Witch Hunt in Wisconsin

Tuesday, April 21, AD 2015

“When it comes to
this, I shall prefer emigrating to some country where they make no
pretense of loving liberty — to Russia, for instance, where despotism
can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”
Abraham Lincoln
Democrats were so fearful of Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin that John Chisholm, the Democrat District Attorney of Milwaukee Country, launched a secret “John Doe” investigation seeking to uncover links between conservative groups and the Walker administration.  This bitterly partisan Democrat unleashed a wave of terror of “no knock” raids on the homes of conservatives in Wisconsin, using police tactics that might have  been appropriate if they were storming fortifications held by terrorists.  The victims were instructed to tell no one about the raids, especially their attorneys.  These Gestapo tactics are detailed in a magnificent story by David French at National Review:
But with another election looming — this time Walker’s campaign for reelection — Chisholm wasn’t finished. He launched yet another John Doe investigation, “supervised” by Judge Barbara Kluka. Kluka proved to be capable of superhuman efficiency — approving “every petition, subpoena, and search warrant in the case” in a total of one day’s work.
If the first series of John Doe investigations was “everything Walker,” the second series was “everything conservative,” as Chisholm had launched an investigation of not only Walker (again) but the Wisconsin Club for Growth and dozens of other conservative organizations, this time fishing for evidence of allegedly illegal “coordination” between conservative groups and the Walker campaign.
In the second John Doe, Chisholm had no real evidence of wrongdoing. Yes, conservative groups were active in issue advocacy, but issue advocacy was protected by the First Amendment and did not violate relevant campaign laws. Nonetheless, Chisholm persuaded prosecutors in four other counties to launch their own John Does, with Judge Kluka overseeing all of them.
Empowered by a rubber-stamp judge, partisan investigators ran amok. They subpoenaed and obtained (without the conservative targets’ knowledge) massive amounts of electronic data, including virtually all the targets’ personal e-mails and other electronic messages from outside e-mail vendors and communications companies.
The investigations exploded into the open with a coordinated series of raids on October 3, 2013. These were home invasions, including those described above. Chisholm’s office refused to comment on the raid tactics (or any other aspect of the John Doe investigations), but witness accounts regarding the two John Doe investigations are remarkably similar: early-morning intrusions, police rushing through the house, and stern commands to remain silent and tell no one about what had occurred.
At the same time, the Wisconsin Club for Growth and other conservative organizations received broad subpoenas requiring them to turn over virtually all business records, including “donor information, correspondence with their associates, and all financial information.” The subpoenas also contained dire warnings about disclosure of their existence, threatening contempt of court if the targets spoke publicly.
For select conservative families across five counties, this was the terrifying moment — the moment they felt at the mercy of a truly malevolent state.
Speaking both on and off the record, targets reflected on how many layers of Wisconsin government failed their fundamental constitutional duties — the prosecutors who launched the rogue investigations, the judge who gave the abuse judicial sanction, investigators who chose to taunt and intimidate during the raids, and those police who ultimately approved and executed aggressive search tactics on law-abiding, peaceful citizens.
For some of the families, the trauma of the raids, combined with the stress and anxiety of lengthy criminal investigations, has led to serious emotional repercussions. “Devastating” is how Anne describes the impact on her family. “Life-changing,” she says. “All in terrible ways.”
O’Keefe, who has been in contact with multiple targeted families, says, “Every family I know of that endured a home raid has been shaken to its core, and the fate of marriages and families still hangs in the balance in some cases.”
Anne also describes a new fear of the police: “I used to support the police, to believe they were here to protect us. Now, when I see an officer, I’ll cross the street. I’m afraid of them. I know what they’re capable of.”
Cindy says, “I lock my doors and I close my shades. I don’t answer the door unless I am expecting someone. My heart races when I see a police car sitting in front of my house or following me in the car. The raid was so public. I’ve been harassed. My house has been vandalized. [She did not identify suspects.] I no longer feel safe, and I don’t think I ever will.”
Rachel talks about the effect on her children. “I tried to create a home where the kids always feel safe. Now they know they’re not. They know men with guns can come in their house, and there’s nothing we can do.” Every knock on the door brings anxiety. Every call to the house is screened. In the back of her mind is a single, unsettling thought: These people will never stop.
Victims of trauma — and every person I spoke with described the armed raids as traumatic — often need to talk, to share their experiences and seek solace in the company of a loving family and supportive friends.
The investigators denied them that privilege, and it compounded their pain and fear. The investigation not only damaged families, it also shut down their free speech. In many cases, the investigations halted conservative groups in their tracks. O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth described the effect in court filings:
O’Keefe’s associates began cancelling meetings with him and declining to take his calls, reasonably fearful that merely associating with him could make them targets of the investigation. O’Keefe was forced to abandon fundraising for the Club because he could no longer guarantee to donors that their identities would remain confidential, could not (due to the Secrecy Order) explain to potential donors the nature of the investigation, could not assuage donors’ fears that they might become targets themselves, and could not assure donors that their money would go to fund advocacy rather than legal expenses. The Club was also paralyzed. Its officials could not associate with its key supporters, and its funds were depleted. It could not engage in issue advocacy for fear of criminal sanction.
These raids and subpoenas were often based not on traditional notions of probable cause but on mere suspicion, untethered to the law or evidence, and potentially violating the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” The very existence of First Amendment–protected expression was deemed to be evidence of illegality. The prosecution simply assumed that the conservatives were incapable of operating within the bounds of the law.
Even worse, many of the investigators’ legal theories, even if proven by the evidence, would not have supported criminal prosecutions. In other words, they were investigating “crimes” that weren’t crimes at all. If the prosecutors had applied the same legal standards to the Democrats in their own offices, they would have been forced to turn the raids on themselves. If the prosecutors and investigators had been raided, how many of their computers and smartphones would have contained incriminating information indicating use of government resources for partisan purposes?

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15 Responses to Witch Hunt in Wisconsin

  • This fits. Quote from the movie, The Untouchables” spoken by Sean Connery’s (old Irish cop) character, “What are you prepeared to do about it?”
    .

    Alas, Conservative taxpayers do not riot or torch their neighborhoods . . .

  • “What are you prepared to do?” Quoted from the movie, “The Untouchables.”
    .
    Conserrvative whites don’t riot or burn down their neighborhoods.
    .
    And, the lying, liberal (I repeat myself again) will omit this. They believe that the “extremists” (anyone that does not advance the wevowution is an extwemist) should be liquidated, anyhow.

  • The common thread in many of the pathologies of our age is the ruin of the legal profession.

  • I hope with every fiber of my being these abusers of the community trust are sued to the bone, fired, and blacklisted from ever holding a government job, even if it’s just attending a toll booth. This is barely shy of a civil war declaration and now I hope Scott Walker runs because I want this incident hung around the neck of every democrat challenger until the entire party understands and the message is spread that this behavior is NOT tolerable in a free society.

    Too long has the message been spreading that abuse is “ok” if it’s by the right people. It’s time to counter that message and spread the societal news that this ^$#@ is what we fought England over and we won’t tolerate it again.

  • Art Deco wrote, “The common thread in many of the pathologies of our age is the ruin of the legal profession.”

    What I find odd is this: every petition for a warrant must commence with a charge or charges against one or more named individuals and then crave that “In order, therefore, that the said Accused may be dealt with according to Law, MAY it please your Lordship to grant Warrant to Officers of Law to search for and apprehend &c”
    Then follow the craves “to grant Warrant to search the person, repositories, and domicile of the said Accused, and the house or premises in which he may be found, and to secure, for the purpose of precognition and evidence, ail writs, évidents, and articles found therein tending to establish guilt or participation in the crimes foresaid, and for that purpose to make patent all shut and lockfast places; and also to grant Warrant to cite Witnesses for precognition and to make production for the purposes foresaid of such writs, évidents, and articles pertinent to the case as are in their possession…”

    Without a definite charge against a named person, how can the warrant define the scope of the search or precognition, either as to the places to be searched or the articles to be secured or produced? If witnesses are cited to produce “pertinent” evidents, how, in the absence of such a charge are they to know what is pertinent?

  • We have a right to defend ourselves against tyranny like this. We fought a Revolutionary War because of acts like this. Of course I do NOT advocate the initiation of violence, but sadly we may see 1st Maccabees Chapter 2 repeat itself before our very eyes.
    .
    If a man – police or otherwise – comes into my home, threatening my beautiful wife, I have a duty and an obligation to defend her.

  • So, why do ‘John Doe’ laws that allow investigations with subpoenas without probable cause even exist? How many states allow them? I can understand a ‘John Doe’ investigation without subpoenas for situations where probable cause of a crime has not been determined yet, such as conspiracy cases, but not this.

    Symptoms of a sick judicial culture:
    1) ‘John Doe’ investigations of non-felonies
    2) ‘John Doe’ investigations with subpoenas
    3) Too many misdemeanors have been reclassified as felonies
    4) ‘Accelerated rehabilitation’ has been created to effectively turn felonies back into misdemeanors at the whim of any judge
    5) The piling of dozens of charges on a defendant
    6) The excessive use of plea bargaining
    7) No-knock warrants (gee, how did we survive before the 60’s?)
    8) The craven refusal of legislatures to repeal bad laws and impeach low level functionaries who violate the law
    9) The court that improperly ruled that impeached and convicted Federal judge Alcee Hasting was eligible to hold Federal office again – the judge who made that ruling should also have been impeached and removed
    10) Most campaign finance laws
    One could go on and on…

  • What I find odd is this

    You’ll have to pose that question to Mr. McClarey.

    The politics of this is simple enough to grasp. There is a particular political economy at work. You have occupational subcultures, generally given formal professional status even when that’s nonsensical, public employees (and these occupations are commonly public employees), the unions which organize public employees, and the Democratic Party. The vigor of the Democratic Party has in great measure due to the investment of its partisans in the activities of the state, which is crucially important in low-turnout low-information-content elections. The public employee unions mobilize their constituency for political activity, mostly by diverting dues money but also by organizing volunteers. Particularly in school board elections, this has been tremendously important. Walker’s administration with the co-operation of the state legislature did two things: truncated collective bargaining rights for public employees and ended mandatory dues. This threatened to cut off the blood supply to the Democratic Party and they’ve used every tool they could to stop it: recall elections, occupation of public buildings, inducing their partisans on appellate courts to issue rulings favorable, &c. The prosecutor is an elected Democrat and his wife is a teacher’s union steward. He somehow connived to get his investigations assigned to a retired judge who signed off on everything while hardly reading it. Again and again. When aspects of the mechanics of the investigation were made public, she abruptly recused herself. The succeeding judge to which the case was assigned said “Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot” and quashed a mass of subpoenas and warrants, crippling the current iteration of the investigation.
    ==
    It’s all an exercise in misfeasance. However, that’s been the favored approach of the Democratic Party in legal matters for some time now.

  • Is anybody surprised by this?

    Even the Federal Government doesn’t permit its workers to unionize and then strike.

    The Democrat Party is organized crime with the velvet fist of government power behind it. To hell with the Democrat Party. And, no this isn’t an endorsement of all things Republican.

  • MPS. I’m fairly certain that these ‘John Doe’ investigations carry charges. These charges appear to revolve around the campaign finance laws and laws restricting the activities of tax-exempt organizations. These laws are patently unconstitutional under the founding ideals of the American Constitution. This is the ultimate cause of the problem.

    My personal feeling is that there is also a proximate cause, which is judges’ unwillingness to hold prosecutors to a high standard of probable cause in the issuance of the subpoenas. One would think that any case involving laws which are so vague and which so threaten basic liberties would be suspect by judges. Again, perhaps this could have been avoided if the grand jury system were not bypassed.

  • My personal feeling is that there is also a proximate cause, which is judges’ unwillingness to hold prosecutors to a high standard of probable cause in the issuance of the subpoenas.

    1. Can we infer that the assignment system has been corrupted?
    2. Can we infer that Judge Kluka and the prosecutor have history and it was a conniving enterprise and not just gross negligence on Judge Kluka’s part.
    3. That aside, is there really any excuse for the prosecutor?

  • Art:
    1) Yes, unless the overall pool of judges is so riven with corruption that the assignment process is of no consequence.
    2) Yes. A truly vigilant legislature would have perceived this and removed them (judge and prosecutor) via impeachment
    3) No excuse. My only point is that a grand jury is a further check on such lawlessness. Yes, when bad laws exist, when they are badly written, a grand jury might not be able to stand up to the ‘experts’, but it still is better than nothing.

  • TomD wrote, “MPS. I’m fairly certain that these ‘John Doe’ investigations carry charges…”

    But a charge against, say, “a person or persons unknown” does not define or limit the scope of searches or precognitions. A warrant to search the repositories or domicile of a person unknown is a warrant to search anyone’s. For that reason, a warrant to seize the papers of “the printers and publishers” of a certain periodical (without naming them) has been described by the High Court of Justiciary here as “not merely irregular, but lawless; it not only fails to confom to, but is opposed to the principles and practice of our law.”

  • Welcome to the life we’ll all experience when Democrats control all powers of government. Thanks Catholics for your devotion to…the party instead of what you say you believe and pray for in church. Catholics are the ONLY REASON the Democratic thug Party has any electoral power at all to keep on murdering all unborn babies. And you bishops, this is what your redefining of pro-life in your “consistent ethic of life” 22 years ago has produced in our country – thugs like the Democratic Party using their powers to terrorize innocent people in the middle of the night just because they support Republicans like Scott Walker. You all will have to answer to Jesus when he returns why it was more important to you to be a Democrat than it was to be a Catholic. How are you obeying the Greatest Commandment of loving God with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your soul when you endorse and support the Democratic Party that is diabolically opposed to what you say you believe and pray for? Goats…that is what you will all become when Jesus returns to judge the nations.

  • Unconstitutional use of office, for political purposes especially, is I think, a high crime. It should be investigated and prosecuted. Letting it pass paves the way for even greater offenses.

Walker Wins

Tuesday, June 5, AD 2012

 

 

Pro-life Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin has won the recall election decisively.  His victory is a clear sign of how the political winds are blowing in Wisconsin and strongly indicates that Wisconsin may well end up in the Republican column in the presidential election this year, which is devastating for Obama.  One little statistic that should send shivers down the spine of Democrat strategists this evening.  When Walker won in 2010 he won the Catholic vote by two points.  Exit polls show him winning the Catholic vote by ten points tonight.  More and more Catholics are realizing that they have no home in the modern Democrat party.  When a conservative Republican like Walker can win in a traditionally Blue state like Wisconsin, largely due to the Catholic vote, the political landscape is changing rapidly.

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27 Responses to Walker Wins

  • Praise be to the Lord Jesus Christ!

  • This is great news. (I, somehow, know you would post this 🙂 )
    Have been following this for a few days, and have been waiting for the news item to come up on Fox – Hannity.

  • The best part is Obama’s dumbfounded look in the video’s preview image.

  • I am beginning to ponder that maybe Obama’s election in 2008 was an aberration. A last gasp of liberalism as we know it. Yeah, we’ll have other liberal candidates winning the White House, but none do the depth and degree of this president and his European-Socialism idealism.

    I pray and hope that we’ll have a flowering of Christianity in this country due in part to the moral depravity and emptiness of President Obama.

    I hope he doesn’t devolve into a modern day Nero if he sees the writing on the wall.

  • What a day!
    Congratulations to Gov. Walker, to Queen Elizabeth on her Jubilee, and to NASA for showing the transition of Venus from evening star to morning star.

  • Tito-
    I’m not as hopeful as you; I’m just hoping a lot of folks went: “HOLY CROW! This ain’t what I thought!” and swing back the opposite way.

  • It’s a wonderful win for those who want to have less government spending and more fiscal sanity. Congratulations to Governor Walker and the people of Wisconsin. More work to be done before November.

  • According to CNN he narrowly retained office. I didn’t know 60/40 was a squeaker

  • Heh, I just noticed that as well Dave. Even better was Lawrence O’Donnell claiming that the big winner tonight was President Obama.

    The big spin now is that Walker only won this because of the money. Evidently now Democrats are against big spending on elections. I hope Barack Obama is apprised of this fact. But even if Walker outspent Barrett, so what? Wasn’t the idea that people in WI were so enraged that they had no choice but to oust Walker. Do you mean to tell me that it only took a bunch of 30 second tv ads to convince voters that they weren’t as upset as they were told they were?

    Make no mistake, this is a very scary sign for the Democrats. Sure all the polling leading up to tonight had Walker winning, but by a much smaller amount. The actual results would seem to indicate that voters are turning away from the Democrats in ways that polls are not accurately reflecting, suggesting that polls about November might be even less rosy for the Dems than people think.

  • There is hope…….I was starting to wonder.!!! God bless Gov. Walker.

  • Good.

    November will be 10 times harder and 100 times more vital.

    Don’t get cocky.

  • Yeehaw!

    Yeah, Democratic strategists should be worried. If they go down 60/40 trying to recall a union-busting GOP governor in Wisconsin on all places, they have got trouble come November.

    Either, as Paul says, this indicates that people are turning away from the Dems more than polls would indicate, or else it underlines how unmotivated the Democratic base is these days. If unions can’t get out the vote in their own recall election, will they be able to create an Obama wave again in the general?

  • There is one small consolation prize for Dems: in addition to Gov. Walker, four GOP legislators were also up for recall and one of them was defeated, which turns the state Senate back to Dem control. However, the legislature isn’t scheduled to meet again until after the November election so this “victory” isn’t likely to make much of an impact. (A commenter on another political blog compared it to a last-place team winning its last game of the season and trumpeting that as “proof” of a comeback.)

  • An amen to that! But optimism, for me, is a long way off.

  • Very happy with the outcome.

  • I’m never one for triumphalism.

    However, I am thrilled to see the communist teacher’s unions get a richly deserved, well-placed bloody nose.

  • As a Wisconsinite, I’m proud of my RED state and the taxpayers sticking it to the union thugs once again — this time by a wider margin. On the downside, the bill for this farce came to $63 million. As a reporter, I’ve interviewed Walker a couple of times when he campaigned and found him honest and direct, but his offer to reach across the aisle is disconcerting. There can be no compromise with baby killing, homosexual-promoting, tax-and-spend neanderthals. They’re total losers; screw ’em.

  • Don, I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in “exit polls,” which are a) a very small sampling and b) not accurate given people’s penchant to lie about their vote for various reasons.

    Early on last night, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel web site, CNN, Fox, etc. all had the race “neck-and-neck” despite the fact that Walker was up 61-39 and widening his lead. The outcome was never in doubt even though Madison/Milwaukee results came in late to close the gap somewhat. This was an old-fashioned political whuppin’.

  • There is one small consolation prize for Dems: in addition to Gov. Walker, four GOP legislators were also up for recall and one of them was defeated, which turns the state Senate back to Dem control.

    They are actually still fussing over the results of one state senate race. The preliminary margin is 800 votes out of 72,000 cast.

    http://www.journaltimes.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/elections/as-republicans-see-victory-wanggaard-in-razor-thin-lead-over/article_90a8c3ae-af76-11e1-ba46-0019bb2963f4.html?comment_form=true

    The legislature does not convene until another round of state senate contests in November.

    According to CNN he narrowly retained office. I didn’t know 60/40 was a squeaker

    The earliest results had that margin. The last ballots counted were in Milwaukee, so the completed tally was a 7-point margin. (Still outside the conventional bounds of ‘narrow’).

    Surprised we haven’t heard from MZ

  • Don, I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in “exit polls,” which are a) a very small sampling and b) not accurate given people’s penchant to lie about their vote for various reasons.

    The sample sizes are adequate, but these polls do appear in the last decade to be a good deal less reliable than they were prior to that, for reasons not well explained.

  • The Democrat Party left us, we did not leave it. If it is the Democrats vs saving our eternal souls, they don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell. Coming from a long line of card carrying union dems, (meat packers, John Deere,) they have lost nearly all of this big Catholic extended family. When my father-in-law was in the Wisc State legislature, he fought so hard against the far left that was infiltrating them, he lost and so did the country. It took a lot, and it hurt a lot to walk away from what was a huge part of this families life. We have never looked back. The pubs aren’t perfect but at least there is a glimmer of hope. Praise The Lord for last nights results!

  • Yeehaw!

    That is the most emotional I have ever witnessed Darwin, evah!

  • Surprised we haven’t heard from MZ

    Ain´t much to really say. The idea that someone elected 18 months ago was somehow easily defeated was a narrative I didn´t subscribe to, although a lot of activists did. When the signatures were being gathered, I placed the odds of recall at 40%. The reason for the loss was gross under performance (or over performance by Walker) in northeastern Wisconsin. Barrett lost 60/40 in Brown Country (Green Bay); winning democrats carry that county. My speculation is that the Milwaukee crime statistics ad was really effective out-state. But even that had more to do with margin than simple outcome. Simple outcome was explained by Walker polling at or above 48% since about January. Where things will get interesting is the next biennial budget. Walker likely won´t be able to do a cram down again or at least not to the degree he did this time. In particular, the road builders are likely going to have to take a hit which will alienate one of his constituencies. Despite the rhetoric, this budget was easy choices like urban funding, cramming down salaries of democratic constituencies, and postponing health care eligibility for the marginally poor.

    As far as Obama goes, the polling has been pretty clear for several months that there is a significant cohort of pro Walker and pro Obama voters. I don´t understand how one could accommodate that dissidence, but some folks have managed. I´m personally surprised at the strength of Obama´s numbers. As for the Catholic vote, there were no discernible Catholic concerns. Without looking at the numbers, I would guess that Catholics voted a little less for Walker than white people generally.

  • Is Walker first US governor to survive a recall election?

    For MZ, enjoy:

Void ab Initio

Wednesday, June 15, AD 2011

 

As I am sure most of you know, the Wisconsin Supreme Court in a 4-3 decision vacated the order of Judge Maryann Sumi enjoining the bill passed by the Wisconsin legislature regarding public employee unions.  The court divided along partisan lines.  The bluntness of the majority opinion is something to behold.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that all orders and judgments of the Dane County Circuit Court in Case No. 2011CV1244 are vacated and declared to be void ab initio.  State ex rel. Nader v. Circuit Court for Dane Cnty., No. 2004AP2559-W, unpublished order (Wis. S. Ct. Sept. 30, 2004) (wherein this court vacated the prior orders of the circuit court in the same case). 

Declaring the orders of a trial court void ab initio is an unusual step for an appellate court.  It basically says that the trial court completely misconstrued the relevant law from the beginning, and is not to be trusted by the appellate court simply reversing the trial court and remanding the case back to the trial court.  Instead the Supreme Court ruled on all of  the issues in the case itself, with Judge Sumi now tossed out of the case by the action of the Supreme Court.  

This court has granted the petition for an original action because one of the courts that we are charged with supervising has usurped the legislative power which the Wisconsin Constitution grants exclusively to the legislature.  It is important for all courts to remember that Article IV, Section 1 of the Wisconsin Constitution provides:  “The legislative power shall be vested in a senate and assembly.”  Article IV, Section 17 of the Wisconsin Constitution provides in relevant part:  “(2) . . . No law shall be in force until published.  (3) The legislature shall provide by law for the speedy publication of all laws.”

You don’t get blunter than that in the law.  Judge Sumi is held by the Court to have usurped the power of the legislature!

The Court then notes that what Judge Sumi attempted to do, enjoin publication of a bill in order to prevent it from becoming law, was in direct defiance of a prior case decided by the Wisconsin Supreme Court:

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12 Responses to Void ab Initio

  • My understanding is that the power of the unionists is now curtailed. I am very happy.

  • cut/paste from earlier comment:

    It’s all good.

    WI Supreme Court upheld Gov. Walker’s bill reforming public employee unions – abolishing automatic withholding of dues, which was the main cause of all this thuggery. Less taxpayer money to fund lib/looter candidates’ campaigns.

    The legislature, a judicial special election (where union organization should have been decisive), and the WISC all righteously beat them down.

    And, all along they showed us that they are thugs and, even worse, hurt a lot of (Special Olympics) little children.

  • Declaring the orders of a trial court void ab initio is an unusual step for an appellate court. It basically says that the trial court completely misconstrued the relevant law from the beginning, and is not to be trusted by the appellate court simply reversing the trial court and remanding the case back to the trial court.

    I don’t know, I wouldn’t be so strong in stating void ab initio that way. Generally, it occurs when the trial court acted without jurisdiction, therefore the order it entered had no force or effect from the moment it was entered. It is usually not a comment on the trust to be placed in the trial court or its legal acumen, rather simply a statement that the order lacks validity from a legalstandpoint. Many jursidictional questions can be close calls, with reasonable arguemtns both for and against. teh question of separation of powers and what legisaltive actions (or failure to act) a court can and cannot review is not a simple question.

  • Man, my typing stinks.

  • As a general rule I don’t disagree with you cmatt, except that in those situations normally the case is remanded back to the trial court with the expectation that the trial court will follow what the appellate court orders. It is far more unusual here where everything the trial court did is vacated, and the apellate court takes the case away from the trial court and decides it completely itself. I have not seen that too often, and I think the decison here was intended to be a slap at the trial judge, especially when the rest of the opinion is considered.

  • Except now the unions are suing over the constitutionality of the law, saying it treats different public sector unions unequally – some lose their collective bargaining rights, while others – such as police, fire, et al – get to keep them. One hurdle crushed, another to get over.

    What’s your opinion on their lawsuit? Does it depend on the judge hearing the case, or does it have merit?

  • The judge hearing the case usually has a vast impact on litigation. I doubt if it has merit since government contracts usually do not come under equal protection analysis unless discrimination is evident on some basis such as race or sex. A government is under no obligation to recognize public employee unions at all, so the argument that a state government may not treat them differently under statute strikes me as farcial on its face. Many states, for example, restrict the ability of certain unions, usually police and firemen, to strike, and those restrictions have been upheld time and again.

  • Turning out to be “the Lawyer Relief bill.” The unionistas are already in federal court trying yet another legal maneuver to block implementation. Meanwhile the Democrats, as usual, are doing everything they can to be obstructionist including prolonging recall elections in senate districts where they were challenged. WI, my home for the past 15 years, is a national embarrassment.

  • Joe,

    NY has WI beat by miles.

    They’re about to legislationally sanctify sodomy and we hear not one word from any church leader anywhere in the Umpire Stake.

    Plus, they keep voting for sordid solons like Anthony Weiner.

  • Mr. Shaw. Re Weiner, not any more. And, yes, I was born and bred in NYC and know all too well about its sordid past and present.

  • T. Shaw,

    While I agree with youur sentiment (NYS is worse than WI), it is inaccurate to state that nno clergy on NYS has spokeen against the pending sanctificattion of homosexual filth by the NYS legislature. The USCCB president, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of NYC, has issued the obligatory statements against tthis at the USCCB meeting televised yesterday afternoon on EWTN TV. I got home from work about 5 pm and caught somethinng about him speaking on this very topic. Please see this web link for more details:

    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/ny-archbishop-warns-lawmakers-not-to-reinvent-marriage-ahead-of-vote/

    Nevertheless, you are correct. Bishop Hubbard of Albany, NY – the guy who eulogized Andy “I am an adulterer” Cuomo who is intent on sanctifying godless sodomy and who lives with his concubine and to whom Hubbard distributed Holy Communion – has done much to damage the Church in NYS. Yet he remains the USCCB social justice flunky. NYS is filled with like-minded clergy, and thus when I visit my children in Syracuse, NY, I find more than half the pews in the Catholic Churches empty.

    The clerical embracing of godless liberal progressive demokracy has done much to weaken the Church in the Empire State. Sorry, folks. That’s the way it is. Too few good clergy and too many heterodox ones

  • Sorry, guys, that my iPad repeats letters. It can’t handle fast typing at this web site.

Of Special People and Common Idiots

Thursday, June 9, AD 2011

Hattip to Christopher Johnson at Midwest Conservative Journal. With one of my sons being autistic, it is little surprise that one of my favorite charities is Special Olympics.  It allows people who too often spend much of life on the sidelines  to compete as athletes and to be admired for what they can accomplish in overcoming the handicaps that life has dealt them.  The whole Special Olympics program is magnificent for special people and their parents, relatives and friends.  One would think that such an organization would be respected by all.  I guess not.

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22 Responses to Of Special People and Common Idiots

  • I’ve noticed that they’ve taken down their facebook page, or at least it is currently unavailable. I guess when each and every person wrote in to tell them what incredible idiots they all were they realized their public support was less than 100 percent.

  • These are Kurt’s people. Take the ban off and let him make a fool of himself defending his union buddies.

  • I can’t come up with words foul enough to describe the lowlifes who could pull a stunt like this and ruin a day to honor Special Olympians. I didn’t think anyone could sink as low as Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist crew, but the public employee unions of the State of Wisconsin have proven me wrong.

  • This is just awful! What numbskull thought it was a good idea to protest at the Special Olympics?! I hope the Olympians had a great time anyway. These union supporters should be ashamed of themselves.

  • Jay Nordlinger writes about the idea of “safe zones”: that a person should be able to go to a concert, for example, without having someone foist his politics on him. This is the nastiest safe zone violation I’ve ever heard of.

  • Imagine there is no liberal.

  • I teach special needs kids age 17-22. If I could have reached through the monitor I would have committed a mortal sin on these protestors. Even Mother Theresa would b–ch slap these people.

  • What astonishes me about the protesters is that their hijacking of
    the kid’s moment with the governor was clearly planned, not impromptu.
    I could understand it if someone made an ass of himself because he
    was caught up in the moment, but these people got together, created
    costumes, applied makeup, and choreographed their movements.
    How is it that in all the time it took to do that, no one in the group
    realized that what they were about to do was so grotesque? It is
    chilling that there was not one shred of decency to be found amongst
    all the members of that group. What won’t they stoop to?

  • In my lifetime, I’ve known several mentally ill people, a couple of brain-damaged people, and have met several mentally disabled people. These idiots who disrupted a Special Olympics events becase they didn’t like the Governor shows the utter heartlessness of people committed to an ideology. It’s one thing to disageee with the Governor, it’s just cruel to abuse innocent people in this way. I hope the law in Madison throws the book at these creep! Maybe McClary can be appointed special prosecuter! LOL!

  • Since the pro-union protesters have made a point of showing up at the Capitol and protesting Gov. Walker’s public appearances on a regular basis, in retrospect, outside the Capitol might not have been the ideal place to hold this awards event… but even that probably wouldn’t have stopped these protestors.

    One would think liberal Democrats would respect Special Olympics because of its connection to the Kennedys (having been founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver) and because its “everybody wins” approach (entirely appropriate for developmentally disabled persons) is something liberals in general seem to want to impose on all educational and recreational activities even when it is NOT needed or appropriate. Then again, given that so many liberal Democrats fight tooth and nail for the right to kill these children before birth, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised.

    As I’m sure you know, Don, autistic youth and those with other developmental disabilities don’t take too kindly to sudden disruptions in their routine; plus they tend to take things much more literally and personally than “normal” or neurotypical people do. What did these Special Olympians think when these rude people all drenched in fake blood and gory makeup appeared? Most of them probably don’t know, or care, about public employee unions or collective bargaining rights; all they know is that a bunch of people showed up at their special event and started acting really weird. We may realize it wasn’t aimed at them, but they may not, and it may have been extremely disturbing to some of them.

    Finally, this debacle just goes to show how far off the rails the concepts of civil disobedience and free speech have gone in the media age. It’s one thing to take upon ONESELF the consequences of disobeying an unjust law or order; it’s another thing entirely to call attention to one’s cause by simply being an (expletive deleted) regardless of the hardship or indignity it causes OTHERS.

  • (Guest comment from Don’s wife Cathy:) “Most of them probably don’t know, or care, about public employee unions or collective bargaining rights; all they know is that a bunch of people showed up at their special event and started acting really weird. We may realize it wasn’t aimed at them, but they may not, and it may have been extremely disturbing to some of them.”
    Elaine, I was telling Don something along those same lines yesterday at home, before we saw your comment. Had our son been there, he probably would have become quite upset at “mean people” interrupting what he had been expecting to happen. (Now, if the union thugs had been a bit more clever, they could have dressed up as Star Wars stormtroopers. Our son loves Star Wars — but he probably would have tried to touch them and talk to them then, and that probably wasn’t the effect the union thugs were going for. Oh, well!)

  • I am stunned and horrified at everyone blaming the victims – the protestors are just fighting for their rights to live in peace and harmony. So a few handicapped people were inconvenienced; their day must be sacrificed for the greater good and liberation of the working person (notice I did not say “man” because that would be sexist). LONG LIVE THE REVOLUITION!! It was the draconian, jack booted Nazi, black helicopter flying, Earth hating, Darth Vader-like behavior of the Republican Governor that caused the problem – if Mr. Walker would stop taking away the workers rights, the workers would not have had to been there.

    “A man must be sacrificed now and again to provide for the next generation of men.” – Amy Lowell. It was the Special Olympics day to sacrifice so the next generation may survive. It was caused by the inevitable march of history not the poor choices of the protestors.

    I am sure President Obama has contacted the Special Olympics and talked to them about restoring civility to our national discourse.

    Some may dislike what must be said but someone or organization must sacrificed for the greater good. To paraphrase George Orwell “To Sacrifice is Strength.”

  • Catholiclawyer.

    Are you serious????

    If so, you are a freak.

  • Don, I suspect that your sarcasm detector might need some fine tuning…

  • Now Don, you should have realized from many of my posts over the years that anyone with “lawyer” in his nom de internet may occasionally “illustrate absurdity by being absurd”! 🙂 Bravo CatholicLawyer!

    It just goes to show Don, never take at face value anything said by those sneaky attorneys! 🙂

  • I assume C/L’s “sarc-squared” function was operational.

    The point: Liberals and gov employee unions are not renowned for their intellectual acuity . . . their talents center on looting taxpayers.

  • Aha !! Mea culpa.

    I must say though, that meaningful and impacting sarcasm should be kept brief; but because it went on and on……

    Oh well, lawyers – talk a lot and say nothing. 🙂

  • How dare you Don! I will have to write a 250,000 word post to refute that libel! 🙂

  • Before you get started, I will have to plead “no contest” 🙂

    (mainly to avoid the pain) 😉

  • Their disruption of the ceremony was vile indeed, but my first thought was “They dressed like zombies?” In other words, the protesters simply reinforced the perception that they are unthinking automatons in bad need of brains. Yes, there were severely mentally challenged people at this event – and it’s not the Special Olympians I’m referring to.

    Sheesh. I’m a Wisconsinite and I am sick to death of Wisconsin politics. But I guess that is the leftist game plan – to wear down ordinary people to the point where we give up and let the left win, simply to stop the shouting.

    Except we’ve figured out that these folks never stop shouting.

  • It was mild sarcasim, the greatest form of humor (at least for me). As for lawyers talking a lot and saying nothing – there may be some truth to that but I will wait for Don’s brief.

  • Courage, Donna V.

    Last Laugh Department:

    WI Supreme Court upheld Gov. Walker’s bill reforming public employee unions – abolishing automatic withholding of dues, which was the cause of all this crap.

    The legislature, a judicial special election (where union organization should have been decisive), and the WISC all righteously beat them down.

    And, all along they showed us that they are thugs and, even worse, hurt a lot of little children.

Scott Walker: Crusader Against Abortion

Monday, March 21, AD 2011

 

In all of the furor over Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s bill to curb the power of public employee union to careen the state of Wisconsin into insolvency, other stances of the Governor have been overlooked.  Leftist magazine Mother Jones notes in a current story that Walker is an ardent foe of abortion:

Walker, the son of a minister, attended Marquette University in Milwaukee from 1986 to 1990, where he served as chair of Students for Life. He dropped out of the school without graduating in 1990, and unsuccessfully ran for the Assembly that fall. He ran again in 1993 in a special election and won an Assembly seat representing Wauwatosa, a city just outside of Milwaukee. It didn’t take long for him to take up the abortion fight.

In November 1996, Walker and Assemblywoman Bonnie Ladwig R-Caledonia announced plans to introduce a bill banning “partial-birth” abortions, or what’s medically known as dilation and extraction. Anti-abortion groups have condemned the practice, but groups that back abortion rights argue the procedure could save a woman’s life in the case of severe late-term complications during a pregnancy. Walker said partial-birth abortions are “never needed” to save lives, adding, “This procedure is not a medically recognized procedure.”

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72 Responses to Scott Walker: Crusader Against Abortion

  • Good scoop!

    I’ve been married to a nurse for 33 years (we were six years old!?). I was present for the births of three sons.

    Governor Walker speaks truth to murderers.

    The whole premise is a lie. The inducement of labor (I saw it with Number One Son) is highly stressful for the mother. If the murderers intend to save both critically-ill mother and baby, they would perform a C-Section.

    But, for infanticide to meet the test for “basic human right,” the murderers must induce labor, turn the doomed baby into the breach (legs first) birth position (dangerous) and over-stress the (weakened, severely ill?) mother so they can kill the baby before the baby is “born”, i.e., completely out of the birth canal.

    Voting for peace and “social justice” has kept this monstrous murder mill running; and (added bonuses!) given us a third war, 9% unemployment, $4 a gallon gasoline/home heating oil, bankrupt state and local governments, shuttered clinics and hospitals, etc.

    Yes, this hillbilly rube is rubbing your bloody noses in it.

  • Gov. Walker is the son of a Methodist minister. Although not of the Faith, he is our brother in Christ.

    I am deeply depressed these days. I see and hear Walker and the GOP slandered incessantly on a daily basis and I see the Democrat State Senators who hightailed it to Illinois hailed as heroes, not cowards. Up is down, and black is white in my little lefty corner of the world. Only teachers are workers, apparently; the rest of us who pay teacher’s salaries without having anything close to their benes and pensions are, apparently – well, we just don’t count.

    I must go to confession, for I know despair is a sin, and yet I find it very difficult not to despair in these days when every value I hold dear is held up to ridicule and the craven and corrupt are called heroes.

    I must keep reminding myself that the little very liberal corner of Wisconsin I live in is not the universe. And yet, since the days of Terri Schaivo and the Obama infatuation, it is difficult to persuade myself that my views are the views of some sensible majority.

  • Oh, and just to lighten up things a bit, I should mention that while I am depressed, I am not as sad as poor Denver:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGOCxmq0-gs&amp

    Now, that is the saddest, guiltiest creature in the universe 🙂

  • Gov. Walker,
    I will side with him with this topic, but I still think overall he as corrupt as many politicians. Getting rid of collective bargaining and the means in which he did was just wrong.

    @Donna : “Only teachers are workers, apparently; the rest of us who pay teacher’s salaries without having anything close to their benes and pensions are, apparently – well, we just don’t count.”
    We pay for the salary, but not these pensions it is 100% funded by the teachers. Now it is sad to see the middle class eat each other because one person has something more than the other. That if I can recall is a SIN. If you think 52k is a lot then I feel you need to see what the medium income is in the united states. I help my community by on occasion substitute teach and see that the salary is low in my opinion because many of the teacher in my community they stay overtime and come before class to help these children. I am a person that would gladly pay an extra 20-30% in taxes if it went to education,fire/police, and infrastructure. But instead I just saw my elect officials increase their salaries and lowered education funding while cutting teachers. To be honest its these elected officials are the people we should be targeting about taking our money not the teachers and police/fire! I would like to see any elected office Demo/Rep vote on having a paycut for themselves for the next 5 years.. we will see that when pigs fly..

  • “It is sad to see the middle class eat each other because one person has something more than the other. That if I can recall is a SIN.”

    I have to agree. Although I believe Gov. Walker has good intentions, the manner in which he and other leading conservatives and GOP figures are going about attacking the problem of public employee pay and benefits bothers me greatly.

    Yes, reforms are needed, and local and state governments can’t go on forever supporting levels of pay and benefits that are unsustainable. Even the most liberal Illinois Democrats are beginning to realize this — they have of late been seriously discussing measures likely to incur the undying wrath of AFSCME, such as not allowing managerial-level employees to join unions and cutting back future pension benefits for CURRENT employees even though such a move is likely to be declared an unconstitutional breach of contract. But, I digress.

    In many cases, the problem was NOT that “greedy” public employees demanded too much, it was that elected officials PROMISED too much, and then never bothered to properly fund those promises. In many cases they went so far as to borrow — or more precisely, steal — money that they knew ought to go toward pensions to spend on pork projects and other vote-getting measures without having to raise taxes.

    Skipping or deferring pension payments is a very popular state budget “balancing” tactic used by BOTH parties. It “worked” in the 1980s and 1990s and for most of the 2000s only because most pension fund investments performed well enough to make up for the money that hadn’t been paid in.

    Something else that bothers me is seeing the pro-life cause tied so closely to economic conservatism. If I didn’t know better from having been pro-life all my life, I’d get the impression from the media and from blogs on both sides of the aisle that being anti-union, condemning all public employees as “parasites”, rigidly opposing tax increases of any kind for ANY reason, insisting upon tax breaks for big business while imposing draconian budget cuts upon the middle class and poor, and insisting that everyone (except big business owners) should be knocked down to a Wal-Mart level of pay and benefits are a “package deal” that goes hand in hand with being pro-life and pro-marriage.

    If one part of this policy package fails to perform as advertised it will drag down the credibility of everything else associated with it, including pro-life. And that, my friends, is why we must NEVER give up on trying to establish a pro-life presence in BOTH parties. This is too important an issue to be tied down to one party or one faction within it.

  • “And that, my friends, is why we must NEVER give up on trying to establish a pro-life presence in BOTH parties. This is too important an issue to be tied down to one party or one faction within it.”

    That was my position Elaine, up until the passage of the Obamacare debacle, when it was revealed that for all the energy put into attempting to establish a pro-life presence in the Democrat party, perhaps 10 of the Democrats in Congress were truly pro-life. Pro-lifers who are Democrats will always have my best wishes for their efforts, but I think their attempt is bound to fail. The modern Democrat party has at its core a committment to keeping abortion legal. That party will compromise on almost everything else, but not on that issue. It might help of course if pro-life Democrats would emphasize that they will not vote for pro-abort Democrats, but I think the pro-abort powers that be in the Democrat party long ago decided that the sacred right of abortion is worth losing disgruntled pro-life votes.

  • “Now it is sad to see the middle class eat each other because one person has something more than the other. That if I can recall is a SIN.”

    Rubbish. It is called taxpayers realizing that the sweetheart deals between politicians and the public employee unions, which are more accurately characterized as bribes, are bankrupting states and literally cannot be paid. This day has been coming for decades and since states cannot print money out of thin air like the Feds, there is no alternative to it.

  • “Perhaps 10 of the Democrats in Congress were truly pro-life.”

    Well, that’s 10 more than zero, and 10 righteous men would have been enough for God to spare Sodom…

  • “It’s not just about being against something, it’s believing that every individual deserves dignity and respect, whoever they are, at whatever stage of life they’re in,” Lipinski said. “That is something I hear my Democratic colleagues say. And I say that it’s self-evident that the individual is there at conception.”

    “We know that at conception, the genetic code is there, for a unique individual. This is not something that is just a religious belief,” Lipinski said. “If you look at what we know about reproduction, you can see it.”

    That is what representative Bill Lipinski (D.Ill) said in explaining his no vote on final passage of Obamacare. He is one of the true pro-life Democrats in Congress. For him proclaiming himself pro-life simply wasn’t part of a marketing strategy, which apparently was all it was for most self-proclaimed pro-life Democrats in the last Congress.

  • Alex wrote:

    “it is sad to see the middle class eat each other because one person has something more than the other. That if I can recall is a SIN. If you think 52k is a lot then I feel you need to see what the medium income is in the united states.”

    Alex, you have forgotten to mention the gold-plated benefits and pension plans, which is something the overwhelming majority of Americans do not get. It is the middle class majority comprised of non-public employees who are footing the bill so a small minority of their peers can enjoy perks and privileges the rest of us do not get. Walker’s reforms are actually very modest, and yet the unionists are screaming like scalded cats. The system as presently scheduled prevents any true reform of our educational system, because poor teachers with seniority cannot be fired.

    Collective bargaining is a privilege, not a “right” Moses came down the mountain with. Federal employees don’t have it, teachers in right-to-work states don’t have it. May I ask why teachers should not have the right to choose whether or not they belong to a union? Why should they be forced to join a union and have their dues used to fund Democratic causes and candidates they may not personally support themselves? If being in a union is so wonderful, I would think they would be happy to pull out the checkbook themselves instead of the state withholding dues. (And why on earth is the state in the business of withholding union dues anyway.)

    Elaine and Alex, do you really comprehend the magnitude of the fiscal disaster that is headed our way? If you think Scott Walker is being a meanie now, just wait until those government checks start bouncing. Part of the problem is that Americans generally agree that oh, yes, we’re spending way to much – but don’t you dare cut MY programs, my entitlements, my benes. Go cut somebody else’s – take more money from the corporations (nevermind that as of April 1, the US will have the highest corporate tax rate in the world and that the unions putting the screws to The Man is a big part of the reason Detroit has become the glorious garden spot it is.)

    The lefties I hear everyday bang on about taking all the money from the rich. That certainly worked so well for everybody in 1917. One small problem – the total net worth of US billionaires is about $1.3 trillion – which doesn’t even cover US debt for 1 year. We are spending money which does not exist.

    DeTocqueville pointed out many years ago that once the populace discovered they could vote themselves largesse out of public funds, the American republic would be in danger, because people would eventually vote themselves into bankruptcy. That is where we are headed – that is the SIN, Alex – and I am alternately saddened and angered by people who refuse to see it.

    No, Walker’s problem isn’t that he’s corrupt. It’s that he’s too honest. We say we want honest politicians, politicians who will take political risks and level with us – but when one does,oh, how he is hated. No, we want pretty lies, pols who promise us more and more and let us believe in the fairy tale that government can provide for all and the gravy train will never end. We deserve everything that’s coming to us – and it will be very ugly.

    Elaine, you might wish to be a pro-life Democrat. The Democrats don’t want you. You are not welcome among them. That was made very clear the night Stupak caved.

  • Bard professor Walter Russell Mead is writing many interesting posts these days about the demise of “Liberalism 4.0” – the Blue State Social Model operative for much of the 20th century:

    Regardless of what happens in Madison this week, it is a hopeless battle. 4.0 liberalism and the Blue Social Model aren’t immoral and they helped many Americans enjoy roughly two generations of unprecedented prosperity — but they are unworkable in the contemporary world. States that don’t make the kind of changes that Wisconsin seeks will face the problems that loyally blue Illinois does now: staggering pension bills that undermine the state’s credit and cripple its ability to attract and hold business. An article in the New York Times, that bastion of blue thinking, mocks Illinois’ latest plan to pay its current pension bill with a $3.7 billion bond issue. Note reporters Mary Williams Walsh and Michael Cooper, Illinois “is essentially paying a single year’s bill by adding to its already heavy debt load. That short-term thinking is not unlike Americans taking out home equity loans to pay for cars and vacations before the housing bust.”

    However much money the public sector unions fling into the maw of Democratic party politics, the old system is going down. Workers will actually do better in states that act quickly; the longer the day of reckoning is postponed, the higher the bill will be, and the more savage and draconian the cuts will have to become.

    I really, honestly don’t understand why this is so darned difficult to comprehend! Isn’t that how it works in your personal life?

    I suspect people really don’t believe that the wheels can come off our system, that there really, truly isn’t any money left (unless the Feds start printing it – hello, hyper-inflation!) Because hey, we’re America! Just as there were undoubtably Brits 100 years ago who scoffed at the idea that mighty Britain could possibly become a 3rd rate power in the space of a couple of generations and Romans who believed the glorious Empire would last forever.

    http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2011/02/18/the-madison-blues/

    BTW, Donald, in addition to having interesting insights into contemporary US domestic and military policies, Mead is also a fellow Civil War buff and is commemorating the 150th anniversary of the War by blogging about Civil War events as though they were current events.

    http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2011/03/05/lincoln-davis-in-inaugural-shuffle/

  • “Elaine and Alex, do you really comprehend the magnitude of the fiscal disaster that is headed our way?”

    Yes, Donna, I believe I do. I work for the state, and if checks start bouncing, I’m first in line to get bounced! I don’t even think about the allegedly lavish pension I’m supposed to get someday because I presume it won’t be there. No early retirement for me, I’m just going to keep working until I’m too old, sick or dead to stand up.

    I’m NOT saying benefits cannot or should not be cut back. I’m NOT saying concessions should not be made. And that includes my own benefits even though I’m NOT union and don’t make all that much money ($35,000 a year, folks, it’s a matter of public record) Nor do I think Walker is being all that “mean” or unreasonable in the financial concessions he has sought.

    No, I think the problem is more with conservative pundits and others who have consciously chosen to pursue a strategy of emphasizing the alleged greed of public workers as a class, hoping that this will translate into more GOP votes. All you have to do is read the comments on ANY conservative blog to see what I mean. Sorry if I take that a little too personally, but, I do.

    I am simply saying to place the blame for this situation where it really belongs…on the elected officials who overpromised time and time again, and on the private employers who pulled the rug out from under THEIR pensioners, thereby creating the expectation that because private sector workers got screwed out of their retirement, therefore so should public sector workers.

    The blame does NOT belong to ordinary people like myself who took public sector jobs — not because they wanted to get rich at public expense, or wanted to spit in the face of the taxpayers, or wanted to sit around and do nothing all day — but because they just wanted to do what seemed best for their own security and that of their families. I suppose you’d all rather I go back to trying to support my family on $9 an hour?

    As much as I despise the intimidation tactics and stands of the WI public union crowd, and even as much as I despise most unions and would prefer NEVER to join one, please don’t try to convince me that public employees are ALL some kind of Marie Antoinette-like privileged class… I KNOW that’s not true, and others can certainly see it too, and it will only make everything else conservatives say appear equally ridiculous (including pro-life and pro-marriage stands).

    No, all I am saying is to cast the issue a little differently… instead of pitting public and private sector against one another just say we are ALL fellow citizens TOGETHER in the same boat and for the good of ALL we need a fiscally sound and sustainable government that doesn’t make promises it can’t keep. Is that so hard to understand?

    Sorry if this sounds like an unhinged rant but if you spent the last two days trying to decipher hundreds of pages of Medicaid regulations until your head was ready to explode from eyestrain, well, maybe you would feel like ranting too.

  • Thanks, Elaine, for your thoughtful and even-handed analysis. Will it change minds here? Probably not. Would it change minds if posted on Vox Nova? No. But it needs to be said. The Church has many teachings, all of them pro-life: opposition to abortion and respect for the sanctity of marriage are two big ones these days, but upholding the dignity of workers is one as well.

  • Elaine: My older brother retired from a job as city administrator of a small town after 30+ years in that position. I certainly do not think he was lazy; in fact, he worked many evenings and weekends and I know he was very dedicated to the good of the community. At the same time, he has not yet turned 60. None of his siblings will retire before 60, or, I estimate, before we turn 70. The rest of us work in the healthcare system, and none of us get the gold-plated healthcare coverage he receives. My ex-brother in law retired from teaching at age 55. I am resigned to having to work until I am 70 or older. What I resent – and I am sorry that Alex considers this a sin – is having to work until I am at least 70 because I have to foot the bill, not only for myself, but for people like my ex-brother-in-law who is thoroughly enjoying his retirement.

    This is what I deeply and (God help me) bitterly resent – the idea, as expressed on signs and in protests that public union employees are the only middle class people, the only workers who count. What am I, what are the people employed by private industry? Chopped liver? People who exist to support public employees?

    I am not rich either, Elaine. I make a bit more than you, but I am single and fending for myself in the world. I live in a 2 bedroom apartment in a “yuppie” neighborhood – and I permitted myself the luxury of having a second bedroom and more space only because I didn’t own a car and could walk to work. Then my job moved to a business center miles away and I suddenly had to get up at 4 am and take 3 buses to get to work. So I bought a car (used) last fall and I am now having trouble salting away extra money in my savings account. Last week, I received word that the hospital system I work for is in terrible trouble financially. They are bringing Deloitte and Toche in within the next couple of weeks and there will be serious cuts. Our department may be outsourced. If our financial situation doesn’t improve, the whole organization will go out of business in 18 months.

    So, Elaine, you’re not the only one who feels like ranting. I ask, who will be standing on the street corners waving signs around if my hours are cut, or my job is lost? I am a middle manager in my 50’s. What if I try to go back to my former occupation as a legal assistant? Competing against recent college grads? I have spent nights tossing and turning and asking God to help alleviate my fear and dread.

    please don’t try to convince me that public employees are ALL some kind of Marie Antoinette-like privileged class…

    When did I say that? And Walker has never said anything of the sort. In fact, he has praised the dedication of public employees – and he’s absurdly called a dictator by the mob in Madison. Yes, certainly some conservatives have If you want to castigate someone for tainting the reputation of public employees, look to the unlovely crowd in Madison (and the people in my own neighborhood) who have signs up comparing him to Hitler. The Wisconsin GOP assemblymen and women have been subjected to death threats and the blogger Ann Althouse has been threatened (for simply recording and posting what the Madison protesters have being saying and doing during the past month). When a local grocery store chain refused to post anti-Walker, pro-union signs in its windows, the doors were superglued shut. I take regular walks along N. Lake Shore Drive – yesterday, I noticed that the 2 signs supporting the GOP candidate for Supreme Court Justice were ripped up and tossed in the bushes. The many signs favoring the Dem candidates were untouched.

    Yes, it is wrong to associate such thuggish behavior with public employees as a whole. And yet, I can understand why some conservatives might get confused on that score.

  • Ron wrote:
    upholding the dignity of workers is one as well

    Ron, are you aware of the “rubber rooms” in NY state? They are where teachers accused of sexually abusing their pupils and other serious charges go to spend their days – because they can’t be fired according to union rules. They go there to play cards, chat and watch the soaps – at full pay, with the NY taxpayer footing the bill. Does that fit your concept of “upholding the dignity of workers?”

    I am so sick I could scream of the notion that only those in unions are “workers” while the rest of us, apparently, are just cash cows who should shut up and pay our ever escalating taxes – and if we complain or rebel we are uncharitable or rude or greedy. Go ahead, lefties, make the whole country look like Detroit. ‘Cause that is exactly where we’re headed.

    In Ron’s head, apparently, only the rich are guilty of greed. If a union employee screams because he or she has to pay *horrors* for a portion of their benes or healthcare, well, that’s not greed or selfishness. Yes, like the Pharisee, we thank God that we are not like those miserable others! We are always on the side of the angels, correct, Ron?

  • And during the past few weeks, I have noticed that no Walker critic has an answer for this:

    May I ask why teachers should not have the right to choose whether or not they belong to a union? Why should they be forced to join a union and have their dues used to fund Democratic causes and candidates they may not personally support themselves? If being in a union is so wonderful, I would think they would be happy to pull out the checkbook themselves instead of the state withholding dues.

    Ron, kindly tell me, why “upholding the dignity of workers ” means forcing them to join unions?

  • Thanks, Donald.

    Oh, and here’s yet another lovely example of a union leader’s touching concern for “the dignity of workers”:

    Lerner (a former SEIU official) said that unions and community organizations are, for all intents and purposes, dead. The only way to achieve their goals, therefore–the redistribution of wealth and the return of “$17 trillion” stolen from the middle class by Wall Street–is to “destabilize the country.”

    Lerner’s plan is to organize a mass, coordinated “strike” on mortgage, student loan, and local government debt payments–thus bringing the banks to the edge of insolvency and forcing them to renegotiate the terms of the loans. This destabilization and turmoil, Lerner hopes, will also crash the stock market, isolating the banking class and allowing for a transfer of power.

    Lerner’s plan starts by attacking JP Morgan Chase in early May, with demonstrations on Wall Street, protests at the annual shareholder meeting, and then calls for a coordinated mortgage strike.

    Lerner also says explicitly that, although the attack will benefit labor unions, it cannot be seen as being organized by them. It must therefore be run by community organizations.
    Lerner was ousted from SEIU last November, reportedly for spending millions of the union’s dollars trying to pursue a plan like the one he details here.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/seiu-union-plan-to-destroy-jpmorgan

    Nevermind, of course, that many millions of average Americans would suffer terribly if the stock market went under. Nevermind that Obama himself blessed the bailout of Wall Street and that Wall Street firms donated heavily to his campaign.

    “Dignity of workers,” my big fat foot. What the unions are after is power, raw power, and they could care less than a fig about who suffers as a result.

  • “What I resent – and I am sorry that Alex considers this a sin – is having to work until I am at least 70 because I have to foot the bill, not only for myself, but for people like my ex-brother-in-law who is thoroughly enjoying his retirement.”

    @Donna: So instead of helping everyone retire at 55/65 you would rather pass on your misery? I see this to be the sin of Envy?

    This is what I deeply and (God help me) bitterly resent – the idea, as expressed on signs and in protests that public union employees are the only middle class people, the only workers who count. What am I, what are the people employed by private industry? Chopped liver? People who exist to support public employees?

    @Donna: I work for a private business as well and get a fair wage. I expect my taxes to go to infrastructure (fire/police, schools, and parks/roads) and happy to pay 28% or more. As well believe if I made more than 3 million that the next dollar should be taxed at 90%.

    Alex, you have forgotten to mention the gold-plated benefits and pension plans, which is something the overwhelming majority of Americans do not get.

    @Donna My dad worked for ford his whole life worked nights to put me through school and put me in a very middle/high middle class neighborhood so I can do what he could not, go to school. My dad worked for 35 years and retired with that “gold-plated” benefits because he had a union. My dad is a very humble person that never asked for anything and was happy he had a job. If it was not for the union he would not be fairly compensated. Because of the years of work, blood and sweat I was able to go to school in order to work and be productive. I don’t have a union, but because of my father I able to stand on my two feet and quit when I feel taken advantaged unlike my dad, but he had the union to help him negotiate fair wage. I left my previous job because of a 30% cut in wage and was out of work for a year. Mind you I have a house that is 90k and 2 cars. Today I found a job that I am making 40% more all because of my dad providing for my future. Now my dad is retired with a “gold-plated” pension with a successful son that has not forgotten were he came from like many others have. If that is so bad for a person to retire at 55 you try doing some hard manual labor for sometime. You know what is sad is I make what may dad made before he retired… and i feel that I nor many people posting on this blog have never work as hard has him and many others. Unions are needed if you don’t think so I am afraid that you don’t believe in democracy since i do see unions as mini-versions of our gov’t.

    Collective bargaining is a privilege, not a “right” Moses came down the mountain with. Federal employees don’t have it, teachers in right-to-work states don’t have it. May I ask why teachers should not have the right to choose whether or not they belong to a union? Why should they be forced to join a union and have their dues used to fund Democratic causes and candidates they may not personally support themselves? If being in a union is so wonderful, I would think they would be happy to pull out the checkbook themselves instead of the state withholding dues. (And why on earth is the state in the business of withholding union dues anyway.)

    Collective bargaining is a privilege, not a “right”<— with this logic lets just say that voting is also privilege not a "right". What is wrong with Collective bargaining? We do this all the time passively and actively in democracy… unless you want a dictatorship be my guess. I would like you to explain to me why this is not a right? How do you define what is a human right versus a privilege.

    "It is the middle class majority comprised of non-public employees who are footing the bill so a small minority of their peers can enjoy perks and privileges the rest of us do not get. Walker’s reforms are actually very modest, and yet the unionists are screaming like scalded cats. The system as presently scheduled prevents any true reform of our educational system, because poor teachers with seniority cannot be fired. "

    @Donna: Have you every volunteered to work as a substitute teacher ? Many of these Sr. "teachers" that should be fired my guess are less than 10% so you would get rid of collective bargaining for these rotten teachers. Even though most of the issue is not the rotten teacher but the rotten parents.

    Here is a few questions for you what is your take on the elected offical's salaries? Do you think Citizen United Decision is the correct direction for our country? Would you rather take from people that are working hard then those who will always be well off?

  • Donna, I am very sorry to hear that your job is in jeopardy. Involuntary unemployment is something both my husband and I have experienced, and the only thing I can say about it is, it sucks. In fact he’s unemployed now and no longer getting unemployment benefits, so my salary is all the three of us have.

    I am quite aware of the death threats and intimidation tactics going on in Wisconsin. I discovered Ann Althouse’s blog about a month ago and have been reading it every day since so I know about everything she and her husband, Larry Meade, have been reporting. I chafe constantly at how conservatives, even on their best behavior, are always painted in the media as the intolerant thugs while leftists get away with all sorts of “incivility” and worse.

    Yes, public employee unions are doing their best to make all public employees look bad and incite class warfare — that’s obvious. But what may NOT be as obvious to people like us is that there are some (certainly not all) conservatives doing the same thing. You can find them on any conservative blog, or any newspaper website. People who say ALL unions, even in the private sector, must be abolished; people who say ALL public employees are mere parasites who produce nothing of value and whose very existence is a form of theft; people who say that all public employees only have their jobs because they are losers incapable of making it in the “real world,” etc.

    I don’t think public employees are the only “real” middle class people or that their jobs are the only ones that matter. I do not want to see ANYONE lose their job if it can be avoided. And should I ever lose my job (it could happen if our agency budget gets cut severely enough) I don’t expect anyone to go out on a street corner and protest. All I am saying is that I don’t like class warfare, no matter who instigates it.

  • Donna: So instead of helping everyone retire at 55/65 you would rather pass on your misery? I see this to be the sin of Envy?

    Alex, you really, really don’t get it. “Helping everyone retire at 55/65?” How, given the demographics of this country and the financial straits we are in, is such a thing possible? Again, do you even begin to comprehend the hole that we are in? It’s like saying you’re in favor of the tooth fairy. No, Walker is asking the public union employees to give up a small fraction of what they currently have for the greater good. By doing that he avoids layoffs. But the teacher’s union has shown that they would accept thousands of layoffs rather than making concessions. You, Alex, are insisting that other people make the sacrifices while absolving the teachers from making any. Guess what? We will all have to make sacrifices and I don’t understand why teachers should be exempt.

    Your view of unions is influenced by your father’s experience. I don’t doubt he worked hard, but I wouldn’t confuse reverence for a parent with reverence for an institution. There was a place and time for unions – but that time is over and done, as Prof. Mead explains so well in his articles. My sister worked in the medical department of a GE plant up until 5 years ago. She was in one of the few non-unionized departments there. The plant is now shuttered, in large part because the UAW would not make even the smallest concessions. Michigan is a basket case economy for the same reason.

    What is wrong with Collective bargaining?

    Can I ask you, what about those of us workers who do not have collective bargaining, but have negotiated on our own for raises? What about all the German and Japanese car company plants located in the South -plants which are doing just fine without collective bargaining? Are those workers slaves? Do they live in a dictatorship? What about people who live in Right to Work states? Are they peons? Four families of my acquaintance have moved to Texas or Tennessee over the past year. Silly fools, leaving the union paradise that is the upper Midwest for the benighted South – which is where all the job creation happens to be these days. What would you do to stop such flights of labor, Alex? Forbid corporations from moving to right to work states? Good luck with that.

    You absolve yourself of the sin of envy, Alex, but you have no problem with the idea of taking from those more well-off than you. My guess is that you blame the rich and those evil corporations for all the ills of the world. Oh, but you’re not envious. Well, take a look around the room you’re sitting in and name me one item you own that was NOT made by a corporation. Like I noted earlier, you could take every single dime away from Steve Jobs and Bill Gates and that would not solve our financial crisis. Unfortunately, we are not only killing the goose that lays the golden eggs, we are making omelets from the eggs.

    what is your take on the elected offical’s salaries?
    It’s my understanding that Walker has agreed to the same cuts he has stipulated for other public employees.

    Do you think Citizen United Decision is the correct direction for our country?

    Yes, although I know that’s the politically incorrect answer. McCain/Feingold was terrible, terrible law.

    And may I ask you -again- why you think that forcing people to be in unions and pay union dues is democratic?

    I could make this post much longer, but I must get ready for work. I leave with the words of former SEIU exec Lerner, who sounds like he has exactly the same understanding of “democracy” as you do, Alex:

    Lerner (a former SEIU official) said that unions and community organizations are, for all intents and purposes, dead. The only way to achieve their goals, therefore–the redistribution of wealth and the return of “$17 trillion” stolen from the middle class by Wall Street–is to “destabilize the country.”

    Lerner’s plan is to organize a mass, coordinated “strike” on mortgage, student loan, and local government debt payments–thus bringing the banks to the edge of insolvency and forcing them to renegotiate the terms of the loans. This destabilization and turmoil, Lerner hopes, will also crash the stock market, isolating the banking class and allowing for a transfer of power.

    Yeah, let’s bring down Wall Street and the banks! Or, as Alex would put it, let’s take from the rich! It’s not sinful to do that!

  • Oh, and one last thing: most Wisconsin teachers stayed in their classrooms and did not run over to Madison to throw a giant hissy fit. Those who did – and took students with them – certainly taught those kids some valuable lessons. Such as: it’s fine to lie about being sick, the results of the last election can be ignored if you don’t like the results, it’s also OK for legislators to run off to another state to avoid taking a vote, it’s wonderful to spew hatred of Walker and the GOP and call them Nazis and fascists, it’s terrific to bully and threaten businesses into publicly supporting you, as the unions are doing, it’s great to turn a beautiful capitol building into a dump and to refuse to leave, it’s me-me-me and mine-mine-mine all the way and sacrifices are for others to make.

    Yes, wonderful lessons for our children.

  • Elaine: I don’t think we are that far apart. No, I do not agree with blanket condemnations of all teachers or all public employees. I think that when conservatives are relentlessly demonized by the media and progressives as selfish and uncaring there is a temptation to demonize the other side in turn. That is not helpful, but I don’t think it is coming from Walker or the GOP legislators.

    Now I really must go! Have a good day!

  • I think it is regretable that Walker elected to make an attack on working families his first priority, ahead of defense of the unborn. The public revolt against his anti-worker actions will likely lead to a loss of his Senate majority after the recall and maybe his own recall next year*, stalling any pro-life initiative he might someday get around to. He has thrown away a chance to protect the unborn.

    * Something I doubted could be pulled off until the news reports that he gave a government job to the mistress of one of the married Republican senators who did his bidding — and a government job with at a 30% raise over the civil servant who held the job before, all while the Governor claims the state is “broke”

  • I think it is regretable that Walker elected to make an attack on working families his first priority,

    I would suggest that demagoguery is beneath you, but based on your prior comments it seems fitting that you’d resort to the usual progressive cliches.

    He has thrown away a chance to protect the unborn.

    Empty words coming from someone who worships at the feet of a president who doesn’t even think that infants born alive after an attempted abortion deserve protection.

  • “He has thrown away a chance to protect the unborn.”

    Given that unions generally, if not always, support abortion, reducing union power in Wisconsin is a pro-life move.

  • Criticizing a politician for prioritizing financial matters over anti-abortion measures can and often is a valid criticism. However, if it’s a financial crisis (which I accept is the case in WI, though others may argue otherwise), it would seem prudent to address that first because ultimately matters of life are involved.

    However, I find Kurt’s remarks to be laughable and the type of argument that if I were tempted to make would likely cause me to change my opinion – or at least reconsider my position. By the standard he is holding Walker to, Kurt would not – could not – possibly have supported Obama. It was well known that Obama would not only prioritize pro-life initatives but that he prioritize the expansion of abortion. The only thing remotely pro-life Obama has done was delay his planned overturning of the Mexico City Policy to the third day of his presidency.

    Kurt, I’ve enjoyed reading your arguments in these threads and have gained insight due to them, but I’m calling you out on your last comment. It’s those types of tortured arguments that can cause one to lose any bit of credibility. Eventually people won’t even give you the courtesy to give consideration to your substantiative and valid arguments.

  • Given that unions generally, if not always, support abortion

    I can count on my fingers the number of unions that have taken a stand on abortion (pro or con).

  • Unions generally support Dems who almost always support abortion.

    In Wisconsin, its the teachers’ union which has lost power. Teachers’ unions almost invariably support abortion. So still a pro-life move.

  • Unions generally support Dems who almost always support abortion.

    I know I am not going to change your mind, but you have no idea how alienating and offensive that is to large segments of the public, particularly blue collar voters. Labor, like business, environmentalists, defense contracters, the NRA, Realtors, and Immigrant rights organizations make their endorsements on a narrow range of issues that directly concern them, abortion not being one of them. Yet you single out labor because you’ve done some calculation. Calling someone a supporter of abortion is a serious charge. You cheapen it and in doing so you cheapen the Pro-Life movement. These unions are not supporting abortion. They have made objective evaluations of candidates based on their positions on labor issues. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), maybe the most pro-life member of Congress gets labor support every election because of his positive voting record on labor issues.

    Your goal is to taint your secular political opponents with abortion. Sadly, because so many have done that, more pro-life voters have simply stopped listening to the Pro-Life movement than have been one over. But, of course, that is alright with you as well, because the last thing many conservatives want is a bunch of “working class slobs” as pro-life leaders.

  • Kurt,

    The Oscars are over so you can save your dramatics for another year.

    Put another way, BS on fine bread is still a BS sandwhich. You can use polemics to try to make your point, but the fact is that unions (especially teachers unions) support abortion. In fact many “working class slobs” are trying to get their dues back to stop this. But don’t let facts get in the way of your speeches:

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archive/ldn/2007/jun/07062603

  • Oh, and Alex, your complete and utter lack of compassion for any worker who is not union is noted. You honor your dad. That is -honestly and truly- commendable. You think everyone else should sacrifice to keep your dad in clover – well, that is not so commendable. If your dad did not have the foresight to save for his retirement, as my steel factory dad, who squirreled away every cent he could, did, well then that is your job and your responsibility, Alex. You also blur the lines between private and public unions. Please don’t tell me that teachers hauling home lesson plans compromises hard physical labor. Most of us do not get June, July and August off.

  • When it comes to retirement benefits the real problem isn’t unions, taxation, or over- or under-paid public employment.

    The real problem is that Baby Boomers and later generations are living longer and “larger” (i.e. at a higher standard of living) than their retirement benefits were designed to last, and that they didn’t have enough children to replace themselves in the workforce.

    Social Security was created at a time when life expectancy was below age 70 — meaning most people who retired at 65 would only draw benefits for about 5-10 years — and there were at least 5 or 6 (or more) younger adults in the workforce for every retiree.

    Now that life expectancy is creeping up on 80+, many retirees live 20-25 years after retirement, and there are only 2-3 younger workers for every retiree, it doesn’t take an economic scientist to see there are going to be big problems sustaining the system. The best short term solution IMO would be to raise the retirement age to 70 or even farther, to reflect increased life expectancy.

  • Put another way…

    Put another waym the candidates endorsed by the RTL Committee are almost all anti-worker, anti-environment, anti-consumer protection and pro-gun. Therefore the Por-Life Movement is anti-worker, anti-environment, anti-consumer and pro-gun.

  • Put another waym the candidates endorsed by the RTL Committee are almost all anti-worker, anti-environment, anti-consumer protection and pro-gun. Therefore the Por-Life Movement is anti-worker, anti-environment, anti-consumer and pro-gun.

    Really? Anti-worker? I suspect “pro-worker” in your mind is strictly defined by whether or not they subservient to the union machine or not. Anti-environment? As little respect as I have for politicians of any stripe I don’t recall having ever considered one anti-environment. Again, I think you’re making leaps here and attributing something to another just because they don’t accept your narrowly defined (and possibly quite imprudent or incorrect policy preferences). Anti-consumer protection? Here too I think what’s at issues is prudential judgment and evaluation of the pros and cons of various policies. Pro-gun, not sure that’s a criteria of RTL, it may just be that most people who support the dignity of life at the earliest stages of life also support throughout life. I see nothing contradictory to life and the dignity of man in upholding the right of someone to possess a firearm. Besides, aren’t firearms owners primarily workers and consumers, many of whom have a sincere appreciation of the environment and wildlife? Perhaps we could use “pro-gun” to be a catch-all position for all that is good and just. 🙂

  • “Therefore the Pro-Life Movement is anti-worker, anti-environment, anti-consumer and pro-gun.”

    Let’s not forget “bible-thumping.” 🙂

  • Pro-gun, not sure that’s a criteria of RTL,..

    Thank you for conceeding to my point.

  • Was just being a little sarcastic in as respectful of a way as i could. I don’t know the mind of RTL, but I find it hard to believe that they select candidates to support based on the criteria you mention. I first and foremost reject your your characterizations regarding anti-worker, environment, etc. Second, I’m willing to acknowledge that people who who place a high value on the right to life and the dignity of the human person are likely to carry those convictions to other matters of public policy, it just so happens you may not view those as desirable things.

  • I don’t know the mind of RTL, but I find it hard to believe that they select candidates to support based on the criteria you mention.

    Yes, well Phillip’s standard is the criteria used in making endorsement is not a factor. If the AFL-CIO, the American Medical Association or the National Association of Realtors uses criteria of issues particular to their organizations, so what. Nevertheless, that does not save them from Phillip’s judgment of being pro-abortion. So, the same with RTL. It’s not the criteria they use, but someone’s judgment that too many of their candidates are pro-gun. It really is quite silly and certainly cheapens the pro-life cause by flinging accusations around.

  • The American Medical Association supports abortion. Therefore it is not pro-life. The National Association of Realtors has no opinion that can be found. The AFL-CIO at this point is agnostic on abortion but has clearly steared near supporting it:

    http://www.nytimes.com/1989/11/14/us/back-abortion-rights-afl-cio-is-asked.html

    http://www.forerunner.com/forerunner/X0479_Stop_the_AFL-CIO

    htmlhttp://ymlp.com/zONtml

    Please note the number of unions in the first link that were avowedly pro-abortion and sought the AFL-CIO to do so also.

    This is as opposed to the NEA and other teachers’ unions, like Ohio linked above, are also pro-abortion:

    http://www.inthefaith.com/2004/04/24/teachers-union-weighs-in-on-abortion/

    One might consider your criteria to be rhetoric. Mine are the facts. More of your BS sandwhiches.

  • I make no apologies for democracy. If that is something you find offensive, I hear a colonel in Libya is looking for guys to help him out.

    The AFL-CIO is a democracy. Some portion of the membership proposed a resolution and it was voted down. We who believe in democracy have no problem with this. It is only the totalitarian mindset that objects.

    You are squirming back and forth. On the one hand you call the AFL-CIO pro-abortion not because the group has adopted any such policy or uses abortion as a criteria in its political endorsements, but because you find that too many of its endorsed candidates are pro-abortion, even if it be by accident rather than design. The same standard applied to the RTL Committee would say that RTL is pro-this or anti-that not based on their positions or endorsement criteria but is too many of their endorsed candidates take those positions.

    You have slid into silliness and nonsense.

  • On the moral imperatives top ten priority list, the liberal places abortion number ten after number nine spending $2 trillion to discover the cure for insomnia.

  • More BS. If you note 6 unions asked for the AFL-CIO to become pro abortion. Its merely taken a neutral position. Sort of like taking a neutral position of Jim Crow laws.

    But a quick internet search has found hundreds of unions that support abortion, not a handful.

    Sorry if facts don’t support your rhetoric. When rhetoric persists in the face of facts, its call lies.

  • Thank God that outside gubmint unions using taxpayer funded salaries to elect politicians to raise their taxpayer funded salaries, fewer than 20% of employees are trapped in unions that are intent on destroying the evil, unjust private sector thus terminating their employment opportunities.

    Kurt, Are al Qaeda and sharia law (i.e., the Libyan rebels) democracy????

  • More facts:

    “Meeting behind closed doors last month, the California Labor Federation — which represents more than 2.1 million workers belonging to more than 1,100 affiliated unions — voted to oppose Proposition 85, a November ballot initiative that would require doctors to notify parents before performing abortions on minors. In a policy statement, the labor federation also urged the national AFL-CIO “to reconsider its position of neutrality on the issue.”

    Link here:

    http://articles.latimes.com/2006/aug/07/local/me-abortion7

    Then there is the Ohio state teachers’ union which supported abortion and the NEA which is the largest union in the country which radically supports abortion:

    http://www.lifenews.com/2009/07/07/nat-5198/

    Was just going with your example of the AFl-CIO and abortion. But as far as CST is concerned, the AFL-CIO is radically opposed to marriage:

    “As the AFL-CIO Executive Council gathers in Miami this week, hearing addresses from Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis dealing with the economic crisis and its impact on workers across the country, the Executive Council has spoken up again for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers by passing a resolution, in unanimity, calling on the California Supreme Court to invalidate Proposition 8. ”

    Full link here:

    http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=102×3769814

    Of course California and national unions spent huge amounts to defeat the protection of marriage (contra their members’ wishes.) And of course promoting gay marriage has nothing to do with worker protections. At least not according to CST.

  • Great news. Next weekend, my parish church is inserting in the bulletin a letter in support of an AFL-CIO action for parishioners to sign an either mail to the offending employer or leave with the ushers so the parish can deliver them. I’m can’t wait for the boss of this company to find out his antics have been exposed to every Mass goer in the parish. I wish I could be there to watch as he wets himself in his $5,000 imported Italian suit.

  • Though when one does just a little more research, one finds that the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO is in fact in favor of abortion:

    http://myuniondues.com/acorn/

    Just think if one had time to look at this in detail. How much that unions support is contra CST?

  • Wow, look at some of the unions that sought to overturn marriage in California:

    California Labor Federation
    National Federation of Federal Employees
    Screen Actors Guild
    UNITE HERE!
    Alameda Labor Council, AFL-CIO
    Fresno-Madera-Tulare-Kings Counties Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO
    Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO
    Sacramento Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO
    San Mateo County Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO
    San Francisco Labor Council, AFL-CIO
    South Bay Labor Council, AFL-CIO
    California Federation of Teachers, American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO
    California Faculty Association
    American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, District Council 57, AFL-CIO
    American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Local 2019, AFL-CIO
    American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Local 2428, AFL-CIO
    American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Local 3299, AFL-CIO
    American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Local 3916, AFL-CIO
    American Federation of Teachers, Local 6119,Compton Council of Classified Employees
    American Federation of Teachers, Local 6157, San Jose/Evergreen Faculty Association, AFL-CIO
    El Camino College Federation of Teachers, Local 1388, California Federation of Teachers, American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO
    United Educators of San Francisco, AFT/CFT Local 61, AFL-CIO, NEA/CTA
    University Council-American Federation of Teachers
    Association of Flight Attendants-CWA
    Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, Council 97
    Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, Council 99
    Communications Workers of America District 9, AFL-CIO
    Communications Workers of America, Local 9000, AFL-CIO
    Communications Workers of America, Local 9503, AFL-CIO
    Communications Workers of America, Local 9505, AFL-CIO
    Communications Workers of America, Local 9421, AFL-CIO
    Communications Workers of America, Local 9575, AFL-CIO
    District Council of Ironworkers of the State of California and Vicinity
    Jewish Labor Committee Western Region
    Maintenance Cooperation Trust Fund
    National Federation of Federal Employees, Local 1450
    Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ Local 300, AFL-CIO
    Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ Local 400, AFL-CIO
    Pride at Work, AFL-CIO
    SEIU California State Council
    SEIU Local 521
    SEIU Local 721
    SEIU Local 1000
    SEIU Local 1021
    SEIU Local 1877
    SEIU United Healthcare Workers West
    Teamsters Joint Council 7, International Brotherhood of Teamsters
    Teamsters Local 853, International Brotherhood of Teamsters
    United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 5
    UNITE HERE Local 19
    United Steelworkers, Local 5, Martinez, Ca.
    University Professional and Technical Employees, Communications Workers of America, Local 9119, AFL-CIO

  • @ Donna : My sister worked in the medical department of a GE plant up until 5 years ago. She was in one of the few non-unionized departments there. The plant is now shuttered, in large part because the UAW would not make even the smallest concessions. Michigan is a basket case economy for the same reason.

    Response: I am sorry to hear that, No institution is perfect I never said that there should not be some more regulations to unions and that is something I would like to see. Just as background the Union worked with the state and did all that was asked to save jobs and took cuts. My question if they did everything that was needed why did they still go after the Collective bargaining when infact they already gave provisions to cut wages to save jobs?

    Can I ask you, what about those of us workers who do not have collective bargaining, but have negotiated on our own for raises? What about all the German and Japanese car company plants located in the South -plants which are doing just fine without collective bargaining? Are those workers slaves? Do they live in a dictatorship? What about people who live in Right to Work states? Are they peons? Four families of my acquaintance have moved to Texas or Tennessee over the past year. Silly fools, leaving the union paradise that is the upper Midwest for the benighted South – which is where all the job creation happens to be these days. What would you do to stop such flights of labor, Alex? Forbid corporations from moving to right to work states? Good luck with that.

    Response: If i recall I said “I don’t have a union, but because of my father I able to stand on my two feet and quit when I feel taken advantaged unlike my dad, but he had the union to help him negotiate fair wage. I left my previous job because of a 30% cut in wage and was out of work for a year. Mind you I have a house that is 90k and 2 cars [and yea I saved over 2 years of pay for working 18 months at this position]. Today I found a job that I am making 40% more all because of my dad providing for my future.” So Yes I never said people would not speak up so please read what i said I said that some people like my dad will never ask for more even though he works 2x harder then the next guy probably because he like about 20% of the population that are intraverts. There will always be a need for unions and non-union take an advance economics course. Unions are needed if you don’t think so let all the unions fold and you will see a bigger decline in wages. If you look in the last 30 years the middle class wages have fallen. If you read any economic study on class disparity you will find this to be true.

    what is your take on the elected offical’s salaries?
    It’s my understanding that Walker has agreed to the same cuts he has stipulated for other public employees.

    Response: Please show me the evidence I have yet to see any political person take a cut? Unless you mean only a salary cut my suggestion is look at the overall package my guess would something got cut but something got added … this is true with any executive or politian don’t be a fool

    And may I ask you -again- why you think that forcing people to be in unions and pay union dues is democratic?

    Response: Is paying taxes also democratic? With any institution you have a choice if you do not want to be in the teacher’s union QUIT and go to a charter/private school. That is democracy you can choice to stay or leave. If you want to continue down this logic lets see if i stop paying ~60% of my taxes because i don’t want to give it to the military? I like to see how far that get me. Just as many people in the past had said if you don’t like it leave the country…. everyone has choices,right?

    As far, Lerner. I think you missed my whole point because you cannot see past black or white. Lerner for all intensive porpoises is a economic terrorist so do i agree with him, no i do not. I understand economics a little better than you since I do have a 4 yr degree in it from one of the top 10 schools for economics. I never said to bring down wall street ( i do beleave we need more regulation, oversight, and enforcement if you don’t think so please enlighten me how to stop people like Bernard L. Madoff )

    Oh, and one last thing: most Wisconsin teachers stayed in their classrooms and did not run over to Madison to throw a giant hissy fit. […] it’s me-me-me and mine-mine-mine all the way and sacrifices are for others to make.

    I also didn’t saw that I supported things like this. again goes back that unions also should have some regulations. If you look at healthcare many of the staff cannot strike and do things like this because it is illegal and damages the public well being. (Yet they still have Collective bargaining??) AGAIN YOU AND MOST DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLIANS THE ISSUE IS NOT BLACK AND WHITE!! We need regulation on both sides in economics we call it constraints. By removing unions you are removing a constraint wich will be bad for all workers.

    “Oh, and Alex, your complete and utter lack of compassion for any worker who is not union is noted.”
    R: Where did that come out?

    Please don’t tell me that teachers hauling home lesson plans compromises hard physical labor. Most of us do not get June, July and August off.

    @Donna: About having lack of compassion… I think as most people are only focusing on one aspect of the benefits of the job. Yet do not understand its hardships. I will not say for instance my future wife’s job is easy because she only works 15 days a week. Would you be hurt to know she makes over 250k? Please stop me if you think that is too much for an Doctor that works in the Emergency Room? If you count the amount of time off she has it is a little over 6 mouths not including her 160hrs of vacation? Is that fair? She doesn’t work a incredably difficult physical job like my dad did does she? Again like most people in america we all just look at life as binary, black and white and yet we live in a very gray world.

    @Elaine: Actually SS was never really ment to be a retirement account as people think it is today. It was for disability and unemployment insurance like whole life insurance that at the end of the term it pays out what you put into it. I really think our elected officials need to said that, but they don’t since the democrats want people to think it was for retirement and the republicans want to just get rid of it completely. I believe it is ok and should only pay what you put into it … that would solve this issue. It would also push people into saving more for retirment and not count on SS as a retirement acount and make this country strong but that will not happen. You will see that this issue will be dragged for another decade because it is political suicide for republicans nor democrats to say the truth. That is the true problem not extentending the insurence benefits it will only prolong the problem. NOT A RETIREMENT ACCOUNT

    *excuse the typos getting close to bed time for me*

  • Alex: “There will always be a need for unions?” Really? Then why has union membership in the private sector been shrinking since the 1970’s? Again, I refer to you to Detroit – the fact that it is dying a long slow death has much to do with the power of the UAW.

    And again, you keep conflating public and private unions. FDR himself, who was certainly not against private unions, opposed the creation of public ones. In major cities,you have the public union sitting down to “negotiate ” with elected (Democratic) officals who have received campaign contributions from those same unions. Of course, over the years, the Democrats have lavishly rewarded the people who are buttering their bread.The people who are not represented at that table? The taxpayers who have to fork over the money to pay for things like Viagra for Milwaukee schoolteachers and plastic surgery for NJ ones.

    I must get ready for Mass, but Alex and Kurt – you are not progressives. You are reactionaries, bitterly clinging to the status quo and unwilling to acknowledge the world has changed since your father’s day. Well, it doesn’t matter what you or I think or feel about any of it. The fact is that we are out of money and you can scream and cry and make CEO’s wet their expensive suits, but you can’t change the economic facts.

    See what is happening in England:

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/03/028694.php

    I expect those ugly scenes will occur here in the States as well as milllions of addicts get weaned from their government-supplied crack in the upcoming years. The social welfare model is coming to an end throughout the Western world due to demographics, and it doesn’t matter one whit how you feel about it.

    Phillip, you make the mistake of thinking Kurt gives one hoot about aborted babies. Millions of piles of them count for nothing compared to the glorious, vengeful delight Kurt feels at the thought of making a CEO wet his pants – that’s social justice, you see!

  • “Actually SS was never really meant to be a retirement account”

    And from what I understand, neither was the 401(k) plan… which was invented in the 1980s as a means for wealthy people to supplement OTHER sources of retirement income, including pensions. However, private companies latched onto it as a means of getting out from under their pension obligations and today it is being pushed as the “ideal” solution to unsustainable public pensions.

    I’m not disputing the fact that 1) many public pensions in their current form are unsustainable, or that 2) something needs to be done to freeze or scale back these obligations (regardless of who is ultimately to blame) before they consume entire state/local government budgets.

    What I AM disputing is the notion that simply converting all public employees to a 401(k) type defined contribution plan will magically solve these fiscal problems overnight, or guarantee retirement security as long as people do all the “right” things and faithfully make their contributions. There are additional costs that states would incur on the front end from instituting defined contribution plans, not the least of which is the fact that they would have to start paying Social Security for many employees who do not currently get it.

    What the situation really requires is thinking out of the box — looking for arrangements that blend greater employee responsibility with a degree of “backup” from the public entity, and (it goes without saying) fiscal responsibility on the part of all parties — no making promises that can’t be kept just to win votes!

    In fact, Nebraska, which converted employee pensions to 401(k) defined contribution back in the 1990s, recently decided to institute a “hybrid” plan that combines employee contributions with a guaranteed rate of return and professional fund management. West Virginia has also gone BACK to a defined benefit plan for some of its employees:

    http://mywebtimes.com/archives/ottawa/display.php?id=288867

  • @Donna: I think you need to do some history and background on Unions. Unions have been attacked since they were created it started stagnating since the creation of the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947. Union Membership actually started declining in that 1980s actually around 1983 if i recall. Unions have been dropping because of Globilization mostly (NAFTA/CAFTA) and state laws since the 1970 had either made “right-to-work” statutes or forbid it outright.
    As for as those ugly scenes we saw it in egypt and now england, it will get much worse in england and here in the US. I expect almost the brink of anarchy here in the states because of laws like NAFTA and a slew of other mandates. If you consider that we are in a global market place we have not adapted to creating laws and import/export taffifs to stop the loss of jobs being outsourced in a manner that would provide positive externailities both nationally and internationally. We are behind in that aspect We as I see back in the 1900 in regards to labor. We have now to think how to make global labor inititives that is fair nationally and able to provide a balance fairness internationally. FOr example many jobs today are service jobs and we should not outsource those, but we have lost our manufacturing in this country and those jobs pay much lower than service jobs because of the leave of skill it takes.

    @Elaine: Well said, I have to agree in many parts especialAnd from what I understand, neither was ”
    which was invented in the 1980s as a means for wealthy people to supplement OTHER sources of retirement income, including pensions. However, private companies latched onto it as a means of getting out from under their pension obligations and today it is being pushed as the “ideal” solution to unsustainable public pensions.” Yea I have to agree with that statement. But SS is not the answer the answer is more regulation to these businesses and to make sure they honor there obligations.


    What I AM disputing is the notion that simply converting all public employees to a 401(k) type defined contribution plan will magically solve these fiscal problems overnight, or guarantee retirement security as long as people do all the “right” things and faithfully make their contributions. There are additional costs that states would incur on the front end from instituting defined contribution plans, not the least of which is the fact that they would have to start paying Social Security for many employees who do not currently get it.

    I agree this should had never happen i feel if most people understood VALUE Nuetral economics most of these political issues that cloud true capitialism. We need to get rid of a lot of things that do not give you subsidies anything that do not provide society with something back such as corn, oil, etc… any way that is a different conversation, but yes i do agree with this point but many of these true solutions will not happen until people on both sides start waking up and get out of the ideological positions that only seperate everyone and start agreeing on somethings to start working on solutions or we will very well see riots in the street like egypt and england. I for one am very scared to see this happen because it will be way less “peaceful” then england and egypt.

  • Alex: I don’t understand why you think I am “hurt” at the thought of your physician wife making more than I do. You are mistaking me for Kurt J I work with doctors every day and am well aware of the rigors of their training and the hefty responsibilities they have to match the hefty paychecks.

    I know the history of American unions, thank you. While they were a necessary corrective at one time, their history is far from being spotless. Remember “On the Waterfront?” Racketeering, corruption, Mafia ties, Hoffa, violence against “scabs” – that is also a part of union history.

    I don’t know how we can put the globalization genie back in the bottle. The heyday of unions and the golden age of American manufacturing were largely due to an unrepeatable moment in history – at the end of WWII, we were the only game in town, because we were just about the only industrial power that hadn’t been bombed to smithereens during the war. Globalization was bound to happen as countries like Germany and Japan rebuilt and then as Third World countries began their own Industrial and Technological revolutions.

    Elaine: Again I strongly recommend the writings of Walter Russell Mead over at the American Interest. (Mead, BTW, is a life-long Democrat.) Mead writes brilliantly of the present day collapse of “Liberalism 4.0” as he calls it, but he also offers some “out of the box” thinking re: what comes next. I read him to cheer myself up. I admit I am not as optimistic as he is that Americans can creatively think their way out of the bind we are in. Living in Wisconsin and looking around me, I fear the old American “can-do” spirit is dead. Everyone – not just union people, or public employees, or welfare recipients – is stuck in a mode of peevish entitlement, or what the Brits call “I want mine, Jack.” Increasingly, I feel that we are just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

    Alex wrote:

    “Start working on solutions or we will very well see riots in the street like egypt and england. I for one am very scared to see this happen because it will be way less “peaceful” then england and egypt.”

    Oh, I agree with you there! Take care!

  • Oh and BTW, Elaine and Donald, I wish to apologize for a certain feeling of superiority I had over my Illinois and Minnesota neighbors in November, when we voted for change (or so I thought) and the good folks in your state voted for the same-old same-old.

    Well, it feels like Chicagoland here. You have no idea how nasty and ugly the atmosphere is in these parts. And now the Church has been dragged into it, with the charge being made that Supreme Court Justice Prosser refused to prosecute the Church in a sexual abuse case dating back in the 1970’s. (Nevermind that the victim in the sexual abuse case has released a statement defending Prosser and has denounced Prosser’s opponent for making political hay of this. The Dems are throwing mud left and right and assuming some of it will stick. So now all the anti-Catholics have predictably come out of the woodwork to charge Prosser with being “in cahoots with the Vatican” and similar nonsense. ) One of the most depressing things about this neverending feud in Badger Country is that my belief in the friendliness and guilelessness of Midwesterners has deserted me. It was my boast when I lived in DC that I came from a state of warm, friendly, and polite people. Well, now the mask has come off and Wisconsinites are showing the snarl under the smile. And I cannot say how ashamed that makes me.

  • Political battles over very important issues are rarely pleasant Donna, and Governor Walker has begun a fight that is all-important, not only in Wisconsin but around the nation. We either get control of government spending, or we can say farewell to prosperity as a people.

  • Oh, and Commie Kurt, what do you think of this:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/25/nyregion/25cuomo.html?_r=1

    Gov. Cuomo is going to fight unions. Not GOP gov. Walker, but NY Gov Cuomo, son of a Democrat icon.

    As Prof. Mead has noted, it isn’t the GOP governors the unions should be frightened of, but Democratic governors like Cuomo who have read the writing on the wall and are acting accordingly. 2 +2 will never = 5, no matter how earnestly you wish it to be so, Kurt.

  • Sorry, posted twice because I’m not seeing these posts appear right away.

  • Kurt – you are not progressives. You are reactionaries, bitterly clinging to the status quo and unwilling to acknowledge the world has changed since your father’s day.

    That not what my Church teaechs me. Catholic Social Teaching is quite clear that labor unions are not something extraordinary to be utilized only during a (hopefully brief) period extraordinary situation, but they are normative and “indispensible” to a just society.

    BTW Donna, any update on that nice government job Walker gave Senator Hopper’s mistress?

  • Given unions support for abortion and gay marriage, all limits on their power is likely for the common good and in accord with CST. For example this effort at the common good:

    http://www.live5news.com/story/14351520/ohio-house-to-vote-on-collective-bargaining-limits

  • Kurt, do you belong to the church of Fr. Phelge (or whatever that leftist goofball’s name is) in Chicago?

    You certainly have a problem with your hatred and envy of the rich. It’s not good for your soul, Kurt.

  • And Kurt, I stand by my statement that you are a reactionary,fighting with all your might for the status quo. Well, the social welfare state will be dead within 10-15 years, because there is no money for it.

    Kurt, please don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back because you support such a highly moral system. ‘Cause it really isn’t:

    Because the institutions of the welfare state are intended to be partial substitutes for traditional familial, social, religious, and cultural mediating institutions, their growth weakens the very structures that might balance our society’s restless quest for prosperity and novelty and might replenish our supply of idealism.

    This is the second major failing of this vision of society — a kind of spiritual failing. Under the rules of the modern welfare state, we give up a portion of the capacity to provide for ourselves and in return are freed from a portion of the obligation to discipline ourselves. Increasing economic collectivism enables increasing moral individualism, both of which leave us with less responsibility, and therefore with less grounded and meaningful lives.

    Moreover, because all citizens — not only the poor — become recipients of benefits, people in the middle class come to approach their government as claimants, not as self-governing citizens, and to approach the social safety net not as a great majority of givers eager to make sure that a small minority of recipients are spared from devastating poverty but as a mass of dependents demanding what they are owed. It is hard to imagine an ethic better suited to undermining the moral basis of a free society.

    Meanwhile, because public programs can never truly take the place of traditional mediating institutions, the people who most depend upon the welfare state are relegated to a moral vacuum. Rather than strengthening social bonds, the rise of the welfare state has precipitated the collapse of family and community, especially among the poor.

    This was not the purpose of our welfare state, but it is among its many unintended consequences. As Irving Kristol put it in 1997, “The secular, social-democratic founders of the modern welfare state really did think that in the kind of welfare state we have today people would be more public-spirited, more high-minded, more humanly ‘fulfilled.'” They were wrong about this for the same reason that their expectations of the administrative state have proven misguided — because their understanding of the human person was far too shallow and emaciated. They assumed that moral problems were functions of material problems, so that addressing the latter would resolve the former, when the opposite is more often the case. And guided by the ethic of the modern left, they imagined that traditional institutions like the family, the church, and the local association were sources of division, prejudice, and backwardness, rather than essential pillars of our moral lives. The failure of the social-democratic vision is, in this sense, fundamentally a failure of moral wisdom.

    That’s just a small snippet from an excellent article by Yuval Levin on the death of the social welfare state. Man up, Kurt. It’s coming.

  • I don’t know why only the first and last paragraphs of the long section I cut and pasted from Levin’s article were italicized.

    The full article is here and it’s a good companion piece to the Mead articles I referred to earlier.
    http://www.nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/beyond-the-welfare-state

  • Kurt, do you belong to the church of Fr. Phelge (or whatever that leftist goofball’s name is) in Chicago?

    Nope. But the Cardinal-Archbishop of whom my pastoral care is entrusted is aware of my public policy views and holds me in full communion with the Catholic Church.

    You certainly have a problem with your hatred and envy of the rich. It’s not good for your soul, Kurt.

    Your suggestion that every dime that every rich person is currently in possession of is justly there likely endangers your soul. But no man has any right to profit from unjust acts.

    Donna, can you mention any social welfare initiative that the Catholic Bishops in this country have ever objected to? Any?

    I’m not suggesting you are a bad Catholic to wholy and totally reject the public policy positions of the Catholic bishops, but have they ever sided with your views on a social welfare question? Social Security? Medicare? Disability Insurance? AFDC? Food Stamps? Medicaid? LIHEAP? Head Start? Pell Grants? Community Service Block Grants? Section 202 Housing? SSI? Unemployment Insurance? Title XX Social Service Block Grants? Pension Insurance?

  • “I’m not suggesting you are a bad Catholic to wholy and totally reject the public policy positions of the Catholic bishops, but have they ever sided with your views on a social welfare question? Social Security? Medicare? Disability Insurance? AFDC? Food Stamps? Medicaid? LIHEAP? Head Start? Pell Grants? Community Service Block Grants? Section 202 Housing? SSI? Unemployment Insurance? Title XX Social Service Block Grants? Pension Insurance?”

    Wow, from reading Vox Nova I thought there was no social welfare net, nor the redistribution of income to provide such a net, in America. But I miss where Church teaching specifically says these programs (as opposed to others) are necessarily the fulfillment of CST.

    Also, given the current recession, its not clear that setting limits on them is contrary to CST. I do look forward to your linking the definitive teaching on this however.

  • Pray for the conversion of liberals and the Democrat Party operatives of the USCCB.

  • But I miss where Church teaching specifically says these programs (as opposed to others) are necessarily the fulfillment of CST.

    Phillip, I would fully respect your prayerful discernment if you have determined these programs do not meet your understanding of the Church’s Social Teachings. I am just asking if the Episcopate has ever concurred with your views.

  • You need to put me on moderation before I severely offend everyone.

  • “I am just asking if the Episcopate has ever concurred with your views.”

    Yes, where the Magisterium teaches that the principles of CST are the guides to action. That these principles are not concrete proposals. That the Church does not, and will not, teach specific proposals for the application of CST. That this application to world problems properly belongs to the laity. That the laity may differ on the applications of these principles in good conscience and that these differences may represent legitimate applications of CST.

    That’s where the episcopate agrees with me on the noted social programs.

  • That these principles are not concrete proposals. That the Church does not, and will not, teach specific proposals for the application of CST. That this application to world problems properly belongs to the laity. That the laity may differ on the applications of these principles in good conscience and that these differences may represent legitimate applications of CST.

    Phillip, I have no disagreement with you that when it comes times to take Catholic principles and translate them to particular pieces of legislation or policy proposals, the laity have great liberty to determine what is proper and prudent. I try to not fall into any inconsistency on that be it a matter where the Church appears to take a position that is suppotrted by the secular right or the secular left.

    Yet the Episcopate frequently sends letters to Congress urging a particular stand on this piece of legislation or that piece of legislation on a wide variety of policy matters. I don’t consider these letters to be Church teachings to which all faithful Catholics are bound to.

    But with that in mind, and again respecting your right in good faith to disagree with the Episcopate’s stance in these letters, I take it we have no disagreement that on social welfare questions, the American Episcopate has never* sent a letter whcih supports the conservative position on such a question.

    * To amend and modify my own statement, the American Episcopate in the 1920s did oppose legislation restricting child labor as an interference in the natural law right of parents to raise their children. The Church has since retracted and apologied for that action.

  • “Yet the Episcopate frequently sends letters to Congress urging a particular stand on this piece of legislation or that piece of legislation on a wide variety of policy matters. I don’t consider these letters to be Church teachings to which all faithful Catholics are bound to. ”

    As St. Josemaria Escriva said, “Whenever a cleric talks politics, he is wrong.”

    I accept the bishops right to express their prudential judgment in matters. I’m glad you note we are not bound by their prudential judgments. Escpecially as they are frequently wrong. It would be nice for the bishops to be so humble as to note that they are prudential judgments and not, as you note, binding on the laity.

    I might disagree with you on bishop’s supporting my position. I would say that Bishop Morlino’s letter which took a neutral stand on the Wisconsin Teachers’ Union matter and which, coming after Archbishop Listecki’s letter, did in fact offer rather overt support for those who were in favor of limiting collective bargaining.

  • “Whenever a cleric talks politics, he is wrong.”

    I note there was no qualifier in his statement — no exclusion of social welfare, war and peace, social or cultural concerns, contraception, the gay employment non-discrimination act, etc. I appreciate that unqualified statement.

    I accept the bishops right to express their prudential judgment in matters. I’m glad you note we are not bound by their prudential judgments.
    I think we have agreement here. God bless.

    Escpecially as they are frequently wrong.

    On social welfare, I guess always wrong rather than frequently wrong, in your mind. That certainly is your right.

    It would be nice for the bishops to be so humble as to note that they are prudential judgments and not, as you note, binding on the laity.

    It would. Maybe on the USCCB stationary there should be a tag line on all of their statments addressed to Congress or about legislation.

    I might disagree with you on bishop’s supporting my position. I would say that Bishop Morlino’s letter which took a neutral stand on the Wisconsin Teachers’ Union matter…

    I did say the Episcopate (i.e. as a class), not individual bishops. Anyway, if you, like Bishop Morlino, take a neutral or agnostic stance on the Wisconsin labor question, I am pleased to hear that. God bless you.

  • “I note there was no qualifier in his statement — no exclusion of social welfare, war and peace, social or cultural concerns, contraception, the gay employment non-discrimination act, etc. I appreciate that unqualified statement.”

    Unqualified to the application of principles, not the principles themselves.

    “On social welfare, I guess always wrong rather than frequently wrong, in your mind. That certainly is your right. ”

    Not always, frequently. My original point stands.

    “It would. Maybe on the USCCB stationary there should be a tag line on all of their statments addressed to Congress or about legislation.”

    No. But as with their recent comment about Libya, where they stated they made no comment on the prudential aspects of the intervention, that would be fine.

    “I did say the Episcopate (i.e. as a class), not individual bishops.”

    There is no such thing as a class as far as bishops teaching. Each teaches his respective diocese.

    “Anyway, if you, like Bishop Morlino, take a neutral or agnostic stance on the Wisconsin labor question, I am pleased to hear that. God bless you.”

    Bishop Morlino, appropriately, is neutral (though as noted, in a qualified sense.) As a laymen I believe it is a good thing to limit the public unions in Wisconsin.

11 Responses to Wisconsin Bishops Neutral on Union Issue

  • “The teaching of the Church allows for persons of good will to disagree as to which horn of this dilemma should be chosen, because there would be reasonable justification available for either alternative. (This is unlike the case of abortion or euthanasia, for which reason can offer absolutely no justification in terms of the killing of an innocent victim.)”

    Bravo!

  • Hmmm, maybe parishioners should take a neutral stand on funding the diocese. Specially since many will be working with reduced incomes due to economic collapse. I respectfully disagree with the Bishop’s view of the two sides and his assessment of their relative merit. Where is the neutrality in bringing down duly elected government due to decades of democrat/union collusion and maleficence? Where was the Bishop’s helpful remarks during the last several decades of this of this train wreck brewing?

  • Pingback: FRIDAY MORNING EDITION | ThePulp.it
  • There was a commenter over at another blog who observed that for many years, Catholics of politically conservative bent have (rightly) chided Catholic Democrats for being disobedient to the Church on issues such as abortion. Now, he said, perhaps it is the Republican’s turn to have THEIR obedience tested with the sharp anti-union (or more precisely, anti-public-employee union) turn in the GOP.

    Of course I realize the two issues are different in character and degree but I do think this commenter has a point.

    As Bp. Morlino himself notes, the Wisconsin union dispute is a true moral and social dilemma which has valid arguments on both sides and a faithful Catholic could come down on either side — which is NOT true of a non-negotiable issue like abortion. It is certainly not fair to accuse Catholics who side with Gov. Walker in this case of being disloyal “catholycs” a la Ted Kennedy or Nancy Pelosi, as some have attempted to do.

    However, this situation and the recent bishops’ statements should serve as a reminder to conservative/GOP-leaning Catholics to avoid getting too carried away with the faction of their party that opposes ALL unions, not just public employee unions. The Church defends the basic right to unionize, even if this does not translate into a corresponding obligation to all employers, private and public, to hire union members or fulfill their demands. The situation might also serve as a reminder to Catholics not to get too comfortable with EITHER political party or side of the political spectrum.

  • The Church defends the basic right to unionize, even if this does not translate into a corresponding obligation to all employers, private and public, to hire union members or fulfill their demands.

    If the employer cannot be obliged to bargain with this labor cartel, either by law or by rough justice administered by union members, they do not have much purpose other than as fraternal or benevolent associations.

    Questions of fair dealing in contracting for labor and questions of occupational health and safety can be dealt with via state and federal regulatory agencies. These can proceed without imposing unsustainable pay and benefit regimes.

  • I don’t know how much the unions can be thanked or not, since I’m not a union member. But the State of Wisconsin has been bedy bedy good to me. 90K a year, I hardly pay anything into my pension fund, a pension which will be very sizeable, indeed, and health care from one of the finest health insurance companies on the planet, all at hardy any cost to me, and free after I retire. WoHoo!

  • The bill in play does not eliminate public unions, but rather leaves benefits out of collective bargining. Wages and work rules are left in play. When the Church orginally supported the right to organize, I doubt it had in mind the right to extract a posh early retirement, especially one extracted from tax payers–the vast majority of whom do not have a posh early retirement in their future.

    One may as well say that the Pope belives that health care is a right, and since some people claim abortion is health care, one should believe that the Church therefore supports state funded abortion. Just becuase a right exists does not mean that every possible facet of it is reasonable or even permissible.

  • For God’s Sake, we pray..
    If only those so radically fearfull and protective of their union with UNIONS and willing to demonstrate in the streets and the halls of government should it be even the least threatened would be as dillegently active in the preservation of LIFE and MARRIAGE.

  • Make no mistake about it this is a political issue with far reaching consequences. On one hand you have the unions yet these are NOT the unions of the past. They are a revenue generating venue for specific political gain. LEADERS (emphasize) of unions ARE political and many are standing with communist parties. These union dues are being used to support this agenda and the pensions are being used to manipulate the markets.

    On the other hand you have the term union being used a dirty word. Trade unions are not the same as unions set up for civil servants and untrained workers. Trade unions have NO guarantees as to employment and are subject to the economic conditions of the time. In addition, they work for public and private employers and are not solely dependent on the taxpayer.

    Members of all unions SHOULD feel the economic sting of this depression as will all in the private sector. Remember the civil servants are a function of the private sector and MUST represent a fraction of the public sector. For this to happen they must be brought down to parity.

    I am a Catholic first and an American second but I do not see a contradiction in my stand. I see this as a political fight that I must weigh in on and one my church must stay out of for the time being.

  • An interesting point overlooked by the commenters seems to be the point that the public employee unions have agreed to take the pay cuts ordered by Governor Walker. They have chosen to sacrifice economically as many in the state have had to do. What the union members wish to preserve are their rights to collectively bargain as an effective group.
    Where are the statements of the states wealthiest or the large corporations on the sacrifices they are willing to be a part of to help Wisconsin? Their silence is deafening.

  • “Where are the statements of the states wealthiest or the large corporations on the sacrifices they are willing to be a part of to help Wisconsin? Their silence is deafening.”

    In regard to corporations any thing they would contribute to the State of Wisconsin would have to be passed on to their customers. Corporations don’t pay taxes, they collect taxes from their customers. If the Democrats in the state legislature think that a “soak the rich” tax plan is the path to solving Wisconsin’s budgetary woes, then I would urge the Wisconsin Democrat “fleebagging” senators currently in Illinois to go back behind the Cheddar Curtain, resume their seats in the State Senate, and forthrightly make their case. Wisconsin currently has an 8% income tax on those making $225,000.00 plus each year, so all they would have to do is figure how high they could raise it before wealthy taxpayers borrowed a leaf from their book and fled the state.

The Battle of Wisconsin

Friday, February 18, AD 2011

Last November the people of Wisconsin went to the polls and elected Republican Scott Walker governor and gave the Republicans a majority in both chambers of the state legislature.  Scott Walker, mirabile dictu, is actually delivering on what he promised to do in the campaign:

The proposal marks a dramatic shift for Wisconsin, which passed a comprehensive collective bargaining law in 1959 and was the birthplace of the national union representing all non-federal public employees.

In addition to eliminating collective-bargaining rights, the legislation also would make public workers pay half the costs of their pensions and at least 12.6 percent of their health care coverage — increases Walker calls “modest” compared with those in the private sector.

Republican leaders said they expected Wisconsin residents would be pleased with the savings the bill would achieve — $30 million by July 1 and $300 million over the next two years to address a $3.6 billion budget shortfall.

“I think the taxpayers will support this idea,” Fitzgerald said.

Wisconsin has long been a bastion for workers’ rights. But when voters elected Walker, an outspoken conservative, along with GOP majorities in both legislative chambers, it set the stage for a dramatic reversal of the state’s labor history.

Under Walker’s plan, state employees’ share of pension and health care costs would go up by an average of 8 percent.

Unions still could represent workers, but could not seek pay increases above those pegged to the Consumer Price Index unless approved by a public referendum. Unions also could not force employees to pay dues and would have to hold annual votes to stay organized.

In exchange for bearing more costs and losing bargaining leverage, public employees were promised no furloughs or layoffs. Walker has threatened to order layoffs of up to 6,000 state workers if the measure does not pass.

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18 Responses to The Battle of Wisconsin

  • “Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war . . . ”

    Love the new slogan: “WTF.”

  • You took the words right out of my mouth there Don! More later.

  • The really sad thing for me is that the “protesters” have enlisted students and their own kids in their tantrum of greed. What are those kids being taught in school and at home?

    This whole thing is sickening just like the NFL players using collective bargaining for their millions.

    I am reminded of the comments of Gov Christie in N.J. to a teacher who was protesting cuts. His advice was if the job was not to her liking she should search for another.

    Is it at all surprising that Pres.Obama is supporting the Unions? These public employees unions and other unions are a major factor in his election as many members vote mindlessly based on union propaganda.

  • I live in Madison, and it is chaos here. What’s interesting is that amongst my friends and acquaintances, the battle lines are not drawn by party or ideology, but strictly on union membership.

    I’ve seen solidly Catholic, pro-life, tea-partying friends posting pictures of Scott Walker with a Hitler mustache. I’m completely disgusted.

    The public schools are all closed due to a Wildcat Strike. The Capitol has been trashed.

    I’m sick over this.

  • I am not surprised that the Union members are upset at this. There are some aspects of what is suggested that trouble me. Note, I fully agree that many states have to cut spending, in some cases dramatically, but there are certain approaches that seem less than appropriate. In any case, in no particular order, here are my objections.

    1. Forcing Unions to vote every year to stay organized? No private company would be allowed to impose such a term on its union employees; it would be considered Union busting.

    2. Limiting pay raises to the consumer price index without a referendum? I can certainly see suggesting pay cuts, or staff cuts to help balance the budget. But frankly, if the state is limited to consumer price index for raises, they might have a hard time attracting and retaining good employees in a number of important areas. Lets remember, in lean times, the government is probably not going to give them those pay raises, but how will they make up the difference when good times return? More importantly, what happens during periods when wages in the private sector start increasing faster than the CPI does? And Referendums? Has Wisconsin learned nothing from California?

    3. How is this actually shrinking government? It might shrink government costs, but it essentially promises to keep everyone in government employed?

    Ultimately, this seems less like an attempt to shrink the government and more like an attempt to bust unions. Further, while I might agree that there are too many state employees, many of them make considerably less by choosing their particular professions than someone with a similar level of Education could in the private sector. My wife was a teacher before she became a stay at home Mom. Her Salary was only 3/5’s what mine was despite the fact that she had a Master’s Degree and I only have a Bachelor’s. Is there inefficiency in government? Yep, is there waste? Are there people who are sitting on their buts not doing a whole lot? Absolutely. But the key is to shrink the government and get rid of the waste, not punish the effective police officers, firemen and teachers who are effective.

  • “2. Limiting pay raises to the consumer price index without a referendum? I can certainly see suggesting pay cuts, or staff cuts to help balance the budget. But frankly, if the state is limited to consumer price index for raises, they might have a hard time attracting and retaining good employees…”

    Last time I had a pay raise due to CPI was when I was in the military. Since that time, the only time I’ve gotten a pay raise is when I changed jobs.

  • Ultimately, this seems less like an attempt to shrink the government and more like an attempt to bust unions.

    What’s the downside?

    My wife was a teacher before she became a stay at home Mom. Her Salary was only 3/5?s what mine was despite the fact that she had a Master’s Degree and I only have a Bachelor’s.

    Sorry she got gypped.

  • Steve, earlier this week about 4,000 Illinois teachers descended on our capital to protest legislation infringing on their rights. However, you didn’t hear about it on the national news. Also, I live in Springfield and work across the street from the capitol, and can verify that the protest was entirely peaceful and orderly. There was nowdisruption whatsoever of state government, and the protestors left the Capitol grounds just as they found them.

    Surprised? I’m not, because the teachers in question were actually homeschooling parents protesting a bill that would have forced them to register with the State Board of Education. They got what they wanted (at least for now) without having to call in Jesse Jackson, the DNC, or anyone else.

  • In theory, although often not in practice, unions can be a benefit to the employees and a check against those who seek profits at any expense. What would have happened in Poland without the unions to stand against the Communists and the martial law? I am a little confused though, aren’t unions for government employees essential engaged in collective bargaining against the people they allege to be serving? We are not shareholders, we are citizens. Last I checked government was not designed or intended to be a profitable (financially) enterprise and judging from their fiscal state they wouldn’t know how to make a profit anyway, they are practically all broke.

    It seems that forces are aligned to pit those who ‘serve’ the public against the public. This is not only sad, it is disgusting. When the government is broke all citizens are affected, so shouldn’t those who work for the government share some of the same pain as the rest of us? Or, are these people a special class? For all government employees on this site, I am not directing this at you, this is in regard to those who find government work a reward for themselves and not an act of service, paid or not.

  • Steve

    If the mere thought or mention of having the union fat cats, who collect billions from the working class to see that they can forever seat the right people in Washington who will perpetuate their desire to leverage local and state governments and control public workers through premium salary and benefit plans unavailable to most private sector workers, cut some slack for the good of all the people in Wisconsin and not have the state go bankrupt causes them to act like enslaved Egyptian rioters it should give you an indication of just out of control their lust for power has become.

  • A few further thoughts/ramblings:

    I don’t think it was necessary or prudent for EITHER side to escalate this dispute to this level.

    The unions, of course, should not have gone nuclear over pension and health insurance concessions that while significant, are not out of line with what employees of other states have been asked to do. (Illinois state employees like myself already pay as much or more toward their own pensions and health insurance than Wisconsin state employees are being asked to do.) I don’t blame them for not LIKING it — no one, regardless of whom they work for, wants to suddenly be forced to cough up hundreds or thousands of dollars more every month — but it is fiscal reality that has to be faced.

    That said…. I also believe Walker may have overreached by going beyond the financial concessions to actually imposing limits on collective bargaining itself. He might as well have waved a red flag in front of a herd of raging bulls or tossed gasoline on a fire that, up to that point, could have been contained with minimal damage.

    Adding further fuel to the flames was the manner in which Walker announced last week that he was calling up the National Guard. The intent, apparently, was to have Guard members ready to FILL IN for prison guards or other public safety personnel who might walk off their jobs. However, it has widely been interpreted as a threat to use force against the workers themselves — and Walker has not, in my opinion, done enough to dispel that notion. Among people of a certain age it conjures up images of Chicago in 1968, Kent State, et. al. Most people don’t remember that era very fondly, if they remember it at all (Walker himself, at age 43, wouldn’t) but in the People’s Republic of Madison, there may still be some who do.

    I agree with the general goal among fiscal conservatives of putting the brakes on out of control public sector unions. But it took more than 50 years for public union power to reach this point, and it is just not realistic to attempt to undo most of all of that in just a few days or weeks. I fear that Walker AND the union leaders are engaging in grandstanding for a national audience at the expense of Wisconsin citizens, and at the risk of igniting a culture war not seen since the Vietnam Era. (Walker’s recent attempts to poach businesses from Illinois, despite the fact that Illinois’ new tax rates are still LOWER than Wisconsin’s, reinforces this notion for me.)

    Now on the other side of the pond, in Michigan, we have another new GOP governor, Rick Snyder, also attempting to get significant concessions from public unions — but doing so through the existing negotiation process, respecting the bargaining rights already in place. Snyder seems to be doing only what is necessary and NOT going out of his way to treat the unions as enemies to be destroyed at all costs. (Yes, the unions are starting to raise heck there but that may be more of a reaction to what’s happening in Wisconsin than anything else.) Even Chris Christie in New Jersey hasn’t, to date, ticked off unions to the extent Walker has. We’ll see whose approach works best in the long run.

    Finally, Knight’s comments about the role of unions in society are right on the mark. There’s a reason why unions exist, and why the Church from the time of Leo XIII defended their right to exist — in the PRIVATE sector. Those who work for a private employer accountable to no one but himself or to the shareholders may need recourse to a union; those who work for a democratically elected government accountable to voters and taxpayers, not so much.

    You all may be aware that Abp. Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee issued a statement regarding the situation and the Church’s teaching on unions. I may have more on that later today if someone else here doesn’t beat me to the punch 🙂

  • The unions didn’t go nuclear over pension and fringe benefits.

    From AFSCME

    We have said all along that we are willing to sit down with the Governor to address our budget challenges. Let me be even more clear today: We are prepared to implement the financial concessions proposed to help bring our state’s budget into balance, but we will not be denied our God?given right to join a real union.

    For us, public service isn’t about money. No one ever said “I want to be a nurse to get rich.” Or “I want to be a teacher so I can buy a huge house on the lake.” Being a public employee is about sacrificing to help improve the lives of our friends, family and neighbors.

    We will meet the Governor half way. But we will not ? I repeat we will NOT ? be denied our rights to collectively bargain. We will not under any circumstances give up our freedom to join a real union.

    Our voice has been heard in every corner of this nation. And it will continue to be heard until the Governor sits down with us with the true interests of the state and the rights of its citizens at heart.

    Hopefully this will put an end to Walker’s false flag operation, but I’m doubtful.

  • Well if you can’t trust Afscme….well, actually you can’t trust Afscme. I have absolutely no doubt however that the powers that be at the helm of the public employee unions would be willing to throw their members under the bus on salary and fringe benefits as long as they can get rid of two key provisions: annual elections to stay recognized as the union and the right of the unions to grab the dues of members through payroll deduction. Why is this? Because public employee unions, like most unions, are intensely unpopular with a signifcant fraction of the workers who are required to belong to them. Given an annual free choice, and the ability of each worker to decide whether to fork over their dues money, public employee unions would quickly go the way of the Dodo. Public employee unions in modern times have never relied upon the fervor of their members, rather they have always relied on coercion of their members courtesy of the State. If that is gone, the bottom falls out for them, and the union bosses realize that.

  • Leaders that can manipulate and turn a normal god fearing working man or woman into regulated union robots who on command become enraged leaving their jobs and forming what some might call a pre-lynching mob simply by a plea to have some economic equity between themselves and non-union workers for the sake of all have to at least be willing to negotiate without creating havoc across the state. We pray this situation can soon return to some degree of civility that the president most recently has called for.

  • “the unions didn’t go nuclear over pension and fringe benefits”

    Which is exactly my point. If Walker had stuck to those issues and not gone for th jugular, so to speak, we would not be seeing all this chaos.

  • Pingback: Well, I Certainly Think This Example of Lying is Immoral! | The American Catholic
  • “Given an annual free choice, and the ability of each worker to decide whether to fork over their dues money, public employee unions would quickly go the way of the Dodo. Public employee unions in modern times have never relied upon the fervor of their members, rather they have always relied on coercion of their members courtesy of the State. If that is gone, the bottom falls out for them, and the union bosses realize that.” Substitute “sovereign state” for “worker”, “political” for “public employee”, “federal government” for “the State” and “federal bureaucrats” for “union bosses” and you will have the logical meaning of the United States Constitution until 150 years ago.

  • For “logical” substitute “Confederate” and for ” until 150 years ago” substitute “until Appomattox”.