Today on Blogcritics
Home » Culture and Society » Workers: No Union; No Voice.

Workers: No Union; No Voice.

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

That the current confrontation in Wisconsin between Republican Governor Scott Walker, the Republican controlled Wisconsin State Legislature, and unionized government workers is now being repeated in a number of other states is a clear indication that it amounts to an organized and concerted effort to break, first the public employee unions, and then those in the private sector. (BTW – This contention is even further supported by Governor Walker’s being “punked” in a phone call he believed was coming from Republican sugar daddy, David Koch, wherein Walker iterates with apparent glee how a number of the other Republican governors are dutifully following his lead.)

Conservatives have, almost monolithically, always hated and opposed unions of any sort. Most consider them to be the scourge of the earth. That sentiment has long been voiced here at BC.

As I’ve noted here and elsewhere, I DO believe that unions have in some instances become too powerful and have abused that power becoming in the process as corrupt as the industries in which their consituents toiled. As with all such things, though, the few bad apples have had the effect of poisoning the entire barrel – at least as regards appearances.

That being said, should this effort succeed, which it well may, the unions’ ability to effectively represent their membership will wane much further than it already has over the past few decades. The conservative response, should that scenario come to pass, would likely be “Hallelujah!”

The loss of effective unions will be a huge blow to workers at almost all levels – whether they are unionized or not. Unions represent the only large, organized voice coming from the left and in support of the working class that have any concerted political or economic power. If unions fail, let the right wingnut oppression begin. This IS class warfare.

Governor Walker’s claims that this is all being done to avoid a fiscal crisis in his state is a strawman argument. His contention that Wisconsin is facing a fiscal meltdown has been challenged by some Democrats, and Walker is being aptly criticized owing to the fact that he is doing this on the heels of providing hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks to corporations and other business interests both inside and outside of the state. This takes his claims beyond the level of overstatement and bounds them up to the plateau of unadulterated lying. Governor Walker is a liar, especially in his claims that this is the ONLY means at his disposal to avoid monetary default.

The unions and the Democrats in the Wisconsin Senate have all accepted (if begrudgingly) the proposed fiscal reforms. What they are holding out against is losing their right to collective bargaining on issues other than cost of living pay increases which is all Walker will allow. Should they lose those bargaining rights, the result would essentially gut the unions and destroy their very reason for being. Again, the Right jumps up and shouts: “Huzzah!” (just for variety’s sake.)

All I can say is: You had better be careful what you wish for. They’ll be coming for you next, Bubba.


Read more about it: Wisconsin To Lay Off Thousands

About Baritone

  • Heloise

    Hey critics, st Louis sings the depopulation blues. Read how the city has lost another 30K folks. It has become a welfare state. And 30 years ago no one would dare go to east st louis which is in IL I think but close to st louis. They look like south India or something. So we sure as hell don’t need the likes of that Greek beech telling us what’s bad here. It is hitting whites more witness the rust belt but inner cities here have always paralled the third world.

    I don’t have the link but it was out on drudge report today.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Baronius –

    Even the meaning of “liberal” and “conservative” have changed to include things they never used to.

    Have they now?

    I can see the point you’re probably trying to make e.g. Lincoln was a liberal for wanting to free the slaves when any conservative politician today would want to do the same.

    But I don’t think you saw my point from which I’ve never deviated: conservatives want to maintain the status quo (whatever that may be at the moment), or to return to the “good ol’ days” (whenever those days might have been)…

    …whereas liberals want change, improvement from the status quo, and believe that the “good ol’ days” weren’t as good as some would have us believe.

    Regardless of what conservatives and liberals may have stood for two hundred years ago, and regardless of what they stand for today, the two definitions above hold true.

    And it doesn’t stop there. Very few people are 100% conservative or 100% liberal. The bell curve distribution applies, and is skewed only by seismic shifts in public opinion as America was to the left in the 1960′s, and as America was to the right during the Reagan – and early Dubya – years.

    And back to the original point about blue (liberal) and red (conservative) states. They’ve changed but little…but in the grand sweep of American history, ALL states have moved significantly to the left! Witness the changes in our national attitude towards race, heritage, religion, disabilities, social injustice and inequality – all these were the results of the liberal causes of their day! And – barring nationwide or worldwide catastrophe – this trend will continue for the foreseeable future. Sure, there will be bumps and dips along the way, fits and starts, scandals and tragedies…but the trend will continue towards a better America.

    That’s what helps me sleep at night.

  • Clavos

    …how has the U.S. Department of Justice managed to convict so many corrupt public officials?

    Because it needs doing, and that’s what they trained for and are paid to do?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Because it needs doing, and that’s what they trained for and are paid to do?

    Waitaminnit! Weren’t you the one saying that people who work for the government can’t do anything right?

  • Clavos

    Yes I am. They are the exception that proves the rule. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

    Once in a while, the military does something right too.

    But the postal service? Congress? The White House? DOE?


  • Cannonshop

    actually, Glenn, I indict you on what YOU said you said. That’s plenty sufficient unless you were lying at the time you said it.

    YOU said you participated in a cover-up, as a senior NCO tasked with a specific role, YOU stated that you violated a lawful order, YOU claimed to be doing so to protect your Retirement.

    As a SENIOR non-commissioned officer, tasked to be a first-responder in a sexual assault case, unless the victim out-ranked you, you have the same duty to her, that you would have to any member of your Department-and you abandoned that duty, by your own claim of doing so, for the motive of personal gain.

    YOU said you did this, not someone else. Senior Enlisted, through their conduct, set the example for the lower enlisted, this goes for standards from professional conduct of their duty, to personal ethics-the NCO’s I served with and under influenced me in ways I still haven’t fully appreciated some fifteen years after getting out of the service. IF you did, what you said you did, while holding the position you held, you likely have lowered the ethical standards of generations of former armed services personnel who had the misfortune of working with and for you over the period of your career-and no doubt your influence, if what you claimed was true, was the truth, has probably screwed up the career and futures of tens to hundereds of your former subordinates and colleagues.

    It makes you a man beneath contempt, if it is true, and a liar if it isn’t.

    (if the comments editor doesn’t chop the above, well, that is his business. Let’s get back to the actual TOPIC…)

    #97: If you catch a rat in your kitchen, you probably have hundereds in the walls and other places in your home. I suspect corruption works a lot on the same principle-the JD doesn’t HAVE to be that effective, just ‘effective enough’ to justify their budgets.

  • Baronius

    Liberals are on the cutting edge? Trains, centralized government, eugenics, unions…pretty much every idea that dominated the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. In the words of Dana Vachon, “Obama is suffering from a classic Gen X malady, which is to think that you are modern but to actually be living far in the past”. Republicans are about economic growth and trade, which necessitate looking forward, while the Democrats are the party of redistribution and protectionism, which are fundamentally oriented backward.

  • Baritone

    Eugenics? I’m not sure about that one. I’ll have to consult my phrenologist.

    And the forward thinking conservatives want to ban same sex marriage, ban abortion in any circumstance and throw labor back to the 19th century. They are essentially isolationists still wanting us to exit the UN and they fear and hate science. – Yes, very forward thinking.

    Oh, and yes. Screw the trains, lets just build more and wider highways. Let’s pave the whole damn country. That’d be great for the contractors. And of course we should do away with Federal government entirely so that we can more easily make the states lucrative fiefdoms for aggressive entrepreneurs. Yes! Onward and backward!


  • Clavos

    Oh, and yes. Screw the trains, lets just build more and wider highways. Let’s pave the whole damn country. That’d be great for the contractors. And of course we should do away with Federal government entirely so that we can more easily make the states lucrative fiefdoms for aggressive entrepreneurs.

    Very good, B-tone! We’ll make you a conservative yet!

  • Baronius

    Yes, eugenics. Or haven’t you noticed that we’re ending autism one fetus at a time? And the war on science is being fought by the Democrats. They’re the brains behind the modern school system which is failing students in every subject. They’re the ones who want to regulate the pharmaceutical companies out of business, and want to move us forward to a bone-saws-and-ether national health system. It’s ok; untested Asian herbs are better than Western medicine anyway, right? And have you ever talked to an environmentalist about global warming? That’s not the scientific part of the brain you’re hearing; it’s dogma and Gaia-worship. Liberal panic in the face of sound scientific refutation is responsible for millions of malaria deaths and the abandonment of nuclear power in the US.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    C-shop –

    Again, you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. You’re taking the snippets of the story that I’ve told – and I’ve told only the barest part of it in order to keep private the identities of those involved – and you’re making frankly wild assumptions based more upon what you don’t know than on what little second-hand information you’ve heard.

    And in the big picture, this is all small potatoes. You’re castigating me for not being a whistleblower over something I couldn’t personally prove and which would have put my family’s future at serious risk…

    …but I’ve told you before that because of the choice I made, I was able to retire and ensure my family had health insurance – which health insurance has saved my life and my wife’s life (twice) since I retired.

    Which leads me to DEMAND that you answer this question, C-shop: When your wife’s menstrual period won’t stop and she’s losing blood, slowly, but fast enough that her body can’t replace it, and she needs two transfusions and a surgery to save her life, if she can’t have that surgery because you have no more medical coverage because you sacrificed your career to be a whistleblower, are you going to tell yourself, your wife, your kids that “Okay, she will probably die because she can’t have the surgery, but at least I blew the whistle on that crime!”

    Maybe you would – but I doubt it. Most men love their families more than that.

    You’re so damned sure that you wouldn’t make the choices I made…but you weren’t the one walking in my shoes. You weren’t the one who’d be risking your family’s future. All you are is someone who’s making Pollyannish sweeping judgments based on ZERO personal knowledge of the case and of the people involved.

    I made a hard choice, and I don’t regret it for a moment.

  • roger nowosielski

    Then why don’t you come clean, Glenn, and tell us the whole story so we can understand?

    Sounds like a good subject for a BC serial.

  • Boeke

    We should encourage unions, rather than discourage them. Unions tend to stabilize the economy by putting limits on management excess and providing better results for workers, thus increasing workers stakes in industry and company welfare.

    In Europe unions have a stronger influence in governmental and company affairs (in Germany half the Board of Directors are elected by company employees) and this has resulted in better benefits, longer vacations, etc. Nobody wants to import the US system. In fact, most Europeans are amazed that the US working environment is so hard on workers.

    Europe, as a consequence, is recovering from the recession faster and with less trauma. A recession that was caused by the ascendancy of US financial methods around the world.

    There’s plenty of wealth available to finance better working conditions. In the USA our productivity has been increasing steadily for decades, but real wages have been falling, even as work weeks lengthen. The excess wealth has been channeled to top executives (and, to a lesser extent, to shareholders) and workers have been shortchanged. In fact, the latest financial fiascos have cost many workers their homes and their jobs, and nothing is in sight to suggest that we’ll ever fix those problems.

    It is only through unions that workers will ever realize some of the benefits of their increased productivity. And it is only by reducing work load on workers that we will ever see full employment again. Without those changes we face an ugly revolutionary future. And it won’t be a Tea Party.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Baronius –

    Yes, liberals are SO anti-science! That’s why the ones who oppose the teaching of evolution are almost exclusively from the Religious RIGHT. That’s why 98% of the world’s climatologists – who are SCIENTISTS and NOT “gaia-worshipers” – keep telling you that seven billion human beings DO have an effect on global warming! That’s why CONSERVATIVES – and not liberals – are so eager to slice-and-dice the budgets for education.

    That’s why 25% of teachers in Texas have to have a second job in order to feed and shelter their families instead of being able to take time to grade their students’ homework.

    And your crack about linking regulation of Big Pharma – yeah, maybe you’re right. Maybe we SHOULD just be JUST LIKE CHINA and Big Pharma be almost completely unregulated and sell whatever the heck they want to! (Ever hear of milk laced with melamine? Ever hear of “plastic rice” being sold as food? Google them!)

    But that’s the big lie that the conservatives have bought into, that regulation is bad, bad, bad.

    Here’s a sociological law for you, and one that will always, always hold true: the greater the population of a society, the greater the need for laws and regulations to hold that society together and to keep it functioning – unless, of course, military force is used to tightly control that society, in which case the society’s function will be greatly hampered.

    This is true in ALL cases, Baronius. I defy you to show me even one example of a large population that didn’t need a lot of regulation to make their society work. It was true in the days of Hammurabi, and it’s true now.

    There’s a reason why only 6% of scientists are Republicans. If it were the liberals who were out to destroy science, then most scientists would be Democrats, now would they? To wit:

    Nine percent of scientists said they were “conservative” while 52 percent described themselves as “liberal,” and 14 percent “very liberal.” The corresponding figures for the general public were 37, 20 and 5 percent.

    Among the general public, moderates and independents ranked higher than any party or ideology. But among scientists, there were considerably more Democrats (55%) than independents (32%) and Republicans (6%) put together. There were also more liberals (52%) than moderates (35%) and conservatives (9%) combined.

    Your Religious RIGHT is making war on science, Baronius. Your global-warming deniers are making war on science. Your politicians who want to eviscerate the education budgets are making war on science. Your fellow conservatives are quite okay with making teachers go out and get second jobs instead of being able to concentrate on their primary careers.

    But you go on and ignore all that, because you’re much more comfortable wrongly accusing liberals of the crimes your side is committing.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    No, I cannot do that. If I were to give details of the case, then I am making the information public and – since it did not result in adjudication, it would be a violation of the Privacy Act and there is the very real possibility that someone might see it and be able to discern the identities of those involved.

    I feel it is enough that I stated that I had to make a hard choice, and that I stand by that choice.

  • roger nowosielski

    “Kiss and tell,” Glenn, could make you rich and famous and assure your family’s future. It could result in a book deal and an appearance on Oprah.

    Lots of people do it.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    Just because someone can do something doesn’t make it right to do that thing.

    Besides – and here’s probably most people disagree with me – I have strong misgivings about becoming rich. I’ve said before that if someone gave me ten million dollars, I might well refuse it. Why? Because of the effect that having so much money can have on a family. I’m of the opinion that it’s better for the family as a whole if we work and have enough to help each other, but not to have so much that we lose our ability to truly appreciate what we have.

    If I were single w/no kids like Oprah, then having so much money can be a very good thing – but I want my sons to be able to appreciate what they have, and that’s much harder to do when one is rich.

    Someone once said that gratitude is the greatest of all virtues, and the parent of all other virtues. I believe that and I try to live it.

  • Baritone

    Glenn – If you win 10 mil and want to get rid of it, let me know. I’m more than willing to suffer the consequences. :)

  • Clavos

    I’ve said before that if someone gave me ten million dollars, I might well refuse it.

    I believe you.

    And I consider that a stupid stance. (not withstanding your explanation that follows).

    I have several close friends who are multimillionaires; none of them (or their families) have any more problems than anyone else.

    Although the number has probably shrunk somewhat since this report was published, thanks to Obama’s destruction of our economy, the report, published by Market Watch, notes that in 2008, 7.6% of American households, or 8.4 million households (10% of the population) are middle-class millionaires, defined as those with a net worth of between $1 and $10 million. Interestingly, the report also notes that only 14% of this cohort trusts the government. Hmmm.

  • Baritone

    RE: Boeke’s #113. Nicely put.

    As I have noted, unions provide a sort of balance. Sure there are bad unions just as there are bad corporations. There are assholes in unions just as there are assholes in board rooms. There has been since the early inception of unions an ebb and flow; fluctuations in the power paradigm. Obviously, the current efforts on the Right are designed to move that paradigm as far away from the workers as possible. This has become apparent to the Left, and it is not going to happen quietly.


  • Baronius

    Glenn – As already noted on these threads, the across-all-subjects failures in education as well as the US’s booming biomedical sciences demonstrate that the “danger of not teaching evolution” thing is a red herring. So is your claim that Republicans are slashing budgets for education because they’re anti-science. That one’s so wrong I don’t even know where to begin. Republicans aren’t slashing anything; we spend a fortune on education. They talk about eliminating the federal department, which is consistent with their federalism, and allowing for pay incentives, which is consistent with their economic policy. They don’t target science.

  • Clavos

    Nicely put, Baronius…

  • Alan Kurtz

    Glenn Contrarian (#111), when you made your “hard choice” to betray your responsibility as a supervisory NCO, how could you possibly have known that (a) reporting the sexual assault of your subordinate, which was your sworn duty, would have resulted in the loss of your retirement benefits; (b) your wife, years later, would require surgery; and (c) you wouldn’t have been able to afford it without those government bennies you cherished so.

    Why not assume at the time that your retirement benefits would have remained intact, that your wife would stay healthy, or that you or your wife might obtain civilian health insurance that would cover her medical expenses?

    Since you’re obviously adept at rationalization, you must suffer no conscience pangs. But did you ever wonder what happened to the female servicemember you let down?

  • Baronius

    Thanks, Clavos. The whole “anti-science” claim is so absurd. No one would accuse the Republicans of being anti-science unless they were given it as a talking point. And the Democratic Party is institutionally opposed to evidence of any kind! They ignore history, they ignore economics. They can look at a chopped-up baby in a trash bin and deny that a human being died there. And they make up stuff and justify it on the basis of really believing it to be true – as Baritone did with his claim of an assault on private-sector unions, and as pretty much every liberal judge does when reading the Constitution.

    This thread has wiped me out, Clavos. I don’t know how you’ve kept at it so long.

  • Cannonshop

    #111 No, Glenn, I’m castigating you for disobeying a lawful order, an action that puts your benefits at risk, and rationalizing it with false information.

    Either that, or I’m calling you out as a PX Ranger.

    For those unfamiliar with the term, a PX ranger is an individual who misrepresents their military service-usually as a form of self-aggrandizement or to lend additional credibility to their other claims.

    See, Glenn, I don’t actually believe you did it-I don’t think you were actually in for twenty years, or fifteen, or even ten. I certainly don’t believe you made NCO rank, much less passed the boards to get SENIOR non-commissioned officer status-you’re too ignorant of too many required subjects to have achieved that, including both UCMJ and Naval regulations and policies that were in effect when you claim to have been in service, and would have been required study materials for any promotion board above E-4.

    Your story doesn’t hold water, Glenn.

    Among the many flaws in it, conspiracy and false reports, are both felonious behaviour in the United States Military, and since the policy in question came down from SecNav, you’ve also got “Contempt of Officials”-which is ALSO a military felony-and they can (and in the past, have) pull people back in just to subject them to courts-martial after their term in service is done-with attendant penalties including but not limited to loss of all benefits and allowances in addition to jail time.

    A Senior Non Commissioned Officer would have known that.

    He would also know that the standards of evidence in a military courts-martial are much looser than the standards of evidence required in a civilian court. It is MUCH easier to convict in a Courts Martial, and there is no statute of limitations.

    not even on civil charges. YOUR claim involves criminal false reporting, not civil, and includes disobedience of a lawful order-which is another military felony.

    As a Senior NCO, you would know this, almost certainly BETTER than someone who (like me) never got past E-4, and knew it.

    So…if you HAVE Chief’s ranks, I suspect you got them from a surplus store, or the PX.

  • roger nowosielski

    Somewhat melodramatic, Baronius.

  • Clavos

    Wow, Good post, Cannon.

    Wish I’d thought of all that…

    Props, Sir.

  • roger nowosielski

    Still cold, Cannon. Glenn is a Christian, and now you’re accusing him of double offense. The military, besides, is not the most efficient of organizations. People can slip through the cracks.

  • roger nowosielski

    Shall we call it the Peter principle?

  • Baritone

    So, Bar, you don’t believe that right to work legislation is aimed at unions, nor that they have a deliterious affect on them?
    Good for you.

    Do you deny that a great many Reps and cons have a wish list that includes the deep sixing of unions across the board – public or private?

    I’m troubled that this thread has exhausted you so. Perhaps you should get quiet and rest for the remainder of the week-end my good man. You’ve gone and spent all your energy making blanket accusations damning all who oppose you. Frankly, I don’t know how you face each new morning, or make it out of bed with the weight of the liberal world upon your shoulders. Tsk, tsk.


  • roger nowosielski

    I should be clear that since the people affected have conceded on the monetary aspect of budget demands, Gov. Walker’s push for more is part of the new Republican strategy to bust the unions.

    And what better way to do so than by establishing the precedent with respect to unions governing the federal or state employees?

    In actuality, it’s an attempt to reduce Federal and State workers to the level of those who still are on the unemployment rolls – which comes down to rendering them powerless and dependent. A strategy which I daresay is about to backfire.

  • Clavos

    Government employees, who number in the millions, have one tool that private sector folks don’t: they can vote their bosses out of office.

  • Cannonshop

    Come to think of it, Teachers have to fulfill certain number of classroom hours each year as STUDENTS. This is usually a state requirement.

    Making teachers pay for those classes is a little bit like your car-factory insisting that its mechanics buy their own tools, including wear-items like drill bits and welding rod.

    doesn’t make sense to me. if the state requires it, shouldn’t the State PAY for it??

  • Cannonshop

    #128 Roger, I consider that he accused himself of at least ONE of that ‘double’ offense, and yeah, it’s cold, I’m not a nice person, and have never claimed to be one-I’m a bastard, and I’m good with being a bastard.

    The problem is, like Kerry’s Christmas in Cambodia, his story(Stories?) doesn’t (Don’t?) hold water-there are TOO MANY inconsistencies with known and provable facts about how the Armed Services work for his tale to be more than either a “Sea Story” or outright fabrication, and his arguments in justifying it simply serve to add MORE inconsistencies.

    During the 1990′s, the policy for promotion/retention in the military was “Up or Out”, failure to make retention control points (failure to be promoted in a timely fashion) led to administrative dismissal, while retention STANDARDS were consistently raised simultaneously.

    This was the RIF, and it was begun during the first Bush Administration (1989 to 1993), and continued under the Clinton Administration (1993 to 1999). Sexual Harassment policy between 1988 and 2000 was treated as a priority in ALL the services, as directed from the SecDef on downward.

    Navy Regulations and the UCMJ from the period after 1991 to the present mean that if Contrarian IS telling the truth, he’s an un-indicted felon, which may be why he uses a ‘handle’ and has no traceable elements in his profile, but the odds are better that he is lying.

    This is further illustrated by the StopLoss enacted immediately after the september 11 terrorist attacks-Contrarian claims to have retired on the 10th. There is a 72 hour recall period after your ETS date, during which, under Stoploss, his retirement would have been suspended, were he telling the truth.

    Therefore, my hypothesis is that he is lying-either about his actions, or about his service.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    C-shop -

    I never claimed to be a senior NCO, for that would have been a false statement. I retired as a first class petty officer. If you don’t want to believe it, I can’t make you.

    As far as what a senior NCO might or might not know, if you knew whereof you spoke – and I think Dan (Miller) might back me up on this – standards of evidence in military courts-martial are NOT that much looser than in civilian law. What you’re referring to, perhaps, is the much broader range of offenses for which one can be charged. For instance, ‘conduct unbecoming’ can refer to a whole host of actions that could not be prosecuted at all in the civilian world…

    …but the evidence necessary to prove those charges is still required as it is in the civilian world.

    Or perhaps you were referring to non-judicial punishment where the rules of evidence do not apply.

    Either way, C-shop, military law was never my rating. I was an engineer, a pit snipe who worked with 600 psi and 1200 psi steam plants, with electrohydraulic steering gears and a whole host of lesser hydraulic and steam-powered systems from stem to stern. The fact that I spent some time working with (and later supervising) the shipboard law enforcement was temporary…and something that is not unusual for any twenty-year sailor.

    The admission that you never got past E-4 speaks volumes. I’ve seen many, many junior personnel who were absolutely sure that they knew better than those of higher ranks (I thought the same way once, too)…but the fact that you never got past E-4 tells me that you almost certainly never got to the point where you learned what it was like to be responsible for your subordinates 24/7, on- and off-duty.

    I’m sure that you’re positive that you knew everything that went on in your command or close to it…but when you move up in the command – and particularly when you’re working the law enforcement side – you start finding out things that most of the crew never hear about. You start hearing about senior people doing things that would have junior enlisted being hauled before the CO in a heartbeat. AND you start finding the LIMITS of what you can do, of what you can and can’t bring up to the Legal Officer for prosecution.

    And if you think that you can bring any crime you find out about up for prosecution, I’ve got ONE word to describe you: naive.

    I didn’t make chief because I was a whistleblower concerning asbestos on the USS Camden. I paid dearly for it and went through a year of hell there. Once the year was over with, the command senior chief told me exactly that, that I’d just paid the price for exposing the problem about the asbestos. I couldn’t prove what they did to me, and I couldn’t prove what he’d told me. That’s when I learned the hard way, C-shop, that it doesn’t make a damned bit of difference what you KNOW – the only thing that matters is what you can PROVE.

    So again, C-shop, when you know what the hell you’re talking about, come back and let me know.

  • Cannonshop

    Glenn, I never lied or misrepresented my service, however, your statements read very much as lies-it’s your word that’s in question, and you present only more words without backing documentation as proof of it.

    Your stories contain both the ignorant, and the impractical, severe claims require severe proof, you’ve made them, you provide no proof, we are expected to accept your claims at face-value in spite of stories in which you were unfairly punished for obeying regulations, and let go when you violated a lawful order.

    This is akin to the twenty-four-year-old who took on 50 NVA with a pocketknife, but got bounced after winning for some minor offense. It doesn’t add up. (particularly not in 2011.)

    Second is that “Leadership is Leadership”, show me an NCO ignorant of the regs, and I’ll show you someone who isn’t really an NCO. (you’re expecting anyone to believe that you never had to write a counseling statement, or deal with one of your troops going to captain’s Mast/Article Fifteen?? that you’ve never had to write a counseling statement, discipline a single sailor you were responsible for, or refer anything up the chain of command??)

  • Cannonshop

    Just to be really clear, Glenn-on the Internet, you’re a retired navy chief, I suspect in REALITY I got further in MY military service than you did.

  • Christopher Rose

    I neither know nor care much who is right or wrong in this debate but I do know it has become repetitive, so let’s leave it there and move on.

  • Alan Kurtz

    I hope the impatient censor (#138) will allow me to state my impression, without citing individual personalities, that military lifers are more concerned with their bennies than with patriotism. They ask not what they can do for their country, but what their country can do for them. It is therefore only natural that military retirees support civilian labor unions. After all, unions serve the vested interests of a protected, overprivileged class equivalent to military retirees.

  • Boeke

    … equivalent to corporate executives, who are the most over-privileged group in America?

    Equivalent to Senators?

    Equivalent to heirs and heiresses who get the benefits of family wealth that gives them a headstart at the jobs race?

    Equivalent to basketball players and football players?

    Let’s face it. We have a jumble of privileges, so you can’t deny daily workers and salary earners a privilege. You can’t single them out for even being able to help themselves by unionising.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    C-shop –

    Am I an “unindicted felon”? Sure. And if you’d go talk to other retired military and ask over a beer or three, most of them will also tell you about felonies that they knew happened, that they didn’t do anything about for this or that reason. If they trust you, then they’ll probably tell you about one or two they got away with themselves.

    That, C-shop, is why, when a career sailor is awarded the GCM – the Good Conduct Medal when it’s awarded every three (used to be four) years of no NJP’s or courts-martial – his shipmates will often joke with him about the medal not being so much for being good, but for not getting caught…and here as in elsewhere, much truth is said in jest.

    As I said, I was a steam plant engineer…and if you show me a Navy steam plant engineer who says he never falsified a reading, I’ll show you a liar. Show me a supply puke with fifteen years or more in the supply system who says he never did stuff under the table to help out a shipmate whose workcenter was in a tight spot, I’ll show you a liar. Show me any career Navy engineer – whether from the pit or the flight deck or anywhere in between who says he never stole tools and/or materials to help out his workcenter, I’ll show you a liar.

    The word “cumshaw” comes to mind – and many an engineer will tell you that he’d have a hell of a time getting the ship underway without it.

    You can rest assured that the vast majority of all this corruption is relatively benign – but not all of it is. I remember one boatswain’s mate first class who decided to take a seabag full of scrap brass off the ship in Singapore – he was going to sell the scrap and get himself something nice. He got caught…but there was never any prosecution. Why? He was a very, very skilled boatswain’s mate. Most of us did notice later that the First Lieutenant was wearing a sizable 22K gold ring with the boatswain’s mate symbol on it. The fact that it was 22K should tell you much if you know as much as you seem to believe. That, and if you think that anybody was going to write up the First Lieutenant, you’re way more naive than I thought.

    I remember many, many times seeing sailors get away with stuff that could have (and often should have) gotten them kicked out…and a few times I was the sailor getting away with said crap. And it all boils down to this: the more senior a sailor, and the more skilled a sailor is in his or her assigned duties, the more likely it is that crimes – and sometimes even serious crimes and felonies – will get swept under the rug either by the chief, the division officer, the department head, or the commanding officer. It’s not YOU or I that makes the decision whether someone is prosecuted – that’s up to the legal officer, XO, or CO. And if you go trying to get a chief or officer prosecuted even though you KNOW there’s insufficient evidence for a conviction (which is precisely the reason I didn’t take it further), then you will not only get slammed for spreading a malicious rumor, but the CPO and officer community will soon find out that you are not to be trusted…and life onboard becomes very, very cold.

    If you go gunning for legal proceedings against a chief or an officer, you’d better make damned sure that all your shit’s in one sock – otherwise, it’s you that’s going to be in a world of hurt for a long, long time.

    Now you go take this particular comment to any retired military – and particularly any retired sailor – and ask him if he thinks I’m full of bovine excrement.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Alan –

    1 – You’ve no idea about why military service is referred to as ‘service’, then.

    2 – Most retired military are strongly conservative and strongly anti-union. I’m very much the exception to the rule…though back in my conservative days, I applauded along with the rest of my shipmates when Reagan fired the air traffic controllers.

    In other words, since your opinion of me is not stellar, you’re assigning your assumptions about me to the rest of the retired military community. That, sir, is a mistake, for as I said, I’m very much the exception to the rule. There’s probably a dozen or so retired Navy men at the local congregation of the Church of which I’m a member – I’m the only liberal among them and I’m given no small amount of grief for that fact.

  • roger nowosielski

    Gathering from the above, the military itself is not a stellar organization, to say the least.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    Pick an organization – ANY organization, whether government or commercial or military or religious – and scratch it a bit…and you know what you’ll find? Corruption. Sometimes to a greater degrees, sometimes to a lesser degree, but there is always some level of corruption. Why? Because every one of these organizations are comprised of human beings.

    Whatever organization you cherish the most, you will still find corruption to some level therein. Do you not already know this? I would think that Clavos would readily agree with me on this!

    Most people who spend a career in an organization of any type will see such corruption. Most good men will try to minimize the worst of it but will almost always work with some of it to some extent. That’s why I keep pinging on Dave Nalle when he complains about corruption and wrongdoing among the Democrats…because it’s a matter of degree. I do my best to stick with those who are less corrupt, but there’s always some.

    Does that mean you should write the organization off as a whole, or that you can’t count on that organization when you need it most? Certainly not! But don’t go condemning an organization if there’s some corruption. Instead, condemn those that are wholly corrupt, those to whom human life and liberty mean little or nothing…

    …and if you’re in a position to fight corruption, pick your fights wisely. Choose the battles that you can win…but it is folly to fight a battle that cannot be won. It is this concept that C-shop is not getting, this dearly-bought wisdom for which he is condemning me.

    (sheesh! And people ping me for my lack of cynicism!)

  • Clavos

    I do agree with you, Glenn, and would say, as a military veteran myself (though not a lifer), the US military (in my case, the army), is far less corrupt and much more efficient than most of the rest of the federal agencies.

    In my experience, the most corrupt aspect of the military is the manner in which retired officers (especially those involved in procurement) are able to go to work at the very corporations they dealt with while in the service, and what’s worse, generally wind up dealing with the people who previously were their subordinates! That’s how the government winds up buying $600 hammers, and nobody does anything about this.

  • Baritone

    I was just at Home Depot the other day, and I couldn’t find ANY of thos $600. hammers. Must have been sold out. :)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And C-shop –

    This is further illustrated by the StopLoss enacted immediately after the september 11 terrorist attacks-Contrarian claims to have retired on the 10th. There is a 72 hour recall period after your ETS date, during which, under Stoploss, his retirement would have been suspended, were he telling the truth.

    My date of retirement was NOT 9/10 – that was the date of my retirement ceremony…and if you knew what you were talking about, you’d know that (1) military retirement ceremonies are almost NEVER held the same day of the actual retirement, and (2) one’s separation from service (whether retirement, transfer to Fleet Reserve, or end of enlistment) comes at the end of the calendar month of the EAOS. FYI, they could have recalled me until the 30th of September, for that was my official date of transfer to the Fleet Reserve – which is what really happens when someone ‘retires’ before the 30-year point. My 30-year point comes this October 1st at which point I will truly be retired from the military instead of being a part of the Fleet Reserve. We Navy retirees call it being ‘retired’…but every one of us knows that until that 30-year point, we’re still (proudly!) part of the Fleet Reserve.

    And ‘Stop-Loss’ was not applied to everyone – if you’ll look around, Stop-Loss (for enlisted) was applied mostly to front-line soldiers and Marines and those in mission-critical assignments. The Navy was affected least by Stop-Loss. I was certainly not mission-critical, and so it was not applied to me, though I was given the choice whether to stay or to go.

    When it comes to “up or out”, that particular phrase refers to the officer corps ONLY. When I retired, the policy was that if an officer failed to be promoted two times in a row, he was out (unless he was given a waiver – and in the military, there’s waivers for damn near everything). For enlisted, there’s something called “high-year tenure”, in which an E-4 can’t serve more than ten years, an E-5 or E-6 can’t serve more than twenty (though E-6′s can in certain situation agree to extend until the 22nd year – this was the option I was given and declined).

    You say that sexual harassment was given “top priority” – and it’s as if you think the president waves a magic wand and voila! everything’s all better. It doesn’t work that way…and you’d know this if you’d spent any real amount of time in a supervisory position in a mixed-gender command.

    Again, C-shop, come back and let me know when you know what the hell you’re talking about.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    Read what Clavos said in #145 – that’s the solid truth! And the same goes for retired Navy officers as well.

    I remember a certain very well-liked captain (one of the best under which I served) who kept us pulling into port at Santa Barbara – one of the more reliable rumors was that his plan was to run for mayor of Santa Barbara at some point after he retired, because we all knew that when a carrier pulls into port, that’s always a huge bonus to the local economy.

    After he left the ship, he went to work as a liaison between Rumsfeld and the JCS…and last I saw he was in a high position working for Northrop-Grumman.

    Was he corrupt? Probably, at least to some extent. But he was still a doggone good captain, for the only time I ever made a full overseas deployment where no one died was when he was in command.

  • Alan Kurtz

    For lifers, service is all about bennies.

    Here’s the first paragraph from’s page on retiree pay.

    “The military (active duty) retirement system is arguably the best retirement deal around. Unlike most retirement plans, the Armed Forces offer a pension … with benefits that start the day you retire, no matter how old you are! That means you could start collecting a regular retirement pension as early as 37 years old. What’s more, that pension check can grow with a cost of living adjustment each year.”

    Salute, say Sir Yes Sir to a bunch of assholes for a few years, then stick out your hand and for the rest of your life say, “Gimme, gimme, gimme!”

    Ain’t service grand?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And one last thing for C-shop –

    I never claimed to have a stellar career – for I certainly didn’t. But if you’ll look at documented cases of those who falsely claimed to have spent a career in the military, every single damned one of them have a whole slew of medals and awards indicating a VERY successful career. If in the future you find yourself having such suspicions about someone, ask him about his medals and awards and if he goes on and on about how his shit didn’t stink and how he was the best thing since sliced bread, THEN is the time that you should bear in mind that he might be lying through his teeth.