Trickle Down

On April 20th I was listening to Wisconsin Public Radio (Governor Walker has not yet got around to scrambling both its signal and funding). WPR reported that the Governor was in Pulaski, WI awarding a potential $2,000,000 grant to Marquis Yachts, a luxury boat builder.

On April 20th  I was listening to Wisconsin Public  Radio  (Governor Walker has not yet gotten around to scrambling both  its signal and funding). WPR reported  that the Governor was in Pulaski, WI awarding a potential $2,000,000 grant to Marquis Yachts, a luxury boat builder.

Toys for the rich
Trickle down

If the plant hires a minimum of 379 workers, it would fulfill the requirement and qualify to receive the maximum grant.    After listening to that news blurb I thought:  Good thing to hire workers who will make over $16 per hour.  Wait a minute, this company makes YACHTS.  

Googling “Marquis Yachts Prices”  I soon learned that these playthings start around $600,000,  and the really nice ones go for a little under $2,000,000, equaling the amount of the maximum grant.  What a wacko world we live in.  We are fighting unemployment by funding $16.00 an hour jobs to produce super gas guzzling toys for the super rich.  What a perfect example of trickledown economics!  Needless to say, this liberal was a bit frustrated.

Then I went to:

http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/article/20110419/GPG03/110419131/Wisconsin-Gov-Scott-Walker-presents-job-creation-grant-Marquis-Yachts-Pulaski

I learned this grant would not be used for building luxury yachts.  Evidently, due to the soaring  price of gas, or  the release of Wii yachting simulations the demand for 72 foot yachts has somewhat diminished.  No, this grant would be used for “small portable offices.”  Now, that sounded more reasonable.  But as I read on, I was again thrown into a moral morass when I discovered the portable offices were to be used as portable recruiting stations for the National Guard.  I have nothing against the National Guard.  Until Bush’s war in Iraq, the National Guard was mainly used to help victims during natural disasters and sometimes quell civilian unrest.   Then I thought of the union protests in Madison.  Nah, even Governor Walker couldn’t be that conspiratorial. Could he?

An Article by Charles Krauthammer

I once had respect for Mr. Krauthammer’s accomplishments, but due to Mr. K’s sharp move to the right and his poorly masked hatred of President Obama, lately, my respect evaporated .

In general, I have to admit I am not a friend of the unions .

I think that sometimes the unions lose touch with reality and become a drag on unionized companies. This is the simple reason the unions are shrinking.

Yet, at the same time, I realize one of the reasons we have (had) a strong middle class in America is due to the many improvements in working conditions implemented by unions.

I think that thanks to the right-wing kooks of the Republican party the pendulum has started to swing the other way.

I once had respect for Mr. Krauthammer’s accomplishments, but due to Mr. K’s sharp move to the right and his poorly masked hatred of President Obama, lately, my respect evaporated  .

Here is an example of one of Mr. K’s recent creations:

Continue reading “An Article by Charles Krauthammer”

The Boogie Man

Be afraid of your neighbor, the teacher, the nurse, the snowplow operator. If you aren’t careful and stop them now, they will bankrupt your state, destroy your economy, and make you give your hard earned monies to them.

Fear divides us
Fear thy neighbor

I just opened an email from a Wisconsin friend, a good man, a well meaning friend, an educated man, a part-time farmer and a full time construction manager.  The email  contained two attachments.  The first had the subject line:  “This is the absolute best video created in modern history” and was a video of country singer Ted Nugent preaching that every citizen has the right to carry concealed weapons … there is danger out there and we have to defend ourselves and our families from rapists crawling through our young daughters’ windows.  The second email contained two articles: the first from The Heritage Foundation entitled, “ Government Unions 101 – What Public-Sector Unions Won’t Tell You”  and the second, a Wall Street Journal piece on the evils of the teacher unions in Wisconsin.

Fear of thy neighbor
Fear makes you dumb

I read both articles and viewed the video.  All were so slanted that I had to tilt my computer to the left in order to view the screen.   They were strident and oozed misinformation.   They had one thing in common: fear. Be afraid of your neighbor, the teacher, the nurse, the snowplow operator.  If you aren’t careful and stop them now, they will bankrupt your state, destroy your economy, and make you give your hard earned monies to them.  Mr. Holland, Mr. Chips, Florence Nightingale were wolves in sheep’s clothing .  Public servants are no longer just good middle class neighbors working for the community; they are selfish leeches out to get you.  You better take their rights away.  Face it, aren’t you going to feel better having that 9mm with its thirty round magazine on your hip? That will protect you.  The enemy, the Democrat, the liberal, the unions, those public employees living lives of unparalleled wealth; they are the boogie men, watch out, protect yourself.

Soon he will be told that he will need private school vouchers to protect his children from ungodly science and children with different skins and beliefs.

Sadly, the corporations and the free marketers and their sycophant Republican Party are gifted at scaring good people; instilling fear of the wrong boogie men.  They make sure we won’t notice the real boogie men out there, the Murdochs, the Kochs, the Waltons, Goldman Sachs.  As my friend holds holds his 9mm looking at his bedroom window the real boogie men will be coming in the front door.

Ten Most Wanted

“President Obama alludes to the budget/union fight in Wisconsin and other states, telling governors at the White House that public workers shouldn’t be “denigrated” or “vilified.” He says workers’ rights shouldn’t be “infringed upon.”

A criminal’s on the lamb, and the FBI posts his name on The Most Wanted List, common conjecture says he’s in deep doo-doo as the FBI knows who he is, where he is, and its agents are probably down his street, handcuffs at the ready.  The theory goes that the FBI pragmatically places imminent captures on its Wanted List; it helps the statistics and image.

Today, after 10 days of silence, our President issued  a pretty strong statement  of support for public sector unionized workers. See the news below:

“President Obama alludes to the budget/union fight in Wisconsin and other states, telling governors at the White House that public workers shouldn’t be “denigrated” or “vilified.” He says workers’ rights shouldn’t be “infringed upon.”

“We need to attract the best and the brightest,” he says. “We’re not going to attract the best teachers for our kids … if they only make a fraction” of what others make. He adds: “Yes, we need a conversation about pensions and Medicare and Medicaid and other promises we’ve made as a nation.

But: “As we make these decisions about our budget going forward, though, I believe that everyone should be at the table. That the concept of shared sacrifice should prevail.” He adds that “all the pains” shouldn’t be “felt by one group … “while the wealthiest among us get to keep — or get more tax breaks.” If so, he says, “we’re not doing the right thing.” (11:33 a.m.) Politico 44

http://www.politico.com/politico44/perm/0211/obama_and_biden_to_governors_6027f178-b959-4f9d-ace2-4e8172cc700f.html

Perhaps the President has demonstrated that he is capable of taking a stand.  If so,  I applaud him and will refrain from saying, “It’s about time”  even though I just said it.

Secondly,  it appears to me that it is now likely that the crisis is nearng resolution.  News sources are reporting that behind closed doors some Republican State Senators may switch their vote or support a new compormise bill not wiping out collective bargaining.

Either way I am delighted… if the President has shown some courage,  I congratulate him.

If collective bargaining survives in Wisconsin, joy to the middle class.

My guess is both are related.  President Obama most likely has reliable information that the crisis is coming to an end so he can safely support the winning side. He is again being pragmatic.  Kinda like the FBI waiting until they have a slam-dunk before placing the next Dillinger on their Most Wanted List.  But, this slam-dunk feels good, so why quash those good feelings by being cynical.

Congrats to the demonstrators and a President who speaks for the little guy.

Olbermann is Back

Kieth Olbermann launched his new website: http://foknewschannel.com/ below is an excerpt that I found especially strong.

Kieth Olbermann launched his new website: http://foknewschannel.com/ below is an excerpt that I found especially strong.

” ‘The Union’ is the only protection you have when the drunken boss comes in to fire you because he doesn’t like you, or because he got elected on a promise to his puppet-masters that he’d fire you and everybody else like you so as to soften this country up to pit the urban middle class against the rural middle class so nobody’s paying attention as the corporations reduce everybody they can to subsistence levels while they take the collected drops-in-the-bucket of the mere thousands of bucks stolen from the fired or the de-unionized or the retirement-delayed, and turn them into more millions to stuff into their own pockets.”

Obamapologists

Pragmatism involves choosing an action with the least risk ; this usually makes sense. An empty building is burning; stand outside; call the fire dept and let it burn. If your child is in the building the choice of action involves a tougher question, and you don’t always chose the pragmatic action of waiting for the fire engines to pull up. Our building is burning, and little Johnny is screaming for help.

leadership
Leadership

I, like so many others,  gave  time, money and heart to get President Obama elected.   Regrettably, I have been greatly disappointed.  It is not due to his lack of legislative accomplishment.  Given the contentious and intransigent opposition faced, I sincerely believe he has been adept at getting some good legislation passed.

But, I have been waiting to see his moment of courage.   From my friends, I  hear that he  is pragmatic; he has always been in the middle;  he is a man of compromise.   In most situations being pragmatic and a man of compromise is wise.  If you have a crowded room and more guests come than there are seats, you compromise; you are pragmatic; you let a few people in, and ask some to stand. But, if the same situation applies to a crowded lifeboat, being pragmatic and compromising is not a viable solution.  Our lifeboat is full.

Pragmatism involves choosing an action with the least risk ;  this usually makes sense.   An empty building is burning; stand outside; call the fire dept and let it burn.   If your child is in the building the choice of action involves a tougher question, and you don’t always chose the pragmatic action of waiting for the fire engines to pull up. Our building is burning, and little Johnny is screaming for help.

Then there is the issue of honesty.    I have been through almost 50 years of elections yet I remain naive enough to believe that the overall theme of a candidate’s doable promises should be kept.   To not keep doable, significant promises simply equates to lying.

In Madison, Wisconsin the labor movement is at risk of being obliterated by the GOP.   Our President says a few words of support at the beginning of the crisis and now, not a word.   His press secretary answers the question of whether the President will get involved with a non-answer.   Political pundits say the President is waiting to see how the public of Wisconsin poll.   Wisconsin will be critical in 2012…. He is just being pragmatic.

For those who have not seen President Obama’s 2007 stump speech in Spartanburg, I ask you to click

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SA9KC8SMu3o

You will see our President issue  unequivocal words of support for the labor movement of our country.

I ask my Obamapologist friends: Do our unions not deserve a few word of support from our President?   Perhaps,  he chooses not to “walk the picket line”  but how much courage does it show to ignore the situtation?   Yes, showing support might have negative consequences.  But acting in the face of risk is what courage is.

All I have seen out of this President is pragmatism. I hopefully await courage and honesty.  Hopefully, by the time you read this blog entry, it is no longer relevant because Barak Obama did the courageous thing.

On Wisconsin

I hear the Governor of Wisconsin saying these are desperate times that demand desperate action. We have no choice. Unionized public service employees must be reasonable; they must lower demands for increased wages, forgo promised pensions, pay a greater portion for health care.

First They came… – Pastor Martin Niemoller

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me

I hear the Governor of Wisconsin saying these are desperate times that demand desperate action.  We have no choice. Unionized public service employees must be reasonable; they must lower  demands for increased wages, forgo promised pensions, pay a greater portion for health care. Tough demands on people, but these are tough times. Even if these unions accede to these draconian demands;  it is not enough. These are desperate times; we need desperate action. To ensure public service employees don’t make future demands we need to silence them. These are desperate times we must silence their collective voice.

The public, my good Wisconsin neighbors, they shake their head and say, “these are desperate times we need desperate action.” These teachers, fire fighters, librarians they have it too good… they are breaking the system… my tax dollars are being stolen… screw em’.  I ain’t got no union and never needed one.

What the hell did unions ever do for me? Screw the AF of L/CIO.  All I need is the NRA.

Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, health Insurance benefits, pensions, workman’s comp, occupational safety laws, child labor laws…. All those would have been enacted out of sheer altruism by business and our benevolent government without the collective voice of the workers of this country.

Unions are and have always been corrupt.  Jimmy Hoffa, featherbedding, organized crime that’s what unions are. They are blood-sucking leaches. They destroy free enterprise and the American Way .

Don’t you watch FOX?  Don’t you know unions are un-American?  Didn’t St. Reagan teach you anything?

Kenneth Lay, Bernie Madoff, Dennis Kozlowski, Bernie Ebbers. Enron, World Com … they were just aberrations in an otherwise moral and ethical corporate America. Hell, Walmart is paying its workers almost livable wages now. This has nothing to do with the Walton’s fear that employees might organize.

American business and America’s lobbyist financed elected officials always have had the workers best interest at heart. Our system is just too fragile now; we can’t allow disgruntled people to be heard. Don’t you know these are desperate times?

Did not 911 tell you anything?  That desperate time led us to lose 4000 lives and billions in a desperate war to protect America from a non-existent threat.  Those desperate times led us to suspend civil liberties and circumvent our constitution, but we are all so much safer now. And I still have my Glock with its 30 cartridge clip. Thank God for our Constitution.

To be honest I just wish this union shit would go away. I would just like to be at the tavern, drinking my Millers while watching  Green Bay beat the crap out of the Bears.  Uh, oh there may be no NFL next year because those millionaire, prima donna, unionized football players may get locked out by their billionaire corporate owner.  Now in Wisconsin those would be desperate times.