Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hyperbole Grips The Liberal Media

Hyperventilation and hysteria are hallmarks of the liberal media whenever discussing conservatives, the Tea Party, Christians, Republicans, and anything to the right of Karl Marx (or Barack Obama). So when I saw the New York Times story which looked as if they might have discovered bad folks outside of mainstream America, I made the mistake of reading it. Well, I was half right.

The Times has been taking pretty much the same view as the general public of the revolt in Tunisia (and Libya) and the brutal government leaders. I shoulda seen it coming. Was the story about dead dissidents lying in the streets? Was it about a madman turning his troops loose on protesters and ordering mass murder? Was it about an insane ex-colonel who declared that he would fight off any attempts at democratic reform to his last drop of blood? (Oh, wait, that's Libya) Well, sort of, but that was the "hook" to bring you to the real story.

You see, the governor and Republican legislators in Wisconsin decided that in order to make serious headway in fending off the state's bankruptcy, it had to raise the employee contributions to health care and retirement of the state's public employees. One way of doing that was to severely limit public employee collective bargaining privileges (collective bargaining for public employees is not a right). The public employees took to the streets in protest, led by the teachers union. Pretty soon it had all the danger and excitement and risk of death or serious injury as a college football game.

All of which caused Michael Cooper and Katharine Seelye to write a Times headline article which included the question "Is Wisconsin the Tunisia of collective bargaining rights?" Within hours, the question was being repeated by David Gregory (Mr. Helen Thomas) at NBC and Bob Schieffer (the valium valedictorian) at CBS. The ABC talking heads were still making their beds in their White House bedroom, so they were running a little behind.

So I started searching for pertinent information and evidence. The first thing I looked for was at least one picture of Gov. Scott Walker wearing his Ozymandias King of Kings robes, a la Gaddafi. No luck. Then I looked for pictures of the capital police dragging off protesters and beating them half to death. No luck there, either. Also missing were pictures of the tanks, troops, flamethrowers, rocket propelled grenades and good old-fashioned machine guns mowing down the protesters.

What I did find was multiple protest signs referring to the governor as Hitler and the very civil pictures of the governor in the crosshairs. But there's another thing I didn't find--the Democratic legislators who vowed to fight for Wisconsin workers rights (that's because they're hiding out in Illinois). Finding themselves on the losing end of a recent election, and knowing that they would be outvoted if they stuck around, the Fleebaggers (God I wish I had coined that name) picked up their marbles and headed for the state border.

So being the great intellectual that I am, I decided to analyze that headline. The democratic uprising that brought about the governor's election and the presence of a Republican majority in the legislature was conducted by the people of Wisconsin. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that makes the protesters the forces of reaction and entrenched anti-democratic forces. So much for that parallel.

There are unconfirmed but reasonable reports that the protesters, with assistance from the Service Employees International Union, were pushing counter-protesters around. But there is not a single report of police brutality, troops advancing on the capital, or even marshals going out to collect the missing Fleebaggers. Not a shot fired, not a protester injured. The duly-elected governor and legislature have not interfered in any way with the right of the public employees to protest. The only thugs committing mayhem in Madison are the union goons. The only troops involved are the cadres sent by the Teachers Unions, the SEIU, Obama's Organizing for America, and other reactionary forces attempting to thwart the will of the people. So much for that parallel as well.

Well, there's one last possibility, and that's flouting the will of the people by ignoring state law and the state constitution. Surely, the governor and the Republican legislators did that, right? Well, no. But there was considerable law-breaking and contract breaching going on--all by the reactionary protesters. First of all, the teachers involved themselves in nothing short of a wildcat strike, forbidden by their contract. Oh, yes, they called it a "sickout," and a "work stoppage," but since those are also forbidden by the contract and state law, so what?

Then there's the matter of union public school teachers calling in, too sick to work, but not too sick to march around in freezing weather with signs calling the governor Hosni Mubarak, Scrooge, and yes, Hitler. And how about those doctors, folks? Doctors who write medical excuses, en masse, for people they've never examined and don't even know. Considering the shouting and caterwauling going on, I assume none of them were diagnosed with laryngitis. Each state law is different, but in Wisconsin, any teacher (or any other public employee) who collects pay under false pretenses is guilty of wage fraud, a crime, not just a breach of contract. So the governor and the Republican legislators are acting lawfully and constitutionally, and the protesters are not. That takes care of the final parallel.

Now I admit I may not have the credentials or the sophistication of a New York Times writer or a network talking-head, but I just don't see how, in any way, Wisconsin is the Tunisia of collective bargaining. In fact, I see much more of a parallel with thirteen colonies which were fed up with rule by the elite, inequality of treatment, and the utter arrogance of incompetent, overpaid government employees. In Wisconsin, the people rebelled, the government obeyed their wishes, and only the forces of reaction stand in the way of success. Except, of course, for the Democratic legislators who are shaking uncontrollably while hiding under the bed at the Best Western hotel in Champaign, Illinois, home of professor and Obama confidante William Ayers.

I will give The Times credit for one thing though. In the matter of Libya, it has called out Moammar Gaddafi (or however the hell we're spelling it this week) by name. That's more than our waffle-eating waffler President or his Secretary of State have had the guts to do as of this writing.


Tennessee Jed said...

Hawk - this is one of the best examples of how the left wing formerly main stream news media all use the exact same lines. We should all keep a file for the next time some liberal asks us to "give us some examples" of media bias and laziness.

You, of course, are perplexed because you used logic and wisdom to conclude "gosh, no it really isn't the Tunisia of collective bargaining." It does indicate, however, how liberals tend to think. They all got aroused watching the Egypt coverage, and talk about Facebook, blah,blah,blah. Why not use it here? Afterall what's good for the tea bagger is good for the flea bagger n'est pas?

Nice post ;-)

Unknown said...

Tennessee: Thank you, kind sir. We got proof awhile back that the political and press movers and shakers get together regularly and talk about what they consider news and how it should be presented. Of course they denied that they were meeting to agree on how to spin stories unfavorably for conservatives and favorably for liberals.

Sometimes I think their major news source is FaceBook. And they learned logic from Dr. Seuss. I guess the first major politician to use this kind of hyperbolic version of moral equivalence was Jimmy Carter. But all liberals are given extensive training in it.

Tam said...

What do you think are the realistic repercussions for this tantrum? I heard the Gov. say that state employees will be terminated, I also heard that some schools issued preliminary termination notices. What will happen to the fleebaggers (I also wish I had coined that term) for dereliction of duty and violation of their oath of office? I know that there are recall actions in place, what are the chances of successfully punishing these people?

Joel Farnham said...


The MSM worked hard on this meme. They want the public to accept it. Unions => Good people. Republicans => Bad people. They have worked so hard to get everyone saying the exact same thing. Almost word for word. It takes some ingenuity to get these chickens cackling in unison, don't you think? ;-)

rlaWTX said...

as I walked through the living room last night before class, I couldn't help but hear the MSM "news" broadcast that my grandparents faithfully watch nightly. [I usually try harder NOT to hear, because it upsets my grandmother when I argue with the TV.] Anyway, after telling the "poor protestors" story, the comment was made that 61% of people surveyed are supportive of the protestors. At which point I slipped and told the dimbulb talking head that it "was no wonder that the folks who were watching the TV tell them how needy and deserving the protestors were would then support said protestors." Then I left the room because my grandmother was giving me THAT look.

But seriously, I think that along with the nasty circular realtionship between public-sector unions and Dem elected officials, there is also one between the MSM and the MSM surveys.

AndrewPrice said...

It's gotten to the point with the MSM that I really just don't listen to them anymore. They could tell me that the sky is blue and I would still want a different source to verify that.

Unknown said...

Tam: Whew! Lots of good questions. I think the unionists have misfired on every chamber. What the final result will be, I can't be sure, but I know they've seriously damaged their own already-questionable reputation. If Walker and the other governors and legislatures don't go wobbly on us, I think the odds are very good that they will prevail on all fronts.

Walker is smart enough to know he's holding all the winning cards, so he keep upping the ante. Very smart move. Even if he has to make some small compromises to seal the deal, he'll already have Wisconsin quantum leaps farther ahead than our wildest dreams just two years ago.

Again, I have to plead partial ignorance about Wisconsin law. I do know dereliction of duty is very difficult to prove, but even in California I could hang my hat on "job abandonment" against union employees who decided to go off on a lark of their own while deceiving the company. I don't know, but I suspect the rules for public employees would be even stronger.

In any event, these people are not going to walk away entirely unscathed. I can't seriously predict that they'll be permanently terminated, but they will suffer some sort of penalty. I hope that includes yanking the licenses of the quacks who wrote phony medical excuses for them. But painful experience in labor relations tells me that to reach a favorable if not perfect result, I usually ended up agreeing to some sort of punishment but allowing reinstatement. In the long run, the ultimate goal I was seeking (much like Walker and the others) was accomplished, even if I had to allow some deadwood back on the job. I always remembered the old rule of diplomacy that says: "Never back your enemy into a corner from which he cannot retreat and from which he cannot advance without all-out attack."

Unknown said...

Joel: They are very good at what they do. But the public is getting wise. One of the mantras of the overpaid, overcompensated teachers that appeared on signs everywhere was "protect the rights of working people." Two thoughts occurred to me. First, what the hell are the rest of us if not working people? And second, what kind of "working people" earn 20% to 50% more than the average worker in overall compensation, then leave their jobs and lie about being sick so they can complain that they're being oppressed?

Unknown said...

rlaWTX: The 61% figure you heard was a Gallup push poll. They started their poll by asking an abstract question about whether people thought unions were a good thing. All polls that ask directly "do you support the union protesters in Wisconsin" got wildly different results. They ranged from 46% yes, 43% no to as high as 66% no and 32% yes. When Gallup asked about specifics rather than generalities, the protesters lost on almost every issue. Pollsters who prefaced their polls with the caveat that Wisconsin teachers already have full civil service protection, tenure, and higher wage packages than comparable non-union workers got consistent results unfavorable to the protesters.

So, don't let push polls get you down. Ditto for the "right" to collective bargaining. The vast majority of people don't realize that collective bargaining for public employees has never been a right, but rather a creature of the individual states, grantable and removable at the will of the people.

Unknown said...

Andrew: But if it's printed in the New York Times, the "newspaper of record," it must be true. And if you don't believe the Times, you could always verify the facts with the Washington Post, right?

rlaWTX said...

LH, thanks!!!!

the MSM drives me nuts faster than bad drivers!!!

Notawonk said...

law: the voters of Wisconsin should be pissed as hell that the dems/libs are trying to force their agenda regardless of how the vote went down for the state's governing body. i'm furious as hell and i'm all the way down in texas.

thug rule will not stand for long. the growing anger of good citizens everywhere is gonna hit 'em and they'll never be able to get back up. or at least that's my prayer.

Unknown said...

rlaWTX: And these bad drivers are trying to drive us at high speed over the cliff.

Unknown said...

Patti: The left is counting on Wisconsin citizens not knowing that we have a representative democracy, a republic. They don't want people to notice that the people did vote for the Republican promise to cut state spending and that the Republicans are doing what they're supposed to do--cut state spending, starting with bloated public employee salaries and benefits.

But there's another side to the ideal of a republic. In order to avoid the mob rule of direct democracy, the Founders set up a process whereby the people elect representatives they think most qualified to carry out their will. But it also assumes that such representatives will carry out their mission by making intelligent decisions that may not be temporarily popular in order to fulfill the true goal. In other words the people state their will, but leave it to the "professionals" they elected to find the best ways to carry out the goal. In military terms, the people form the strategy, and hire people to decide on the tactics which will advance the strategy.

Think of it this way: The people elected the Republicans to bring the state back from the brink of financial meltdown. They told the new representatives what to do, but left it to their representatives to decide how. The mob wants to decide how to do that, but the Republicans know it's their job to do it, and this is how they're going to do it. Ya don't like it? Elect someone else the next time, but don't use push polls and mob action to thwart the method the elected representatives have chosen to accomplish the goal in a republic. Direct democracies always fail. Our republic has survived the onslaughts of hysterical temporary majorties for 222 years.

T_Rav said...

LawHawk, far more telling than that Gallup poll is the one that has two-thirds of people nationally, and just over half of those in Wisconsin, saying the unions have gone way too far and Gov. Walker is doing the right thing. Which means that eventually, we will hear that just over half of Wisconsinites are bitter clingers and racist Tea Partiers who hate children and so on and so on...

Unknown said...

T_Rav: That sounds about right, considering that Wisconsin was the original Progressive state. The fact that Wisconsin residents were negative about everything the unions were doing during the protests came as a surprise. Even a 50/50 split on those issues in Wisconsin indicates that the old gray progressive ain't what they used to be. I think that once the collective bargaining rights for public employees are severely restricted in Wisconsin, and civil service protection (and tenure for teachers) remain in place, there will be a realization that the unions were there only to fatten their own coffers. Meanwhile, as lousy and even criminal teachers are dismissed permanently, good teachers get merit raises, and test scores improve, the Wisconsin public will see the unions for the fraud they are.

BevfromNYC said...

Gov Walker has also suspended any direct deposit paychecks for the missing Senators. If they want their paper paychecks, they can find them at their desks in the Senate Chamber in Wisconsin.

The Docs are under investigation for fraud and the teachers have been docked. I would imagine that the Doc who was on tape proudly handing out notes will probably wish that she hadn't been so proud of herself when the Medical Board gets finished with her. I am sure if any of the teachers try to use one of those fake doctor's notes, they could be investigated for fraud too. That may be the only thing that will save any other docs who gave fraudulent notes.

Tehachapi Tom said...

I find the dialog is confusing in conservative articles and radio programs. They refer to collective bargaining rights of public unions.
That is a negotiated privilege not a right in my book.

If I am wrong please enlighten me.

Unknown said...

Bev: That's keeping with my assessment that the miscreants won't go unscathed. Tomorrow's a big day. If the Fleebaggers don't return to Madison, the state runs out of money and pink slips start to go out for next school year. This time it won't be hard to put the blame squarely where it belongs--the "we don't give a crap" Democrats.

Unknown said...

Tehachapi Tom: I did make that point in the article, but I realize it got a little windy. So here goes the short version: In 1934, both the Democratic Congress and the Democratic President foresaw the danger of public employees being unionized. So they left the issue to the legislatures of the states, and on the federal level left it open completely. Nearly half the states remained or became right-to-work, many because of the same justified fear of public employee unions. It wasn't until JFK issued an executive order that federal employees were allowed to unionize. The Supreme Court recognized the right of collective bargaining in the private sector during FDR's term, but pointedly did not find that right for public employees.

Long answer short: For public employees, collective bargaining is a privilege, not a right, the legislatures can give, and the legislatures can take away. And Republican President (fill in the blank) in 2013 can issue an executive order terminating collective bargaining upon the expiration of their contracts, or in a national emergency, whichever comes first.

StanH said...

This in my opinion is all good. We have the unions, and all other assorted leftist (academia, MSM, politicians) exposing themselves for who they are, and free America is taking notes. I believe that for once in my life we finally have a chance to vanquish radical leftist in America.

Unknown said...

Stan: I just now caught your comment. As of Friday morning, it looks like the governor and the legislature are standing firm. No concessions, although they let the Democrats introduce their amendments, so it went to the wee hours of the morning. Now all they need is one stinking Democrat to show up in the state senate, and they've done it. Did you see the pictures of all the opponents in the gallery wearing red t-shirts? How appropriate!

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