Saturday, February 26, 2011

op ed review 2/27


Republicans in the Wisconsin Assembly took the first significant action on their plan to end collective bargaining rights for most public workers.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker threatened to trigger as many as 12,000 layoffs beginning next week unless lawmakers enact his plan.

Thousands of Tea Partiers gathered in Madison, in an effort to rally support for Republican Gov. Walker’s deficit reduction plan.

“Public employees in Wisconsin are paid and pensioned far better than their counterparts in the private sector. The state is facing multi-billion-dollar deficits. The old calculus that employees in the public sector are paid a bit less since they have job security and work for the community at large seems topsy-turvy: Now they are paid more and are fraudulently calling in sick to go on strike, apparently in the belief that lay-offs or higher taxes for others are preferable to themselves paying modest increases for their most generous benefits.”

What happened to civility?? Sometimes it's necessary to get out on the streets and "get a little bloody," a Massachusetts Democrat said Tuesday in reference to labor battles in Wisconsin.

“….one Senator told me they had been told to clear the Capitol because the new groups coming in overnight are filled with people "who aren't afraid to be arrested"”

Gallup's analysis of party affiliation in the U.S. states shows a marked decline in the number of solidly Democratic states from 2008 (30) to 2010 (14).

The Obama administration announced that it has pulled its legal support for the federal Defense of Marriage Act, stating that the law fails to meet constitutional scrutiny standards and therefore the administration is under no obligation to defend it.

“By refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court, President Barack Obama is essentially gambling that the culture-war truce many Republicans have observed in recent months will hold through the 2012 election.”

A job typically filled by a woman, the White House has chosen the first-ever gay man to be the next White House Social Secretary.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has used $650 million in stimulus funds to pay for an anti-obesity program. This is money borrowed from China.

The Tennessee state Senate has passed a measure that would allow Tennesseans to opt out of the federal health care law.|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|p

A three-story high billboard put up in New York City is causing a stir. The billboard reads: “The most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb”. The billboard is part of a national campaign sponsored by the anti-abortion group “Life Always” and hangs about a half-mile from a Planned Parenthood facility.

??? Former Washington State Republican Party Chair Luke Esser, who lost reelection to Kirby Wilbur last month, is now lobbying Olympia for the SEIU, one of the biggest supporters of Democrats and liberal causes in Olympia.

The Arizona Senate Appropriations Committee became the first state legislative committee in the nation to pass a package of bills intended to challenge the practice of granting citizenship to children born in the U.S. to illegal immigrants.

President Obama has been accused of having double standards after appealing for Americans to sacrifice their holidays just days before his wife and children went on a costly skiing trip.

In the UK, the Labor Party’s open-door immigration policy led to the largest population explosion since the Saxon invasion more than 1,000 years ago.

In Michigan, state education officials have ordered the Detroit Public Schools to immediately implement a plan that balances the district's books by closing half its schools.

As teachers face the ax, their union shells out millions of dollars on feasting, boozing and partying. Free-spending United Federation of Teachers brass last year spent nearly $1.4 million for the UFT's 50th anniversary gala.

It’s being called the Walmart of weed: a 10,000-square-foot Sacramento gardening emporium that opens Saturday with how-to experts and merchandise to help medical marijuana patients grow pot.

Some Montanans have had enough of medical marijuana, saying their state’s image as a rugged cowboy frontier is being replaced by a fast-growing pot culture.



Steve McCann 2/20

The "Madison Uprising" is the beginning of the end of the incestuous relationship between government and the unions. That fact has been recognized by the public sector unions and the Democratic Party and is why they have pulled out all the stops and reverted to their 1960's playbook in order to maintain the status quo. However, it is a battle that the unions and the Democratic Party will lose regardless of the immediate outcome in Wisconsin.

The Democratic Party has sold its soul to the public sector unions. In the 2010 mid-term election, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees poured over $87 million dollars into the election. (A new spending record). AFSCME's $87 million was greater than the campaign spending by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ($75 million) and American Crossroads ($65 million). Other public sector unions also ratcheted up their spending such as SEIU ($44 million) and the National Education Association ($40 million). The three major public sector unions spent over $171 million in the 2010 election plus an estimated $250 million equivalent value of so-called volunteer activity such as get out the vote efforts, door-to-door campaigning and poll watching.

There is nothing wrong with private people or organizations, including private unions, spending money on political campaigns as institutional sources are disclosed. However, AFSCME, the NEA, the AFT (American Federation of Teachers) or the public union sector of SEIU are government employees. Their salaries are paid by the taxpayers and a portion of their salaries go to union dues which are slush funds for political activity and the promotion of left-wing causes. In 2008 the NEA and the AFT made contributions and grants totaling over $96 million of union dues; all to liberal organizations irrespective of the desires of the rank and file or the taxpayer.

It is wholly inappropriate for public employees to spend dues money on political contributions. Public officials are chosen through popular elections and the government employee should be indifferent as to the outcome of the election. However, by maintaining such a heavy hand in not only monetary contributions but election activity the politician becomes too dependent upon the union largess and is essentially blackmailed into acquiescing to all the demands of the union, particularly pay and benefits which have sky-rocketed and are now unsustainable.

President Franklin Roosevelt, the Progressive icon, recognized this problem back in 1937. In a letter to Luther Steward, then President of the National Federation of Federal Employees, he wrote that "meticulous attention should be paid to the special relationships and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government". He went on to say that government employees should not have bargaining rights or a closed shop similar to private sector unions.

However, since the public sector unions were granted those rights beginning in the 1960's they have achieved the virtual ownership, together with the private sector unions, of the Democratic Party. In the 2010 election cycle, per the Center for Responsive Politics, AFSCME donated 99.5% of contributions to Democrats; The NEA donated 96% and the AFT, 99.7%. These dues were funneled to Democratic candidates who promised to raise workers salaries and hire more public sector workers-even though statistics show that total compensation for federal and state workers is nearly 50% higher than for private sector employees. Government workers have access to elected officials during negotiations to set wages and benefits and can hold the promise of campaign contributions over these politicians' heads during negotiations. There is, in effect, no one representing the taxpayer who is the source of all income to the government.

This means runaway compensation for government workers, higher taxes for the general public and higher deficits. The taxes go from the electorate to government paychecks to union dues-then to more campaign contributions until the state, municipality or the federal government faces bankruptcy. The clout of this unholy alliance was further on display when the unions were able to siphon off roughly $160 billion dollars of the 2009 stimulus to save the jobs of state and local workers.

The unseemly goings-on in Wisconsin portray, in microcosm, the disastrous policy of allowing government workers to unionize and bargain for wages and benefits. The unions are fighting to preserve their source of income and clout (i.e. union dues) and the Democrats have shown the world their cowardice and dependence by slinking out if the state in order to maintain their bought status. By these actions they have drawn back the curtain for all to see the true nature of this incestuous relationship and the impact on the future of the country.

It has taken Wisconsin and the near bankruptcy of the country and of many states and municipalities to finally awaken the American people to this fraud and theft. They must demand that public-sector unions can only be associations that can seek better workplace conditions or to facilitate employer-employee disputes but cannot have bargaining rights or mandatory dues.

For more good reading, Charles Krauthammer: Recognizing this threat to union power, the Democratic party is pouring money and fury into the fight. Private unions have shrunk to less than 7 percent of the working population. The Democrats’ strength lies in government workers, who now constitute a majority of union members and provide massive support to the party. For them, Wisconsin represents a dangerous contagion. Hence the import of the current moment — its blinding clarity. Here stand the Democrats, avatars of reactionary liberalism, desperately trying to hang onto the gains of their glory years — from unsustainable federal entitlements for the elderly enacted when life expectancy was 62 to the massive promissory notes issued to government unions when state coffers were full and no one was looking. Obama’s Democrats have become the party of no. Real cuts to the federal budget? No. Entitlement reform? No. Tax reform? No. Breaking the corrupt and fiscally unsustainable symbiosis between public-sector unions and state governments? Hell no.”



"Yes, the so-called progressives truly believe that bringing American union workers into the 21st century in line with the rest of the workforce is tantamount to dictatorship. Yes, the so-called progressives truly believe that by walking off their jobs and out of their classrooms, they are 'putting children first.' If ever there were proof that public unions no longer work in the public interest, this is it."

-Michelle Malkin

"The fact that liberals support democracy in Egypt, but not in Iraq or Iran, can mean only one thing: Democracy in Egypt will be bad for the United States and its allies. (As long as we're on the subject, liberals also opposed democracy in Russia, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and all the Soviet satellite states, China, Vietnam, North Korea, Cuba, Grenada, Nicaragua and Minnesota.) Democrats are all for meddling in other countries -- but only provided a change of regime will harm U.S. national security interests……As Joe McCarthy once said, if liberals were merely stupid, the laws of probability would dictate that at least some of their decisions would serve America's interests."

-Ann Coulter



Columbia University students heckled a war hero during a town-hall meeting on whether ROTC should be allowed back on campus. "Racist!" some students yelled at Anthony Maschek, a Columbia freshman and former Army staff sergeant awarded the Purple Heart after being shot 11 times in a firefight in northern Iraq in February 2008. Others hissed and booed the veteran. Maschek, 28, had bravely stepped up to the mike Tuesday at the meeting to issue an impassioned challenge to fellow students on their perceptions of the military.

President Obama has launched a massive pre-reelection year campaign to assemble and train an army of new community organizers to carry Obama's "movement forward for years to come.



Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, 20, a citizen of Saudi Arabia and resident of Lubbock, Texas, was arrested by FBI agents in Texas on a federal charge of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction in connection with his alleged purchase of chemicals and equipment necessary to make an improvised explosive device (IED) and his research of potential U.S. targets.,0,3805722.story?track=rss

A Muslim cleric who once said “the flag of Islam will fly over the White House,” says he will lead a demonstration rallying Muslims to establish Sharia law across the United States.

A jury in Arizona convicted an Iraqi immigrant of second-degree murder for running over and killing his daughter in a case prosecutors called an `honor killing.' Prosecutors told jurors during the trial that he mowed down 20-year-old Noor Almaleki with his Jeep Cherokee because she had brought the family dishonor



The chief economist at Citigroup says "China should overtake the US to become the largest economy in the world by 2020, then be overtaken by India by 2050."



Bona fide Labor unions work within a free-market system, where firms compete for customers. Public works are noncompetitive, however. Workers who belong to public-sector unions conduct their labor negotiations without their employers facing any competitors. The U.S. Postal Service, for example, has a monopoly over first-class mail delivery; teachers at public schools work for monopolistic employers – student attendance is required, and funds are confiscated through taxation. As the saying goes, public workers have the taxpayers over a barrel – there are no alternatives, and, in most cases, one cannot refuse to deal with these workers.

Wisconsin’s public school teachers and the unions that represent them are saying budget cuts proposed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker would be devastating — but many of those teachers make more money than they’re letting on. The Daily Caller has broken out the salaries and benefits of teachers who have publicly entered the debate by commenting to the press.

“A wave of rational, common sense is sweeping the nation. Four states have rejected billions of dollars in federal money for high-speed rail construction, realizing long-term costs far outweigh wishful-thinking benefits. That's good news. The bad news is California political leaders, from Gov. Jerry Brown to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, want to spend the money wisely rejected by governors in Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa and most recently Florida, for California's own proposed high-speed train.”

Ever heard of the Solyndra solar-cell plant in Fremont, Calif.? Most people haven’t. That’s a shame, considering how much taxpayer money has been poured into it. Solyndra is in serious financial trouble. Despite getting a $535 million bailout - part of the taxpayer-funded “stimulus” - the company subsequently announced it would lay off more than 17 percent of its work force. It also had to close one of its manufacturing plants about a year after it got the money. The House Energy and Commerce Committee is launching an investigation.

As Congress begins to take up the Obama administration's defense budget, one item not even under discussion needs to be considered. Events of the past 18 months have made clear that it's time to rethink the fate of the F-22 Raptor. The presumptions that led the Senate to cancel funding for this fighter have been turned upside down, as new threats have emerged and old ones have become clearer.



National Journal’s “Most Conservative Members of Congress”



Leno: Congratulations to Rahm Emanuel on being elected mayor of Chicago. His first order of business after taking office will be to actually move to Chicago…The king of Saudi Arabia announced that he is giving his people $37 billion in subsidies and payments. It’s not a stimulus package, it’s a “don’t overthrow me” package…….I spent Presidents Day acting like a president. I took someone else’s money and spent it on something I don’t need.



"Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

-C.S. Lewis

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