Friday, February 18, 2011

On, Wisconsin !

Let's start with full disclosure. I hate unions. I hated them when I was a leftist radical, and when I was a liberal, and when I was a moderate. And as a conservative, my contempt for unions has only deepened. In fact, my enmity toward unions is probably the only totally consistent political view I've held my entire life. The current loathsome activities of the unions and the Democratic Party in Wisconsin only confirm my beliefs.

The poor benighted unionized teachers of Wisconsin are having apoplexy because they are being asked to contribute to their own retirement and accept terms of employment that are still far better than comparable jobs in the private sector. Their response is to spit in the face of the voters of Wisconsin, scream that they are being fiscally murdered in droves, and to leave their classrooms to go to the capital in Madison and act like a mob. I take that last remark back. They aren't acting.

The State of Wisconsin is facing a financial meltdown much like California and Illinois, and the biggest contributor to the meltdown is the cost of union public employee salaries and benefits. The governor carved out an exception to proposed cuts for police and fire personnel, and then proposed cuts for all other public employees as well as a major overhaul or elimination of collective bargaining. Good for the governor, since that's exactly what the voters of Wisconsin just recently demanded at the polls. The police and fire union bosses sent their stooges to Madison, but it appears that the rank and file support the governor's actions.

Teachers who should have been in the classroom were instead in Madison. They even encouraged their students to join them (we're talking about kids, not college students here). The protest has turned into a full-blown mob, shouting obscenities and carrying signs that put an end to the two-day Democrat "era of civility." Not unexpectedly, these parasites on the public teat have already compared the governor to Hitler. How intellectual!

The SEIU is heavily involved and has coerced several other unions to respect the protest--or else. The Teachers Union has now called for all 98,000 Wisconsin union teachers to abandon their students, leave their classrooms, and descend on the capital. Meanwhile, back at the union Democrat Legislators Hall, the party of socialism and welfare has literally left town. In order to stop an up-or-down vote on the governor's proposal, these low-life union-owned cowards have actually left the state.

And it gets worse. Union thugs and fellow-travelers have landed on the lawns of the personal residences of Republican legislators, school administrators, and anybody else who supports the governor and the voters. To quote the worst ex-President in history, "this is the moral equivalent of war." But wait, there's more. The socialist in the White House, along with the Democratic National Committee, are supporting, funding, organizing and speechifying in favor of what is quickly becoming an illegal wildcat strike. Organizing for America (oh, crap!), the former Obama election committee, is actively funding the protests and sending its cadres into Wisconsin to agitate. Not only is this the leviathan federal government interfering in a state matter, but it is further proof of the lawlessness of the Obama administration. What next? Maybe the President will invite the Muslim Brotherhood to join in the protests.

Much though I may think the Supreme Court was wrong when it allowed collective bargaining during the FDR administration, the fact is that there is a contract in place, and the contract, signed by the same union fatcat thugs, is filed with the National Labor Relations Board. It forbids wildcat strikes. So the unions are not only behaving like the scum they are, but they are breaking the law and violating their own contract. The great Constitutional scholar and alleged editor of the Harvard Law Review supports these actions.

Make no mistake, this is a showdown. I am hoping the governor will stand firm and do what is required either to get the necessary changes made or to break the back of the unions once and for all. Accomplishing both would be even better. As a resident of the once great state of California, I am thinking of the words of a former California governor who became President of the United States who stood up against a different mob and said "if they want a bloodbath, let's give them a bloodbath." Later, as President, he repeated the words of Calvin Coolidge by saying "no one has the right to strike against the public good." When the damnable Air Traffic Controllers' Union refused to cooperate, he fired them all.

This is not only a golden opportunity to rub the face of the unions in the dirt where it belongs, but also an additional opportunity to fix a budget, hire teachers who teach, get rid of massive deadwood, and serve the original purposes of public education--to serve the students, not to enrich the teachers. Imagine there's no union, it's easy if you try. I hope some day they'll join us, and we can get something done. OK, it's not John Lennon, but it's hard to be poetic when you're frothing at the mouth.

This was not the piece I had originally planned for today. But my puppy and the two cats didn't seem to comprehend why I was yelling at the television. So I turned to all of you, since you are more tolerant of my occasional rants. Sputter, sputter, sputter.

49 comments:

Tam said...

I already wrote my letters of support and encouragement to the governor and reasonable legislators in Wisconsin. I hope they stand strong against those sorry bastards.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tam: I'm with you!

patti said...

dude! your rant got all over me!

and i agree, agree, agree, as i think most people do. time to put an end to this thuggery. PUT AN END TO IT!

as i read the stuff happening in this country today and throughout washington, i feel like we are in a washing machine gone mad. turnin' twistin' tornado, and me likey!

p.s. i lurv your rants. rant on!

LawHawkRFD said...

Patti: Thanks. My hope is that the sudden and amazingly angry protests in Wisconsin are symptoms of the realization that Americans are fed up with unions and public employees who used to be called public servants. The teachers are the ones with the complete trifecta--civil service, unions and tenure. We gave them a lot of latitude over the years because they took care of our kids five days a week. Today, I wouldn't trust most of them to take care of my animals, let alone my kids.

Tam said...

P.S. Weasel Zippers has all 14 democrat cowards' contact info up.

StanH said...

This is the unions Waterloo, if they can be stopped here the house of Marx will begin to crumble. Even if they win, their infantile display has confirmed to the nation the thuggery which exists in the left and most specifically in government unions. The elections of 2012 will be a referendum of Barry, and his union pals. A good position for a conservative Republican to run against, we must find our, “street fightin man,” …or woman, too clarify the differences. If so, I see landslides in our favor. You are also spot on with Reagan and PATCO, they went up against the great man and he fired them, can Governor Walker do the same? …I think so, Chief Executive. What the dumbshits in the union don’t understand I suppose, Wisconsin has a balanced budget amendment, and if they don’t make moves to correct their fiscal house, the next step are mass firings. I’m with you Lawhawk, I hate these bastards, it’s time to have it out.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tam: Thanks. For those who want to send these cowards a love-note, here's the link: Wisconsin Hall of Shame.

LawHawkRFD said...

Stan: I had to do a quick review of Wisconsin law to see if the governor had the authority to do what he's doing. Each state law is different, and my immediate reaction was that Moonbeam Brown couldn't do it here in California. But it appears that the Wisconsin governor is acting within his state's prevailing law.

Thugs fear the man who won't be bullied, and Reagan didn't waver. As proof, I gotta tell you that I was one of those marching morons Reagan referred to in his "bloodbath" statement. I remember thinking, "damn, this guy is really going to take us on face-to-face." It took another ten years before I voted for him, and twenty-five years before I switched parties and actually supported him. It was all based on the fact that I learned way back when that the man meant what he said, and wouldn't back down. Let's pray that Governor Walker has the same solid spine.

Joel Farnham said...

LawHawk,

Nice rant. I would love to see all the teachers who belong to the union fired for being part of the union. I would also include the support staff as well as the cleaners, cooks, and handymen. The supervisors as well. In short, cut out the government totally from teaching. Then I would make a call to the private schools in state at first, out of state after. Offer the various school grounds rent free for the first year, then opt to rent to buy. Then I would give school vouchers to parents who can establish residency from the time that schools were shut down. I would take the normal budget of 2001 and divide it equally and among the parents who legally can apply. I would also declare that the students get an A in all subjects for the rest of the school year. Schools will start Sept 1, 2011. Have vouchers ready.
Vouchers would be legal at all schools.

The announcement would read as follows.

"Talks have broken down between the unions and the state of Wisconsin. I have elected not to continue.

School vouchers will be ready by July 15 and given out until August 31. Auctions of school properties will commence in thirty days. This is for the privlege of getting the use of each school property rent free for the first year then rent to buy.

All people involved in the various school systems prior to this date, including the janitors, cooks and bus drivers, are let go as of today. If you want to stay in your particular job, see the new owner/ operaters after the auction.

Any school properties that for various reasons not sold at auction will be buldozed over.

All students involved in the school systems prior to this date have received an A in every class for the rest of the year. Any graduating students can opt to finish the last half of their year starting Sept 1, or receive the A and graduate in May of this year.

The only exceptions to this is the coaches for each school. The various teams will complete their scheduled games until the end of the school year. Then they are let go. If they want to continue, see the owner/operators of their schools.

The State of Wisconsin is getting out the school business. That is all."

Tehachapi Tom said...

Hawk
By violating the contract that they agreed to doesn't that place the unions in default?

The Governor should declare default of contract and offer them new opportunities to negotiate for a new one.

Of course any new negotiations must wait until the defaulted workers have all be replaced and the state is back in operation.






?

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel: That's a little draconian, but I like it.

T_Rav said...

LawHawk, I mentioned on Facebook last night that these Dem legislators in WI remind me of brave Sir Robin in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." How did it go? "Bra-ve-ly he did run awayyyy, bra-ve-ly he did chicken out, brave, brave Sir Robin...."

LawHawkRFD said...

Tehachapi Tom: The correct word is "breach," but you're definitely on the right track. That seems to be the path the governor is taking. It would take someone considerably more versed in Wisconsin law than I to tell you how that would all work procedurally. Speaking abstractly for the moment, the courts tend to distinguish between a minor breach and a major (or "substantial") breach when deciding on whether the contract is terminated or not. I would consider abandoning the students a substantial breach under the state's education codes and the seeming wildcat strike to be a substantial breach under the state's labor codes. But that's just a guess. And if the rank and file approve a strike, federal law also gets involved under NLRB rules. Any Wisconsin attorneys out there? I would also be interested in what legal effect there would be for other unions if they cooperate with and sanction a strike.

LawHawkRFD said...

T_Rav: The big difference is that Monty Python's version was funny.

T_Rav said...

LawHawk: And Sir Robin was eventually thrown into a bottomless gorge at the end. Oh wait, is that uncivil rhetoric? Oh, gosh, I'm so sorry.

By the way, via Ace of Spades, one clever option Gov. Walker could take would be to switch the method of payment for legislators from direct deposit to actual, physical checks, which they would have to come to the capital in person to pick up. Given that we're talking about the "Party of Me," it'd be bound to work sooner or later, and even if it took a while it'd still be a nice little "screw you" reprisal.

LawHawkRFD said...

T_Rav: Making them get off their lazy butts to pick up their checks is a very clever idea. I used to do that, and I'd say "there'll be a little something extra with your check this week." A termination notice.

BevfromNYC said...

But they are doing this "for the children"!!! You are mean...

Tennessee Jed said...

I loved the Governor's presser around 6:00 p.m. He could become a rising star. Obama and the thugs jump in again. BTW, Hawk, since you fessed up, I will too. I HATE UNIONS. So nice, I'll say it twice. I HATE UNIONS. Great post.

JB1000 said...

Finally! The Unions prove that they are NOT in fact Communist! Communists seek to take everything from everyone and distribute it equally.

The Unions, on the other hand, seek to take everything from everyone and then keep it for themselves!

See? The Unions are NOT Communist.

AndrewPrice said...

I really have to think this will turn the public off the unions. This is truly unseemly and it reeks of extra-political sabotage. As Obama said, "elections have consequences and they lost."

LawHawkRFD said...

JB1000: I knew it would be one of our readers who would finally unravel that mystery. Q.E.D. there are no communist union members. LOL

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: Anybody who hates dogs and small children can't be all bad. I learned that from St. W C Fields. He also said, "I love children, properly fried." Even I'm not that heartless.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tennessee: This is how Obama and and the union thugs handle sharing the burden of tough times. "We should all give something up, shouldn't you?"

Confession is good for the soul, and I'm glad you have joined me in the booth. In fact, that felt so good I'm starting to make a list of my other pet hates.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: Part of the beauty of this is the protesters aren't poor little underpaid, overworked, semi-literate California migrant farm workers. Everyone knows these people are overpaid and underworked and that their sole job is to serve the public by educating children. They are the poster children for everything that's wrong with public sector unions. I think you may be right and this is the straw that broke the camel's back. Industrial unions once served the oppressed workers in mines and automobile factories. Public employee unions serve only themselves.

LONG LIVE THE STRIKEBREAKERS.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tennessee: I should have added that I saw the press conference too, and he was impressive. I'll withhold my final judgment of his qualifications until this has finally played out. I don't see how there can be a compromise--the two sides are poles apart. So there will be a winner and a loser, and I pray to God that the governor is the winner.

Joel Farnham said...

What LawHawk? Don't you want to know why I would let the coaches stay for the season?

Here's a little hint, college recruitment is near.

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel: I should have figured that out. I just thought you were acknowledging that they are learning more about academics, teamwork, real life and playing to win than they could ever learn in a Marxist schoolroom.

T_Rav said...

Andrew, I figure if even Joe Klein (!) is telling the absent Dems they need to act like adults and come back to Madison, there's a good chance this won't work out well for them or their union minions (or is it the other way around?)

LawHawkRFD said...

T_Rav: The cry of the cowardly Democrats a few years back in Texas when they hid out in Oklahoma was "forget the Alamo." In Wisconsin, I guess it's "forget the voters." Didn't mean to jump into your question to Andrew, but it was just too hard to stay on the sidelines. My adrenalin is still flowing.

LawHawkRFD said...

I should mention that Democrats defending Obama's direct interference in Wisconsin are bleating "it's perfectly legal." Maybe, but at the least it's unseemly and probably unethical. But there is a legal principle built around "prospective interference with contract" and "tortious inducement to commit a breach of contract." Both arguably apply to this situation. This is a Wisconsin state collective bargaining agreement ("contract"), and Obama and his agitators are encouraging union parasites to leave work without authorization, call in "sick" when they are not, and refuse to perform the services for which the citizens of Wisconsin are paying. That's a pretty good description of enabling a breach of contract. I don't know where the courts would come down on this, but I would not be embarrassed to argue the point.

Tehachapi Tom said...

Hawk
I don't feel that unions deserve the level of emotion to say I hate them. They are however closely akin to the swamp leeches. They produce nothing generate no value that is meaningful they just suck.

Teaching for instance used to be a profession but once a union becomes involved they become labor. You know like miners,ditch diggers and hod carriers.

The twit on the news today claiming this is all for the children really illuminated that they are but labor. There was nothing in what she had to say that addressed the issue of the children just the labor view.

If the Wisconsin governor and the people of Wisconsin can prevail it will be a revelation that might wake the rest of the leeches up.

T_Rav said...

LawHawk: Yeah, I could tell! :-)

Incidentally, NBC "News" (and I use that term loosely) covered the WI mess this evening. Here's how Brian Williams began the broadcast: "From the Mideast to the American Midwest, the people are taking to the streets." Because if you weren't aware, Walker and the state GOP are the equivalent of Arab dictators, and the people threatening their persons are just fighting for democracy. The broadcast went on to mention that Walker had focused on the teachers' unions for budget-cutting, rather than on the fireman unions which had supported his campaign, hint hint. Which is kinda true, in that Walker was supported by some firefighter union chapters. And when I say "some," I mean "four." Out of the 300+ in the state. So, did NBC officially start shilling for Obama, and I just missed the announcement?

LawHawkRFD said...

T_Rav: NBC is trying to take over ABC's room in the White House. They're brown-nosing as fast as possible.

You know, even when I was a radical, the slogan "power to the people" seemed silly to me. The people already have the power, they just forget to exercise it occasionally. That slogan really means "power to us." And it's no different when talking heads like Williams say "people are taking to the streets." What they really mean is "some people who agree with us are taking to the streets." When the counterprotesters show up in the next few days will they be "people taking to the streets" according to NBC? Nope. They'll be disaffected racists, a few rabble who don't love their fellow human beings, and enemies of the children, the children. In Marxist jargon, "the people" is another word for "the masses," who must arise in order to lose their chains. How 19th Century! At least Marx was talking about people who actually worked to live and actually produced something.

The MSM talking heads don't realize that this is a classic conflict of two different ideologies. They think it's a Doobie Brothers song.

LL said...

If all of the Wisconsin teachers are fired, a number of we who have the creds could go there and stand in until replacements can be found...

LawHawkRFD said...

LL: I hear you. But even with my BA in history and MA in political science, I'm not qualified to teach either subject because I don't have any credits in eddykashun. A large percentage of union teachers do not have degrees in the subjects they teach, but they have beaucoup credits in "learning how to teach."

On the other hand, if the governor needs teachers and is willing to suspend the "education" requirement as most highly-rated private schools routinely do, I'm ready, willing and able. I could teach them the history of American organized labor from its early usefulness in the mines and factories to its current uselessness in the public sector. I could even do a syllabus entitled "from paragon to parasite in one century." Catchy, huh?

T_Rav said...

LawHawk, that's not as improbable as you think. In a lot of states, including my own, the state allows people who don't hold education degrees to teach, through what's called "alternate certification": basically, you take a test in whatever subject it is you want to teach, jump through some paperwork hoops, and you're in: at least for a few years, until you either have to take another test or get an education degree. I know because my mom and a lot of my friends are involved in elementary or high school teaching, and this comes up often. That's the only way I'd ever teach high school history, because college education courses are an absolute joke. The popular saying at my undergrad--ironically founded to train teachers--was, "Those who can't do, teach. Those who can't teach, teach education."

LawHawkRFD said...

T_Rav: The certification requirements in California are similar. But as a practical matter, the union teachers with education degrees will always get the opening over a new, highly-qualified candidate who has stellar credentials in his field but doesn't have the education degree. The Education Code doesn't require a degree in education at all, but the vast majority of public school unionized teachers have them. It's no coincidence. A history teacher who has no degree in history but a BA or an MA in education is much easier to recruit for leftist historical propaganda than one who actually knows the subject.

Tehachapi Tom said...

Hawk
What do you think the probability that the Wisconsin Governor can succeed in this confrontation?

It sounds like he has not only the Wisconsin unions to fight but all of the SEIU nation wide with support from the White House. How is it that this is a White house issue isn't Wisconsin a state with it's own responsibilities?

LawHawkRFD said...

Tehachapi Tom: I suppose I could use an old quote: "No army is as powerful as an idea whose time has come." This isn't even close to a slam-dunk, but I think the more troops the union thugs and Obama send into Wisconsin, the more likely it is that the governor and common sense will win.

Tehachapi Tom said...

Hawk
The Union stand is really not what they profess. In other countries teaching is an honored profession not mere labor as it has become in this country.

There must be some way that concept can be impressed upon the American people.

We have moved the majority of our product producing manufacturing off shore. Maybe teaching should be moved off shore like the rest of labor.

ESL in a Mexican school where our students could major in how to pick tomatoes then they could come back home to work here.

If the Dems had thought of it I'll bet it would already be in place.

Tehachapi Tom said...

Hawk
Slightly off the main topic here but where ever did you find that SEIU icon. That is the most representative of the SEIU that any one could come up with.
Brilliant.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tehachapi Tom: Thank the Good Lord for the internet and free pictures. I have zero artistic talent, and I can't even photoshop correctly, so I've become the Milton Berle of appropriate portraiting. I just steal them. One of these days I'm going to slip and use a copyrighted picture and I'll have to hire Andrew to defend me.

Tehachapi Tom said...

Hawk
This teacher union thing does rest fairly close to home, my wife is BS Education with an MS in Remedial Reading. While she was still interested teaching she had added ESL and was about six hours from PhD
then reality set in.

She created a text for ESL and actually used it in class work to evaluate it empirically. She then went to administration for approval to incorporate her text in her class as the text. With out even reviewing it the answer was no.

Now that alone was not what soured her view of teaching the major item was the UNION. Between the administrators and the union she felt boxed in and stifled to the point that it was not worth the effort anymore.

Education lost on that one. I can only suspect that such is the rule more than the exception in American education.

T_Rav said...

LawHawk, very true. Unfortunately, I guess the union machine's a bit stronger in California (and for now, Wisconsin) than in Missouri.

But, here's something I found from a random commenter elsewhere today. No way to know how much of it's true, but make of it what you will:

"Today after work, I went grocery shopping and ran a few other errands near a busy intersection in Shorewood WI. Shorewood is a well-to-do, lily white and generally very liberal suburb of Milwaukee.
There was a small band of high school students, in obviously high spirits because of their extra long weekend, jumping around and waving signs saying “Support Worker Rights.” They were accompanied by a few older people, teachers I assume, holding similar signs...it was rush hour, plenty of cars were going past and during the course of 15 or 20 minutes or so, I didn’t hear one single honk of support from any passing cars. This is a ‘burb where there is no shortage of Volvos with Obama/Biden and “Co-Exist” bumper stickers. I remember the anti-war rallies during the Bush years. The honks and cheers of support and encouragement the “Bush = Hitler” protesters got were constant. “Walker = Hitler” doesn’t seem to be going over nearly as well.The silence of the rush hour crowd was very noticable...

Some otherwise pretty apolitical friends were furious at having to take two days off to watch their kids. They’ve become big Scott Walker fans. Keep making friends and influencing people, lefties, it’s working so well!

Really, if pro-union protesters can't attract a bunch of cheering, honking libtard supporters in libtard Shorewood of all places, you know Walker's winning this one."

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Later, as President, he repeated the words of Calvin Coolidge by saying "no one has the right to strike against the public good.""

Hear hear! Righteous rant, Lawhawk!
The Unions and their bought n' paid for democrats are the new Mob.
They're more interested in theft, extortion, intimidation etc., than they are education (or, to be more precise, leftist propaganda).

It's heartening to see that most Americans do not sympathize with the Unions anymore, and their belligerent behavior is hurting the Union more and more everyday.

I love the smell of lefty fear in the mornin'. :^)

LawHawkRFD said...

Tehachapi Tom: I even have a small tangential connection to that. My younger daughter got a pay increase by getting certified in Spanish in her job with County Child Protective Services. There are some ironies involved. She's a public employee, she says that when she goes into the Hispanic homes for investigations, she doesn't even need to use her Spanish, and she's giving serious consideration to quitting her job to, you guessed it, home-school her kids. From a union, public sector job to a teaching "career" which became necessary because of the poor quality of union, public sector teachers. Interestingly, she's the only one in the family who graduated from a private, sectarian university (I scrimped and saved and called in some major old favors to help her get through California Lutheran University).

LawHawkRFD said...

T_Rav: The unions are like leviathan. But anything can be accomplished with enough hard effort and conviction. How do you eat a whale? One bite at a time. If the burbs are starting to see the problem clearly, then we've gotten a few extra bites at the whale.

You know, it's funny, but the best teachers I had I didn't really like very much. They pushed too hard, and challenged me. One dared me even to pass his trig-calculus class. Most of these students who are marching with the union teachers are doing so because they don't know what a real educator is, they have nothing to compare them to, and these teachers make life far too easy for them. So of course, they love their teachers. After all, these are kids, and kids always want to take the easy route.

LawHawkRFD said...

USSBen: The industrial unions crippled so much of American industry that their numbers dropped to nearly non-existent status. But the fat-cat bosses discovered the "service" sector, and glommed onto that. Just like the industrial unions, the public sector unions have rendered the "service" useless and nearly killed the goose that laid the golden egg. Perhaps because government and schools can't go overseas to a better environment, we can prevent them from ruining everything the way they did with our major industries. Wisconsin will probably turn out to be the major test of which philosophy will prevail,

LawHawkRFD said...

Tehachapi Tom: Not to mention she'll have the assistance of a history major and law instructor. LOL

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