Category Archives: unions

Madison WI: Somewhere Deep Under the Capitol

Top Secret Strategy Meeting at Scott Walker HQ:

White Guy #1: Listen guys, I’ve called this meeting today because we have a crisis.

White Guy #2: So what else is new?

White Guy #1: Not funny, #2. Listen, last time we convinced the fools – with the help of Koch money – that “it’s working.” Wisconsin was “open for business” and we were “moving in the right direction.” Those “unions” were to blame for a massive deficit – that didn’t really exist – with their outrageous salaries and benefits. And then we told them how we saved “a billion dollars” by ending collective bargaining. But that crap only goes so far. Now we have another budget that screws the little guy while rewarding the wealthy. We have to sell them on it. But how?

White Guy #3: I think we’re in deep do-do here. I, mean, how stupid can they be?

White Guy #2: I think you’re overestimating their intelligence.

White Guy #1: No way – we were pushing the envelope last time.

White Guy #2: Wrong. Do you seriously think anyone who had even an ounce of intelligence would believe a word of what we say at this point? I mean, we kept telling people Walker was focused “like a laser” on jobs as we pushed through an extremist agenda that didn’t have anything to do with the subject! It was masterful! $2.3 billion in tax breaks to special interests. Repeal the equal pay law, repeal consumer protections, repeal tenant rights, roll back reproductive rights, roll back environmental protections, push through tort “reform” that protected businesses and victimized patients! At the same time, we plunged toward the bottom in job creation and economic outlook! Conservatives around the country were in awe! I mean – Scotty told one whopper after another and anytime he got fact-checked, all we had to do was blame it on the liberal media. Look at his record on politifact! I tell you these sheeple are so dumb we could blame poor people for global warming and the masses will not only believe it – they’ll be buying pitchforks and torches.

White Guy #3: No way. Scotty is restricting unemployment benefits, food stamps, health insurance for the needy – that has no fiscal impact on the budget.

White Guy #2: Way.

White Guy #1. Wait a minute … I think #3 might be on to something. Let’s see. The budget is designed to … hmmm —

White Guy #2: Entitlements!

White Guy #1: What?

White Guy #2: Call them entitlements.

White Guy #3: But that’s not accurate!

White Guy #2: Who cares about being accurate?

White Guy #1: Yes, yes, I’m beginning to understand – entitlements and … dependency!

White Guy #2: Now you got it! And use the word “reforms” – sheeple just eat that up.

White Guy #1: Balancing our budget through entitlement reforms! We’re not depriving the needy to give more to the greedy – we’re giving the poor a hand up, not a hand out! Moving them from dependency to independence.

White Guy #3: What? Are you guys nuts? This has nothing to do with the budget! And doesn’t save taxpayers any money! The real problem is Scotty’s corporate welfare! He’s throwing money at special interests and slashing funding for everything else!

White Guy #2 (to Guy #3): Do you like working here?

White Guy #1: It’s brilliant! Blame those non-existent slackers sucking up our tax dollars! We can use random meaningless words like “Freedom”, “Prosperity” and “Independence.” Or better yet: “More Prosperity,” “Better Performance,” and “True Independence.” And PowerPoint! We can dazzle the masses with PowerPoint! You know – lots of charts and bullet points, but no real information, the mindless masses just LOVE that crap. And we can pay for all of the propaganda with tax dollars!

White Guy #2: I beat you to it. Already have it prepared for release. We’ll start with USA Today. I call it “Government dependence not American Dream.”

How many of us grew up with the dream of someday being dependent on the government?

I certainly did not. The idea just seems foreign to the American Dream.

Sadly, there are some in our nation’s capital who measure success in government by how many are dependent on the government. The massive expansion of Medicaid, waivers of work programs for food stamps and the extension of unemployment benefits may all be well-intentioned, but is more government dependence really such a good thing?”

Guy #3: Wait a minute, none of that is true!

Guy #1: Shut up. Go on, #2.

There is dignity in working hard to provide for a future of your own choosing. In turn, it leads to more freedom and more prosperity for all.

Last Wednesday, I introduced a state budget focused on helping people transition from government dependency to true independence.

Our plans forgo the temptation of the temporary financial incentives from Washington to expand Medicaid. Instead, we crafted a plan reducing the number of uninsured in our state by 224,580.

For the rest, we transition them into the private and exchange markets, where the lowest premium starts at $19 per month.”

White Guy #3: That’s not true either!

White Guy #1: I’m not saying this again, #3. Shut up.

White Guy #2 (continuing): “Our budget plans provide employment training for able-bodied childless adults receiving food stamps.

Going forward, more than 75,000 people in our state will be enrolled in job training in order to obtain food stamps.

In addition, we are looking to double the weekly requirement for jobs searches for those on unemployment from two times a week to four or more.”

White Guy #3: But how are people working full-time going to be able to take job training? And how will people in job training be able to look for work at least four times a week? This makes no sense!

White Guy #2 (ignoring the interruption): “It is important to give temporary hand up to those in need, but for those who are able, we should not provide a permanent hand out. Our goal is simple: transition people from government dependence to true independence.

It’s why we celebrate the 4th of July and not April 15th. In our country, we celebrate true independence because more freedom and more prosperity are what drive the American Dream.”

White Guy #3: But it’s all just a load of bull!

White Guy #2: So what’s your point?

The American Taliban: A Cult of Hate

Manhattan, New YorkChicago, Illinois. Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Aurora, Colorado. Tucson, Arizona. Fort Hood, Texas.

The United States has the honor of being the global leader in mass shootingsat least 60 in the last 30 years. Most of the killers got their guns legally.

And it will continue.

We have created a perfect storm for slaughter: unregulated weapons and a cult of hate.

Conservative leaders, almost all fundamental Christians (and all of them members of the Republican party), have identified their enemy – anyone who doesn’t share their faith or narrow world view: Muslims, illegal aliens, members of the LGBT community, minorities, progressives – even teachers and first responders are demonized.

And they tell their followers how that enemy should be neutralized.

Republican Sarah Palin’s motto is: “Don’t Retreat, reload!” She created an online campaign push against Democrats from 20 conservative districts (“Take back the 20”) who had voted for the health care bill, including a map of the United States complete with crosshair targets located over those districts. One of those districts was (now former) Rep. Gabrielle Giffords‘.

Rep. Giffords’ Republican opponent, Jesse Kelly, held an event in June 2010 promoted as “Get on target for victory … help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly.”

Republican candidate Sharon Angle suggested that “Second Amendment remedies” should be used to deal with a “tyrannical” U.S. government as well as to replace her opponent (Democrat) Harry Reid.

Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann wanted her supporters to be armed and dangerous.”

Joe the Plumber, currently a Republican candidate for Congress in Ohio, announced that the way to solve the country’s immigration problem is to station troops along the border and have them “start shooting.”

A (Republican) Texas judge is preparing for civil war if Obama is re-elected.

Republican Tommy Thompson, former Wisconsin governor and now candidate for U.S. Senate, laughingly and enthusiastically called for making Scott Walker protestors “black and blue.”

Republican Governor Scott Walker himself, good Christian that he is, was taped laughing about beating protestors with a baseball bat with his name on it.

Gun-toting Republican musician Ted Nugent recently implied that he would assassinate President Obama if he is re-elected.

These are not isolated incidents. These are a systemic and systematic effort among conservatives to incite hatred, to prevail over those they oppose or dislike (or with whom they merely disagree) with extreme measures in a stand your ground, make my day, let anyone buy whatever kind of killing machine they can carry anywhere and anytime because by God they have God on their side.

These are fanatics.

On August 1, 2012, The National Hispanic Media Coalition and UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center released a study showing that the conservative media consistently spews the same hate-filled vitriol as conservative leaders. “The findings reveal that the hosts promoted an insular discourse that focused on, for example, anti-immigration, anti-Islam, and pro-Tea Party positions and that this discourse found repetition and amplification through social media.”

“The social network surrounding conservative talk radio and Fox News has spread to social media websites resulting in ‘an echo-chamber of voices, both online and off, that promotes hatred against ethnic, racial and religious groups and the LGBT community on social media web sites.’

Using hateful rhetoric, these hosts have cast immigrants as disease ridden, equated pro-immigrant organizations with neo-Nazis, called Islam an ‘evil religion,’ claimed the Obama administration is promoting ‘race riots’ and made fun of the ethnicity of Asian-American politicians.”

And they all oppose gun control.

Not surprisingly, the NRA supports them.

Right to Work … for Less!

To all those regular people who think unions are bad and we need right-to-work, here’s real life:

In the United States, we already have employment-at-will. If you aren’t in a union that means (with rare exceptions) you can be fired at any time for any reason. Or for no reason. Or not hired in the first place. And can be paid as little as the employer wants. With no benefits. And be forced to work as many or as few hours as the employer says. On any schedule. And under any conditions. Including verbal abuse. The only limitations are the ones the government imposes. Like anti-discrimination laws. And minimum wage laws. And worker protection laws. So if the employer does discriminate against you or lock you in or steal your overtime, if you can prove it, after going through a lengthy, expensive legal battle, they may have to pay you damages or pay a fine. Good luck with that.

Right to work is different. It exists solely to eliminate unions so you can be an employee-at-will once the union goes belly up. At which point you not only get your employment-at-will, your pay and benefits will go down.

Corporations exist to make profits. They increase profits the fastest by cutting their payroll costs. That means paying people to do more work while paying them less to do it. They do this with “downsizing” or outsourcing. And reward the corporate leaders who do this (cut costs and therefore improve profitability – at least on paper and for the short term) by giving them millions of dollars in compensation and bonuses.

Think they want to keep good people? Not if they can find ones who will work for less. Are you lucky to be in a field in demand where few people with your skills exist? Good for you – but 99% of us aren’t. And your situation will change when people flock to your field.

Think we don’t need unions? You won’t know how much we do until they’re gone.