Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Kasich-Walker: Euphoric union busters

"This is the our moment to change the course of history!" - Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

Those heady words were the governor's boast to a man on the phone that he had been duped into believing was his billionaire benefactor, David Koch. Such hubris has marked those Republican governors and lawmakers who have put on fright masks to alarm the voters that their states will perish unless budget deficits are erased by summarily ending collective bargaining by public unions.

Such fairy tales, however, disguise the real reason that public unions have been targeted with unsupportable math. It's naked union-busting and I would give the GOP gang at the statehouse more credit for authenticity if they came flat out and said so. But that would blow their cover for the longer-range scenario in play. President Obama will be running for reelection in 2012 and his Republican rival will need all of the help he or she can get to fulfill his opponents' goal that has been on the clock since he was sworn in.

Now that we are past the Academy Awards rites, the attacks on mostly Democrat-friendly unions will be one of many top-billed theatrical narratives short of impeachment (but Newt Gingrich may try it anyway). Still worst-laid plans often go awry. Gov. Walker woke up this week to new polls that show him falling into minus-territory with the Badger voters for his Rambo role in this.

It's even worse in Ohio, whose wisdom-less governor and legislature will soon give us an even harsher restriction on public unions. Unlike Walker's gambit, John Kasich has no problems including police and firefighters in the repeal of collective bargaining. By all accounts, he is expected to win this one, if not with the public, at least with his Republican Sugar Daddies. (Walker says he talks to Kasich every day.) This is a high- stakes maneuver, folks. Next on the gallows: closed union shops. Talk of right-to-work is in the air.

Disclosure: Years ago I joined a newspaper staff that had the option of not joining the American Newspaper Guild. Several staffers decided to play nice to impress the boss and didn't join. However, whatever was earned in a new contract by dues-paying members also was awarded to the non-joiners. I didn't think that it was fair at the time, and nobody can tell me why it would be fair now.

I suspect the collective bargaining ploy will haunt Republicans who support it for some time. For younger Republicans with long-range political ambitions they may win the battle today but lose the war in the next chapter of their careers. That's something they might want to consider.


PJJinOregon said...

I don't give a flip about what happens to Republicans in the next 20 years. But I do care what happens to the education of America's children. Both Walker and Kasich will heavily reduce education support. How they expect the uneducated US to compete with educated China, India and Brazil in 2035 is a mystery. The GOP motto is "dumb and getting dumber".

Mencken said...

History tells us that part of the Third Reich's strategy to seize power was to outlaw labor unions and strikes. That, and identifying a certain group of people as the root of Germany's economic problems. Seizing this group's financial assets was the next step.

Sound familiar? Even scarier, does Goebbel's quote sound timely ?

“The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly - it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over”

Anonymous said...

The basis of the Big Lie-"It's not about union busting, it's about balancing the budget", is getting a disheartening amount of acceptance from the general public. Talk of "Cadillac Healthcare" and "Golden Pensions" are having the desired effect on a public that is discouraged by the country's financial situation. What I find discouraging is the general public's willingness to put the same groups who caused the problem in charge of correcting it. Mencken hit the nail on the head. As a just retired, over thirty year public employee, I had a front row seat to the corruption and hi-jinks perpetrated by management in Ohio state government institutions and departments. Management are the folks making the obscenely high salaries for doing practically nothing. Many, and I mean MANY, people in management in the institution I worked for, had additional outside jobs besides their state positions. Their small workload enabled this. I witnessed many in management get away with doing things that not only should have cost them their job, but should have faced prosecution for. They retained their jobs and were protected by management. I also saw many in the general workforce be fired unfairly, or be used as a scapegoat and it was only through binding arbitration that their jobs were saved, sometimes after YEARS of fighting. Make no mistake, this is about UNION BUSTING, a tactic on the Republican's plate for years. The sad thing is, the general public is falling for it.

Grumpy Abe said...

Thanks for your eye-witness report. Keep in touch. No room for retreat.

Mencken said...

Kasich told us that the reason he paid premium salaries to his cabinet members because Ohioians would be better served by getting premium employees in return.

Gov. Kasich then seemes to have suffered an immediate case of amnesia by then proposing cuts to wages and benefits for fire fighters, police officers, teachers and the rest of the public employee groups.

Kasich comes from the culture of Merrill, Goldman, & Lehman where huge broker bonuses and compensation were doled out IN A DOWN MARKET, by saying they would lose their brokers to the competition if they weren't showered in cash.

Let's see, you bankrupted your financial institutions and America's 401K's by being criminally negligent and devious, and for that you should be rewarded with a huge bonus ? Loot an electronics store and you might get shot. Loot America's retirement accounts, and you get a million dollar bonus.

It's obvious that Kasich considers fire fighters and other public employees not only expendable, but responsible for the recession. Takes the heat off his cronies.

Anonymous said...

Mencken AGAIN hits the nail on the head. Public employees became the Jews to Kasich's Third Reich.

ScottWalkerFan84 said...

More Nazi comparisons? For the love of God, get a grip people.

Just last year you liberals were hyperventilating over a couple of idiots at health care protests holding Hitler signs. Now there is legislation that you don't like and all of sudden it is the return of the Third Reich.

You guys sound like lunatics. We are talking about collective bargaining not genocide.

Mencken said...

Turn the crank on the Jack in Box long enough and pop goes the weasel..... or the Fox.

Look Foxy, my comment was for your education and my amusement. I could have written your comment myself and saved you the wear and tear on your knuckles.

Tactics are tactics Foxy, whether it's Goebbels, or Pravda the Pol Pot newsletter, or Roger Ailes' private emails.

What I said was historical fact. Read some quotes by Goering , Himmler, or Goebbels.... just to broaden your horizon. I'm not talking about genocide you fool. I'm referring to the tactics of union busting, propaganda, and the scape-goating a segment of society as the root of economic woes to push a political agenda. What's happening here, happened there. Because you're ignorant of those facts, I get to yank your chain on a regular basis.

I don't expect you to change your mind Foxy, in fact I'd much prefer you stay on your own team, but if you'd STFU for two minutes, and do your homework for once, maybe you'd learn when you're being played and manipulated by your heroes. If you think my comparison is unfair then butch up and tell me
where and how I'm wrong.

The past is prologue foxy. I read that in a book somewheres.

ScottWalkerFan84 said...


I am not being played or manipulated by anyone. As an Ohio taxpayer, it is in my best interest that the wages and benefits of public employees be brought into line with the private sector. Why should workers in the private sector have to pay for generous health care benefits and pensions that they themselves don't even get? Where is your compassion and empathy for the folks who pay the salaries for these union members?

Thankfully, taxpayers in Wisconsin and Ohio finally have someone in office who is on their side. Because their campaigns aren't bankrolled by unions, men like Kasich and Walker can negotiate with the best interest of taxpayers in mind.

At last we are following the steps of the federal government and most other states in reducing collective bargaining rights for public employees. It is about time that we put hardworking taxpayers first. This is simply a matter of fairness.

Grumpy Abe said...

Before this goes any farther, is it fair to suggest that public employees are not, as you put it, "hardworking taxpayers", too. Somehow that has been lost in the divisive profiling that public employes are a brand of lazy, non-taxpaying leaches. The next time you meet a cop returning from a crime scene, I dare you to mention that to him or her. If Kasich told you that he has solid social skills, you'd believe that, too. Right?

Mencken said...

That Foxy thinks that there are two distinct sides here, the "hardworking taxpayers" on one side, and the overpaid public employees on the the other speaks for itself. So much for nuance Foxy.

Foxy then says, "Because their campaigns aren't bankrolled by unions, men like Kasich and Walker can negotiate with the best interest of taxpayers in mind".

Let me catch my breath. As if Walker & Kasich got their campaign dollars by selling chocolate chip cookies after ten o'clock mass. The Koch brothers, Wall Street, and the "Americans for Prosperity", they're not bankrolling anyone are they ? They only care about the taxpayers. Again, you're being terribly naive.

joe Hill said...


Enough of your talking points. Evidence not propaganda is the order of the day. You make a number of claims about wages and benefits that are bogus. Put up or STFU.

David Hess said...

The union-busting crusade bankrolled by the Koch brothers and their like-minded corporations smells suspiciously like an aborning coup, in collaboration with right-wing politicians, that is intended not simply to neuter and debase American workers. It also seems designed, using the corporatistas elected handmaidens, to strip union-friendly Democratic office-seekers of the manpower and money needed to mount credible campaigns to win public office. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's layoff of hundreds of public employees, for instance, would deprive the unemployed workers' bargaining units of the dues it takes to back candidates who support collective bargaining. For the Walkers and Kasichs, a coup would assist in weakening the opposition party and make it much easier -- with the millions of corporate dollars gushing into election campaigns, mostly to GOP candidates -- to tighten the anti-union conservatives' grip on the offices they hold and expand their numbers in the government. The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the Citizens United case, the most egregious example of partisanship by the panel since Gore V Bush, now gives corporations free rein to pump millions (even billions collectively) into efforts to complete the coup.

JLM said...

Until quite recently, I was one of those "union bums" sucking off the public teat. The inference that I and others made exorbitant salaries and paid little or nothing for healthcare and into my pension is a falsehood perpetrated by the proponents of SB5. I made the "Nazi comparison" because it is valid. Point the finger at some schlub and say, "He's to blame, that guy right there. Get him!" and watch the mob attack. I've seen it all over this and countless other blogs since this bill's inception. People are pissed off and they want someone to lay the finger on. Kasich, Walker, et al. are providing it for guys like you. And by the way, there was something else I did for the more than 30 years I worked for the state and still do...PAY TAXES.

JLM said...

By the way, Mr. Hess' statement is proved right, on this date 3/9/11, as Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald(R-WI) stated today to FoxNews that "this battle" is about eliminating unions so that "the money is not there" for the labor movement. Specifically he said that the destructions of unions will make it "much more difficult" for President Obama to win reelection in Wisconsin. He said: "If we win this battle, and the money is not there under the auspices of the unions, certainly what you're going to find is President Obama is going to have a much difficult, much more difficult getting elected and winning the state of Wisconsin."
But it's not about union busting, is it Fan84? It's about simple fairness and balancing the budget.