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Friday Talking Points [157] -- Eight Point Nine

[ Posted Friday, March 4th, 2011 – 18:06 PST ]

This just in... Charlie Sheen and Sarah Palin caught smoking pot in love nest!

Well, no, sorry, that's absolutely false. However, it would make a dandy headline, wouldn't it? In terms of media catnip (or even "click-friendly" online media), the obsession over the shiny, shiny media non-stories sadly continues, at the expense of the actual news (not to mention the field of "journalism"...). So, while that first line was indeed fun to write, there will be nothing at all in this article about Charlie Sheen, Sarah Palin, smoking pot, or love nests. Sorry about that.

Sigh.

In other mainstream media idiocy news, today was the day all the networks had slated as "Government Shutdown Day" (you just know they had snazzy graphics and a theme song waiting in the wings, don't you?). Sadly for them, it did not come to pass.

The media, of course, loves conflict. They bear a giant portion of the blame for politics descending to Roman-gladiator levels, and this was to be the prize fight -- Democrats! Republicans! Obama! Granny's Social Security check! But, again, it didn't happen, and you could just see the disappointment dripping from the well-coiffed set on television this week as they reported that the shutdown had been averted. Oh, well, maybe they'll get lucky in two weeks when we go through this all over again.

Sigh.

In other non-news, two Republican presidential hopefuls toyed with the media, but did not actually throw their hat in the ring. Fox News suspended two contributors who may run for president, but inexplicably did not suspend two other prominent Republican possible-candidates who work for them as well. Of course, actually running for president (or even forming an official exploratory committee) involves reporting all your financial information to the Federal Election Commission, which is why Donald Trump is just not going to run. Not in a million, billion years. It's also why Newt Gingrich may not run, either; but this time around Newtie is looking a little more serious than the last two or three times around, so who knows? Gingrich and Trump, currently, are duking it out to win the "Best Fake Candidacy" award, I guess. The only real news here is the story most are ignoring -- Republicans have been strangely quiet on the presidential candidacy front, and unlike four years ago, none of the big-name candidates has actually made any sort of announcement about running. Perhaps it's because Obama's poll numbers have been climbing of late, who knows?

In other election amusements (can't really call it "news"), Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican from Utah, seems to be awfully, awfully worried about being "Tea Partied" in his re-election bid. Utah is a caucus state, meaning it would be awfully easy for the Tea Party Republicans to oust him from the general election ballot. Hatch was pretty far to the right to begin with, but now he's quite obviously discovered that you've got to be angry to placate his base. Which was on full display on PBS' NewsHour the other day (Hatch looked like he had wandered in from a Fox News appearance, and moderator Judy Woodruff was downright astonished by the end of it).

But the really astonishing thing, to me at least, is the way the media has reported the unemployment rate for the past few months. A quick review is in order. In November of last year, the unemployment rate was 9.8 percent -- about where it had been for the past year or so (it was actually on an upswing from 9.5 percent in July). December, unemployment went down to 9.4 percent. January, it hit 9.0 percent. And today, it was announced that unemployment in February went down even further (if not as fast) to 8.9 percent -- the first time it has gone below nine percent in almost two years. Those are the facts. You would think this would be presented as good news.

You would be wrong. Compare these facts to the coverage this news brings (admittedly, I have not watched how mainstream television news has reported the February number before writing this). Even from the progressive side of the media. From a Huffington Post article which ran today:

The last several months of job growth have been achingly slow. Despite numerous indicators of economic recovery -- manufacturing expanding for the nineteenth straight month, gross domestic product on the rise, and growing corporate profits -- the unemployment rate didn't drop below a grim 9 percent.

While technically true ("job growth" is not the same thing as the unemployment rate), but that last sentence could also have been written as: "the unemployment rate fell at the fastest rate in over fifty years -- since 1958, to be exact." Both are true, and yet they tell very different stories -- "a grim nine percent" versus "fell at the fastest rate in over fifty years."

Now, I understand that the economy isn't out of the woods yet, and that there are other indicators which show this to one degree or another, but come on -- this is good news! Politicians -- from both sides -- are obviously wary about overpromising on the economy at this point. Republicans are wary, because they know full well that if the recovery kicks in, their chances of electing a Republican president in 2012 decline. Democrats are wary, for two reasons. The first is, the numbers could always take a turn for the worse, in which case you look like an idiot for offering up rosy predictions that later turned out to be false. Secondly, 8.9 percent unemployment -- taken as a standalone number -- is nothing to be jumping for joy over. Democrats know that if they're seen as too positive, then folks who are still being affected by the recession are going to grumble that the politicians "are out of touch."

To a large extent, this last rationale has been driving the media storyline as well. They don't want to be seen as "out of touch" either, so they've been downplaying the good news for the past two months, just in case there's a turnaround. And to show empathy for those still out of work, as well.

But at some point, the storyline has to turn to reality. This has been the best three months, in terms of changing rates, that the United States economy has had since Eisenhower was president. That is news. That is a story. It's been going on for three months now, consistently. As I said, I have not yet seen any of the television news today, so hopefully I'll be pleasantly surprised that the unemployment number won't be reported with the usual doom-and-gloom backdrop later tonight, but I wouldn't bet a lot of money on it at this point.

And finally, a story which really should be getting a lot more attention -- Speaker of the House John Boehner has refused a request to let the last American soldier from World War I to lie "in honor" in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. Frank Buckles lied about his age to join the military when only sixteen, and he was the last survivor of the "War To End All Wars." Refusing this honor is just downright inexplicable, and indefensible. This is how Republicans honor our veterans?

Oh, wait, Charlie Sheen just said something outrageous! Sarah Palin tweeted about it! Gotta go....

 

Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

We've got to at least hand out an Honorable Mention this week to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for pointing out that the American media empire not only has no clothes, but is as naked as the "naked therapist" media-catnip story they've been drooling over all week (I refuse to waste time looking up that link, Google it for about 100,000 links to what I'm talking about...).

The Hillary quote is more important anyway. Speaking to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Clinton said the following:

Viewership of Al Jazeera is going up in the United States because it's real news. You may not agree with it, but you feel like you're getting real news around the clock instead of a million commercials and, you know, arguments between talking heads and the kind of stuff that we do on our news which, you know, is not particularly informative to us, let alone foreigners.

Boy, howdy, you tell 'em, Hillary! Somebody certainly needed to say something along these lines, that's for sure. Al Jazeera was covering the Cairo uprising with a live camera feed days and days before the American media even noticed anything was happening. Then the American anchors all raced to Egypt, only to retreat (never to return) within one day because violence flared. The anchors bugged out of the country so fast, it was laughable. Meanwhile, Al Jazeera was still reporting the news live from the square.

For speaking truth to power, Hillary Clinton is hereby awarded an Honorable Mention this week.

But the winner of the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week this week is none other than Congressman Rush Holt, who astoundingly beat the IBM "Watson" computer at the quiz game Jeopardy! -- a feat even Ken Jennings couldn't manage. Before becoming a member of Congress, Holt worked as a nuclear physicist -- not exactly the normal route to Capitol Hill.

There's really not a whole lot more to say -- this victory stands by itself in sheer impressiveness. Holt modestly said of the encounter: "I think he [Watson] had a low-voltage night." But, self-depreciation aside, Representative Holt is our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week for his victory in the man-versus-machine battle. Well done, Congressman, from a fellow member of the human race!

[Congratulate Representative Rush Holt on his House contact page, to let him know you appreciate his efforts.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

President Barack Obama has been noticeable by his absence in the past week, on all sorts of important issues. To be fair, Libya is beyond anyone's control at this point, and blithely calling for a "no-fly zone" was bluntly explained by some military types to Congress this week for exactly what it would be -- an act of war against Libya which we would begin by bombing all their anti-aircraft sites. "All" means "no matter who holds them currently" I would assume. This would begin a low-level war between the United States and Libya, which could be open-ended (remember Iraq before George W. Bush?) and mean we'd be involved in three wars simultaneously.

But Obama is going to have to, at some point, give a "Cairo II" speech, as a followup to his address to the Muslim world at Cairo University in June, 2009. He's going to have to lay out "The Obama Doctrine" (whatever that proves to be) in the region, with respect to popular uprisings, democracy, Islamic governments, dictators we support, monarchies we support, and a whole host of other nuance. His first speech was a welcome resetting of our relationship in the region, but it is high time he revisited the broader subjects of America's interests and support in the whole region.

Likewise, Obama has largely remained aloof from the situation in Wisconsin, after giving some initial words of support. Since Obama made a campaign pledge to "put on some comfortable shoes" and walk the picket lines shoulder-to-shoulder with the Unions, his absence from the debate has been noticeable. But all of this, in our opinion, only merits a (Dis-)Honorable Mention.

Instead, the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week this week was Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia. Manchin, you'll recall, is the guy who got elected shooting the "cap and trade" bill with a hunting rifle, in a television ad. West Virginia is coal country, so it really comes as no surprise that Manchin has now announced he's throwing in with the Republican attempt to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of their ability to... you know... protect the environment. No surprise, really, but that doesn't mean it wasn't disappointing. A handful of House members also joined with the Republicans, but Senator Joe Manchin is the only one from the upper house to do so at this point.

Joe Manchin's action was not surprising, but it did earn him this week's Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award.

[Contact Senator Joe Manchin on his Senate contact page, to let him know what you think of his actions.]

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 156 (3/4/11)

Frank Luntz, evil wordsmithing genius of the Right, has shared something valuable: he can't count! Heh. No, seriously, I'm impressed that Luntz is giving away advice which normally costs Republicans megabucks to hear. He has listed "The 11 Words For 2011" in a recent column -- which actually contains 29 key words, in 11 phrases, but whatever.

Some of these are too silly to be used, such as "Believe in better." But some of them we'll actually sneak into this week's Friday Talking Points, just to take them for a spin (as it were). Hey, it's worth a shot, right?

 

1
   Tax the millionaires! Tax the oil companies!

I'm getting awfully tired of the Republican talking point of continuously referencing "the American people" (as in: "the American people are solidly behind what Republicans are trying to do"). Democrats need to fight back against this nonsense, and the best way to do it is with polling numbers. Fortunately, there's a new poll out which Democrats should be happily mining for data right about now, to have close at hand during upcoming interviews.

"Actually, that's not true. The, quote, American people, unquote, that you speak of have a very different set of priorities than Republicans. In a recent poll by NBC and the Wall Street Journal, here is the simple truth of what the American people overwhelmingly supported to bring down our deficits: 'eliminate the Bush tax cuts' -- 68 percent in favor; 'cut oil and gas tax breaks' -- 74 percent; and astonishingly, 'raise the tax rate for millionaires' got a whopping eighty-one percent approval from 'the American people.' Even when you turn it around, and ask what not to cut, you get similar results: 'don't cut Medicare' -- 76 percent approval; 'don't cut K-12 education' and 'don't cut Social Security' -- both get 77 percent approval from the public, when directly asked. So let's be a little more accurate when talking about what 'the American people' want us to do to fight the deficit, shall we?"

 

2
   Defend to the death your right to say it

This one is an easy one. Any politician -- especially any Democrat -- should be able to do this sort of thing in their sleep, when asked about the recent Supreme Court decision allowing Fred Phelps' "church" to protest military funerals in order to spread their hatred.

"As for the recent Supreme Court's First Amendment ruling, while I obviously condemn in the strongest possible terms what these people are saying -- and especially the venues they choose to say such odious things -- I must also remember that the First Amendment protects even indefensible opinions, therefore I will defend their right to speak... 'to the death,' as the saying goes."

 

3
   Eight Point Nine is actually good news

If the media's not going to point it out, maybe eventually a Democrat will make the attempt.

"While eight point nine is obviously too high, and while we are fighting to restore America's economy and create as many private sector jobs as possible, it cannot be denied that the signs are pointing in the right direction. Eight point nine is much better than nine point eight, for instance -- where the unemployment rate was three short months ago. It's better than being over ten percent, where it was at the peak of the Great Recession. In actual fact, December and January combined were the biggest drop in the unemployment rate in over fifty years for a two-month period. Economists expected it to go back up in February, but it went down again. If you remember only one thing about the unemployment rate, remember that we haven't seen it improve at this rate since 1958, when Eisenhower was president."

 

4
   Where are the Republican contenders?

I'm feeling a bit snarky, so I'm just going to rip into Republicans for the rest of the program. You have been warned.

"You know, I remember four years ago at this point both the Republicans and the Democrats had a full slate of candidates for the upcoming race for the White House. Every Democrat who ran had already announced by this point in 2007. All the top Republicans were already publicly in the race, and running hard. But there seems to be a deafening silence in RepublicanLand this time around. Not one of the expected frontrunners in the race have made any sort of announcement yet. A handful of the fringiest-of-the-fringe candidates have announced, but nobody of any real stature. What, exactly are the Republicans afraid of? Why haven't any of them thrown their hat in the ring yet? It's a mystery, that's for sure."

 

5
   How much should I make the check out for, Mrs. Jindal?

Bobby Jindal's wife appears to be making news, for the innovative way she's allowing special interests to purchase access to her husband.

"I read in the news recently that Republican Governor Bobby Jindal seems to be confirming a stereotype about corruption in Louisiana politics. It seems if you happen to be a giant corporation who needs something from the state, the best way to go about getting what you want is to hand the governor's wife some money for her pet charity. Not exactly uncompromising integrity, don't you think? I guess it's back to politics as usual in Louisiana, eh?"

 

6
   Boehner disrespects unions

Our last two talking points are from the "you just can't make this stuff up" file. They both involve our illustrious Speaker of the House, John Boehner.

"I was astonished at the imagery Speaker John Boehner was using the other day about America's Unions. I think it was completely uncalled for and despicable. Here... you decide. Boehner said of the Unions, quote, We've given them a machine gun and put it right at the heads of the local officials and they really have their hands tied, unquote. There are simply no excuses for this type of language. It is abhorrent, and I denounce Boehner in the strongest possible language, as should any decent American. No excuses for saying such abhorrent things, Mister Speaker, simply no excuses. These are cops you're talking about, and firefighters. Try to maintain a little respect next time."

 

7
   Boehner disrespects veterans

This is just astonishing. It really is indefensible. If Congress can't agree on such things, there may be no hope left at all for Washington.

"I am outraged -- outraged -- at Speaker John Boehner. He refused a request which should have been not only uncontroversial but also should have been immediately granted. The last American soldier who served in World War I just died. As a mark of our nation's enduring respect, Democrats proposed honoring him by allowing his body to lie under the dome of the United States Capitol. Because he was in this military and not a head of state, this is known as 'lying in honor,' and there is simple no reason why this request was blocked by Speaker Boehner. This is despicable, and indefensible. Any American who honors this country's veterans should be outraged by this slap in the face by Speaker Boehner, as am I. Just imagine what Republicans would be saying now, if it had been Nancy Pelosi who had refused such an honor to such a notable soldier's passing. I call on all Republicans -- and all Americans -- to contact the Speaker and let him know what you think of this incomprehensible action. You deserve better from your leaders in Congress."

 

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Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground
Cross-posted at: Democrats For Progress

 

28 Comments on “Friday Talking Points [157] -- Eight Point Nine”

  1. [1] 
    Americulchie wrote:

    Chris
    Kudos for an most excellent posting this week;though I do think Mrs.Clinton should have won hands down the Most Impressive Democrat of the Week;and believe me as a liberal Democrat it chokes me up to say that;because despite the Republican moose poopery the Clintons are not liberals but never mind.

  2. [2] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    I was watching Senator Hatch on PBS the other night. But, I was paying more attention to Judy Woodruff.

    Did you notice how her astonishment was not at all matched by any effort on her part to set the record straight? Just like Hatch, she doesn't know what the record is either or she just doesn't know how to set the record straight. Perhaps she doesn't think that is her job.

    That was just another in a growing list of poor performances by the journalists at the PBS Newshour.

  3. [3] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    in respect to point #1, i agree with tommy about the "caps" on taxes like social security that make the super-rich pay lower rates than even the poorest working americans. as i mentioned in the previous post, i propose to rename said "caps" with something that more accurately states what they really do. e.g. the "millionaires only tax break" or the "platinum umbrella"

  4. [4] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Americulchie -

    First off, nice use of "moose poopery." Heh.

    Yeah, I tried to find a transcript of the full session that Hillary's comments came from, but didn't have the time while writing today. I want to read the whole testimony she gave, if that was any indication of it.

    But, also, I am a big Jeopardy! fan. So that's where that came from.

    Liz -

    Oh, I don't know, to me it seemed like Judy just gave up -- at some point about halfway in -- of expecting any sense out of Hatch. Hatch is normally a very staid and serious type of guy, has worked with Dems before, and is normally quite reasonable when it comes to actual facts. Which is why his transformation was so astonishing. This is what the threat of being Tea Partied can do to you -- remember that his fellow senator from Utah was the FIRST sitting Republican the Tea Party took down, last election cycle. Hatch is terrified he's not going to keep his cushy job, and he's doubling down on The Crazy in a last ditch effort.

    nypoet22 -

    I've always thought proposing a "millionaires' tax" would be a smart thing for the Dems to do. One Senator did so (Schumer? I forget) but couldn't get much support even within his own party. But seriously, eighty-one freakin' percent?!? It's an idea whose time has come, and Obama may have been smarter than we thought to schedule this debate in the midst of the 2012 election.

    -CW

  5. [5] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @cw,

    like you said before, it doesn't even necessarily mean adding an extra tax on the rich, just making them pay at least as high a social security rate as the rest of us.

    no more "caps," and let's call them what they are, class warfare to redistribute even more wealth to the super-rich and away from everyone else.

  6. [6] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    I actually ran into Senator Hatch on my way to the Senate cafeteria during one of my visits to DC. As I passed him, he didn't even attempt to make eye contact. I could have been one of his constituents. Whatever.

    As for Judy ... she's been around too long to be astonished by a long-time US senator who finds himself having to deal with the Tea Party element in his party. She didn't challenge him on his nonsense because she wasn't equipped with the facts to do that. That both disappointed and surprised me.

  7. [7] 
    Americulchie wrote:

    Talking point number 4;tis an excellent question;Where are the Teab√ľndist contenders?;It is my contention that the cast of unelectable characters are complete;if not in contention as who is the rightwing nutteriest we
    have a whole slew.This is where I see a conspiracy;I think they're strawpeople(to coin a phrase) holding place for the "savior" of the Republican Party John Edward Bush.Do call me Leftwing nuttery.

  8. [8] 
    akadjian wrote:

    How much cocaine did Charlie Sheen do?

    (Enough to kill 2 and a half men)

    :)

  9. [9] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    That's pretty funny, David. :)

  10. [10] 
    Michale wrote:

    I know it's fun and all to blame the big corporate monster for all the issues and problems..

    But, as we see in Wisconsin, this is not always the case...

    http://sjfm.us/temp/pged.jpg

    Michale.....

  11. [11] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    yeah, yeah. i like toons too. the "big corporate monster" is not a mommy who pays her taxes. the main people who are responsible for causing the recession (wall street) are not the ones being forced to take hits to help fix it.

    http://d.yimg.com/a/p/uc/20110305/largeimageta110304.gif

  12. [12] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    i wish i could draw these things up...

    http://d.yimg.com/a/p/uc/20110302/largeimageta110301.gif

  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:

    NYpoet,

    the "big corporate monster" is not a mommy who pays her taxes.

    In the case of the issue in Madison, Wisconsin, the "big corporate monster" is, in fact, the mommy and daddy taxpayers...

    Which is precisely why Unions for public sector jobs are archaic and part of the problem, rather than part of the solution.

    In short, the Union in this case is as greedy and evil as the Corporations you like to point the finger at. :D

    Michale......

  14. [14] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    the "big corporate monster" is, in fact, the mommy and daddy taxpayers...

    whether unions are greedy or archaic are valid questions for debate, but framing this conflict as unions vs. voters is moose poop. the union gave in on the budget issue weeks ago and asked to negotiate on the rest. the republicans refused to negotiate anything whatsoever, regardless of whether it was budget-related, and said so both publicly and privately. eight republican state senators aren't being recalled by unions, they're being recalled by voters.

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    The public workers willing to pay their fair share of their benefits is a moot point if the Unions have the ability to get those payments back a few months down the road...

    My whole point is that, in this case, there is no need for a Union. State laws protect the workers and the Gov has offered to strengthen those laws..

    Make no mistake, the issue in Wisconsin is about one thing and one thing only. A corrupt and greedy Union attempting to hold onto it's power at the expense of taxpayers.

    Michale....

  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    And what about the teachers and public workers who don't WANT to be a part of the Union?

    They have absolutely NO CHOICE in that matter.

    Do you think that is fair to them??

    Michale.....

  17. [17] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    And what about the teachers and public workers who don't WANT to be a part of the Union?

    i agree that a monopoly on collective bargaining is not necessarily a healthy thing. however, allowing management to dictate the terms of employment is an equally bad idea, especially when most private-sector jobs are being sent overseas at every opportunity. choosing not to have a union is like choosing not to have a government; it leaves people vulnerable and distributes the burden of support unfairly.

    my belief, for what it's worth, is that just like other politicians, collective bargaining rules should allow workers to choose who represents them by a majority vote, and there should not be only one possible union available.

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    my belief, for what it's worth, is that just like other politicians, collective bargaining rules should allow workers to choose who represents them by a majority vote, and there should not be only one possible union available.

    Can you imagine the utter anarchy at such an arrangement???

    Companies, businesses and workers would spend all of their time trying to negotiate and get the best deal possible that there would be little, if any, time to accomplish the mission...

    How about a much simpler plan??

    Do your job or get fired.

    If you don't like the job, then quit and find a better one..

    Seriously, have we grown so pampered that we expect everyone and everything to bow to our comfort level??

    No wonder the American worker is a pale imitation of what they once were..

    For god's sake, we put a man on the moon..

    Now, it's "Don't bother me, I am on my Union Established coffee break.. I won't be available in an hour either because then I will be on my Union Established pre-lunch break... After that?? Forget it, I will be on my Union Established lunch break."

    What ever happened to actually WORKING for a living??

    Seriously....

    Michale.....

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    As I had predicted....

    Wis. GOP strips public workers' bargaining rights
    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_WISCONSIN_BUDGET_UNIONS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2011-03-09-19-45-22

    Senate advances collective bargaining changes; Democrats to return Thursday
    http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/117656563.html

    Democrats only hurt themselves and the people they are supposed to represent...

    Michale.....

  20. [20] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Can you imagine the utter anarchy at such an arrangement???

    what you call anarchy, i call democracy. if the country can figure out a way to elect new leadership every couple years, so can a few teachers, firefighters, clerical workers or airline pilots.

    on the other hand, we can do what you suggest and go back to the 7-day work week and the twelve hour day with no overtime. we can all resign ourselves to subsistence wages, with no representation to protect us from the corruption of state and federal labor law, while the state and federal governments find ways to funnel what's left of the taxpayers' money to wall street, wal-mart and cheap foreign labor. nobody's advocating laziness like you're suggesting, just the right to be fairly represented in labor negotiations.

    have unions overstepped their rightful bounds in some cases and do they need to be more realistic? sure, but that's not grounds for elimination of the right to organize. in spite of the efforts of the republicans in the wisconsin legislature, the state's population seems to agree with me on this point, and the dems have said they won't be wandering back just yet.

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:

    NYpoet,

    what you call anarchy, i call democracy. if the country can figure out a way to elect new leadership every couple years, so can a few teachers, firefighters, clerical workers or airline pilots.

    It's not electing new leadership every couple years that I was referring to. That wouldn't be the anarchy..

    and there should not be only one possible union available.

    That's the point that would revert everything to anarchy.

    If you accept that premise that Unions aren't the god-send fount of goodness and wisdom, that Unions are sometimes part of the problem, why would you want to have MULTIPLE versions of that problem?

    Imagine a large business that has two dozen different departments and each department has their own union. Each department's Union would negotiate for each individual department. Of course, these Union members would not be doing their jobs rather they would be doing Union work. The company, of course, would have to pay these workers even though they are not working, and then would have to hire and pay MORE workers to do the work that the Union person SHOULD be doing.

    This is already happening across the country, by the way...

    Now multiply all these negotiations by a factor of 5 or 10 (if the targeted business has many branches across the country or the world) and then explain to me how ANY business could possibly conduct business if they have all these Union added expenses...

    Unions served a very good purpose. But they are an archaic and useless instrument of control of the masses by the chosen few.

    There are laws in place that protect workers, that do the jobs that the Union did..

    Unions are now part of the problem. They are as evil and as corrupt as the corporations.

    but that's not grounds for elimination of the right to organize.

    How about the right to NOT organize if one so chooses..

    Let's face it. This isn't about collective bargaining rights. The BIG beef the Union has is that the new Wisconsin Law will give employees the right *NOT* to pay Union dues..

    And THAT is what the Union and the Democrats are fighting for.

    MONEY...

    Because the Union leaders know that they won't have the money for their penthouses and the Porsches and the Democrats know they will lose money from Union donations...

    Follow the money, NYpoet..

    THAT's what it's all about in Wisconsin. The Democrats and the Unions want that money and Walker and the GOP think that it should be the employees who keep that money...

    Michale.....

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    Let me ask you something, NYpoet.. (Or anyone else that wants to chime in..

    Do you support Right To Work legislation??

    Michale.....

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    As an aside, I was perusing some of the Banter links on this issues..

    Here is a really choice gem from Taylor Marsh...

    "As an aside, can you imagine if Democrats had a majority that they would ever act like this to push their ideology against what the people want?

    Seriously!!??? I guess Taylor has a VERY short memory and has forgotten all the things that Democrats pushed thru over the objections of the American people when Dems had a lock majority.

    I know Taylor is not THIS stoopid, so I can only assume that this is simply another show of blatant Leftist hypocrisy...

    Michale.....

  24. [24] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    If you accept [snip] that Unions are sometimes part of the problem, why would you want to have MULTIPLE versions of that problem?

    the reason is that unions are ALSO sometimes part of the solution, protecting workers from management abuse. multiple versions means competition, which would force unions to do their job right or get voted out. i do not support dividing the burden for representation unevenly ("right to work"), but i agree that workers should have the option of voting to be non-union as well, as long as they have the opportunity to recant that decision when the next election comes.

    your argument that labor laws render unions obsolete is a specious one. laws can easily be changed by a legislature with an axe to grind. they can also be willfully ignored or unenforced. and the second a union ceases to be at least a viable option, that's exactly what happens. do you have any idea how much hardship can be involved for non-union workers to win a wrongful termination case? even if they ultimately win the case, which is not exactly a foregone conclusion even if they are in the right, in the meanwhile they have no income and still have to live with the consequences of being improperly fired.

    as for the effect on big business: if having multiple unions would make it more difficult for the huge, multi-state, multi-national behemoths that regularly crush smaller businesses in their wake, i say all the better.

  25. [25] 
    Michale wrote:

    NYpoet,

    What about the other side of the coin??

    In 2010, Megan Sampson was named an Outstanding First Year Teacher in Wisconsin. A week later, she got a layoff notice from the Milwaukee Public Schools. Why would one of the best new teachers in the state be one of the first let go? Because her collective-bargaining contract requires staffing decisions to be made based on seniority.

    Ms. Sampson got a layoff notice because the union leadership would not accept reasonable changes to their contract. Instead, they hid behind a collective-bargaining agreement that costs the taxpayers $101,091 per year for each teacher, protects a 0% contribution for health-insurance premiums, and forces schools to hire and fire based on seniority and union rules.

    Your analysis pre-supposes that big business exists solely to provide work for employees and unions..

    That producing a product or service that the public wants is secondary...

    What you describe is Utopia....

    It is not reality...

    Michale.....

  26. [26] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    michale,

    i don't understand your leaps of logic from union elections to the flaws in seniority to the purpose of business to utopia. i didn't suggest or suppose any of what you said i did.

    businesses don't exist for the goods or services they provide, they exist for the sole purpose of making money for their owners. the bigger and more entrenched the business, the more easily abuse of employees can occur in the name of money, so employees are entitled to protect themselves by organizing.

    a new way of structuring union-hood might help address some of the problems with issues such as cronyism, or using seniority alone to decide on retention and layoffs. that's very far from utopia, it's just a different idea.

  27. [27] 
    Michale wrote:

    NYPoet,

    i don't understand your leaps of logic from union elections to the flaws in seniority to the purpose of business to utopia. i didn't suggest or suppose any of what you said i did.

    My point was to show the flaws in Unions and their practices. In this case, an award winning teacher was fired because Union rules dictated that retention and promotions are based on seniority, not merit..

    I am sure you would agree with me that THAT completely sucks...

    I simply maintain that Unions are now part of the problem, not part of the solution...

    Michale.....

  28. [28] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    michale,

    i agree that many unions now are anachronistic and need to be reformed, and i accept your assessment that many unions have failed to amend some practices that are no longer fair or practical, including the example you cited. do layoffs and raises need some performance criteria beyond just seniority? certainly, some adjustments ought to be made to promote both short-term excellence and long-term commitment.

    however, i think by calling unions "the problem" you're making a blanket statement about many different organizations, each of which serves a number of important purposes. employers have very little obligation to protect the rights of their employees. therefore, professionals who work for a living deserve the right to protect themselves from corporate and government abuse by organizing. it's improper and inaccurate when you claim that labor laws eliminate the need, for the reasons i cited in post 24.

    if you're going to eliminate the functionality of a union, there has to be something else to serve the same purpose. creating a vacuum where unions used to be, is infinitely more harmful than any possible harm done by unions themselves.

    i love how when the government imposes its will on people for lefty causes like healing the sick and feeding the poor, then fox calls it big government socialism trying to take over people's lives. but when it does so for righty causes like cutting corporate and wall street taxes, or neutering unions, then it's the people's representatives protecting the mom n' pop, sweater-buttoning taxpayers who elected them for that purpose. you're a big fan of pointing out hypocrisy michale, so doesn't that qualify?

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