dispatch from the emergency room at St. John’s Mercy Medical Center, where he said he was awaiting treatment for injuries to his knee, back, elbow, shoulder and face. Gladney, who is black, said one of his attackers called him a Nigger just prior to the attack.

“It just seems there’s no freedom of speech without being attacked,” he said.

Where’s the outrage?

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JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, March 2, 2011 at 12:47 am Link to this comment

GRYMie writes:

“Labor unions like to portray collective bargaining as a basic civil liberty, akin to the freedoms of speech, press, assembly and religion. For a teachers union, collective bargaining means that suppliers of teacher services to all public school systems in a state—or even across states—can collude with regard to acceptable wages, benefits and working conditions.  An analogy for business would be for all providers of airline transportation to assemble to fix ticket prices, capacity and so on.  From this perspective, collective bargaining on a broad scale is more similar to an antitrust violation than to a civil liberty.
In fact, labor unions were subject to U.S. antitrust laws in the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, which was first applied in 1894 to the American Railway Union.  However, organized labor managed to obtain exemption from federal antitrust laws in subsequent legislation, notably the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914 and the National Labor Relations Act of 1935.”

Ultra Conservative economist, and warmonger, Robert Barro writes:

“Labor unions like to portray collective bargaining as a basic civil liberty, akin to the freedoms of speech, press, assembly and religion. For a teachers union, collective bargaining means that suppliers of teacher services to all public school systems in a state—or even across states—can collude with regard to acceptable wages, benefits and working conditions.  An analogy for business would be for all providers of airline transportation to assemble to fix ticket prices, capacity and so on.  From this perspective, collective bargaining on a broad scale is more similar to an antitrust violation than to a civil liberty…Barro continues on verbatim to Grymie, or is that vice a versa?

This specious little tidbit, from Robert Barro, is very popular with people from the Right; it’s all over the web.

For example,

theblaze.com

“Labor unions like to portray collective bargaining as a basic civil liberty, akin to the freedoms of speech, press, assembly and religion. For a teachers union, collective bargaining means… etc. etc. ad nausea, verbatim.

theblaze.com is Glen Beck’s website.

Wall Street Journal OPINION:

“Labor unions like to portray collective bargaining etc. etc. ad nausea, verbatim

This specious talking point is available on many more websites.

GRYMie likes to portray right wing talking points, in verbatim, as his own original thoughts; and compositions, this only re-enforces my contention, and belief, that people from the Right suffer from a basic lack of scruples. People from the Right have no real understanding of what freedom means. People from the Right demonstrate a lack of compassion; people from the Right are authoritarian, and militaristic. People from the Right believe that their skullduggery should be un-fettered by government law and regulation. I could go on seemingly forever relating the evils of the Right.

Regarding Mr. Barro, he conveniently fails to mention that both the Clayton Anti-Trust Act of 1914, and the National Labor Relations Act of 1935” stood up to the scrutiny of the Supreme Court, these acts were deemed to be constitutionally legal, which makes collective bargaining akin to a liberty, and not “Akin to an anti-trust violation.”

Incidentally, GRYMie is the king of obfuscation, and at concocting false equivalencies. Does GRYMie believe hating someone because of their race, ethnicity, religion, or gender; is the equivalent of hating hateful, cruel, and murderous political ideology?

I think we’ve firmly established that professional lobbyists are corrupting our political system, so let’s not be the victims of obfuscation, and get back to discussing union busting.

Finally, it’s been established that unions only accounted for 7% of total campaign spending during the mid-term elections.

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Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, March 2, 2011 at 12:20 am Link to this comment

Leefeller, - “I really believe lobbyists are a big part of the problem.”

-

I couldn’t agree more. But why make matters unrecognizable by insisting you belong to an elite group of altruistic human beings?  Unions and democrats are extremely wealthy and ALWAYS pursue the same profits. There is no “Good” democratic lobbyist and “Bad” republican lobbyist. Believing otherwise is, not only not smart, it actually blinds and masks the entire picture.

I actually support labor unions.  I do not support corruption, however. I support a republic with a House, Senate, Executive and Judiciary branches of government. I do not support the corruption that takes place. 

I can’t support forcing any individual to contribute to a political party as a condition of employment. That’s just plain fucking extortion.  It’s wrong and you know it. 

I cannot, and will not, support a collective bargaining machination which results in de facto price fixing.

In collective bargaining, as we see it today, a national or federal union can make a deal with a corporation or municipality.  But it cannot go into effect unless all locals agree.  That is often 30, 60 or even 80 Locals in a single state.  Not only is that a complete deterrence to productivity, but it demands there will be anti-trust violations built, inherently, into the system.  It’s wrong. - And can you tell me why, as a direct result of “collective bargaining”, elementary or High School teachers deserve tenure?

Nobody is talking about taking away any union’s right to negotiate wages and working conditions. This issue is not about labor rights.  This is about politics, control and a tremendous amount of money going to one political party, paid for by all Tax Payers.  It’s wrong.

-

I agree with you that part of the political problem is in the lobbying system, however, it’s not an easy problem to solve.  There is no clear black and white hats.  The AARP is said to be the most powerfully effective registered lobby in Washington.  Then there’s the Farming lobby, the electricians lobby, the MDA lobby, attorney, pharmaceutical, oil and gas and fisheries lobbies.  The Small Business Association represents over one-hundred thousand small businessmen who, not unlike a labor union, need a voice in Washington.

Which lobby should be denied access to Senators and Congressmen?  Which should be denied the ability to contribute to a candidate or platform of their choosing?

-

This is not directed at you, personally.

Eighteen of the wealthiest twenty districts in the entire United States have two, yes two, democratic Senators.  It’s a complete myth that the wealthy are represented by the “rethuglican” party.  It’s foolish.  It takes all context out of national politics.

There are democrats sitting next to republicans on nearly every corporate board in the United States.  It’s outright childish not to grasp that fact.

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By Leefeller, March 1, 2011 at 10:47 pm Link to this comment

The simple fact is I can only lobby for myself with my meger coffee fund, the Unions and other organizations allow people to do lobby collectively, hence a little louder voice. In the end the most money wins.

One fact which rankles me, is Obama touted the negative points of lobbyists running the halls of congress, which lasted only about two seconds, like many of his campagin slogans, how about this one; If anyone attempts to take away your collective bargning rights, Obama said he would be marching with them.  Yeha right!

I really believe lobbyists are a big part of the problem.

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By Go Right Young Man, March 1, 2011 at 9:43 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller,

Yes, yes. I failed to mention the Koch Brothers.  The latest incarnation of the inherent evils of national politics. The Koch Brothers, whom dare to support politics with both monetary contributions and their own beliefs. Truly horrible individuals, connected with the hated Tea Party, whom deserve no rights of free speech concerning their libertarian views. 

You have me pegged correctly. I’ve been willfully dishonest by not mentioning the latest favorite poster-children of the left. I promise to do better. Let me try and think of some other billionaires, millionaires, their foundations and lobbying activities to mention. All in the name of full disclosure and fairness. Names you’ve likely never heard reported by Wisconsin’s Superior Telegram, MSNBC and TruthDig.

How about lawbreakers such as Pierce O’Donnell and Rusty Carter? Or Norman Hsu and Tony Rezko. Or Hassaa Namazee and the infamous Bernie Madoff. I should also mention billionaire hedge fund manager, John Steffen. And while not known lawbreakers I should mention John Paulson, Hassan Nemazee and John Alchin of Comcast. If Alchin is worth mentioning I should give equal mention to Stephen Burch & Nora Linstrom, David & Rhonda Cohen and Jeffrey & Laura Shell.

Come to think of it, I would be grossly remiss in not mentioning Timothy Boggs and Barry Appelman of Time Warner. Donald & Katarina Mullen, John D. Howard and Warren Spector, of Bear Stearns.  Also Harvey & Contance Krueger, George YoungIII, and Anthony Collerton of Lehman Brothers.  Maybe even Jack Grubman and Lyndon Olson of Citicorp?

If I mention the above individuals I would be less than honorable if I fail to mention General Electric, Patton Boggs, Akin Gump, weapons manufacturer General Dynamics, AmeriPAC, Paloma Partners and ActBlue.

I’ll leave it to each individual here to research which political party all of the above contributed $$$Multiples of Hundreds of Millions of Dollars. All fully expecting to influence local and national politics.

I do so apologies for not mentioning the Koch Brothers prior.

-

The evils of lobbying!

ActBlue: Launched in 2004, ActBlue bills itself as “the online clearinghouse for Democratic action.” Through mid-2010, it has helped funnel more than $134 million—and counting—in contributions to democratic candidates in State races.

Patton Boggs LLC: According to the FCC Patton Boggs is The Top lobbying firm by way of monetary donations and lobbying expenditures.  Patton Boggs donated 87% of it’s PAC funds to democratic candidates and state party politics.

Patton Boggs lobbies in each of the following categories for several hundred of corporate clients.

Fed Budget & Appropriations  
Transportation  
Health Issues  
Taxes
Housing
Finance
Energy & Nuclear Power
Urban Development
Medicare & Medicaid
Defense
Labor, Antitrust & Workplace
Homeland Security
Telecommunications
Education
Natural Resources
Law Enforcement & Crime
Aviation, Airlines & Airports
Economics & Econ Development
Clean Air & Water
Trade
Indian/Native American Affairs
Government Issues
Environment & Superfund
Insurance
Chemical Industry
Consumer Product Safety
Radio & TV Broadcasting
Retirement
Travel & Tourism
Manufacturing
Copyright, Patent & Trademark
Disaster & Emergency Planning
Food Industry
Banking
Pharmacy
Gaming, Gambling & Casinos
Marine, Boats & Fisheries
Roads & Highways
Sports & Athletics
Tobacco
Veterans Affairs
Family, Abortion & Adoption
Bankruptcy
Agriculture
Computers & Information Tech
Foreign Relations
Medical Research & Clin Labs
Small Business
Fuel, Gas & Oil
District of Columbia
Media Information & Publishing
Real Estate & Land Use
Science & Technology
Utilities

NOTE: All lobbying expenditures come from the Senate Office of Public Records. Data for the most recent year was downloaded on January 31, 2010.

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By prisnersdilema, March 1, 2011 at 4:31 pm Link to this comment

That’s right GRYM I do make an excellent point, that’s why, I’m not an OJama supporter,
but it doesn’t exclude the lying cheating stealing Rethuglicans from their malfeasance
either. On the other hand OJama took a lot of union money in the campaign but I have
yet to see much of a pro union agenda.

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By samosamo, March 1, 2011 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment

****************


The reason Wisconsin matters it that the citizens are whom the
governments, local state federal, work for in this country. To
allow fools as walker and the tea partiers to dictate obscure and
highly dubious reasons for their benefit would be tantamount to
abdicating the citizen’s official role in governing.

Of course so many citizen’s did so abdicate that role long time
ago that regaining it will be an unnecessary exertion. That would
tend to help those people elected and hired by those
governments to ostensibly play the role of ‘overlord’ by dictating
to the people what they must accept. And walker is damn sure
determined to see that he doesn’t blink first.

In short, the loss of eternal vigilance and the unwillingness to be
participatory in a democracy of the republic creates the charade
of government rule over the people, not citizen by, for and of
the people. The loss and subversion of the mainstream media is
of paramount importance.

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By Leefeller, March 1, 2011 at 3:07 pm Link to this comment

GRYM,..... the right to collective bargaining has nothing to do with contributions, the contributions are only a symptom of the way things are. “”“”“The lobby system stupid!”“”“. 

Unions are only countering special interests of corporations. Both pay for their pet representatives, which goes to the saying “we have the best governemnt money can buy”!  The Republicans and Tea Baggers pay for hand picked cronies to represent them,  Walker the governor of Wisconsin is no different. Just another special interests investment. 


GRYM conveniently ignores the Koch brothers and Fox News support of the Tea Bagger and of course Koch brothrs support of Governor Walker and the Republican agenda of governeors who are in control. 

Working peoples right to collective bargaining is the only thing they have to effectively utilize for obtaining better and safer working conditions, asking for benefits and fair wages. GRYM and Koch brothers believe working people need to take what they want to offer? 

It would be much better if Unions did not have to lobby against special interests to counter act other lobbies but it seems GRYM must ignore the real problems and attack the working people.

Small minds think alike,..... it is said electricity has electrons and humanity has morons,...... always living proof can be found right here in Truth Dig!

It seems to me the lobbies are the problem, not Unions nor collective bargaining.

The fact collective bargaining is a right, and is now being forced to defend this right, seems in it self most sick.

Real abuses are ignored in favor of contrived deviations from facts,  GRYN seems quite the deviated master debater!

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By Go Right Young Man, March 1, 2011 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment

prisnersdilema,

You make an excellent point in your last post.  But, instead of tossing out some general accusations, let’s get specific. 

What you’re trying to say is, it’s akin to Goldman Sachs donating $33,360,252 to Senator Obama and the democratic party then, after winning election, the newly elected president awarding numerous Cabinet and high level government posts to Goldman Sachs executives.

Or how trade unions give 96% of all political donations (Hundreds of Millions) to democrats and, after winning the last election, suddenly trade unions are exempt from the Fair Reporting Act.

Naturally you would agree that forcing tens of millions of people to contribute to one political party, as a condition of employment, is an clear example of extortion.

Or how the “Rich and Powerful” in the U.S. always appear to receive preferential treatment while 18 of the 20 wealthiest senate districts in the entire United States is represented by democratic Senators.

Yes.  You make an excellent point.

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By prisnersdilema, March 1, 2011 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment

Boo Hoo teachers having a right to collective bargaining? Conservatives always try to
deny to others what the themselves have no problem with. Especially when Rethuglicans
take campaign contributions from pig corporations and banks that they are supposed to
regulate, like the banks, pharmaceutical companies, and insurance companies. Then of
course they stand in the way of campaign finance reform.

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By Go Right Young Man, March 1, 2011 at 9:04 am Link to this comment

I was pleased to see most everyone on Morning Joe agree that it’s unconscionable that public service employee unions donate hundreds of $Millions to the very people they negotiate with.  When fully considered, this type of graft and influence peddling is, rightfully so, considered an outrage.

Labor unions like to portray collective bargaining as a basic civil liberty, akin to the freedoms of speech, press, assembly and religion. For a teachers union, collective bargaining means that suppliers of teacher services to all public school systems in a state—or even across states—can collude with regard to acceptable wages, benefits and working conditions.  An analogy for business would be for all providers of airline transportation to assemble to fix ticket prices, capacity and so on.  From this perspective, collective bargaining on a broad scale is more similar to an antitrust violation than to a civil liberty.

In fact, labor unions were subject to U.S. antitrust laws in the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, which was first applied in 1894 to the American Railway Union.  However, organized labor managed to obtain exemption from federal antitrust laws in subsequent legislation, notably the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914 and the National Labor Relations Act of 1935.

Remarkably, labor unions are not only immune from antitrust laws but can also negotiate a “union shop,” which forces nonunion employees to join the union or, taking away individual choice, pay nearly equivalent dues.  In any other context this would be labeled extortion.

-

Seven out of ten laborers choose to work for non-union shops in their own work-place.  Liberals don’t like this.  Liberals want to retain the right to force more and more people to pay for a wealthy democratic party apparatus (we’re told it’s for laborers own good).

It’s simplistic to mimic the unions in saying collective bargaining is about the “rights” of labor.  It’s truly about the “right” to force individuals into a union they may not agree with.  And, as a true assault on an individuals “rights”, force them to pay for that privilege.

-

How much profit did the Service Employees International Union report in the last five years?  Well, it’s an un-answerable question after President Obama, in one of his first acts as the U.S. President, exempted unions from the Fair Reporting Act.  Who, exactly, does that benefit?  Teachers? Police and fire fighters?  Or the democratic party and For-Profit Unions?

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By drbhelthi, March 1, 2011 at 9:03 am Link to this comment

Neat summary, E. J. Dionne, Jr.

I remember the Republican party, before it was taken over by the
GHWBushSr entourage and the C.I.A., the WWII NAZI clan of which they
are part, before the serial, falsified u.s. presidential elections
began. 

It was different. It stood for American values.
Now it seems to stand for bribes and enslavement of Americans and the
western world, pharmaceutically-sponsored, population-reduction in the
U.S., with its VIOXX drugs and poisoned “inoculations” for children,
that have increased AUTISM and ADHD from 1::2000 to 1::150 in the last
fifteen years. This, while murdering innocent Moslems in their
homelands of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, while moving toward Iran.
Which U.S. military activity reminds one more of the sinister NAZI
action of WWII, than the U.S. intervention back then to curb the NAZIs
- ? 

Nor was “Newsmax” in Florida spokesperson for the republican party,
with the propaganda of “Free Reports,” attached to a package one has
to buy. This, while requesting readers to buy and wear the C.I.A.
ballcap?  Which Newsmax hinted that the brother of Junior Bush was to
run for president in 2012 ?  Until the benefactor family of a certain
female politician said - ” no, we plan to install our female patsy.” 
Raising the question, is the chief zionist in the USA or the chief
NAZI in the USA the top boss? 

Or have the leader-types of all groups been brain-implanted by the modern-day Dr. Josef Mengeles of the pharma industry? Who are legally killing off American adults and maiming children, with falsified bird flu and pig flu “inoculations”? Which inoculate against nothing, rather confuse the immune system and spark auto-immune illnesses, which only naturalists can cure?

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By Marshall, March 1, 2011 at 3:23 am Link to this comment

Private sector unions sit down with business.  Public sector unions sit down with
the politicians they helped elect.  This isn’t collective bargaining, it’s a formality. 
The whole concept of public sector unions is flawed and the execution is even
worse.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 1, 2011 at 1:06 am Link to this comment

Y’know, when re-thugs talk about “welfare queens” and generations on welfare, people nod and say “Oh, yeah”.  And when they berate government workers and bureaucrats, people say “Stick it to ‘em!”

But when the re-thugs attack cops, fire fighters and teachers, people who protect us and teach our kids, when they tell us cops and firemen, and teachers are “greedy” and need to be slapped down, anyone with ANY sense says “Wait a minute!”

Who doesn’t like cops, firemen and teachers?

If you don’t take care of cops are they going to take a bullet to keep us safe?

If you don’t take care of fire fighters are they going to rush into a deadly burning building they way they rushed into the WTC to keep us safe?

If you don’t take care of teachers are they going to bust their butts, work nights and weekends grading papers and developing study plans to teach our kids?

If we don’t respect the MOST important government employees, how can we expect them to do the very best job they can?

So, ask yourself: If you were a body guard for Governor Walker or Christie, and the sonuvabitch cut your pension, salary, benefits and THEN said you weren’t entitled to collective bargaining, just how careful would you be guarding HIS life and safety?  These two butt-heads and their fellows are just flat-out MORONS to shaft the folks protecting their lives.

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By Birch, February 28, 2011 at 11:51 pm Link to this comment

Unfortunately, we are forced to repeat the history we haven’t
learned. Either the schools failed to teach us about the fight
for worker rights in this country or we weren’t paying
attention when the class was being taught, because we have
been through this all before. People sacrificed and died to get
union recognition and the right to collective bargaining, but
we got complacent. Private sector unions have been decimated
by shipping jobs overseas and now the attack is on the public
service unions. But Wisconsin is having a salutary effect,
because people are waking up to how much they have lost.
There were marches and demonstrations all around the
country on Saturday. The turn-out here in NYC was amazing.
There is hope, but it’s not in Washington.

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By Morpheus, February 28, 2011 at 9:58 pm Link to this comment

There is better way to get your voices heard. We have to be smarter and proactive, not reactive. We have to organize for real change, and not chump change.

*** Free people shouldn’t act like slaves ***

*** We Need A Neew Vision for America ***


“STAND UP PEOPLE!”  -  JOIN THE REVOLUTION
Read “Common Sense 3.1” at ( http://www.revolution2.osixs.org )

We don’t have to live like this anymore. “Spread the News”

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By TDoff, February 28, 2011 at 7:54 pm Link to this comment

The most recent Wisconsin union dispute that became an all-out war was on Super Bowl Sunday, and the Green Bay members of the NFL Players Union won. So there is hope.

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By Preston, February 28, 2011 at 7:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If the Egyptian people can bring down a dictator after 30 years of police state rule, why can’t state employee unions bring down this Governor or at least start a Governor recall effort. This is the United States of America, re-learn how to do it yourself.

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By JDmysticDJ, February 28, 2011 at 6:25 pm Link to this comment

Anyone notice the dichotomy?

Thanks E.J. for telling it like it is, and supporting working people everywhere.

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