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Old 02-20-2011, 02:21 PM   #61
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My mother is an elementary school teacher in Wisconsin. Her school district was one that closed due to teacher absences, and yes, she was in Madison on Thursday.

The facts that are lost within the piles of rhetoric are that these teachers' benefits were bargained, and they were bargained for a reason. What was that reason? During the Tommy Thompson years, pay freezes were enacted, and in order to compromise, the unions agreed to the pension and benefits packages that Wisconsin teachers have today, rather than continue to receive pay increases (which still would have been less than private sector growth at the time, by the way).

In addition, WEAC has already agreed to the increases in pay into pensions and in benefits packages. And, contrary to the 6% figure cited in the media, many teachers pay a much higher percentage for their health benefits. For example, my mother's contract has them paying 20% of a $24,000 health insurance package. Regardless, these figures were negotiated and bargained over. They didn't just appear out of nowhere or without compromise on both sides.

Then, add in the fact that Wisconsin had a surplus when Walker took office and he blew it by donating to special interests and giving out tax cuts, and the "budget" argument gets blown out of the water. This isn't about money. This is about union busting and taking away workers' rights.
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Old 02-20-2011, 03:03 PM   #62
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Angela, thanks for your kind remarks. I have to remind myself day after day that things will get better. They have to.

As for the "hatred" remarks, well, I was being a bit melodramatic. But there is a lack of understanding and concern among some pundits and bloggers on the right. I'm more on the liberal side, but I have been known to read right-wing blogs and websites to get another perspective. Many people who write for these blogs don't show a whole lot of compassion and support towards people like me.

Anyway, back to WI. As many of you know, the Tea Party descended on Madison yesterday to show support for Gov. Walker and the bill. I can recall two quotes. One recent college grad said something about he had to be frugal and so should public workers. Eesh! Yes, public workers are living high on the hog. They drink Cristal and drive Porsches. Give me a break. Most people I know are very frugal.

Another tea party member claimed that if these people are doing good jobs then they don't need a union. WTF? I've been in the workplace my entire life, and I've seen plenty of work places without unions throw talented, hard-working and valuable employees under the bus while rewarding bad employees.

Well, here is some interesting food for thought about what's going on in WI.
12 Things You Need to Know About the Uprising in Wisconsin | AlterNet
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Old 02-20-2011, 03:44 PM   #63
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My mother is an elementary school teacher in Wisconsin. Her school district was one that closed due to teacher absences, and yes, she was in Madison on Thursday.

The facts that are lost within the piles of rhetoric are that these teachers' benefits were bargained, and they were bargained for a reason. What was that reason? During the Tommy Thompson years, pay freezes were enacted, and in order to compromise, the unions agreed to the pension and benefits packages that Wisconsin teachers have today, rather than continue to receive pay increases (which still would have been less than private sector growth at the time, by the way).

In addition, WEAC has already agreed to the increases in pay into pensions and in benefits packages. And, contrary to the 6% figure cited in the media, many teachers pay a much higher percentage for their health benefits. For example, my mother's contract has them paying 20% of a $24,000 health insurance package. Regardless, these figures were negotiated and bargained over. They didn't just appear out of nowhere or without compromise on both sides.

Then, add in the fact that Wisconsin had a surplus when Walker took office and he blew it by donating to special interests and giving out tax cuts, and the "budget" argument gets blown out of the water. This isn't about money. This is about union busting and taking away workers' rights.

Give my heartfelt thanks to your mother. I wish every American worker understood the battle at hand as we do.
They just don't get it. The whole surplus thing is totally lost on the media too. Not once have I heard anyone mention this fact.

I have much compassion for you and your situation. I don't know anybody who isn't impacted by the financial crisis these days, but all I can say is thank God for family.
I wish you and yours the best! And if nothing else at least we can come here and vent!
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Old 02-20-2011, 03:47 PM   #64
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Angela, thanks for your kind remarks. I have to remind myself day after day that things will get better. They have to.

As for the "hatred" remarks, well, I was being a bit melodramatic. But there is a lack of understanding and concern among some pundits and bloggers on the right. I'm more on the liberal side, but I have been known to read right-wing blogs and websites to get another perspective. Many people who write for these blogs don't show a whole lot of compassion and support towards people like me.

Anyway, back to WI. As many of you know, the Tea Party descended on Madison yesterday to show support for Gov. Walker and the bill. I can recall two quotes. One recent college grad said something about he had to be frugal and so should public workers. Eesh! Yes, public workers are living high on the hog. They drink Cristal and drive Porsches. Give me a break. Most people I know are very frugal.

Another tea party member claimed that if these people are doing good jobs then they don't need a union. WTF? I've been in the workplace my entire life, and I've seen plenty of work places without unions throw talented, hard-working and valuable employees under the bus while rewarding bad employees.

Well, here is some interesting food for thought about what's going on in WI.
12 Things You Need to Know About the Uprising in Wisconsin | AlterNet

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Old 02-20-2011, 03:51 PM   #65
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Angela, thanks for your kind remarks. I have to remind myself day after day that things will get better. They have to.
You're welcome. They do. Somehow, someway, they do .

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Originally Posted by Golightly Grrl View Post
As for the "hatred" remarks, well, I was being a bit melodramatic. But there is a lack of understanding and concern among some pundits and bloggers on the right. I'm more on the liberal side, but I have been known to read right-wing blogs and websites to get another perspective. Many people who write for these blogs don't show a whole lot of compassion and support towards people like me.
Ahhh, yeah, there are a few out there, sadly.

But there are also some out there who aren't so cold, so hopefully you come across more of them in your searches down the line. I think it's good you're willing to check out the other side's perspective, though, even if it isn't always what you want to hear. I wish more people would do that (and I could point out the irony in you listening to the very people who wouldn't bother to understand you, but...yeah ).

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Anyway, back to WI. As many of you know, the Tea Party descended on Madison yesterday to show support for Gov. Walker and the bill. I can recall two quotes. One recent college grad said something about he had to be frugal and so should public workers. Eesh! Yes, public workers are living high on the hog. They drink Cristal and drive Porsches. Give me a break. Most people I know are very frugal.
Same here. Trust me, nobody I know is rolling in dough. There are some people I know who are doing better than others, who are living more comfortably, but even then, they're still definitely working-class, they're not sitting in mansions with the finest champagne and Rolls Royces in the driveway or whatever.

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Another tea party member claimed that if these people are doing good jobs then they don't need a union. WTF? I've been in the workplace my entire life, and I've seen plenty of work places without unions throw talented, hard-working and valuable employees under the bus while rewarding bad employees.
Yeah, I'd like that member to come talk to everyone who's found that to be patently untrue. I guarantee you your last sentence there was true for my parents.

I just don't understand this line of thinking. I truly don't.

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Well, here is some interesting food for thought about what's going on in WI.
12 Things You Need to Know About the Uprising in Wisconsin | AlterNet
Interesting link. That last paragraph in particular jumped out at me.

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Old 02-20-2011, 04:18 PM   #66
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I found some more great tweets of the feed from Wisconsin:

"Pizza joints in Madison taking calls from across US to deliver to protesters"

"People in Egypt are buying WI protesters pizza. I love it! "

"It's funny how quickly the Tea Party has switched to seeing ordinary people as the oppressors and government as the solution."

"Law Enforcement Association Official Regrets Walker Endorsement | AFL-CIO NOW BLOG "

"This sign should hit home for @govwalker http://twitpic.com/41y659 "

"Nothing Terrifies the Top 1% Percent More Than the Thought of the 99% Majority Fighting Back."

Oh hell to the ya!
They are soooo afraid. This is the final straw and the sleeping apathetic American worker is waking from his/her slumber.
I saw a comment by Jack Welch ( the former GE CEO known as the Grandfather of outsourcing) say that this protest was a disgusting display and they should be ashamed of themselves. Now THAT is funny!
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Old 02-20-2011, 04:24 PM   #67
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"It's funny how quickly the Tea Party has switched to seeing ordinary people as the oppressors and government as the solution."
...that is rather funny, yes.

Like we've been saying, the Republican victory last November is now forcing them, as well as the Tea Party (though some would argue they're one and the same, but...), to figure out where their loyalties truly lie. They've essentially painted themselves into a corner.

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I saw a comment by Jack Welch ( the former GE CEO known as the Grandfather of outsourcing) say that this protest was a disgusting display and they should be ashamed of themselves. Now THAT is funny!
Yeah, how dare Americans get mad that their jobs are being sent overseas and messed around with!

...wait...

(And then they have the gall to complain when people wind up on unemployment and welfare. Well, you know, if you hadn't taken away their jobs...)

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Old 02-20-2011, 04:30 PM   #68
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"Pizza joints in Madison taking calls from across US to deliver to protesters"

"People in Egypt are buying WI protesters pizza. I love it! "
Don't forget to call the Great Dane Brew Pub and send some Growlers of beer over, too.

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Old 02-20-2011, 04:33 PM   #69
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...that is rather funny, yes.

Like we've been saying, the Republican victory last November is now forcing them, as well as the Tea Party (though some would argue they're one and the same, but...), to figure out where their loyalties truly lie. They've essentially painted themselves into a corner.



Yeah, how dare Americans get mad that their jobs are being sent overseas and messed around with!

...wait...

(And then they have the gall to complain when people wind up on unemployment and welfare. Well, you know, if you hadn't taken away their jobs...)

Angela
It's crazy isn't it? Thank God the majority of us can see through this BS and pile of lies they are throwing around.
The rest watch and believe the lies being tossed about and made up in the right wing media.
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Old 02-20-2011, 04:36 PM   #70
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Don't forget to call the Great Dane Brew Pub and send some Growlers of beer over, too.

That sounds good!
Did you see that sign at the protest,

"We don't drink tea in Wisconsin we drink beer!"
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Old 02-20-2011, 05:02 PM   #71
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That sounds good!
Did you see that sign at the protest,

"We don't drink tea in Wisconsin we drink beer!"
Someone just posted on FB that The Great Dane Pub supported the Tavern League which I guess supported Walker.

So go somewhere else and buy beer from good progressives!

ETA:
The WI Tavern League endorsed Russ Feingold as well as Walker, so they are a bunch of business whores.
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Old 02-20-2011, 05:37 PM   #72
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There was a collection of YouTube clips compiled in response to a representative calling the protests "riots," and one of the scenes included was cops handing out brats and water to protestors at the capitol.
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Old 02-20-2011, 07:45 PM   #73
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Whoa. I'm certainly not the former and I'd like to think I'm not the latter, either. Feel free to elaborate. I'd love to know how you reached either of those conclusions based on what I posted.
I apologise for the personal comment. But I absolutely cannot understand how someone from the middle class, which I assume you are, is favouring the union busters.


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It's stuff like this that makes me lose faith that we'll ever fix our debt. If people get so upset over such minuscule cutbacks, imagine the pushback when the necessary addressing of entitlements comes. These people don't care about the debt. They care about them.
Show me your posts warning about the element of the debt that was created by the wars and the massive expansion in the Military Industrial Complex during the Bush years . I've been warning about the deficit for what, five or six years now. Where were you in 2005/2006/2007? The way I see it, you only got on your high horse about the deficit when your guy was no longer in office. Oh, there's a lot to criticize about Obama, I'll give you that. Unfortunately, the Tea Party criticisms usually almost entirely miss the point. Obama has continued with the drain on tax-payer resources represented by the GWOT, why isn't the Tea Party complaining about that? He has failed to deliver on his campaign promises to withdraw the troops. He is a proven liar and a sleazy Chicago lawyer, the modern day equivalent of Boss Croker types. We have seen this movie before. There is fertile, vote winning ground in attacking Obama, believe you me, but the approach taken by mainstream conservatives so far is so wrong-headed that I don't know where to start. If you lot are not careful, you'll end with handing him a certain victory in 2012. And maybe, and I know this sounds mad, but maybe that is what the controllers behind the Tea Party are actually planning. Think about it, put the chosen figureheads of the opposition forward as so extreme (e.g., Beck) that middle of the types don't want to be associated with them. Who does that benefit? It actually benefits Obama, when you think about it. Elections are won in the middle ground battlefield, as Clinton showed and proved. Most Americans simply dislike fanaticism and extremism, and your guy, Beck, he's a fucking lunatic by any reasonable measure.

Anyway, in summary, Republicans aren't in a position to lecture Democrats about the debt and for me, and I have reservations about excessive union power, but on balance I am on the side of the Wisconsin protestors because they're standing up to the corporatists. They're saying to the oligarchy, you can only push so far before you get a pushback.
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Old 02-20-2011, 07:48 PM   #74
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Republicans aren't in a position to lecture Democrats about the debt.

Thank you!
(especially as someone who is in a position to vote for neither).
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Old 02-20-2011, 08:02 PM   #75
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These people don't care about the debt. They care about them.
The GOP doesn't care about the debt; they care about the panic that the debt causes (as long as Democrats are in power).
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Old 02-20-2011, 08:13 PM   #76
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The GOP doesn't care about the debt; they care about the panic that the debt causes (as long as Democrats are in power).
True nuff. The GOP woke up one morning in January 2009 and decided to start complaining about the debt. They are largely to blame for the debt, it is 80% their doing.

That said, Obama is a servile coward for not ordering the detention, using extreme force in necessary, of at least several dozen Wall Street executives, and I can name the names. Most of these bastards retired on massive pensions. Sequester their assets by edict, throw 'em in Gitmo, give 'em ye olde waterboarding treatment and see what that throws out, could lead to some interesting confessions. If the law doesn't allow it, then change the godamn laws, Bush did it. The Tea Party doesn't complain about the blatant lack of prosecutions of Wall Street bankers, I wonder why.
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Old 02-20-2011, 08:37 PM   #77
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True nuff. The GOP woke up one morning in January 2009 and decided to start complaining about the debt. They are largely to blame for the debt, it is 80% their doing.

That said, Obama is a servile coward for not ordering the detention, using extreme force in necessary, of at least several dozen Wall Street executives, and I can name the names. Most of these bastards retired on massive pensions. Sequester their assets by edict, throw 'em in Gitmo, give 'em ye olde waterboarding treatment and see what that throws out, could lead to some interesting confessions. If the law doesn't allow it, then change the godamn laws, Bush did it. The Tea Party doesn't complain about the blatant lack of prosecutions of Wall Street bankers, I wonder why.


Just felt like I needed to do that after reading this .

Angela
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Old 02-20-2011, 09:07 PM   #78
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Anyway, in summary, Republicans aren't in a position to lecture Democrats about the debt and for me, and I have reservations about excessive union power, but on balance I am on the side of the Wisconsin protestors because they're standing up to the corporatists. They're saying to the oligarchy, you can only push so far before you get a pushback.

Bless you.
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Old 02-20-2011, 10:08 PM   #79
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True nuff. The GOP woke up one morning in January 2009 and decided to start complaining about the debt. They are largely to blame for the debt, it is 80% their doing.

That said, Obama is a servile coward for not ordering the detention, using extreme force in necessary, of at least several dozen Wall Street executives, and I can name the names. Most of these bastards retired on massive pensions. Sequester their assets by edict, throw 'em in Gitmo, give 'em ye olde waterboarding treatment and see what that throws out, could lead to some interesting confessions. If the law doesn't allow it, then change the godamn laws, Bush did it. The Tea Party doesn't complain about the blatant lack of prosecutions of Wall Street bankers, I wonder why.
It is my hope and many other Dems' hope that Obama will kick it into high gear upon re-election, if we're fortunate enough for that to happen.
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Old 02-21-2011, 08:21 AM   #80
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http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/21/op...rssnyt&emc=rss

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OP-ED COLUMNIST
Wisconsin Power Play
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: February 20, 2011



Last week, in the face of protest demonstrations against Wisconsin’s new union-busting governor, Scott Walker — demonstrations that continued through the weekend, with huge crowds on Saturday — Representative Paul Ryan made an unintentionally apt comparison: “It’s like Cairo has moved to Madison.”

It wasn’t the smartest thing for Mr. Ryan to say, since he probably didn’t mean to compare Mr. Walker, a fellow Republican, to Hosni Mubarak. Or maybe he did — after all, quite a few prominent conservatives, including Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Rick Santorum, denounced the uprising in Egypt and insist that President Obama should have helped the Mubarak regime suppress it.

In any case, however, Mr. Ryan was more right than he knew. For what’s happening in Wisconsin isn’t about the state budget, despite Mr. Walker’s pretense that he’s just trying to be fiscally responsible. It is, instead, about power. What Mr. Walker and his backers are trying to do is to make Wisconsin — and eventually, America — less of a functioning democracy and more of a third-world-style oligarchy. And that’s why anyone who believes that we need some counterweight to the political power of big money should be on the demonstrators’ side.

Some background: Wisconsin is indeed facing a budget crunch, although its difficulties are less severe than those facing many other states. Revenue has fallen in the face of a weak economy, while stimulus funds, which helped close the gap in 2009 and 2010, have faded away.

In this situation, it makes sense to call for shared sacrifice, including monetary concessions from state workers. And union leaders have signaled that they are, in fact, willing to make such concessions.

But Mr. Walker isn’t interested in making a deal. Partly that’s because he doesn’t want to share the sacrifice: even as he proclaims that Wisconsin faces a terrible fiscal crisis, he has been pushing through tax cuts that make the deficit worse. Mainly, however, he has made it clear that rather than bargaining with workers, he wants to end workers’ ability to bargain.

The bill that has inspired the demonstrations would strip away collective bargaining rights for many of the state’s workers, in effect busting public-employee unions. Tellingly, some workers — namely, those who tend to be Republican-leaning — are exempted from the ban; it’s as if Mr. Walker were flaunting the political nature of his actions.

Why bust the unions? As I said, it has nothing to do with helping Wisconsin deal with its current fiscal crisis. Nor is it likely to help the state’s budget prospects even in the long run: contrary to what you may have heard, public-sector workers in Wisconsin and elsewhere are paid somewhat less than private-sector workers with comparable qualifications, so there’s not much room for further pay squeezes.

So it’s not about the budget; it’s about the power.

In principle, every American citizen has an equal say in our political process. In practice, of course, some of us are more equal than others. Billionaires can field armies of lobbyists; they can finance think tanks that put the desired spin on policy issues; they can funnel cash to politicians with sympathetic views (as the Koch brothers did in the case of Mr. Walker). On paper, we’re a one-person-one-vote nation; in reality, we’re more than a bit of an oligarchy, in which a handful of wealthy people dominate.

Given this reality, it’s important to have institutions that can act as counterweights to the power of big money. And unions are among the most important of these institutions.

You don’t have to love unions, you don’t have to believe that their policy positions are always right, to recognize that they’re among the few influential players in our political system representing the interests of middle- and working-class Americans, as opposed to the wealthy. Indeed, if America has become more oligarchic and less democratic over the last 30 years — which it has — that’s to an important extent due to the decline of private-sector unions.

And now Mr. Walker and his backers are trying to get rid of public-sector unions, too.

There’s a bitter irony here. The fiscal crisis in Wisconsin, as in other states, was largely caused by the increasing power of America’s oligarchy. After all, it was superwealthy players, not the general public, who pushed for financial deregulation and thereby set the stage for the economic crisis of 2008-9, a crisis whose aftermath is the main reason for the current budget crunch. And now the political right is trying to exploit that very crisis, using it to remove one of the few remaining checks on oligarchic influence.

So will the attack on unions succeed? I don’t know. But anyone who cares about retaining government of the people by the people should hope that it doesn’t.
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