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Wisconsin to Lay off Thousands if Dems do Not Return to Work

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Governor Walker said on February 11, 2011 that 5500 to 6000 employees would be laid off if the Wisconsin legislature did not reform the wage and benefit process for Wisconsin state employees. The legislature was prepared to follow through with Governor Walker’s request when suddenly the Democratic state senators fled the state to avoid a quorum. Without a quorum, there can be no vote. Now Wisconsin faces the real possibility that 5500 state employees will receive layoff notices next week.

The teacher’s union came to the forefront of this dispute when they walked out of the classroom and took to the streets in Madison to protest what President Obama called an assault on unions. The teacher’s union in Wisconsin has invested its future in the Democratic Party. It was a costly investment funded through union dues paid by teachers who are ultimately paid by Wisconsin taxpayers. Taxpayers are fed up with uncontrolled spending by their elected officials, and have now turned their sights on the unions. Wisconsin surveys have shown that more than 60 percent think unions should make concessions on benefits and pensions.

Looking back, it is not difficult to see how Wisconsin found itself in a difficult situation with public service employees. Political leaders have empowered public service employees to feel entitled to benefits that the private sector does not have. It should be no shock that the public service employees are angry and have taken to the streets in protests. It would have been easy to avoid this train wreck, if only the negotiating parties had taken into consideration the interests of the taxpayers before entering into collective bargaining agreements. It would have been fairly easy to do financial projections to determine whether the benefits were sustainable in the long term. Furthermore, the teachers have created their own public relations nightmare by walking out of the classroom.

But politics, not the taxpayers, created this problem. Wisconsin unions have directed nearly 95 percent of their contributions to Democrats only. Unions have all their eggs invested in one basket, the Democrats. It was a nice gig while it lasted. The unions gave money to the Democratic politicians, and the Democratic politicians in return stood up for the unions. Ultimately, however, all public employees work for the taxpayers and eventually the taxpayers who work in the private sector are going to take notice that public service employees have better benefits and pensions than those in the private sector. It was from the start, an unholy alliance that failed to take into consideration the opinions and concerns of Wisconsin taxpayers.

The White House has to handle this situation very delicately. If anyone in the White House working on government time is using the telephone to organize or direct opposition to Wisconsin legislation, they are potentially in violation of federal law. Meanwhile, President Obama has his own fiscal crisis and, unlike last year, he has no choice but to compromise with the Republicans.

Furthermore, many other states are facing budget deficits and are waiting to see what happens in Madison. Democracy works when elected officials participate. If a budget isn’t passed by end of next week, 5500 notices will likely go out to state employees informing them that they are laid off. I don’t think the employees who receive those notices are going to be happy because they, at least in part, received layoff notices because Democratic senators from Wisconsin decided to flee the state in order to block a vote. Unions have many problems with the governor’s proposal, but the real rub is the proposal would limit collective bargaining to the issue of wages and cap increases to the rate of inflation, with a voter referendum needed for bigger increases.  It also would end government collection of union dues, allow workers to opt out of unions, and require unions to hold recertification votes every year.

This is a potentially explosive situation that pits the unions against the taxpayers. It also sets up the Obama 2012 election battleground.

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About DouglasWWallace

  • Richard @ #134:

    Yes, the elected governor and legislature of Wisconsin have the right to introduce any legislation they see fit. However, it’s a two-way street: the people of Wisconsin (or segments thereof) also have the right to resist them – just as you have the right to contest Obama’s policies – and that right doesn’t have to be limited to penning an indignant letter to the editor of the Wisconsin State Journal.

    The series of checks and balances on which this country’s entire system of government is based extends way beyond the executive-legislative-judicial triad – as you no doubt learned in your high school and college civics classes.

  • What I would do in your stead is dazzle them with your brilliance. There is no more effective stopper than that.

  • Don’t you get exasperated, Anarcissie as if you’ve never encountered situations like that before. Just know when to hold them and when to fold them.

    Besides, it takes all kinds of people to make the world go round. No reason to give up.

  • Anarcissie

    Shut up, he explained?

  • Richard E

    Why can’t you accept the reality that voters in Wisconsin have elected new leaders? Those leaders have a right to change the statutes dealing with the way the state of Wisconsin manages its employees. The voters have decided and the issue is moot. There is nothing you or I, or anyone can do about it, no more than I can do anything about the way President Obama does things that I happen to believe are a bad idea. So what is the purpose of arguing over something that you cannot change, no way, no how, at least until the next election. Christopher Rose, must this discussion go on forever?

  • Anarcissie

    Richard E — As I pointed out, the worker can quit and get a different job in a different environment. Unions are also supposed to be democratic, so if their members don’t like the way they’re managed they can vote for new management. It’s considerably more difficult if not impossible to avoid paying taxes by moving to another country (as I also pointed out).

    I don’t see what the Republicans or anyone else can do about the situation without violating people’s fundamental rights, which in fact they often seem to propose, and which are the default conditions in Mexico and China (hence the low wages in those countries). People who are free (in the liberal sense) have the right of association and contract; thus, they can form unions, go on strike, join boycotts, and secure closed shops. Or do you think people lose their rights when they become employees? This is not entirely a rhetorical question.

  • Richard E

    What’s the point? Whether you call it a tax or union dues, the effect is the same. The goernment is acting as a collection agent for taking money away from the worker to pay the IRS or the Union, and the worker has no choice in either.

  • Richard E

    The point is,why worry about the things you cannot change. If Obama can’t influence Mexico; how could anyone of us? If Obama cannot influence China, how can anyone of us? There is no conradiction here. It is simply the reality of the way things are. Union workers must compete with governments that exploit thier own people, unless Obama imposes tariffs and starts a trade war. I have no problem with a trade war myself, but then I have no power to influence that either. I worry only about the things I can control, and I have some control over union’s influence upon our government as a voter. Through the power of my vote, I can effect change, which is what happened when the voters booted the Dems in 2010.

  • Anarcissie

    Richard E Feb 22, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    Are you for real? Our constitution does not guarantee anyone a right to a job. But it does guarantee you the right to compete for a job. Oh yeah, I forgot. Unions don’t like to compete, they like guaranteed jobs…

    I was simply pointing out that your apparent characterization of union dues as comparable to taxes (because involuntary) was incorrect. I don’t know whether you have taken this in or not, since you seem to by flying off on various tangents, but that’s the way it is. The efficiency of unions is irrelevant to the issue (if you believe in the classical-liberal rights, anyway, which the U.S. Constitution is supposed to implement).

  • troll

    aren’t they the ‘competition’?

    it’s an international situation – global economy and all…

  • Richard E

    Mexico and China are not my problem. I have enough to worry about in America.

  • troll, I didn’t say they were…

  • Boeke (#115), when you recover from your amazement, please forgive the slow learners who have kept this thread alive after you sufficiently debunked it. I recommend that in the future, you include a final, boilerplate statement in each of your posts. To ensure that no one can possibly miss it, please type it in all caps (much as that will annoy Mr. Rose):


  • troll

    the two aren’t necessarily in conflict

  • I would have thought it closer to anarchy myself…?

  • trol l

    universal entrepreneurship… sounds almost communistic

  • It can be scary at times but I’d rather have some degree of control over my life than be vulnerable to such crushing events as being made redundant unexpectedly.

    Real power doesn’t come out of the barrel of a gun, it comes when someone has the ability to change their situation, so entrepreneurship is literally empowering.

  • troll

    so Richard your answer is that US unions and their precursor organizations have secured US workers enough rights…

    how about those Chinese and Mexicans? would organizing unions be in their best interests?

  • Richard E

    Christopher Rose,
    Good for you.

  • I already am; haven’t had a job this century…

  • Richard E

    Christopher Rose,
    I agree 100% with your comment. Does that mean you are planning on becoming an entrepreneur?

  • Richard E

    Troll, #113
    Your question is rooted in your own personal belief that it is necessary that someone protect worker’s rights. The answer goes back to my answer, #44. Your insistence on protection of worker’s right neglects the reality that workers do have many rights under existing state and federal laws. OSHA insures job safety rules. The minimum wage laws guarantee that every worker, no matter the type of job, will earn a minimum salary. Workers are protected against discrimination under Federal law. Workers are protected against employer retaliation. All workers are guaranteed overtime pay with the exception of those in the upper tier of management. Your attitude that workers must have a union in order to assure worker’s right is simply not true. Rather than helping employees, unions have become a mountain in the path of opportunity, because they are partly responsible for good jobs going to other countries. By placing someone in charge of worker’s rights, are we not also putting them in charge of our opportunities? If you or someone you know is visited by success, it will happen because of individual work ethics and ambition. If you’re looking for a protector in the workplace, then you do not recognize or value opportunity. To the sluggard, success simply means more work, therefore they need a union to insure job opportunity.. Thus, the union employee allows opportunities to slip by and gets away with half-completed jobs. The employer loses their competitive edge and the job is eventually outsourced overseas.

  • Hi Richard, is it still the case that youthful minutes frittered away equates to later significant loss of opportunity?

    It has never been easier or cheaper to start almost any kind of business, which one would have thought was second nature to those raised on the American Dream. Starting your own business is almost always a better bet for creating wealth and protecting yourself from a sometimes hostile and uncaring world.

    Employment is another matter of course; it has never been more risky to be anybody’s employee than nowadays…

  • Boeke

    I’m amazed that this article is still alive, since I believe I sufficiently debunked the notion that Scott Walker was trying to balance the Wisconsin budget. Really, he was just doing a $130million wealth transfer from public employees to Wisconsin businesses. Oh yeah, and throw in a giveaway of Wisconsin power facilities to private ownership, another wealth transfer from Wisconsin citizens to private companies.

  • Richard E

    Your comment fails to recognize the true value of the term “compete.” It implies that you are qualified, and that brings us back to the discussion of slothfulness. If, during your youthful years, you can reject slothful behavior and put forth your best efforts in education and training, then you will be prepared to compete. Everyone has the right to compete for any job, but at the end of the day, only the most qualified will get the job. If you are one of those persons who postpone important decisions, or are comfortable taking the easiest path of least resistance, or spend time at work in “idle chatter,” or refuse to work in adverse conditions, then you have set your own standard for the type of life you will live. Minutes frittered away in your youthful years add up to significant loss of opportunity in your latter years.

  • troll

    Unions aren’t the answer to worker’s rights anymore.

    what do you suggest is then Richard?

  • Roger,

    Thanks for your concern. That takes caring, though. Something I am not ready/willing/able to squander on adults, for now.

  • Boeke

    Richard E, are you for real?

    “Our constitution does not guarantee anyone a right to a job. But it does guarantee you the right to compete for a job.”

    Huh? I must have missed that ‘right’. Where do I go to compete with Jamie Dimon for his job? Is there a written test? Some kind of physical competition? Tennis, golf, fishing?

  • Richard E

    Troll #109
    Unions aren’t the answer to worker’s rights anymore. Unions are just a new layer of costs on working class families, and unions, along with high government taxes, are the reasons that American jobs left the country.

  • troll

    …perhaps Mexican and Chinese workers will unionize – and in the US where unions rep capital workers will re-unionize

    we have multinational corporations…why not equally powerful multinational unions?

  • Richard E

    Are you for real? Our constitution does not guarantee anyone a right to a job. But it does guarantee you the right to compete for a job. Oh yeah, I forgot. Unions don’t like to compete, they like guaranteed jobs. That’s the reason unions are shrinking. America has to compete with the world and if there is no union in Mexico or China or Taiwan, guess where your job is going? It’s all about cheaper, better and faster. Unions lose on all three counts and that is the reason unions have lost their beacon. They forgot that the employer has to make profits and compete in both quality and speed. When the employer fails to compete, the union employees lose their jobs. That is the reality.

  • Anarcissie

    Richard E — You don’t have a right to keep a job, at least not in liberal/capitalist theory, unless you have a contract with an employer. You do have right to quit a job you don’t like and look for another one. Also, you have the rights of speech, association, assembly and contract, so you can combine with other employees (if you choose) and bargain collectively with employers, the results of which may be a closed shop, in which case you can give non-members a choice between joining or quitting. It’s all voluntary, including dues-paying, if traditional capitalism is voluntary.

    Taxes are not. I don’t agree that you can move to another country — national states are sovereign and make totalitarian claims, one of which is absolute power to deny admittance to foreigners.

    A right to a job would imply some kind of socialist, communist, fascist or feudal theory very different from the one our leaders of government and industry claim to be operating under.

  • Richard E

    If you thing about it hard enough, you will realize that your comment is a ridiculous analogy. It is the equivalent of saying if we didn’t like paying USA taxes, then we could give up our citizenship and move to a different country. And, you don’t call that being bound, or as you called it a “serf.” I have another analogy. Those of us who have to earn the right to keep our job every two weeks, who understand that our job security lasts only as long as the last paycheck, don’t want our politicians favoring union employees at taxpayer expense. Case in point. Democratic politicians walking off the job and fleeing the state for the SOLE purpose of protecting only the unions. I hope the governor refuses to pay their salaries, but even if he did, I’d guarantee you the unions would pay the Dems salary for them. It is a rigged and corrupt system, with the taxpayer and the union member getting the shaft.

  • “I merely said your comment inspired too much emotion in me for any response to be of much use.” Cindy, #102

    If I may butt in,

    It’s because you two have different conceptions of justice. And since yours is more comprehensive of the two, you ought to make it a point to be less emotionally attached and understanding. The point is to bring a person around to your view, not to create obstacles. And to speak of “indoctrination,” especially when directed by one communicant to another, is an obstacle.

  • Anarcissie

    I don’t think the comparison between union dues and taxes is correct. It would be correct if you were bound to the union and job like a serf, but you’re not; you can quit and get a different job where there is no union, or the union is more to your liking. (I’m assuming here that you all are talking about working in a closed shop.)

  • Clavos

    I’ve always believed that the only reason the government deducts money from our checks, is because they know many people would simply refuse to pay the tax.

    True, but the gummint also realizes that by withholding, they get to use our money interest-free all year long — before it’s actually due.

  • Doug,

    I didn’t say you were evil or that I wouldn’t engage you in the future. I merely said your comment inspired too much emotion in me for any response to be of much use.

    (At least for now.)

  • troll

    unions are the establishment, just like the federal government and they could care less about anything except their own survival.

    …again we agree Richard

    unions have sold out those they were to rep

  • Richard E

    Boeke #96. I have no problem with that proposition at all. I’ve always believed that the only reason the government deducts money from our checks, is because they know many people would simply refuse to pay the tax. In the same way, the unions know that if they have to depend upon their members to write the check, the union will be broke. Yes, Boeke, unions are the establishment, just like the federal government and they could care less about anything except their own survival. Does anyone believe those who are at the top level of management at labor unions aren’t rich? Does anyone believe they are not corrupt, just as much as our poltiicians. If anyone is brainwashed, it is the poor working class member who believes he/she is getting value for those union dues.

  • troll

    Alan…is the point of your almost obsessive requirement for rigor to distract from the underlying argument?

  • 93 – I agree with that. And I could have use more care.

    However, I don’t expect anyone should be anything less than skeptical with what I or anyone else says. We all can be mistaken or misguided. If Alan provided a balance for that, that would be acceptable. However, I think he is disingenuous.

    His actual motive, it seems to me, is to disparage and confuse with trivia. I think he uses his nit-picking to that, his genuine, end.

    (up next, no doubt: a dissertation on my homophonal slips)

  • Doug Hunter


    Typical symptoms of cognitive dissonance!

    (The most common solution is to determine I’m evil, discount everything I’ve said, and ignore me in the future. That’s way easier than reconciling)

  • Boeke

    Still having trouble with facts, Richard E?

    Now you claim that threadbare teachers are financially mightier than the corporations and lobbyists of America?

    If we all had the privilege of writing checks, or not, at the end of the year, how many families would be willing to write the check for thousands every year that the Iraq invasion costs?

  • Doug Hunter

    To the issue at hand, clearly there’s alot of ways to skin a cat when you calculate the cost of something like Afghanistan. The problem is trying to sum up a complex subject into one simply number with no more than a sentence to explain it.

    The difficult thing is explaining your baseline in determining how much Afghanistan cost. Do you count the full pay of the troops or do you deduct the pay that would have been made if those troops were stationed at home? What about the cost of maintaining the fleet of ships and planes, here versus there? Then you’ve got things that can’t be calculated at all regarding policy decisions and shares of capital expenditures, plus a million more. A clever statistician has alot of wiggle room when it comes to condensing that down to a single number.

    In my mind, those numbers aren’t really that far off assuming they’re coming from two different sources. I’d say, not bad.

  • troll

    (and so would Cindy I’d bet)

  • troll

    Alan – your point is that one should be skeptical about figures thrown around and careful when using them in arguments and I agree

  • I don’t know what to say to you Doug Hunter. The idea of the dominant culture was implanted in me? I don’t think I’d better talk to you right now. I will either have my comment deleted or will suffer a hemorrhagic stroke and begin bleeding from every orifice.

  • 86-

    The 1 million dollar figure is this guy’s. He’s billed as a Specialist in Defense Policy and Budget and is an expert in the Congressional Research Service. The government bases what they do on what he says.

    But I think Congress is full of idiots and likely their experts don’t know math. By the time you get to 2 minutes in that video, you will hear him use the 1 million/U.S. soldier in Afghanistan figure.

    And no I can’t defend, support or justify ‘the math’*, I’m far to stupid to even consider trying. But that fellow above has a contact in this paper here. Why not right him and tell him your troubles with his math. I am sure he didn’t realize how silly he sounds. You’d better set him straight.

    * My guess is that the author used to related assessments in a way that is not quite accurate.

    But what does that RED HERRING have to do with the fact that it is the ONE MILLION/SOLDIER FIGURE that is at issue not my math or anyone else’s. I mean that is what you claimed was outrageous and unbelievable, right? That is the point, right?

    You said the figure is not to be believed. Okay, so now I showed you a video. So, my lack of math skills aside, I reiterate:

    “The fact that you think it’s an ‘outlandish claim’ demonstrates the level of your knowledge on such matters, and therefore, the value of your opinions on them.”

  • Doug Hunter


    Most of the material you use is readily available on college campuses and through government agencies, the obsession with dominant culture, cultural conditioning, class warfare and race, the advocacy reports magnifying the negatives of society etc., etc. You know, you didn’t invent those ideas they were planted in you and carefully nurtured for a purpose. If ‘ignorance’ means not taking the bait (and it sometimes does!) then I’m all for it, if ‘ignorance’ means being a tool and not realizing it then perhaps it’s you who should take a hard look in the mirror.

  • what are you arguing about?

    troll (#87), what we’re arguing about is not so much cost as gullibility.

    Cindy likes to throw around links to web pages that support her various arguments, without bothering to independently verify their claims.

    This particular instance is especially dopey because she directs us to data provided by the Congressional Research Service, a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress.

    So here we have Cindy–who likes to pretend that she’s an anarchist–relying on statistics from an agency within the U.S. Government!

    And failing to notice that the numbers in the article contradict themselves!

    What makes this worse is that other, similarly gullible BC readers then accept Cindy’s false evidence as proof. It’s a vicious circle of the blind leading the blind.

  • troll

    (not to mention their effects on the waries)

  • troll

    …so I guess we’d have to bring home 300 or maybe 600 soldiers to get the savings claimed

    now there’s a significant difference right?

    what are you arguing about? – wars are bleeding the US dry…while enriching the elite

  • Right. In other words, you can’t defend the math. As always!

  • Alan,You are disingenuous (or perhaps just lazy or otherwise incapable of looking up information on your own…).

    The figure is… “according to Steve Daggett, a specialist with the Congressional Research Service. Those numbers fall within the calculations that the Obama administration has been using.”

    If there are extenuating circumstances that are not discussed in the article, I trust you can find them for yourself. I’m not your secretary. And trusting that you would be interested in knowing the ‘facts’, I suggest it is your own responsibility to research information you have any doubt of.

  • 82 – Doug Hunter,

    Our schools and gov’t (the dominant culture) do not indoctrinate anarchism as far as I know. Perhaps you can show me where they do? You do understand my point, right Doug? It regards, dominant cultural conditioning. But, I am sure you knew that and are just feigning ignorance.

  • Cindy (#81), thank you for the link. However, as usual, your numbers don’t wash.

    Roxana Tiron reports, “The U.S. spends about $3.6 billion a month in Afghanistan.” That would amount to $43.2 annually.

    “The cost of sending one U.S. soldier in [sic] Afghanistan for one year is $1 million,” Ms. Tiron goes on, adding that this is based on 51,000 U.S. troops.

    So do the math: 51,000 x $1 million = $51 billion.

    How can we spend $51 billion on troops alone if we spend only $43.2 billion total on the war?

  • Doug Hunter

    “Please follow the brainwashing you were indoctrinated.”

    Irony? He spouts what he was trained to, as do you. I’m often amazed at the symmetry when it comes to political discourse. For every idiot there’s an equal and opposite I suppose. Maybe we don’t give the old Yin and Yang concept it’s due…

  • 77 – You’re right, Alan, we shouldn’t take anyone’s word for anything. So, here’s a reference. It is the figure used by the gov’t and comes from the data of the Congressional Research Service.

    The fact that you think it’s an “outlandish claim” demonstrates the level of your knowledge on such matters, and therefore, the value of your opinions on them.

  • The rich Vs poor argument is not resonating with voters,because it is a socialist argument.

    Please follow the brainwashing you were indoctrinated. Please do not think for yourself. Socialism is evil. Hate your neighbor. Compete, compete, compete!!! Consume, consume, consume!!!

    Be sure to take time to shop more. Life is about shopping, consumption, and keeping other people from getting your stuff. Everybody wants all your stuff without having to work for it. Unlike you, who worked hard for everything you have (or are white). So…watch more TV, play violent games, teach your children to obey stupid rules. And don’t forget to shop!

    Work, work, work, buy, buy, buy…

    …then leave this world, forever having accomplished not much more than that…

  • troll

    Unions are among the richest participants in the political process, both locally and nationally, and the irony is they get their money by taking it involuntarily out of the checks of working class people.

    yup – to the extent that dues are involuntary the situation sucks

    we agree Richard!

  • troll

    re #72

    The metaphysical or vulgar evolutionist world outlook sees things as isolated, static and one-sided…They contend that a thing can only keep on repeating itself as the same kind of thing and cannot change into anything different. In their opinion, capitalist exploitation, capitalist competition, the individualist ideology of capitalist society, and so on, can all be found in ancient slave society, or even in primitive society, and will exist for ever unchanged. Mao Tse-Tung On Contradiction

    things change – the question is how

  • “Every troop deployed in Afghanistan,” writes Robert Greenwald in the article linked by Cindy, “costs the U.S. $1 million per year.”

    How can that possibly be? Greenwald cites no source, and I don’t see why we should just take his word for such an outlandish claim.

  • Boeke,

    Great articles you posted. Here is another:

    Bringing Home 150 Troops From Afghanistan Would Fix Wisconsin’s Budget “Crisis”

    Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker is using phony budget projections to manufacture a staged “fiscal emergency” in his state so that he can whack programs and political opponents, but even his fake “emergency” pales in comparison to the cost of the Afghanistan War to his state. In fact, the U.S. would only have to bring home 151 troops from Afghanistan to save more money than Walker’s ridiculous union-busting plan. Better yet, ending the Afghanistan War altogether would save taxpayers in Wisconsin $1.7 billion this year alone, more than ten times the amount “saved” in Walker’s attack on state employee rights.

  • Richard E

    The rich Vs poor argument is not resonating with voters,because it is a socialist argument. The vast majority of Americans are not socialist. Which was proven true by the 2010 election results. Unions are among the richest participants in the political process, both locally and nationally, and the irony is they get their money by taking it involuntarily out of the checks of working class people. How many of those working clas people would choose to write a check to the union each payday, if given a choice? Governor Walker is trying to give working people that choice, to write the check rather than having it deducted, and that is the real reason that the unions are terrified of this proposal. Unions hand out millions to rich politicians in order to manipulate the poltical process. They are no different that the so-called rich. With no money in the bank, the state of Wisc has only two options. Lay off people or renegotiate existing labor agreements. Most people get that.Dems fleeing the state and street vendor doctors indiscriminately handing out medical leave slips without a physical examination is a sham, and has exposed the scam in this so-called protest.

  • Boeke

    Here’s more about Scott Walkers peculiar diversions in Wisconsin:

    The quiet power company giveaway

    3) The idea of handing valuable power plants over to billionaires for “pennies on the dollar”.

    This one is unexpected. The claim is that the real plum in Wisconsin is not the labor unions – that is a diversion. The real plum is a collection of power plants that will be given, as a gift, to billionaires as a form of payment. Searching through the bill that eliminates collective bargaining, this section was discovered:

    AN ACT relating to: state finances, collective bargaining for public employees,
    compensation and fringe benefits of public employees, the state civil service
    system, the Medical Assistance program, sale of certain facilities, granting
    bonding authority, and making an appropriation.

    16.896 Sale or contractual operation of state?owned heating, cooling,
    and power plants. (1) Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the
    department may sell any state?owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may
    contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without
    solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best
    interest of the state. Notwithstanding ss. 196.49 and 196.80, no approval or
    certification of the public service commission is necessary for a public utility to
    purchase, or contract for the operation of, such a plant, and any such purchase is
    considered to be in the public interest and to comply with the criteria for certification
    of a project under s. 196.49 (3) (b).

    This provision has alarmed many and led to speculation. For example:

    The Koch Brothers’ End Game in Wisconsin

    It will allow the Koch Brothers to buy or contract to operate state?owned heating, cooling, and power plants in Wisconsin without a solicitation of bids.

    This is what it is about at the end of the day, and their puppet, Governor Walker, is ready to sell the Koch Brothers the state-owned utility system of Wisconsin for pennies on the dollar for his paymasters.

    How this will ultimately play out is anyone’s guess.

  • Boeke

    Richard E,
    What is it about facts that sets you off? Why do you reach for a personal attack when confronted by facts? Let go of your delusions. Who knows, you might get smart.

  • Richard E

    What is it about rich people that sets you off? Never in the history of time has any society existed that did not have rich people. Do you think Kim Jung Il is poor? How about Fidel Castro? Is he poor? You live in a fantasy brainwashed world if you believe that the rich can be eliminated. They have existed in every country on this planet since the beginning of time and all the complaining will not change that. So, what not let that fantasy of yours go and start living life as it is, rather than the way you want it to be. Who knows, you make get rich?

  • Boeke

    Is Scott Walker trading high-end tax cuts for public employees salary cuts?


    What Gov. Walker Won’t Tell You

    Posted on Feb 21, 2011

    The Wisconsin governor, elected in November’s GOP wave that also gave control of the state Assembly and Senate to Republicans, set off the protests by pushing ahead with a measure that would require government workers to contribute more to their health care and pension costs and largely eliminate their collective bargaining rights.

    By Stanley Kutler

    There is a kernel of truth in Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s claim of a “budget shortfall” of $137 million. But Walker, a Republican, failed to tell the state that less than two weeks into his term as governor, he, with his swollen Republican majorities in the Wisconsin Legislature, pushed through $117 million in tax breaks for business allies of the GOP. There is your crisis.

    The state Legislature’s Legislative Fiscal Bureau—Wisconsin’s equivalent of the Congressional Budget Office and a refuge for professional expertise and nonpartisanship—warned Walker and the Legislature that the measure would create a budget gap. There is your shortfall—and not one resulting from established public employee benefits. Before the tax giveaways, the fiscal agency predicted a surplus for the state.

    Now the governor has offered a proposal simple and clear in its intent, and patently dishonest. Walker wants state workers to contribute to their pension fund and is calling for an increase in their payments for medical insurance. Make no mistake: The governor’s “budget repair bill” has little to do with a budget shortfall and everything to do with breaking unions, starting with public employees and then perhaps moving on to others as well.

    During his run for governor, Walker had substantial financial support from the Koch brothers, billionaire industrialists who have funded various anti-Obama, anti-science, and anti-national government movements. In short, they are opposed to anyone and anything that might diminish their exorbitant profits. And for the Kochs, destroying labor unions is in the top tier of their to-get-rid-of list.

    Walker’s own hostility to labor unions is a touchstone of his prior political experience. He is out to realize his every long-held political fantasy, with the help of such allies as the National Association of Manufacturers; Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce; and the Chamber of Commerce. Ever since the 1930s, when national law recognized the right of workers to organize and bargain collectively, that gain has been under assault from right-wing ideologues and much of the business community.

  • Ought to have put “civil servants” in scare quotes, Clavos.

  • Richard E

    Roger, sorry no divide and conquer in this story. Madison’s protest consists substantially of members of the middle class. They are protestors,aided by street-vendor doctors, handing out sick slips like popcorn,enabling the protestors to continue to be paid by taxpayers as they protests. No, Roger this is not the revolution you are anticipating. I’m not saying you won’t eventially get that which you predict, but it’s not going to originate out of Madison, Wisconsin. These are 8 to 4 middle class families, living in middle class homes, driving middle class cars, and anxious to get back to their middle class life. The sad thing is that they are thwarting the will of the majority of the Wisconsin voters who was recently elected as governor in a free election. The only reason they are getting away with it, is because they are supported by the Democratic machine which fled out of state. Then they were backed by the USA Commander in Chief. That’s the sad reality. taxpayers are getting ripped off by public service employeess who fail and refuse to work. And by the way Roger, there is a huge difference in being a public service employee who is doing their job and paying their taxes, as opposed to walkng off their job and still getting paid by the taxpayers for doing nothing. It both cases the public service employee is a taxpayer. but in the latter instance the taxpayer is getting ripped off.

  • Clavos

    …as if the civil servants weren’t the taxpayers…

    They are taxpayers, sure, but most government employees are most decidedly NOT “civil servants” — they are neither civil, nor do they serve.

  • Yes, it’s the divide & conquer strategy pitting groups of people against one another. The same goes for the language of “taxpayers” being against the unions, as if the civil servants weren’t the taxpayers as well but some other class of folks.

  • Note that Tea Partiers are now participating in counter-demonstrations against the unions. It’s ridiculous to suggest that Tea Party protests and the public-union protests are part of the same phenomenon [or that either is more than tangentially similar to Cairo]. These people can’t stand each other — they have polar opposite views on a whole range of issues.

    They do have in common the tendency to parrot the most extreme rhetoric of liberals [the union folks] and conservatives [the tea partiers]. They are, to some extent, sheep, agitated by political action committees.

  • troll

    …we can only hope

  • remesquaddie

    The unions put this current president into power, and they shall be the undoing of America.

  • Richard E

    Roger, you complimented me earlier for my strong faith in my conservative values. Why don’t you give Ruvy the same respect, and lay off the Anti-Semitism?

  • Photographic, to be precise, lest I be accused again of butchering the English language. Point well taken, but you better make certain from now on that you’ll be spot on with everything you say or do, letter-wise and in spirit, because I’ll make certain to point your deficiencies to you.

    I’m not a picky person usually, but I’ll make it a point to be one in your particular case. So you had better start reviewing your comments before posting, use the handy “preview comment” button as you must, but you had better be letter perfect. Given your intelligence quotient, I should be an easy task. Don’t forget though the pressure. The credibility of a native English speaker is at stake: there’s just too much riding on it. So don’t you ever disappoint your audience, I’m counting on you.

  • Obituary???

    (Although I could write you one of those if it would amuse.)

    Just having some fun at your expense, as was Ruvy – although Ruvy’s idea of fun does metaphorically involve driving a pickup truck at high speed into your living room.

  • Righto, Dreadful. Apologies for not having a photogenic memory. And thanks for the obituary. I always knew I could count on you.

  • Breaking news: Citizens of the Turkish city of Tarsus today broke off from their deliberations on whether to join the wave of protests spreading across the Islamic world to express their outrage at American scholar Roger Nowosielski’s suggestion that their city’s most famous son was in fact an alien visitor from somewhere in the vicinity of the star Aldebaran.

    Nowosielski is known in academic circles for his revolutionary theories as to the extraterrestrial origins of the American porn star Ron Gemini, the former women’s tennis champion Jennifer Capricorn and the classical Roman poet Virgo.

  • It was a rhetorical question, Ruvy, too subtle for you I suppose. The implication was that you’re just too steep in Judaism to recognize any other belief system as valid. Don’t worry, though, I didn’t expect you to deal with it. I was just testing the waters, to see whether you’re capable of rising above your usual parochial self.

    You have demonstrated beyond any doubt that it’s beyond the realm of possibility given your present agitated self.

    Some other time perhaps.

  • You put a question to me? I’m sorry, I didn’t see one. And you still haven’t seen your mistake? Or how I made fun of it? Boy, you geniuses are sure slow!

  • You haven’t really responded to the question put to you, only reiterated what you had said earlier. No matter because I didn’t really expect you to come up with a credible response. Wish you the best, though.

  • Man you are so full of it, Roger, that you didn’t even see your own mistake – or how I made fun of it! Like I said, 10 gallons of shit in a five gallon hat!

  • Can’t be responsible, Ruvy, for your express preference for Judaism to the exclusion of other belief systems. It’s your choice and your choice alone. Ultimately, you’ll either sink or swim.

  • Saul of Taurus, otherwise known as Paul full of bull….

    It’s always a pleasure to catch you with a five gallon hat with 10 gallons of shit in it, Roger….

  • Richard E

    Roger, have you read the comments on that link you provided? There are over 75,000 comments. I took ten minutes or so to scan a few pages. The public is divided on this issue, and voices on both side are equaly loud. Many comments are nonsensical, irrelevant and outlandish. But the point is that many people understand that the Governor has a rgiht to do what he is doing. People likewise have a right to complain and disagree and protests. As far as I can tell, that is all that is happening here.The voters have spoken, the will of the majority will prevail. Eventually these folks will go back to their nice homes, and their nice families and return to their middle class life.

  • Well, it’s good that you do, for it does provide for versatility and multiple interpretations.

  • Richard E

    Wisconsin protests have been distant, boring and impassioned in comparison to Egypt, to the disappointment of many in the media and the political arena. Wisconsin protests will fade away into the sunset the very moment the union resources are diverted to another state pursuing yet another piece of legislation that abrogates existing union contracts. These protestors, unlike Egypt, have jobs. They have homes, families, and plenty of food on their plate, police protection, and are engaging in completely risk-free protests. In other words, they have no skin in the game. They are, for the most part, union organized events, with paid protestors.

  • It’d certainly seem to me that the sentiment behind the situation in Wisconsin is assuming the dimensions of outrage. Again, your definition of a protest and its purported objectives holds true only under the conditions when the system is still working. It falls apart when there is a suspicion that the system is breaking down.

    The Cairo event wasn’t just a protest in the conventional sense. Hence it’s symbolic significance as regards the Wisconsin event. You may disagree with my appraisal of the situation, contend that it hadn’t quite reached those proportions yet, but the potential is certainly there. So yes, from my perspective on things, there may well be significant parallels.

  • Actually, Roger, I think outside of the dodecahedron, well outside of the stereotypical box of which you speak.


  • It is the false analogy that a protest is a protest is a protest to which I object, troll. The whole objective of a protest is to call attention, foment debate and call for amendment.

    So, to answer your question, yes it will affect the discussion that emerges when WI Democrats return.


  • It only trivializes it(in your mind) because you’re committed to orderly political processes when such processes, if ever, were still working. Collective bargaining rights are of secondary importance to me because they only perpetuate what has become a dysfunctional system. The main importance is symbolic in that the people are beginning to realize that their government is failing both on the federal level (the Tea Party movement) and the state level now. But of course unless you bring yourself to think outside the box, you’ll forever be limited to your stereotypical understanding of events both at home and abroad.

    You should try it once in a while just for the heck of it. What have you got to lose?

  • troll

    Tommy – don’t you think that this media event will affect whatever substantive discussions do emerge?

    As for the cold – folks should occupy the public buildings to stay warm

  • You’re damn right it is, Roger. The Mid-East comparison trivializes the protest in Madison. That is what a media event is: a shiny bit that attracts attention and rhetoric, but no substantive discussion.


  • Being of a too regimented mind, Tommy Mack, too steeped in the virtues of American political system. Politics covers a variety of sins outside of Washington, DC., to include such inconsequential little things as protests, uprisings, even revolutions. And I certainly hope it’s more than “an outdoor media event.” If it were merely that, it would be meaningless.

  • What did the Republicans expect other that an outdoor media event in Madison?

    The measures in question would prohibit unions from bargaining over issues other than wages. They would stop unions from having dues deducted from state paychecks and require them to hold annual elections to stay in existence. They slipped on the ice.

    “Workers’ rights — including the fundamental right to organize and bargain for better pay, benefits and working conditions — are under attack in states from Maine to Ohio, from Wisconsin to Florida” said Gerald W. McEntee, who is the president of the main union of Wisconsin state employees.

    Begging the rhetorical question of whether Wisconsin is the Tunisia of collective bargaining rights has a lot of coincidental appeal, but it is off point. The point is what President Obama called “an assault on unions” which is all about politics, especially in center-left Madison, WI, where it is cold.


  • 38 –

    That will make a good tweet.

  • A sign held by an Egyptian protester: Egypt supports Wisconsin – One World One Pain

  • troll

    occupy the schools

    occupy the hospitals


  • … the governor of Wisconsin …

  • Precisely. The government of Wisconsin is a fool for even suggesting calling in the National Guard to quell the protests. He’s got no idea what potentially explosive situation he’s got on his hands.

    The people is clearly rebelling against their government. Last year it took the form of the Tea Party movement, today this. As I stated earlier, Paul Ryan’s glib remark of “Cairo having come to Wisconsin” is far truer than he may have intended.

  • Anarcissie

    The government is the primary institution through which a ruling class maintains its control of its community, usually organized as a state (although it’s not the only one in the case of the US). If people start going into the streets to any great extent or otherwise participating in direct actions, that’s a failure of government, whose owners and operators obviously would prefer to see them working, consuming, buying, and watching television. If the demonstrations are forcibly suppressed, then even more intense behavior may be provoked, a further failure of government.

    During the last thirty or forty years, the economic position of working-class people has, for the most part, slowly but steadily declined. On the way, most unions were destroyed or neutralized. Neutralizing public sector unions is probably seen as a sort of end-game. However, even someone enthusiastic about that outcome might reflect that a wounded, defeated animal, backed into a corner, becomes dangerous because, having nothing to lose, it will fight to the death. That is the position unions are now in, and given the bad state of country outside the banks, brokerage houses and boardrooms, their spirit may infect other people, to the considerable detriment of the public order and those who benefit most from it.

    In 2008 people took the unprecedented, almost unimaginable step of electing a young, culturally sophisticated urban Black man to the presidency, and then danced in the streets. Subsequently they found they had been sold a bill of goods — the new boss was pretty much just like the old boss. Now, new provocations arrive almost daily. What will these people do next?

  • Richard E

    Cheers, and here’s to having a great day for you and yours.

  • ooops, hiccup…

    Well, I will (in this instance) accept your #31 and drink to progress in our conversation!

  • 28 – Fair enough. One person’s numbered list is just that.

    But that is not what you said before. Your criticism was:

    Who in this world is qualified to name the twelve things you should know about anything?

    That criticism is based on an offhanded dismissal of that list on the basis that no one could create a complete list. When challenged you switch to dismissing it because it is opinion.

    This game is fun. It’s like a shell game. 😉

    What argument will you switch to next rather than defending or acknowledging the error in your previous arguments? 🙂

  • Richard E

    Cindy, we are in agreement. #11 Cindy: “I am an anarchist.” Those were your words not mine. You do not practice LIBERTARIANISM; you practice Libertarian socialism (sometimes called social anarchism, and sometimes left libertarianism) is a group of political philosophies that promote a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, stateless society without private property in the means of production.. “You are an anarchist, but not a libertarian nor do you support libertarianism. I am a libertarian as are many conservatives in America. In a perfect world, we would not support Republicans, but given the realistic choices we face, often Republicans are our best option to avoid the Leftist and the social anarchist.

  • 27 – I don’t support government. I support individual freedom. So, how am I not libertarian?

    (libertarian socialists do not support government, they are anarchists)

  • Richard E

    Thank you for your comment.So that means I have a good chance of converting you to a strong believer of ardent conservatism?

  • Richard E.


    One person’s numbered list is just that; one person’s numbered list. We could play that game all day long.

  • Richard E.

    Libertarism originaates from the word libertarian. Limited government and indiviual freedom is liberarism. What you are referring to is Libertarian socialism, which is an entirely different idealogy, which has never worked as a ligitimate form of government.

  • 22 Richard,

    Three nutrients the body needs are: vitamin B12, vitamin C, and calcium.

    The three nutrients the body needs are: vitamin B12, vitamin C, and calcium.

    See the difference?

  • Welcome home, Richard. I like your instincts. Remember, I called you a conservative with convictions, the best kind there is. That’s why I also maintain you’re worth the effort.

    You do know, BTW, that the most ardent nonbelievers make the strongest converts – Saul of Taurus, for instance, AKA Paul.

    Later, buddy.

  • And also, thank you, Richard.

  • Richard?

    Please explain why my hats are incompatible, in your view.

    “Many people would argue that a libertarian is by definition a capitalist.”

    That is strange. Of all the arguments I have come across from ‘many libertarian capitalists’, that argument is not among them.

    Of course, worldly fellow that you are–as you previously mentioned–you surely understand that the concept of ‘libertarianism’, in the world outside your locality, is not limited to the typical US use–as in Libertarian.

    You may wish to look some stuff up on google before you educate me. It will save your looking like someone who is content to give opinions about things he doesn’t really understand.

    Anyway, what sort of argument is ‘many people would…do this or do that…’? Is that some sort of defense or criticism? How does it work? If ‘many people’ would do or say something, then it is correct? How many people does it take for that to work? Is it like 8 out of 10 people, or does it work when 6 out of 10 say something?

  • Richard E.

    So, in your mind, there is a material distinction between use of the word “the” as oppposed to use of the word “things?” According to you, it is appropriate to say “Twelve things you need to know…,” as oppposed to: “The Twelve things you should know…” It reminds me of another simiilar argument: “It depends upon your defintion of what the word “is” is.”

  • troll

    Richard I warned all that it was a leftwing presentation

    and note: by adding ‘the’ in Who in this world is qualified to name the twelve things you should know about anything? you are engaging in your own disinformation campaign

  • Richard E.

    Cindy, I neglected to mention that I deeply admire your conviction to working with and helping the homeless. I’m serious. It’s a good thing you are doing.

  • Richard E.

    That link you provided is the oldest trick in network marketing. It always starts out with a numbered list: i.e. “5 things you need to know about…. or “10 reasons you should….The bottom line is it’s a marketing strategy, not a serious effort to discuss an issue that affects the jobs and lives of teachers, parents, and children. So next time you reference a link, perhaps you might want to ask yourself: Who in this world is qualified to name the twelve things you should know about anything?

  • Richard E.

    Just look at your own website to find your answer. You say you are Anarchist, Libertarian Socialist, Feminist, Pacifist, Anti-Capitalist. That’s a lot of different hats and not all of them are capatiable. For example, many people would argue that a liberttarian is by definition a capitalist. I figured you out days ago and your website proves it. A person who stands for nothing, won’t stand for anything.

  • 14 was to you, Richard E.

  • troll

    Cindy – thnx I’ll chase it down

  • Oh and troll, you might like my latest post on the homeless tweeting project, Underheard in New York.

  • I am serious. (Try my blog link.) What do you mean by hats?

  • troll

    …a different take on Wisc. with leftist perspective

  • Richard E

    Cindy, Cindy, Cindy,
    How many hats do you wear? Me thinks thou doth protests too much. Perhaps that is your purpose, your job, you only reason for existence on the net. But if you want to engage me, at least make an effort to be serious.

  • Richard E,

    I am an anarchist. I want the break down of gov’t. I am not violent. Sounds like you’d club me to death on a whim.

  • Richard E

    I didn’t know you missed me. No, I’m not advocating violence nor do I threaten violence. I merely disputed Ruvy’s suggestion, which he has referenced in various ways on several occasions, that America is facing a crisis of government.It’s America at its finest.

  • troll

    They want violence…

    #8 you are the one threatening violence

    good to see you commenting Richard

  • Richard E

    Ruvy, this is what Democracy looks like. It’s not always pretty, but all grievances eventually work their way through the system, however slowly, and justice is served. If a person feels that justice wasn’t served there is a workable and legitimate appeals process in America that enables the people to reverse an unfair outcome. We have a system of checks and balances in place that assures no one branch of government can take control over the entire government. But, we also have one more thing that other countries don’t have. That is the second amendment, the right to bear arms. The people in America can and do arm themselves with guns and many other forms of weapons and security features. So, when you say we have a serious crisis of collapsing government, I don’t think that will happen in the USA, at least not in the near term. The angry protest of people who choose to assemble and exercise their freedom of speech is a constitutional right in America. It may be cause for alarm in Egypt, or Libya, or China or Iran and many other countries, but it is normal here. America gives the people a guaranteed voice if they choose to exercise it, and a guaranteed right to protest as long as they wish. So, just because our economy is hurting right now, and people are protesting layoffs, doesn’t mean our country is collapsing. There will always be a minority in this country who wants anarchy, indeed they thrive on the idea. They want violence, and a breakdown of the government, but that is a form of protests against the government that the people have a constitutional right to exercise, provided it does not infringe upon the rights of any other citizen. But, if a group of thugs actually tried to take away the freedoms of a community or a town, they would meet the unified resistance of a huge army of heavily armed civilians who will always outnumber the anarchists.

  • Ruvy

    Fuck the unions and the teachers! [bing]

    What, all of them, Archie? [doctor dreadful]

    Maybe you better get the green tea brewing for Bing, the fellow who goes by the moniker “arch-conservative”. It looks like he has a monumental task ahead of him. Hope he has enough condoms for the job!

    Seriously, this is what it looks like when thing start to fall apart. I realize that Wisconsin isn’t Cairo and Gov. Walker isn’t Hosni Mubarak, but you have a serious crisis of a collapsing government on your hands. Looks like the collapse is starting….

  • xyzlmnop

    I wonder if these unions and its members would feel so empowered if they had to have thier contracts subjected to taxpayer approval rather than political approval?

  • Fuck the unions and the teachers!

    What, all of them, Archie?

    If you’re volunteering, I guess I’d better get some ginseng tea brewing…

  • BuddhaBrown

    Walker -vs- The Runners

  • See you at the Green Tea Party Rally in Washington!

  • Arch Conservative

    From your lips to god’s ears Reg Badger

    Fuck the unions and the teachers!

  • Red Badger

    The unions are probably willing to sacrifice 5500-6000 peoples’ livelihoods to accomplish their goals. That is a small number compared to the tens of thousands who showed up to protest. I realize many of those are probably bussed in astroturfers from unions in other states.
    This whole fiasco will backfire on them, resulting in a public relations disaster for the unions and whole Democrat party. They look like spoiled children holding their breath in a temper tantrum because daddy took their X-BOX away…….