Wisconsin cops for the win

Discuss

171 Responses to “Wisconsin cops for the win”

  1. Ugly Canuck says:

    No union?
    Then you get fired if your boss does not like your political opinions.

  2. Chuck Pelto says:

    TO: Ugly Canuck
    RE: Uncoolahol

    It’s broke. Needs to be re-uploaded.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [Errors have happened. We won't tell you where or how. Lazy programmers. -- Haiku error messages.]

    • Ugly Canuck says:

      Ho no the video’s fine , but the very cool song “Uncoolahol” starts at about 3:55 in – slide the slider, thou impatient person.

      Although you may be right – the poster of the accompanying visual may be broken, perhaps.

      I am afraid that that cannot be helped.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Rayonic:

    Democratic nations where the unions have not been crushed, hunted and destroyed by corporate powermonger have key societal advantages over countries like the US. The nordic countries (sweden, finland, denmark, norway) is the prime example. High quality public healthcare for all, high level of public services throughout the society, amazing (compared to the US) social security nets, public parental support and benefits, including a right to daycare access. Those societies are also more equal, has less crime and more work environment protection for public AND private employees. Should I go on? The unions have been an important cause of those good features as a key way to organize the legitimate political demands of working people against their corporate overlords. As the sayings go, there is strength in numbers and there is power in a union. So, trying to pit unionized public employees against privately employeed workers is a false move. Both stand to gain from unions. People like Walker, and those who give him marching orders, on the other hand have their elite power to lose.

    So to put it short: unions are essential tools for social justice.

    For more details, check out this chapter in a recent sociology textbook:
    http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/~wright/ContemporaryAmericanSociety/Chapter%2021%20–%20unions%20–%20Norton%20August.pdf

  4. Chuck Pelto says:

    TO: All
    RE: Cowicide

    “Hey look, a crazy person.” — Cowicide

    Look whose talking. At least my name on this blog doesn’t sound ‘crazy’. Or even ‘sick’.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [Montana: At least the cows are sane. -- Bumper Sticker]

    P.S. Love the immediate resort to ad hom. Indicative of someone with neither valid args in this discussion nor the wit to provide even humor.

  5. Chuck Pelto says:

    TO: All
    RE: THIS Is Just….

    ….too funny.

    I guess if the public servant police can (1) unionize, (2) march into the capital and (3) NOT obey, let alone ENFORCE the law. There’s not problem.

    Therefore, we should allow the armed forces of the United States to (1) unionize, (2) march into the Capital and (3) do whateverthehell they want. Eh?

    Foolish people.

    NO PUBLIC SERVANT should have a union. I don’t care if it’s the police, the fire department, the planning and development department, whatever. THEY WORK FOR ME! Just as I worked for THEM when I was in the Army.

    And if the public servants won’t work for me, I require they be (1) fired and (2) punished in full accordance with the law—after due process—if their malfeasance has resulted in ANY loss to the public or private sector.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [The Truth will out....]

  6. alohagreg says:

    Never been much of a fan of cops in general. And I’ve been lurking on this site for at least five years. Something just flipped and i’ve finally made an account.

  7. Anonymous says:

    “has Scott Walker agreed to make the same sacrafices that he is expecting of the state union employess?”

    How about giving back $370,000 of his salary?

    http://politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2010/oct/06/scott-walker/gop-governor-candidate-scott-walker-says-he-has-gi/

  8. Kellyros says:

    “Being Evil” is still alive and well in the workplace. I work as a Mental Health Counselor in a Behavioral Health Hospital and before we unionized they would do all kinds of crazy things, quick example: Our Hospitals floors are divided up into various units that specialize in different levels of care or age. Now a MHC who worked in a “locked” unit would be paid more, due to a more difficult work environment (Higher level of care, need of both chemical and mechanical restraints). Problem was when staff moved, quit or were fired they didn’t hire new employees for that unit. They would just “float” staff from other units and we had no choice, we also would not get paid the difference. So no real reason to hire new folks, just pick staff from the lowest paid unit and plug them into the highest paid unit, saves a LOT of money. Yea us unionizing ended those shenanigans. (not that they were THE reason for unionizing, just the straw that broke MY camels back.)

  9. Anonymous says:

    The notion of “protecting the taxpayers” is fallacious. We are all the taxpayers, public and private employees alike.

  10. Chuck Pelto says:

    TO: All
    RE: What He Said

    Well, cowicide, if the cops want to act like a gang we can treat them like one…. including refusing to return convictions for people defending themselves against cops. — Anon to Cowicide

    Actually, it goes beyond that. Gangsters deserve what gangsters do-get. That includes the total disregard and the use of deadly force against their threats to use the same against the law-abiding citizens.

    There’s been a long-standing correlation between the behavior of gangsters and ‘cops’. They tend to be of the same psychological sort. The only differentiation is that the police ABIDE by the Law. Whereas the gangsters disavow it.

    Therefore, if law enforcement officers disavow the Law, they should be disavowed themselves. In other words, they become ‘outlaws’, themselves.

    I took an oath, decades ago, to “uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States, against all enemies, foreign and domestic“. As I understand it, these people took the same sort of oath when they took on their duties as public servants.

    If they break their oath, then I say….Break them.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God. -- Oath of Office, Federal Public Servants, with the ability to bear arms.]

  11. Anonymous says:

    Antinous:

    I do understand the argument you are using, however, how many people do you really think start working at 25 and retire at 55. How many people do you actually know who are under 60 and receiving a full pension and don’t work. The Boomers may want retire at 55, they may dream of it but realistically, how many actually do. Anecdotally I know absolutely no one who is under 60 and retired with a full salary pension. In fact, I don’t know a single person under 60 who is retired at all.

    The Pew claims that the average retirement age is 57.8 y.o and that 77% of today’s workers expect to work after retirement with 12% of today’s retirees reporting that they are already working.

    Also by your logic we should really be blaming the medical industry for innovations which have allowed us to live longer? :)

  12. godfathersoul says:

    That makes me happy.

  13. Anonymous says:

    One thing often overlooked: legislative employees themselves – the people who actually work in the Wisconsin (and every other) state capitol – are not only NOT unionized, we CAN’T unionize. We’re all hired at the pleasure of the legislature, and are essentially political employees, with no recourse or job security whatsoever.

  14. Anonymous says:

    “They don’t personally stand to lose anything.”

    I think they do. Once people see cops take a side in a political debate instead of doing their job, they may want to ban police unions.

    This time around they happen to be on your side of the debate, but when the tables are turned, what you gonna do?

  15. happytweak says:

    “Serve and protect”, for once. Though this is more like “be a normal, non-authoritatively-entitled person”.
    I’m proud of those fellas for doing their job right.
    Maybe after Wisconsin we can turn this whole “revolution for change” into a national thing?
    One can dream….

  16. Floyd R Turbo says:

    I’m so glad I’ll have to work until I’m 80 so they can retire at 55. Win for whom?

    • Neon Tooth says:

      I’m so glad I’ll have to work until I’m 80 so they can retire at 55. Win for whom?

      You make a fantastic argument for more widespread collective bargaining.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Teller:

    You seems to be conveniently neglecting to mention the entire scope of Fong’s service when you write, “Speaking of police and pensions, Heather Fong was San Francisco’s police chief for five years. She retired at 53 and now has a pension of $279,000 a year for life.”

    You are making it sound as if she worked for only 5 years and got that pension; she was a public servant for over 30 years which means she paid into the pension fund for that long. So why exactly shouldn’t she receive that money, which she earned from a fund that she helped grow?

    “According to the San Francisco Employee Retirement System (SFERS), Fong actually earns two city pensions: One of $566 per month for her (brief) time as a miscellaneous-class employee and a second of $22,572 per month for her 30-plus years as a safety worker. Doing the simple math that’s $23,138 per month or $277,656 per year(SFWeekly).”

    It’s exactly your kind of misleading explanation of how pension funds work and pay out that causes people to think that unionized employees are equal to welfare queens.

    Seriously, how many people can say they have worked or contributed 30+ years on anything anymore.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      So why exactly shouldn’t she receive that money, which she earned from a fund that she helped grow?

      Because she’s 53. She has a high probability of living 30 years. That means that she’ll receive more than $8,000,000 in payouts. There is nothing that this woman could possibly have done over the course of 30 years that justifies her getting that amount of money to sit on her ass for the next 30 years. That is SOOOOOO not the point of a pension plan. Pension plans do not exist to pay out fabulous sums of money over decades. They exist to support people in retirement.

      • Anonymous says:

        Just for those who seem to NOT understand how many pensions work.
        If a pension plan invests your money properly, you should see the money double on average about every 7 to 10 years. That means a person who works for 30 years will have 2 to 3 Million set aside for retirement.
        If the person just lived off the interest from that account they would have about 150,000 a year forever. No one lives forever so typically the retiree will take principle out too, making the yearly income somewhere in the mid $200K.
        Why people think someone with a retirement plan should not be aloud to draw the money they paid or earned into their pension is beyond me.

        I am hoping for a positive outcome for the public unions in WI. It is nice to see the police get the gravity of the situation.

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          If a pension plan invests your money properly, you should see the money double on average about every 7 to 10 years.

          To double your money in 7 years, you’d need approximately a 10% interest rate, 7% to double it in 10 years. Those kind of returns don’t really exist any more, certainly not in the kind of prudent investments appropriate for pension funds.

  18. Floyd R Turbo says:

    And since when did people who work 9 months of 12 for 6 figure benefit and salary packages (and I come from 3 generations of school teachers so I don’t want to hear anything about how hard they work. When they work they work hard) become Welsh coalminers dying of black lung living in company towns being gouged for daily living expenses?

    It’s called perspective. To actually call it “bargaining” they need to negotiate with the voters of the state. Let’s put the contract up for a vote. Oh wait… they lost that election and they didn’t like it.

    Which side hates democracy and wants to impose their will by force if necessary? Right.

    • grimc says:

      And since when did people who work 9 months of 12 for 6 figure benefit and salary packages (and I come from 3 generations of school teachers so I don’t want to hear anything about how hard they work. When they work they work hard) become Welsh coalminers dying of black lung living in company towns being gouged for daily living expenses?

      Maybe your problem isn’t with unions, but the obviously distorted view you have of them. It’s called ‘perception’.

      • Floyd R Turbo says:

        Again…. I have relatives who are in teachers unions, my Dad worked Union with the Burlington Northern/Santa Fe for over 20 years and my granddad was a railroader for 40 years.

        Unions were great. Teachers aren’t railroaders by a long stretch. My school teacher Mom would be the first to say that about my railroader Dad.

        Regardless of all this… the public sector unions are through. We don’t have the money so all this premature victory lap running is pointless. And most of us in the private sector — who can actually lose jobs won’t fund this for much longer.

        • grimc says:

          You’re conflating the pay and benefits of WI public sector employees with the fundamental right of American workers to collectively bargain–pay and benefits which are about 4% less than their private sector counterparts.

          Breaking the unions isn’t going to fix WI’s financial “problems”, such as they are. Breaking the unions is about one thing and one thing alone: Republicans trying to turn the clock back 100 years, when there were no laws protecting American workers.

          And this isn’t just about teachers, either. The state of WI has publicly employed ‘railroaders’, you know.

          • Teller says:

            “Republicans (are) trying to turn the clock back 100 years…”

            50 years, not a hundred. I believe employees in the public sector were first allowed collective bargaining in ’59 through the efforts of Jimmy Hoffa. God rest his endzoned soul. Before that, Presidents like FDR thought unionized public workers could hurt the nation by striking.

            snakedart: good link. Make sure you read the author’s UPDATE.

          • Anonymous says:

            It’s only fifty not a hundred if you assume they won’t keep going.

          • grimc says:

            I live in the same state as you, and CA’s problems are rooted in Prop 13, the first thing-that-should-not-be-named. Does CalPERS need reforming? Probably. Any program that big should be re- examined regularly. And do some unions have way to much influence? The prison and correctional officers’ union sure does, considering they blessed us with Arnie. But eliminating collective bargaining would do absolutely nothing towards fixing any state’s fiscal problems–unless the endgame is to screw civil servants with impunity. And if that’s the best solution that Walker or any other governor can come up with, all of the citizens of that state are well and truly screwed.

          • Teller says:

            YOU NAMED IT! imo, Prop 13 truly protects the middle class.

          • grimc says:

            Correct, but do you really think they just want to break public sector unions?

          • Teller says:

            I’m not sure. I believe Wisconsin, Ohio and others – even where I live, California – are broke. No doubt about that. The Dems have no choice but to stand firmly behind the unions because that’s their bread&butter voting base. And they’ve found the correct soundbite “Republicans are union-busting.” I know Republicans wouldn’t mind showing the unions the Dems failed them. Is that all this is about? No. These states, like mine, are broke. And pensions + longer life spans makes the outlook somewhere beyond “daunting.” In my state, neither party has the balls even to mention a huge public employee pension agency called CalPERS. That’s juice.

          • JG says:

            Yes, Wisconsin is broke. However, the unions gave Walker pretty much all the concessions he’s intent on ramming through, except the collective bargaining thing. Generally speaking, the unions have a good idea of where and when to push, and they’ve known that now is not the time.

            Walker is attempting to make it look like this is about the benefits, but they were willing to make sufficient concessions.

            This is actually about the collective bargaining rights. Think about that.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            In my state, neither party has the balls even to mention a huge public employee pension agency called CalPERS.

            I think that Jerry Brown is going to take an ax to a lot of programs in California. Recent events in Bell will probably garner some sympathy for cutting some of these insanely bloated pensions for upper management. Pension funds are supposed to pay a livable amount to working class retirees, not tens of millions to a single person.

          • Teller says:

            Bell. Don’t wish ill too often, but wouldn’t mind Bob “Pigs get fat but hogs get slaughtered” Rizzo finding himself in the pen’s general population. Jerry, I will admit, is the right gov at the right time. He’s an honest, modest man. It’s those Jesuits, you know.

            Neon: I acknowledge your equivalency argument. False: Wall St. doesn’t contribute to society. The stock market is the very essence of a democratic, non-discriminatory social institution.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I come from 3 generations of school teachers so I don’t want to hear anything about how hard they work.

      Do your parents and grandparents read Boing Boing? Because I don’t have the energy to listen to a half dozen rants about how you just got cut out of their wills.

  19. millie fink says:

    “I’m so glad I’ll have to work until I’m 80 so they can retire at 55. Win for whom?”

    Dang, there’s a logical fallacy there, but I just can’t put my finger on which one it is . . .

    I think the one in your second comment is just called “hyperbole.”

    • Floyd R Turbo says:

      Not really… my retirement is tied to the stock market… it’s defined contribution, but not defined compensation. Those folks will receive (in the case of a lot of cops) 90% of last 3 years salary for the rest of their lives. I’ll have a set pool of money from which my retirement will come… I’ll have to stretch it until I die.

      The logical fallacy is yours… because unless you work for the government you’ll have to do the same unless you’re a lucky one who can navigate the shoals of the next decade or so of downturns and come out ahead, your parents leave you a fortune, or some other windfall comes your way.

      I worked in State government for over 10 years and I have 4 school teachers as parents, in-laws, etc. I know what I’m talking about here.

      Hyperbole… OK maybe ’til I’m 75.

  20. millie fink says:

    Oh, and this too, Floyd:

    “It would be a mistake to think that this fight is solely about the right of public employees to collectively bargain. As important as that issue is, it’s just one skirmish in what’s shaping up as a long, bitter campaign to keep ordinary workers, whether union members or not, from being completely overwhelmed by the forces of unrestrained greed in this society.

    “The predators at the top, billionaires and millionaires, are pitting ordinary workers against one another. So we’re left with the bizarre situation of unionized workers with a pension being resented by nonunion workers without one. The swells are in the background, having a good laugh.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/26/opinion/26herbert.html?hp

  21. travtastic says:

    All this astroturf is really scratchy and hard to clean. Some grass would be nice for a change.

    • millie fink says:

      I agree–in a better world, “the media” wouldn’t be corporatized, and it would expose the puppetering influence of the Koch brothers behind all those “real-American” Teabagger events.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Wow, I’ve been bashing the cops for a week for not siding with them (police and fire were exempt from the bill) and they came through. Egg on my face and delightfully so. Win!!

  23. Floyd R Turbo says:

    and I meant “perspective” not “perception” above… dammit!

    • millie fink says:

      “Those folks will receive (in the case of a lot of cops) 90% of last 3 years salary for the rest of their lives. I’ll have a set pool of money from which my retirement will come… I’ll have to stretch it until I die.”

      How is it their fault that you didn’t get as good a deal as they did?

      Why be a crab in a bucket, pulling others down who are managing to climb out? Instead of cheering them on for efforts that could, if successful, result in workers like you also climbing out of the bucket?

    • snakedart says:

      Your outrage seems to stem from the assumption that private taxpayers pay for the pensions of public employees in Wisconsin.

      They do not.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Solidarity at its finest. What a great turn of events.

  25. Methusedalot says:

    Great news! Now if we can only find someone to protect the tax payers.

    • Maggie Koerth-Baker says:

      The protesters ARE tax-payers. And, as another taxpayer, employed in the private sector and non-unionized, I think this kind of police work is protecting me quite well, thanks.

    • Boondocker says:

      I’m going to go out on a limb and hypothesize that not every cop in Wisconsin is packed into the State Capitol.

    • Anonymous says:

      When the t party loses America wins and we’re all tax payers and this fight has nothing to do with taxes. That is a distraction invented to create the kind of division you are being tricked into so we won’t notice how badly wall street, the Koch Brothers and the banks are ripping us off. The working class did not bankrupt this country. Put your anger where it belongs and stop taking it out on your fellow citizens.

  26. Anonymous says:

    I support the workers of Wisconsin 100%. But I do wonder how this whole thing can end without violence. The governor has the backing to wait them out, but the workers will eventually have to return to work if they want to eat and pay the bills. If that time comes, you can bet that governor of theirs will personify the word “smug.” He’s crooked as hell and we all know it, but what can they do, short of leading a sort of state-level bourgeois revolution?

    • Anonymous says:

      The Bourgeoisie (bourgeois being the adjective form of the word) refers to the wealthy, privileged, capitalist class. The word “proletariat” refers to the working class or wage laborers. Not to split hairs, but I believe you meant “proletariat or proletarian revolution”.

      The bourgeoisie always exploits the proletariat in a capitalist system, even though this is fundamentally, ethically wrong, as the police here point out.

      Since the proletariat far out-numbers the bourgeoisie, and the U.S.A. is a supposedly free society, eventually the working class is going to prevail, if we stick together.

    • cfitz129 says:

      I saw some of your recent posts concerning the current state politics of Wisconsin. I saw that you are local to the area, and was wondering if you could answer, has Scott Walker agreed to make the same sacrafices that he is expecting of the state union employess? I can’t seem to find an answer to this anywhere. I hope he fails at his mission to take away from the working class, but he would at least look credible if he and his staff were willing to cut into their own salaries!

  27. Anonymous says:

    I love boing boing (been lurking for 5+ years)but hate when it gets political. I’m coming less and less…

  28. Faus says:

    I think these protests are great America needs more protest. But it is funny that when the people who call themselves the tea party were protesting they were called anti american even Nazi. I think maybe the Wisconsin gov was voted in by the very same. It seems to me that the Unions have gotten a little top heavy kind of like our Federal Gov. Maybe they need to be put in check. I would also like someone to explain to me why unions are necessary in the public sector?

  29. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, I don’t know where the delusion comes from that public employees don’t pay taxes, and are only a money sink. I’m married to a dues-paying school teacher, and I can assure you we pay income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, the whole nine yards. The only thing she doesn’t pay is Social Security, and that’s because the teachers have a state-run plan (though, since we’re Illinois residents, that may not be a sure thing.)

    • belgium says:

      Never underestimate the ability of right wing trolls to twist the arguments about this situation. Let’s not forget that the “budget deficit” that demands these hatchet-job austerity measures was created by the Governor dishing out huge tax breaks and other deals to his corporate backers. The guy is a crook pure and simple and hopefully will eventually get his comeuppance, the only danger is how much damage he might do before then.

      • Anonymous says:

        Just look at Milwaukee County and you will see how much damage he will do. Milwaukee will be cleaning up this ‘Schmucks’ mess for years to come, as will the State of Wisconsin. Way to go voters.

  30. JG says:

    I don’t think Walker’s necessarily crooked. He was basically a kid who fast-tracked into bigtime politics, promising fiscal conservatism but not really delivering.

    The governor may not have quite as much backing as he thinks; the cops not backing him on this issue might be just the beginning.

  31. millie fink says:

    “I love boing boing (been lurking for 5+ years)but hate when it gets political. I’m coming less and less…”

    Oh my, concern troll is concern!

    I suspect it’s the KIND of politics expressed here–in occasional posts sprinkled amidst dozens of non-political ones–that bother you.

    I for one appreciate and applaud the political consciousness expressed here. Thanks, Boingers.

  32. Rayonic says:

    I forget, what problems did public sector unions solve?

    Was it unsafe factory conditions? Deadly mining practices? Long hours without overtime? The Wikipedia page is a little sparse:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public-sector_trade_union

    Or maybe they just improved the quality of their work. Has the overall quality of teaching gone up since the 50′s, for example?

    I’m actually curious about what the arguments are.

    I mean, looking around some more, it seems like policemen had some legitimate grievances — forced long hours at a dangerous job, and probably inadequate death and disability insurance. But you have to wonder how much of that has been abolished by law now. That’s essentially why private union membership keeps dropping.

    • abstract_reg says:

      “Has the overall quality of teaching gone up since the 50′s, for example?”

      As a teacher I can tell you for certain the quality of teaching most certainly has gone up since 1950. Unions have put caps on class sizes so students have more access to their teacher. Unions also have been responsible for things like health benefits, pensions and of course wages, that may not directly effect the classroom but do attract better workers to the field. Less generally unions have been instrumental in getting support for students with special needs, from learning disabilities to ESL students. In the 1950s many of these students were thought to be ‘lost causes.’
      So yes, public sector unions are necessary!

    • Anonymous says:

      “I’m actually curious about what the arguments are.”

      No you’re not. No one who says this is ever “actually curious”.

    • benenglish says:

      —I forget, what problems did public sector unions solve?—

      They slow down government change.

      To people who don’t think deeply, that sounds like a bad thing. It’s not. In private enterprise the goal is making money; the ability to quickly hire, fire, and change business directions is critical to survival. Governments, on the other hand, are in the business of steadily, reliably providing essential services like national defense and a judicial system.

      Governments must be reliable above all else. The offices must open. Their jobs must get done. Generally, those are jobs that aren’t profitable (or, rather, aren’t profitable unless the people in charge are willing to create human misery along with profits).

      The best way to do this is with a bureaucracy. (And, again, to people who don’t think deeply, “bureaucracy” is a dirty word. Howevermuch I pity the ignorant, though, I’ll not take time to try to educate them here.) Bureaucracies need some sort of standard set of working rules under which to function. It’s those rules that make it possible for the public to know what to expect. Most of those rules are simply the law of the land. But when you get down to the nitty-gritty, there’s also a need to define working conditions, salaries, benefits, etc.

      If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere that the government has a shred of honor, then maybe you can trust the government to hire, fire, pay, and set working conditions in an honorable, all-for-the-greater-good way. (I hate to harp on this, but keep it in mind – Governments do things for the greater good that must be done honorably; private enterprise seeks profit. They are completely different animals.)

      In the U.S., we can’t count on our government to be an honorable actor. In fact, for much of our history we suffered under a crippling spoils (or patronage) system where whoever wins the election throws all the government workers who belong to the other party out of a job and replaces them with the supporters of the winning party. The federal government got a handle on the problem over a hundred years ago but state and local governments were suffering with this crap well into the 1980s.

      History has shown us that in the U.S. the best way to set up a set of work rules that ensures the steady employment of government workers and the resulting steady delivery of government services is to have some sort of long term work agreement. In practice, the way that comes about is via agency-wide contracts. Unions negotiate those contracts.

      Without unions, corrupt government officials would be able to hand over vital service contracts to private concerns that would invariably charge more, deliver less, and scrape off money for various corrupt reasons.

      Can you imagine how insane it would be, how horrific the results might be if we were ever to do something as stupid as hand over, say, prison management or the responsibility for guarding U.S. property and interests both inside and outside our borders to private corporations? Why, it would be a terrible mess! People would bribe judges to convict innocent people and send them to prison. Shed of government oversight, private security forces would act in various lawless ways.

      No one could possibly be that stupid, right?

      Oh, wait…

      Back to my original point – If it’s something the government should do, then it needs to be done in a transparent way, with constant oversight, and steadily by people who are devoted, at least in part, to the concept of public service.

      Such tasks should not be done in an “agile, business-like” manner. Private businesses, after all, take chances and accept that they may fail. Governments don’t have the luxury of failing. Private businesses don’t expect or need employees who view themselves as public servants; governments need at least a little of that.

      The most practical way to achieve those goals, given political and cultural realities in the U.S., is via unionization.

      Now, we can argue over what is and isn’t a valid government function. We can rail against union corruption. There are all sorts of valid criticisms of the way things are done these days. We can get really upset (I know I am) about the way elected officials at the state and local level have been thinking in the short term and buying votes by handing out candy to Unions, thus creating unsustainable agreements. But public sector unionization is much to be preferred over what many politicians seems to want – a return to the spoils system.

      A useful link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spoils_system

      • Rayonic says:

        That’s quite a theory. I doubt any unions were actually founded with such overarching goals about changing the nature of government. By definition they’re mostly about helping their members tangibly.

        You make a good point about the Spoils System. I’m willing to believe that public unions helped stop and outlaw that practice at the state level.

        I like your phrase, “Governments don’t have the luxury of failing.” Failure (and the realistic threat of failure) culls bad performers out of the private sector. Its absence is sorely missed in government. Sure there’s elections, but that mechanism is somewhat removed from your job performance. Especially since elections can be gamed with money, personality, etc.

        That’s why government intervention in the private sector usually sucks (privatized prisons) and makes people mad (bank bailouts). They like to remove the possibility of failure. Any too-big-to-fail company that “needs” saving should at the very least be broken up into smaller chunks as part of the deal. Any private contractors hired by the government should be pitted against each other (within a reasonable framework).

        Public unions are more successful than private unions not because they offer some intangible devotion to public service, but because the other side of the negotiating table isn’t as motivated. Their employer won’t go under, the money won’t run out (er, theoretically), and they might get some political donations and campaign support out of it.

        • grimc says:

          That’s why government intervention in the private sector usually sucks (privatized prisons)

          Privatized prisons aren’t cases of government intervention in the private sector. That’s why they’re called “privatized”.

          • Rayonic says:

            Privatized prisons aren’t cases of government intervention in the private sector. That’s why they’re called “privatized”.

            Perhaps I should have said “involvement”.

            Regardless, private prisons are a market that the government(s) created and are the sole customers and regulators of. And from what I hear it’s not going all that awesomely.

            I guess “intervention” implies that there was private prison industry before the government created it. Though if they go around creating new industries then you could say they’re intervening in the private sector as a whole.

            I suppose the military intervenes in a big way too, with all the specialized stuff they request and buy from private companies like Boeing.

            Enough semantics.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            Privatized prisons aren’t cases of government intervention in the private sector.

            No, they’re cases of the private sector intervening in government.

      • rlsentell says:

        I wish I could make a constructive comment that would do justice to your evenhanded and brilliant contribution, but I am just not that good. So I’ll fall back to internet memes.

        Your posting is so full of WIN that it made me laugh in delight. Cheers.

      • Faus says:

        Governments do things for the greater good that must be done honorably? Are you the tooth fairy or Santa Claus?

        • benenglish says:

          Santa, actually. (No kidding; I’ve got the big white beard, belly, the whole magilla. People constantly ask me if I work as a Santa.)

          Thanks for pointing out just how typo-laden my post was for folks who want to think literally and, thereby, deliberately ignore my points.

          By way of correction, then: “Governments SHOULD BE SET UP TO ONLY do things for the greater good, things that SHOULD be done honorably.”

          The fact that government frequently does things that are not for the greater good and frequently acts in a dishonorable way tends to muddy discussions like this. Still, it’s only right for me to acknowledge your valuable contribution when you point out that my rhetoric and reality have diverged.

      • zyodei says:

        Your argument fails on three points:

        1. You assume that private businesses are inherently unstable. But look around you: for every Enron or Lehman Brothers, there are 1000 UPS, Apple, Verizon, Wal-mart, etc. etc. Large corporations have their flaws, but not being able to reliably provide services is not one of them.

        2. You say that change is not a good thing in government services. Then you list the few services that even a minarchist libertarian accepts as valid – criminal justice, national defense, etc. Are you a minarchist libertarian? Or do you admit that most other services that the government provides – education, food safety oversight, transportation, etc. very much needs to change to meet the shifting needs and demands of the population it serves, and the technology available?

        3. Those few areas you do list are some of those where government is failing the worst, and desperately needs change. Criminal justice? We have a system that is focused on punishment first, with nary a thought to rehabilitation or victim compensation. We also put a huge and insane emphasis on punishing non-violent drug offenders.

        Why? A major part is the “public sector unions” of prison guards and police blocking any fundamental reform, even at the cost of hundreds of thousands of basically harmless human beings languishing in cages.

        You are right, however, on one point: politicians giving monopoly rights to a service away to a private, for profit firm is the worst of all worlds, and absolutely undesirable. But please don’t confuse it with businesses competing on the free market.

        • millie fink says:

          “Criminal justice? We have a system that is focused on punishment first, with nary a thought to rehabilitation or victim compensation. We also put a huge and insane emphasis on punishing non-violent drug offenders.

          “Why? A major part is the ‘public sector unions’ of prison guards and police blocking any fundamental reform, even at the cost of hundreds of thousands of basically harmless human beings languishing in cages.”

          That’s a diversionary, classist canard.

          It’s true that in the last few decades, the U.S. prison population went from about 300,000 to over two million because Ronnie Raygun started the War on Drugs, and subsequent presidents continued it. However, because so many still find it profitable (including economically eviscerated rural communities), and because the justice system is so obstinately racist, this war on the primarily non-white poor is still going on. It’s all about votes for “I’m tough on crime!” politicians and money for profiteers, not money for prison guards (many of whom work for increasingly common private companies running the prisons, not for “the public sector”).

          Put down the Kool-Aid, dude. Then read Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow.

          • zyodei says:

            If you don’t think police unions in particular have been there every step of the way pushing back against any reforms in our drug laws or whole philosophy of policing, you’ve been watching some different news from me…

      • zyodei says:

        The idea of lauding the police is just silly. They are public sector workers, payed 100% by taxpayers, promised lavish pensions when they retire.

        They are promising to not crack down on other public sector workers, who are also payed 100% by taxpayers, and also promised lavish pensions when they retire.

        Self-interested much?

        Just playing devil’s advocate..wasn’t Walker duly Democratically elected? Isn’t this the American Democratic process at work, that they are out in the street protesting?

        Walker is hardly a faultless character, but the reports I have read comparing this situation to the various middle eastern uprisings are simply insulting to the brave Arabs.

        P.S. If you are brave enough to stand a little “cognative dissonance,” go read the article “The Political Economy of Government Employee Unions” by libertarian thomas woods.

        If you can intelligently rebut it, please come back here and do so -i’ll check back. It makes a pretty damning case against the public unions, ie unions banding together to balance their power not against a greedy industrialist, but rather, well, against the mass of the people…

        • Anonymous says:

          “Just playing devil’s advocate..wasn’t Walker duly Democratically elected? Isn’t this the American Democratic process at work, that they are out in the street protesting?”

          Protesting is part of the democratic process at work. If people feel strongly enough that something is wrong, they can protest it.

          A democratic election isn’t a carte blanche. Particularly when the person elected never campaigned on removing the rights to bargain from the unions (yes, he did some vague “we’ll fix the unions”, but as far as I’ve been able to tell, he never made removing collective bargaining a regular point).

          Let’s say, hypothetically, a group won a big election. And they want to make it legal for people with brown eyes to do anything they want to people with blue eyes. Unconstitutional, of course, but they’ve got enough to make that law and demand it be enforced. And, because they did well in previous election, they managed to stack the supreme court with brown-eyed judges who think like them. So whenever someone challenges it on constitutional grounds, they rule “sorry, it’s constitutional, blue-eyes aren’t defined as people, we’re good with that”. Would you say to them “Well, that’s the democratic process at work, suck it up and maybe win the next election?”

          It’s an absurd example, granted, but people who suddenly get the power to push through their agenda can also push through plenty of not-immediately-absurd agendas that serve their own interests, not the public good, and if they’re subtle enough, they can get away with it, even if it negatively affects a large number of people. If these people don’t protest with all their hearts, they get screwed and by the time there’s another election, some new issue might take the forefront. The “Why are they protesting democracy” argument just allows for democratically elected tyrants who are clever at playing the politics game.

          But if people protest, others who are affected or might be affected if trends continued but don’t know about it yet, might know, and if enough people care enough to make a big enough stink about it, the people in power had better listen, whether they won an election or not.

          THAT’s democracy.

          • zyodei says:

            Should we make abortion illegal if enough anti-abortion people get out in the streets and make a big stink about it?

            On the contrary, the largest protests the world had ever seen happened on the first day of the Iraq war. They did exactly diddly squat.

            State democracy is basically an absurd, unworkable system.

          • Anonymous says:

            The Iraq war was a failing of democracy. The principle here is simple: representatives are supposed to represent the people. Elections help with this, but since you can’t know every policy the candidate might have in advance, protests are important to correct them along the way.

            Presumably if enough anti-abortion people were protesting about it, to the point where the government was considering banning it, the pro-choice people would also start demonstrating. That’s because the public is divided on it. If they weren’t, presumably there would be no harm in listening to the protesters, rather than simply waiting for them to enforce their opinion in the next election.

          • jackbird says:

            Should we make abortion illegal if enough anti-abortion people get out in the streets and make a big stink about it?

            Sure, just like we did segregation and Jim Crow. That’s called a civil society. However, the fact that this hasn’t actually happened is also meaningful.

        • zyodei says:

          Sorry, that article is by Thomas DiLorenzo.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Jefferson Airplane♥Volunteers
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ljxpyH4dnA

  34. zuben says:

    Federal unions can’t strike. With that basic check on union power, federal agencies and their unions have had a much better history of reaching agreements in the public interest.

    It’s been almost 30 years since President Reagan revealed his forked tongue which had so recently pledged support of certain unions in return for their votes.

    Still not enough time to heal all the wounds or reconcile all the misinformation and propaganda surrounding the watershed event of August, 1981.

    I don’t want to be a drop of rain on anyone’s human, civil, or labor rights parade, but I sense that what’s happening in Madison is too little and too late.

    As I see it, the main battle right now is over information: who creates/spins it; who owns it; who distributes it; who will have access to it; and how its dog whistle pitch will bring froth to the mouths of those intended to hear its call to arms and action.

    The reason many find this video so poignant may be because ‘solidarity’ is both the shield against a plutocratic agenda–but also the weapon a plutocracy would employ to unite those it has skillfully divided, and then pit them against each other.

  35. mdh says:

    An injury to one is an injury to all.

  36. warmmidwest says:

    So, am I getting this right? The middle class municipal workers have too much money and too many benefits, and that’s what’s bankrupting the economies in every state of this nation?

    Is that the macro, big picture reasoning here?

    Does ANYONE remember the U.S. middle class taxpayers bailing out Wall Street bankers and billionaire investors to the tune of nearly $1 trillion, what, three years ago?

    And less than one month AFTER that, the Wall Street boys and girls received million dollar plus bonuses … BONUSES!

    Why isn’t this a point of discussion with the likes of Walker?

  37. lyd says:

    That Capitol will be closing Sunday at 4 and going back to regular business hours next week. Protesters being allowed to stay in the building all night, sleeping or otherwise, ends this evening. I don’t think any trouble is expected.

    http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/116963268.html

  38. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like it’s time to include the cops in the legislation too.

  39. Garwood says:

    I have been a corporate banker for over 20 years an am proud to say I am pro-union. No unions, no middle class period. No Middle class and our society in whatever form of reality that you believe (from gauzy Norman Rockwell inspired memories of an idillic past to whatever torment that prduces teen angst inspired rock, rapp, thrash, metal) all comes from the social condition that a middle class provides. No middle incomes, no support for small and medium sized businesses = no profit for business and no success. The only winners are like those massive fungi that strech for miles, the bigggest living things feeding off of the decay of others former glory.
    OK, admittedly a bit disjointed….. So sue me.

  40. lorq says:

    The entire strategy of Walker, the Koch brothers, and all the rest of these people is to get workers to fight each other, to tear each other down. The various comments I see in this thread differentiating public and private workers are clear evidence that that strategy is working.

    If you earn a paycheck, it is *always* in your interest to support the right to collective bargaining — whether you yourself are a union worker or not, whether you are in the public or private sector. Going after some other worker, in some other profession or sector, is *exactly what opponents of your interests want you to do*. They want you to be their footsoldier, to tear apart other workers, to do their dirty work for them.

    To wax metaphorical: It’s like the ancient Romans throwing Christians to the lions, and watching them get torn apart for spectacle — but here, instead of throwing Christians to the lions, Walker and their ilk, by setting private or non-union workers against public union workers, are essentially throwing Christians to other Christians, and hoping they’ll tear each other apart.

    To extend the metaphor: What the Wisconsin cops are showing is that when you throw Christians to other Christians, what you get is a whole lot of Christians together. An army. Who can then charge the stadium and tear their oppressors apart.

    Not an overblown metaphor, I think. To repeat: If you earn a paycheck, Walker and the Koch brothers and the rest are enemies — enemies — of your rights as a worker, no matter what sector you are in. The *only* way to defeat them is to recognize that it’s *always* in your self-interest to support the rights of all workers everywhere — in all industries, sectors, states, and nations.

  41. lyd says:

    I absolutely love the degree to which the police have been involved with and supportive of the protests so far, but let’s not start embellishing.

    The comments Ryan Harvey attributes to the police are misleading. The legislature did not order a 4:00 eviction on Friday. The Capitol Chief was given the option to issue such an order but wisely chose to go instead with incremental measures aimed at easing everyone out over a few days.

    Police have not refused any orders.

  42. Anonymous says:

    (Cover) As I Went Out One Morning
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B75yyh7w2Pc

  43. Neon Tooth says:

    Neon: I acknowledge your equivalency argument. False: Wall St. doesn’t contribute to society. The stock market is the very essence of a democratic, non-discriminatory social institution.

    Wall St. CEOs ≠ Stock Exchanges. Keeping law and order > fraudulently moving fantasy money around via complex debt instruments, ruining economies and getting rewarded for it.

  44. Cowicide says:

    ATTN: Chuck

    Wabble Warble Mabble Frazazzel Puttle Doo.

  45. Martha says:

    Civil service members all over the world are finding that they have to chose between supporting the government or supporting their people. The Wisconsin Police made the right choice, and I hope others follow their lead.

    I believe apathy and the desire to maintain the status quo have been holding back the people of this country. We have stood by and watched our civil rights be eroded for the past decade. As so many have said, people have been concerned with practical issues. In this case, if the protesters don’t work they deal with the consequences of their income being affected. That is a short sighted concern. We must decide what is worth losing and what we are willing to overcome in the short term in order to prevent greater loss in the future. We have been so wrapped up in maintaining our standard of living that it has not left room for collective efforts. That must change.

    How many of you would cut back your texting plans or give up cable to save for a trip to march on Washington?

  46. elbrucio says:

    I’m somewhat ambivalent about all this. I’m all for private-sector unions, but I think the public sector ones need some additional checks and balances. In the private sector, the owners are rather more involved in the outcome of union negotiations, and an unreasonable union faces the possibility of destroying the company and losing everyone’s jobs.

    In the public sector, elected officials are never certain if they’re going to be back next term, and don’t want the public blaming them for disruption of services in the next election, so they’re more likely to cave in to union demands rather than risk a strike. Unreasonable unions are more likely to thrive because there is no business to sink – taxes just go up instead.

    However, I don’t think eliminating collective bargaining is the answer either, and the police are smart to support the other union workers. Who is to say their union won’t be next if the other one is abolished?

    • benenglish says:

      —I think the public sector (unions) need some additional checks and balances. In the private sector, … an unreasonable union faces the possibility … losing everyone’s jobs.

      … Unreasonable unions are more likely to thrive because there is no business to sink – taxes just go up instead. —

      I’m a supporter of public sector unions but I think you’re right on this one.

      The biggest additional check that’s needed is removal of the right to strike. All the problems we’re seeing on the news every night have to do with public sector unions at the state and local level. There’s no serious problem at the federal level. Federal unions can’t strike. With that basic check on union power, federal agencies and their unions have had a much better history of reaching agreements in the public interest. Federal employees don’t commonly get to load up their overtime in ridiculous ways in order to increase their pensions, for example. On a more basic level, when future obligations for pensions loomed as a potential problem, the federal unions were forced to accept the current Federal Employee Retirement System which is much more comparable to private-sector plans. The old Civil Service Retirement System was phased out starting nearly 30 years ago and as a result there is no looming pension funding crisis for federal employees that’s in any way comparable to some of the problems seen at the state and local levels.

      Some would say that without the right to strike, federal unions aren’t really unions. In a way, I can accept the truth of that. But they have turned out to be an excellent compromise that’s proven workable over the long term.

    • Anonymous says:

      The police know they will be next because this governor has shown he cares about his billionaire campaign contributors but not the working class people of Wisconsin. Yes I am proud to be a public employee, I am a former police officer and am now and educator, I also am a taxpayer, and my family and I vote.

  47. P1rat3 says:

    I forgot to add: skip to 6:22 in the above clip for the details on Politifact’s errors.

  48. noahpoah says:

    The bill wouldn’t eliminate collective bargaining, it would restrict it to wages. Whether you agree with the bill or not, it’s factually incorrect to say that, if it passed, the public sector unions would have no ability to collectively bargain at all.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s right. No more negotiation on heath care, retirement, travel reimbursement and hours. With the proposed rule you can kiss the 40 hour work week good bye. You will no longer be eligible for overtime. Why do I have my job that pays on average 20% less than federal or private counterparts? Because my family MUST have health care. We have pre-existing conditions that would bankrupt us in six months without health care. With health care we can work two moderately paid middle class jobs and improve our community. Without, we become burdens on welfare. I chose the lower wages in exchange for a retirement system I don’t have to think about. I don’t have to read the stock pages everyday and figure out what risky fund I should switch to to keep ahead of inflation. I also don’t have to worry about brokerage fees eating into my fund for every move my pension fund makes. That’s a benefit to collective bargaining.

    • RMS4400 says:

      You’re actually not right either.

      Currently the language states that they could bargain wages up to a rate set by the business community (read: Chamber of Commerce) in a guide made by private business owners.

      That’s not the ability to bargain, that’s the ability to agree to wages set by someone else or disagree and get nothing.

    • MrJM says:

      The bill wouldn’t eliminate collective bargaining, it would restrict it to wages.

      It would also put a hard cap on any wage negotiations. And you’re suggest that that would be legitimate collective bargaining?

      Only in the same way that “Eat shit!” is a legitimate offer to provide a complementary lunch.

  49. Anonymous says:

    Um… when the cops are against you, it doesn’t matter how much money the Koch Brothers are giving you, you might want to back down.

  50. Anonymous says:

    I think it is Snotty Scotty that needs to be ‘kicked out’!

  51. Anonymous says:

    To Antinous / Moderator in reply to Anonymous

    “Because she’s 53. She has a high probability of living 30 years. That means that she’ll receive more than $8,000,000 in payouts. There is nothing that this woman could possibly have done over the course of 30 years that justifies her getting that amount of money to sit on her ass for the next 30 years. That is SOOOOOO not the point of a pension plan. Pension plans do not exist to pay out fabulous sums of money over decades. They exist to support people in retirement.”

    So you are angry because she retired at 53? It seems that regulating the retirement age is the more appropriate action instead of cutting or eliminating pensions/benefits/etc.

    Is Fong to blame when the state system allows you to retire with full benefits 10 years before the national age? Even if she waited until the California average age of 60, the national age of 62 or the national average of 67 she would, cumulatively, be receiving a lot of money. A lot of money from a fund that she helped build over the course of 32 years.

    Typically, when people have pension funds there is a incremental percentage system in place for the amount they can receive based on age and years in service. If California is allowing full pensions for early retirement then our solution is simply; adjust the pay:years ratio system. Attacking or eliminating unions, pensions and retirees isn’t the answer.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Reality 50 years ago: Start work at 20, retire at 65, die at 73. Years worked – 45, years supported -28.

      Reality as rearranged by my generation, the Boomers: Start work at 25, retire at 55, die at 80. Years worked – 30, years supported – 50.

      Do you see the problem there? It doesn’t matter what you do with the money. You can save it, you can invest it, you can get the government to print more of it by fiat. The bottom line is that you can’t spend the majority of your life being non-productive and expect to be taken care of. Somebody has to work and be productive in order to feed and clothe and house everybody.

      Pension funds were invented to take care of people when they became too old to work. Somehow it became a societal expectation to spend the last several decades of your life on the couch watching Oprah. That mindset needs to be eradicated.

  52. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Not really… my retirement is tied to the stock market… it’s defined contribution, but not defined compensation. Those folks will receive (in the case of a lot of cops) 90% of last 3 years salary for the rest of their lives. I’ll have a set pool of money from which my retirement will come… I’ll have to stretch it until I die.

    I don’t think that you quite understand that some people choose to have their work compensation distributed in different ways. Some people take more money up front; some take a better retirement/healthcare/benefits package. Teachers aren’t paid that well, but generally have solid benefits like a pension plan. They made a choice which, as it turns out, will benefit them in a crappy economy. You made a different choice about what compensation was acceptable to you and your choice turned out to be not so good in the current situation. And now you’re whining that they should suffer because they made a better choice than you. Whaaah.

  53. Chuck Pelto says:

    TO: All
    RE: Hey

    After 55 cases ‘killed’, I’d expect that kind of language.

    Let’s just hope he doesn’t drive while he’s like this.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [You're not 'drunk' if you can hold onto the floor without falling off.]

  54. RMS4400 says:

    For them that seek facts regarding the contribution of unionization in the private and public sector:

    monetary and fiscal explanation:

    http://www.epi.org/publications/entry/briefingpapers_bp143/

    legal contribution of the movement:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congress_of_Industrial_Organisations

    Public unions currently make up a significant (some would say majority) part of the unionized workforce in the US. Without that presence, the private sector would lose their rights due to their rapid decline in membership and their lack of significant presence…

  55. Anonymous says:

    The police know that although they are not personally affected by the governor’s actions THIS time, if this is allowed to happen that they will be on the chopping block next.

  56. Chuck Pelto says:

    P.P.S. With ‘respect’ to the allegation of ‘craziness’ on MY part.

    Well…

    ….I guess you HAVE to be ‘crazy’ if you want to spend most of your time on this ball-o-dirt defending the right of people like ‘Cowicide’ to say you’re ‘crazy’, e.g., 27 years in the infantry and an airborne-ranger to boot.

    But…heck….I’ve been spat on and called a’baby-killer’ by his ilk most of my adult life. And he and his ilk can’t hold a candle to Colonel ‘No Slack’ Stack. I’ve been abused by the best. And Cowicide is a mere infant, compared to the likes of Stack. [NOTE: It was considered a 'badge of honor' to be 'numbed' by the Colonel. Indeed. When one of my lieutenants was 'called on the carpet' before the battalion commander, he walked into my office asking if he was appropriately 'dressed'. He had a thick telephone directory under his military blouse. If it were not for the sake of military decorum—me being his company commander—I'd have fallen out of my chair laughing at his sense of (1) duty, (2) preparedness and (3) self-preseration. The man deserved a 'flag'.]

  57. Kickstart says:

    This actually brought a tear to my eye. It’s about time the cops acted like something other than government policy enforcers.

  58. Chuck Pelto says:

    TO: All
    RE: Well

    I guess that ‘killing’ 55 cases can cause one to ‘communicate’ like that.

    Let’s just pray for the sake of everyone who lives near him that he doesn’t drive in this condition.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [You're not 'drunk' if you can hold onto the floor without falling off.]

  59. Neon Tooth says:

    Cheers to Wisconsin cops!

    Also been here forever, probably longer than anon’s 5 too. Unlike anon, I bothered to create an account, and unlike anon I am very thankful for your protest coverage, whether it’s in Wisconsin or The Middle East. Bravo.

  60. Chuck Pelto says:

    P.S. Errata….

    Make that 63+ cases.

    [He walks on water. He staggers on alcohol.]

  61. Anonymous says:

    I haven’t heard anything about impeachment. Is this an option in this case?

  62. Chuck Pelto says:

    TO: Cowicide
    RE: Soooooo…..

    ….tell US all….

    ….what have YOU done for US.

    How does it measure up to jumping out of perfectly good aircraft in flight and a willingness to lay your life down on the line in the face of 9:1 odds [Cold War with the Sovs, if they'd decided to 'go for it'] for the sake of calling people whatever you like?

    Eh? A**hole….

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [Got 'cred'?]

  63. DoctressJulia says:

    Oh, my… this is amazing… it made me tear up. I haven’t been back up at the Capitol since Wed. because I am so exhausted… we must keep fighting.

    …did you guys hear about Walker going to a certain local bar/restaurant here in Madison and getting booed out the door? Ha! We do reserve the right to refuse service. :)

    • osmo says:

      It must be wierd being apart of something that is seen and talked about around the world. (thumbs up from Sweden btw, keep at it!)

      Rayonic: unions provide not only protection for the individual worker, it makes attempts to lower or freeze wages more difficult. It creates the possability to speak out without fear of loosing your job. Without unions or labour associations your at the complete mercy of your bosses. Thats what unions do, public or not. Amongst other things.

  64. Daemon says:

    It’s always nice to be reminded that the police are actually quite capable of doing the right thing.

  65. ocschwar says:

    There’s something else all of you are forgetting. I am married to a teacher. If she weren’t unionized, MY political activities (defiantly centrist, proud to jump back and forth across the fence, thank you) would become a liability for her, just the way it was before teacher’s unions liberated teachers from political machines in cities like Chicago.

  66. Anonymous says:

    I live in Milwaukee county, and I spent the time up until his election urging voter registration. On the East Side of Milwaukee and in Riverwest, no one had any illusions as to what kind of governor Scott Walker would be once elected. The trick was getting people to vote against him in the first place.
    In my opinion, with the election of President Obama, people felt safe leaving political issues alone for a while. There was a great president in office. “He’ll take care of everything.” That was the mentality we encountered.
    Now, not only is Scott Walker cutting out collective bargaining, but he’s trying to cut a quarter of a million people out of BagerCare/BadgerCare+. BadgerCare covers those people who are not provided with Medicaid, because they make too much money, but are not given health insurance by their employers. A great deal of BadgerCare is specifically to ensure that CHILDREN without healthcare receive benefits.
    I work with a girl who used to babysit Scott Walker’s children. She told me that the kids were great, but if she ever had to see him again, she would spit in his face for trying to take away her health insurance.

  67. Walt Guyll says:

    As others have noted government workers have traditionally traded potentially larger paychecks for job security and good benefits. And that public union activities are necessarily opposed to taxpayer interests.
    I wouldn’t mind if public sector unions were utterly crushed.
    Of course, some may disagree.

  68. Anonymous says:

    It could also be that Walker’s apparent willingness to stir up civil unrest by planting agitators didn’t at all sit well with the people who are charged with keeping order. If I were a cop, I’d feel rather like Walker doesn’t give a shit about putting me or my co-workers in unnecessary danger for private political purposes. Somewhat like a pawn, actually.

    And that’s on top of the general sense that I’d have that he’d be coming after my union next.

  69. delt664 says:

    Fantastic!

    However, it makes me a little sad that I get such a rush of elatedness when humans simply do the right thing. It says something about the state of the world when good is unexpected.

  70. Ipo says:

    I like boingboing alright even without politics.
    But I really love it’s politics.

    Cops. I love them so friggin much when they are aware whom they are to protect and serve.

    Moist eyes.

  71. Teller says:

    Speaking of police and pensions, Heather Fong was San Francisco’s police chief for five years. She retired at 53 and now has a pension of $279,000 a year for life. That’s the kind of public servicing that makes public service, as police might say, a “topic of interest.”

    • Neon Tooth says:

      Speaking of police and pensions, Heather Fong was San Francisco’s police chief for five years. She retired at 53 and now has a pension of $279,000 a year for life. That’s the kind of public servicing that makes public service, as police might say, a “topic of interest.”

      Multiply that amount by about 60 to get a Wall St. oligarch’s *bonus* for one year. At least public workers contribute something to society.

  72. Chuck Pelto says:

    TO: All
    RE: And Now….

    ….I have to bid ‘A Dieu’ for a while.

    The FIL has dined to join this house for supper this evening. And I—after three weeks of beating my head against the proverbial—see Hamlet—’slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’ am preparing an appropriate feast. Hence my ability to spend so much time here between various and sundry aspects of ‘preparation’. Now that the superb sauce is set to ‘mellow’ over low heat, I can direct my attentions to efforts more important than demonstrating the problems of Cowicide.

    I wish you ALL—even Cowicide—a delightful and fulfilling Sunday.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [God is alive....and Airborne-Ranger qualified. And so am I.]

  73. heydemann3 says:

    Before you complain about the evil unions, remember every contract is a negotiated one. Someone agreed to the terms as decided by teams from both sides. Some school board, some state agency, some elected official,they sat and talked for hours or days or weeks until both sides had something they would live with. If you don’t like how the agreement came out, get new officials and negotiators. The unions job is to provide for its members the best contract they can get. Any municipality that has agreed to unfunded pensions and so on has only itself to blame.
    Public sector employees need the protections of due process as much as any other worker in areas of discrimination, health care and termination. Why should working for the government make you forgo these protections?
    For background on why the police need a union, look up the working conditions of the Boston force before at the end of WWI, where hours and pay were not guaranteed, bullets were not supplied and graft was the order of the day. If the boss is a corrupt politician, how can a police force do its job?

  74. Blunderbutt says:

    As a longtime Madison resident, I gotta say the cops have always been exceptional. They seem to accidentally shoot people far less than any other major city I’ve lived in.

  75. Chuck Pelto says:

    TO: All
    RE: Heh

    Bragging about killing. How ‘interesting’.

    Or maybe it’s something less interesting than intended.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [He killed a 6-pack, just to watch it die.]

  76. Chuck Pelto says:

    P.S. Just ro put my FIL into a frame-of-reference you—who have never (1) served in the combat arms of the US Military nor (2) studied history in this particular venue…..

    He ‘held off’ a platoon of Nazi Tiger tanks during the opening phases of the Battle of the Bulge—with nothing more than a BAR and a radio-telephone to a battery of artillery….while his unit ‘bugged out’.

    The man got less than he deserved—in my honestly-held-27-years-in-the-US-Infantry—for that alone.

  77. Chuck Pelto says:

    P.S. That would certainly explain the comment about “under my belt”.

  78. JG says:

    I think the following picture is an interesting (if unintentional) summary:

    http://www.sol.net/tmp/walker/walkerwi_small.JPG

  79. spool32 says:

    Be careful what you wish for, folks. If you think the unions are organized, wait until the Evangelicals have a cause they want to promote by taking over a State Capitol.

    This will never happen though… not because Evangelicals are less passionate or less organized, but because they give less money to politicians and have no financial stake in making the politicians to whom they donate remain in a power position to keep giving it back as increased membership dues.

    Still, when the shoe is on the other foot… all this moralizing will fly out the window.

  80. Cowicide says:

    Hey corporatist Republicans??

    Bad boys, bad boys… whatcha gonna do? Watcha gonna do when they come for you?

    COPS is filmed on location with the men and women of law enforcement. All corporatists are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

    [ this is kinda what revolution looks like, I'm sure you're really hating it by now, fuckers - you pushed too far for too long -- and this is just the beginning... hahahahahaha!!!! ]

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, cowicide, if the cops want to act like a gang we can treat them like one…. including refusing to return convictions for people defending themselves against cops.

  81. millie fink says:

    Evidence, please.

  82. DWittSF says:

    This is a very strange argument – you seem to be saying that if an employer is screwing their employees then the only answer to the employee is to quit? This sort of thinking was prevalent over a century ago, when ‘sweatshops’ were prominent, and employers were ‘free’ to employ children, work employees as long as they want, and pay them as little as they like. Is that your idea of a ‘free market’ solution? If so, you need to learn some history, and how unions and govt. regulation provided balance and created livable working conditions for workers.

    Also, please tell us why unions are no longer needed, when it seems like exactly the time they are needed. You may not be aware, or think it it perfectly normal, but real wages have not grown since 1970, while income inequality has grown tremendously. In other words, the Koch brothers are adding to their billions by taking away from their workers, and the public commonwealth. Unless you are smoking cigars with them in an exclusive Manhattan club, which I highly doubt, why would you back the Kochian overlords?

  83. Sekino says:

    In the private sector, if you don’t like your wages, benefits, working conditions… you just quit. Simple as that. Your average taxpayer can’t identify with these people. They are losing the PR game.

    I have toiled in the private sector for years and its culture of treating people like disposable commodities. I only dreamed of job security, a fair pay and being able to stay home with strep throat a couple of days and still be able to make rent…

    Yet I have never wished for the people who DID get these very basic and fair benefits to be stripped of them. I want to see these rights extended to all workers, not see workers sink even lower.

  84. Anonymous says:

    Actually, at this point in time a lot of people DON’T quit their jobs. Because in this economic climate, who knows when/if they’ll find another? I think it’s pretty easy to identify with this protest.

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