JJ Is No Fan of Teacher Unions But . . .

16 02 2011

. . . she’s on their side in this war.

Wisconsin teachers in peaceful protest take over state capitol building -- will the governor carry out his threat to call up the National Guard?

Workers’ rights — and with them, the fate of the American middle and working classes — took over the capitol in Wisconsin yesterday and again today. Governor Scott Walker has been demanding wage concession from the state employees. He also wants to take away their unions’ right to collective bargaining. Last week, Mr. Walker said he’s ready to bring out the National Guard if need be to carry out his plan.

What he seems to have brought out instead is tens of thousands of peaceful protesters, two days running, and Madison schools closed while their teachers demonstrate.

Former Senator Russ Feingold joins us tonight to talk about the situation in his home state . . .

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29 responses

16 02 2011
Nance Confer

Egypt is a good example to all of us. 🙂

16 02 2011
JJ

I’ve been thinking that, seriously!

17 02 2011
COD

I’m really starting to wonder why the hell I even live in this country anymore.

17 02 2011
JJ

Because no other nation will have us?

17 02 2011
Meg

Can we run off to Canada?

17 02 2011
JJ

Would THEY have us? I wouldn’t if I were them . . .

18 02 2011
Bark

the first remotely progressive thing I’ve seen happen in this country in ages

18 02 2011
Crimson Wife

I’m far from a fan of unions, but I do support the right of workers to join one and collectively bargain if they so desire. OTOH, teachers and other civil service employees ought to be free from the requirement to pay an “agency fee” in lieu of dues to the union if they decline to join. Folks should neither be prevented from nor compelled to support the union. The decision needs to be left up to the individual.

18 02 2011
JJ

Wisconsin GOP sends state troopers after Democratic senate leader:

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says he has asked Gov. Scott Walker to send two state troopers to Miller’s home in Monona. He says he believes the troopers are en route.

The Wisconsin Constitution prohibits police from arresting legislators while they’re in session. Fitzgerald says he just wants to send a [political] message to Miller . . .

18 02 2011
JJ

Listen to this:

19 02 2011
Nance Confer

Sounds like a Republican talking point aimed at undermining unions, CW. All about choice and freedom but it’s really about breaking down the way unions work. Like saying nobody should be forced to have health insurance. Except then we can’t afford universal health care. Like saying nobody — like all you young people out there not really thinking about retirement yet — should be forced to pay into Social Security. Except then the whole system would collapse.

19 02 2011
JJ

CW is still operating as if ordinary individuals possess self-determination and their individual voice and vote matter proportionately. Nothing is what it seems. The need for American workers to act collectively and particularly as a “public” about the public, isn’t about individuals and let them eat cake if they can’t afford bread. The only individuals at issue in Wisconsin or in Washington DC, are the same handful of extraordinarily superrich and powerful individuals. Again.

Koch brothers behind Wisconsin effort to kill unions: While Koch controls much of the infrastructure in the state, they have laid off workers to boost profits. At a time when Koch Industries owners David and Charles Koch awarded themselves an extra $11 billion of income from the company, Koch slashed jobs at their Green Bay plant . . .

Koch brothers now at heart of GOP power: The billionaire brothers’ influence is most visible in the makeup of the House Energy and Commerce Committee

19 02 2011
JJ

There Is Power In A Union:

To be fair, unions haven’t always helped themselves. The United Auto Workers have often fought for the here and now at the detriment of the long term viability of the industry that sustains them. . . . And don’t even get me started on some of the maneuvers made by the NFL, MLB, or NBA unions in recent years.

Still, by and large, unions are a good thing. . .

I find it difficult to understand how you can self create a crisis, then blame it on people who had nothing to do with it in the first place. And here’s the other thing, the unions have signaled that they are willing to give on the pension and health care issues, they just don’t want to give up their right to collectively bargain. TO BE A UNION.

So, if it’s not about the money, then what is this really about?

It’s simple really. He wants to bust the unions. Unions are among the strongest supporters of the Democratic Party.

. . .I don’t remember any of the Republicans referring to the Tea Party protestors as anything other than patriotic when they were shouting down their representatives in town halls across the country over health care.

Thus far, I haven’t seen any violence, threat there of, or any signs comparing Walker to a monkey, Hitler, or Stalin. But the group that’s coming tomorrow [today, Saturday] has some experience with that, yes they do.

So soon, very soon, we will see how civil this protest remains now that an opposition has been recruited. . .

19 02 2011
Crimson Wife

If I were to get a job as a teacher in a government-run school after my kids are older, I would be forced to pay hundreds of dollars per year to the California Teachers’ Association even though I vehemently object to many of the political causes the CTA supports. The CTA spends millions of dollars on liberal causes that have NOTHING to do with education- homosexual “marriage”, abortion, and so on. It’s bad enough that the CTA gets involved in non-educational issues but the government forcing non-members to pay an “agency fee” to CTA is outrageous. Each individual teacher ought to be free to make the decision for himself/herself whether or not to support CTA.

19 02 2011
Nance Confer

Then you shouldn’t get a job as a public school teacher in CA.

19 02 2011
JJ

Logic of Failure: zeroing in on some tiny aspect of an impossibly complex human problem, like building a two-block sidewalk to “help” old people in a community where insurmountable challenges face them, because the enormity of the real problem is paralyzing.

19 02 2011
JJ

Where my head’s been lately is to compare and contrast what’s happening in Wisconsin (all aspects, not one part because it’s easier) with both Greece and Egypt. There must be ways in which we’re both like and not like each, wouldn’t you expect?

Maybe someone is already doing this seriously, and I just haven’t seen it yet?

19 02 2011
COD

Actually, I agree with CW here. The union’s responsibilities related to representation of the workers should be completely separate from their political activities. In my first job out of college I was strongly, strongly encouraged to set up payroll withholding to donate to the company PAC every month. The plant had a 100% participation rate. Unfortunately, I was young and stupid then so I did what I was told.

19 02 2011
JJ

“The union’s responsibilities related to representation of the workers should be completely separate from their political activities.”

Are they not, by law?

20 02 2011
COD

I don’t think so. You pay your union dues, and they do what they want with the money. However, I would like to revise my statement. As long as corporations have the right to funnel as much money into politics, then unions should have the same right.

20 02 2011
JJ

Churches and ministries of various kinds have IRS restrictions on what is spent for politics but of course they also get tax-favored treatment, hmmm. It’s been at least a quarter-century since I was up on such legal-beagle fine points pertaining to labor unions. Things certainly do change quicker than ever, and I miss things I really do want to know, even paying attention.

20 02 2011
Nance Confer

I shouldn’t become a pharmacist if I can’t fill certain prescriptions. I shouldn’t join the Army if I can’t shoot people. I shouldn’t become a science teacher if I can’t teach evolution. There are many limitations to employment.

And I shouldn’t pay to join HSLDA if I don’t approve of their political activities.

Or I should do these things, object and try to change how they function, and reap the benefits. Which, I imagine, is what teachers with conservative leanings do in CA and elsewhere. Or maybe they just complain privately.

22 02 2011
JJ

I don’t join the AARP because not just a little money but my headcount with them speaking for me, would go to lobbying that I think isn’t in the interest of the American people generally, not good for our system or our unity or our economy, even though I could get some special benefits for myself. I think I saw in the EIA newsletter than the NEA member dues are $168, with only $10 of that as “each active member’s annual contribution to the national union’s political and media funds.”

23 02 2011
Nance Confer

And the AARP dared to send ME literature when I turned 50! Can you imagine? 🙂

And they are just another blood-sucking insurance company.

Nance

23 02 2011
JJ

Y’all KNOW I couldn’t let this go without saying — Scott Walker Gets Punked By Journalist Pretending To Be David Koch:

Walker, believing himself to be on the phone with his patron, seems to have had a long conversation about busting Wisconsin’s unions.

See what he had to say here.

Or here, in Chicago Tribune.

23 02 2011
JJ

Ha! Just saw my new private virtual economics professor Jeffrey Sachs on Lawrence O’Donnell, say that “we have billionaires going out to absolutely do the final deed of crushing workers to the maximum extent — it’s amazing what’s going on.”

“Wages have been going down while income at the top has been soaring. . .then we have these huge budget deficits because they don’t want to pay taxes any more . . . this is absolutely vile . . .cut the benefits for the poor, cut the education stipends, cut the wages of the teachers . . .it’s unbelievable the game that’s going on . . .given what’s been going on the last 20 years, we’ve got workers going down, billionaires soaring and they’re doing everything they can to put in that final twist.”

[Q: why would Kochs care about a little union question in WI?]

“They have business in WI, they have polluting industries all over this country, they have bought up ALL the Congress on the energy committees in the House and Senate on the Republican side, to make sure we never doing anything about the coal industry, about our dependence on oil, on imported oil, on climate. They’ve bought everything they can in politics.

They’re making sure they never have to pay a tax and never have to do any environmental control.

[Q: What would Reagan do and would he like this?]

“This is the rich in a contagion of greed, trying to crush the bottom.” He agrees it started with Reagan, not only his tax cuts but “squeezing education and the middle class.”

[why relentless attacks on teachers over time as THE reason schools fail, not just pay and benefits but bad teachers, tie test scores for merit pay, etc.]

“That dialogue itself was a gimmick, trying to find a cheap way, taking a social crisis of poor kids who can’t make it right now and find someone to blame, not poverty, not the neighborhood, not the mothers’ inability to find day care — all part of the same story actually, rich who want to pay no taxes, doing everything they can to blame the poor, and it’s spiraling out of control against the basic values of this country. . . We need to hear [President Obama’s] voice.”

24 02 2011
JJ

David Sirota asks why bankers should get paid more public dollars than teachers (start at four-minute mark):

1 03 2011
JJ

“The Financial Industry Has Become So Politically Powerful That It Is Able To Inhibit the Normal Process of Justice And Law Enforcement”

“The 100-year-old Progressive experiment can be stopped and buried in the very place where it was born.”

Leaving Children Behind:

And who will bear the brunt of these cuts? America’s children.

Now, politicians — and especially, in my experience, conservative politicians — always claim to be deeply concerned about the nation’s children. Back during the 2000 campaign, then-candidate George W. Bush, touting the “Texas miracle” of dramatically lower dropout rates, declared that he wanted to be the “education president.” Today, advocates of big spending cuts often claim that their greatest concern is the burden of debt our children will face.

In practice, however, when advocates of lower spending get a chance to put their ideas into practice, the burden always seems to fall disproportionately on those very children they claim to hold so dear.

Consider, as a case in point, what’s happening in Texas, which more and more seems to be where America’s political future happens first. . .

The really striking thing about all this isn’t the cruelty — at this point you expect that — but the shortsightedness. What’s supposed to happen when today’s neglected children become tomorrow’s work force?

4 03 2011
JJ

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