Category Archives: Public Sector Unions

The company you keep…

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At a Labor Day weekend barbecue in Minneapolis, Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) hosted some big talent to speak to a crowd of about 50-75 that consisted mostly of union members, public employees and campaign staffers and volunteers. The keynote speaker was self-described communist revolutionary, former Green Jobs Czar for President Obama and “9/11 truther” Anthony “Van” Jones.

Jones was well-accepted by the crowd and spent time before the scheduled program to answer questions and take photos. Though Jones was clearly being measured in his talking points, he was mostly polite and friendly, that is, when he wasn’t calling republicans “assholes,” which he did more than a couple of times.

Various speakers preceded Jones including several candidates for state offices and Senator Amy Klobuchar who is being challenged by Republican Kurt Bills. Klobuchar seemed to blush when praising Jones in her prepared remarks. She told the story of a conference in Chicago at which the two spoke and women lined up just to give him their phone numbers. Almost smitten, she was obviously proud to know and work with him for several years.

Ellison shared in Klobuchar’s fawning and began his introduction of Jones by saying that when he looks for progressive policy advice, he turns to Jones’ books, Green Collar Economy which extolls the idea that wealth should be redistributed via green initiatives, and Rebuild the Dream which focuses 4 chapters on the Occupy movement. Ellison said he turns to Jones’ work in magazines and other publications because in Ellison’s opinion, Jones is the “leading intellectual force in this country when it comes to progressive politics.”

Ellison is the Co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus which lists among its many socialist goals a commitment to the UN Millennium prjoect and redistributing wealth via legislation, to nudge companies and individuals into a green economy.

Jones, who has in the past said, “white polluters and the white environmentalists are essentially steering poison in to the people of color communities because they have a racial justice frame,” spent about 20 minutes delivering typical democrat talking points, claimed republicans want dirty air and water, and highlighted his speech with accusing republicans of allowing people to drown.

Comparing republicans to life guards without a job and the president as the currently employed life guard, Jones said this election is like a tsunami on the beach.

“We were watchin’ the flooding; … and I’m still praying for our friends in the Gulf… It would be like you had a big tsunami coming through, and people were drowning. And you sit back and say, ‘the more bodies on the beach, the more likely they gonna fire the lifeguard. And I’m getting the life guard’s job.

… Rather than coming together during the emergency, and helping my country… Imma going to try to hurt. Imma cut the lifeline. Imma stand on the oxygen tube… Because the more bodies on the beach, the more likely they are to fire the life guard.”

On the heels of disgraced and recently fired Yahoo News chief David Chalian’s comments about republicans being “happy to have a party while black people drown,” one has to wonder if Jones prepared his remarks to keep that narrative alive.

Following Jones’ address, the crowd was treated to some live music. In honor of Labor Day, the crowd was handed laminated lyrics sheets and joined in singing labor songs including “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody,” a song about racial divide and Jim Crow.

Minnesota is no stranger to communists and radical leftists. Even the governor has ties to the likes of Van Jones. Do the people of Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District know the company their representative is keeping?

See the VIDEO here.

Government Unions-A ‘progressive” Failure Foisted Upon America

Merriam-Webster’s definition of EXTORTION

1: the act or practice of extorting especially money or other property; especially: the offense committed by an official engaging in such practice

2: something extorted; especially: a gross overcharge

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extortion

From Chicago to Madison to Sacramento to Washington DC and points in between:

» Do as we say and nobody gets hurt. Get the picture sweetheart?

Those self-imagined, self-appointed “intellectual elites” within the ”progressive” Democratic Party and their tarnished Oval Office idol insist the 2012 election is a fight for the middle class.

» Union members make up only 12.9% of the middle class. If a smart politician wanted to fight for the remaining 87.1%, they would be against forcing those voters to pay more taxes so government sector unions can enjoy a job where dismissal for incompetence is virtually impossible, Cadillac benefits (with smaller payroll deductions than the private sector) are the norm, and exorbitant salaries and bloated retirement pensions are business as usual.

Government sector unions offer nothing of value to America. The prevention of workplace violations have long been secured by workplace rights legislation. The only value government sector unions have to offer to anyone is to crooked politicians who promise them cushy, taxpayer funded benefits in exchange for campaign funding and guaranteed election turnout.

Can you say criminal quid pro quo?

» You politicians better give us what we want or you will get no union support. Get the picture chum?

For those who propagate the misrepresentation that union’s “fighting for what they believe in” shows character:

» How can anyone truly believe that threatening small business owners with boycotts shows character? Small business owners are people who are hard-working individuals, who have invested overtime hours without pay for weeks, months and years on end in hopes they will achieve the American dream of success, who simply wish to remain neutral in the government sector union’s battle.  Bullying and intimidating these people displays character?

To paraphrase former U.S. President Bill Clinton: It depends on what your definition of character is.

» Support us whether you want to or not and nobody’s business gets hurt. Defy us and we’ll do everything in our power to make sure your business fails. Get the picture pal o’ mine?

On the other hand, when Conservatives peaceably assemble to petition their Government for a redress of grievances, they are rabid, violent, hateful extremists…

…and of course, RACIST!!

» What is extreme is acting like $16 trillion in national debt should be of no concern.

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

» What is extreme is painting Conservative budget plans to cut a $3.7 trillion federal budget by $61 billion (less than 1%) as extreme.

» What is extreme is describing plans to freezes an already enacted 25% increase in federal government spending as a serious attempt to cut spending.

» What is extreme is classifying brave, self-sacrificing veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq as potential domestic terrorists.

» What is extreme is saying that average, everyday Americans who simply want their government to follow the U.S. Constitution should be considered threats to national security.

» What is extreme is demanding an increase in the U.S. debt limit without restraint ad infinitum.

» What is extreme is a Department of Justice that picks and chooses which laws to enforce based on the White House’s “progressive” political agenda.

» What is extreme is a radical fringe leftist “progressive” Oval Office occupier who truly believes that being anti-Constitutional, anti-free speech, anti-free market, anti-business, anti-traditional energy, anti-religious freedom, anti-gun, pro-illegal immigration, pro-UN treaty restrictions on individual U.S. liberties is somehow in any way shape or form in America’s best interests.

» What is extreme is the empty class warfare rhetoric that “the rich”, those top 5 percent who still pay more than the bottom 95 percent, “don’t pay their fair share” of support to a slothful, bloated, deficit spending, ever expanding, spiraling completely out of control federal bureaucratic nightmare.

» What is extreme is the conscious choice made by big government collectivists to ignore economic realities and force every individual to purchase a commodity that imposes collectivist goals on everyone else.

» What is extreme is the conscious decision made by big government collectivists that the bottom 47 percent who do not pay any income taxes somehow magically qualify to receive an income tax refund.

The United States does not have a revenue problem.  The United States has a spending problem.  A major spending problem…  Recklessly continuing America’s massive deficit spending in the name of “social justice” or “economic justice” is suicidal.

The re-election of one current White House occupant ensures that America will be destroyed via the institutionalized “progressive” left’s Cloward-Piven strategy.  By foisting the government sector union failure upon America, what the institutionalized “progressive” left is doing is nothing short of criminal.  It is, by definition, extortion.

Instead of being elected to office, they should be imprisoned.

http://mjfellright.wordpress.com/2012/08/21/government-unions-a-progressive-failure-foisted-upon-america/

When Unions Won’t Budge

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Cities across the country are struggling; some are finding the piggy bank empty. Cities like Scranton, PA are feeling the effects of the tough economy, poor real estate market and a general exodus from the area. City pension outgo is three times more than the city revenues. A loan to the city has not materialized because banks requested the city make changes which have not happened. The mayor of Scranton says he only has $5,000 left in the bank. Not enough to pay salaries. His solution: pay everyone, including himself, minimum wage.

Of course, city workers are up in arms. While unions are demanding their workers receive contracted salaries they are not willing to amend salaries or retirement plans. Do union bosses really prefer to see mass layoffs than contract adjustments?

This is what happens when unions won’t budge.

American Federation of Teachers-New Hampshire Incisive Candidate Survey

Screen Shot 2012-06-27 at 10.38.52 PM

Steve MacDonald, author of Granite Grok, posted on June 26th the wonderful new candidate survey AFT-NH is distributing, which is centered on two words: “money and power.”

McDonald stated that:

The entire survey is dedicated to asking whether you will do anything to curb public union power or will vote to change how public union teachers are compensated, their pensions,  including whether you would support any legislation that would make it harder to raise taxes.

Can’t put road blocks on the path to legal plunder.  Gotta have more taxes.   Money and Union Power. That’s the entire survey.

There are questions on voter ID, Vouchers, Charter Schools; do you support right to work and collective bargaining rights; would you block dues collection through payroll deduction, and they even ask if you would vote to block Obamacare?  But my favorite….”Do you support the Free State Project?”  I kid you not.

So what about the children?  Screw the children. There is not one question about kids, students, materials, curriculum, facilities, or anything that has anything to do with legislators concerns about public education or educating children, unless you count the questions on whether you might be even remotely inclined to let parents (see also taxpayers) decide where to educate their children.

Here is a copy of the survey.

(H/T Granite Grok)

               

Stockton, California as an Example of a Flourishing City

shoqbusiness

Stockton, CA – This city may be the first in California to declare bankruptcy. The city, in spite of cutting police, fire, and anything else it could think of, is still running in the red, and cannot make its bills. Why? Pensions and benefits for retirees have literally taken over the budget to the point where the city has been cutting back on services to residents to meet those bills. And the first ones to scream if Stockton does declare bankruptcy will be the unions. The following clip explains at least in part which city bills will take priority in the case of bankruptcy.

While many businesses have gone down the drain because of pensions and retiree benefits draining their assets, it is not as common as it once was. That probably has something to do with the fact that there aren’t as many unions in the private sector anymore. What we are seeing in Stockton is the future for many cities across the country, primarily because of contracts negotiated by public sector unions. While this is a very basic statement about the impending problem, it isn’t extremely difficult to understand. It is yet another economic issue that is at least an indirect result of the Baby Boomer generation reaching retirement age. But, unlike Social Security, this problem is theoretically negotiable, especially when cities make the decision to declare bankruptcy.

At that point, all contracts with the unions are nullified, and cities are in a position to re-negotiate terms with public sector unions. But, would we have been in this situation in the first place if city leaders had started thinking like business owners years ago? Probably not. Conservatives have been saying for years that spending money without serious plans to repay debts in the future is a mistake. In Stockton, even the leaders have admitted that they spent too much when times were good, and failed to “save for a rainy day.” But, they’re politicians, not business people.

Matt Edelstein, otherwise known as Shoq on Twitter, decided to weigh in on this. Well, he decided it was a good idea to pose what he obviously thought was a difficult question for me. I didn’t respond via Twitter, so maybe he’s deluded into thinking that he stumped me.

If municipalities were run more like big businesses, it is less likely that they would end up like Stockton. As for businesses making the laws of the land, gieven our current economic woes, that is exactly what we need. It has been made abundantly obvious that every level of government in this country is either ill-equipped, or unwilling to do what needs to be done to kick start our economy. More often than not, the fact is that government doesn’t need to do a damn thing – it needs to stop what it’s doing, and get the hell out of the way.

Wisconsin Police: Volunteering for Defeat

Many Wi police labor leaders picked a fight they could have avoided.

Many Wi police labor leaders picked a fight they should have avoided.

There has been much discussion of winners, losers and the effect on public employee unions elsewhere in the US after the failure to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. But there has been little comment on one group of unionized workers that were unaffected by public employee union reform, yet joined the losing side anyway. And not once, but on three different occasions.

When Gov. Walker first introduced his plan to eliminate public employee collective bargaining, automatic union dues deduction and require annual union recertification votes there were two notable exceptions: police and fire unions.

This exemption was a godsend and it would have been perfectly natural, and tactically sound, if Wisconsin police labor leaders had simply breathed a sigh of relief as the Angel of Death passed over their house on its way to visit AFSCME households.

Instead many police leaders shinnied up the downspouts so they could get on the roof and try to flag him down.

One expects this type of behavior from firefighters. They’ve always been more committed to labor “solidarity” and most probably know the words to “Joe Hill.” Firemen are accustomed to volunteering in political campaigns and charitable efforts. (Cops say it’s because firemen only work part–time.)

So when Wisconsin firemen began beating on drums in the state capital and protesting the reform legislation it was not surprising. (One unexpected side effect of the Migration to Madison was the absence of fire trucks blocking the curb at grocery stores and the welcome shortage of firemen brandishing boots in left turn lanes.)

Cops, on the other hand, don’t volunteer.

Part of the difference is attributed to how police and fire unions are organized. Firefighters are much more hierarchical, with the locals sending dues money up to the state and national organization, where spending decisions are made. Consequently fire locals usually have a shortage of money, but plenty of manpower.

Police unions are feudal. Many locals are independent baronies and keep all the dues money within city limits. Even those locals affiliated with the Fraternal Order of Police or other national organizations, still keep local dues money at home and remain politically independent. That’s why effective police unions (those with over 450 dues–paying members) usually have money for political action, and the disinclination to volunteer is not so damaging.

I’ve worked with police (and some fire) unions for over 20 years and aside from union officers, you get almost no rank–and–file participation. Clients have had to hire temporary workers to gather signatures for a police pay raise election because the officers wouldn’t volunteer.

Which is why it was so surprising to see all those motivated cops enjoying “mic check” communication and employing their decoupage talents on poster board.

Other public employee unions want the cops to join their campaigns because conservatives and taxpayers usually support police. Consequently, police participation can generate public approval.

Unfortunately for cops, labor “solidarity” usually runs in one direction. When is the last time you saw AFSCME members picketing city hall when some rabble–rouser accuses the police of brutality? How many times have public employee union leaders defended police officers accused of “racial profiling?”

The answer is never.

Gov. Walker treated law enforcement differently and police union leaders should have done their best to make sure the precedent continued. Instead of encouraging members to join a pointless and destructive protest in the capital, (the notable exception being the Milwaukee police union that stayed with Gov. Walker), officers should have been meeting with individual legislators to thank them and explain how law enforcement is the equivalent of domestic defense: a spending priority conservatives can and should support.

In Congress few if any members are calling for military pay cuts, reductions in health coverage and limiting pensions, even though the tail–to–teeth ratio in the military is much higher than it is in domestic law enforcement.

Police officers have a difficult and inherently dangerous job. Librarians are rarely shot down during the course of their duties and they almost never have to fight a patron when it’s time to pay an overdue book fine. Cops are faced with this possibility on a daily basis.

It makes sense for them to be able to retire after 25 years on the job, have access to comprehensive medical coverage before and after retirement and receive a hazardous duty pay differential, just like the military. What’s more, police unions, in stark contrast with other public employee unions, have fought to maintain strict hiring standards, extensive background checks and stringent physical qualifications.

Law enforcement, like national defense, is not an area where wise conservatives seek to cut corners. I doubt even the most frugal Tea party member would want to exchange US law enforcement for Mexico’s.

Fortunately for Wisconsin cops they have a chance to recover from their leadership’s serial errors. Currently there is no sentiment in the legislature to revisit public employee union reform or public safety employee status. Wise police union leadership should take advantage of this truce and seek to repair their relationship with Republicans.

The Eye-Popping Wisconsin Story You Didn’t Read

walker wi background

The recall election of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was a critical bellwether. A Walker loss would have guaranteed more ruinous, out-of-control government spending, where unions and their vested interests dictate terms through violence, thuggery and deceit. But the Wisconsin electorate rejected that path, handing Walker a resounding victory. This will embolden leaders in other states to tackle similar problems head on.

Governor Walker deserves our heartfelt thanks for his steadfast determination to do the right thing. But you will never know just how difficult this was if you get your news from the “mainstream” liberal media. While shamelessly championing the Democrats’ cause, they completely ignored the unprecedented, outrageous campaign of hate and lies promoted by those same Democrats and their public employee union allies. This shameless, naked, self-serving attempted power grab is a story in-and-of itself.

News reports of the union-orchestrated, DNC-backed, month-long occupation of the Wisconsin state capital last year were ubiquitous. This was followed by a flurry of recall efforts last summer and this winter against 16 senators (8 Republicans and 8 Democrats) – every senator that was eligible for recall – as well as Governor Scott Walker and Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. This recall was unprecedented. There have been only three times in history when more than one legislator has been recalled over any single issue.

What is less known is that the recall effort against Governor Walker – indeed, the entire attack – was far from spontaneous. Within days of his election the left began contemplating a recall, and it began in earnest in February of 2011, before his controversial budget bill was even passed. The left had him in its sights from day one.

Following the announcement of Governor Walker’s “Budget Repair Bill,” last February, unions went on a rampage. Beginning around February 15, 2011, protesters began massing around the state Capitol building in Madison.

On February 17th, all fourteen state senate Democrats fled the state to prevent a quorum for voting on the bill. AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka addressed the growing crowd the following day. By the 20th protesters were occupying the capitol building.

They were enthusiastically supported by the national news media, which compared Wisconsin protests to Egypt. ABC’s Christiane Amanpour said, “Populist frustration is boiling over this week, as we’ve said, not just in the Middle East, but in the middle of this country as well.” On NBC, Brian Williams exclaimed, “From the Mideast to the American Midwest tonight, people are rising up. Citizens’ uprisings are changing the world.” Ed Schultz broadcast live from the Capitol on February 17th.

An editor of the leftwing Buffalo Beast contacted Walker by phone, impersonating billionaire Walker supporter David Koch, who Walker had never spoken with before. He recorded and broadcast the call. The Society of Professional Journalists called it “underhanded and unethical… grossly inappropriate.”

Death Threats and AWOL Media

The occupation of the Capital building made front page news for weeks running, but the mass media somehow missed all the protesters’ outrageous, disgraceful behavior and thug tactics:

  • Early childhood teacher Katherine Windels pled guilty in December 2011 to making death threats to Governor Walker and Republican senators following passage of the Budget Repair bill. E-mails made statements like: “Please put your things in order because you will be killed and your families will also be killed… This woman obviously had problems, but the tone set by the unions and their Democrat allies did nothing to discourage such behavior. The media silence was deafening.
  • A suspect in Maine was arrested after sending letters to that state’s Republican U.S. senators suggesting that Walker should be killed and that all Republican governors resign. How do we know this? One blogger, Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit.
  • Dozens of emails suggested Walker or legislators should be shot or hanged, watch their backs, look over their shoulders or resign. One man tweeted that he prayed an anvil would fall from the sky onto Walker. How do we know this? Hoft again.
  • Police found 41 rounds of live ammunition near three separate entrances to the capitol building in early March. How do we know this? Fox News… in Memphis.
  • A union agitator posted a photo of Governor Walker’s son, asking, “What’s it like having the most hated dad in Wisconsin? This kid knows.” How do we know this? The agitator’s Facebook.
  • The same agitator poured beer on state Rep. Robin Voss at a local restaurant. Five days earlier he had accompanied another agitator, who followed Vos, screaming at him and warning Vos that he had “five days to respond.” How do we know this? The agitator’s own Youtube video.
  • Union members disrupted a Special Olympics award ceremony. Made up as zombies, they stood between the governor and award recipients, preventing them from receiving the awards. How do we know this? Gateway Pundit’s Hoft, again.
  • 2,000 union protesters demonstrated a Walker fundraiser; took pictures of attendees’ license plates. How do we know this? That’s right, yet again.
  • Meanwhile at a leftwing “Fighting Bob” La Follette festival, celebrating Wisconsin’s famous “progressive,” one of the speakers said “If you’re going to pour beer on a Republican, you have to drink it first.”

Urinating on your opponents… All in good fun for the Democrats of course, but what would Ed Schultz say if the tables were turned? The New York Times?

Joining in the dignified celebration, fellow speakers included Democratic Congresswoman and US Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign’s Mike McCabe, former Congressman David Obey, US Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and others. A good time was had by all.

Do these people have no shame? That’s a rhetorical question, of course.

Wisconsin’s firefighter’s union refused to participate in a 9-11 float depicting firefighters raising the flag on the World Trade Center grounds. The float’s creator was a union supporter of Scott Walker.

Peshtigo High School chorus teacher Rob Schneider resigned after sending the following e-mail to Republican state Rep. John Nygren:

(Expletive) you!!! I pray that a semi-truck will run you over you piece of (expletive) (expletive)! If there is a God that (expletive) Governor Walker will be riding with you when the truck hits your sorry (expletive)!!!!!!!!!! Stop (expletive) sending me your (expletive)!!! You are a waste of human space!!!!

On March 3rd, protesters were ordered out of the Capitol building. On March 9th, Republicans in the Wisconsin legislature passed the bill using a procedural move to bypass the still AWOL Democrat state senators. Spending bills require a quorum to be voted on, but by removing all spending elements, state legislators were able to quickly pass the measure without the missing Democrats.

One Democrat state senator supposedly “drove 80 miles per hour” in a failed attempt to return to the capital in time to impact the vote. On March 10th the bill was signed into law. Protesters remained around the capitol in dwindling numbers until June.

Crimes Committed in Police Absence

Hundreds of police were required around the clock when protesters occupied the capitol building, and the community was endangered as a result. One detective testified in court that he was unable to apprehend two robbery suspects because he was required to be at the capitol. The two have since been arrested for a murder that might have otherwise been prevented.

After hearing an early estimate of $7.5 million to clean up from the month-long protest, liberals were furious that anyone could beef when the maintenance cost was later estimated to be about $200,000. Total costs, including police overtime, actually exceeded $8 million. Media outrage over that? Crickets.

Lt. Governor’s Incredible Story

In its abdication of honest journalism, the media has completely overlooked another story as well, the election and recall of Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. Kleefisch was a former news anchor who quit in 2004 to be a stay-at-home mom to her two children. Increasingly fed up with Wisconsin’s dysfunctional government, she announced her candidacy for Lieutenant Governor by webcam from her kitchen table in January of 2010.

Kleefisch was diagnosed with colon cancer in the middle of her campaign, underwent surgery, won her campaign, and went on to get chemotherapy just as the recall was beginning. Despite this amazing tale of courage and determination, or perhaps because of it, the Left’s attacks on Kleefisch were unprecedented in their vile viciousness. One Leftist radio host said on air,

I’m Rebecca Kleefisch. I perform fellatio on all the talk show hosts in Milwaukee. And they endorse me and that’s how I became lieutenant governor.

He then went on to accuse her of “pulling trains…” Where was the media on that one? NOW?

Weaponized Recalls

According to Wisconsin law, since 1967, governors and their lieutenants run on the same ticket but there is no similar provision for recalls. Kleefisch said, “No one at that point in American history had weaponized the recall function. And that’s what we’re looking at in Wisconsin now – non-stop recalls.”

So what was this nonstop protest, endless recalls and vicious invective all about, mass executions of innocents, as was happening in the streets of Iran at the same time? Were the police shooting protesters, as they were in Egypt? Or worse, did the governor purchase a yacht with union pension funds?

Self-Serving War Against Responsible Government

Governor Walker’s modest “Budget Repair Bill” now known as Act 10, proposed that union members contribute a mere 12.6 percent to their health care premiums (they were paying between 4 and 6 percent), and 5.8 percent toward pensions, where they had previously contributed nothing. He also proposed curbs on some collective bargaining rights.

These modest changes – accomplished without raising taxes – reduced a projected 3.6 billion structural deficit inherited from the prior administration to a surplus of approximately $89 million now. Local governments and school districts were able to save over $220 million within a few months after the bill’s passage.

In passing the bill, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald stated:

Before the election, the Democrats promised ‘adult leadership’ in Madison. Then a month and a half into session, the Senate Democrats fled the state instead of doing their job. ‘In doing so, they have tarnished the very institution of the Wisconsin state Senate. This is unacceptable.

This afternoon, following a week and a half of line-by-line negotiation, Sen. Miller sent me a letter that offered three options: 1) keep collective bargaining as is with no changes, 2) take [the Democrats’] counter-offer, which would keep collective bargaining as is with no changes, 3) or stop talking altogether.

With that letter, I realized that we’re dealing with someone who is stalling indefinitely, and doesn’t have a plan or an intention to return. His idea of compromise is ‘give me everything I want,’ and the only negotiating he’s doing is through the media.

Enough is enough.

The people of Wisconsin elected us to do a job.  They elected us to stand up to the broken status quo, stop the constant expansion of government, balance the budget, create jobs and improve the economy.  The longer the Democrats keep up this childish stunt, the longer the majority can’t act on our agenda.

The union protest against the Repair Bill was presented as a spontaneous reaction, but the Walker recall effort began over one year ago. A group called United Wisconsin initiated the recall a few days after Walker first proposed the Bill. One website, recallscottwalker.com, started in November 2010, within days of his election. None of what has happened in Wisconsin has been even remotely “spontaneous.” Governor Walker was in their sights from the beginning.

When the recall began in earnest, United Wisconsin was joined by a nationwide constellation of union, radical left and Democrat organizations. This group reflects an emerging labor/radical left/Democrat syndicate – encouraged by a sympathetic press – and behaved like one. Using the vote swamping method pioneered by ACORN, labor and democrat activists collected a claimed 1 million recall petitions in two months. These were submitted by the January 17, 2012 deadline.

Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board (GAB), is responsible for verifying the recall effort. Led by Democrat Kevin Kennedy, the GAB flatly refused to validate the petitions. They announced in a press conference that they would accept any petition with a valid address, even if signed by Adolf Hitler. They added “we will not strike them unless challenged.”

The process allowed 10 days to review petitions. A Dane County (Madison) judge extended that to thirty days at the request of the Walker administration, but denied further extensions. The thirty day window to review petitions began on January 28.

TRUE THE VOTE Comes to the Rescue

Two citizen groups, We the People of the Republic and Wisconsin GrandSons of Liberty, took up the challenge and created an organization for that purpose titled Verify the Recall (VTR). At that point there were 22 days remaining to evaluate the 1 million petitions United Wisconsin claimed to have submitted. The response is a story all to itself.

To facilitate this effort, VTR contacted Catherine Engelbrecht’s True the Vote. TTV created an online program for inputting and verifying petitions using a triple blind procedure. Volunteers would be able to input data from a computer anywhere in the U.S. By February 27th, the last day for challenging petitions, TTV had recruited 14,000 volunteers nationwide. They had entered and analyzed 92 percent of the records submitted.

VTR identified 819,233 discreet records, not the 1 million claimed by United Wisconsin. Of these, only 534,685, 65 percent, could be verified as legitimate. TTV continued to analyze the data past the due date, attempting to review all petitions. On March 21, they had analyzed 97 percent, a total of 860,155 complete records with 584,489 validated. More than the 540,208 needed, barely, but with a tremendous error rate. A total of 17,000 volunteers had participated.

As with ACORN’s now-famous voter registration drives, there were many blatantly bogus “Donald Duck” petitions, duplicates and incomplete records. One Democrat activist, Mark Demet, signed the names of family members and neighbors, including one neighbor’s dead husband, without their knowledge or consent. Demet was charged with seven counts of felony ID theft and two counts of vote fraud, with a potential 49 year prison sentence.

Despite GAB’s earlier insistence that private citizens verify recall petitions, they refused to examine or even acknowledge VTR’s efforts. Ultimately, the GAB certified all but 30,000 of the most egregious cases. Except to discredit VTR, the media largely ignored this story.

Verify the Recall published a searchable database on the recall petitions. Its revelations included:

  • 571 petition signers owe a total of $17 million in back taxes.
  • 20,000 felons signed the petition, including 11 murderers, 203 rapists, 53 child pornographers, 3,207 thieves, 1,526 for battery, 357 hit and run, and many others.
  • 29 Wisconsin judges signed the recall petition, including Dane County Judge David Flanagan, who later placed a restraining order on a voter ID law passed by Walker and the Republican legislature.
  • Deputy DA Lovell Johnson Jr, 19 attorneys and dozens of other DA employees signed. Some had been working on a heavily criticized “secret” John Doe investigation of Governor Walker at the time.
  • NBC affiliate WTMJ issued a public apology that several of its news staff and editors had signed the Walker recall petition.
  • 25 Gannett News journalists signed the petition, some in violation of the company’s code of ethical conduct. Gannett also apologized.
  • 32 Post-Crescent journalists signed the petition, including six directly involved in reporting about the recall.
  • School board members, four University of Wisconsin regents and the university’s chief spokesman also signed. The spokesman alone apologized.

Richard Niess, the same judge who had limited the petition review to thirty days also ordered a permanent injunction against the Walker voter ID law in March. The state will appeal.

True the Vote has also been on the ground in Wisconsin to train volunteer poll-watchers. This is a critical function that is being provided nationwide only by True the Vote. GOP are you listening? Perhaps the most critical function an activist can engage in this year, you should sign up. If you can’t do that, support True the Vote, which has become one of the most effective grassroots groups out there today.

The press has made much of Walker’s “advantage” in recall campaign funds, but unions have spent over $14 million on Walker opponents in this effort. This does not include the rent-a-protester demonstrations, in which they bussed in people from out of state and held the capitol building hostage for almost a month.

Union Thugs Unrepentant – After All, They Are Thugs

The largest union contributor was Wisconsin’s main teacher’s union, the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC). They have spent $4.4 million on the recall effort so far.

Last year WEAC fought the dismissal of two public school science teachers fired for viewing and emailing porn from their work computers. Legal battles cost the district over $500,000 defending an open-and-shut administrative decision, a stark demonstration of the union’s priorities and attitudes.

Total spending on the Walker recall could reach $80 million. Walker claims unions alone could spend as much as $60 million. Walker campaigned on reducing out-of-control spending, won on that basis and kept his word. He shouldn’t have to be raising a penny.

It is interesting to note that Wisconsin’s famous Congressman and later governor, “Fighting Bob” La Follette, was the author of one of the first pro-public-employee union laws passed by Congress (in 1912). It negated an executive order preventing employees from soliciting “…an increase of pay, or to influence or to attempt to influence in their own interest any legislation whatever, either before Congress or its Committees,”[1]

The passage of this law informed creation of the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) five years later, the first union to legally represent federal workers. La Follette’s law began the slow slide toward full acceptance of public employee unions. Significantly, Wisconsin was also the first state to allow collective bargaining by public unions. Perhaps Governor Walker was sent by the gods to set things right.

Walker’s challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, won the Democrat primary, although another Democrat, former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk received most backing from the major public employee unions. This may have been part of a deliberate deception, however. Barrett had distanced himself somewhat from unions, although he promised to repeal Act 10.

Here’s the rub. Did the unions really care which Democrat is elected? Barrett may have quibbled with them at the margins during his term as mayor, but would a Governor Barrett dare threaten the union/democrat franchise in Wisconsin?

When pigs fly.

AFL-CIO’s top thug, Richard Trumka appeared on C-SPAN before the Democrat primary to address this question, “After the [primary] election they’ll come together and they’ll take out, I think we’ll take out Scott Walker…” An interesting choice of words for a man whose union thugs murdered a non-union employee, Eddie York, during a United Mine Worker strike. As he said at the time, “I’m saying if you strike a match and put your finger in, common sense tells you you’re going to burn your finger.”

Trumka didn’t seem worried about challenges to union supremacy from other states either: “Would you like to take this fight on?” he asked the interviewer. “A year after you were in office would you like to be in the fight of your life, spending $25, $35 million to hold on to a seat you were supposed to have for four years and you lose a majority in the Senate? Would that embolden you? Not if you were sane and rational it wouldn’t.”

I wonder what he is saying now.

Despite massive vote fraud from the Democrats, including busing people from out of state to abuse the same-day voting process allowed in Wisconsin, Walker won a resounding victory. This will return sanity to state budgeting in Wisconsin and demonstrate that public employee unions cannot continue to dictate outrageous terms of compensation through intimidation and thuggery. A loss would have legitimized the unions’ mob rule, Occupy tactics, and encouraged America’s own “Arab Spring,” the nationwide revolution that communists, anarchists and professional agitators have been contemplating for a year.

Say a prayer of thanks to God today for Scott Walker and our nation.

UPDATE Today: Note that the media continues the disinformation campaign by claiming that Walker won in Wisconsin only because of vastly outspending Democrats. This is a lie. A full accounting finds that traceable funds spent by Democrats were almost equal to Walker’s spending. If the vast unreported amounts unions provide were measured, it would likely exceed Republican spending for the recall. Furthermore, given their reliance on taxpayer funded public employee unions and fat cat sugar daddies like George Soros, Peter Lewis and the Sandlers, Democrat complaints about “big money” are the height of hypocrisy.

Originally posted at Right Side News

James Simpson is a businessman, media consultant and investigative journalist. His articles have been published at American Thinker, Accuracy in Media, Big Government, Big Peace, Washington Times, WorldNetDaily, and others. His regular column is DC Independent Examiner. Follow Jim on Twitter, FB


[1] Executive Order #163.

Momentum Goes to Republicans

nunst081

For the first time in US history, a sitting governor survived a recall attempt. The Wisconsin recall magnified a microcosm of American society and highlighted the contentious mood of the national debate over jobs, budgets, and how to best trigger America’s economic recovery.

The results in Wisconsin are especially revealing when examining the mood of American voters. That mood will play a critical role in determining November’s presidential election results. Wisconsin is one of several crucial swing states that could decide which economic direction American voters choose for their country.

In a traditionally liberal State, Governor Scott Walker ran as and has been governing as a fiscal Conservative. He stood his ground, staking the Governor’s mansion on defense of Conservative economic principles

The nation was watching closely. Neighboring states were too. Voters in a state obama won by double digits in 2008 had chosen to follow a different path in 2010. That decision to change course was re-confirmed by the outcome of the 2012 re-call attempt.

The looming national fight is real and based on substance. The upcoming presidential election will not be just about personalities. For obama, who’s personal polling numbers remain high, this is not particularly good news.

Unions formed as a way for workers to unite and push back against abusive employment practices. If public employees see the government they’re working for as abusive, there is a real problem. Either that government should be removed from office or the unions should curtail their expectations. Perhaps both. In Wisconsin, voters sided with the government. A Conservative government

A growing number of voters nationwide now believe public sector unions have gone too far and are milking a corrupt system. This is to the detriment of the ordinary folks who fund union demands with their taxes. The depth of animosity toward public employees is palpable. They keep demanding more until the taxpayers can no longer support them.

obama is closely tied to unions. For years he has openly supported them and worked to expand their role and increase their power. For a growing number of voters, that fact will come into play this November.

By visibly staying away from Wisconsin and mailing his support for Milwaukee Mayor Barrett in at the eleventh hour, obama may have made a crucial mistake. Rank and file union members might now see him as someone who was unwilling to stand up for them in their hour of need. Will they decide to stand up for him when he needs their votes come November’s election?

Make no mistake about it; the result of the Wisconsin recall election is a boost in moral for Republicans nationwide. On the other hand, it is a blow to Democrats, their union supporters and the rest of the institutionalized “progressive” left. Conservatives and the left went three rounds in Wisconsin and the left lost all three.

Whether the “progressive” Democratic Party and their press secretaries in the “progressive” Party Pravda/”mainstream media” want to accept, acknowledge or even report it, the momentum goes to Republicans.

http://mjfellright.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/momentum-goes-to-republicans/

Wisconsin and California: Big labor on the decline

Most of America is aware of what happened in Wisconsin. Governor Walker’s recall win was about balancing budgets and keeping care of the public treasury. Wisconsin is not the only place that happened last night.

California voters also screamed out to unions “this far and no further”. In San Diego, voters approved by wide margin (69-31%) cuts to city pensions and San Jose voters accepted (71-30%) a measure that would force city workers to either pay more into their pensions or accept more moderate benefits.

In both cases, perhaps the voters are fed up with overly-rich benefits eating up taxpayer money. Retiring at 50 or 55 then double-dipping at the cost of the taxpayer is no longer acceptable.

What could be more disconcerting for the Obama camp is whether the unions have overspent in these losses giving them less money to spend on the presidential re-election. Big labor may also be less willing to organize considering the lack of enthusiasm the White House exuded in dealing with the Wisconsin race. Obama’s only act was to tweet Mayor Barrett the night before the election.

So while the talking heads are telling America that the major reason the recall failed was the Wisconsin was tired of the politics and just wanted it to be over .. think about that. Wouldn’t the recall be just as over if the union-enslaved Democrats had won? Where was the recall exhaustion when San Jose and San Diego voted for reforms similar to Governor Walkers?

This election was about fiscal sanity and realistic choices.  It would seem that more Americans have decided that Utopia, unicorns and progressive success are very similar. They just don’t exist – except in fairy tales.

US 41 Corridor Could be the Key to Wisconsin Election

ScottWalker

As folks head to the polls today, it could be the evenly split voters in Fox Valley who make the difference.

In an article in the Appleton PostCressent, Lawrence University political scientist Arnold Shober said, “Barrett will do wonderfully in Dane County, just like Walker will carry Waukesha and Washington County, but up here in the Fox Valley, we’re truly one of the few areas that is split 50-50.”

The Fox Valley is made up of many union-represented public employees who feel abandoned by Gov. Walker’s public sector union reforms, and by many business people who have cheered on his efforts.

Over 206,000 absentee ballots have already been cast in the contest, but when the polls close today it may well be those voters from Fond du Lac to Green Bay who swing the election.

Are Republicans to Blame for Washington’s Problems?

In a new book entitled “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks”, author Norman Ornstein (described by Yahoo News, a card carrying member of the “progressive” Party Pravda, as a “scholar”), blames Republican for governance problems in Washington DC. Although Ornstein, shows a flicker of willingness to lay part of the blame at the feet of Democrat’s, “progressive” anti-American bias is clearer than expensive Waterford Crystal.

On video, Ornstein describes it this way: “Democrats have moved left, to probably their own 25 yard line. President Obama’s probably around the 40. The Republicans have moved behind their own goal post.” In an obvious swipe at Tea Party reps and senators, Orenstein said: “I wouldn’t say it’s all Republicans, it’s 80-20 at this point.”

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/power-players-abc-news/blame-party-washington-problems-102604505.htm

Democrats have moved left to probably their own 25-yard line? obama’s probably around the 40? Republicans have moved behind their own goal post? Based on his personal opinion, perhaps. Historically, Orentein’s facing fourth and 99, trying to complete a Hail Mary pass with hurricane force winds in his face.

“progressives” have been moving America to the left for at least a century. Today’s totally partisan left wing extremists like obama, Pelosi and Reid have been driving America hard left since they took office. Pelosi and Reid began their latest push in 2007 when they took over “leadership” in the House and Senate. obama joined them in earnest after his 2009 inauguration.

Pelosi, who’s from an extreme leftist Congressional District in the San Francisco area, is as fringe “progressive” as is the district she represents: the birthplace and capitol of the anti-American hippie counter-culture. She responded: “Are you kidding? Are you kidding?” when asked to cite the Constitutional basis for a piece of her legislation.

Reid’s such a partisan hack that to create and support the false narrative of a “do nothing Congress” with his co-conspirator obama, the Senate under Reid’s “leadership” hasn’t passed a budget in over 1,000 days. Thanks to Reid, several dozen bills dealing with jobs, the economy, deficit reduction and reforms passed by the House have been completely ignored by the Senate.

obama’s as fringe left “progressive as” they come. To say that someone who’s 100% partisan, who sat in the pews of a black separatist (read Marxist) church for twenty years, who by his own admission (in writing) sought out the radicals and the Socialists while in school, who’s father was a Marxist, who’s mother and grandparents were Communists, who’s boyhood mentor was a card carrying member of the American Communist Party, who has appointed the most extreme, out of the American mainstream radicals to be his czars…to say that this individual is anything but an extremist is as intellectually dishonest as is humanly possible.

This is the trio who, after whining about obama’s predecessor having added $5 trillion to the national debt in eight years, increased that debt by over $5 trillion in under four. This is the bunch that passed their “stimulus” bill, which stole from taxpayers to pay off their political cronies on Wall Street, in unions, with “green energy” company fronts and former campaign donors/bundlers. obama openly joked about the “shovel ready” jobs the “stimulus” bill was “intended” to fund weren’t so “shovel ready” after all. Lest America forget, this is the gang who, despite loud public outcries against it by a majority of the people, used secret payoffs and backroom deals agreed to in the dead of the night behind closed doors to shove government controlled healthcare down America’s throat.

Orenstein calls what these people have done moving to their own 25-yard line, or in obama’s case, to the 40? He alleges that Republicans have moved behind their own goal post? Does Orenstein expect to be taken seriously? Under what form of delusion must one be suffering in order to plead such a case?

The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, the founding documents of the United States, are unsurpassed in the freedoms, rights, and opportunities they secure for the people. That there are elected Republicans who want to follow the recipe for successful governance bequeathed upon America by its founders means they either want to prevent America from being driven farther to the left, or return America to where it’s supposed to be. Following the Constitution. It’s really that simple.

Although it clearly wasn’t Orenstein’s intent, in a strange, almost perverse way it’s good to see a member of the institutionalized “progressive” left publicly acknowledges that some elected officials in the USA are still American. For Orenstein, his philosophical teammates and their march in lock-step “progressive” followers, that fact is seen as a negative.

Thanks to “progressives”, the most divisive, partisan, uncompromising group of politicians to exist in the past century, America is deeply divided. Either you’re an American or you’re a “progressive”. You cannot be both.

http://mjfellright.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/are-republicans-to-blame-for-washingtons-problems/

Teacher Unions — Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Public-school employees and teacher unions are better than they think they are. They don’t have to strangle parent’s free choice in how they educate their children. Public-school teachers have within them the ability to be great educators. I would like to suggest a way for them to live up to their highest potential.

The problem is the system they are trapped in. Too many teachers have become more concerned with their economic security than with realizing the best within them. This attitude is typical of many government employees. I should know, because many years ago I once worked for the City of New York, for three years.

When the City first hired me, I was young and eager. I intended to give the job my best efforts. However, I soon realized that little was expected of me. I saw the lazy attitudes of my fellow workers who had the security of tenure. Since I am only human like everyone else, I started to become like my fellow employees.

I soon realized that if I did passable work and did not make any waves, I would advance up the civil-service salary ladder just for showing up at the job. My supervisors did not make me work harder or become more competent. To make more money, I only had to grow old on the job. I quickly noticed that when I worked harder or came up with innovative ideas, I did not get paid more. I also saw that when I slacked off in my work or enthusiasm, I did not get paid less.

As a result, I gradually, insidiously, started to die inside. My spirit, initiative, and the best within me started to die. Most employees will act the same way under a similar system of rewards or punishment. If a person is not rewarded for trying harder or doing better, if he is not punished for being lazy or incompetent, most of us, myself included, become mediocre employees just putting in our time. By remaining a government employee, every undiscovered talent and possibility I had within me was being smothered in the stifling, undemanding atmosphere of government employment.

Why didn’t my government employers demand more of me? Because government agencies never go out of business–they are monopolies that stay in business whether or not they do a good job. These agencies get paid from taxes, not from individual “customers” they are supposed to be “serving.”

The public is forced to deal with civil-service employees of the Post Office, Social Security Office, or local Board of Education because these government agencies have no competitors.

Worse, government employees know this. These monopoly agencies get their “customers” by force. They do not need your consent when they take your tax money or make you wait in line to see them. So if government employees or supervisors know their agency can never go out of business, if they are not afraid of being fired for incompetence, there is little incentive to work harder or innovate.

The same psychology applies in government (public) schools. No matter how bad the public schools are, they don’t go out of business. The educrats just ask for more tax money to “fix” what they think is wrong, and the schools stay open for another fifty years, wrecking our children’s education.

In a free-market school, such things don’t happen. A private school that didn’t teach children how to read would soon lose parent’s confidence. Parents would remove their children from the school, and the school would soon be out of business. End of story.

In government schools, no matter how bad a teacher or principal is, it is almost impossible to fire him because of tenure. That would never happen in a free-market school. If students do badly because of incompetent teachers, parents will complain to the owner. The owner will quickly remove a teacher if he doesn’t improve his performance, because the owner could lose parent-customers if he doesn’t. End of story.

But government schools entrench mediocre education without hope of improvement precisely because the schools can’t go out of business and tenure protects bad teachers or principals. These schools and teachers are not accountable to parents, their true customers. That’s why so many public schools give a third-rate education to our kids.

So I offer this challenge to teachers and their unions. If you think your government schools do as good a job as private or religious schools, have the courage of your convictions, and prove it. Put your money where your mouth is. Instead of strangling parent’s freedom of choice, prove to us that you could do better.

How? Here’s a suggestion. Use your multi-millions of dollars in union dues to buy the government schools and run them as private schools, the way former Soviet Union employees bought the factories they worked in. Let us privatize the government (public) schools. Let the teacher unions buy every public school in the country. Instead of being government employees, teachers will then be shareholders in school companies they will own, like Microsoft shareholder-employees who became millionaires from their stock options.

When you, the unions and teachers, buy the schools, you will then complete with every other private school in the free-market. There will be no more compulsory-attendance laws that force parents to give you their children. There will be no more compulsory school taxes that pay your salaries.

You will complete on a level playing-field, like every other private business has to compete. You will have to prove to parents, your new customers, that you deserve to get their business and educate their children. You will have to be better than your competitors. If you teach well, you will succeed. You may even make a fortune in profits from your private schools, and congratulations if you do. If you don’t teach well, you will go out of business, as you should. Parent-consumers will decide your fate.

That being said, I predict that most of you would do great. I believe that once your unions bought the schools, your attitude and your lives would change remarkably. You would soon discover that your school’s success depended on your hard work, competence, and innovation. Fierce competition in the free market would force you to work smarter and harder and become great educators.

I believe that public-school teachers have not even begun to live up to their highest potential. All you need is to understand that the free market, rather than being your imagined worst enemy, can be your best friend.

So here’s the challenge–if you love to teach, if you think you are good educators, if you care about giving quality education to our children, prove it in the real world. Put your money where your mouth is. Pit your best against the best the free market has to offer.

Teachers, you especially will benefit from a totally free-market education system. There will be so many new schools opened, so much fierce competition for competent, innovative teachers, that teacher salaries will skyrocket.

K-12 education today is a $500 billion market, because most parents consider education as their first priority for their children. There is a huge, pent-up demand for your skills, creativity, and dedication. As a result, your incomes will rise dramatically. Your status as teachers will rise with parents as they see the new vigor and quality you bring to your profession. You will be respected and in great demand. By the way, did you know that the best private teachers in Japan are so in demand that they can earn as much as star Japanese baseball players?

So here’s the challenge I offer you. Live up to the best within you in a free-market education system, or let the best within you shrivel up in a government-run public school.

To mayors in cities across America, I extend this challenge to you. Stop wasting our children’s time and billions of our tax dollars on futile programs to “improve” the government schools. Politicians have been trying to “improve” these schools for the last fifty years, and the schools have only gotten worse. The public-school system is beyond repair because government is not the solution, it is the problem.

Instead, push to privatize the public schools in your cities. Push to get government out of the education business, once and for all. Challenge teachers to live up to their highest potential. Challenge them to consider the life-giving breath of a free-market education system. They will eventually thank you for it.

                            *                               *                                 *

Joel Turtel is an education policy analyst and syndicated columnist. He is also the author of “Public Schools, Public Menace: How Public Schools Lie To Parents and Betray Our Children” and “The Welfare State: No Mercy For the Middle Class.”

Website: http://www.americanlibertynews.com

Email: [email protected], Article Copyrighted © 2012 by Joel Turtel.

 

Clint Eastwood: Spokesman For The New Detroit

Much ado has been made about the Super Bowl Clint Eastwood/Chrysler commercial, expressing the theme that Detroit, and America at large, is making a comeback. In some conservative circles, “Dirty Harry” has been criticized as shilling for President Obama.

But after reading this article by Mara Gay of The Daily, I’m convinced that the tough-guy libertarian may be the ideal spokesman for Motor City. Facing huge cutbacks in the city police force, abysmally poor response times to calls for service, and a general lack of police effectiveness, the residents of Detroit- which purportedly has the nation’s second-highest per capita murder rate- are arming themselves in record numbers- and self-defense shootings are up 79% year-over-year, and 2200% above the national average.

The article, while clearly left-biased (it describes armed citizens as “vigilantes”), illustrates a major shift in public thinking in Detroit: People are realizing they must provide for their own protection. The city police department, with its long history of mismanagement, is even more of a failure today than it ever has been. Even as the department faces multi-million-dollar budget shortfalls, the city paid over $6 million for a former casino building (VIDEO) to convert into a new police headquarters; and DPD is rolling out a “virtual precinct” program which directs calls for crimes reported after-the-fact during evening and overnight hours to an officer at headquarters to take a report. Translation: If you come home after work to find your house has been burglarized, DPD will take a report and get around to investigating it sometime. It’s no wonder foreclosed houses are selling (or not) for as little as $50 in Detroit.

Those who can afford to move out of Detroit have already done so, and those who can’t are at the end of their rope. Big-government, predominantly-Democrat Detroiters are now fully realizing that their city government can’t even provide essential services, and so they are forced to become self-sufficient.

Stated another way: Residents of one of the most liberal cities in the nation are getting the harshest “wake-up call” one can receive on the failings of big-government liberalism as a theory of governance: The promise of greater safety, which is the most-effective and most-often used means of convincing the public to give up their money and their liberties, is now a broken promise in Detroit. The usual socialist responses to such a crisis are unavailable: Raising taxes isn’t an option, because there’s nothing left to tax; begging for money from the state government isn’t an option, because the state is broke; harsher gun control laws would be opposed, because people across the political spectrum are buying and carrying guns; and more stringent enforcement isn’t a possibility, because Wayne County Jail has no room to house convicts.

As Detroiters begin to cope with the “new normal” of self-reliance, they’ll also ask questions about the condition of the city’s police force. They’ll want to know how it could get to be so bad. The answers to these questions- corrupt Democrat politicians, incompetent management, greedy and self-serving public sector unions, short-sighted liberal policies, overspending and overtaxing- can’t be concealed behind socialist rhetoric any longer. The city government has run out of excuses and other people’s money, and there’s no room in the budget to hire Robocop.

Big changes in self-defense thinking are nothing new for Detroit: The Sweet Trials of 1925-1926, which took place in Detroit, were the first occasion in our nation’s history in which an African-American successfully claimed self-defense in court.

Maybe the star of Gran Torino is a good spokesman for Detroit after all.

Should union bosses have access to your personal information?

Have you ever had a company sell your contact information to another company and then suddenly you started getting e-mails about some product you’ve never heard of?  It’s annoying isn’t it?

Good news!  The National Labor Relations Board wants to require your employer to share your contact information with unions.  At least when companies pull this stuff they only send you junk mail – imagine what your friendly SEIU organizer might want to do with your information.

Board Chair Mark Pearce is introducing a series of new regulations. One of these regulations, if passed, would require businesses to surrender their employee’s personal contact information to campaigning union heads.

“If the National Labor Relations Board gets its way, companies could be forced to hand over your contact information, whether you like it or not, to union leaders,” Fox host Neil Cavuto said. “Union leaders having access to your phone number, your email address?”

It’s hard to say exactly how this new regulation will help the government do its job of protecting your freedom – and it’s even harder to find the place in the Constitution that authorizes the executive branch to force a business to do something like this.

Unfortunately, it’s become common for nonsense regulations to be proposed and there is virtually nothing that regular Americans can do to stop them.  This is exactly the type of situation that is created when the principles in the Constitution are ignored.  Our Constitution was written in a way that protects citizens from the government.  But when we allow it to be violated, it doesn’t take long before we are faced with this kind of situation where the government wants to subject us to undeserved union harassment and there is nothing we can do about it.

This particular case is a perfect illustration of how the disregard our public officials have for the Constitution poses a serious threat to your freedom.

We all learned in school that our government is split up into three branches – executive, legislative, and judicial (they do still teach that much in public schools at least, right?).  That wasn’t an accident.

There are three jobs that any government has to be able to perform in order to function: it has to be able to make laws, enforce the law, and judge the law.  Without any one of those, a government isn’t able to do its job.  By giving each of those jobs to a different branch, the Founders made sure that no branch could run the government by itself.  So if one branch becomes corrupt, it can’t take the country down a horribly oppressive road without the cooperation of the other two.

Maintaining that separation of powers is critical because any time one branch is allowed to do more than one of those jobs, it becomes much easier for the government to get out of control.  In the Federalist Papers, James Madison explained that any time one person or group of people is able to exercise all three functions of government, that is the very definition of tyranny.

Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines tyranny as:

TYR’ANNY, n.

1. Arbitrary or despotic exercise of power; the exercise of power over subjects and others with a rigor not authorized by law or justice, or not requisite for the purposes of government. Hence tyranny is often synonymous with cruelty and oppression.

2. Cruel government or discipline; as the tyranny of a master.

3. Unresisted and cruel power.

4. Absolute monarchy cruelly administered.

5. Severity; rigor; inclemency.

Maybe it’s just me, but none of those options sound particularly good.

But look at what we’ve done with executive agencies like the NLRB.  In this situation, the NLRB is proposing regulations that would require your employer to share your personal information.  So it is making laws.  A quick visit to the NLRB web site shows that it is also judging laws and enforcing laws.  Now what would Madison call that again?

If you’ve ever wondered why we are getting so many ridiculous regulations in recent years – there’s your answer.  As a nation, we’ve completely disregarded both the Constitution and the protection that is provided by the separation of powers.

In his book The Spirit of Laws, Montesquieu brilliantly laid out the dangers involved in concentrating the powers of government:

“When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or in the same body of magistrates, there can be no liberty; because apprehensions may arise, lest the same monarch or senate should enact tyrannical laws, to execute them in a tyrannical manner.” (emphasis mine)

In other words, if all of the power is put in the hands of one group of people and those people come up with destructive or oppressive policies, there is almost nothing that anyone can do to stop them.

Look at it this way: imagine that the NLRB passes a ridiculous, oppressive regulation (a real stretch, I know).  Then, someone from the NLRB does an investigation and finds that you violated that regulation.  You get upset and decide you want to fight the charge so you take your case in front of an administrative law judge from… the NLRB!!

You don’t have to be terribly creative to see how that type of process could be abused.  After all, there’s a reason that the term “judge, jury, and executioner” doesn’t have a positive connotation.

Supporters of this system will argue that it doesn’t violate the separation of powers because Congress still has the power to confirm appointments to executive agencies and oversees their actions.  But even if you buy that really weak argument, President Obama killed half of it when he made his latest (unconstitutional) recess appointments.  Remember – three members of the NLRB that will be considering this proposal to make your information available to unions were appointed earlier this year when Obama sidestepped Congress.

Unfortunately, this idea of Congressional oversight doesn’t offer us any real protection for our freedom either.  Does anyone honestly believe that we have members of Congress – or even their staffs – sitting in Washington, D.C. diligently looking through the regulations that get passed?

Well no one should believe that because it would be physically impossible.  We now have an army of bureaucrats in our government that is pumping out regulations like it’s a factory.  In fact, when the Justice Department did a study to find out how many regulations there are, it concluded that it was impossible to count them all.

To clarify – the federal government says it is impossible to count all of the regulations our government has passed but you are expected to comply with every single one of them.  So you could easily find yourself in some serious trouble for violating a regulation that you never knew existed.  Can you see how having that many regulations is a threat to your freedom?

The cumbersome law-making process that’s created in our Constitution isn’t a flaw that politicians should be trying to get around.  It is a feature that protects your liberty.  By going through deliberate process in order to pass a law, that makes it much easier for regular citizens to keep an eye on what is happening and hold their representatives accountable.

Beyond that, slowing down the law-making process does put some outer limit on the level of intrusion the government can have on your personal life.  If Congress has to actually pass all of their own laws instead of relying on executive agencies, it would be a lot tougher for them to find time to dictate the speed your toilet flushes, the proper height for a stairway railing, or God only knows what other parts of our lives are being regulated now.  (Of course, all of this assumes that our representatives are doing stupid things like reading the bills that they pass before the vote.)

At this point in history, there are certain aspects of government that we know are required to protect freedom and separation of powers is one of them.  Anytime that we violate that principle of separation, there will be consequences.

Right now, the consequences for allowing executive agencies to us all three functions of government could not be clearer.  In addition to a growing mountain of restrictive regulations that no one can even count, we are now facing an NLRB that wants to share our personal information with union bosses and there is basically nothing we can do about it.

If we as citizens have any hope of regaining control of our government – and our liberty – then somehow we are going to have to find a way to put this regulatory genie back in the bottle.

 

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