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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

Fossick 3 years, 1 month 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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Richard Heckler 3 years, 1 month 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, 1 month 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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werekoala 3 years, 1 month 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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Fossick 3 years, 1 month 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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werekoala 3 years, 1 month 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, 1 month 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, 1 month 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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Crazy_Larry 3 years, 1 month 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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jstthefacts 3 years, 1 month ago

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

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 1 month 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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Angry_carpenter 3 years, 1 month 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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LeBo 3 years, 1 month ago

Kansas pro life. Against homosexual-unhealthy behavior.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 1 month 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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Richard Heckler 3 years, 1 month 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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seriouscat 3 years, 1 month 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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Bud Stagg 3 years, 1 month 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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Liberty275 3 years, 1 month 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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MacHeath 3 years, 1 month ago

Not all Union members are democrats. No organization, or employer should be able to force you to make any sort of donations to anyone...including the United Way, for that matter. Being a rude moron will not make you any friends...outside of the union, that is.

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Jimo 3 years, 1 month 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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lawslady 3 years, 1 month 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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Richard Heckler 3 years, 1 month 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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Kim Murphree 3 years, 1 month 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, 1 month 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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usnsnp 3 years, 1 month 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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RuralWanderer 3 years, 1 month 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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Flap Doodle 3 years, 1 month ago

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

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bobberboy 3 years, 1 month ago

don't forget kropotkin, and they don't want any investors since their company is privately held - so no one else can make any money with them either.

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Frank Smith 3 years, 1 month 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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Frank Smith 3 years, 1 month 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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BigPrune 3 years, 1 month 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, 1 month 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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independant1 3 years, 1 month 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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independant1 3 years, 1 month 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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bobberboy 3 years, 1 month ago

Ya Fido their idea of a good time is going out to california and worshiping a big owl. Check out the Bohemian Club and the Koch Brothers.

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Jan Rolls 3 years, 1 month 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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Alceste 3 years, 1 month 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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Carol Bowen 3 years, 1 month 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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seeker_of_truth 3 years, 1 month ago

Why do all Republicans and Teabaggers hate all those who aren't?

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Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 1 month 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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Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 1 month 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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Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 1 month 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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bobberboy 3 years, 1 month ago

oneal is the most disrepectful thug Kansas has ever had in office. Who keeps voting this guy in. All this guy wants is a ticket to the Bohemian Club so he can set around and rub shoulders with the kochs.

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Floyd Craig 3 years, 1 month ago

it all boils down to they want you to keep out of it so they can rum your homes and lifes so then they can come in your home and take you away for not agreeing with them so where is our freedom now why do our men fight for us well ?????????????????????

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Scruggsy 3 years, 1 month 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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Agnostick 3 years, 1 month ago

I support the right of the unions to exist, and disperse money how they see fit. If union membership is totally voluntary in Kansas, isn't it up to both current and prospective members to educate themselves about the organization's budget--how much money is collected, how it is used, etc....?

That being said, it sounds like the people in the balcony were out of line, being too loud and unruly. They abused their privilege, and they were asked to leave. End of story.

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rockchalk1977 3 years, 1 month ago

"the most disrespectful display he had seen in his 27 years in the Legislature".

I guess these union thugs missed Obama's call for civil and honest public discourse. Hypocrites!

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newmedia 3 years, 1 month ago

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

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jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month 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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kshiker 3 years, 1 month 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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cowboy 3 years, 1 month 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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snoops 3 years, 1 month ago

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

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autie 3 years, 1 month ago

so what you are saying is they violated the terms of service and were promptly disappearededed.

this is one more real life instant that will add up with all the rest of the reactionary, racist, xenophobic, narrow minded conservative nonsense that is going in Topeka right now... The apparently don't know how to win friends or influence people. Populism fades quickly, right after it turns into fanaticism.

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Jeanne Cunningham 3 years, 1 month 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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BABBOY 3 years, 1 month ago

Hard not to be kicked out when O'Neil sent state troppers after them.

Typical O'Neil. The man is a jerk.

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irvan moore 3 years, 1 month 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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BloodBot 3 years, 1 month ago

Paul Davis is a disgrace! What happended to decorum and civility? Paul Davis has no sense of House rules and that his little gang of loud mouths don't belong in the chamber during a vote. Paul Davis owes the voters in Lawrence an apology for his outburst and disrespectful behavior and trying to fan the flames of Union nonsense. To see him 'ape' the Union thugs we see trying to intimidate with their threats is pathetic.

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kshiker 3 years, 1 month 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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kshiker 3 years, 1 month 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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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month 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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parrothead8 3 years, 1 month 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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