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Time for a Little Education

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Posted on Mar 23, 2011
AP

Santa Barbara City College student Juan Vasques, foreground, joined an estimated crowd of 4,500 students, teachers and others in protesting against California Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed cuts to education budgets. The rally was held at the Capitol in Sacramento on March 14.

By Jim Mamer

(Page 2)

In subsequent years most of these corporations switched their remaining employees from the more secure defined-benefit retirement programs to various defined-contribution plans like 401(k)s. This reduced corporate responsibilities and also tossed the fate of the affected to the uncertainties of Wall Street. Cumulatively the blows to jobs and to secure retirements affected millions. After globalization and deindustrialization drastically reduced the number of American jobs, membership in industrial unions dropped accordingly. After corporate bankruptcies stripped workers of what they had been promised, the power of unions diminished. As fewer and fewer private sector workers were unionized, the private/public balance was reversed and, by 2010, a majority of union members were government workers. As The New York Times reported, “… membership fell so fast in the private sector in 2009 that the 7.9 million unionized public-sector workers easily outnumbered those in the private sector, where labor’s ranks shrank to 7.4 million, from 8.2 million in 2008.”

When the preponderance of union membership shifted to those working for government the stage was set for another struggle about the nature of American society, even about the meaning of the American past. Omnipresent conservative commentator Ann Coulter recently summarized the narrative of the right: “… public sector employees got themselves terrific overtime, holiday, pension and health care deals through buying politicians with their votes and campaign money. But now, responsible elected officials in Wisconsin are trying to balance the budget.” But despite Coulter’s certainty, this battle is not primarily about the budget; it is about the power of working people to participate in determining their own fate.

This attack on the unions aims to destroy the very organizations that provide workers with a unified voice and make negotiation possible. Regardless of whether the fight is in Wisconsin, Tennessee or Minnesota, the current strategy on the right is to divide the public by sowing confusion, envy and anger while manipulating the confusion and anger already present in those continuing to reel from the recession, from official unemployment of almost 10 percent, from the continued lack of heath insurance and from the ongoing housing crisis. The point is to focus anger away from the plutocrats, away from the bankers and brokers of Wall Street, away from their protectors in Washington, and toward those who still benefit from the power of unions. Why not blame the teachers, firefighters and cops?

For many of us this situation has become personal and has been manifested in countless conversations. I’ve had such discussions with those in my own family who face an uncertain or nonexistent retirement, and I appreciate their frustration and anger, but I worry when their reaction is to suggest that, if they face uncertainty, I should too. Such an argument may appear rational (“Since I’ve worked just as hard as you, why should I suffer while you don’t?”), but the solution of making everyone poorer and unable to count on a secure retirement is self-defeating, even crazy.

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I’m persuaded that far too many Americans have grown accustomed to a mythology of anti-union individualism. We need to reverse that. In our conversations we should remind others that unions built the American middle class; that the benefits of organized labor are a public good to be fought for and protected. We need to insist that the right to organize is fundamental to a democratic society. We need to insist that teachers, firefighters and cops have a right to negotiated wages and secure retirements, but we need to add that so does everyone else. No one who works should be denied a good negotiated wage. No one who has worked for 30 or 40 years should be denied a safe retirement. When envy breeds unkind division … there begins confusion. In “Henry VI” this line is spoken by the Duke of Exeter as he cautions those around him to fear the power of envy. It is advice we should all take to heart.


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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, November 28, 2011 at 5:31 pm Link to this comment

Thanks for the heads up She, Not a very good advertisement,... in fact, from the message he had posted he had a degree in engineering management (what ever that is) and couldn’t find a job and was living at home with his parents? From what I have heard many of the folks in Occupy are degreed people, is degreed opposite of greed?

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, November 28, 2011 at 4:10 pm Link to this comment

The post by JessieJo, November 28 at 12:17 pm is a scab advertiser. 
The hotlink is an advertisement for a college.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, November 28, 2011 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment

JessieJo, you are the 99 percent!

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By Melody S, April 24, 2011 at 8:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Simon Johnson, who recently visited Smith College for a lecture, referred to the
current financial crisis as an unnecessary problem caused by “profit-
maximizing private corporations whose private gains lead an excess of public
loss.”  As a first-year Economics major myself, often the talk of our financial
system and budget deficit are unfamiliar to my ears. Yet in that terminology,
there was little to not understand. As Jim Mamer states, the foolish notion that
our current deficit is caused by the “government spending too much” is
supported our very weak financial system-one that supports the “benefits and
bonuses” of CEOs from companies such as Wells Fargo and JPMorgan. The ratio
of private profit to public loss is billions to trillions. What we need is a reform
(not one that cuts down on the much deserved and sustainable salary and
pension funds of employees public sectors) but a kind of change that
introduces equilibrium to what Mamer would say “faulty bankers” are doing.
The public gained nothing from the millions of unregulated and uncreditworthy
loans that defaulted, rather they are paying (and will continue to for many
years) for what little clean-up is being introduced.
Like Mamer, I too and sick of this bullshit. But as a 19-year-old student barely
aware of the world I live in, I am mortified of what the future job market and
financial capabilities the government holds for me.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, March 29, 2011 at 6:45 am Link to this comment

Can you even Imagine what a GOP governors conference call would sound like?

“Hey Pretty boy Walker, what you think about me getting rid of the labor mural in the labor department, ....neat A”.

Walker; “Okay stinky, .....I want to see you change the name of the labor department, then I will say its neat”.

Ohio jumps in; “You pansies suck big time;....now making myself boss of selling liquor licenses Wall Street kicks ass…..and you have to agree, taking over the municipals,  and school districts to get rid of the Unions is a whole lot cleaner then the mess Walker made”.

Saga continues ad nasturtium!  Next up Social Security!

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By question, March 28, 2011 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Excellent article, but as a Boomer geezer in not great health I gotta ask ya:  WTF do we do about it?  This has been going on inch by inch since St. Reagan decided 1.  funding pensions was a niggly detail interfering w/profits & 2. employees, in general, weren’t an asset but a P&L liability.  Big changes in philosophy from Ike’s day.  I lived in NJ all my life & was a reporter there for awhile.  With all respect for Inherit, I gotta tell ya:  it started way before Christie Witless, although she was the icing on the cake.  The workers have already been divided & nearly conquered.  We can’t earn a decent living w/benefits, care for our children & elderly & afford heat, never mind sleepy time.  We’ve had great journalists & progressive activists screaming about this for decades.  And even in the face of lawsuits & existing legislation & public outrage, here we are.  Certain bought politicians & judiciary don’t listen.  Unless the unions organize a nationwide strike or we take to the streets en masse, they will continue to steal from us, our children & our grandchildren.  What do you suggest?

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, March 28, 2011 at 11:35 am Link to this comment

Can you say fascist?

Maybe Walker can hire some of those honest contractors from Iraq now that the war is over?  Blame the teachers for teaching the kids and polluting their little minds about freedom and democracy and teaching them the difference between Call me something, Thomas Jefferson never happened and reality!

Seems Roy is shoeing some strange colored elephants with tea bags, so unions have become socialist commies and Call me something is really upset,...... because they are not fascist? Unions are socialist, thats why they are called Unions!

All Unions are bad in the mind of minions and their benefactors, (well benefactors first) one must ignore and avoid the argument of collective bargaining, for it is the pinko unions and the importance of not teaching kids Unions are good? The wrong message to little minds, heaven for bid, kids grow up to find Walker like Mussolini was really; .....call me stupid;... a fascist.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 28, 2011 at 11:08 am Link to this comment

Wannabe just keeps shoveling the shit the Right-Wing-Nut propagandists keep feeding him.

Let his kids go uneducated.
Let criminals run rampant in his neighborhood.
Let his house burn down.

Better that than pay those “greedy union” workers in the schools, PDs and FDs what they are worth.

It’s all bullshit.  I live in NJ and the corruption in everything from road-building to school-building, to even the DMV has been rampant here FOREVER.  It ain’t the teachers, LEOs and firefighters who bankrupted our state.

No, it started in 1995 when Christie Whitman (the other Chris) gave us HUGE tax cuts and paid for it with….DEFICITS!  Every governor since she quit in 2001 to serve Bush has fought that problem.  That’s 10 years of running deficits due to popular but un-workable tax cuts.  The current gov’s answer? More tax cuts for the wealthiest New Jersians (and we have plenty) and cut jobs and wages of teachers, cops and firefighters.

But the blinders on the Wannabe go much higher.

When in 2001, Bush cut taxes, what also got cut (and nobody noticed) was subsidies to the states, from NJ to Montana and beyond.  The impact was enormous and immediate.  A friend here had to quit her job and go back to Montana because the home her daughter was in was being taken for a drug/alcolhol rehab center and her daughter was being sent to ...a state hospital, aka, medieval medicine.  Here and everywhere, all of a sudden municipalities couldn’t pay for stuff and either had to cut services or raise taxes.  States tried to help, but…..with their lost subsidies they began raising deficits.

And nobody could “get away” with raising taxes to compensate, especially on the wealthiest who always seem to have a loophole to avoid paying their share.

But rather than blame those who engineered and caused this whole mess, it’s just so much easier to blame teachers.

That way we can be forced to have private, for-profit, on-line schools, (Governor Rick Scott’s plan).  That’s despite the fact that these schools have shamefully low graduation rates, have been caught up repeatedly in billing scandals and are a proven failure.

But that way the rich and the corporations won’t have to worry about school AND can make a profit off of it.

But no, to the Wannabes, it’ all the fault of teachers, cops and firefighters.

I say let his damn house burn!

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, March 28, 2011 at 10:50 am Link to this comment

Like the missing link between Attila the Hun and Adolf Hitler, the Republicans seem to be on offensive repressive overdrive. Their scripted demands are shoveled out like horse dung at a Russ Limbaugh ditto head circus, only difference this is not radio, this is real and has consistences.
     
Who is choreographing this crap we see flying from the mouths of morons? Surely not coming from the morons themselves, they march and talk in union while they deny others unionism?  Hypocrisy of this depth must come from a higher source, and I do not mean the Pope and his boss…...  Karl Rove? ... If you pool enough imbeciles together in a room full of cigars,  I know with the certainty of a Tea Bag nothing good for the people will come from it. 

Republicans and autocrats scurvy of the earth, unfortunately for the rest of humanity, this scurvy seems to have the half life of spent nuclear waste. 

The media is not having any of this.  So we hear nothing about the protests in London or the political happenings in Canada and very little on the choreographed politics to destroy the unions, Social Security and Medicare, little is heard on giving people their walking orders while bale outs keep the wheels greased. 

You know Attila the Hun may not have been so bad after all?

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By call me roy, March 28, 2011 at 10:14 am Link to this comment

The American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) is the largest labor federation in America, consisting of 57 autonomous and international unions. For decades, under the leadership of George Meany and Lane Kirkland, this entity was a bastion of anti-communism. In fact, Meany invited Alexandre Solzhenitsyn to speak at AFL-CIO meetings and brought awareness of Soviet human rights abuses to U.S. audiences. Kirkland, for his part, used his power to funnel more than $6 million in aid to Polish workers — aid that was instrumental in Solidarity’s successful effort to end 50 years of Communist Party rule in Poland. But after Lane Kirkland’s retirement in 1995, John Sweeney became president of the AFL-CIO and was able to repeal an AFL-CIO rule prohibiting Communists from being leaders of its member unions. Abandoning the blue-color industrial unionism of the past, Sweeney, a member of Democratic Socialists of America, was instrumental in remaking labor into a movement of the Left. With George Meany heading the AFL-CIO, the New Left saw the labor movement as what it termed a reactionary institution, in which workers supported the very forces that oppressed them, leaving the forces of change emanating only from the black underclass the “lumpenproletariat” in Marxist jargonand students who were their natural allies. But today’s Left went back in inspiration to the 1930s, and like the Communists and Socialists of that era, once again sought to forge a new partnership between student radicals and the labor movement. Their hopes broadened once Lane Kirkland’s post-Meany leadership dissolved, and the AFL-CIO went into the hands of John Sweeney and his associates, who staffed the upper echelons of the new staff positions with graduates of the 60s Left.

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By call me roy, March 28, 2011 at 10:10 am Link to this comment

If you look at the budget problems state and local governments are having, you’ll find union benefits and pensions are usually a core part of the problem. Add to that the fact that unions have become extremely nasty, polarizing, thuggish, and incredibly greedy in recent years and the sympathy level for them should be pretty close to zero.
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.

Wisconsin was only about one thing: the total disregard for the taxpayer. What part of the word “broke” does the Unions and Progressives not get?

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By Shenonymous, March 28, 2011 at 9:25 am Link to this comment

It isn’t really about education, a little or a lot since education
ought to be an entitlement just as health and old age security. 
What it is about is the confiscation of this country by the wealthy
and the corporate and they are who the Republicans represent. 
Why do they represent them?  Mainly because they are well-off. 
Certainly there are some Republicans who are not in the 6-figure
class but they are definitely not on the street corners looking for
handouts.  Nor are they in the unemployment lines.  Nor do they
want for education.  Not one of them!  If they are elderly, they have
money they’ve saved from their well-paid careers.  They don’t need
health care or other protections in their old age that they were not able
to provide for in their younger days.  Why I know a doctor who makes
6-figures, is conservative, and does not need for anything, can provide
health care for anyone in his family, and upholds the conservative
banner at every chance, yet hoots and brags that a son will be able to
be a dependent on his health care until he is 26 because of the
“ObamaCare” Plan.  Give us a living break! 

Mamer is right, there is no shortage of money in this country, and
Michael Moore is the best voice about that.  Look at the amount of
money Americans are spending on non-essentials is staggering, iPods,
iPhones along 8.752 million so far in 2011, snow sports spend $1
billion in 2010/2011 alone, half a billion dollars on chewing gum,.  I’m
sure there are those on these forums who could give deeply shocking
numbers of dollars Americans are spending on such things as toys,
coins, currency & collectibles, cosmetics (recently Americans spent
$10.3 billion to endure 1.7 million cosmetic surgeries)  and non-
prescribed health products, flowers & festive gift items, computer
related products, usesd books!, electronic appliances, and the list goes
on and on and on…and on.  There is not a shortage of money!

This article needs to be read very carefully for he spells out exactly
what is wrong with American thinking and the problems that are facing
all Americans who do not qualify to be in the wealthy class.  There is
only one way to fix this catastrophe, it is political, and that is to rid the
government of the Republicans who would keep their feet on our
throats every minute they breathe. This is not their country as they
are always saying they want to take back their country!  They constantly
say “the American people want this, the American people want that,”
they do not speak for America or Americans!  It is our country, we need
to let them know it!

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LocalHero's avatar

By LocalHero, March 28, 2011 at 5:24 am Link to this comment

One thing & one thing only has bankrupted this country (morally as well as fiscally) and that is the corporate WARfare state. Nothing else even comes close.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, March 28, 2011 at 2:39 am Link to this comment

JUST THE FACTS, MA’AM

Bs: The UFT and then the NEA built a formidable empire where the words were “gimme gimme” and “no give backs.”  Soon teaching became a lucrative profession with good earnings, long vacations, great benefits, and little responsibility and the profession became loaded with loafers.

The facts are elsewhere, somewhere in the comparative scoring of achievement.

The facts that I don’t like are these, from the OECD’s PISA Study (Program for International Student Assessment) here.

Look at the chart on the right - in the TopTen assessments for Maths, Sciences and Reading, where’s the US? Nowhere to be seen.

But there is a country there that is shaming us. No, it’s not China and not Hong Kong, but the neighbor just to the north of us.

Just what are they doing up there in education that we can’t seem to do in US? And, believe me, tenure or salaries have nothing to do with it. One can piss and moan in a blog till the cows come home and get nowhere on those criteria.

A large part of the difference is not in the teachers but in the pupils. Ever think that we may bet trying to educate a nation of brainless twits?

And whose fault is that is kids are not sufficiently disciplined in order to study properly? Teachers should repair the mistakes made in the home by parents?

Children are having and bring up children—the problem goes back a long, long way ...

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By Allen Johnson, March 27, 2011 at 10:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What are we educating for?

I suggest that formation of character, integrity, community-mindedness,and unselfishness are important components.  Add to that creativity, the joy of learning that makes for a life-long learner, a responsible work ethic, and then of course, skill development.

On the other hand, I would wish that selfish, dishonest students would drop out…quickly. They are much less dangerous as a poorly employed or non-employed person than as an educated rapacious banker, industrialist, businessperson, lawyer, etc.
I’m not knocking these professions IF the people holding them are honest.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 27, 2011 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment

When Michelle Bachmann stops taking a quarter mill in govn’t handouts (farm subsidies) then the TeaBaggers may have a point about teachers. Until then they are all just a bunch of lying hypocrites who should STFU and home-school their brats.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, March 27, 2011 at 12:46 pm Link to this comment

It seems teachers are the only people today who happen to be in on the dole, usually judged by other self righteous people on the dole or jealous people with an ax to grind? Lets have some tax breaks for teachers too!

For years I thought Russ Limbaugh was a sarcastic comedian, I found his sarcasm amusing, until one day I found out we had a ditto head in the office and he believed Russ Limbaugh was the reincarnation of Gezbeebis on a cheese cracker,....so Limbaughs spewings in the tiney mind of my co worker was the Gospely truth! Now I have to accept Blacksphere actually believes what he/she is saying for judging others with an offensive spot light is what Republicans do. Now, I do not feel teachers in my community or on the dole but since Blackspere does then it is set in stone, they are on the dole!  What an easy job teachers have, so we should go back to the happy part time housewife comment, which would be funner as a joke,  but the unfortunate possibility many Teabags may find blacksphers comment acceptable makes me want to be a nice liberal and say I understand what you are saying, and you are so right, ....excuse me please I need to get my barf bag!

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By kdyson, March 27, 2011 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment

if education, health care, social security, and child
care took up most of the budget…that would be a good
thing…because it would mean we have our priorities in
order. the welfare of the people over war…

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Blackspeare's avatar

By Blackspeare, March 27, 2011 at 11:54 am Link to this comment

Please give me a break——I’m tired of all the bleeding hearts for the public sector unions especially the teachers.  When I was in grade school most teachers were women and they went into teaching because they like it and were good at it.  It was a good job for a women because it allowed her to maintain a proper family life and be home in time to get her own kids from school——a win-win situation.  The only people who went into teaching back then were people who really wanted to reach.  And then things changed when the union became too strong and domineering. It all started with the UFT in NYC when Al Shanker took on mayor Lindsay and won.  The UFT and then the NEA built a formidable empire where the words were “gimme gimme” and “no give backs.”  Soon teaching became a lucrative profession with good earnings, long vacations, great benefits, and little responsibility and the profession became loaded with loafers.  After about five years of preparing lessons plans and getting tenure the job is a virtual sinecure.  Now it looks like the pendulum is swinging back to where it should be.  Teaching should be a job for people who want to teach and not live on the dole!

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By Inherit The Wind, March 27, 2011 at 8:39 am Link to this comment

I think cops, firemen and teachers should adopt the free market and do business with people they want to do business with. 

So when John M and “Call Me Roy”(the Die-Hard Wannabe) call the PD because someone is breaking in or attacking them or the FD, the police and firemen should say “Sorry, Asshole, you don’t want to pay us a fair wage and bennies for risking our LIVES, we don’t come when you call, period!”

Teachers should refuse to teach their kids saying: “Assholes, you don’t want to pay us a decent wage and benefits, you can find some other way to keep your brats from being as ignorant as you!”

You know, unregulated free market.  Only do business with those who are willing to PAY you, and don’t demand you work as a slave!

You know it already happened?  A FD out in the mid-West somewhere wasn’t allowed to put out the fire in a house because the homeowner didn’t pay his fire-fighter fees.  So it burned to the ground.  There’s a record of it somewhere here on TD.

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By gerard, March 26, 2011 at 8:00 pm Link to this comment

Brief diagnosis of the “society of blame”“
  Taxpayers blame schools because it costs a lot of money to educate a lot of children.
  Teachers and administrators blame parents because most of them don’t take an interest in encouraging learning, and many are undereducated themselves.
  PTA blames teachers and adminstrators because the kids have problems in school.
  School boards blame teachers and administrators for needing tax money to pay salaries and buy books, equipment, buildings, athletic fields etc. etc.
  Employers blame teachers and administrators because kids graduate without “job skills.”
  Kids blame teachers because it’s more fun to play video games than do homework.
  Elderly blame administrators and teachers because they are living on fixed incomes and can’t afford tax raises to pay for educating other people’s kids.
  Private schools blame public schools for lowering standards..
  Public schools blame private schools for elitism.
  Administrators and school boards blame teachers’ unions for demanding decent salaries and policies varying degrees of tenure.
  Businesmen blame schools for causing the need for higher taxation on local businesses. And vandalism.
And gangs. And drugs.
  Police blame administrators for not controlling students’ behavior and keeping them out of trouble.
  Teachers’ unions blame school boards for fighting against supporting raises in teachers’ salaries.
  Charter schools blame public schools and public schools blame charter schools.
  Textbook companies, test companies, athletic equipment companies, musical instruments companies, contractors, bus service companies all compete to make as much profit off schools as they possibly can.

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By sal3, March 26, 2011 at 12:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m afraid most of these comments are missing the Root Cause for most of the “symptoms” so dramatically presented here. The larger part of all these symptoms are rooted in the fact that corporate money buys influence in our elections and
legislative processes. For a crisp and factual backgrounder, check out “The Best Government Money Can Buy”, currently playing on LinkTV.

Until we stop exhausting our energy and resources on chasing mere “symptoms” and start focusing on Root Causes, there is absolutely NO HOPE of a better future. We’ve got to meet our responsibilities as an “informed electorate” and start acting
as members of the “board of directors” instead of a mob of stupified “consuming production units” -even worse off than Orwell forecasted. Get corporate money out of our elections and legislative process and we can control our collective fate.

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John M's avatar

By John M, March 26, 2011 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment

again mrfreeze I apologize - you will have to copy and
paste my links, for some reason this forum cuts them in
half.

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John M's avatar

By John M, March 26, 2011 at 12:31 pm Link to this comment

Ahh mrfreeze

Nope not a coward - actually just not very eager to
get into a mental battle with someone as unarmed as
yourself.

As for what city where are your facts - pick a city -
which one has financial problems from the war or
internet sales taxes? All you have to do is Google
city budget crises and you will get hit after hit. As
for my city here read and educate yourself.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/c
ityregion/s_519267.html

As for FDR, George Meany and Fiorello LaGuardia all
knew public sector unions were a bad idea.” you could
look that up too but since you don’t seem capable you
can find the quotes here.

http://theamericanfreedomcrisis.blogspot.com/2011/02/
dem-lawmaker-on-labor-protests-get.html

As for your second point I half agree with you. I
don’t like corporate welfare either. But I don’t like
political welfare either. I see problems with
revolving doors like this one as i hope you do too.

http://theamericanfreedomcrisis.blogspot.com/2011/02/
here-is-classic-billionaire-hires.html

As for my link that doesn’t go anywhere, my apologies
here it is in full.

http://theamericanfreedomcrisis.blogspot.com/2011_02_
01_archive.html

As for you final point.

“Why quote a government source when you rail against
the very government employees who make up the US Dept
of Education? Once again, we all know our educational
system is broken, but it didn’t get that way solely
because of unions (they are certainly part of the
problem). More to the point, you’re
scapegoating..which is soooooooooooo boring.”

I quoted a fact. I never railed against the US
Department of education although I don’t think they
justify their existence. But here is a little fact
for you that you again won’t like. And it directly correlates to Union Teachers VS non.

http://theamericanfreedomcrisis.blogspot.com/2011/02
/wisconsin-union-backers-defame-virginia.html

Again I ask the question, Unions were formed in this
country to protect workers from abuse. With todays civil service laws just who are the public employee
unions protecting their members from, you? Their
pension plans are unsustainable. You end up with
people like ex governor John Corzine promising unions
if elected he would get them a great deal. the
problem with that? Who was he negotiating for? the
people of the state. Not only was he willing to kick
the can down the road but the chief negotiator for
the other side that he already made the promises to
was his wife.

Nope not afraid

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By Mike789, March 26, 2011 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment

wafranklin, March 25 at 7:23 pm Link to this comment
[“All of the comments miss ONE KEY POINT.  The benefits approved in municipalities, counties, states and other governmental organizations were approved by “boards”,..]

Fact is that these leaders thought that high times were never-ending. They took the premise that he housing sector would never collapse. There were actually, (and not in my town), municipalities whose management found it prudent to squirrel a little away for a rainy day. They have weathered the storm much better than the kool-aid drinkers at the punch bowl.

Teachers especially, and other municipally employed only want to renegotiate. They realize that times have changed.

To expose highly educated teachers, who have invested years and a fortune in tuition to meet educational criteria established by county school boards without a bargaining chip makes it such that an employer who requires a certain product, can appoint his own conditions at his own price without regard for the value of that product. It confounds the idea of supply/demand. [Police and Fire department differ in that they receive training through state programs. I do not believe they are quite in the same boat.]

If this push to eliminate collective bargaining begins to hold sway in an attempt to balance state budgets, teachers, nation-wide, in absolute solidarity, should appoint a one-day strike and see where state governments will find adequate subsitutes. Well, it might be contrary to contractorial stipulations, but who is breaking contracts here? Nonetheless, it will certainly get some attention. Teach them a lesson, teachers! 

From what I understand, parents in Wisconsin are already aghast at their governor’s plan. If substandard education is the only recourse to fund the coffers, let the votes deside at the polls.

Unions followed the lead of the fat cats at the top and yes, did want a larger piece of the pie, but only in the face of huge gains by management. As they say, “Shit rolls down hill.”

Unions membership has declined predominately during an era of boom, where it seemed the was no need. In the present environment, where “trickle up” has made it cozy, even in a down-turn, for the wealthy and increasingly insecure for the middle-class, unions may regain some numbers.

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By WriterOnTheStorm, March 26, 2011 at 11:46 am Link to this comment

Those who believe that teachers, police and fireman have a better deal than
they do should consider joining or forming a union. That way, they can have a
shot at a decent life too.

Those who believe that these unions are the cause of state and city budget
woes should have paid more attention in school. Cities managed to balance
budgets despite these unions for decades. The unions haven’t changed. In fact
they’ve proven themselves willing to work with the new budgets. What’s
changed is the revenue flow.

But this debate isn’t about logic. It’s about what kind of a society we want to
live in. Sadly, those who argue the Tea Party narrative don’t seem to
understand that what they will end up with is a society where the sons and
daughters of the wealthiest two percent will get a decent education. The rest of
you buggers can learn to read (if you’re lucky) in some Dickensian poorhouse.
Or worse, you can all end up like the 150 women who burned to death in the
Triangle factory fire.

The Tea Party way has been tried. The vast majority of us didn’t like it. And
many gave their lives to change it. What a crime to those who made the ultimate
sacrifice to now surrender these victories.

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By RayLan, March 26, 2011 at 6:06 am Link to this comment

“Governor Schwarzenegger’s efforts to change the tenure rules (extending the tenure threshold to five years) have–to date–been resoundingly defeated. Unions like the California Teachers Association have spent millions to keep the two-year tenure rule in place. The Wall Street Journal took time to count the cost of this today:”

Like every other US institution not specifically designated for profiteering greed but the advance of Civilization, education needs reform. Teachers get paid less than every other public servant profession such as police and fireman. It’s actually obscene how little they do get paid, considering the role they play in young people’s lives. Since the public schools are top-heavy with administration to micro-manage every aspect of the teacher’s job, it isn’t surprising that too many of them are just civil servant drones.
It also is not surprising that the quality of education in this infantilizing consumer culture dictated by corporate Wall street marketers, is rated on the low end of the international scale.
Forty percent of the populace is functionally illiterate. But we have to balance the budget. So naturally one of the first things to get cut is education.
Once more America scores high on keeping it Stupid literally.

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By Lafayette, March 26, 2011 at 3:36 am Link to this comment

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, first promulgated in 1948:

Article 23.

  (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
  (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
  (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for him/herself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
  (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

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By Lafayette, March 26, 2011 at 3:22 am Link to this comment

THE SHEEPLE

“… public sector employees got themselves terrific overtime, holiday, pension and health care deals through buying politicians with their votes and campaign money. But now, responsible elected officials in Wisconsin are trying to balance the budget.”

It seems that Americans do not understand one of the first principles of a Market Economy. It is that? just as Supply & Demand determine the price of the car you buy, S&D also determines the price of your labor.

The price of hour-worked is a market determined variable. All prices to one are costs to another, and Workforce Costs are not cast in concrete. Neither is tenure at the job, since companies have the right to hire and fire according to their needs of the moment.

For all these reasons that it is absolutely indispensable that most workers below Top Management positions, whether in institutions or administrations or corporations should, for their own benefit, belong to a union. It is only by means of aggregating workforce representation at the bargain table that unionized membership will get a fair share of that enormous GDP-pie that a Market Economy is capable of generating.

If that does not happen, then we are right to ask “why not”? In part, the answer to that question is that Unions do not organize membership sufficiently aggressively. But the real finger of blame should be pointed at We, the Sheeple. We think, simply, that at a going wage, unionization is not necessary to maintain decent Comp & Ben.

So, who should we blame in the end? Look in the mirror.

But despite Coulter’s certainty, this battle is not primarily about the budget; it is about the power of working people to participate in determining their own fate.

Yes, yes, yes and yes.

If the sheeple can wake up across the Middle East to the fact that they are being plundered, then one wonders why not the US?

Income Unfairness is amongst the worst in the US, when compared with all developed countries. That has happened under our very noses throughout the past century or more than industrialization brought workers in from the farmland to large cities as industrial employees.

It’s high time that we recognized that without the force of unions, we are royally screwed at the salary negotiating table.

POST SCRIPTUM

There is also the fact that unions get inured to their predominant circumstance in some selected industries. This was the case of the automotive industry, where $80 per hour Comp&Ben; drove the Big3 up to and against the wall of foreign competition.

It has been calculated that wage Comp&Ben; easily added $1500 to $2000 to the cost of the American produced car. That difference made it difficult to compete and drove the erosion of market share of Big3 manufactured cars since the end of WW2. The Big3 U.S. market share declined from 70% in 1998 to 53% in 2008 - due to a disadvantage in both cost and in types of autos being manufactured (gas guzzlers).

Still, automobiles do not make for the rest of the economy where wage rates are much lower. But the example of that industry does show what is to be avoided in the future.

Which is why the “US” and “THEM” mentality is a non-starter. Employees should have representation on the Board of companies to understand how their participation in costs determines their return-on-labor versus the return-on-capital.

And to change mentalities that dictate that the return-on-capital goes to TopManagement only by means of bonuses and stock options. Why shouldn’t the rank and file be allowed such perquisites as well?

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By Leefeller, March 26, 2011 at 1:19 am Link to this comment

“This attack on the unions aims to destroy the very organizations that provide workers with a unified voice and make negotiation possible.”

The lies promoted by Walker in Wisconson, said this was to save money, the unions agreed to aqueous to his demands, then he wanted to take away their right to collective bargaining, not an option for labor, public or otherwise. Civil Service was established to eliminate the abuses in government. (I need to review my labor history, it has been awhile)

One feels, Col Qaddafi would be eminently pleased watching Walker another conservative in his right,  emulate Qaddafi’s unyielding big balls and small minded kind of action.

Sadly Walker may not realize it, but he may still be living in a Democratic Republic, and the big daddy boss attitude may still work in the south, but last I checked Wisconson was not in the South?

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By mrfreeze, March 26, 2011 at 1:01 am Link to this comment

To Call Me Roy and John M -

You’re both jerk-off artists:

Call Me Roy - Your anti-teacher propaganda is old, tired and worn-out….....The fact is there is no such thing as “tenure” in public schools. There are; however, administrations who are too pussy to fire bad teachers….There’s an old business adage that says: “Management must manage.” If those in charge of the schools (aren’t there administrators, school boards and tax payers that are in charge???) aren’t doing a good enough job, too bad…..

John M - What? Too much of a coward to answer my rebuttal of your “feces-based” comment?

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By Leefeller, March 26, 2011 at 12:51 am Link to this comment

History may be ugly and the Triangle Shirtwaist fire was just one more Commie plot to expose the ugly underbelly of corporate American abuses against labor!

Right to work and the anti Union management mentality, shows a very clear pattern of abusive power, forcing people to work in unsafe conditions,  the fire in New York City, which killed 146 workers and prompted labor reform in the United States, is only one small segment of labor history. 

FYI: You can watch a preview for “Triangle” right here

http://blog.zap2it.com/frominsidethebox/2011/03/triangle-shirtwaist-fire-hbo-documentary-gets-cnn-encore-for-100th-anniversary.html

Most persons labor is the only thing they have to bargain with for their livelihood, labor is the most important commodity in the world and labor should be able to negotiate their labor for wages, work conditions and benefits,.... otherwise they are being robbed!

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By Laurence Tribe, March 26, 2011 at 12:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If the schools taught history, or we, the people, took time to study history, we would all know that our much respected government has always been, with rare and notable exceptions, of the rich (and/or influential), for the rich, and by the rich. The only time our politicians are interested in we, the people, is at election time; afterwards they go back to running their government as they see fit.

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By John M, March 25, 2011 at 10:32 pm Link to this comment

Nope we’re not broke:

http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-
confidential/2011/03/obamas-former-top-economist-raps-
him-over-lack-engagement-entitle

Even Christina Romer knows it

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By call me roy, March 25, 2011 at 10:12 pm Link to this comment

How Teachers’ Unions Handcuff Schools
Sol Stern
Evidence of how stupid American students (and teachers) are has been slowly amassing. The creeping cretinism is confirmed by reports like “A Nation at Risk.” Especially indicative are the below-international-average scores of 17-year-olds. One out of four children is dropping out and not graduating. High schools have been so dumbed down that even average students sit bone idle. Fully 50 percent of students with IQs that border on mental retardation manage to pass. Unlike our European counterparts, American universities, colleges and even corporations spend a fortune on teaching students elementary things they should have learned in high school. College professors attest to a decline in the quality of students entering colleges.
Fair to a fault, however, Brimelow draws surprisingly cautious conclusions. True, there are schools in Miami Dade County that make the madrasas of Indonesia, Turkey, and Tunisia look promising. But, equally, there’s a school in Illinois that outperforms the excellent schools of Taiwan and Singapore. American schools are producing very mixed results.
The education system is a hog of huge proportions. In 1890, “annual current spending per pupil was $275.” In 1999-2000, it was $7,086. “Adjusted for inflation and expressed in year 2000 dollars,” that’s “25-fold.” If GDP has since increased on average by only 1.9 percent per year, the spending on education has outpaced it, increasing 3 percent per year (p.26).
Simultaneously, the student-to-teacher ratio has been declining—there are ever more teachers compared to the number of students. One of the union’s goals is to pile on the personnel—this means more members and more union dues. Consequently, the teacher-to-student ratio is now down to an astonishing 1:16.5. (Include non-teaching staff, and there is now one adult for every eight or nine children in government schools.)
To this end, class-size reduction initiatives have been used to defraud taxpayers of billions, even though there is no consistent relationship between smaller class size and student achievement. There is, however, a solid connection between teacher quality and student accomplishment. But the teacher unions thwart any market process that would help separate good from bad teachers and reward them differently.
So what have we so far?
From an economist’s point of view, says Brimelow, an ever-increasing number of teachers relative to the number of pupils can only mean one thing: declining productivity. “To produce at the very best, the same results, the system is consuming more and more by the year.” Since costs only ever go up, and results are at best the same, the education system is without a doubt in decline.
There’s poetic justice to this. Since the “Teacher Trust” is a “creature of legal privilege”—and a form of legalized thuggery—laws against a conspiracy to monopolize trade or commerce should indeed be brought to bear on the union. Giving teeth to anti-strike laws and passing more right-to-work legislation are also good ways to smash this guild of goons.
Try as I did, I could only come up with minor quibbles: I probably disagree that John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company was a monopoly. Unlike the “Teacher Trust,” it brought a cheaper, better product to market. Nor can I bring myself to think about vouchers as anything other than another distribution scheme which will thoroughly co-opt private schools. But since Brimelow is not one to plead his case without careful attention to all sides, he has this covered.
Neither is Peter Brimelow about to let us forget that, “The problem with America’s government school system is socialism.” And the cure—as always—is capitalism and freedom.

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By call me roy, March 25, 2011 at 10:03 pm Link to this comment

mrfreeze

Spewing some more commie vomit huh? Now to important things:
Facing enormously powerful teacher’s unions, Governor Schwarzenegger’s efforts to change the tenure rules (extending the tenure threshold to five years) have–to date–been resoundingly defeated. Unions like the California Teachers Association have spent millions to keep the two-year tenure rule in place. The Wall Street Journal took time to count the cost of this today:
“Even when bad schools close, which happens all too rarely, teachers from those schools take jobs at replacement schools or are sent to work at other schools in the system. And union contracts typically allow those with seniority to bump younger colleagues from other schools, even if the younger teachers are getting better classroom results. […] It’s not impossible to get rid of bad teachers, but it’s extremely hard and expensive. A report this month in LA Weekly noted that in the past decade the Los Angeles Unified School District “spent $3.5 million trying to fire just seven of the district’s 33,000 teachers for poor classroom performance.“ The result? Four were fired, two others were paid large settlements and one was reinstated. The paper also reported that 32 underperforming teachers were initially targeted for removal “but then secretly paid $50,000 by the district, on average, to leave without a fight.”” So as governors across the country look for areas to cut their state budgets, they need look no further than the seemingly innocuous line item “Education”. Turns out, education’s budget has nothing to do with children (at least according to the teachers unions). As it is, the California Teachers Association is asking everyone to save the date (March 3th) and “Stand up for Schools.” “It’s time everyone paid their fair share,” opines their plea that students and parents not let the state cut education funding. We agree that it’s time for everyone to pay their fair share. It’s just that teachers who shouldn’t even be in a classroom are paying no price at all. And California’s children and their parents are paying the full price.
Guess how long it takes for a public school teacher in California to be granted tenure? Prepare to be shocked: It takes two years, without so much as a substantive review. How much money does it take to fire 7 teachers in LA? Try $3.5 million.

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By ocjim, March 25, 2011 at 9:17 pm Link to this comment

Let’s face it. We have lost the propaganda war. The media treats corporation-favored agendas with preference over all other. The war against the middle class get lets coverage than the teaparty clowns. Monolithic corporations dictate all.

Recent filings show that in 2010, General Electric reported global profits of $14.2 billion, claiming $5.1 billion from U.S. operations.

How much did it pay in U.S. corporate taxes? Zero. Actually, less than zero. We taxpayers paid G.E. $3.2 billion.

Taxpayers should consider a taxpayer revolt until legislators at all levels of government impose fair taxes on the rich.

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By laurence Tribe, March 25, 2011 at 4:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

An old, really old, teacher says: cops deter crime, firefighters put out fires. Unfortunately teachers do not have a current history of not detering ignorance -despite continued, expected pay hikes. Paying teachers more has not, to my knowledge, produced bet-ter educated students. Police and firefighters put their lives on the line. Teachers put our kids’ lives on the line. The bright ones teach themselves thank God. There are dedicated teachers, but I fear most are more interested in a paycheck than the quality of their work.

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By berniem, March 25, 2011 at 4:19 pm Link to this comment

For the sake of clarity: Wealth does not disappear, it moves and accumulates in different places at different times. Sometimes it gets spread around and distributed like partners at a square dance while at other times it gets herded and corralled like so much livestock. And, in some cases, unfortunately too often, it is secreted away and hoarded by the few who seem to think of themselves as particularly entitled or better able to decide it’s use. All told, whenever informed of a financial crisis, before engaging in a meaningless rhetorical contest, especially with the slight-of-hand artists or scapegoaters, look back to where the wealth used to be when it seemed that things were looking like they were going in the right the direction for all of us as a nation, and see where it is now. Remember, wealth doesn’t disappear; it just gets redistributed and those at the end of the redistribution funnel probably are the ones who now have it. The question now is why them and not others?

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By Bird48, March 25, 2011 at 3:29 pm Link to this comment

Perhaps the progressives could learn a thing or two from the Rs who certainly have figured out how to manipulate the sheeple with their propaganda. We have now met the new “welfare queens” and they are called “union workers”. As long as the lower classes are squabbling amongst themselves then they won’t notice they are being robbed blind by the plutocrats. It sure worked for Ronnie Raygun and it is working again now.

Why is it not possible for the left to be as strident in their message as the right is in theirs? Get the word out that this is nothing but a ploy to ruin the way of life for millions of hardworking people. Use all that money collected for Presidential campaigns to spread the word rather than backing some corporate shill. Out Republican the Republicans. Steal their tactics. Something to think about.

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By wafranklin, March 25, 2011 at 3:23 pm Link to this comment

All of the comments miss ONE KEY POINT.  The benefits approved in municipalities, counties, states and other governmental organizations were approved by “boards”, usually elected, sometimes appointed.  And who sat on these boards?  At least 70%, perhaps 90%, were business people, including corporate moguls and small business owners.  If they were so all seeing, selflish (Ha!) and competent as the Chamber of Commerce would lead you to think, why did they not see the aggregation of public pensions as something which would haunt the civic organization?  Fact is they were and are no more competent than the rest of us, in fact perhaps less so.  But they are elected repeatedly because the have
“experience in business” and they want to run governments like businesses—usually with ruinous results.  Think Detroit was not run by GM, who ran amuck and bankrupt through incompetence, which was tremendously rewarded.  So good people, as long as you rely on boards of elected business people, they will continue to screw you fatallty over the long run.  IWBGYWBG is an old motto (“I’ll be gone, you will be gone”) currently in favor on Wall Street, but it has been there all along on these boards of government units.  So, when the right wing idiots come along and excoriate government employees, they are but indicting the business and corporate communities for whom they labor so in vain (and which will discard them when the damage is done).

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By Leefeller, March 25, 2011 at 12:49 pm Link to this comment

I find this piece By Jim Mamer well written, focused and much needed to call attention on what is being done in the name of rancid power. Thisis about public service employees having their collective bargaining rights taken from them, at the same time, the people are having their public services taken away from them!  So separating teachers from police seems no other then an simplistic attempt at the divide and conquer technique.  This is what Unions are not about, bunky!

It seems to me the governors in the Blue States have not quite had the uproar publicisy seen in the conservative governor states, I expect the police and teachers are the same in most states so it it possible their is a little difference between Republican and Democrats at the state level?

exploitedtimes; from your comments, I gather police have overly lucrative contracts and should be paid less, while teachers have not?  Individual contracts have little to do with the issue, except the Tea Bag/Republicans would have us believe otherwise!

Unions are socialist according to them and their Chamber pot/corporatist sponsors!

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By exploitedtimes, March 25, 2011 at 11:39 am Link to this comment

The points are valid, the union-busting is about private power, no doubt.

But don’t let’s forget that historically there is plenty of corruption in unions too. Bent unions and bent politicians go hand in hand, always have. So all aboard the union (especially if it is corrupted, like so many have become, also leading to the erosion of real wages) isn’t the right tact for progressives to take. The argument that the right is wrong and the left is right is stupid and a self-defeating perennial failure, and sadly this piece adheres to the idiocy of a non-existent two-party system.

Last but not least, the stupidest and most unreal claims that I continue to see put forth in so-called progressive media are the lumping together of teachers with cops and firefighters. Can you hear yourself?

Cops and firefighters have been earning about 3-5 times more than teachers and can retire with 90% of full package and pay after 15 years. No teacher has ever seen anything like this; never will. Firefighters have traditionally had it made and many have second, third, fourth homes and second jobs to pass the time.

As for cops, the progressives are absolutely killing themselves with this. Don’t you realize the security state has been ever expanding in size and funding exponentially since 9-11? There are more prisons, cops and surveillance than ever in history, private and public. Now the progressive stance is to increase funding and benefits/pensions for any type of law enforcement? Dumb,dumb fascist enabling.

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By CLB, March 24, 2011 at 11:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A brilliant essay by Jim Mamer who must have been one hell of a history teacher. It’s unfortunate that so many of the posts here seem to have misread a good deal of his article or are simply ignoring it to focus on their own agenda.

It’s really refreshing to read an article which deals, in part, with education written by an articulate and informed educator….rather than an outsider.

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By jc, March 24, 2011 at 8:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

News corporations spins it claiming teachers etc. are taking too much of the pie, and misinformed viewers eat it up even though the system is crumbling around them while family/friends are losing their jobs and everything else.

In 2009, an average of 25% percent was lost in 401(k) according to a Mother Jones article.   

China is now #1, reign of 110 years for US as the #1 producer is over for now due to corporations and companies leaving in drove as Mr. Mamer has mentioned.

Thank God, people in Wisconsin are speaking truth to power!

This is the best in depth factual article I have read all month.  Thanks.

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By mrfreeze, March 24, 2011 at 8:46 pm Link to this comment

To John M - First, an ad hominem….you’re a jerk-off artist…...

1) “my city is going broke because of it’s pension
liability. not because it can’t tax the internet, or
tax cuts (they have only gone up) The city isn’t
funding a war. and the local hedge fund manager’s
capital gains isn’t the cause either. It’s the
pensions stupid. FDR, George Meany and Fiorello
LaGuardia all knew public sector unions were a bad
idea.”

What city and where are your facts?

2) “In effect, public employee unions are a
mechanism by which every taxpayer is forced to fund
the Democratic Party”

If that’s your beef then my beef is that many of our tax dollars fund the private contractors and profiteers who service our military welfare complex. Most of those contractors are huge contributors to conservative PACS. So my tax dollars go to fund agendas I don’t approve of.

3) “Unions, most of whose members are public employees,
gave Democrats some $400 million in the 2008 election
cycle. The American Federation of State, County and
Municipal Employees, the biggest public employee
union, gave Democrats $90 million in the 2010 cycle.”

First, your documentation link doesn’t go anywhere and, second, so what if it’s true…..so what? Politics is about money….the fact that you needed to somehow “educate” us goes to show what a condescending pos you are.

4) “In the National Assessment of Educational Progress
tests administered by the U.S. Department of
Education in 2009—the latest year available—only 32
percent of Wisconsin public-school eighth graders
earned a “proficient” rating while another 2 percent
earned an “advanced” rating. The other 66 percent of
Wisconsin public-school eighth graders earned ratings
below “proficient,” including 44 percent who earned a
rating of “basic” and 22 percent who earned a rating
of “below basic.”

Why quote a government source when you rail against the very government employees who make up the US Dept of Education? Once again, we all know our educational system is broken, but it didn’t get that way solely because of unions (they are certainly part of the problem). More to the point, you’re scapegoating..which is soooooooooooo boring.

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By Beenthere, March 24, 2011 at 8:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mamer is on target.  He has taken all the rhetoric about how unions are to blame and situated the untruths in the history of our times.  I only wish that those he was advocating for, the teachers, the cops, the firefighters, the government workers, and all the other unions, would also share their stories with the same insight and same perspective.  Until labor rises up with a common voice, my worry is that no labor voices will really be heard.

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By Leefeller, March 24, 2011 at 5:54 pm Link to this comment

Yeah my town did not start a war nor did it create the bale out problem, well someone needs to pay for it, and it might as well be the Unions, because everyone knows the plutocrats deserve every penny they glean off their workers backs, so take it from the working people which is a hell of a lot easer if they do not have a union forking money over to the Democrats. So get rid of the Unions, then if everyone works for less money and with no health care or vacations time, you have the perfect Republican conservative world which sounds a lot like Gadflies in Libya. 

Maybe the Republicans can get Col Gadfly to run on their ticket, he has the correct attitude and compassion, plus he surely will not allow no stinking Unions ,...... public or otherwise!

Attacks on Unions have been going on for a century now, it seems to finally come to fruition, thanks to conservative opportunism, manipulations sponsored by special interests and support by Tea Bag ignorance. Do you think it might have something to do with lowering education? 

Get rid of the unions, and weaken the Democrats, seems obvious to me. 

You got to hand it to those Republicans, they make Gadfly look like a nice guy, from what I understand he has his own Fox News too!

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By prisnersdilema, March 24, 2011 at 4:30 pm Link to this comment

Sadly, it no longer matters to those that rule this country, what happens to the people that happen to live here.

They see themselves as immune to the catastrophe that they have planned for us.

You see, the education problem, was meant to be… it didn’t just happen. The economic problems didn’t just happen, nor did the drug problems, no none of it….

It all was meant to be..

Can you reason with mad men?

Can you convince, through reason, the murdering blood stained butcher whose wages are paid by your deaths and the deaths of your children, to spare your life?

If reason won’t work, can you appeal on moral grounds, to the immoral?

Should you pray, or should you beg, the outcome will remain the same, a stony silence to your concerns…

Unless of course you happen to be in the middle east, or somewhere else that is on the agenda of the NWO, then there won’t be any doubt, how the the treasure of this country will be spent.

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By RayLan, March 24, 2011 at 4:28 pm Link to this comment

The GOP have desperately opportunized the red herring of the public deficit - as a peg to hang their agenda of continued assault on the middle class. The dismantling of the New Deal that sticks in the craw of the self-centered expansionistic moneyed elite who basically own government will stop at nothing including the absurdity of de-funding Education and the Arts.

As Alfred North Whitehead said

<
“A civilized society is one that exhibits the five qualities of truth, beauty, adventure, art and peace.”
>

It follows that the powers that be are bent on de-civilizing America. It’s to their benefit to do so, keeping the working class subjugated as obedient consumer slaves.

The causal and logical disconnect between the long term deficit problem and the immedicate urgency of unemployment is deliberately ignored and exploited.

Economically obssessing over the deficit is ridiculous, because the economic downturn was not a fiscal failure from an excess of public spending but a monetary failure in the private sector from rank corporate fraud.

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By mike49, March 24, 2011 at 3:39 pm Link to this comment

Can this article be run as a counterpoint to the OC Register’s “Watchdog” series? Brilliantly researched and written but unfortunately not likely to persuade any on the right.
It seems when a business is “for profit” that justifies ridiculous retirement parachutes and compensation on the backs of the very employees that put the executives in this position. No one on the right ever objects to that as those costs are past on to regular citizens in everyday products that are over priced. But that’s OK because it’s “for profit.”

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By John M, March 24, 2011 at 2:44 pm Link to this comment

Big B  

“So you think cutting the pay of teachers and
eliminating the benefits for them and policemen and
firemen is going to attract a better brand of person
to these tedious professions? I’ll bet you and your
ilk think that everyone should be homeschooled or
sent off to some private academy. I’ll even bet you
think that private industry can do a better job at
all these professions.”

lets take it one at a time shall we?
1st I never said we should cut the pay of teachers.
Straw man #1 dead.
2nd I never said we need to eliminate the benefits of
teachers police or firemen - straw man #2 dead
3rd I don’t think everyone should be home schooled or
sent off to some private academy - professional
gambler would not be a good career choice for you.
4th while most private schools outperform public
schools and lessons can be learned by observing their
methods most government schools that have involved
parents do a good job. Poor school performance can
usually be found to be caused by many other things
besides lack of money. And where I live we have volunteer fire fighters that are well supported by
the community and work exceptionally well.
(disclosure - my grandfather was a city fireman that
was legally forced to work through the depression and
never got paid)  As for police the earn every dime
they make and then some. All that said, none of the
above should be permitted to unionize.  FDR was right
like it or not. Civil service laws grant them far
more protection than most in the private sector are afforded. After all who is the union protecting them
from? you?

“Do you ever get tired of spouting bullshit theories
that have never been, and will never come true? Your
theories ignore the obvious socio-economic problems
of most americans, as well as the economic effects of
uneven income distribution. Oh, that’s right, your
ilk think poor people are despicable, and that wall
street capitalists can and should take a bigger slice
of the pie, all the while ruining those “extravigent”
public pensions with their unchecked ponzi schemes.”

no matter how you lay it out the pie is not finite.
Yes I am outraged Dodd Frank didn’t cut the banks
down to size (something half the size of too big to
fail would be good for a start)As for poor people,
sorry your gambling habit has a perfect record -
wrong again. Again my city isn’t verging on bankruptcy because of any war, that’s not a theory
it’s a fact.

“The US is trying to educate over 40 million children
every year, attempting to do it with an outdated
property tax system that favors the wealthy few and
leaves scraps to masses in the “lesser” districts.”

Again Money is not the issue in most schools and
while I agree that the property tax system is a poor
way to fund schools a change is not on the horizon
that I can see.

“Do you really want “private” cops patrolling your
neighborhood, answerable to NO ONE? (yea, thats
working well for the military)”

No I don’t want private cops but neither do I want
union cops.

“One thing you can say for conservatives, despite
being wrong all the time, their answer is the always
the same, double down! Reaganomics will start working
any time now.”

Say what you will about Reaganomics - Obamanomics has
not only not worked it hasn’t worked as well.

Yea, right.

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By TDoff, March 24, 2011 at 2:09 pm Link to this comment

Jim Mamer is absolutely correct. But the problem is, truth and logic will get you nowhere in this society, where bullshit and lies, mendacity and irrationality rule.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, March 24, 2011 at 12:38 pm Link to this comment

Republican ....probably-ism operatives ....are perched where the sun surely don’t shine!  Yes John M. is probably a lobotomist for Republican high colonic brain surgery. Lets speculate and use the probably system for its typical Republican realizability of promoting something Republicans have no use for;...........facts!

I got mine, and its going to stay well above yours!!

Support the local Chamber of Commerce in your neighborhood they serve and protect not you,.... with out any stinking unions!

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thebeerdoctor's avatar

By thebeerdoctor, March 24, 2011 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment

Big B’s comments get to the heart of this insane gibberish about the blessed wonders of the privatized free market, which in so many cases is subsidized by big government tax cut incentives, which they quickly suck up, all the while complaining about big government intervention. Face it: there is no way to reason with this crowd, the “wipe out gang” as Bob Dylan once said, “Owns and operates the insanity factory.”

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By rend, March 24, 2011 at 11:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well, in all fairness cops are bleeding us dry by enforcing a slew of regressive taxes the
speeding ticket for example.

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By lzarka, March 24, 2011 at 11:11 am Link to this comment

I recently attended a beautiful vocal festival in Washington in which one of the
musical directors referenced the budget cuts and their effect on arts education.

As I was reading this article, I could only think how sad it is that our youth, and
all their untapped talent, are getting bogged down in politics they have little
control over. It may be difficult to see the larger picture at times, to accept a
certain sacrifice in support of a larger good, but at this point we’re screwed if
we don’t.

It’s clear that despite our country-wide rhetoric about the importance of
education, our schools have always been a low priority for us.

I appreciate this article for its detailed look at specific aspect of the problem—
very educational, Jim. Reminds me of the 10th grade anchor assessment
prompt…

As always, keep writing and keep caring.

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By Emily, March 24, 2011 at 10:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This isn’t the point of the article and I’m nitpicking, but it’s hardly true that the amount
needed to fund a corporate pension account requires “minimal math skills”.  Anyone with
experience w corporate accounting knows that such a calculation requires interest rate
estimates, rate of return estimates, expected length of employment, expected length of
life, and preset value calulations that need to be recalibrated every reporting period.

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By SoTexGuy, March 24, 2011 at 8:32 am Link to this comment

It’s not just crazy republicans or whatever who put up with the distortion of facts supporting the cut-craze.. The straw-man deficit crisis and the idea of cutting Government spending has traction with a lot of people that see through
the BS.

Working people and business owners and more who have to deal with the everyday and everywhere reach of our governments.. and simultaneously are smart enough to see things worsening..

Repeating the details of the banking sector looting of our economy and the rest of the boondoggles of Congress and more only reinforces the picture of government as ineffective and corrupt.

At some point even community minded people look with distrust at a corrupt, dysfunctional government that increasingly serves remote groups and goals, both at home and abroad..

A government that appears unstoppable and un-steerable ..

Were millions in establishment cash are already grooming us for the next election cycle..

A government supported by a fawning, subservient media..

A Congress of buffoons where the tax-payer is treated like a milk-cow for any outlay of money if it serves short-term profits .. but where even the occasional stalwart will cave on any principle or plan to build the future, avoid environmental collapse, take down the blood-sucking health-care profiteers,
make education affordable at the last second for political expedient..

... and after all that (and more) they just say to heck with it! .. Sure the teachers aren’t the problem! .. but tear it down one way or another.. we’ll pick up the pieces afterwards..

Anyway, that’s a lot of what I hear from just regular folks.

Adios!

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By Big B, March 24, 2011 at 7:39 am Link to this comment

John M

So you think cutting the pay of teachers and eliminating the benefits for them and policemen and firemen is going to attract a better brand of person to these tedious professions? I’ll bet you and your ilk think that everyone should be homeschooled or sent off to some private academy. I’ll even bet you think that private industry can do a better job at all these professions.

Do you ever get tired of spouting bullshit theories that have never been, and will never come true? Your theories ignore the obvious socio-economic problems of most americans, as well as the economic effects of uneven income distribution. Oh, that’s right, your ilk think poor people are despicable, and that wall street capitalists can and should take a bigger slice of the pie, all the while ruining those “extravigent” public pensions with their unchecked ponzi schemes.

The US is trying to educate over 40 million children every year, attempting to do it with an outdated property tax system that favors the wealthy few and leaves scraps to masses in the “lesser” districts.

Do you really want “private” cops patrolling your neighborhood, answerable to NO ONE? (yea, thats working well for the military)

One thing you can say for conservatives, despite being wrong all the time, their answer is the always the same, double down! Reaganomics will start working any time now.

Yea, right.

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thebeerdoctor's avatar

By thebeerdoctor, March 24, 2011 at 6:32 am Link to this comment

“The strong do what they will, the weak bear what they must”... god how I despise that aphorism.
1 year, 8 months, 27 days…

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Fat Freddy's avatar

By Fat Freddy, March 24, 2011 at 6:02 am Link to this comment

TEAM RED—- BAD

TEAM BLUE—- GOOD

Nothing like a public school education.

http://www.sudval.org/

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kerryrose's avatar

By kerryrose, March 24, 2011 at 5:35 am Link to this comment

Definitely a retired English teacher. References to Shakespeare are appreciated.

Unfortunately, he is preaching to the choir, except of course, GRYM and rico suave.

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By Don, March 24, 2011 at 3:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You make some good points, but you also miss the mark.  Like somebody else said above, my city is not engaged in a war, yet the pensions of city employees is the main reason I pay $5,0000 a year in property tax on a $130,000 house.  It’s right on the bill. OK.  And in live in Madison, WI. I work in the private sector and have pretty good healthcare that costs WAY MORE than what the government workers pay, so that dog aint’ going to hunt either. I did not vote for Scott Walker however, as I find democrats and republicans total scum.  And I can’t stand the corporations and more than I can stand the unions.  I’m not sure where that leaves.  I guess none of the above.  Good luck to us all.

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By Gary Christensen, March 24, 2011 at 3:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Jim hits the nail on the head. 
    I too am tired of teachers picking up the backlash from neophytes who believe teaching is easy and teachers shouldn’t be protected through unionized representation.  I would like to require every person who takes this stand (usually parents of poor beleagured mistreated offspring) to stand up in front of classes of 30+ “children” everyday and keep their attention while communicating a subject, any subject, to them (then do it again for four or five more class sessions). They would soon realize the toll it takes to be a teacher, no less grueling than being a police officer or firefighter.  Most of the parents can barely keep the attention of their own children for the few hours they interact everyday, much less their own and 28+ other parents’ kids. 
  It is time Americans wake up and stop paying mere lip service to eduation.  Ask anyone, how important is education in this society?  No one would say “abolish education, what good is it anyway?” So if education is important then it must be supported financially.  The best way to do so is through taxes. It is time to lay blame where it is deserved, with the Americans who vote every year to cut taxes and still expect the same level of service.  Put up or shut up America!

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By Summer, March 24, 2011 at 2:44 am Link to this comment

While I bristle at the thought of calling conservatives shrill on page one and
casting Ann Coulter as one of the loudest voices on the right (criticism of
Rachel Carson and Jane Jacobs come to mind) on page two, this is not an
argument aimed at winning over a moderate right.

Yet firefighters and policemen aren’t necessarily “we on the left.” Police forces,
back in the heyday of unions were formed by states and big businesses,
working together, to break strikes. Today, they mingle with the protestors
outside of brimming state capitol buildings.

Jim Mamer’s article isn’t going to win over anyone who doesn’t already agree
with him, and herein lies the beauty. A lot of people, voting people, do agree.
After reading this article, I must admit: I’m merely a graduate of public schools,
but golly…I’m angry too.

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John M's avatar

By John M, March 24, 2011 at 1:39 am Link to this comment

http://washingtonexaminer.com/politics/2011/03/message-
unions-taylorism-died-long-time-ago

It’s the union work rules, stupid

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John M's avatar

By John M, March 24, 2011 at 1:30 am Link to this comment

This guy needs an education and what scares me is he
was teaching children. Probably related to my 10th
grade health teacher who taught us in class that
cocaine was not addictive. No wonder test scores have
been dropping since the 1960’s even though they keep
dumbing down the tests.

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John M's avatar

By John M, March 24, 2011 at 1:17 am Link to this comment

http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-
confidential/about-sen-bob-casey-s-union-pension-
bailout-and-multi-employer-pension-uni

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John M's avatar

By John M, March 24, 2011 at 1:14 am Link to this comment

http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-
confidential/about-sen-bob-casey-s-union-pension-
bailout-and-multi-employer-pension-uni

What clap trap -
“Our debts can’t be the cumulative result of
multiple tax cuts. The crisis has nothing to do with
our ongoing, unnecessary and counterproductive wars.
It can’t be the fault of the bankers and brokers who
defrauded millions with securitized debt obligations
based on bundling large numbers of “liars’ loans.” It
probably has nothing to do with our failure to tax
most Internet sales, and it certainly can’t be
because hedge fund managers are allowed to treat a
portion of their income as capital gains.
Instead, the cause identified by most Republican
governors, legislators and pundits is simple;
government spends too much, and a lot of the blame
falls on the public service unions. Indeed, at the
recent Conservative Political Action Conference
(CPAC) in Washington, D.C., one panel was titled
“Bleeding America Dry: The Threat of Public Sector
Unions.” That’s right: The firefighters, the police
and the teachers are bleeding the country dry. They
are paid too much and have way-way-too-generous
benefits. They should be ashamed of themselves, their
unions and their pensions.”

my city is going broke because of it’s pension
liability. not because it can’t tax the internet, or
tax cuts (they have only gone up) The city isn’t
funding a war. and the local hedge fund manager’s
capital gains isn’t the cause either. It’s the
pensions stupid. FDR, George Meany and Fiorello
LaGuardia all knew public sector unions were a bad
idea.

?“Follow the money, Washington reporters like to say.
The money in this case comes from taxpayers, present
and future, who are the source of every penny of dues
paid to public employee unions, who in turn spend
much of that money on politics, almost all of it for
Democrats. In effect, public employee unions are a
mechanism by which every taxpayer is forced to fund
the Democratic Party”


“Unions, most of whose members are public employees,
gave Democrats some $400 million in the 2008 election
cycle. The American Federation of State, County and
Municipal Employees, the biggest public employee
union, gave Democrats $90 million in the 2010 cycle.”

http://theamericanfreedomcrisis.blogspot.com/2011/02/
dem-lawmaker-on-labor-protests-get.html

(CNSNews.com) - Two-thirds of the eighth graders in
Wisconsin public schools cannot read proficiently
according to the U.S. Department of Education,
despite the fact that Wisconsin spends more per pupil
in its public schools than any other state in the
Midwest.

In the National Assessment of Educational Progress
tests administered by the U.S. Department of
Education in 2009—the latest year available—only 32
percent of Wisconsin public-school eighth graders
earned a “proficient” rating while another 2 percent
earned an “advanced” rating. The other 66 percent of
Wisconsin public-school eighth graders earned ratings
below “proficient,” including 44 percent who earned a
rating of “basic” and 22 percent who earned a rating
of “below basic.”

The test also showed that the reading abilities of
Wisconsin public-school eighth graders had not
improved at all between 1998 and 2009 despite a
significant inflation-adjusted increase in the amount
of money Wisconsin public schools spent per pupil
each year.

Try again

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By SteveL, March 24, 2011 at 1:02 am Link to this comment

The corporate creeps pay themselves with dividends or capital gains and pay 15% tax on that and Fox happily keeps the public misinformed.  What do you expect?

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By Steve, March 24, 2011 at 12:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I had the pleasure of working with Jim for 6 years. This is the kind of passion that he brought to education every day.

Its sad that, as a society, our response to workers who have health benefits, workplace protections, and healthy, professional work environments is to tear them down. Instead, why aren’t more American workers asking how they can get those benefits, too? Why do we fall for the bullshit that our corporations are “broke” when the average pay of executives is still skyrocketing?

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Queenie's avatar

By Queenie, March 23, 2011 at 11:36 pm Link to this comment

Thank you, Jim Mamer. This article should be printed on the front page of every newspaper, read on every newscast on tv and a copy given to our spineless resident of the white house who remains, to my knowledge, ignorant and voiceless when it comes to protecting ordinary citizens.

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By gerard, March 23, 2011 at 11:24 pm Link to this comment

A truly admirable article, and timely.  Regarding limitations placed on the freedom of ordinary people to unionize for their own economic benefit: The idea of using heavy “surveillance” under the Patriot Act etc.,might be deliberately aimed at instilling fear in order to discourage citizen’s ability to organize for political and social reforms. What substantiates this assumption?  The apparent growth of wide-spread reluctance on the part of ordinary people to “get involved” with political agitation.

The abnormal quiescence of the public in the face of continuous foreign wars, extreme economic hardship, lack of health care, deterioration of public schools are all examples of worsening crises going unmet because of citizen apathy. It is significant that the only organization is on the ultra-conservative side which agitates against actions beneficial to vast numbers of ordinary people, confines itself to advocating reactionary cut-backs on public welfare
“entitlements” and agrees to the continuation of
disastrous military expenditures.

welfare “entitlements” and increases in war profiteering.

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