City Night Skyline wallpaper – Conservatism Before Patriotism

city at night, city by the river

City Night Skyline wallpaper

 

Since it is an unusually slow news day even for a Sunday there is a general news round-up:

As Jobs Act languishes, McConnell says Obama wants gridlock

President Obama’s $447 billion jobs package appears to be headed nowhere fast in Congress, and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is suggesting that’s exactly what the president wants.

In a statement Tuesday, McConnell said the White House’s “explicit strategy” is to “make people believe that Congress can’t get anything done.”

“The political operators over at the White House seem to believe that they benefit from the appearance of gridlock,” McConnell said. The GOP leader’s statement came after Mr. Obama sent Congress three long-anticipated free trade agreements. McConnell said the administration’s interest in gridlock explains both why it took so long to pass the trade agreements and also the status of the American Jobs Act.

McConnell is a walking PowerPoint presentation of Chapter One in the right-wing conservative play-book: Lie and Lie Big. Repeat lie as often as someone has a microphone in your face. McConnell(R-KY) is one of the conservatives who admitted he and his co-conspirators took the country hostage during the debt ceiling debate – risking another economic crash – and will take the country hostage again if their demands are not met without compromise. One of the reasons President Obama is struggling in the polls is that he has reached out to compromise with Republicans so often. Republicans are not responsible for the poll numbers – they never have approved of Obama even when he has implemented policies which Republicans had previously supported (for example the right-wing Heritage Foundation had supported Romney-care in Massachusetts, the plan that the health care reform bill was modeled on). Steve Bennen has some more examples where the conservative idea of compromising with Obama has been that they get everything they want.McConnell also goes on to claim that there is no use Republicans supporting the Jobs Bill because a couple of Democratic senators don’t support the bill. yea, that’s right McConnell and a dozen other Republicans would vote for the Jobs Bill, but only if it gets every Democratic vote. And the stork delivers babies.

There is always a reason for the Big Lie. McConnell and conservatives are scared that President Obama is gaining traction with the public. Oh and one other thing, the Jobs Bill will create jobs and lower the deficit – CBO: Obama jobs bill reduces budget deficit

The Congressional Budget Office on Friday confirmed that President Obama’s jobs bill would be fully paid for over ten years and also gave its seal of approval to Senate Democrats’ version that includes a surtax on millionaires.

The CBO said that the original Obama stimulus bill would involve $447 billion in tax cuts and new spending—the same estimate given by the administration. It said the bill would raise $450 billion over ten years. The result is a $3 billion decrease in deficits over ten years.

The Senate Democrats’ bill, which replaces Obama’s taxes on the upper middle class with a 5.6 percent surtax on those with annual incomes above $1 million, raises $453 billion over ten years and reduces deficits by $6 billion. The tax kicks in 2013.

 

Once again conservatives show they have no real interests in creating jobs or lowering the deficit. It’s all about making the conservative movement look good. Conservatism before patriotism.

Mitt Romney taps foreign policy, national security advisers

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Thursday announced a team of dozens of foreign policy and national security advisers, tapping an array of Bush administration veterans and former lawmakers to help him shape his defense, intelligence and counterterrorism proposals.

[  ]…“America and our allies are facing a series of complex threats,” Romney said in a statement. “To shape them before they explode into conflict, our foreign policy will have to be guided by a strategy of American strength. I am deeply honored to have the counsel of this extraordinary group of diplomats, experts, and statesmen. Their remarkable experience, wisdom, and depth of knowledge will be critical to ensuring that the 21st century is another American Century.”

This list of advisors is the rise of the zombie neocons. Romneys tea includes torture cheerleader and former CIA director Michael Hayden, Robert Kagan – who has never heard of a war that didn’t sound like a swell idea, former aid to Darth Cheney Eric Edelman, the Heritage Foundation’s Kim Holmes who advocates another preemptive war – this time against Iran and Eliot Cohen who was on the nefarious Defense Policy Advisory Board Member (2001-2009) – so he can be relied on to send your sons and daughters to die for some very serious reasons that only rabid ideologue can truly understand but will be draped in the kind of blood drenched fake patriotism for which the neocons have become famous. So much for Romney being the moderate.

Posters at The Volokh Conspiracy frequently get some things rights especially in regards the 1st and 4th Amendments even if they get there by some convoluted reasoning. This happens to be a rare time which the argument is mostly sound – Secret DOJ Memo re Awlaki Targeting, and NYT Public Editor on Policy-By-Leaks

I’m traveling and can’t stop to comment, but check out Charlie Savage’s New York Times story describing a secret DOJ memo, reportedly principally authored by David Barron and Marty Lederman, that provided the justification for putting Anwar Al-Awlaki on the targeting list in the first place.  Crucial reading on the targeted killing and drone debate.

One thought, however. As Jack Goldsmith and Ben Wittes have argued at Lawfare, and I have argued here and at Opinio Juris, although it is certainly helpful to have a summary in the press about the issues discussed in the secret memo and their resolution, the fact that it is merely leaked, quite apart from not making available the actual text, is a grave part of the problem here.  If it can be shown to press people and written about at length, then it should be made available publicly, as official policy and part of the process of defending the policy.  Leaks de-legitimize policy over the long run, and reforms to the accountability and oversight of “covert” actions that are not truly covert need to provide some mechanism for releasing information on their legal justifications.  It’s good that this information is out there; it is bad that it was put out there through leaks.

I’m not sure it is “bad” that we know because of leaks. It is mostly about appearances. I don’t have some poll numbers to cite, but my general take on reactions to policy regarding Al Aulaqi in particular is that the public wants to know the legal reasoning up front even if their mind is already made up about the legal reasons pro or con. It is not as though letting citizens in on the legal justification for killing an American enemy combatant will compromise national security. Still under debate is the use of drones for what appears to be what some have called targeted “assassinations”. Al Aulaqi death was justified under the circumstances, but that does not mean to me that the policies surrounding his death should be secret.

For Some, Wall Street Is Main Street

Panini and Company Cafe normally sells sandwiches to tourists in Lower Manhattan and the residents nearby, but in recent days its owner, Stacey Tzortzatos, has also become something of a restroom monitor. Protesters from Occupy Wall Street, who are encamped in a nearby park, have been tromping in by the scores, and not because they are hungry.

Ms. Tzortzatos’s tolerance for the newcomers finally vanished when the sink was broken and fell to the floor. She installed a $200 lock on the bathroom to thwart nonpaying customers, angering the protesters.

There is no excuse the  behavior documented in this article. The protesters or some of their sympathizers need to compensate these businesses for any damages and loss of business. It only takes a few bad apples and a few incidents to undermine the message of OWS. It may not be fair that talking about banks cheating people on foreclosures or other abhorrent behavior being over shadowed by abusing a public restroom, but it works like that. Some businesses report brisk sales in coffee, t-shirts and other items. Still we have the businesses that are being abused, nearby residents putting up with the noise and not being able to use the park, and apparently some sanitation issues in the park. OWS should be going out of its way to make sympathizers, not antagonize people.

Palin says it’s time to “reload for America”

“Now isn’t the time to retreat, now is the time to reload with truth so we can fight for this country and reload for America,”

Palin has a pathetic record of telling the truth and differentiating her fevered paranoia from actual reality.

“I’m talking about real hope, not that hopey changey stuff that some politicians try to get you go believe in.”

Palin has cashed in on her own brand of hopey changey stuff to the tune of millions. She made people believe she was going to run for president – took their money – then changed her mind. So if someone’s idea of hope and change involved President Palin they got the shaft in exchange for the donations Palin asked for . *Related to that link to Jon Stewart – Glenn Beck Has ‘Absolutely No Respect’ For ‘Non-Thinking Man’ Jon Stewart. Sort of like not being respected by the world’s biggest idiot. Something to be proud of.

Jon Stewart acts like Glenn Beck on the Daily Show

 

Why Herman Cain Is The Koch Brothers’ Favorite Presidential Candidate

 – Cain traveled to Wisconsin in support of the Koch-funded union-busting bill: During the apex of the fight in Wisconsin over Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) union-busting bill this spring, Cain traveled to the Badger State to support the conservative power-grab, speaking at a rally in February. The Koch brothers were major players in Wisconsin’s anti-union push.

What did great cause did Cain fight for in Wisconsin? Besides fighting to take away rights from average working Americans – the Right usually calls those people thugs – Cain was fighting for tax payers right to buy iPads for Republicans

Despite Insisting State Was ‘Broke,’ Gov. Scott Walker Spent $60,000 On iPads | Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) infamously used his state’s budget gap as pretext to strip collective bargaining rights from public sector workers, insisting that “Wisconsin is broke” and thus extraordinarily measures were required. But the state is apparently not that broke, as the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. just dropped “about $60,000? on brand new iPads for every person on their staff, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Actually, they bought more than enough, purchasing 73 tablets for only 63 employees (they say the are in the middle of hiring more people). The agency is a public-private hybrid, but a spokesperson said the iPads were purchased with state dollars.

Vintage World Map 1626 – Another Day In Twisted Morality From Conservatives

Vintage World Map 1626

Vintage Africa Map 1652

 

Murray Is Chosen as a Leader of Deficit Panel

Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington, will be co-chairwoman of a powerful new Congressional committee that is supposed to recommend at least $1.5 trillion of additional deficit-reduction measures, the Senate majority leader announced Tuesday.

The leader, Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, also appointed two other Democratic senators, Max Baucus of Montana and John Kerry of Massachusetts, to the panel.

Mr. Baucus is chairman of the Finance Committee, which has authority over Medicare, Medicaid and taxes — three prime areas of attention for the new 12-member panel, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.

Mr. Kerry, the Democrats’ presidential nominee in 2004, is chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.

Mrs. Murray, who won a tough re-election race last year, is a member of the Senate Democratic leadership, the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Budget Committee. Her selection raised eyebrows among Republicans because she is also chairwoman of the Senate Democrats’ campaign arm, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

In that role, Mrs. Murray recently attacked Republican candidates, saying they wanted to turn Medicare “into a voucher program run by for-profit insurance companies in order to pay for more giveaways to oil companies and the very rich.”

Mr. Reid said Mrs. Murray, a senator since 1993, had deep knowledge of budget issues and had shown an ability to “work across party lines.”

That skill will be useful in the joint committee, which will be evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, with a seven-vote majority needed to make recommendations. “The world is watching the work of this committee,” Mr. Reid said.

While the math fumblers at S%P have given the U.S. a downgrade, the Republicans debt ceiling theatrics have come back to haunt them. The public, perhaps only slightly better at math than S&P, has downgraded the conservative movement. New CNN Poll: Majority want tax increase for wealthy and deep spending cuts. As one could have expected from following the talks and news of the offer of Obama’s Grand bargain, there would have been more spending cuts if only conservatives would allow some little increase in revenue through tax reform and closing loopholes, Obama’s poll numbers look better than anyone’s. We can disagree on how hard who fought for what, but at the end of the day, who in fact looked like the most reasonable person in the debt ceiling debate. If Republicans are the chess masters they claim to be they should have seen the consequences of their actions a few moves back. They were determined not to let anything that even hinted at Obama’s signature on a debt plan be put to a vote. They said they were going to pass the best spending cuts bill available. Obama signs off on a plan that Republican leadership claimed was better than Mom’s apple pie – Boehner said he got 98% of what he wanted. The public is left with the jaw dropping impression that yet another conservative caused economic train wreck was narrowly avoided. If this continues, and there is no reason to think Republicans will get a sane grown-ups booster shot, we could save the nation millions by having an unchallenged presidential election in 2012, as its is already a done deal. The choices are six to eight kinds of crazy or one guy that may not be the next FDR, but has shown no tendency to punish millions of American families in the name of some wacky urban myths about excessive federal spending. The CNN poll also means conservative golden boy Eric Cantor is still tone-deaf to what the American people want – Eric Cantor’s Pseudo-Economic Rationale.

The last good thing John McCain did for the U.S. was the McCain-Feingold law of 2002. The rest of the time he is a semi-regular pontificator on the Sunday talk shows. He has no particular expertise on anything – he doesn’t even know how many homes he owns. Has nothing of real value to contribute to the public discourse. Oh, wait, that’s it. Such qualities make him the perfect conservative and darling of the Beltway press. There is one good thing to be said of this dinosaur of empty-headedness, he looks good compared to some of his constituents, McCain heckled by Tea Partiers over ‘Agenda 21′

It’s angry Tea Party town hall month in America and, in Arizona yesterday, Senator John McCain got a taste of the kind of crazy that colored Colorado’s gubernatorial race last year. The longtime public servant and one-time GOP presidential nominee was called out of touch by Tea Partiers who were shocked McCain didn’t know about United Nations “Agenda 21,” a plan that will see a world government take over the United States by wresting control of its farms.

“First our firearms, then our farms,” one of the Tea Partiers called out, amid the hullabaloo, according to the Arizona Republic.

Baffled, McCain said no Congress would allow that to happen but few cared to hear it.

Media Matters and Think Progress have full-time staffs to keep track on and research all the myths and conspiracy theories these conservative dip sticks come up with and they’ll never keep up. As soon as one is exposed another takes its place. Conservatives must carry them like sleeping spores. It is just a matter of the right amount of moisture, heat and state of mind, than another piece of crackery comes to life. That McCain has to personally put up with this craziness is small comeuppance for the disastrous policies he has supported over the years, from which millions of Americans have suffered as a result.

National Review: Obama Secretly Supports Violent London Rioters

Violent riots have swept London all week. The Washington Post reports that last night, “Rampant looting and raging fires engulfed swaths of London on Monday as the wave of civil unrest that has gripped this sprawling capital escalated sharply.” Tonight, 16,000 police officers will take the streets to try to control the situation.

This morning in the National Review, Stanley Kurtz suggests that President Obama privately supports the violent protesters. Here’s how Kurtz makes his case:

The London riots have already kicked off the latest version of the seemingly never-ending debate over whether such events should be seen primarily as political protests by the powerless, or as out-and-out lawbreaking and vandalism. Back in 1992, Obama clearly leaned toward the former.

I found the press release Obama issued to get Project Vote rolling, in the ACORN archives at the Wisconsin Historical Society… Said Obama in 1992: “The Los Angeles riots reflect a deep distrust and disaffection with the existing power pattern in our society.” That’s Alinsky-speak for “We’ve got to use the power of the angry underclass to put capitalism in check.” […]

I certainly don’t think President Obama would openly speak about events in London the way he spoke about the L.A. riots nineteen years ago. What he thinks to himself is another matter.

What better way to figure out what Obama thinks about the riots in London than sifting through 20-year-old press releases in the ACORN archive?

Kurtz didn’t let the fact that nothing in the ACORN archive even begins to support the conclusion that Obama supports people who are burning down buildings and smashing store windows in London. He simply translates the press release into “Alinsky-speak” and the logic of his conspiracy theory is complete.

I’ll get to some specifics about the London riots in a moment. It appears that like many such phenomenon they started out as a mix of genuine protesters who had no intention of doing any property damage or cause harm to any persons. Like the L.A. riots those few legitimate protesters were over shadowed by people who used events as an excuse to riot. This is one of the reasons I’m not big on street protesting. Your perfectly legitimate agenda is easily compromised by zealots or the opposition looking to make your side look bad. After reading the above – see the proper nouns, the pronouns, the adjectives, the verbs: Obama, riots, sympathizes, leaned, the former, LA riots, London riots, direct parallels drawn, ACORN. Kurtz  reads the TPro write-up and he say he did not say what he said,

I see that a liberal blogger out there is claiming I think Obama “supports” the London rioters. No way do I think that, nor did I say that in my original post. My point was that Obama in 1992 saw the L.A. riots as a kind of political protest, a view quite similar, by the way, to the argument now being made by former London mayor Ken Livingstone, who thinks the British riots are implicitly a protest against the government’s austerity measures. Here’s a post from a blogger at Forbes who correctly criticizes the mischaracterization of my argument.

I was just casually observing that Kurtz engages in the kind of parallels Goebbels drew between the Jews and the decline of German power. But I really was not saying that. You can’t catch me making obtuse meaningless comparison because there are secret thoughts inside my head I didn’t use in the post which would clearly prove what I said was not what I meant. I would never engage in such Orwellian propaganda techniques because that would be unsportsmanlike conduct. This two young women have deeper insights than into the U.K. riots than Kurtz will ever hope to have – London riots: ‘A generation who don’t respect their parents or police’

Plenty of local young people, of course, were not involved – and many had little sympathy for the disturbances. “I think it was opportunism,” said Sarah, 17, who lives behind the Pembury. “I can understand why people would riot in Tottenham but here? I just thought it was a chance for them to cause havoc. It’s just an excuse.”

“But there is a problem,” interrupted her friend Ally, 21. “Growing up here, a lot of young boys, they are constantly harassed and stop and searched. The people, not just young people, they don’t like the police. They don’t get along with the police. They say the police are no good. They feel like they don’t help them. So what was happening, they were just trying to give the police the runaround. Just to piss them off.”

Both young women are currently looking for work, without success. “My dad talks about his generation, it was hard for them, but I think it’s worse for us,” said Ally.

Definitely some people are just taking a riot that was for injustice and turning it to something that hasn’t got anything to do with it. But maybe it’s a cry for help as well. People are doing it to be noticed, because there’s a problem.”

I watched some video from the networks and the net. There is no excuse for what the rioters are doing. I saw one young man throw some bottles at the police than turn and hit an elderly man who was just trying to get past. I also saw a lot of young people, those most discouraged by the U.K.’s austerity plan condemn the riots. One thing the National Review, Kurtz, Fox and the right-wing pundits could do to get the “left’s” take on the riots is to listen to what the ‘left” actually says. Britain’s Labour Party is, unlike America’s Democrats, truly left of center. Ed Miliband: No excuses for rioting

Labour leader Ed Miliband has said there can be “no excuses” for the violent behaviour which broke out in London and spread to other cities.

Visiting Peckham in south London, where shops were looted, he said restoring public order must be the priority.

He urged the government to provide resources to help people who have lost their homes and businesses.

The PM cut short his holiday to chair a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee in Downing Street on Tuesday.

And this from another Labour MP(Member of Parliament) – People need reassurance that the police have the resources they need to keep streets safe

Yvette Cooper MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, commenting on police numbers in London and across the country, said:

“The 16,000 police on the streets of London made a big difference last night in restoring calm. This is further evidence that the Tory-led Government needs to urgently rethink its cuts to police officers and police budgets. Now is not the time to cut over 16,000 police officers across the country.

“It is shameful that it has taken these appalling events to force Boris Johnson to realise people are concerned about police cuts, as he has already cut 900 police officers from the Met in the last year and the Mayor’s own plans mean 1,800 officers are expected to go in total over the next few years. The police, communities and campaigners have been warning that these cuts were unsustainable for many months. It should not take awful criminal violence on the scale we have seen for those warning voices to be heard.

“People in London and across the country need reassurance that the police have the resources and officers they need to keep the streets safe and maintain law and order. Now is not the time for 20 per cent budget cuts that make it harder not easier for the police to do their jobs.

 

We can all depend on the Right to give us just as accurate view of events in the U.K. as we can of Michelle Bachmann(R-MN) giving us an accurate history of the treasonous Confederacy and the institution of slavery – Bachmann’s ‘Must-Read’ List Included A Book That Claims Blacks Were ‘Better Off In Nearly Every Way’ Under Slavery. When they meet for lunch do the slavery was great conservatives have the same flavor kool-aid as the “Agenda 21” conservatives or the Obama loves a good riot conservatives.

Congratulations to the citizens of Wisconsin in turning back the tide of Republican fanaticism – Wisconsin wrap up, a real victory, and we fight on. The Democratic party of Wisconsin should be hounding the DOJ to investigate election fraud – Koch Group Mails Suspicious Absentee Ballot Letters In Wisconsin

 

Mr. Kurtz may have been enough twisted logic and right-wing propaganda for one day. For those who can stomach a little more, RNC Chair Blames Obama For GOP’s Unpopularity

Bargaining Rights Not Connected to Budget Problems

The rabid right-wing Republican NewsBusters screws up yet again, but does bring up an accuracy issue worth taking a look at, Wisconsin State Senator Smacks Down Chris Matthews: ‘You’re Completely Uninformed’

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews tried Monday to push the liberal media meme that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker exempted police and firefighters from his budget repair plan because their unions endorsed him in last November’s election.

Chris Matthews a liberal. Only a group of bloggers who make Nixon look like FDR would think Matthews is a liberal. The same Chris Matthews who praised Bush 43’s leadership, “What’s the importance of the president’s amazing display of leadership tonight?” and “We’re proud of our president. Americans love having a guy as president, a guy who has a little swagger, who’s physical…” In News Buster’s world anyone who is not genuflecting 24/7 for the far Right agenda qualifies as a liberal. If there is a liberal meme that Walker is letting police and firefighters have their collective bargaining rights as a quid pro quo for their political endorsement, I’m not aware of it. Since Matthews is not a liberal, as far as I know he does not even qualify as a party of one. Is he and anyone repeating the quid pro quo meme mistaken? Yes they are, NewsBusters. This is the important thing to remember. Not all the police and firefighter unions and their various divisions endorsed Walker. Walker did give almost all of them a waiver on his demand to end all collective bargaining rights for public employee unions. This waiver is one of a few very relevant flaws in the argument Wisconsin Governor Mohamed Hosni Mubarak Walker. If bargaining rights are somehow connected to balancing the state budget, than the same standard should apply to all public employees. Bargaining rights have nothing to do with balancing the budget. It’s like discussing the monthly budget with your spouse and suddenly claiming if they would stop talking for the next year the checking account will be magically balanced. Talking is just that. Maybe Walker is afraid he will not be able to resist those sweet talk’n labor leaders in the future.

The current stand-off in Wisconsin has created some friction between unions because of the police and firefighter exceptions, Law enforcement union members ‘at each other’s throats’ over budget plan

The Wisconsin Law Enforcement Association, which represents about 900 state troopers, inspectors, police communication operators, Motor Vehicle Department field agents and other state police, includes some members who have been exempted from Walker’s plan, said WLEA President Tracy Fuller on Sunday.

“Our union is being torn apart about this,” said Fuller, who is a State Patrol inspector from Madison. “We’ve got members at each other’s throats.”

Walker exempted the State Patrol and its inspectors from the bill, but UW and Capitol police, among others in the WLEA, would lose their collective bargaining rights if the budget repair bill passes.

“I want to tell our members not to turn and destroy each other when we have to do battle against the governor’s budget proposal,” Fuller said. “Let’s not kill each other over this thing.”

Fuller said he regretted that the Wisconsin Trooper’s Association, which is an organization made up of many WLEA members, endorsed Gov. Scott Walker – WLEA itself did not endorse anyone, he said.

Fuller, who said the State Patrol did not ask for the exemption, said the WLEA is meeting Tuesday to decide whether it can survive. WLEA members had been affiliated with AFSCME Council 24 before breaking off on their own in 2005. State troopers and inspectors make up about half the membership, Fuller said.

The lead for this story is unfortunate. The WLEA (Wisconsin Law Enforcement Association) recently posted this take on Walker’s radical change to state policy and public employees,

To – WLEA Members
From – WLEA Executive Board (Message 1)

On Friday, February 11, Governor Walker announced his plan to radically reshape Wisconsin’s public employee laws. The proposed bill, which the Governor refers to as a Budget Repair bill, goes far beyond that. One could argue that the doctor diagnosed a sprained knee, and the Governor’s solution is to amputate both legs. After all, if you get chop the knees off, you won’t have to worry about spraining them again. Of course, the treatment seems a little radical as a solution.

Statutes describe what is supposed to happen when a state employee union contract isn’t approved. 111.91(1) … If the legislature does not adopt without change that portion of the tentative agreement introduced by the joint committee on employment relations, the tentative agreement shall be returned to the parties for renegotiation.

Governor Elect Walker got his way in December when the legislature failed to approve the tentative agreements. The proper procedure would have been to reopen negotiations. However, no negotiations happened with any unions. Governor Walker was quoted in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel after the budget repair bill was introduced by saying, “I don’t have anything to negotiate,” Walker said. “We are broke in this state. We have been broke for years. People have ignored that for years, and it’s about time somebody stood up and told the truth. The truth is: We don’t have money to offer. We don’t have finances to offer. This is what we have to offer.”http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/115911379.html

As employees, we all know that there is more to negotiations than just economics. Under current law, wages, hours of work and other conditions of employment are subjects of negotiation. The Budget Repair Bill won’t just require state employees to pay more for insurance. It would abolish all bargaining other than wages, and those wages would be capped at the consumer price index.

The new administration never attempted to start discussions with the WLEA Bargaining Team or any other bargaining unit. They just dropped the bomb on all of the public employee unions.

This bill carves out an exemption for “public safety workers”, but if we are honest, those exemptions will be limited. Once the draconian changes are implemented on the rest of the public employees, it’s only a matter of time until they catch the public safety workers too.

This bill has some provisions that make no sense, unless the basic intent is to bust unions. One provision makes it illegal for public employers to collect dues for labor organizations. The employer can take deductions for the United Way, or other organizations, but they are prohibited from collecting union dues.

How does that repair the budget?

Another provision requires the WERC to conduct a representation election by December 1st each year, to determine if the employees still want the union to represent them. The WERC has to bill the union for the cost of the election. Currently, if a group petitions the WERC to do an election, the WERC covers the cost. Right now, the members have the right to request an election if the majority of the members want to change or eliminate representation. Why create unnecessarily processes?

Does that help repair the budget? ( all emphasis mine)

Walker and the right are framing this as a budget crisis issue. Nothing Walker is proposing has much to do with balancing the budget and a lot to do with union busting. The WLEA notes that it is inevitable that once bargaining rights for teachers, capitol police, state workers such as accountants and other workers goes down, public safety worker rights are the next target. Governor Mohamed Hosni Mubarak Walker certainly knows how to back up his arguments with statements from solid budget experts. So he takes to Twitter. He Tweets that a budget expert backs him up, Burning Down Wisconsin: The Hidden Budget Bill Item Even Worse Than Union Busting

Tweeting throughout the day, the link was one of only four links Gov. Walker provided to information or opinion defending his bill.

It just happens that Tina Korbe, the author of that Heritage piece, graduated with a BA in journalism from the University of Arkansas… in 2010.

More? As late as 2006, Korbe was a “Top 8 finalist” in the Arkansas Jr. Miss pageant. The year before, she was a semi-finalist in the Miss Arkansas’ Outstanding Teen Pageant. No worries though, she already was Miss Teen Diamond Lakes 2005.

So, to put that in perspective, when the governor of the entire state of Wisconsin finds time to defend a bill that could severely impact the financial well-being of hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin workers, not to mention instituting the most sweeping changes to the balance of the state’s labor relations in 50 years, who does he point to? An 22-year-old (at best) who grew up in Arkansas and graduated with an undergraduate degree in journalism less than a year ago.

Are conservatives seriously still pointing to anything from The heritage Foundation for expertise on anything. Every time they bring up Heritage they bring up two outstanding issues on which The Heritage would rather forget. They proposed a health care reform overhaul that closely resembled the Affordable Care Act and which had an individual mandate. They also thought lying the nation into a three trillion-dollar debacle was a great idea. So great they fired one of their own for criticizing their position. Who is to blame for Wisconsin’s budget problems. Some of it is the general state of the economy. Revenues are down. Walker and his crony Republican bedfellows also share some much of the blame because they are acting like state-size examples of the George W. Bush administration. They are determined to ram through their agenda regardless of what the numbers say,

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Outlines Major Causes Of Wisconsin’s Budget Shortfall, Which “Include Two Big Obligations” Unrelated To Unions That Total Almost $260M. In a February 1 article, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel noted causes of the state’s budget shortfall and reported that Walker’s tax policies accounted for “more than half” of an anticipated $203 million decline in tax revenues…

Walker and his benefactors the Koch brothers are also using the nationwide belt-tightening to engage in some class warfare. They’re hoping to open up a rift between union and non-union workers. According to right-wing math, unions much like Reagan’s mythical welfare queen, are living high off the hog while everyone else struggles, The Betrayal of Public Workers

Even if state and local government employees are not responsible for the budgetary problems that emerged out of the recession, are they nevertheless receiving bloated wage and benefits packages that are holding back the recovery? Since the recession began, there has been a steady stream of media stories making such claims. One widely cited 2009 Forbes cover article reported, “State and local government workers get paid an average of $25.30 an hour, which is 33 percent higher than the private sector’s $19…. Throw in pensions and other benefits and the gap widens to 42 percent.”

What figures such as these fail to reflect is that state and local government workers are older and substantially better educated than private-sector workers. Forbes is therefore comparing apples and oranges. As John Schmitt of the Center for Economic Policy Research recently showed, when state and local government employees are matched against private sector workers of the same age and educational levels, the public workers earn, on average, about 4 percent less than their private counterparts. Moreover, the results of Schmitt’s apples-to-apples comparison are fully consistent with numerous studies examining this same question over the past twenty years. One has to suspect that the pundits who have overlooked these basic findings have chosen not to look.

Most American do not belong to unions, but unions have a ripple effect across the economy. Rather than being resentful or envious of unions, American from every profession might want to ponder how much of their compensation, benefits and working conditions can be traced back battles fought and won by unions.

Wisconsin is a Reminder. Conservatives Are to Blame for Nation’s Financial Woes, Not Unions

The Tea Bagger Conservative Yo-Yo Trick

Wisconsin Governor Mohamed Hosni Mubarak Walker’s lies have been so blatant even the Rupert Murdock rag the WSJ had to report the truth, Biggest protests yet as pro-Walker side, larger union crowd meet peacefully

The protesters descended on Madison as Walker, through a spokesman, rejected an overture from a Democratic state senator who said public employee unions had agreed to make financial sacrifices contained in the bill in return for the right to bargain collectively.

[  ]…Walker’s office reacted in response to Erpenbach, who said he had been informed that state and local public employee unions had agreed to the financial aspects of the measure.

Erpenbach’s statement was backed by a spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Education Association Council, who confirmed the agreement, and by Marty Beil, the head of the Wisconsin State Employees Union, an affiliate of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Erpenbach said the offer was “a legitimate and serious offer on the table from local, state and school public employees that balances Gov. Walker’s budget.”

“It would appear that Gov. Walker’s only target is the destruction of collective bargaining rights and not solving the state’s budget,” Erpenbach said.

Walker’s mission is to destroy collective bargaining. His stance and that of Wisconsin’s conservative legislators is not about balancing the budget. Collective bargaining is a fundamental right. It is labor using its first amendment rights to address grievances.

Tom Rynders, a Vietnam veteran in town to support Walker, was talking to a Journal Sentinel reporter when a union protester yelled at him, “This is about losing our rights as citizens.” Replied Rynders, “I have rights, too.”

What rights does Mr. Rynders think he is losing. The right to take away the fundamental rights of others. Unions are willing to make concessions on the dollars end of the debate. Better to take home a few dollars less in hard economic times than none at all. Unions are not monoliths who are always opposed to adjusting to the reality of economics. What Rynder and Walker want is 100% of what they want even if that means they are using big gov’mint to ride over the rights of average working people. Where is the consistency when Walker and his supporters are not protesting that those bargaining rights, which have been left in place for the state police and firefighters. The Right seems to think basic rights are like fairy dust to be sprinkled where and when they want them. Hosni Mubarak is out of a job now, maybe Walker and his supporters should give him a call and start their own country. One ruled with an iron fist and a minimum amount of rights. More confirmation Walker is waging a war on unions and teachers in particulr, Day 5 Brings 70,000-Plus to Madison to Protect Workers’ Rights

Also Walker rejected an offer from the unions to accept economic concessions if the near total ban on collective bargaining was removed from the so-called “budget repair” bill.   State Sen. Jon Erpenbach told reporters

It would appear that Gov. Walker’s only target is the destruction of collective bargaining rights and not solving the state’s budget.

This is the guy the tea smokers see as their newest patron saint, Scott Walker Padded Salary Increases for Cronies During Budgetary Distress: 24% Salary Increase for Aide with 2 Public Pensions

Scott Walker, the Governor of Wisconsin who is spearheading the GOP effort to crush collective bargaining, lavished relatively large salary increases on his staff when he was chief executive of the Milwaukee County Board. Walker surreptitiously did this in 2008 – without the approval of the county board itself and at a time that the county was facing a fiscal deficit, and Walker was about to lay off a large number of union workers. In addition, 700 county positions had already been left vacant due to budgetary pressures.

According to a 2008 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (MJS) article,which exposed Walker’s illicit personal staff raises, one aide was to achieve a 26% increase – solely initiated and approved by Walker – even though the staffer, Tom Nardelli, was to receive tax-payer funded pensions that would exceed $35,700 a year. A member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors called Nardelli’s salary increase “obscene,” according the MJS.

Walker, like many of the mid-term gubernatorial candidates ( Rick Scott in Florida – who has already lost 42,000 jobs for Florida))  promised jobs. Voters in Wisconsin should have read the fine print,

The Department of Health Services last month signed a new contract with Deloitte Consulting for more maintenance and enhancement of the information system for SeniorCare and other income maintenance programs.

According to the public inspection copy of Deloitte’s technical proposal, the new, eight-year contract (known as CARES) increases the hourly billing rate from $92 to $104 and increases the fixed facilities rate from $1,320,000 to $2,040,000 a year. When multiplied by the 300,000 billable hours that DHS estimates will be available, this contract’s total annual cost is tens of millions of dollars.

DHS could scale back this contract by hiring information technology professionals and doing much of this work in-house for less money. That’s what the Department of Workforce Development did several years ago when they took over maintenance of the portions of the CARES system which deal with the W-2 and Child Care programs.

Why is DHS preparing to spend over $30 million a year on one information system when times are so tough? It won’t create jobs for Wisconsin residents since most of Deloitte’s workforce is subcontracted from India.

Ezra Klein runs the numbers. Only right-wing conservative math could make Walker’s agenda make sense, Mohamed Hosni Mubarak Walker is to blame for Wisconsin’s budget, not unions

Let’s be clear: Whatever fiscal problems Wisconsin is — or is not — facing at the moment, they’re not caused by labor unions. That’s also true for New Jersey, for Ohio and for the other states. There was no sharp rise in collective bargaining in 2006 and 2007, no major reforms of the country’s labor laws, no dramatic change in how unions organize. And yet, state budgets collapsed. Revenues plummeted. Taxes had to go up, and spending had to go down, all across the country.

Blame the banks. Blame global capital flows. Blame lax regulation of Wall Street. Blame home buyers, or home sellers. But don’t blame the unions. Not for this recession.

Of course, the fact that public-employee pensions didn’t cause a meltdown at Lehman Brothers doesn’t mean they’re not stressing state budgets, and that the pensions they’ve been promised don’t exceed what state budgets seem able to bear. But the buildup of global capital that overheated the American housing sector and got packaged into seemingly riskless financial products that then brought down Wall Street, paralyzing the economy, throwing millions out of work, and destroying the revenues from state income and sales taxes even as state residents needed more social services? The answer to that is not to end collective bargaining for (some) public employees. A plus B plus C does not equal what Gov. Scott Walker is attempting in Wisconsin.

* The budget report is working with two-time periods simultaneously: 2010-2011, and then 2011-13. The $130 million deficit now projected for 2011 isn’t the fault of the tax breaks passed during Walker’s special session, though his special session created about $120 million in deficit spending between 2011 and 2013 — and perhaps more than that, if his policies are extended. That is to say, the deficit spending he created in his special session is about equal to the deficit Wisconsin faces this year, but it’s not technically correct to say that Walker created 2011’s deficit. Rather, he added $120 million to the 2011-2013 deficits, and perhaps more in the years after that.

And to get even more specific: Walker giveaways on entering office,

* $25 million for an economic development fund for job creation, which still holds $73 million because of anemic job growth.

* $48 million for private health savings accounts — a perennial Republican favorite.

* $67 million for a tax incentive plan that benefits employers, but at levels too low to spur hiring.

In essence, public workers are being asked to pick up the tab for this agenda.

If tax cuts and deregulation were the secret ingredient to creating jobs, where are they. Taxes are lower than ever. The Zero-Sum Game: States Cannot Stimulate Their Economies by Cutting Taxes

Though Arizona is facing a large deficit for fiscal year 2011 (equivalent to 25 percent of the budget) and is considering huge budget cuts, in January the state House approved a proposal to cut both the corporate and individual income tax rates as well as the business property tax. Similarly, governors in Delaware, Florida, South Carolina, and Rhode Island have proposed corporate income tax cuts as stimulus.

Such proposals are highly unlikely to work. When a state cuts a general tax such as the corporate or individual income tax, the impact on the state economy depends on what the business or the individual does with the money freed up by the tax cut.

* If a tax cut to a corporation increases its profits, it may distribute those profits as dividends to shareholders who live throughout the country; those funds will not necessarily create additional in-state demand.
* A corporation will not necessarily use the funds provided by the tax cut to make additional investments in the state in the short term. If there isn’t additional demand for a business’s good or service, the firm might keep the funds in reserve until demand picks up at a later time — by which time it would not need any government inducement to expand.
* If a tax cut goes to a higher-income person, that person might save most of those extra dollars — invest them in the stock market, for example — so the tax cut would create little or no additional demand within the state.

Moreover, broad-based tax cuts in these circumstances can inflict damage on public investments seen by many economists as key avenues for both short- and long-term economic development — including education, infrastructure, and other public investments. For example, Timothy Bartik, a widely respected economist at the W.E.Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, has proposed eight policies that would be especially cost-effective in promoting Michigan’s economic development. Six of them would institute or expand public spending for job training, apprenticeships, or general education. Bartik specifically cites Michigan’s budget gap as a threat to the state’s economic progress. Rather than advocating tax cuts, he recommends broadening of the state’s major tax bases and increasing the progressivity of its income tax, so that the government will be able to fund these programs

[  ]…# Many businesses wouldn’t benefit from the credit because they have no taxable profits due to the recession. Businesses that have experienced losses over the past couple of years in the recession are unlikely to have any state tax liability next year or for the next few years, because those losses can be carried forward to eliminate or reduce taxes once the company again becomes profitable. A company in that situation would not get any immediate benefit from a job-creation tax credit (unless it is refundable). While the company may be able to carry the credit forward to a future year, an unusable credit would not be much of an incentive to hire new employees now, when a stimulus is needed.
# Even for profitable firms, the value of the credit is less than it appears because state taxes are deductible for federal tax purposes. Thus, a company that pays less state tax will pay more federal tax. The state loses the total amount of the revenue, but the value of the credit is shared between the firm and the federal government. This makes a modest-sized credit even less likely to call forth additional job creation. It also increases the likelihood that most of the state revenue loss would subsidize jobs that would have been created anyway.

Conservative policies drove record deficits

As with the anti-Affordable care Act protests, the anti-worker tea baggers in Wisconsin are not acting purely out of some grassroots populist impulse, Koch Brothers Behind Wisconsin Effort To Kill Public Unions

What’s more, the plan to kill the unions is right out of the Koch Brothers play book.

Koch-backed groups like Americans for Prosperity, the Cato Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Reason Foundation have long taken a very antagonistic view toward public-sector unions. Several of these groups have urged the eradication of these unions. The Kochs also invited Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, an anti-union outfit, to a June 2010 confab in Aspen, Colorado;

Via Mother Jones

If you are reluctant to believe that this is a coordinated attack, consider this-

This afternoon, Marty Beil, executive director of the Wisconsin Public Workers Union, sent a message to the Governor’s office agreeing to the cuts to pension & welfare benefits sought by Walker in his bill.  The governor’s response was “nothing doing.” He wants the whole kit and kaboodle – the end of the collective bargaining rights of the public unions.

Whether it is Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida or Arizona Across the it is minimum wage to middle-class Americans who have suffered the most from Wall St, the crony capitalism promoted by much of the Washington D.C. and front line Koch puppets such as Walker. Walker has a job, promoting the power of strongly centralized authoritarian state government apparently. While American workers have lost their jobs, their savings, often times their homes and dreams of a better future. While many of them are or have paid back the funds, those workers bailed out negligent bankers. The institutions that caused them so much suffering. Many of these corporations are reaping huge profits and handing out big bonuses, using tax loopholes, offshore tax shelters and are working behind the scenes to shift blame to unions, the working poor and the middle-class. Maybe because of the whole Fox News phenomenon, fake news and manufactured outrage, some of those working poor and middle-class are fighting to help corporations and politicians like Walker, make working class Americans even more powerless.

It’s Spreading – Labor in Ohio Protests Union Buster Bill

Just got a report from some of our folks on the ground in Columbus, Ohio, that more than 5,000 people—firefighters, teachers, small business leaders, community members and other public-service workers—filled the Statehouse again today to show their opposition to Senate Bill 5 that eliminates collective bargaining rights for all state workers, including faculty and staff at Ohio state colleges and universities.