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Archive for Thursday, February 24, 2011

Statehouse Live: Union members kicked out of Kansas House gallery during vote

Union members yell "Vote no!" in the Kansas House gallery when final action on House Bill 2130 is announced. The protesters were escorted outside the chamber.

February 24, 2011, 10:54 a.m. Updated February 24, 2011, 1:44 p.m.

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After being told to leave the House gallery, union members on Thursday watch the House vote on House Bill 2130 on television outside the House chamber. The measure passed 75-46 despite protests from organized labor.

After being told to leave the House gallery, union members on Thursday watch the House vote on House Bill 2130 on television outside the House chamber. The measure passed 75-46 despite protests from organized labor.

— More than 50 union members shouting "vote no" were kicked out of the House gallery on Thursday as Republicans pushed through a bill that workers said would limit their ability to participate in political campaigns.

House Speaker Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson, called the demonstration the most disrespectful display he had seen in his 27 years in the Legislature. "Please exit the gallery," he said. A worker shouted that approval of the legislation was disrespectful as the group was escorted out by state troopers.

House Bill 2130 would ban unions from making paycheck deductions for political activities and prohibit public employee unions from endorsing candidates. It was approved 75-46, with only Republican support, and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Earlier in the morning, union members lined up outside the House chamber and cheered House members who voted against the bill in a first-round vote on Wednesday, and chanted "vote no" when those who had supported the measure walked by.

At one point during a "vote no" chant, a Capitol police officer told the group to "knock it off," which produced a brief confrontation. Bruce Tunnell, executive vice president of the Kansas AFL-CIO, told the officer, "We will not shut up. We will not keep it down."

House Democratic Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence told union members, "Don't let them kick you out of here," as he entered the House chamber.

Labor representatives said House Bill 2130 was an attack on the ability of workers to organize and participate as a group in the political process. They said it was the latest example of how Republicans were trying to neutralize unions at the legislative level in various states, including Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana.

Supporters of the bill said it was aimed at helping union workers who disagreed with their union’s political activities.

State Rep. Anthony Brown, a former union carpenter and chairman of the committee that produced the bill, said it would protect workers who pay their union dues but want to opt out of the political decisions made by the unions.

"I had no choice. I had no opt out," Brown, R-Eudora, said.

Speaker O'Neal said, "For too long, unions have placed a stranglehold on their members' political contributions."

But union supporters said union members can always opt out of belonging to the union or having their dues used for political activities.

The bill is being pushed by the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Kansas chapter of Americans for Prosperity.

Davis called the bill “a naked assault on the ability of teachers, prison guards, carpenters, construction workers and other working Kansans to participate in the political process.”

Matthew Hall of Lawrence, an organizer with the Kansas Organization of State Employees, described the bill as "political maneuvering by big business and some Republicans who are trying to get rid of the opposition."

Robert Bausch, an electrician from Topeka, said in Kansas all union activity is voluntary. A 17-year union member, he said, "No one has ever told me how to vote."

Speaker O'Neal's chief of staff, Rachelle Colombo, said security was called in to monitor the protesters after several female legislators said they were called obscene names. Union organizers denied Colombo's allegation that union members had made any improper remarks.

Comments

parrothead8 3 years, 6 months ago

Why should corporations be allowed to endorse/fund political candidates, but workers' unions should not? Oh, that's right. Because rich people don't like unions.

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imastinker 3 years, 6 months ago

We're not talking about corporations - we're talking about public employees unions. The governments that they work for can't endorse or fund candidates, so why should the union be allowed to?

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sunnmoon 3 years, 6 months ago

A union is a union is a union. This bill would affect the right for all unions to fund a political candidate. Effectively taking away the ability of an organization to back a candidate that would help support the way of life it's members try to have. When is it enough? If not for unions there would be no garantee that anyone could get a fair wage for their skills. Without the unions now, it would be a race to minimum wage. Unions are also responsible for fighting for workplace safety, and lead the fight against 1099 misclassification.

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jhawkinsf 3 years, 6 months ago

A union that represents public employees is very different than a union in the private sector. Unions have been responsible for many advancements in the workplace but have also been responsible for several unintended negative results. It's like a pendulum that swings too far one way, it needs to swing back the other way.

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tolawdjk 3 years, 6 months ago

this bill did not just prevent public employee unions. It prevented activities of all unions.

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jhawkinsf 3 years, 6 months ago

The unions may have the same goals, but there is no management in government. Politicians are either beholden to the unions that helped get them elected (money and votes). That would be Democrats. Or they are beholden to corporate interests and become anti-union. That would be Republicans. In either case, government does not behave like management does in the private sector.

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Kirk Larson 3 years, 6 months ago

"Without the unions now, it would be a race to minimum wage." I don't think so. There are already republicans out there saying that minimum wage laws are unconstitutional. We'll be racing to nothing and they'll expect us to be grateful for it.

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notanota 3 years, 6 months ago

Actually, not. We're talking about ALL unions with this legislation. And employees, public or otherwise, are not obligated to belong to them in this state, so we're only talking about suppressing the rights of the workers for political representation.

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kristopherfisk 3 years, 6 months ago

Corporations do not take money from their employees and use it for political contributions. The problem here is that the union will use part of their member's dues to pay political contributions, whether or not the individual member approves of the cause.
If unions made all political contributions seperate from dues and voluntary, then this would likely be a non-issue.

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dogsandcats 3 years, 6 months ago

So a corporation paying their employees $8/hr and then making millions in political contributions is not taking money from the employees and using it for political contributions???? Interesting.

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Kyle Reed 3 years, 6 months ago

In your scenario where exactly is the corporation taking money from the person they are PAYING $8/hr to? Interesting indeed.

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werekoala 3 years, 6 months ago

You're lying. Kansas is a right to work state. Which means union membership is not required to get any job. Many workers can and do forego membership, if they object to the political activities of the union. No one is forced to pay dues for political activities they disagree with.

On the other hand, many workers are in agreement in wishing to advocate for better working conditions. And you and your slimy ilk are conspiring to rob citizens of the right to freely organize and participate in the political process.

News flash: the first amendment doesn't just apply to corporations and the superrich. Oh, and you're a liar.

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Kyle Reed 3 years, 6 months ago

Did I miss something in that post that said Union membership was a requirement? You're not too bright are you?

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werekoala 3 years, 6 months ago

Yes, you did. He is acting like somehow these rich corporations and politicians are helping protect the poor defenseless workers from the dues that are compelled from them at gunpoint.

Put it this way, as a union member, I can vote on the stance we take, vote for my leadership, and even get involved myself if I want (they are always desperate for new people willing to shoulder the thankless job for no money...)

Heck, the reason I pay my dues is to have people who are smarter than me advocate on my behalf with the other powerful influences in my life. That includes management and politicians.No one's forcing me to keep paying anything.

Hence, he's either ignorant, or a liar.

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Me2 3 years, 6 months ago

Your last sentence sums it up. The public union the funds for political contributions ARE seperate from dues and ARE VOLUNTARY. Two serperate forms to sign. If at a later date you wish NOT to be part of either one you are free to opt out

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 6 months ago

This will be a much better country once the Koch brothers finally get the full power to choose who stands for office, and if we want to keep our jobs, we'll all show up with our voter ID's so we can vote yes.

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BrianR 3 years, 6 months ago

That's not the American way -- we storm the castle.

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kshiker 3 years, 6 months ago

They were asked to leave the House Chamber since they were shouting and yelling at members of the House while they were voting on the floor, which is a blatant violation of decorum and House rules. You can peacefully and respectfully request a vote from your legislator without shouting and issuing threats. It would have been nice if you would have reported these facts in your report.

Earlier in the morning, legislators and staff members were subjected to shouted obscenities and threats as they walked through the hallway, which was lovely for all the children who were serving as pages this morning to witness. In my opinion, they should have been removed from the building earlier in the day for this behavior. There are more polite (and in my opinion more effective) ways to ask your legislators for a vote on an issue.

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zzgoeb 3 years, 6 months ago

Oh, you mean like the yahoo teabaggers did in disrespecting Representatives in town hall meetings nationwide? How dare these workers demand the same rights as lobbyists!!!

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 6 months ago

The whole point of the bill they were voting on is to show disrespect for the rights and ability of working people to take full part in the political system.

Republicans are overreaching right now, on nearly ever issue, and I'm guessing that there's a good deal of desperation driving it. They have absolutely no solutions for any of the problems confronting us, but rather than acknowledge that, they are attempting to transfer as much wealth and power as possible to the already wealthy and powerful while they still can.

But can they?

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funkdog1 3 years, 6 months ago

That was a fantastic comment.

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pace 3 years, 6 months ago

The problem is there wasn't more of us in Topeka today. This is a shameful bill. The union people should of been polite and not curse. We should leave that to the tea party. We had reason and right. When corporations get rights and unions lose them, then something rotten is going on. Oh yeah, Koch brothers influence in Kansas is rotten.

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werekoala 3 years, 6 months ago

Yes how dare those spoiled fatcat workers leave their fancy duplexes and drive their luxurious 95 Corollas to voice their displeasure? Remember kids, free speech violates decorum. That's why we have to kill it.

And you can get away with any horrible evil thing your twisted heart can think of, so long as you're wearing a suit and speaking in a monotone. It's the American Way!

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kshiker 3 years, 6 months ago

Lobbyists are not allowed on the House floor, much less allowed to shout obscenities and threats at female staff members and legislators. When the deragotry terms "bch" and "**sucker" are thrown around outside the House Chamber at random during the time immediately preceding a vote, you probably have stepped slightly over the line.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 6 months ago

"Lobbyists are not allowed on the House floor"

They don't have to-- they get unlimited access about any other time.

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KSManimal 3 years, 6 months ago

Nothing you wrote is untrue.

However, the way you've written it is obviously intended to lead people to the conclusion that union members behaved this way - without you actually saying they did.

So...were you there? Did anyone actually behave this way?

Or, are you just here to - in typical tea party fashion - misinform and mislead?

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kshiker 3 years, 6 months ago

Was there . . . all true . . . completely disrespectful and out of line.

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KSManimal 3 years, 6 months ago

I see in the photos that there were video cameras present. I'm if what you say is true, it will show up on the evening news.

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blogme 3 years, 6 months ago

Wow, stop drinking the koolaid. The news services won't post anything that would make a union person look bad. I'm rather offended at the audacity of your comment. HA! Whom do you believe is really going to believe it?

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irvan moore 3 years, 6 months ago

a lot of states are trying to break the unions, give to business and take away from labor. remember the good old days when the democrats were the working mans party and the republicans were the rich mans party? all this liberal/consevative crap has to go and we all need to get back to basics. labor built this country and taking the jobs overseas is tearing it down. if you are a conservitive state employee or teacher who voted republican you screwed yourself and have no one to blame but yourself.

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imastinker 3 years, 6 months ago

We aren't talking about businesses. WE are the people that fund the state and pay for the operations and employees. This is about whether taxpayers or unions have rights.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 6 months ago

"This is about whether taxpayers or unions have rights."

Both have rights. And union members are taxpayers, too.

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KSManimal 3 years, 6 months ago

False dichotomy, stinker.

"Unions" and "Taxpayers" are not two separate groups. Unionized people pay taxes just like anyone else.

Furthermore, unions do not set tax policy. Legislatures do. The way to influence tax policy is to influence the legislature through elections and lobbying.

This bill serves no purpose other than to hamstring select groups of citizens when it comes to participating in their own governance.

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sunnmoon 3 years, 6 months ago

Thank you, I was trying to put that together earlier. Unions are not the enemy. Just people grouping together to try to get a bigger slice of the pie; united together for a common cause. Seems like this country is filled with groups like that

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sunnmoon 3 years, 6 months ago

Thank you, I was trying to put that together earlier. Unions are not the enemy. Just people grouping together to try to get a bigger slice of the pie; united together for a common cause. Seems like this country is filled with groups like that

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nanimwe 3 years, 6 months ago

Labor unions are a big part of why businesses choose to relocate overseas.

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jafs 3 years, 6 months ago

Translation:

Greed, and the desire to maximize profits above all else are the reason businesses outsource jobs, and relocate.

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Jeanne Cunningham 3 years, 6 months ago

The sad irony of all this is that there are many, many, many more of us "little" and "middle-class" and "lower-class" people than there are "big" and "upper-class" people, so there SHOULD be power in numbers. And, there are some, just not enough of the "little" and "middle-class" and "lower-class" people IN the legislature - just NOT enough of them.

Money should NOT be the deciding factor in political campaigns and, in fact, in several cases in recent history the SMART "little" and "middle-class" and "lower-class" people have used what is available to them (word of mouth via electronic tools) to allow themselves to be better represented. Your VOTE ONLY counts IF you USE it. Don't forget about this when your next opportunity arises and remind your friends and family that the social issues they care about can be dealt with via social methods (in communities and churches, etc.), but these economic issues can ONLY be dealt with by making oneself heard - by electing those who DO hear.

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snoops 3 years, 6 months ago

Way to go union members! Keep fighting the good fight!

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cowboy 3 years, 6 months ago

Pols don't like having to deal with real people. Much more comfortable talking with the Koch's and their minions.

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appleaday 3 years, 6 months ago

And their billions. Must have been why the governor in Wisconsin was so ready to believe that the phone call was actually from David Koch.

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kshiker 3 years, 6 months ago

The below snippet is from Hawver News which decided to honestly report what happened, please note where it states "some members of which made tasteless remarks about female legislators who supported the bill." You stay classy labor union supporters!

"The Kansas House this morning—for the first time in decades—was interrupted by shouting from the balcony by opponents of the bill that would prohibit employers from providing union political action committee checkoff on paychecks.

The bill, opposed by unions, would prohibit that PAC withholding, but not withholding for dues paid by union employees. About 50 persons who opposed the bill shouted “vote no” from the balcony before they were ordered out by sergeants at arms in the House.

The group had earlier cheered and booed House members as they entered the chamber and some House members, aware of the nonviolent but noisy disturbance, used back stairs to avoid the crowd, some members of which made tasteless remarks about female legislators who supported the bill."

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Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 6 months ago

Hawver's source of information is the same as Rothschild's. That doesn't make it true.

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jhawkinsf 3 years, 6 months ago

Union members overwhelmingly vote Democratic and unions overwhelmingly support Dems. with financing during campaigns. When Democrats are in office, they become beholden to the unions and give them benefits that are out of line as compared to (what taxpayers want, what is available in the private sector, available within the state budget). The Wisconsin model is a good example where state employees were paying less than 1% of their pensions. Contrast that with Republicans who get huge sums of money from the rich and from corporations. Upon taking office, tax benefits are given to them and they too work in ways that are contrary to the wishes of ordinary taxpayers and contrary to the best interests of society as a whole. Like my previous post, it's like a pendulum that swings too far one way and then needs to swing back the other. Maybe Wisconsin swung too far one way and the current Gov. is swinging too far the other. While both sides slug it out, I say to hell with both of them.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 6 months ago

The Republicans clearly intend to smash the pendulum.

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jafs 3 years, 6 months ago

Is that really even possible? All legislation can be repealed, can't it?

Supreme Court decisions are more lasting, but even they have/can be changed over time.

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jhawkinsf 3 years, 6 months ago

I'm not up on my Wisconsin history so I'll ask this question; the governor and legislature that gave the union members the less than 1% contribution pensions, were they Democrats? If so, weren't they just as beholden to the unions as Republicans are beholden to corporations? We all (bozo - you too) should be looking at the motives of BOTH parties with great skepticism. When unions negotiate with companies in the private sector, it's more likely that the interests of the political parties can be minimized. But in public service worker union/government negotiations, it's nearly impossible to remove political party interests from the equation.
Why does Republican party union busting bother you more than Democratic party giveaways? Neither is in the public interest and BOTH should be deplored.

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newmedia 3 years, 6 months ago

And they wonder why people are losing any respect for them!

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jafs 3 years, 6 months ago

Agreed.

Although I think they should be able to select whether or not their dues go towards political activity or not, as well.

And, folks who don't want to join the union should have to forgo any of the benefits that union membership would provide, eg. wages, benefits, working hours, etc.

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Katara 3 years, 6 months ago

Most probably don't know that if you belong to a union & don't want any portion of your union dues to go to politics, you can request a refund for that portion of the dues you pay. At least, this is true in a state like MO which is a closed shop state.

The folks that want to eliminate unions won't disclose that fact though.

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jafs 3 years, 6 months ago

Thanks.

I assume "closed shop" means that all in a certain profession must join a union.

If they're voluntary organizations, why is that?

It's one thing to say that a group of people choose to join together to pursue common goals, and quite another for any plumber to have to join a union, whether they want to or not.

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werekoala 3 years, 6 months ago

Again, KANSAS IS A RIGHT-TO-WORK STATE!

that means no employee can be compelled to join a union as a condition of employment.

However, the cheapskates who don't pay still get the same wages and benefits that the union negotiates.

That was the last big business tactic, trying to weaken the unions by making it more profitable to drop out. Too bad most workers saw through it & stood together. Well, the Koch brothers can't tolerate such insolence from the peasants, can they?

And that's how we wound up here...

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jafs 3 years, 6 months ago

Yes - I know that.

But MO, according to Katara, is a closed shop place, which would mean that anybody wanting to pursue a profession that required union membership would have to be a union member.

That doesn't sound like a voluntary organization to me.

What's the justification for it exactly?

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Katara 3 years, 6 months ago

I am not understanding what your point is. Kansas is a right to work state. The law being passed is a Kansas law. The justification for this law being needed is that union members have no choice in where their dues go.

If you don't like how the money is spent, you don't have to join. Even if it is a closed shop state, you have methods to recover monies spent for politics that you disagree with without giving up the benefits of union membership.

I am fairly certain that, even in right to work state, you could still request a refund and it still would be given.

This law is just a union breaking measure. None of the justifications for this law are true.

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jafs 3 years, 6 months ago

I'm not in support of this law.

I'm just asking a question, that so far nobody seems to want to answer.

In MO, according to your post, people in certain professions are required to join unions.

What's the justification for that?

Unions as a voluntary assembly of people who choose to organize together make sense to me - required membership doesn't.

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werekoala 3 years, 6 months ago

WTF does that have to do with the price of tea in China?

Answer: you got nothing, so dodge, deflect, do what you have to do to avoid the point...

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jafs 3 years, 6 months ago

Not answering the question I see.

I'm not supporting this law, and I'm generally very pro-union.

But I don't see how required membership makes sense, if unions are supposed to be a voluntary assembly of people choosing to organize together.

Can you explain it?

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Scruggsy 3 years, 6 months ago

Let me get this straight. Anthony Brown (former union carpenter, chairman of commitee behind this bill) said he "had no choice, had no opt out". Huh. That's funny. There were probably plenty of non-union carpenter jobs around. Why not get one of those?

And what happened to his stance of the gubmint staying out of the taxpayer's business? This is messing with people's paychecks against their willful choice...

Seems like him & Yoder like to play both sides of the fence. Cast your vote how the money people say you must. And to hell with the actual blue collar workers who represent 99% of the people in KS. What a bunch of crooks running this state.

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3 years, 6 months ago

Sounds like the only thing Brown hates more than Lawrence is unions?

I am a republican, generally disagree with the democrat agenda, think unions do more harm than good, but I have to disagree with this bill.

One of the reasons I opposed the health care reform bill is how it was enacted. It was rammed down the throats of the republican legislators and the American people. Plus, I still believe it is unconstitutional.

Right is right and wrong is wrong regardless of who is doing it. The dems did it and now the GOP is doing it. Yes the GOP has the power, but my message is not to abuse it. Allow discussion and input.

Don't attack the unions in what I believe is an unconstitutional manner and don't stymie or censor freedom of speech even when you disagree with it. Let people be responsible for their own actions. If they don't like the union's politics they can opt out of it. They are adults and are responsible for their own actions. Government stay out of it.

I have to stand up for everyone's rights if I want my rights protected.

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werekoala 3 years, 6 months ago

Adding fred_mertz to the list of people I disagree with, but respect...

Just like I hate WBC, but hate the laws grandstanding legislators want to pass even worse.

hopefully, fred, I can pay you back sometime soon by breaking ranks with the Dems...

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Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 6 months ago

"Speaker O'Neal's chief of staff, Rachelle Colombo, said security was called in to monitor the protesters after several female legislators said they were called obscene names"

Indeed, names like "Republican" and "conservative". You can imagine how shocking such obscenities would be.

"House Speaker Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson, called the demonstration the most disrespectful display he had seen in his 27 years in the Legislature"

Speaking of an obscenity... 27 years in the Legislature. And proud of it.

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kshiker 3 years, 6 months ago

They were actually obscenities that you would not allow one of your relatives or loved ones to be called. Very classy.

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Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 6 months ago

It is true, I would not want one of my relatives or loved ones to be accused of being in the pocket of big corporations or intent on attacking working Kansans.

Makes my ears burn just thinking about it. It must have been horrible.

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kshiker 3 years, 6 months ago

You stay classy Bob. I will ask those union thugs to come by your house tonight and call your female relatives the same names. I am sure you will not call the police to ask them to leave.

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Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 6 months ago

Names like thug? Look who has the real problem with name calling, no wonder you make things up about others, trying to drag them down to your level.

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Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 6 months ago

The real class is making up smears and lobbing ridiculous accusations.

Why can't you just be confident in your ideology? Stop being so offended for being called what you are, a so-called "conservative" in the pocket of big corporations and committed to taking down working Kansans.

What are you so ashamed of?

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Flap Doodle 3 years, 6 months ago

This post pre-removed for using a vulgar sexual term to describe someone on the sinister side of the aisle.

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Carol Bowen 3 years, 6 months ago

Looks like this is a nationally produced script. Let's see if Brownback supports this issue even though it's not on his "road map". Is he part of the pack or an independent thinker? Time will tell.

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Kris_H 3 years, 6 months ago

He's trying to keep his own hands clean and let his sycophants do the dirty work, is what he's doing.

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Alceste 3 years, 6 months ago

"House Democratic Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence told union members, "Don't let them kick you out of here," as he entered the House chamber."

Where was this clown when the people were kicked out? Did he get up out of his chair and start jumping up and down and protesting? Or, did he just sit there, like he usually does, calculating his cost to benefit ratio?

Way to go Davis!@!! hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahah

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Jan Rolls 3 years, 6 months ago

I would like to thank all of these republicans for the jobs they have created thus far - not. I forgot their job is to do what the Koch brothers want.

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independant1 3 years, 6 months ago

wait a minute about 12% of all workers are unionized about 40% of government workers are unionized

so the bill affects 12% of all Kansas workers and affects about 40% of government workers

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notanota 3 years, 6 months ago

Actually it affects 100% of workers, since in theory we could all be members of unions at some point. I'm not a union member, nor have I ever been, but I'm not about to have free speech squashed for anyone.

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independant1 3 years, 6 months ago

have been member of union(s) not pleasant, kinda rotted on the job. I'm just too independent I guess. Have a friend in jersey, a management state employee organized by cwa, very restrictive according to his taste.

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independant1 3 years, 6 months ago

Fact check - From Bureau of Labor Statistic Web site

UNION MEMBERS -- 2010

In 2010, the union membership rate--the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of a union--was 11.9 percent, down from 12.3 percent a year earlier, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The number of wage and salary workers be- longing to unions declined by 612,000 to 14.7 million. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 per- cent, and there were 17.7 million union workers.

The data on union membership were collected as part of the Current Population Sur- vey (CPS), a monthly sample survey of about 60,000 households that obtains informa- tion on employment and unemployment among the nation's civilian noninstitutional population age 16 and over. Highlights from the 2010 data:

--The union membership rate for public sector workers (36.2 percent) was substantially higher than the rate for private sector workers (6.9 percent).

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Frank Smith 3 years, 6 months ago

I don't know what the female Republicans claim they were being called, but "Koch Ho's" would fit either the males or females in that caucus.

You don't have to be a female to be one, and Sam Flatback so often demonstrates.

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BigPrune 3 years, 6 months ago

Hey, the conservatives had to have a counter to George Soros who has been funding his left wing groups for years - of course he also brought 5 countries to their knees by screwing with their currency - something the Kochs have never done.

The cowards in Wisconsin hiding out in Indiana must be the reason all the unions are upset. They are going to lose their stranglehold on this country. Back in the day, unions were good. Now they are bad. No wonder the mob got involved with all the workers' mandatory money coming in.

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Frank Smith 3 years, 6 months ago

David H. and Charles de Ganahl Koch spread lies like farmers spread manure.

Workers in Kansas don't have to join unions. It's an "Open Shop" state.

Union members don't have to contribute to political campaigns. In states where there are closed shops, where every worker has to join, they can get repayments for any of the small portion their dues that go toward supporting candidates who support workers' rights. It's called "Hudson payments."

What the Kochs have done is to have stolen elections all over the country with their multitude of front groups, "Americans for Prosperity," "Forward America," "Club for Growth" (or "Club for Greed," as Mike Huckabee called it), "Citizens for a Sound Economy," the "Tea Party," etc., etc.

They've been doing it for decades, since their dad Fred Sr. funded the John Birch Society, the one that claimed President Eisenhower of Kansas was "a conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy."

They are the personification of unbounded greed. They don't want to pay their fair share of taxes. They don't want to pay the little that they're paying now. They don't want to pay any estate taxes on the $46 BILLION they've stolen from those who can't protect themselves, such as Native Americans. They don't want to pay any taxes at all!

They want to continue to rape the environment. They want to destroy public schools through vouchers for religious indoctrination in charter schools for the children of the wealthy, at the expense of the working class.

Mike O'Neil is a "Koch Ho'." There's no better way to put it. It has nothing to do with gender.

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jafs 3 years, 6 months ago

Do you have anything substantive to say about the post?

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Katara 3 years, 6 months ago

"Union members don't have to contribute to political campaigns. In states where there are closed shops, where every worker has to join, they can get repayments for any of the small portion their dues that go toward supporting candidates who support workers' rights. It's called "Hudson payments."

There is no need for this legislation because of the above. There is also no need for this legislation as Kansas is a right to work state.

This is nothing but a union busting measure.

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Frank Smith 3 years, 6 months ago

David H. and Charles de Ganahl Koch spread lies like farmers spread manure.

Workers in Kansas don't have to join unions. It's an "Open Shop" state.

Union members don't have to contribute to political campaigns. In states where there are closed shops, where every worker has to join, they can get repayments for any of the small portion their dues that go toward supporting candidates who support workers' rights. It's called "Hudson payments."

What the Kochs have done is to have stolen elections all over the country with their multitude of front groups, "Americans for Prosperity," "Forward America," "Club for Growth" (or "Club for Greed," as Mike Huckabee called it), "Citizens for a Sound Economy," the "Tea Party," etc., etc.

They've been doing it for decades, since their dad Fred Sr. funded the John Birch Society, the one that claimed President Eisenhower of Kansas was "a conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy."

They are the personification of unbounded greed. They don't want to pay their fair share of taxes. They don't want to pay the little that they're paying now. They don't want to pay any estate taxes on the $46 BILLION they've stolen from those who can't protect themselves, such as Native Americans. They don't want to pay any taxes at all!

They want to continue to rape the environment. They want to destroy public schools through vouchers for religious indoctrination in charter schools for the children of the wealthy, at the expense of the working class.

Mike O'Neil is a "Koch Ho'." There's no better way to put it. It has nothing to do with gender.

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earline james 3 years, 6 months ago

Definately worth repeating, and I couldn't agree more! Kicked and Recommended..

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Flap Doodle 3 years, 6 months ago

Have the Koch brothers replaced Karl Rove as the default subject of the progressives' daily two minutes hate?

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Dan Thalmann 3 years, 6 months ago

I think you're exactly right! I basically only know of the Koch brothers from the vitriol I read in comment sections!

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jafs 3 years, 6 months ago

That's kind of the point - they've been very good at keeping their names out of the spotlight, while influencing things behind the scenes.

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Flap Doodle 3 years, 6 months ago

The dead hand of Saul Alinsky is still guiding the progressive movement in America.

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Dan Thalmann 3 years, 6 months ago

I have daughters who were Pages at the Capitol the last two years. Before they begin their day, they have an assembly in the House Chamber and it is made very, very clear that they are to sit silent and respectful when the House or Senate are in session. Even as a parent, when entering the seating area above the Chamber, I was trying to walk like a ninja to not disrupt anything. Regardless of what you believe on this subject, the outbursts were disrespectful and out of line.

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littlexav 3 years, 6 months ago

agreed. i served as a page and it was one of those "be on your best behavior" situations. these union workers were absolutely distasteful.

i can understand their sense of desperation, but that doesn't mean they have to forfeit civility.

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werekoala 3 years, 6 months ago

I agree, civility is a virtue. But it is not a panacea. Time and again, horrific, monstrous policies have been implemented by stiffshirted scoundrels who hide their bile behind tradition and procedure.

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usnsnp 3 years, 6 months ago

If public service unions cannot endorse a canidate in a election, why should a governor, legislature, or any other public servant be able to. What is good for the goose should be good for the gander.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

Republicans backed by Koch brothers are anti american!

Republicans need to seek treatment for their Koch addiction!

"Walker Needs to Get Over His Koch Addiction": Labor Activists Protest Koch Brothers’ Madison Office

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the lobbying offices of the Koch brothers in Madison on Thursday. "The Koch brothers] have funded a lot of anti-union, anti-worker legislation not just in Wisconsin, but across the country," says Elizabeth DiNovella of the Madison-based magazine The Progressive. "People in Wisconsin are here to say that Walker needs to get over his Koch addiction and respect workers’ rights to organize."

http://www.democracynow.org/2011/2/25/walker_needs_to_get_over_his

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Flap Doodle 3 years, 6 months ago

The progressive two minutes hate, brought to you by merrill.

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Kim Murphree 3 years, 6 months ago

We will NOT go quietly into the night! This is a bad move on the part of the ruling party in Kansas...but it sure shows their true colors...wonder how police and firefighters will still vote Republican when their collective bargaining rights are fully stripped?

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

How do lower wages and unemployed workers increase economic growth?

Middle class can expect higher taxes and a variety of user fees to support the over throw of america!!!

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lawslady 3 years, 6 months ago

My grandfather, my brother, and my son all work(ed) with and for unions. And they have their place - especially when it comes to collective representation of workers. If it weren't for unions, many corporations and businesses would (perhaps still) enjoy the power to trample people's lives into dust with the only motive of making a profit regardless of the price being paid by workers. However, from up close and personal acquaintance, far too many unions and their representatives have become a parody of what they decry in management and corporations; bloated, primarily self-serving, corrupt, and useless. Those who want to see the union model continue and be lawfully recognized should work hard to re-establish their credibility and honorable actions/motives. And screaming and cursing at people (even in the heat of an argument, let alone in front of children or people not involved) is rarely an honorable or effective approach.

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Jimo 3 years, 6 months ago

Strange thing --

I can't recall once being asked by any of the corporations I own if I was willing to allow them to loot my ownership and spend it on political campaigns.

Nor does any law come to mind that would give me as owner the right to sue corporate officials for mismanagement, criminal wrongdoing, or general gross incompetence.

And the "elections" are a joke: Shall the slate of nominees be elected to the Board of Directors, yes or no? No alternatives given.

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littlexav 3 years, 6 months ago

then you obviously know nothing about your rights as a shareholder and should contact a laywer immediately if you feel that mismanagement or criminal wrongdoing have occurred.

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Liberty275 3 years, 6 months ago

Nothing is quite as stupid as paying for the privilege of working. I'm not surprised anyone with so little common sense that they pay people to let them work would shout obscenities at people about to make a decision regarding affecting them.

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notanota 3 years, 6 months ago

Nobody is forced to join a union in a "right to work" state like Kansas. They do, however, sometimes have to buy a car, a uniform, a license, continuing ed credentials, professional affiliation membership, or... Oh, that's right, it's ok to have to pay for the privilege of working as long as that money doesn't actually buy you any collective bargaining power.

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Liberty275 3 years, 6 months ago

"sometimes have to buy"

You don't grasp the concepts of ownership and blackmail very well do you? You must be union.

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notanota 3 years, 5 months ago

Nice try, but no. I'm ineligible.

I'm also not sure how the concept of ownership comes into play here. You don't own a professional affiliation, either, and you can't sell a license or continuing ed credentials.

Well, ownership would come into play in that the employer owns the means of production and will exploit the workforce to the point that they refuse to cooperate, but heaven help us if they collectively agree in advanced to a set of working conditions and pay. I'd think unions would be a very libertarian concept. It always puzzles me that it is not.

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Bud Stagg 3 years, 6 months ago

I once belonged to a union. I now own my own business. I can tell you that most of the union employees I knew were lazy, money grabbing people. Look at most public employee unions. Like the IRS. They are the slowest most overpaid sector out there. Most of them are paid better and produce less than non-unions. That is great for the employees, bad for the companies and their customers. Unions just about killed the automotive industry. The problem comes from greed of the employees and management. Both need to step back from the table and take less.

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seriouscat 3 years, 6 months ago

That is absurd. There are many industries with union representation; nurses, teachers, miners etc. Show me the actual non-anecdotal evidence that non-union workers are any better than union in any industry anywhere. Where is it?

There are overpaid and lazy employees in every single industry union or non-union.

If you were a patient at the hospital would you rather have the union nurse who negotiated to be responsible for a reasonable number of working hours and patients or would you rather have the nurse who is overworked and underpaid?

All this union busting is throwing the baby out with the bath water.

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independant1 3 years, 6 months ago

Toyota has kicked the big 3s a$$ and they aren't unionized at Toyota USA Kentucky and Texas.

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jafs 3 years, 6 months ago

From what I know, Toyota manages to avoid unions by treating their employees well.

Other companies could certainly do the same thing if they wanted to do so.

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seriouscat 3 years, 6 months ago

For those who want to show support for workers in the state and across the nation, rallies at all state capitals tomorrow at noon:

http://pol.moveon.org/event/events/index.html?action_id=238

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

Beltway repub activity is now present in the statehouse = lots of talk, paperwork and zero substance.

How will anti pro-choice activity and anti gay marriage activity, anti public school activity,anti higher ed activity, and bribing new residents with tax abatements create new industry and jobs?

What is the source of these jobs?

How will the tax abatements be paid for?

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

BTW it's not unions and Social Security breaking the economy it is Big Dollar White Collar ENTITLEMENTS, Wall Street crooks, the nations largest banks, the war for oil control and the medical insurance industry!

Workers ARE NOT killing Economy!

People on the job = a strong economy.

Keeping people out of jobs will bring on a series of tax increases by way of user fees. YES user fees are aka taxes no matter what.

How does putting people out of jobs create economic growth?

AGAIN it's not unions breaking the economy it is Big Dollar White Collar ENTITLEMENTS, Wall Street crooks, the nations largest banks, the war for oil control and the medical insurance industry!

Big Dollar White Collar ENTITLEMENTS are killing the economy and our wallets: http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2001/0301miller.html

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/18/free_lunch_how_the_wealthiest_americans

http://www.uua.org/events/generalassembly/2008/commonthreads/115777.shtml

What to do?

  1. Move Your Money Why put up with megabank megalomania? Here are two websites to help you find a local bank that gives a damn about you and your community: http://www.findacreditunion.com and http://www.moveyourmoney.info/find-a-ba

  2. How much are you shelling out to the medical insurance industry each month or year plus your deductible? Drop your medical insurance and put those thousands of dollars into a money making account that will stand by you!

  3. STOP the war!

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Flap Doodle 3 years, 6 months ago

" Drop your medical insurance and put those thousands of dollars into a money making account that will stand by you!" Have you dropped your medical insurance yet? If you are gonna talk the talk, you best walk the walk.

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monkeyhawk 3 years, 6 months ago

Hard to tell if merrill has dropped his insurance, but my bet is that he a dropped a lot of other stuff in the day.

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LeBo 3 years, 6 months ago

Kansas pro life. Against homosexual-unhealthy behavior.

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Angry_carpenter 3 years, 6 months ago

As a union carpenter I am deeply disturbed by Anthony Brown's involvement in this. I remember Mr. Brown asking the carpenters union to make a political contribution to his campaign. I remember voting on this and him recieving said contribution. Tens of thousands of dollars of our (and his) money helped finance his campaigns. I also remember Mr. Brown turning around and sticking it to us after he was elected. I wonder if this bill is more about his personal feelings or as revenge for never recieving any more money from the unions? The second fact Mr. Brown has wrong is he in fact did have an opt out on where his money went. I do not remember anyone forcing him, myself or any other member to sign the Dues Authorization Card when he joined.

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notanota 3 years, 6 months ago

This sounds like a great LTE to send to several papers. The truth on this should be out there.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

This is more about reducing wages and benefits under the guise of campaign contributions. This thing about campaign contributions likely has no source of hard evidence.

It's about busting unions that which for the most part still represent good wages, benefits,40 hour work week instead of 80 and holidays off.

How many reading this want to make less money and are seeking reduced benefits?

The economy was wrecked by white collar crooks not by unions.

It seems to me the issue for citizens should be prosecuting politicians and white collar executives who were part of that fraudulent activity. NOT supporting lower wages and benefits for the working class.

Then another thought occurs to me. How many laws might the Koch funded activities be violating?

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Crazy_Larry 3 years, 6 months ago

WHAT: Rally to Save the American Dream WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 26th, 2011 at noon WHERE: State Capitol, South Steps, Topeka KS WHO: Working Kansas Families

See you all there!

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Liberty275 3 years, 6 months ago

Not everyone dreams of being a faceless drone that gathers with thugs to blackmail their employers. Count me out..

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werekoala 3 years, 6 months ago

What, you dream of being a 19th century coal miner in a company town? You long for a return to the good old days where a few wealthy industrialists owned everything, and the common man was reduced to selling his birthright for a few scraps of bread?

You're a modern day Pinkerton, you are. I'm sure your masters will reward you well for your obedience...

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Flap Doodle 3 years, 6 months ago

Come for the astroturfed signs and chanting. Stay for the SEIU-led head-busting. Fun for the whole family!

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Crazy_Larry 3 years, 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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werekoala 3 years, 6 months ago

This thread in a nutshell:

Usual Suspect 1: Herp! Workers are forced to join unions! Derp! Union goons compel political donations from innocent workers!

Everyone Else: No, they aren't. No, they don't.

Usual Suspect 1: "..."

Usual Suspect 2: Herp! Workers are forced to join unions! Derp! Union goons compel political donations from innocent workers!

Everyone Else: no, and no.

Usual Suspect 3: Herp! Workers are forced to join unions! Derp! Union goons compel political donations from innocent workers!

Everyone Else: (sigh) No. No. could you maybe all crawl out from under your rock at the same time?

Rinse, repeat. It's sad this is happening on a Friday, too. Having traded their capacity for critical thinking for the sweet, sweet taste of truthiness, the poor dears are going to be stuck repeating the same discredited talking points all weekend. They may have to resort to sticking fingers in their ears to block out that awful, liberally-biased reality from getting in. It sucks to have to wait until Monday for freshly tortured logic from their protagonists...

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Fossick 3 years, 6 months ago

No need to wait until Monday; you can go to the Save the American Dream rally tomorrow. I have it on the emailed authority of the heads of two unions that this will be a real grass-roots effort on behalf of working families and against big business, and not at all an attempt of government employees to get more money from taxpayers.

And the head of SIEU says their side is winning. Which is great. Because I can't begin to imagine the hysteria we might witness if they were losing.

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werekoala 3 years, 6 months ago

Some history: blue-collar government employment has NEVER been the ticket to a life of olds leisure. It just hasn't. That's why so many cops & firemen were Irish/Italian. Those were the only jobs they could get. And they are still dirty, unglamorous jobs whose attraction isn't the wealth and luxury that so many here seem to think, but a steady paycheck to provide modestly for your family.

The world is changing, true. But its a sad day when the benefits that used to be considered the bare minimum are seen as exorbitant. And its not because the union employees got greedily, its because Wall Street is perfectly happy selling off the American dream for a fat bonus. We're in a death race to the bottom with China here.

If you play the tape to the end, either we say screw it, we'll reopen sweatshops in America; or the common man will put his foot down and say, no, we decided a hundred years ago that it was wrong to exploit people like that, and we're going to stop allowing the rich to get richer by taking it overseas.

Whose side are you on?

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Fossick 3 years, 6 months ago

Unless the worker can add value to the product he is 'building' (whether it's a car or a safe street) then it doesn't matter how much we wish him well or whether he's Irish or Italian or black or martian. Government is woefully unproductive, it is woefully expensive, and just as the banking complex adds nothing to America with their microtrades and derivatives, the vast majority of what government 'produces' add no value. It only consumes.

But speaking of history, I was reading a book by a mathmetician named William Playfair the other night. But it wasn't a math book, it was a book called, "An Inquiry into the Permanent Causes of the Decline and Fall of Powerful and Wealthy Nations." Written in England just before the Napoleonic Wars kicked off with a vengeance, it was Playfair's attempt to isolate the causes of the seeming propensity of every rich nation to collapse into poverty, and to keep that from happening to his beloved England*. Playfair wrote the book in 1805, long before unions and the Koch Brothers and all of our modern political issues, but he did note a couple things that might fit us today.

The first was the natural human desire to 'move up' the chain of society. The worker wants to become a foreman who wants to become a merchant who wants to become a banker. That's fine. But before you know it, everyone is moving money around and no one is making anything. You have identified that problem quite well - it is killing America. I give you full props for your insight.

But he noted another tendency, and it is the one that concerns me most: "Similar to the human body, which becomes stiff and rigid with age, so, as states get older, regulation upon regulation, and encroachment on encroachment, add friction and difficulty to the machine, till its force is overcome, and the motion stops."

Regulation upon regulation, encroachment upon encroachment, the government eventually smothers both business and society to the point that the whole creaking edifice collapses on the little people. If you look around the world you will find that almost no government, no matter how much it taxes, can pay its bills. The butcher's bill is coming due for that in a hurry, and it will be paid.

You wish to know what side I'm on? I'm on the side of the people who still build things and who still add value, and I am forever and unalterably opposed to the system that pays people quite well - not great, not starving - to pile regulations and encroachments upon them. Government has got to be cut. Not trimmed, not put on a diet, but cut to the point that it is no longer the revenue-consuming focal point of our entire society. That is the road to collapse, and it is well-traveled. If avoiding that fate means people who used to made a pretty good income reviewing income tax forms have to get a job making tennis shoes, then that's what it means.

  • Which, you might note, no longer controls an empire upon which the sun never sets.
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Crazy_Larry 3 years, 6 months ago

Oh yeah, the government produces nothing...What about all the dead brown people the U.S Military-Industrial Complex has produced? You saying that's not good production? How about all those prisons we have thanks to the War on Drugs! The Just Us system produces lots of criminals for the Prison-Industrial Complex....NASA gave us Tang, Velcro, etc. I suppose the NOAA might as well be talking to a wall. Teachers aren't producing, are they?

You an idgit.

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Fossick 3 years, 6 months ago

Reading comprehension update: I said "the vast majority," but I thank you for making my point. Accepting that dead brown people and drug war prisoners have little economic value, $4 trillion is a pretty high price to pay for velcro.

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Crazy_Larry 3 years, 6 months ago

And I said, "YOU ARE WRONG!" And, you forgot about the Tang, and the Hubble, etc. etc. You can't see the forest for the trees. But, carry on with your hateful little self.

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werekoala 3 years, 6 months ago

I appreciate the lengthy reply, and measured tone. But I have to respectfully disagree. I don't think Rome or Britain were undone by excessive government regulation and spending. What really kills empires is the indolent youth.

Look, every proto-empire has to claw its way to the top with sweat and iron. And when it loses its edge and allows its neighbors to outcompete it, it inevitably falls. That is exactly what NAFTA and similar agreements have done - turned us from a nation of builders to a nation of consumers. (caveat, even Henry Ford understood you have to pay your workers enough that they can be consumers.)

I would also say that you're making the fundamental error a lot of private industry folks do when they try to apply CEO math to government. Government is never going to be profitable. Building roads, educating children, fighting fires, arresting criminals, etc. doesn't bring in a penny. But it is necessary to allow the rest of society to get on with their lives. And the workers who provide these services have the same right to expect fair compensation for their life's labors.

Like I keep saying, the fact that everyone else has been browbeaten in accepting table scraps is a tragedy...

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jafs 3 years, 6 months ago

Also, empires tend to overextend themselves.

As did Rome, England, and now America - we want to extend our influence around the world, and continue to expand that, which gets harder and more expensive over time, and consumes more of our resources.

Pulling back from that would help save lots of money, and we could then use that for more important things domestically.

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Fossick 3 years, 6 months ago

"Government is never going to be profitable."

Agreed, and therein lies a great danger. You noted that cops are necessary for the proper functioning of society, and I agree. I am certainly no anarchist, though I'll admit that I do not comfortably fit into either party as you might imagine.

But as you note, I approach the question from a 'private industry' perspective, though I have worked in government on several occasions. So let me throw something at you. Noting that government is a cost (necessary, agreed) to be borne by society, and that it is not a business, I would opine that it still functions like a business, but a business of a particular type.

There are businesses that are run for their owners. Their unique incentives (for the decision-maker, the owner) usually result in low costs and low quality and high margins of profit. There are those that are run for their customers. Like used bookstores or gas stations where a customer can easily choose a competitor, their incentives are low cost and higher quality, with resulting lower margins.

But there is a third type of business, that run by and for its employees. Because its customers are more or less stuck, employees operate the business in their own interest, and they tend to have high cost, low quality. But what's worse, their incentives are always to expand. Always. More people, higher salaries, and the like, with little regard for profit. That kind of company usually dies for obvious reasons (I've witnessed the death of 2 from close up, and they are ugly). Government, which as you note will never make a profit, is of this type.

But government combines this nature with a twist: it can force its customers to buy its products, or at least pay for them. It retains the incentive to always expand, it has no incentive to provide high-quality goods, and its costs are consistently out of control. That means that the cost that is government always expands, regardless of whether the service it is meant to provide is met, or met 10 times over. When did a government agency not run by a conscious tax cutter ever voluntarily downsize? If there are examples, they are few and far between. That is not the nature of this beast.

All controls on its costs and on its reach must come from the outside, or the costs will increase until they are unmanageable. Remember, the customers are captive; they cannot really control it via their choices. They must, in this case, do it by the vote, or they will suffer when it can no longer borrow.

I will agree to an extent that empires are done in by indolent youth, but I suggest to you that indolence is a natural result of wealth provided without concern for work done. That is a problem that is widespread in all wealthy countries, not just empires. In empires, they just need to eventually hire Barbarians to guard the frontiers because the indolent Romans can't be bothered to do it anymore.

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jafs 3 years, 6 months ago

Government could, and should, I think, be run as a decent non-profit company.

That would mean balanced budgets, and provision of decent services, and greater efficiency.

It would also mean that it doesn't expand indefinitely, but provides the services that are agreed upon as necessary.

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Fossick 3 years, 6 months ago

I would love if it could be run that way, but it's a question of incentives. The only people who can overcome the innate incentives (more employees = more power) are those who are immune to them. These people are known as 'idealogues.'

Can we even agree on what is necessary? Ask the employee of Public Radio if state support is necessary. "Of course it is." Ask the farmer if price supports and ethanol subsidies are critical. "Of course." Ask the President of Raytheon if the Afghan War is necessary - he's got a list of reasons as long as his arm why we should be there. SocSec? Vision cards? 51 departments of education? The free and good things that people get from government are always necessary to those people - they change their very lives to maximize them. What starts as a convenience (e.g. SocSec to 'supplement retirement') very quickly becomes a necessity, without which people would be eating dog food. It would be unkind to call that result indolence, but it would not be inaccurate.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

David Stockman - "GOP guiding nation towards financial ruin"

"In 1982, 1983, and 1984, Reagan signed a series of tax hikes (PDF) that, according to Stockman, recovered 40 percent of the original 1981 tax cut. Meanwhile, unemployment fell from nearly 11 percent in 1982 to 7.4 percent by Election Day 1984, and inflation slowed."

Years later, Stockman says, George W. Bush and his crew repeated "in much greater magnitude the errors we made in the early '80s. A massive increase in defense spending, a massive reduction in the revenue base [via long-term tax cuts], and not even an effort at spending cuts. Then the economy finally collapsed as a result of the credit crisis."

So what's an old-school Republican to do? Stockman, who worked as an investment banker after leaving the Reagan administration (and was indicted in 2007 for securities fraud in a case federal prosecutors later dropped), is willing to live by the basic laws of math.

He opposed extending the Bush tax cuts for middle- and high-income Americans, and now he has a simple three-part prescription: First, cut military spending by $100 to $150 billion a year. Stockman considers both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars foolish.

His second point is classic deficit-hawkery: Apply a means test to Medicare and Social Security.

His third: "Massively raise taxes." His favorite device: a Tobin tax, named after Nobel Prize-winning economist James Tobin, which would be levied on financial transactions.

"There's no productive value for Main Street or the real US economy." Such a tax could generate $100 billion annually (PDF). Stockman also fancies a version of Europe's value-added tax on consumption. "High taxes aren't good," he says. "But at the end of the day, you have to pay your bills as a government."

Stockman has not suddenly turned into a Democrat: He didn't support Obama's stimulus (because he didn't think it addressed the fundamental problems of the economy), and he remains a small-government conservative who would slash all sorts of federal programs if he could. But he has no patience with today's Republicans. On MSNBC's Countdown, he called the GOP "the free-lunch party of tax cuts."

Stockman counters that Republicans' taxes bad/tax cuts good mantra is disingenuous. "I don't think those kinds of propositions are appropriate, and you could call them a lie if you really wanted to use rhetoric," he says. "They can't say government is too big if they're saying hands off defense. It's not responsible to say government is the problem when you've embraced 95 percent of the dollars.

"It's very dismaying," he adds, "to see that 30-year descent into the kind of nihilism, know-nothingism that is represented by the Republican Party today." It's not the Gipper's GOP anymore.

http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/02/reagan-anniversary-david-stockman David Corn is Mother Jones' Washington bureau chief.

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Fossick 3 years, 6 months ago

"Stockman, who worked as an investment banker after leaving the Reagan administration..."

Indeed. Stockman is no newcomer to wishing for tax increases - as early as May of 1990 he was arguing that the feds could or ought to raise taxes by another 5% of GDP "up to the level that prevails in Europe." And that's all well and good, everyone is entitled to an opinion about how much taxation is best.

However, the logical followup question is, "would that rate have avoided the current (and future) problem?" Well, did it solve the problem in Europe? Are Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, the UK, and France swimming in fiscal surplus? Of course not: no matter how much the government collects or how it collects it, it manages to spend all that and more. In every case where the VAT was added (and I believe in a VAT, so long as it replaces the income tax), spending has exploded. A massive tax increase did not solve the fiscal problem, but exacerbated it. Government is a company run by its employees.

Stockman is correct about the math: you simply cannot give tax cuts and run the whole world at the same time. He is even correct about Obama's Stimulus: you cannot spend your way to prosperity. Where he is incorrect is in misunderstanding the nature of government. No matter how much it spends, it will always find another problem on which to spend more. Even those nations which spend nothing on defense, like Ireland and Portugal, cannot balance the books.

Merrill, might I suggest that your "GOP bad" approach to the issues is just as much a mantra as the GOP's "taxes bad"? Just like the GOP, it ignores one side of the equation, and maybe the biggest side. The Washington Republicans are not willing to address spending where the dollars are: they love cabinet wars and free lunches for all. The same bad math, unfortunately, applies equally to your beloved Democrats.

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