Archive for Saturday, February 26, 2011

Union rally fuels Kansas Democrats

Gathering includes state’s new Democratic Party chairwoman, Joan Wagnon

February 26, 2011


Kansas Democrats pondered Saturday how to rebuild after last year’s disastrous elections but found encouragement in a rally that brought hundreds of people to the Statehouse to wave signs, sing protest songs and show support for the party’s union allies.

Democratic activists and elected officials from across the state gathered in Topeka for Washington Days, the party’s biggest annual convention. The Democratic State Committee unanimously selected former state Revenue Secretary Joan Wagnon as the party’s new state chairwoman; she’s also a former Topeka mayor and former Kansas House member.

She follows Larry Gates, an Overland Park attorney, who was chairman eight years, and she promised to travel the state to nurture local party organizations and recruit candidates, particularly for the Legislature. She acknowledged Republicans prospered last year by exploiting voter discontent with Washington and tying Kansas Democrats at all levels to President Barack Obama.

“I think we saw a lot of backlash against Obama, and quite frankly, the Republicans outflanked us,” she said after the Democrats’ meeting. “We have to reshape our message a little bit.”

For many Democrats, the “Save the American Dream” rally Saturday represented a start toward rebuilding the party. Taking a break from caucus meetings, Wagnon and other Democrats left a hotel for the south steps of the Statehouse, ignoring the chilly air and gray sky outside.

Progressive groups and unions organized such events across the nation to show solidarity with public employee unions in Wisconsin, which are fighting Gov. Scott Walker’s attempt to strip them of most of their collective bargaining rights.

Kansas union members and their supporters who rallied in Topeka found plenty to criticize in their home state. Republicans last year swept all statewide and congressional races on the ballot since 1964 and increased their legislative majorities. Rally speakers suggested the result was an extreme-right, anti-worker state government.

“I don’t think it’s any secret that the Democratic base wasn’t energized in the 2010 elections,” state House Minority Leader Paul Davis, a Lawrence Democrat, said after the rally. “The Republicans are doing a great job of rallying our base.”

At least 500 people participated in the event, shouting, waving signs and ending the event with energetic choruses of “This Land is Your Land,” though organizers put the count at 1,200. The Democratic Party promoted the event to activists at its convention.

Chuck Tribble, an Overland Park truck driver and International Brotherhood of Teamsters member, acknowledged being disillusioned with Democratic President Barack Obama, but he was impressed by a fiery pro-union speech Saturday from state Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka. Tribble said it typifies what Democrats need to do to reconnect with voters like him.

“They need to come out here today when stuff like this is going on, and be with us,” he said. “I’m ready. I’d stand with them in a moment.”

But Ashley McMillan, the Kansas Republican Party’s executive director, was skeptical that Democrats can reconnect with Kansas voters. She said voters will assess GOP officials on how well they create jobs and revive the economy, something they’re working to do.

Justin DeLong, a Gardner computer programmer and tea party movement participant who watched the rally, said voters gave power to Republicans because they want to move away from policies pushed by political progressives. DeLong said he’s not an opponent of unions, but he also held a sign saying his American dream was “personal responsibility.”

“It’s time to get back to fiscal responsibility,” he said. “It’s time to get our budgets under control.”

Rally speakers compared the pro-union demonstrators to protesters who’ve toppled repressive governments in Tunisia and Egypt and are threatening to do so in Libya. They described Walker’s proposal on collective bargaining in Wisconsin — which the governor says is needed to help balance that state’s budget — as part of a national attack on workers’ rights by GOP conservatives and their big-business backers.

“I’m a crazy, red-blooded Kansan that says, ’We must stand together,’” said rally speaker Teresa Molina, a Wichita high school Spanish teacher and board president of a local service and advocacy group, Sunflower Community Action.

Union members see a Wisconsin-style political attack in a Kansas bill prohibiting unions from automatically deducting money from workers’ paychecks for labor groups’ political activities. The state House approved it this past week.

The bill’s supporters see it as protecting workers from being required to contribute to campaigns they don’t support. Opponents of the bill say workers always can opt out of paycheck deductions and see the measure as an attempt to cripple unions’ fundraising and political influence.

“It’s spreading all over the country,” said Dan Holland, a Kansas City, Kan., truck driver and Teamster. “They’re trying to bust the labor unions because that’s the major — only, last major — form of financial support and boots on the ground that the Democratic Party has.”

Dozens of union members shouted from the House gallery to members, urging them to oppose the bill as it came up for a final vote. Capitol Police officers and doorkeepers told them to leave the gallery and then escorted them out.

Amid allegations that union members had shouted obscenities and vulgar sexual terms at female Republican legislators and staffers — strongly disputed by union leaders — the Kansas GOP issued a statement decrying “street tactics” by “union thugs.”

Hensley began his speech with, “You don’t look like thugs.”

“You look like Kansans,” he said. “We will not be silenced!”

McMillan contrasted the furor over the paycheck deduction bill with Kansas officials’ successful efforts in lobbying for a lucrative Air Force contract for major Kansas employer Boeing Co. While those Republicans were trying to create jobs, McMillan said, Democrats were trying to ensure that their biggest political benefactors could still funnel them campaign cash easily.

“I think Kansans are very clearly seeing that,” she said.


BigPrune 7 years, 3 months ago

So the unions had a rally in support of the cowards in Wisconsin who refuse to do their job and vote on a bill? Yeah, I guess those people who "refuse to do their job" stereotypes unions pretty well. That's why the jobs moved overseas and GM and Chrysler had to go bankrupt then get bailed out by us taxpayers.

I just don't feel their pain.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

"I just don't feel their pain."

No, you're too busy cheerleading while others inflict it.

overthemoon 7 years, 3 months ago

You are aware that GM and Chrysler have paid their loans back, right? You know that they were loans, right? And you know that had they gone under they would have taken a huge number of suppliers and support businesses out with them, right?

tbaker 7 years, 3 months ago

The government loans to the auto makers were a small part of the tax money spent on the bail out. The government bought and still owns a huge chunk of company stock. When will that be paid back?

Bankruptcy doesn't mean the company closes it's doors. It means it gets to renegotiate all it's contracts - like union contracts.

BigPrune 7 years, 3 months ago

...and the unions came out the big winners in that deal, didn't they? Hey, they were only making twice what a Japanese autoworker made.

Crazy_Larry 7 years, 3 months ago

Oh for goodness sake! How much does GM's CEO make compared to his Japanese counterpart? Here's a hint: About 14-times more. You see, there are issues at every level and to simply blame it all on 'the unions' is pure, unadultered IGNORANCE!

jafs 7 years, 3 months ago

When the government sells the stock, I would imagine.

That's not a loan, it's an investment.

voevoda 7 years, 3 months ago

BigPrune, Why do you resent workers who, through their unions, manage to negotiate a level of compensation that places them in the middle class? The bosses didn't have to agree to those contracts, if they were bad business. But they did--and a contract is a contract. The economic problems of GM and Chrysler--and those of the corporate sector more generally--stem from the irresponsible actions of the bosses, not the workers. If the bosses and wealthy investors hadn't skimmed so much of the profits off the top for themselves, instead of reinvesting it in physical plant and development of quality products, the companies and the country wouldn't be in this mess. Instead of the people who got rich taking a substantial pay and benefit cut or paying more taxes, you want them to keep all their wealth and get more, while the rest of us see our wages stagnate or decline, and the cost of benefits (if any) go up and up. It was this situation in the past that led to the formation of unions in the first place. It looks like they are still needed.

shotgun 7 years, 3 months ago

The key word being stereotype! Not all trade unions are like The UAW. the Kansas State Slogan Should be, Kansas where skilled blue collar workers earn $10.00 per hour, work mandatory overtime, and get treated like crap!

Daniel Dicks 7 years, 3 months ago

Anonymous's press release:

Dear Citizens of the United States of America, It has come to our attention that the brothers, David and Charles Koch--the billionaire owners of Koch Industries--have long attempted to usurp American Democracy. Their actions to undermine the legitimate political process in Wisconsin are the final straw. Starting today we fight back.

Koch Industries, and oligarchs like them, have most recently started to manipulate the political agenda in Wisconsin. Governor Walker's union-busting budget plan contains a clause that went nearly un-noticed. This clause would allow the sale of publicly owned utility plants in Wisconsin to private parties (specifically, Koch Industries) at any price, no matter how low, without a public bidding process. The Koch's have helped to fuel the unrest in Wisconsin and the drive behind the bill to eliminate the collective bargaining power of unions in a bid to gain a monopoly over the state's power supplies.

The Koch brothers have made a science of fabricating 'grassroots' organizations and advertising campaigns to support them in an attempt to sway voters based on their falsehoods. Americans for Prosperity, Club for Growth and Citizens United are just a few of these organizations. In a world where corporate money has become the lifeblood of political influence, the labor unions are one of the few ways citizens have to fight against corporate greed. Anonymous cannot ignore the plight of the citizen-workers of Wisconsin, or the opportunity to fight for the people in America's broken political system. For these reasons, we feel that the Koch brothers threaten the United States democratic system and, by extension, all freedom-loving individuals everywhere. As such, we have no choice but to spread the word of the Koch brothers' political manipulation, their single-minded intent and the insidious truth of their actions in Wisconsin, for all to witness.

Anonymous hears the voice of the down trodden American people, whose rights and liberties are being systematically removed one by one, even when their own government refuses to listen or worse - is complicit in these attacks.

We are actively seeking vulnerabilities, but in the mean time we are calling for all supporters of true Democracy, and Freedom of The People, to boycott all Koch Industries' paper products. We welcome unions across the globe to join us in this boycott to show that you will not allow big business to dictate your freedom.


Fossick 7 years, 3 months ago

Wait, the Patriot Act that Obama just signed on to without changes, even after decrying it in his campaign? You're right, those Koch Brothers are not to be trusted.

Fossick 7 years, 3 months ago

Interesting. According to the St. Petersburg Times in March of 2010, "President Barack Obama's promise to increase oversight of wiretapping practices has been put on hold after Congress passed a one-year extension of the Patriot Act that made no changes to the law." As such, they placed a "stalled" on his promise to amend it as you say he amended it and as per the campaign's promise.

That one year extension has expired, and was extended again without change.

If that article is incorrect, then I stand corrected. If not, then Patriot still stands in need of correction.

Fossick 7 years, 3 months ago

" appears that portion of the Act is significantly more important than keeping a promise made."

But that is exactly the point on trust. No one ever argued (I hope) that government couldn't find all manner of cool information if given power - the question was one of oversight. In short, Obama did not trust those with power and wanted a disinterested party to ensure those with power did not abuse it. Now that he is the guy with power, that is not the correct reason to about face on the need for oversight.

There's an old saying, Power corrupts, but absolute power, that's kinda neat." But it's not a good saying.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

"The Koch brothers sure are evil, donating $43,000 to Walker,"

You forgot the $5 million to the Republican Governor's Association, who in turn spent very heavily in the Wisconsin election for governor. The Koch brothers are hardly the only ones out there trying to buy a government more to their liking, but they are the most visible.

And Obama didn't follow through on the campaign promise of overturning the Patriot Act likely because he found that it would have taken more political capital than he had to spend.

Presidents have very little power when it comes to changing the status quo and the entrenched corporate interests, unless they see something to be gained out of it.

Which explains why Reagan/Bushes were relatively successful at achieving their stated agendas, while Clinton, and now Obama, made some minor changes, but mostly just gave us slightly kindler and gentler versions of more of the same.

Don Whiteley 7 years, 3 months ago

I wasn't there, but from every report I've read or heard from every news source in the state, the Union members were loud, coarse, disruptive, and deserved to be removed. It's not surprising that Union officials and members are protesting their right to be obnoxious; they protest anyone's rights to hold any laws over them at all.

Society has long tolerated the assumed rights of Union Members to disrupt and to cause harm to both property and other people, rights they would not have if they weren't Union. Unions have a right to exist and a right to represent their members. They do not have a right to be abusive, destructive, and disruptive.

In America, we are supposed to have the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the latter of which is generally regarded as pursuing whatever legal path we choose for improving our wealth. Where unions are involved, they use their jack boots to trample these rights and, in most states, society allows them to force people to join unions just to work at certain jobs.

It is my opinion that the State acted within its rights to have these people removed and where I don't always, in this case, I support and applaud their decision.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

"I wasn't there, but from every report I've read or heard from every news source in the state,"

Links to sources?

voevoda 7 years, 3 months ago

So, distant voice, when unions succeed in negotiating good compensation for workers (that includes both union members and non-union members, incidentally), they are "using jack boots to trample [constitutional] rights"? Sounds to me like they are exercising their rights!
The State legislature singled out unions to be deprived of their right to collect dues from their members to put towards political causes. The Kansas Chamber of Commerce can still collect membership dues and use them towards causes without any provision for its members to object. Why the difference? Unions don't usually support the causes of the megarich. The Kansas Chamber of Commerce does.

Scott Drummond 7 years, 3 months ago

"In America, we are supposed to have the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the latter of which is generally regarded as pursuing whatever legal path we choose for improving our wealth."

Except protesting in a state capital in opposition to the policies of those who have corrupted the political process.

Bob_Keeshan 7 years, 3 months ago

But Ashley McMillan, the Kansas Republican Party’s executive director, was skeptical that Democrats can reconnect with Kansas voters. She said voters will assess GOP officials on how well they create jobs and revive the economy, something they’re working to do.

And you know how you do that? With bills on abortion and on voter id, with bills attacking union members and bills creating new government commissions. Then let's indiscriminately slash funding for programs that create thousands of jobs because ideologically we are opposed to the arts.

Oh yeah, them GOPers are working hard to create jobs and revive the economy. Social issues aren't the real priority...

overthemoon 7 years, 3 months ago

She forgot to mention that the Fox Party has a 24/7 propaganda machine that feed misinformation and out right lies to voters who then cast their votes based on that carefully calibrated stream of misinformation. So she's right, lacking any single source monopoly of double speak media, the Democrats will indeed have a hard time 'connecting' to people.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

"Embattled Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has now acknowledged in a press conference and in a nationally television interview -- with Fox News host Greta Van Susteren -- that he engaged in discussions with political allies about hiring "troublemakers" to disrupt peaceful demonstrations against his budget repair bill.

"You said you thought about it?" asked Van Susteren.

"We did," replied Walker. "We had people contacting (us). I even had lawmakers and others suggesting riling things up."

Lester Pines, one of the most prominent lawyers in Madison, the Wisconsin capital city where the largest demonstrations have taken place, referred to that comment as "a scandal."

"If , in fact, they took any steps toward implementing that (plan to disrupt rallies), that's a crime," explained Pines. "If they took steps to implement that, they engaged in a conspiracy to deny people their civil rights."

After learning of the governor's comments in the Thursday interview, Madison Police Chief Noble Wray, a 27-year veteran lawman, said: " I spent a good deal of time overnight thinking about Governor Walker's response, during his news conference yesterday, to the suggestion that his administration ‘thought about' planting troublemakers among those who are peacefully protesting his bill. I would like to hear more of an explanation from Governor Walker as to what exactly was being considered, and to what degree it was discussed by his cabinet members. I find it very unsettling and troubling that anyone would consider creating safety risks for our citizens and law enforcement officers. Our department works hard dialoging with those who are exercising their First Amendment right, those from both sides of the issue, to make sure we are doing everything we can to ensure they can demonstrate safely. I am concerned that anyone would try to undermine these relationships. I have a responsibility to the community, and to the men and women of this department - who are working long hours protecting and serving this community -- to find out more about what was being considered by state leaders.""

verity 7 years, 3 months ago

What boggles my mind is that Walker was stupid enough to admit it in a news conference.

Scott Drummond 7 years, 3 months ago

All he need be is white, clean cut and willing to do anything in order to further the far right's agenda.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 3 months ago

Did they have the official moveon signs in Topeka yesterday?

getreal 7 years, 3 months ago

Where are these jobs the GOP is supposedly creating?

They have proposed draconian cuts to education = JOB LOSSES They have proposed closing KNI = JOB LOSSES They have proposed abolishing the Arts Commission = JOB LOSSES They have proposed dispicable cuts to community mental health centers = JOB LOSSES They have proposed NO funding for early headstart = JOB LOSSES

notorious_agenda 7 years, 3 months ago

Do you not understand proposal as a concept?

Al Deathe 7 years, 3 months ago

You do realize that cuts to govt budgets usually will include job loss just as downsizing in the private sector means some job losses. If you do away with a govt agency I doubt they are going to leave these people at their desk after the agency is gone. It would be nice if govt could keep some of these jobs and fill them through attrition. Reducing govt will cost jobs but it will also reduce the burden on taxpayers. Reducing the burden on taxpayers will have some negative consequences to govt employees there is no getting around it.

Scott Drummond 7 years, 3 months ago

"It would be nice if govt could keep some of these jobs and fill them through attrition."

The reason Faux "News" is tops in the ratings and a thinking people despair for our country.

In a reality in which jobs are filled through attrition, it is no wonder the current crop of scoundrels are ascendant.

Stephen Roberts 7 years, 3 months ago

getreal- all of those programs you are talking about are funded through taxpayers how about creating less taxpayer jobs & more private jobs? Or does that go against you?

You can not continue to expand the government.

Bob_Keeshan 7 years, 3 months ago

How many new jobs will these cuts create? Oh yeah -- none. For every job eliminated to satisfy an ideology, two new jobs need to be created.

How about getting rid of other jobs "funded through taxpayers" as well? Like Defense spending, or highway spending? Or those jobs created through government subsidies and grants, or through tax credits? All taxpayer funded.

Sounds like all the GOP is really interested in is less taxpayer jobs. More private jobs is not their concern.

M_12 7 years, 3 months ago

It's great to live in a bubble... Welcome to the real world. I hear much of "less government, lower taxes." The cries of "less government, lower taxes" come from the same voices that are outraged that our children are not being well educated by our lousy teachers, that there are too many dirty, smelly homeless people on our streets, that unions are the root of all evil. They espouse that the government shouldn't be involved in housing the homeless or feeding the hungry--that privately funded charity should fill that bill. They think that business leaders always have the worker's best interests at heart, and therefore unions are unnecessary. They believe that corporations will always choose to protect the environment, that regulation is strangling innovation. If people always made the "right" decisions in regard to their right to pursue happiness, we would need no laws, no regulation. If businesses could refrain themselves from "raping" employees, we wouldn't need unions. Businesses, however, cannot refrain themselves. People do not make the "right" decisions. Corporations and people are selfish and greedy when left to their own devices. That is the root of human nature--self-protection. When "private jobs" decide they are willing to educate our children, help those with mental problems, or care for the disabled--then government and taxes can be reduced. But "private jobs" will never step up to tackle those responsibilities because there is no money to be made in doing the "right" thing...

overthemoon 7 years, 3 months ago

Wow. That's gotta win some sort of award for dumb logic and pie in the sky rosy glasses view of the world.

overthemoon 7 years, 3 months ago

In spite of increased work and profits, no one is rehiring. Wages have been cut and people are working, on salary, with no overtime pay, the equivalent of 1.5-2 person work load. No way are the companies going to increase salaries or hire on more workers because they know there are 100 unemployed professionals standing out side the door willing to work for half of what they previously earned. At this point the only industry that seems to operate according to your slant is IT, where the jobs available outnumber the qualified applicants.

What IS obvious, is that very few industries will provide for their employees when they can avoid it. That is what history tells us. Your time line illustration fails to take into account the huge amount of industrial growth and national expansion that was making increased opportunities possible. And don't forget, the next year the whole thing collapsed.

voevoda 7 years, 3 months ago

commuter, I see no evidence that any of the money the state is saving by cutting public-sector jobs will actually go into creating any new jobs for Kansans--much less, enough new jobs to take up those public employees who will be losing theirs. Instead, the cuts affect ordinary people--those who lose their jobs, and those who lose the public services of the individuals who lost their jobs--while the wealthiest Kansans continue to ship jobs out of state and out of the country. Or they employee illegals. It would be simple to set up a tax structure that rewarded them for keeping American jobs here at home, but the state legislature isn't even considering such changes.

ChasL 7 years, 3 months ago

All city employee's should unionize, looks like there's lots of support for it.

Jimo 7 years, 3 months ago

"So the unions had a rally in support of the cowards in Wisconsin who refuse to do their job and vote on a bill?"

This seems to be the talking point of the day.

What is it about Fox Propaganda viewers that keeps them from remembering what happened five minutes ago?

The GOP spent 2 years filibustering hundreds of votes in the U.S. Senate on everything under the sun including bills Republicans historically favored, bills co-sponsored by Republicans, even bills that, when a vote came, the GOP voted in favor of.

In contrast,, we have Democrats, using quorum rules that have always existed and exist everywhere, saying no to ONE bill whose entire design is to fundamentally alter political power.

Allowing the minority to veto an extreme proposal is the purpose for which quorum rules exist. Otherwise, the rule would only be that a majority be both present and voting in the affirmative.

tomatogrower 7 years, 3 months ago

"But Ashley McMillan, the Kansas Republican Party’s executive director, was skeptical that Democrats can reconnect with Kansas voters. She said voters will assess GOP officials on how well they create jobs and revive the economy, something they’re working to do."

When are they going to start? Cutting education and the arts, losing thousands of jobs?Limiting abortion will revive the economy? Getting defense contracts paid for by those evil taxes they are always trying not to pay? Giving tax breaks to already wealthy people will revive the economy? Bush did that, and look what happened. Allowing corporations to treat their employees like slaves and maybe let them pollute and hire children for little or nothing will revive the economy? Well, I guess it's working in other countries, but whose economy is really being revived? That's the real question. Are the Republicans really just trying to make things even easier for rich people to get richer, or are they trying to revive the middle class? I know what the evidence is showing me. Not that the Democrats are proving to be any better.

Wake up people. Start voting according to who is funding the campaigns. Demand openness in these mysterious groups like "Americans for Prosperity". Start attending rallies supporting the people, instead of rallies propagated by some lies, like death panels, spread by celebrity politicians, and funded by people like the Koch brothers. Start voting with your dollars. Contribute to campaigns of politicians who don't want to take money from big corporations. Pay attention to what is going on around you, not what you see in some 30 second million dollar ad.

jhawkinsf 7 years, 3 months ago

Remember a decade ago, at the very beginning of the Bush presidency. V.P. Cheney met with a group of oil executives, behind closed doors, with the goal of establishing what America's energy policy should be. Given Cheney's past relationships to big oil and big corporations, we were all correct to be very skeptical of the outcome of those meetings. When Democrats "collectively bargain" with public sector unions, we should look at that with equal skepticism, given the relationship unions have with the Democratic Party. What I'd like to know is this; Is this just a matter of getting even? Republicans from big corporations to Wall Street bailouts have ripped off the American taxpayer and now it's our turn to rip them off. If it's tit for tat, okay, just say so. But please don't tell me that bargains reached between Democrats and unions are legitimate. They are on equally sound footing as Cheney's meetings ten years ago.

voevoda 7 years, 3 months ago

The contracts with public employees date back decades, under both Republican and Democratic administrations. Unions have often endorsed Republican candidates in the past. It was only when the Republican Party decided to empower the megarich and their drive to reward the top corporate types and ship jobs abroad that unions became skeptical of it.

Scott Drummond 7 years, 3 months ago

Such contracts would become known to the public, would they not? On that basis alone there is a huge difference.

JHOK32 7 years, 3 months ago

Why are we not focusing on the handful of greedy bankers on wall street who brought the entire U.S. economy down with their insatiable greed? Now the poor & the middle class have to pay for their insatiable greed. School teachers have to pay for their greed? School teachers are the next "evil ones?" Get real! This is outrageous! Why are'nt these bankers in prison like Bernie Madoff? Instead, they are still making outrageous salaries & bonuses while the very taxpayers who bailed them out are losing their homes, savings, retirements, & healthcare! Isn't it bad enough that the richest 20% of our population own 80% of our entire wealth? They will not rest until they own 100% of our wealth! Is this really what our founding fathers had in mind?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

And your solution is not to go after the various co-conspirators, but rather to dissolve government.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

No, my solution is to go after all conspirators, whether they are government or private, or somewhat of both.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

And yours doesn't. Which is why it's such a ridiculous notion.

llama726 7 years, 3 months ago

Nope, I believe bozo, like most, believes that government can solve some problems. Not all. You believe that government can solve no problems, which is why I've always insisted that yours is an absolutist philosophy.

Scott Drummond 7 years, 3 months ago

And remember how when it was the Wall Street banksters that were being bailed out with taxpayer $$$$ the government had no business dictating salaries. Wall Street just couldn't attract the right kind of talent if the taxpayers put conditions on their ability to earn obscene bonuses.

Compare and contrast to the right wingers current zeal to involve themselves in the compensation packages of public employees.

Yes, that stench you smell is hypocrisy.

voevoda 7 years, 3 months ago

KUrolls, You are confusing modestly-compensated public employees who do necessary work with welfare cheats. Resent welfare cheats all you want. But when public employees earn $38,000 after 25 years of steady, honest work (yes, that is the typical salary!), they are average Americans. The "rich, upper middle class" aren't the public employees (much less the schoolteachers!). They are the corporate types who amassed huge profits through promoting risky investments and cajoling the government into unwarranted tax breaks. If they hadn't played fast and loose with our money, the country wouldn't be in this mess. Put the blame where it belongs, KUrolls, and don't fall for the right-wing propaganda machine's attempts to redirect your anger against people who are blameless.

usnsnp 7 years, 3 months ago

I know all government workers make over 100,000, dont pay taxes, and have great benifits. Get your head out of the sand, most government workers are average americans and they pay just as much taxes as you do. Go tell the people that work at the DMV, pick your garbage, patrol your highways, put out your fires, try and protect our food supply, protect your country, teach your children, that they are overpayed, lazy, living off the people. If their jobs ares so good why dont you complainers try and get one.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

"McMillan contrasted the furor over the paycheck deduction bill with Kansas officials’ successful efforts in lobbying for a lucrative Air Force contract for major Kansas employer Boeing Co. While those Republicans were trying to create jobs, McMillan said, Democrats were trying to ensure that their biggest political benefactors could still funnel them campaign cash easily."

Have you ever smelled such a stinking pile of lying hypocrisy?

What jobs did they create? Well, none, actually. One branch of the government, the federal one, has chosen to spend tax dollars on one of largest piles of pork in history. And the Obama administration had much more to do with that than whomever McMillan was referring to.

Bob_Keeshan 7 years, 3 months ago

What is McMillan talking about? Apparently all the hard work on this was done during 8 weeks of the Brownback administration?

It's a miracle! It's bad enough they're indifferent to jobs, to try and take credit for an effort that took place prior to Brownback taking office is just pathetic.

bisky1 7 years, 3 months ago

overthemoon, wish i could pay loan back that way, i'll gladly pay you back tuesday. what crap no one knows the truth

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

“Justin DeLong, a Gardner computer programmer and tea party movement participant who watched the rally, said voters gave power to Republicans because they want to move away from policies pushed by political progressives. DeLong said he’s not an opponent of unions, but he also held a sign saying his American dream was “personal responsibility.

”It’s time to get back to fiscal responsibility,” he said. “It’s time to get our budgets under control.”"

Amid all of this talk of "personal responsibility," folks like Mr. DeLong want to scapegoat government employees for something for which they are not responsible.

The budget crisis was not created by state employees. It was created by the ability of Wall Street to act completely irresponsibly (while taking obscene profits and salaries,) and Fox News cheers them on, whipping know-nothings like Mr. DeLong into being their happy little foot soldiers blaming it all on "progressives."

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

"That is a rather simplistic root cause analysis. "

Not simplistic at all. Perfectly accurate. That said, you're right that the race to the bottom that has outsourced nearly everything possible overseas was a big part of the corporate shell game that also brought us the liar-loan debacle.

And while a tax hike on the wealthy wouldn't wholly solve the budget problems, it most certainly would go a very long ways towards that end.

It'd certainly be a better option than this crass exercise in class warfare.

bisky1 7 years, 3 months ago

where does barney frank lie in your created by the ability mission bozo?

tbaker 7 years, 3 months ago

Government employee unions use union dues to support political campaigns. Politicians then award improved wages and benefits to the unions who supported their campaigns and send the tax payer the bill. This arrangement has been going on a very long time and in good economic times, there was enough tax revenue to pay for it. The money is no longer there to do this. At some point the parasite begins killing the host. We're reached that point. The small and shrinking minority of Americans who pay the vast majority of taxes are fed up. WI is just the beginning.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

As long as money is considered speech, we can't require public employees to unilaterally shut up and thereby prohibit their participation in the political process.

pace 7 years, 3 months ago

The "new" republicans seem to have an adversarial position with Kansas workers The destruction of not just services but infrastructure that has been built up generations of Kansans will be tragic. I agree we need to economize but raising taxes on the working person while giving cuts and loop holes to the wealthiest will impact every working person. Most of the union members in Kansas are trade, Labor deserves a strong voice at the table. Union representation helps the non union workers preserve a living wage and benefits. We will have to rebuild Kansas after this battle against working people is waged. Billionaires are paying taxes like they were millionaires between the loop holes and the cuts. The ads won't sell so well when people can't afford a television.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

"One of the strongest statements has come from Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United, who explained “what all working families should know:”

Who caused the economic crisis? Banks, Wall Street speculators, mortgage lenders, global corporations shifting jobs from the U.S. overseas.

Who is profiting in the recession? Corporate profits, 3rd quarter of 2010, were $1.6 trillion, 28 percent higher than the year before, the biggest one-year jump in history. Meanwhile, average wages and total wages have fallen for all incomes, except the wealthiest Americans whose income grew five-fold.

Who is not paying their fair share? In U.S. states facing a budget shortfall, revenues from corporate taxes have declined $2.5 billion in the last year. In Wisconsin, two-thirds of corporations pay no taxes, and the share of state revenue from corporate taxes has fallen by half since 1981. Nationally, according to a General Accountability Study out today, 72 percent of all foreign corporations and about 57 percent of U.S. companies doing business in the United States paid no federal income taxes for at least one year between 1998 and 2005. Are public employees overpaid? State workers typically earn 11 percent less, local public workers 12 percent less than private employees with comparable education and experience. Nationally, cutting the federal payroll in half would reduce spending by less than 3 percent. Would pay and benefit concessions by public employees stop the demands?The right has made it clear it wants A- cuts in public pay, pensions, and health benefits, followed by B- restricting collective bargaining for public sector workers, followed by C- prohibiting public sector unions.

Will the right be troubled if cuts in working standards make it harder to recruit teachers and other public servants? No. Take public teachers, many of whom have accepted wage freezes and other cuts in recent years. Many in the right have a fairly open goal of privatizing education, and destabilizing public schools serves this purpose. The right also salutes the shredding of government workforce, part of its overall goal to gut all government service and make it harder to crack down on corporate abuses or implement other public protections and services.

Will the right stop at curbing public workers rights? Employers across the U.S. are demanding major concessions from private sector workers, and breaking unions. Rightwing governors and state legislators are seeking new laws to restrict union rights for all private and public employees."


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

"Does everyone have a stake in this fight? Yes. It’s an old axiom that the rise in living standards for the middle class in the 1950s was the direct result of a record rate of unionization in America. It is of course unions that won the eight-hour day, weekends off, and many other standards all Americans take for granted that are now often threatened with the three-decade-long attack on unions spurred by that rightwing icon Ronald Reagan. The corollary is that increased wages and guaranteed pensions put money into the economy, with a ripple effect that creates jobs and spurs the economy for all."

This really jumps out, so I'll repeat it--

"Nationally, cutting the federal payroll in half would reduce spending by less than 3 percent."

Olympics 7 years, 3 months ago

"A public union employee, a tea party activist, and a CEO are sitting at a table with a plate of a dozen cookies in the middle of it. The CEO takes 11 of the cookies, turns to the tea partier and says, "Watch out for that union guy. He wants a piece of your cookie."

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

Jokes like this are much funnier when they remotely reflect reality. That's why Olympics version is funny. Yours isn't.

pace 7 years, 2 months ago

I think the Koch brothers have the cookies, the government voted them special icing on the cake loop holes.

llama726 7 years, 3 months ago

That's a good point. The tax rate is 91.667%.

Wait, no. It's not a good point, because the CEO usually makes at least 10-100x as much as the average employee in their organization when you consider total compensation.

bisky1 7 years, 2 months ago

organized labor vs public opinion By a margin of 37 percent to 27 percent they believe unions make good jobs scarce; by 44 percent to 26 percent they say unions hamper worker productivity; and by a resounding 54 percent–to–18 percent margin they believe unions diminish American competitiveness.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.