I’m having one of those mornings. I’ve spent hours reading other great blogs, but I haven’t posted a thing, myself. How about I link to the stuff I’ve been reading? Because I’ve got nothing.
But that’s what happens when I start off the day reading Doug Ross’ Larwyn’s Links, which pointed me to many excellent pieces, including Ross’ own Brief , Illustrated History of The Public Sector Unions, That, Together With The Democrat Party Are Waging War Against Taxpayers.
And because it has been exceedingly hard to fight public sector unions, the salaries and benefits of public employees have skyrocketed in recent years. Since the election of Barack Obama, the number of federal employees making over $150,000 a year has more than doubled to over 10,000.
In 2009 government salaries jumped 2.4%, approximately twice the increase earned by private sector employees. In fact, the average salary of a federal worker is now $71,000, about $22,000 more than the average private sector employee.
More required reading on the union battle is Betsy Newmark’s: How to think about the political battle in Wisconsin:
Collective bargaining by public employee unions is just a method by which the unions can extract generous benefits from compliant politicians whom the unions then use government mandated dues to put back in power so that the unions can be granted more benefits the next round of negotiating. It’s a corrupt cycle every bit as much as in the 19th century when wealthy businessmen bought compliant senators to grant them business benefits.
Via Gregory of Yardsdale, here’s The NEA’s General Council basically telling a room full of teachers “it’s not about the children” – it’s about the power their dues give the union:
At Questions and Observations, Bruce McQuain answers the question, Who is winning the public relations fight in Wisconsin?
Don’t be fooled – this isn’t just about “benefits”. It is about power, politics and money. The mix of those three have given public sector unions a synergy that has allowed them, in many places, to hand pick Democratic representatives, have them elected and then have them do the union’s business. It is a pernicious and non-competitive arrangement that is finally, because of the financial downturn, coming to light.
But the unions have a problem. They haven’t been able to sell the emotional argument (benefits) and they certainly aren’t about to try to explain the real reason they’re fighting this (power and money).
And via Hot Air Headlines, Byron York reports: In Wisconsin, the gap widens between GOP and Dems:
“They’ve painted themselves in a corner,” Wisconsin Republican state senator Randy Hopper says of his Democratic colleagues. “There’s no way for them to get out of it.”
Democratic senators last week fled Wisconsin rather than allow a vote on Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s new budget bill, with its curtailments of some public-sector unions’ right to bargain collectively. The bill surely would have passed given the Republicans’ 19 to 14 advantage in the Senate. So Democrats, deeply dependent on union money and support, ran away to avoid a vote.***
For the lawmakers themselves, at least Republicans, this whole controversy has led to a surpassingly weird impasse. A number of them have known their Democratic counterparts for years. Republican Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald speaks by phone with the hiding Democratic Minority Leader Mark Miller. And Hopper has been on the phone with Democratic Sen. Lena Taylor, a colleague from Milwaukee. “I offered to give her a ride to work,” Hopper says, “but she said no.”
Hopper says he reminded Taylor that Republicans were out of power not too long ago, when Democrats controlled the state Assembly, Senate and governor’s office. “There were bills I was adamantly opposed to,” Hopper says, “and we didn’t run away.”
At the heart of all this, Republicans and Democrats are realizing there might be a gap between them that is bigger than they realized. To Republicans, the budget fight has involved the widespread shirking of responsibilities: teachers walking out on students, legislators running away from their offices, even doctors abandoning medical standards to make excuses for perfectly healthy teacher/protesters. To Democrats, the fight has touched a core issue; anything is justified to preserve union benefits.
Must watch video at The Blaze: Fox News Reporter Confronts Wis. Doctor Writing ‘Sick’ Notes.
The woman needs a doctor’s note because current events are causing her mental anguish…”who could say when I could crack…”
They say work can be therapeutic…just sayin’…
Andrew Breitbart thinks this video helps explain why the local media has covered the union battle in Wisconsin the way it has: FLASHBACK: SEIU Brags About Local Media’s Help to Smear Then-Candidate Scott Walker:
John-david Morgan, a lobbyist and spokesman for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1, was caught on tape bragging about how his union works with local news outlets to push stories that make Republican Gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker look bad.
Morgan had no idea that the person he was talking to outside a Milwaukee bar was a Walker campaign aide with an iPhone voice recorder app.
On to other subjects….
John Hinderaker generally avoids responding to these unsavory characters, but breaks habit to weigh in on the latest mental droppings from the nincompoops at Think Progress: Think Stupidity:
Mr. Fang poses as a muckraker exposing a nefarious web of high finance. What is bizarre about this is that he himself lives on the largesse of billionaire liberals. According to SourceWatch (linked above), CAP took in over $28 million in donations from rich liberals (and companies like Wal-Mart) in 2008. These figures dwarf the paltry sums about which Fang pretends to be indignant–$20,000! $300,000! That is no coincidence. The big money in politics these days, especially the big money from the rich, is on the left. If the Bradley Foundation is a “honey pot,” then what sort of pot is paying Fang’s salary?
From here, Fang goes on to spin more conspiracy theories. He relates the history of Harry and Lynde Bradley, as filtered through far-left eyes, and exults over the fact that Harry Bradley was on the board of the John Birch Society. (Remember the title of his post?) Harry Bradley died in 1965. But once Fang is on to the John Birch Society, he doesn’t want to let go:
He joined candy manufacturer Robert Welch to be one of the charter members of the John Birch Society (along with JBS board member Fred Koch, the father of Koch Industries executives Charles and David Koch), and financed other right-wing firebrands.
You may wonder, why the gratuitous Koch brothers reference? After all, Fred Koch died in 1967. No reason, except that Think Progress has recently been on a vendetta against Charles and David Koch and their company, one of the most respected in America. This is just a casual smear that he threw in, apropos of nothing in particular. Whatever you think of the John Birch Society, it had nothing at all to do with this week’s events in Wisconsin. Fang concludes:
Gov. Scott Walker’s current fight to crush labor rights in Wisconsin is the fulfillment of Harry Bradley’s John Birch Society dream.
There is definitely some dream-fulfillment going on here, but it isn’t Harry Bradley’s. What is the sum and substance of Think Progress’s expose? Governor Walker’s position is endorsed by a majority of Wisconsin voters, as well as several conservative groups, some of which have gotten modest amounts of support from conservative philanthropists. In what world is that some kind of scandal?
Also arguing with idiots is Patrick O’Hannigan who strives to understand the left’s arguments, and gives up at The American Spectator: Egypt and the Death of Argument
I know a man who thinks almost anyone with a critique for the progressive agenda must be “hate-filled” or “brain-dead.” Were you to mention to him that Rush Limbaugh sometimes calls himself a “lovable fuzzball,” he would snort in disbelief. He fancies himself a “live and let live” kind of guy, but entertains friends with pointers to what they MUST READ (all caps his). In his free time, he lards anti-conservative screeds with descriptions of Republican lawmakers like Michele Bachmann and Paul Ryan as “hideous,” “horrible,” and “insane.” Sarah Palin and Ann Coulter drive him bonkers, but they’re not the only ones who do. By his lights, there are so many Republican and right-wing outrages taking place that it’s impossible to catalog them all. I’ve slowly come to realize that this invective points to something more serious than lack of perspective, namely, the death of competent argument among self-described progressives.
Zombie pens a long and moving essay about end of life care: Death Channels:
Advance Health Care Directive
If the extension of my life would result in an existence devoid of cognitive function, with no reasonable hope for normal functioning, then I do not desire any form of life-sustaining procedures, including nutrition and hydration, unless necessary for my comfort or alleviation of pain.
My agent shall consent to and arrange for the administration of any type of pain relief, even though its use may lead to permanent damage, addiction or even hasten the moment of, but not intentionally cause, my death…
That’s the document my Uncle Larry signed fifteen years ago when he first got his HIV diagnosis. He had always seemed like a devil-may-care sort of guy who planned to live fast and die young. Linger for months, attached to tubes and machines? No way! “Just shoot me now” was his signature expression, often used to express sarcastic disapproval of anything unfashionable, but taken literally in the case of his “Advance Health Care Directive.”
I actually knew very little about my uncle (whom I’ll dub “Larry” here to maintain his privacy) until he collapsed in public a little over a month ago. He never got along with his brother (that is, my father), and he lived 3,000 miles away on the East Coast, so he rarely showed up at family events. But on those rare occasions he did, he fawned over me, called me his “favorite,” and once I had grown up he told me that I was the only relative he could stand to be around.
As a gay man, Uncle Larry never had any children of his own, nor did he (as far as I could tell) ever have a long-term romantic relationship; so I shouldn’t have been surprised that when the time came for him to name an “emergency contact” on various health-care forms, he wrote my name down.
Read it all.
All I can say aabout this next one, is, “yikes”:
“The Islamic Circle of North America, a Muslim advocacy group based in New York City, hopes to raise money to develop a camp for children and families of all religions on land donated to it last year.”
The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), based in Queens, New York, is not devoid of controversy in a history that spans over 40 years, yet there is scant mention of these controversies by the media. The Times Union article states that, “U.S. law enforcement agencies have investigated, but never prosecuted, ICNA for terrorist connections.” And there is coverage of a fundraiser involving speakers having made anti-American statements in the past, which is quickly justified by saying, “the meeting raised money for homeless women.”
But the ICNA has so much more to offer in the way of newsworthiness, including an event involving radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, as well as a link to the presently relevant Muslim Brotherhood.
Keep reading at link…
Fritz at AoSHQ has noticed a precipitous drop in Obama’s approval numbers following his pro-public union public comments, and the reported OFA involvement, last week. Apparently, so has Obama, because the White House is now backpeddling furiously: Profiles in Courage: Obama and Wisconsin
If you look at the recent history of the Rasmussen Approval Index (Strongly Approve – Strongly Disapprove), you’ll see that Pres. Obama wasn’t doing too badly — for an 11-day stretch there (2/7 to 2/17), his rating fluctuated between -11 and -7. But it was on Thursday, Feb 17th, that Obama spoke out again Governor Walker and in support of the protesting unions. Let’s look at how his score changes:
2/17: -9 (Obama criticizes Walker and the Wisconsin Pubs)
2/22: -20 (White House denies involvement in Wisconsin protests)
A new conservative book by one of our more outstanding Republican House members:
American Truths and Renewal in a Chaotic Age
Linked by Michelle Malkin in Buzzworthy, thanks!