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Tag Archives: Scott Walker

Random Blog Thoughts: Gay Marriage in Cali, Defining “Fairness,” Wisconsin Recall Election

Well, I’m back to blogging after a long hiatus. Let’s get back to the fun.

Recently, an appeals court overturned the gay marriage ban in California.  Proposition 8 had been voted into law with 52% of the vote in the state.  A lower court judge had ruled it unconstitutional, but proponents of Prop 8 appealed (one reason was the lower court judge was gay).  The appeals court upheld that ruling 2-1, saying there was no compelling reason for the law.  Proponents have vowed to appeal again, and take it to the SCOTUS if they have to.

As I mentioned the other day on my Facebook page, I don’t think that people understand there is civil marriage and there is church marriage.  Proponents of gay marriage bans tend to feel they must “protect the sanctity of marriage” by not letting gays get married.  Prop 8 proponents said that the government “shouldn’t be allowed to redefine” marriage.  If they want to maintain the status quo regarding marriage, so be it.  Do it at the CHURCH level.  But leave civil marriage alone.  Not everyone in religious.  And I have yet to hear exactly what threat allowing a subset of a group of people who represent about 3% of the population get married, civil unionized, or whatever, would have on heterosexual people getting married.  If gay marriage is such a threat, why is it that all the gay marriages that have occurred in states where it’s legal haven’t caused the world to come to an end?  More importantly, how can people who want to be called “conservative” and advocate for individual rights, then want the government to enforce a law simply in order to keep from being offended?  It doesn’t make sense.

Fairness.  A word that is getting used way too much.  More often it’s used lately in reference to the rich and how much they pay in taxes.  Mind you, there has been no definition given, but it creates a good soundbite.  Funny enough, a write wrote what I consider to be a humorous article in the Wall Street Journal, A Fairness Quiz for the President. Of course there is no chance there would be answers forthcoming from President Obama concerning the article. But asking questions such as “is it fair that the richest 1% of Americans pay nearly 40% of all federal income taxes, and the richest 10% pay two-thirds of the tax” and “Is it fair that wind, solar and ethanol producers get billions of dollars of subsidies each year and pay virtually no taxes, while the oil and gas industry—which provides at least 10 times as much energy—pays tens of billions of dollars of taxes while the president complains that it is “subsidized” can only leave us wondering what kind of answers the President would give if pressed.  And of course, the comments section below the article is quite entertaining.

And finally, there is the attempt in Wisconsin to recall Gov.  Scott Walker and other Republicans in office.  The main complain is that he took away public workers’ right to collective bargain.  Further, he dared do this having not said before he was elected that this was something he would do.  I didn’t realize a candidate has to spell out every single thing they hope to accomplish beforehand.  also, there is a corruption probe going on that seems to have nabbed someone close to him.  Its plain there is an effort afoot to get rid of him.  My problem is, how do you justify recalling someone whose  ideas are actually working?  There are school systems where collective bargaining didn’t take place that saved money and made no layoffs.  In other areas where the unions were able to force collective bargaining before the new law took effect, school districts are having to fire teachers to avoid budget gaps.  It will be interesting to see how the recall election plays out.

In Wisconsin, a Union Shakedown in the Name of “Supporting Workers Rights”

The story in Wisconsin continues.  The bill taking away state employees ability to bargain for things other than wages may have been passed, but a judge has kept the bill from being put into force due to possible violations of a 24 hour meeting notification rule.  Meanwhile, union members are telling businesses to openly support them or be boycotted:

Members of Wisconsin State Employees Union, AFSCME Council 24, have begun circulating letters to businesses in southeast Wisconsin, asking them to support workers’ rights by putting up a sign in their windows.

If businesses fail to comply, the letter says, “Failure to do so will leave us no choice but (to) do a public boycott of your business. And sorry, neutral means ‘no’ to those who work for the largest employer in the area and are union members.”

So, let’s get this straight. If you are a business owner, and you are not interested in getting involved in the ongoing battle, you could still get boycotted for choosing not to get involved. In the current economic atmosphere, I have no doubt that some businesses will capitulate to ensure their doors remain open. But how is this behavior ok? How can unions complain about how they are being treated in the legislative process, then turn around and basically threaten business owners?

Seems like a possible return to old fashioned union bullying tactics.

Sorry, Michael Moore; Taking the Billionares’ Billions Won’t Bail Us Out

Mary Katherine Ham took Michael Moore’s idiot idea of confiscating wealth and using it as a “national resource” and basically showed how much of an idiot he is

The grand total of the combined net worth of every single one of America’s billionaires is roughly $1.3 trillion. It does indeed sound like a “ton of cash” until one considers that the 2011 deficit alone is $1.6 trillion. So, if the government were to simply confiscate the entire net worth of all of America’s billionaires, we’d still be $300 billion short of making up this year’s deficit.

Read more: Michael Moore’s National Resources

Different Perspectives on the Republicans’ “Win” in Wisconsin

After the move made by Republicans in Wisconsin to pass a bill taking away some collective bargaining abilities, the response are coming in.  On one side, its said that what was done was no different than what Dems have done to get legislation passed, and that to decry it would be hypocritical.  On the other side, the criticism is blistering, and the governor may find that support from his own party supporters may have slipped away.   Here are a couple of good pieces of analysis.

From the Washington Post, on the “Plum Line” blog, Greg Sargent speculates that the amount of maneuvering needed by Gov. Walker and Republicans to get the collective bargaining bill passed means the fight is only going to get worse:

There’s no quibbling with the fact that if it does stand, Walker and Republicans will have gotten their way in the short term fight. But let’s recall an important fact: Republicans control the governorship and state legislature. The fact that they were forced to resort to this trick is itself a concession that they had lost the battle as they themselves had previously defined it. And in so doing, they were forced to pull a maneuver that will only lend even more energy to the drive to recall them.

On the other hand, Mickey Kaus at The Daily Caller says the situation was definitely a win for Gov. Walker:

If Walker’s concessions had been accepted, he still basically would have won (largely because of the dues provision). But the Dems could have returned to Madison claiming that their dramatic walkout had resulted in a non-trivial victory of sorts, and the press was poised to portray them as brave, victorious heroes. This outcome denies the Democrats that media triumph.

So, it can be said that the Wisconsin Republicans either stood their ground, or they ignored the will of the people. It can also be said that Democrats did represent the will of the people, or they are being hypocritical (reconciliation is ok, but just when they do it). We shall see who wins the messaging war.

Wisconsin Dems Now Angry After Their Holdout Backfires

14 Democrat Senators in Wisconsin continued to stay holed up in Illinois in what had been a successful attempt to prevent the passing of a bill that would strip collective bargaining abilities from public workers (important sidenote:  they would retain the ability to bargain for pay, something that seems to get ignored).  In their view, leaving town was their way of fulfilling the will of the people–even though the obvious “will of the people” was that they wanted Republicans in charge, based on the last election results.  They were determined to prevent what they felt would be a removal of of rights from occurring.

All that changed in minutes.

Republicans realized that a quorum is only needed for spending bills.  So, they removed the collective bargaining piece from the spending bill and passed it as a separate bill which did not need a quorum.  Just like that, Dems’ out-of-state foray was rendered moot.  Of course they are crying foul. One senator, speaking on the Lawrence O’Donnell show on MSNBC, talked of how he was driving back doing 80 miles per hour in an attempt to stop what was happening. O’Donnell, sympathetic to the guest, failed to make an obvious point: if they had actually been in Wisconsin instead of hiding out, there would’ve been no need to have to “come back!”  Very simple idea, really.

Now, there you have it.  a group voted into the minority who leaves the state in order to avoid legislation they don’t like and putting the government process on hiatus now screams bloody murder because business continued on without them.  How does THAT make sense?

Links:
CNN: Union supporters to rally after Wisconsin Senate passes limits
Runaway Wis. Dem Drove Back As Fast As He Could To Stop GOP

Politico Cites Report That Union Heads Make 6 Figure salaries

A Politico article cites a recent report that shows that the people heading the country’s largest unions aren’t do so bad for themselves:

Leaders earned between $173,000 and $618,000 at major unions, the Center for Public Integrity found in examining 2009 tax records, with some groups paying dozens of employees in the six figures. At the three major unions , which together represent more than 5.6 million public workers, presidents’ salaries in 2009 ranged between $400,000 and $500,000.

For the most part, I and most other people don’t begrudge a person for how much money they make. But many of the same people who support unions also complain vocally about company execs and their salaries. It would seem to me if one can make that complaint, but look at this report and be ok with it, that there seems to be a level of hypocrisy.

Read more: Report: Union heads make six figures

Just a thought: is it going to far to protest at someone’s house?

In one of the articles about the ongoing protests in Wisconsin, it was mentioned that protesters were not only at the capital building, but also at the governor’s house.  Seeing that reminded me of incidents reported after AIG gave their executives bonuses, and protesters loaded vans and set up shop outside the residences of AIG employees and executives in an effort to guilt them into returning the bonus money.

Other reports of people protesting at (and doing damage to) politician’s homes, as well as unions and other organizations handing out flyers with home addresses of protest targets are readily available on the web.  Which made me wonder:  is that taking things too far?

Lets acknowledge that there is a right to assemble.  There is also freedom of speech.  But is such style of protest really a peaceful move?  I would say no.   When you show up at someone’s residence, it is by default an attempt at intimidation.  “We know where you live!” is the message given by such actions.  I say its taking things too far.  Besides, how would these protesters respond if the person being targeted responded by hiring security to come in and create an opposing show of force?  What if counter-protesters showed up at the houses of the protesters?  I can hear the howls of…well, of protest.

In Wisconsin, the line between Unions/Dems and Repubs is drawn in the sand

In the state of Wisconsin, the state government has a $3.6 billion shortfall.  Similar to other state legislatures across the country, they are coming up with a number of measures to attempt to close the budget hole.  One of the ways new Republican governor Scott Walker has proposed has created an outcry from teachers and unions:

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.

According to Walker, the proposal will save $300 million over the next two years. But Dems are not at all happy with what they see as being deprived of a right. Teachers have staged massive “sick outs” so that they can protest. Democrats in the Wisconsin legislature have left and gone into hiding to prevent any vote from occurring. Protesters at the capital have been heard chanting “Freedom! Democracy! Unions!”

Wait. Did they actually include the word “unions” with freedom and democracy? Wow.  I thought democracy is people getting out to vote, voting in politicians whose job it is to steward taxpayer money, and make cuts when necessary when there is a deficit, even if the other side doesn’t like it.  Which would mean the unions are actually trying to stifle a democratic process by protesting and causing school closings.  But I digress.

Having spent my entire young working life in a right-to-work, merit pay environment, I have yet to develop much sympathy or support for unions. I admire the important things they helped with over the years (40 hour work week, child labor laws, ect). But am I supposed to be upset because they wouldn’t be able to force people to pay union dues? That they wouldn’t be able to to negotiate for things other than pay? Or that they would have to pay more money for pension and benefits just like most of us in the private sector?
Sorry, but I say no. Especially when taxpayer’s money is involved.

Links to the story can be found here and here.