Wisconson - sign of more to come?

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VF - I've mostly disagreed

VF - I've mostly disagreed with you, but have sometimes loved what you've written.  You are the epitome of what makes a place like this work.  I'd feel sad to lose you.  It's best to step away for a few.  I've done this a few times and it works like a charm.  Don't forget we are on this sinking ship together.  Your children will most likely suffer the same fate as ours.

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Astroturfing

safewrite wrote:

Did you actually listen to the interview? The title is misleading and he does not exactly say that. He's "uh huh right" as in whatever, lets's get back to the topic. Not really agreeing with  the interviewer.

Plus this video was posted by a guy with an agenda who has other YouTube videos with titles like "Rush Limbaugh is Stupid." (It sort of proves my contention that liberals and conservaticves get their news fron different, biased sorces)

You're just repeating some of the comments on that link. He does not explicitly state it, but he implies that the Tea Party has been usurped by Corporatism. But do we really need to hear it from him? It's obvious to anyone who cares to look:

and if you missed this one:

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A zillion times

safewrite wrote:

Did you actually listen to the interview? The title is misleading and he does not exactly say that. He's "uh huh right" as in whatever, lets's get back to the topic. Not really agreeing with  the interviewer.

Plus this video was posted by a guy with an agenda who has other YouTube videos with titles like "Rush Limbaugh is Stupid." (It sort of proves my contention that liberals and conservaticves get their news fron different, biased sorces)

They're all right wing or centrist. Problem is the centre has moved way off to the right, favoring corporations. Ron Paul doesn't want to alienate people who are inclined to support him who haven't figured this out, yet. That's why he hems and haws. But we've gone over this a zillion times.

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Vanity Fox--cultivated

nickbert wrote:

Vanityfox451 wrote:

Aaron Moyer wrote:

Quote:
I am so very f*cking bored of being fed the self same tripe on this forum again and again

There's really a very simple solution to this problem.

Cheers,

Aaron

I believe the solution will very shortly present itself.

Goodbye ...

~ VF ~

VF-

Being a rather vague statement I'm not 100% sure how to interpret that, but my best guess is this is your way of saying "it's better to burn out than to fade away"?  "Suicide by moderator" as part of making one last statement? 

If that's the case, at best it's disrespectful to the moderators whom you are creating unnecessary work for, and at worst it's a sign of a need to feed your ego and play the martyr.  If you don't like the reception you get and choose to leave, then bow out gracefully and find another venue.  The strife and bad feelings you create here with this final spiteful gesture ultimately just plays into the hands of those who'd have us remain divided, whether they happen to be plotters for global control or simply groups and individuals just seeking to satisfy their greed and avoid accountability.   What your actions say to me is either your ego is more important than this community, or that you see no value in this community whatsoever and have no qualms about poisoning the well.  As 'blazes of glory' go, it falls flat.

- Nickbert

VF is well travelled, well read and cultivated. He has likely experienced so much of the world that he runs out of patience with people who don't get out (of their country) much. What blows me away is the inability of some posters to get a sense of whose opinions are studied, worthy  and rooted in experience. VF has put a tremendous amount of time and effort into this forum. He doesn't deserve this kind of dressing down.

Tell me who is a better man--one who is passionately affected by what is going on around him and objects stridently and argues bitterly or someone who never says much of anything. Those who claim to be setting their emotions aside to "support the community", could just as easily be accused of being namby pamby in service to their egos. Anyway, he's out of here, and so am I for the most part, with the exception of pm's.

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the need for a zen mind

agitating prop wrote:

nickbert wrote:

Vanityfox451 wrote:

Aaron Moyer wrote:

Quote:
I am so very f*cking bored of being fed the self same tripe on this forum again and again

There's really a very simple solution to this problem.

Cheers,

Aaron

I believe the solution will very shortly present itself.

Goodbye ...

~ VF ~

VF-

Being a rather vague statement I'm not 100% sure how to interpret that, but my best guess is this is your way of saying "it's better to burn out than to fade away"?  "Suicide by moderator" as part of making one last statement? 

If that's the case, at best it's disrespectful to the moderators whom you are creating unnecessary work for, and at worst it's a sign of a need to feed your ego and play the martyr.  If you don't like the reception you get and choose to leave, then bow out gracefully and find another venue.  The strife and bad feelings you create here with this final spiteful gesture ultimately just plays into the hands of those who'd have us remain divided, whether they happen to be plotters for global control or simply groups and individuals just seeking to satisfy their greed and avoid accountability.   What your actions say to me is either your ego is more important than this community, or that you see no value in this community whatsoever and have no qualms about poisoning the well.  As 'blazes of glory' go, it falls flat.

- Nickbert

VF is well travelled, well read and cultivated. He has likely experienced so much of the world that he runs out of patience with people who don't get out (of their country) much. What blows me away is the inability of some posters to get a sense of whose opinions are studied, worthy  and rooted in experience. VF has put a tremendous amount of time and effort into this forum. He doesn't deserve this kind of dressing down.

Tell me who is a better man--one who is passionately affected by what is going on around him and objects stridently and argues bitterly or someone who never says much of anything. Those who claim to be setting their emotions aside to "support the community", could just as easily be accused of being namby pamby in service to their egos. Anyway, he's out of here, and so am I for the most part, with the exception of pm's.

In my book, "cultivated" and a potty mouth are mutually exclusive.  Also, I didn't realize that getting out of one's country imparted wisdom or virtue or any other positive character traits.  Frankly, I think both Aaron and Nickbert expressed themselves clearly, rationally, and honestly and with admirable restraint.  While VF has made many valuable contributions, he really needs to get his emotions under control.  Counselling and/or a long vacation away from the stresses which are obviously affecting him might be of benefit.  If you notice, there's a certain cyclical nature to these outburts which has some significance.  

Tell me, who would you want standing by your side or covering your back when TSHTF ... someone who is prone to rash, emotional behavior or someone who is clear, calm, and collected?  I know who I'd pick.  

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Swearing in a cultivated manner

ao wrote:

In my book, "cultivated" and a potty mouth are mutually exclusive.  Also, I didn't realize that getting out of one's country imparted wisdom or virtue or any other positive character traits.  Frankly, I think both Aaron and Nickbert expressed themselves clearly, rationally, and honestly and with admirable restraint.  While VF has made many valuable contributions, he really needs to get his emotions under control.  Counselling and/or a long vacation away from the stresses which are obviously affecting him might be of benefit.  If you notice, there's a certain cyclical nature to these outburts which has some significance.  

Tell me, who would you want standing by your side or covering your back when TSHTF ... someone who is prone to rash, emotional behavior or someone who is clear, calm, and collected?  I know who I'd pick.  

You seem to be arguing for form over substance with regards swearing. I swear like a trooper and so do most Canadians and Brits I know. As far as tshtf,  I would pick someone who could scare the ever loving sh** out of zombies, myself.Wink 

It's interesting you should bring up tshtf scenario, as VF,  through his  "apoplectic rage" was shouting from the forum rooftops that tshahtf.  I think I'll copyright that. "The sh** HAS already hit the fan."  Who better to flip the light switch than someone who is emotional who not only thinks, but feels--and deeply. He's a Cassandra who's predicting the present. 

Different personality types perform different roles. It takes all kinds. America needs more outrage, it needs more genuine moral indignation, more fight against the status quo, imho--and not just out of a sense of self interest. Many here argue for creating and preserving the spirit of community. But in a larger sense, the very bedrock of their idealism often seems to run counter to ideals that support a civil society. 

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Here is a report from

Here is a report from someone at the scene.  I’ve got a good picture if someone can tell me how to post a 2MB .jpg file.  Just send me a PM.

report wrote:

Its different from any other protest I've had experience with. Thousands of people chanting and singing, packed into the incredible state capital. You kind of get the feeling that building was designed for this kind off thing. There's a lot of energy here, but it doesn't feel volatile like the republican national convention. There have been hundreds of cops from all over the state here all day, but the protesters aren't engaging them. They're cooperating and the organizers (who are running a really tight ship) are coordinating really closely with them. It kind of hit met why when at the end of the day a couple hundred cops who just got off duty marched through with their own union.

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AP, I don't think anyone is

AP,

I don't think anyone is arguing that - but expressing outrage and disgust with us for addressing problems in the U.S. our way isn't productive or insightful.

Further, id submit that I've crossed as much landscape as most others. The U.S. is a large, culturally diverse melting pot, and there's no shame in experiencing what it offers in the same way one might Europe. If you don't think that the culture of Montpilier, Vermont is as different from Corpus Christi, Texas is as different as comparing France and Germany, set up a trip and check 'em out. You can learn a lot from the U.S.

Paul doesn't give us the benefit of assuming because we're rational, we're not angry, or that we don't understand. 

I'd say most here "get it", but we don't need anger and vitriol at the forum or at one another. This unique intolerance is absurd, and its evident in Paul's last few posts. 

If he has some relevant experiences, why doesn't he draw upon them in a way that expresses his knowledge, perspective and authority in a way that is not demeaning to others?
Why not write in his own words, using his own name?
Why post articles and videos to make your statement?

He needs to step back and check himself.
My general rule is I don't say anything on here I wouldn't say to a person, face to face.
Would he have torn off with that nonsense in one of our living rooms?

Cheers,

Aaron 

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Re: Vanity Fox--cultivated

agitating prop wrote:

VF is well travelled, well read and cultivated. He has likely experienced so much of the world that he runs out of patience with people who don't get out (of their country) much. What blows me away is the inability of some posters to get a sense of whose opinions are studied, worthy  and rooted in experience. VF has put a tremendous amount of time and effort into this forum. He doesn't deserve this kind of dressing down.

You know, this sounds like another variation of the "don't argue with or question your betters" argument you've given at least a couple times before. 

Your opinion of him is just that.... an OPINION.  And why all these assumptions that those of us who disagree with him don't get out much?  I'm also well-read and as well travelled as my finances and opportunities have allowed, yet I don't expect anyone to take my word and opinions on those criteria alone.  If anything it keeps showing me how much more I don't know and have yet to learn and experience.  As far as what I said, I'd say his actions speak for themselves.  The amount of time and effort he's put into the forum doesn't make it untrue or undeserved, only unfortunate and a little tragic .

Quote:

Tell me who is a better man--one who is passionately affected by what is going on around him and objects stridently and argues bitterly or someone who never says much of anything.

Depends.... is the person who never says much of anything doing so because he/she has nothing to say, or because they are usually too busy listening and learning?  Is the person objecting and arguing bitterly doing so with other people and the community in mind, or more for recognition or because they MUST convince people that he/she is right no matter what?

Quote:

Those who claim to be setting their emotions aside to "support the community", could just as easily be accused of being namby pamby in service to their egos. Anyway, he's out of here, and so am I for the most part, with the exception of pm's.

That's a big BIG stretch.  Self-restraint and self-control are not namby-pamby qualities.... in fact they take a lot more personal strength to exercise and cultivate than anything else I've experienced in my brief time on this planet.  Passion and emotional intensity without self-control to guide and manage them (which is not to be confused with attempting to CONTROL emotions) usually ends up being destructive.  The only environment in which what you said makes sense is if the community in question is (or from one's POV is seen to be) a net negative or liability.

I agree largely with ao.... I do feel VF has made many positive contributions, but the condescension and the outbursts are too much.  Good intentions only go so far.  I have no issue with his opinions or beliefs, only that he has been very openly intolerant of mine and others' where they don't match his.  Sometimes he keeps it in check, and other times (like now) he doesn't even try.  If much of this is due to dealing with a lot of personal stress, and given these more extreme comments it appears likely if not certain, I hope he can find the emotional balance and resilience to overcome it.  I mean it.  He's told us many times how we're all deluded and going to be unprepared for when all hell breaks loose, but if he's getting spun up and reacting this way now, how much more difficult will it be for him to cope emotionally when we experience even rougher times ahead?  A lack of emotional balance, resilience, and tolerance will be far more detrimental to oneself and others around them than simply not having all the right information.  If I were forced to choose, I would much MUCH rather face that future alongside information-deprived people with self-control and emotional resilience versus the extremely knowledgable and informed people who lack those qualities of mental resilience. 

(... BTW if anyone hasn't yet read the most recent What Should I Do post by suziegruber http://www.peakprosperity.com/blog/cultivating-inner-resilience-face-cri... , I recommend it highly)

- Nickbert

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Thread id dead...?

I was reading the last 4 or 5 posts, and had to pause. I had to look at the title of the thread just to get my bearings.

I was going to try and cool the debate with an attempt at the voice of reason, and then it hit me. This off topic debate "is" a sign of more to come.

This is the polarized debate that started the protests in WI. It is the micro conversation that is being played out everywhere. The tone and message may stray or vary, but the overall theme holds true. Right v. Left

Personally I like to read Aaron's posts. I tend to agree with VF more, but Aaron is a better read.

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I ran across this article by

I ran across this article by Ralph Nader.  Although I have agreed and disagreed with him on various issues, I think he captures a very important perspective in the growing clash of the haves against the have a little bits and the have nots.  We need to keep our perspectives and remember who the screwers and screwees are.

http://transitionvoice.com/2011/02/mad-as-hell-in-madison/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TransitionVoice+%28Transition+Voice%29

Quote:

The rumble of the people in Madison illustrates the following:

  1. There is an ideological plan driving these corporatists. They create a “useful crisis” and then hammer the unorganized people to benefit the wealthy classes. Governor Walker last year gave $140 million in tax breaks to corporations which produced the $137 million deficit for this fiscal year. Note this oft-repeated dynamic. President Obama caved to the minority party Republicans in Congress last December by going along with the deficit-deepening extension of the huge dollar volume tax cuts for the rich. Now the Republicans want drastic cuts in programs that help the poor.
  2. Whatever non-union or private union workers, who are giving ground or losing jobs, think of the sometimes better pay and benefits of unionized public employees, they need to close ranks without giving up their opposition to government waste. For corporate lobbyists and their corporate governments are going after all collective bargaining rights for all workers and they want to further weaken The National Labor Relations Board.
  3. Whenever corporations and government want to cut workers’ incomes, the corporate tax abatements, bloated contracts, handouts and bailouts should be pulled into the public debate. What should go first?
  4. For the public university students in these rallies, they might ponder their own tuition bills and high interest loans, compared to students in Western Europe, and question why they have to bear the burden of massive corporate welfare payouts—food stamps for the rich. What should go first?
  5. The bigger picture should be part of the more localized dispute. Governor Walker also wants weaker safety and environmental regulations, bargain-basement sell-outs of state public power plants and other taxpayer assets.
  6. The mega-billionaire Koch brothers are in the news. They are bankrolling politicians and rump advocacy groups and funding media campaigns in Wisconsin and all over the country. Koch Industries designs and builds facilities for the natural gas industry. Neither the company nor the brothers like the publicity they deserve to get every time their role is exposed. Always put the spotlight on the backroom boys.
  7. Focusing on the larger struggle between the people and the plutocracy should be part and parcel of every march, demonstration or any other kind of mass mobilization. The signs at the Madison rallies make the point, to wit—“2/3 of Wisconsin Corporations Pay No Taxes,” “Why Should Public Workers Pay For Wall Street’s Mess?”, “Corporate Greed Did the Deed.”
  8. Look how little energy it took for these tens of thousands of people to sound the national alarm for hard-pressed Americans. Just showing up is democracy’s barn raiser. This should persuade people that a big start for a better America can begin with a little effort and a well-attended rally. Imagine what even more civic energy could produce!

Doug

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****** AP If by well read,

******

AP If by well read, you mean the bible inside and out. If by cultivated you mean up to my elbows in dirt all summer long and well travelled means cruising hundreds and hundreds of miles on a snowmobile exploring small towns in Michigans Upper Peninsula, then I'm as brilliant VF.  But I prefer red-neck, gun lovin', clean mouthed men.

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Cultivated Steeldrivers

Romans12.2 wrote:

******

AP If by well read, you mean the bible inside and out. If by cultivated you mean up to my elbows in dirt all summer long and well travelled means cruising hundreds and hundreds of miles on a snowmobile exploring small towns in Michigans Upper Peninsula, then I'm as brilliant VF.  But I prefer red-neck, gun lovin', clean mouthed men.

Romans -

Enjoy (maybe?!? Cool)

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DIAP - Love it!  Sounds

DIAP - Love it!  Sounds like Saturday night. Life is good.

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Nickbert, Aaron --People

Nickbert, Aaron --People express irritation in different ways. Some people become arrogant, others become openly insulting, and others have passive aggressive tendencies that make them turtle out or go all calm on you. That's probably the worst type...the voice of calm reason, the person that positions himself in the middle of a hurricane.

I realize, Nickbert,  that my take on VF is an opinion--as your opinion of my opinion is an opinion.  As far as namby pamby posts go, if posters filter their comments through too many layers of self conscious  and often self important sediment, they lose spontaneity, destroy the gist of their posts. It has a deadening effect. Some posters feel they aren't really making sense unless they write the literal equivalent of a funeral derge. You'll have to accept this as a general criticism of communication, not directed at anyone specifically. 

A bit of hyperbole and slightly over the top language, is a relief when it's taken in proper context .  If someone tends to be a hothead, discount for that when reading what they write, if it's not your style. VF roundly disagrees with some of the louder voices here and lets them know it. There are core issue conflicts between posters regarding support for militarism and implicit support for large corporations, ( through championing Palin/  Beck, for example) that really raise hackles. That's normal natural and to be desired. If  the individual  doesn't have some passion behind their opinions here, I wonder if they have a pulse.

As far as VF posting too many links and videos--well, for those who are annoyed by opinions not backed by anything, film clips can be pretty helpful.  It's because of CM's emphasis on providing back up info that many feel compelled to do so. 

Nickbert --You're always hounding me with the "you think you're better", or "you think you're superior" or shades of this kind of crapola. Everyone offering up an opinion thinks their opinion is at least worthy, if not superior, including you.  It doesn't mean they think they're "better" generally. If they've spent a great deal of time educating themselves on a specific issue and want to share what they've learned through video links, for example, you can bet they're going to become testy putting up with reflexive arguments from relative novices. 

Some of this isn't right versus left, it's informed versus mal or misinformed. VF has tried his best to simply inform. Why not applaud him? And why hasn't that been the tone on some of these threads? Why is it that people who link the most, are subject to the most derision? Posters who oppose them rarely address the opinions they make through their videos, they just like to hound them ceaselessly and disagree with them in the spirit of sportsmanship, I guess. Nevertheless, regardless of how dry and dull and "objective" these posters  try to be, the underlying unbridled ego is very evident.

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Doug,  Focusing on the

Doug, 

  1. Focusing on the larger struggle between the people and the plutocracy should be part and parcel of every march, demonstration or any other kind of mass mobilization. The signs at the Madison rallies make the point, to wit—“2/3 of Wisconsin Corporations Pay No Taxes,” “Why Should Public Workers Pay For Wall Street’s Mess?”, “Corporate Greed Did the Deed.”
  2. Look how little energy it took for these tens of thousands of people to sound the national alarm for hard-pressed Americans. Just showing up is democracy’s barn raiser. This should persuade people that a big start for a better America can begin with a little effort and a well-attended rally. Imagine what even more civic energy could produce!

The people in Wisconsin are waking up. They're alive and kicking. How dare the corporate elite who did so much to cause the misallocation of wealth through the legislature, not share in the pay cut? It beggars belief. Worse than Dickensian England.

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not right or left

I do not believe this problem is right or left.  The problem is America is going through a permanent reduction in the standard of living.  It hit people in the private sector first.  Many millions of people have had the crap kicked out of them over the last few years and the kicking continues and will continue for years into the future.  The people in the public sector were protected for a while due to the nature of the public sector.  However, the standard of living reduction contagion has now moved into the public sector.  It is just starting.  It will go through the public sector from one end of America to the other over the next few years.  There is no way to avoid it.  There is nothing that can be done about it.  America is having a reduction in the standard of living forced upon it and that is just about all there is to it.  Government at all levels is going to have to cut and cut big.  Untold thousands of public sector folks are going to lose their jobs and many more will end up being paid less and having less benefits.  There simply is not enough tax revenue to do what has been done in the past.  I'm not sure there was enough money in the past either but that is another story.  The end result is the public sector is going to get the same beating that the private sector has been going through.  That is about all there is to it.

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AP, The articles and videos

AP,

The articles and videos are almost exclusively opinion pieces.

That doesn't constitute evidence, and more often than not, VF's assertions are philosophical in nature. Because of this, discourse becomes a battle between opinions, and id rather discuss matters with people using their own minds and experiences to establish what philosophies have merit. Pseudo-intellectual lectures do nothing for me.

I don't want to be lectured, I want to debate.

Everyone has their thing, I guess.

Cheers,

Aaron

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South of no North

goes211 wrote:

There is a huge teacher glut nationally. (Glut: oversupply at an artificially high price that is set by the government or a government-licensed monopoly.) The ability of Wisconsin's school districts to replace every teacher on strike with a certified teacher over the summer would be easy. They could probably replace them at 70% of today's benefits package.

The union's leaders know this. They know that the benefits reflect the privileged position of the union-restricted access to bidding. If every qualified teacher in America who wanted to bid was allowed to bid, the compensation packages offered to teachers would fall like a stone.

...

THREATENING A FROZEN LEGISLATURE

The 14 Democrats in the legislature have adopted a unique way to keep the governor's proposed union-busting legislation from getting passed. They have refused to show up. The legislature lacks a quorum by one vote. So, there can be no new legislation dealing with money. The Democrats supposedly are all in hiding in Illinois. They receive salaries for this. Call it a paid vacation.

I hope the idea spreads. I would prefer to pay legislators to flee the state rather than pass laws. I would even support expense accounts for AWOL legislators.

Think about this. The Democrats are saying: "no new funding laws." The story of Br'er rabbit and the brier patch comes to mind. Think of the legislatures of the United States in which there would be no new spending laws passed from now on. I would call that deliverance. Yet this is the Big Gun in Wisconsin. Somehow, I don't think the newly elected governor will regard this as a threat to be taken seriously.

The threat is obviously bogus. Any political party that threatens to hijack the political process is going to find itself out of power after the next election. The Democrats will return to the legislature, and the political battle over the teachers' union will get settled, one way or another. Their bluff will not work.

...

THE ECONOMICS OF TRADE UNIONS

To understand what is at stake, you must first understand the economics of all trade unionism.

  1. Members assert the moral authority and legal right to use violence against any person who offers to work for less than the union is demanding. Usually, this violence is hidden: the government's threat of fines against employers who hire non-union members, but not always: violence against "scabs."
  2. Members assert that if they get a majority vote in favor of this legalized violence in one company election, they should continue to exercise it forever.
  3. The union decides who gets membership. It reserves the right to exclude people. This restricts the labor market, thereby raising wages for members.
  4. The members assert a legal right to "their" jobs in a strike. After the strike, they must be re-hired by law. All people hired in the interim must be fired.
  5. The unions claim to represent "labor," but at all times the vast majority of laborers are not members.
  6. Legislation favoring union members discriminates against the vast majority of Americans, who do not belong to unions.
  7. The goal of all trade unionism is to raise costs of production.
  8. The economic effect of higher costs is reduced output.
  9. The economic effect of reduced output is the reduction of wealth for most customers.
  10. Excluded workers must seek employment with firms that were their second-choice.
  11. This subsidizes firms that are not unionized: a larger supply of labor at a reduced price.

Then there is the economics of trade unionism within civil government. All of the previous applications of the law of supply and demand apply. There are some new twists, as in twisted arms.

  1. Inside a geographical area, a civil government exercises a monopoly or near-monopoly.
  2. Citizens cannot seek alternative sources of supply.
  3. The union exercises clout at election time: a concentrated focus.
  4. The government comes to voters in the name of necessity.
  5. The government union works under the umbrella of this government claim of necessity.

With this as background, consider the economics of government officials when dealing with trade unions.

  1. Governments for 70 years have promised higher retirement benefits rather than offering immediate pay raises.
  2. Elected officials run up the bills for future elected officials.
  3. Union leaders go along with this, since they can claim easy victories.
  4. Union members actually believe that they will receive these enormous retirement and health insurance benefits.
  5. They vote for politicians who make these promises on behalf of future politicians.
  6. Politicians seek these votes.
  7. The general public until 2009 has ignored these promises, believing that future taxpayers would pay them.
  8. The combination of focused beneficiaries (union members) and unfocused victims (present taxpayers who will live long enough to become future taxpayers) has led to enormous state and local public debts – debts that cannot be paid and so will not be paid.

Some comments on Norths’ outline.

I believe he is a Christian Reconstructive, a historian of some accomplishment, and has taken to task some recent authors for views contrary to his, and rather vociferously, so it is with reluctance that I engage.

I find his linear attempt to simulate deductive reasoning while interjecting flawed logic into a story line that he hopes no one will call him on to be both transparent and frustrating at the same time. This of course is the standard M.O. of a litigator, stringing together some truths and half truths, interspersed with false conclusions, and build a trajectory that on shallow reflection, seems almost plausible. Almost.

The intention is to subtly build some credibility and consensus with partial truths and to direct the reader into following along with a rather preposterous conclusion, which just so happens to wholly coincide with his point of view.

A sensible person would have stopped when a visit to his website yields such pearls as:

The long-term goal of Christians in politics should be to gain exclusive control over the franchise. Those who refuse to submit publicly to the eternal sanctions of God by submitting to His Church’s public marks of the covenant – baptism and holy communion – must be denied citizenship, just as they were in ancient Israel. The way to achieve this political goal is through successful mass evangelism followed by constitutional revision.

Political Polytheism: The Myth of Pluralism, p. 87.

Uh-huh.

At any rate my comments and opinions:

To understand what is at stake, you must first understand the economics of all trade unionism   

  1. Members assert the moral authority and legal right to use violence against any person who offers to work for less than the union is demanding. Usually, this violence is hidden: the government's threat of fines against employers who hire non-union members, but not always: violence against "scabs."

North is inciting emotion and disapproval in the reader by linking the theme of violence to the generalized concept of trade unions. He makes no mention of the well documented and widespread violence by corporations against labor, in which hundreds (if not thousands) were killed, which for a historian is a rather unusual omission. He also mischaracterizes the governments’ role as arbitrator in the legal contract between union and corporation, an important conceptual relationship not yet mentioned in this thread, by using the phrase “hidden violence” (the government is enabled by both parties to perform the role of contract law arbitrator/enforcer  in union matters.)

2.     Members assert that if they get a majority vote in favor of this legalized violence in one company election, they should continue to exercise it forever.

Nonsensical association, the purpose of this phrase is simply to carry over the theme of violence first established in point #1.

3.     The union decides who gets membership. It reserves the right to exclude people. This restricts the labor market, thereby raising wages for members.

And private sector non union employers do as well. If they do not want to hire you they don’t. There is an illogical relationship attempted here, there is no rational relationship between a rejected worker and rising wages within a union, and a private sector non-union employer.

4. The members assert a legal right to "their" jobs in a strike. After the strike, they must be re-hired by law. All people hired in the interim must be fired.

Correct. Both labor and employer enter into a voluntary contract (labor agreement) for a specified duration. During that duration, the laborer may not strike without cause, and the employer may not change the terms of the agreement in a way that effects the material compensation or working conditions of the laborer. If the contract is broken by the employer, labor may strike. If the agreement comes up for renegotiation at the end of term, and the new terms are not agreeable to either party, the respective party may take action. In the case of labor, this may mean a strike. In the case of employer, this may mean permanent cessation of labor relations (busted union) and the employer may then rehire anyone they chose at any compensation level they can offer to entice new employees. The new employees may also then create a new collective bargaining unit, and begin the process anew, effectively setting the employer back to square one.

Now, if as a result of “cause” (contract violation by the employer), labor strikes during the terms of an active and enforceable labor agreement, in most cases, the strikers are entitled to their jobs back when the strike is settled. This simply is application of contract law, the labor agreement the employer signed voluntarily usually specifies the right for the striker to get his job back.  If this occurs as a result of a renegotiating a new labor contract to replace an expired contract, the employer has the right to reject a new labor agreement, terminating the relationship (busting the union) and rehiring all new employees.

5.   The unions claim to represent "labor," but at all times the vast majority of laborers are not members.

Specious claim. Unions claim to represent the labor participants within their respective organizations, as determined by their membership.

6. Legislation favoring union members discriminates against the vast majority of Americans, who do not belong to unions.

Example needed.

7. The goal of all trade unionism is to raise costs of production.

Totally false and a ridiculous claim. The objective of unions is to engage in collective bargaining to maintain competitive compensation and working conditions. Mr. North is smart enough to know this, his injection of this claim makes his intent and bias self evident.

8. The economic effect of higher costs is reduced output.

False. Note the stringing together of increasing levels of misinformation to lead the reader along to a fundamentally error filled conclusion, naturally, in support of his views.

The correct answer is that the economic effect of increased labor costs is reduced surplus value, which comes out of the capitalists’ pocket. Output is unchanged by labor cost variables. Error of first principles here, no recognition of the concept of superprofits.

9. The economic effect of reduced output is the reduction of wealth for most customers.

Building again on layer upon layer of misinformation, now he takes the battle to you, the consumer. Now we are establishing a punitive cost penalty to you as a customer. And he does so by claiming “reduction of wealth”. I am not naïve enough to believe Mr. North has simply confused the meaning of such simple terms as “output”, surplus value, and “reduction of wealth”. He knows full well the meaning and correct usage of these words, and yet he deliberate constructs these arguments.

There is no reduced output, and there is no reduction of wealth- for the customer. There most certainly is a reduction of wealth- for the capitalist, due to reduced surplus value.

10. Excluded workers must seek employment with firms that were their second-choice.

Correct. Anyone who is declined for a job opening in any industry, union or non union, must look to other firms for employment. Welcome to the real world.

11. This subsidizes firms that are not unionized: a larger supply of labor at a reduced price.

Having a hard time with the logic here. In #3, he argued that labor was getting more expensive, yet here it is cheaper. In the case of Wisconsin public workers, their salaries are less than private sector wages (when like education is considered) so it would seem that a prospective employee that is rejected from joining the union ranks is penalized with a higher paying job in the private sector.

I could go on and put these kinds of remarks on all of his remaining points, but this is tedious. This is a smear piece, similar to attack pieces that come out of the Heritage Foundation, Mises.org. Cato Institute, etc. Many of these sites now actively write position papers and white papers that effective revise history to suit the ideological purposes of whatever it is they are trying to promote, which is usually neo-liberalism. When a historian with credentials takes on this type of activity whether for profit or ideology (and how really can we tell the difference anymore), this is particularly dangerous.

The essence of North’s point of view is embodied by neo-liberal doctrine as advanced by F.A. Hayek and Milton Friedman, specifically. If so inclined, a reader can contradict every point I’ve made with one or more references to Hayek or Friedman’s Chicago School. Most, if not all of the libertarian diatribe on this site can be traced back to this particularly poisonous (and after misinterpreted) theology in one form or another, and often traceable to Ludwig Von Mises work as well, attempting to extend free market principles to the creation of money and alternative currencies.

These ideologies work together, in co-operation, to further a larger agenda operating not just in the jurisdiction of Wisconsin, but on a geo-political scale as well, a landscape very familiar to the likes of Milton Friedman. Many of these ideologies are in fact misinterpreted by contemporary conservatives and libertarians, for example consider the following quote from Hayek:

Link

Hayek did write that the state has a role to play in the economy, and specifically, in creating a "safety net." He wrote: "There is no reason why, in a society which has reached the general level of wealth ours has, the first kind of security should not be guaranteed to all without endangering general freedom; that is: some minimum of food, shelter and clothing, sufficient to preserve health. Nor is there any reason why the state should not help to organize a comprehensive system of social insurance in providing for those common hazards of life against which few can make adequate provision."

 

What is occurring in Wisconsin is not just a dust up over collective bargaining, but the beginning of an understanding among the public that forces with large and sweeping agendas are mobilizing ideologies and media to advance a geopolitical agenda that is based on neo-liberal principles- with apparently, full co-operation from conservatives and libertarians duped into the ride along.

What is in front of us is not a discussion about the democratic right to organize, but the collision of immense tectonic forces, that of neo-liberalism against democracy. Every reader must “do the math” , do the research and conclude, without error, which side of this battle they stand.

As in the Middle East, the sound of boots on the ground grows louder as long predicted by these groups, the surprise is that that boots belong not to the forces of unconstrained government, but to the rising of the people long tired of the disgraceful wealth inequality, flagrant misappropriation of money, resources and human rights at the hand of the Neoliberal.

And with no small measure of concern, these groups are on the wrong side of that inexorable walk to justice.

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AP, restraint and self-control

AP-

Self-control is NOT necessarily the same as being excessively self-conscious and self-important.  The first involves inner strength and avoiding the easy paths of fear, immediate gratification, or selfish interests... the latter involves uncertainty about oneself and giving in to the easy out (and that can just as easily express itself in harsh words and condescension; something to think about maybe?).  Equating all examples of verbal restraint with too much self-consciousness and/or self-importance is unfair. 

- Nickbert

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Freedom Of Political Expression

Poet wrote:

dshields wrote:

In a previous post on this thread I discussed that unions in the government should be illegal.  I want to expand on this some more.

Government unions were established to siphon off tax payer dollars into union dues and thus into the coffers of various politicians.  Government unions were not established to stop little kids from being forced to work in unsafe conditions in coal mines.  It is an established fact in previous elections that government unions gave many many millions of dollars of tax payer monies to a political party and its chosen candidates.  This money was forcibly extracted from the tax payers by taxing authorities.  Then the unions extract the dues from their members and forward some of this money to a political party.  This is broken - tax payer money is not supposed to be forcibly extracted from the people by a government and given to a political party.  This is clearly improper.

There are now more government workers in unions than private workers: 7.6 million to 7.1 million.  Unlike in the private sector where excessive union demands result in companies and/or industries being forced into bankruptcy due to non-unionized competition, government unions can keep making demands without a real risk of putting local, state, or federal governments out of business because governments have a taxation power to force citizens to cover the cost of union demands - and that is exactly what has been happening for many years.  This was actually working until America started into a prolonged period of reduction of standard of living.

Government unions are a relatively new phenomenon, and were created not because they served a legitimate economic or social purpose, but out of political considerations. This began in the 1950s when New York Mayor Robert Wagner issued an executive order unionizing city employees to create a new constituency for his re-election.  Traditionally, union organizers opposed government unions because they were concerned that their industrial union workers would be forced to pay higher taxes if civil servants were able to artificially force an increase in their compensation.  These days there are more union workers in the public sector than in the private sector so this is no longer a constraint.  One political party has become dependent on the dues and manpower of government unions for their political organizing.  A vicious cycle has developed in which taxpayer dollars flow in ever larger amounts to salaries, wages, and benefits of government workers who are then required to send a portion to the union which is funneled back into political organizing in exchange for more unsustainable increases in spending.

All of this has to stop.  It is immoral and it should be illegal.  It is also causing governments at various levels to lose control over their costs and thus their financial stability.  And, it is just flat out wrong.  A political party should not be funded by the government forcibly extracting very large sums money from the people.

Dshields

Over in the "Fighting the 5 Fascisms..." thread, I replied to your similar postings and assertions as follows (copied below):

Just as private sector unions have learned - sometimes the hard way - so also public sector unions are now learning that there is a limit to what they can get from a government even if that government has the ability to coercively tax the citizenry.

In economic hard times, government can impose furlough days, layoffs, reduced hours, and reduced benefits, and taxpayers and legislators can reject tax increases - we have seen this happen in all 50 states. Many unions have not had a pay raise, others have taken pay cuts, etc. So to say that unions can strangle government isn't necessarily true as we have now seen. They have an interest in the continuing health of the state and its ability to pay them, too. More importantly, as middle class Americans, public sector union employees also feel the brunt of taxation.

(Aside: As for state lawmakers (both Republican and Democrat) choosing not to fund pension obligations but continuing to defer to future lawmakers (as has been done in Virginia, Maryland, even in NJ under Gov. Christie) in a gigantic snowball, well that's an entire different story and a huge time bomb that will blow up. But likely there would have been no time bomb if legislators actually balanced their budgets every year and paid all obligations at the time they are incurred. But we know what politicians are like: "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.")

I'm sorry, but think you don't have a case about the "immoral and illegal" part where union members pay their dues towards an agenda that promotes their union's purposes. The dues come out of their salaries - but they could use their salaries to buy beer and lap dances, too. Once it becomes earned income, it is no longer "the people's tax money" just as your employer giving you pay doesn't obligate you to spend your pay as he wishes.

(Aside: Union dues are considered unreimbursed job expenses: like if a private restaurant required uniforms that a private non-union employee has to purchased with their own money in order to work there. But they're only deductible if a worker happens to itemize rather than take the standard deduction AND only for the portion of dues that are greater than 2% of adjusted gross income. For many union members, especially those who don't have a mortgage or are almost done paying off their homes, they won't be deducting the union dues expense. The bottom line is, the IRS considers union dues to be paid out of one's income, not by the employer (whether public or private) - even if the employer does the automatic withholding. Therefore, union members do pay taxes on the income they earn - even the part of their income that is spent on paying union dues. thus blowing away the idea that it's "the people's taxes" that pay those dues - unless one were to still try to argue that a union member's union dues aren't paid out of his earned income.)

Would love to read a rebuttal from you.

Poet

Poet - Ask and yee shall receive ...

There is a difference that you did not mention.  The difference is when I get paid by the private sector company I work for someone does not forcibly extract part of that pay right off my check and then send part of that to the democratic party.  If I want to give money to help fund the democratic party or the republican party or any other political activity I may do so on my own accord - it is not forced upon me as part of my job.

So, let's see, the tax payer pays taxes.  Some of the taxes are used to pay the people who serve the tax payer.  Some of that money is taken off their checks and funneled directly to the democratic party.  The democratic party uses some of that money to help fund the re-election of the democrats.  I believe I saw the statistic that 95% of the money government unions use to fund political parties goes to the democratic party.  What if I work for the government and I do not want any of my union dues to go to the democratic party ?  Why should I be forced to fund the democratic party ?  Where I work nobody forces me to fund any political party.  It seems like people should have a choice whether to fund political activity or not and if they choose to do so then they should be able to determine what political activities to fund for themselves.  It is called freedom of political expression and is a fundamental right in my opinion. 

If the unions allowed the members to choose whether or not to fund political activity with part of their dues and if so then the worker got to say what activities they wanted to fund then it would seem a lot more fair and honest to me - I would be OK with that.  The way it works now seems unfair and broken to me.

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A decent point, DShields,

A decent point, DShields, but not much different than corporations that you do work for taking money in the form of surplus value from the fruits of your labor and spending  this money on political parties and political objectives that you disagree with, and in fact have no say in.

-        If you earn a wage from either a private firm or a public entity, what you do with your money is your business.

-       If as a result of this wage, you pay a part of it to a union in the form of mandatory dues as a condition of your employment, what they do with it is up to them as a recipient of this payment.

-       And if a private corporation takes a part of the surplus value (profit) that you provided as a result of your labor contribution and they chose to apply this to a political party at odds with your beliefs, it is the same thing.

-       As another example, if you’re are required to buy a uniform as part of the condition of your labor, and the company you buy the (mandatory) uniform from makes a donation to a political party which you disagree with, how is this different?

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There is a difference...

darbikrash wrote:

A decent point, DShields, but not much different than corporations that you do work for taking money in the form of surplus value from the fruits of your labor and spending  this money on political parties and political objectives that you disagree with, and in fact have no say in.

-        If you earn a wage from either a private firm or a public entity, what you do with your money is your business.

-       If as a result of this wage, you pay a part of it to a union in the form of mandatory dues as a condition of your employment, what they do with it is up to them as a recipient of this payment.

-       And if a private corporation takes a part of the surplus value (profit) that you provided as a result of your labor contribution and they chose to apply this to a political party at odds with your beliefs, it is the same thing.

-       As another example, if you’re are required to buy a uniform as part of the condition of your labor, and the company you buy the (mandatory) uniform from makes a donation to a political party which you disagree with, how is this different?

Your point is well taken but in what's left of my mind it is somehow different.  Companies may and often do fund political activities.  They do not forcibly take the money from me and use it to fund political activities I fundamentally disagree with.  Somehow in my mind there is a difference and that difference is important - at least it is to me.

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Unions

darbikrash,

So are you really are claiming that the Wisconsin unions are under compenstated compared to their private sector conterparts?  If so then why are you so concerned with their ability to collectively bargain?   Clearly the current unions are not of much use to their members if they can't even negotiate as good of deal as the non-collectively bargained private sector.  Why do you think that is or do you really not believe that?

One thing I find universally interesting is how everyone is always trying to make the other side take ownership of the current system.  The left calls the current system a neo-liberal free market and trys to blame it all on the right or libertarians.  The libertarians points out the constantly increasing state power and blame the current system on the left for its corruption and collectivism.  The religious right point out the attacks on religion decline in morals and blames the current system on the godless left. 

What seems clear to me is that no one want to take ownership of our current Frankstein of a system.  Of course we all can't even agree on the most basic priciples of what should replace it and therefore the course is set.   The Titanic is heading straight for the iceberg, there is no escape, there are not enough life boats, and that water is looking very chilly.  Sometimes I wonder if it would be more fun to have stayed in the bar and listen to the band.

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Doug wrote:I ran across this

Doug wrote:
I ran across this article by Ralph Nader.  Although I have agreed and disagreed with him on various issues, I think he captures a very important perspective in the growing clash of the haves against the have a little bits and the have nots.  We need to keep our perspectives and remember who the screwers and screwees are.

While I think Nader has done some good, I believe he is one of these that always supports just a little more government involvement will make things better.  I disagree. I also disagree that this is really a growing clash of the haves and have nots (or a little bits). I think this is a growing problem that most everything that has been promised over the last 100 years has been a lie.  The economic disparity is certainly something the left is using to distract everyone from the real problem.  Instead of pointing out that nearly all politicians have been lying and too bad, because it just won't work, the wealthy are being villified (not entirely without reason), but it does no good.  There is not enough wealth, no matter how it is divided, to cover all the promises. We are all screwed and the sooner we accept that fact we can start to work on managing it.   But instead it's comments like "We need to keep our perspectives and remember who the screwers and screwees are" that does no good - all it does is further divide people.

I would like to address each of the points from Nader you listed:

Nader wrote:

There is an ideological plan driving these corporatist. They create a “useful crisis” and then hammer the unorganized people to benefit the wealthy classes. Governor Walker last year gave $140 million in tax breaks to corporations which produced the $137 million deficit for this fiscal year. Note this oft-repeated dynamic. President Obama caved to the minority party Republicans in Congress last December by going along with the deficit-deepening extension of the huge dollar volume tax cuts for the rich. Now the Republicans want drastic cuts in programs that help the poor.

This article address the issue pretty well.  There is a budget crisis with or without the "$140M" since it doesn't even go into effect for a couple of years.  There is a large hole now. http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/yes-wisconsin-really-does-have-a-budget-crisis/

Nader wrote:

Whatever non-union or private union workers, who are giving ground or losing jobs, think of the sometimes better pay and benefits of unionized public employees, they need to close ranks without giving up their opposition to government waste. For corporate lobbyists and their corporate governments are going after all collective bargaining rights for all workers and they want to further weaken The National Labor Relations Board.

This completely misses the point, that salary's which are artificially inflated through force instead of being set by market conditions are waste!  It leads to jobs being eliminated because somewhere, someone will do the work for less and while "group" force may work for a while in localized areas, it distorts what skills are needed in a community and ultimately ends in pain.   If there are too many of a profession, the salaries should fall as individuals compete, and when there is a shortage wages will rise as businesses compete for labor.  IMO, there should be no National Labor Relations Board.  It should not be a force of government.  If labor wants to organize then organize without government assistance or involvement.  Government should not enforce any type of labor requirement.  If employees want to band together, fine, even for government, but the government or the employer should not be forced by government to hire workers based on their union status.

Nader wrote:

Whenever corporations and government want to cut workers’ incomes, the corporate tax abatements, bloated contracts, handouts and bailouts should be pulled into the public debate. What should go first?

Agreed, there should be no bailouts, no handouts.  If government wasn't in a position to hand out favors and forcibly collect from part of the population to favor another part of the population this would not be an issue.  Corporations are not like governments, if a corporations behaves stupidly it will fail because competition keeps corporations from abusing customers - unless of course you have government taking actions to benefit one competitor over another.

Nader wrote:

For the public university students in these rallies, they might ponder their own tuition bills and high interest loans, compared to students in Western Europe, and question why they have to bear the burden of massive corporate welfare payouts—food stamps for the rich. What should go first?

Perhaps we should ask why tuition is so high in the US in the first place?  Perhaps it's because we have a government guaranteeing loans and pushing everyone into education they may not need or be of any use.  There is no financial incentive to keep education affordable, after all governments are guaranteeing all loans no matter what the likelihood they can ever be paid back.  It all falls to the taxpayers and never on the education system to compete.  John Stossel covers this in Stupid in America, and Peter Schiff also covers this issue.

Nader wrote:

The bigger picture should be part of the more localized dispute. Governor Walker also wants weaker safety and environmental regulations, bargain-basement sell-outs of state public power plants and other taxpayer assets.

I believe safety and environmental regulations have gotten out of control.   While we need jobs, clean air and water - it's not going to do us any good if we have no jobs and no food because of those regulations.  We have crossed the boundry for many industries where we no longer improve but rather elimiate.   All we've done is make our lives better at the expense of someone in some third world country which we have been fortunate to be able to do for so very long.  However, it's all coming to an end as we actually have to do the dirty jobs necessary to survive. 

Selling of public assets is always a problem, because it's was a problem for a government to acquire many of the assets in the first place.

Nader wrote:

The mega-billionaire Koch brothers are in the news. They are bankrolling politicians and rump advocacy groups and funding media campaigns in Wisconsin and all over the country. Koch Industries designs and builds facilities for the natural gas industry. Neither the company nor the brothers like the publicity they deserve to get every time their role is exposed. Always put the spotlight on the backroom boys.

So what!  It's the Koch brothers right to bankroll any political issue they care about.  It's not different than George Soros funding all his left leaning groups.  Perhaps it's time to get government out of the position to favor either of these guys!

Nader wrote:

Focusing on the larger struggle between the people and the plutocracy should be part and parcel of every march, demonstration or any other kind of mass mobilization. The signs at the Madison rallies make the point, to wit—“2/3 of Wisconsin Corporations Pay No Taxes,” “Why Should Public Workers Pay For Wall Street’s Mess?”, “Corporate Greed Did the Deed.”

Again no good can come of this type of rhetoric other than to divide.  Perhaps the signs should read, 2/3 of all Wisconsinites pay no taxes?  Why should one private individuals pay for others failures?  After all if you have to have government confiscate property from others for your benefit, then you are a failure!   If/when performance of individuals may determine whether they live or die in a world of depleting resources, all this soft handling of failure will do is insure those that have not been pushed will perish.

Once again we have a complete failure for most people to realize the magnitude of the problem.  If you take all of the corporations and all the wealth of the evil evil wealthy people, it doesn't matter.  We are still in a hole as far as the promises.   And yet again, blame Wall Street, instead of looking to the root cause, Fed manipulating money and credit, government granting favors to politically collected business through regulation and handouts.  The first thing needed is sound money, smaller government, and no borrowing for government promises.  If we directly taxed instead of borrowed and inflated to hide the true magnitude of the problem, at least people would have a clue how much all this stuff they are demanding costs.

Nader wrote:

Look how little energy it took for these tens of thousands of people to sound the national alarm for hard-pressed Americans. Just showing up is democracy’s barn raiser. This should persuade people that a big start for a better America can begin with a little effort and a well-attended rally. Imagine what even more civic energy could produce!

The problem is not getting people together to bitch about the rich, or demand more wages, or blah blah blah.  We have a serious life threatening problems and this is all aimed at keeping the status quo, just give people a bit more of that made up money.  No need to discuss the fact that promises are going to be broken. No need to point out that will all be working much much harder for much much less because energy and resource constraints.  Life is going to get harder, and this type of attitude just prolongs the naive belief that life should/will be fair.

This video nicely coveys my progress through this post... time to step away from the keyboard. Yell

goes211 wrote:
Sometimes I wonder if it would be more fun to have stayed in the bar and listen to the band.

I wonder the same thing sometimes......

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rhare wrote:I believe safety

rhare wrote:
I believe safety and environmental regulations have gotten out of control.   While we need jobs, clean air and water - it's not going to do us any good if we have no jobs and no food because of those regulations.  We have crossed the boundry for many industries where we no longer improve but rather elimiate.   All we've done is make our lives better at the expense of someone in some third world country which we have been fortunate to be able to do for so very long.  However, it's all coming to an end as we actually have to do the dirty jobs necessary to survive.

So as our quality of life deteriorates we are at least working.  But if environmentalism is socialism so is transitively peak oil.  And if the fracking chemicals enter our drinking water and cancer rates inexplicably rise at least we have energy.  No wonder the third E is the bastard E.

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agitating prop
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Self control

nickbert wrote:

AP-

Self-control is NOT necessarily the same as being excessively self-conscious and self-important.  The first involves inner strength and avoiding the easy paths of fear, immediate gratification, or selfish interests... the latter involves uncertainty about oneself and giving in to the easy out (and that can just as easily express itself in harsh words and condescension; something to think about maybe?).  Equating all examples of verbal restraint with too much self-consciousness and/or self-importance is unfair. 

- Nickbert

Nickbert ,  I've lost  both parents,  my best friend and my husband had an unexpected heart attack--all in the last 18 months.  And that's just for starters. You have implied through your barbed comment that I am somehow losing a battle with fear?  Ask me about a chronic neurological disease I've been "negotiating with" since my early twenties and the daily grind of having to work, for years, while aching all over and being unable to think straight, remember anything short term, or sequence properly. Self control? You can't even imagine. 

I've tried to avoid the trap of becoming too self absorbed by focussing on people who have worse problems than my own....like those in foreign lands who not only have to put up with all the indignities life sends our way, but have to do it in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, while being shelled in unnecessary conflicts. Before my father's death we used to watch the news together and when the film footage of Palestinian homes being bulldozed would start rolling, we'd reflect on how many elderly sick people, already near death's door, or in pain, may have ended up homeless in that particular situation. 

I come here to fight what I see as "the good fight". If I have offended you in some way, personally, send  me a PM, explain the offense and I will gladly apologize.  But don't impugn my motives or slander my character. Very few people on this forum know anything about my personal life, because it's not germane to my point of view.  But I'll definitely defend myself and anybody else from an unfair character attack. 

Now, let's get back to Wisconsin, shall we? Smile

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General strike next?

CapTimes:

"Meanwhile, some Madison residents are beginning to meet and talk about how the community might respond to a general strike. One of them, union supporter Judith Zukerman-Kaufman, recalls how during a 1960s parent protest that kept Chicago schoolchildren out of classrooms, alternative schools were established. Creating similar set-ups to teach children about civil rights or labor history is one thing people are starting to talk about here, she says. "There are seeds of some ideas."

Madison teacher Susan Stern says that the focus of her union continues to be legal protest. "But people are starting to ask: ‘What if?'"

http://host.madison.com/ct/

darbikrash's picture
darbikrash
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 25 2009
Posts: 573
Too fat to fly

goes211 wrote:

So are you really are claiming that the Wisconsin unions are under compenstated compared to their private sector conterparts?  If so then why are you so concerned with their ability to collectively bargain?   Clearly the current unions are not of much use to their members if they can't even negotiate as good of deal as the non-collectively bargained private sector.  Why do you think that is or do you really not believe that?

One thing I find universally interesting is how everyone is always trying to make the other side take ownership of the current system.  The left calls the current system a neo-liberal free market and trys to blame it all on the right or libertarians.  The libertarians points out the constantly increasing state power and blame the current system on the left for its corruption and collectivism.  The religious right point out the attacks on religion decline in morals and blames the current system on the godless left. 

As I mentioned in previous posts, I have the understanding that with respect to cash salaries, and considering like educational levels, the public workers in Wisconsin affected by the pending legislation are paid less than private sector equivalents.

Again, as I stated earlier, when pensions and other benefits are added, I am not at all clear on how this adds up. As to total compensation, there are non-numerical benefits that collective bargaining can provide such as job security with hard to quantify values. There is a lot of commentary on how pensions are calculated, and obviously, private sector pensions are all but obsolete.

My preference would be a system that allows democratic assembly and co-operation among any and all persons for the purpose of collective bargaining, if they so desire, and not to strip these workers of this fundamental right. Is it not ironic how those that proclaim the loudest against government control and involvement are the first to suggest abdication of democratic rights?

Link

The Contribution Scam: David Cay Johnston has a terrific piece up about the nonsense of comparing government workers to private-sector counterparts by claiming that the government pays for more of their benefits. As he says,

Out of every dollar that funds Wisconsin’ s pension and health insurance plans for state workers, 100 cents comes from the state workers.

How can that be? Because the “contributions” consist of money that employees chose to take as deferred wages – as pensions when they retire – rather than take immediately in cash. The same is true with the health care plan. If this were not so a serious crime would be taking place, the gift of public funds rather than payment for services.

Thus, state workers are not being asked to simply “contribute more” to Wisconsin’ s retirement system (or as the argument goes, “pay their fair share” of retirement costs as do employees in Wisconsin’ s private sector who still have pensions and health insurance). They are being asked to accept a cut in their salaries so that the state of Wisconsin can use the money to fill the hole left by tax cuts and reduced audits of corporations in Wisconsin.

The labor agreements show that the pension plan money is part of the total negotiated compensation. The key phrase, in those agreements I read (emphasis added), is: “The Employer shall contribute on behalf of the employee.” This shows that this is just divvying up the total compensation package, so much for cash wages, so much for paid vacations, so much for retirement, etc.

So the right question — the only question — is whether government workers are getting an overall good deal compared with private-sector workers. Why, then, are we hearing so much about the meaningless contribution comparison?

The answer is simple: it’s because doing the comparison right doesn’t yield the desired answer. The new report by the Times gets the same answer as other studies: low-paid government workers do a bit better than their private-sector counterparts, but others if anything do worse.

Luo and Cooper report this as a “mixed answer” — but in terms of the political debate, it’s a body blow to the union-bashers, whose whole position is that public-sector workers are welfare queens in Cadillacs. They need to show outrageous overpayment, not rough equivalence at best.

And so they turn to a meaningless comparison that, to the unwary, sounds as if it supports their case.

Yes, some public-sector workers are overpaid. So are some private-sector workers. Doesn’t anyone read Dilbert? But the whole idea that union excesses are at the core of state and local fiscal problems is false, and only deliberate obfuscation keeps that from being obvious.

This aside, I think the main point I was trying to make is the carefully merged agenda, in which step by step, bit by bit, neo-liberals are fulfilling their objectives. I will fully concede that of all the issues on the table in today’s political economy, one of the hardest to defend is public sector unions. However, in light of the clear direction of the larger agenda, it is high time to take a stand, left and right, and get past this post-adolescent “taxation is theft”, “government is force”, and “free markets are the only solution” mentality that is holding back any meaningful progress in this country.

Significantly off topic, but on the front page of today’s paper is the story of conservatives lashing out in fury against Michelle Obama- for of all things- advocating healthier diets for obese children. Apparently, this is so offensive to conservatives and libertarians that they are of course raising hue and cry of a “nanny state”:

Link

Just about everyone will agree that the nation's children are getting fatter and that obesity is a serious health problem. But the first lady's push for healthier meals and more exercise, which marked its first anniversary this month, has provoked a backlash from the right, who complain that the only thing here that's supersized is Big Brother.

snip…

Critics have carped about Obama's spread at her Super Bowl party — and have suggested that the child-nutrition legislation she backed in Congress would bring about the end of school bake sales. Her work with the National Restaurant Assn. to develop healthier menu items has been decried in some circles as a government takeover of business.

And in January, some conservatives even suggested that Obama was endangering people, blaming an increase in pedestrian deaths on the first lady's campaign by saying that Americans were putting themselves at risk by walking more.

As evidence of the childish and addled logic, apparently these same conservatives are quite content with corporations pushing hundreds of millions of dollars in media blitz advertising to kids marketing Happy Meals (among many others), a massive psy-ops effort to manipulate and influence behavior on a truly immense scale in search of higher profits at he expense of personal health, but hey, this is all “free market” right, so exempt from any consideration of improper behavior.

Corporations spend millions in product placement studies to determine the ideal traffic patterns in retail stores for which to present to the consumer the highest profit products, they optimize color schemes and shelf placement to ascertain the best placement for the most profit. This is done every day in virtually every (major) retail store in the nation, yet, if Michelle Obama takes up a campaign to combat child obesity, why it is yet another example of government control.

Icing on the cake? The claim that suggesting that people walk more will increase the likelihood of injury of death. Great logic, and I know at least one poster on his thread that will no doubt incorporate this tidbit into his repertoire of reasons why no government should ever be allowed.

rhare's picture
rhare
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 30 2009
Posts: 1271
r wrote: So as our quality

r wrote:

So as our quality of life deteriorates we are at least working.  But if environmentalism is socialism so is transitively peak oil.  And if the fracking chemicals enter our drinking water and cancer rates inexplicably rise at least we have energy.

Yes, I firmly believe we are going to have to start having serious discussions of risk and trade-offs. In an energy rich environment we have essentially not had to have real discussions.  It's as Chris says, we have always had enough energy to prosper and grow.  What happens when we can do neither?  So far we have generally been able to error on the side of "reduce risk at all cost" at least in the US because it generally didn't have a large impact on immediate survivability, but as our "standard of living" decreases, environmental and safety concerns will decrease as well due to being dwarfed by survival needs.  Hopefully we focus on real science based risk assessments and concentrate on the large risks.

So often we see the statements like "if just one child is saved, then it was worth it".  No, it may not have been.  If the costs to save that one child could have been applied elsewhere and saved more children with the same resouces then it wasn't worth it.  We often throw huge sums of money at relatively minor risks out of fear.

So is fracking bad? maybe, but is it worth doing?  are the risks worth it?  I don't know, all I can seem to find is propaganda ladden often anecdotal pieces from both sides with little accessible scientific/measured/verifiable/trusted/reproducable data.   What I would like to see if an honest discussion on the risks of doing it versus not doing it.  But since we can't even acknowledge the coming energy crisis, I have little hope of that occuring.

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