Saturday, February 19, 2011

Wisconsin Union Bullies

Updates below.

This whole thing in Wisconsin seems like it's just going to continue to get nastier. Surely the union people who are demonstrating don't think that the other millions of taxpayers who pay their pensions and health care are going to just sit this one out?

Michelle Malkin brings people up to speed on the issue on her blog: The lowdown: State government workers in the Badger State pay piddling amounts for generous taxpayer-subsidized health benefits. Faced with a $3.6 billion budget hole and a state constitutional ban on running a deficit, new GOP Gov. Scott Walker wants public unions to pony up a little more. He has proposed raising the public employee share of health insurance premiums from less than 5 percent to 12.4 percent. He is also pushing for state workers to cover half of their pension contributions. To spare taxpayers the soaring costs of Byzantine union-negotiated work rules, he would rein in Big Labor’s collective bargaining power to cover only wages unless approved at the ballot box.

Tea Party groups are organizing a counter-rally for today, Saturday, in Madison from noon to 3:00 p.m. saying that it's time the other side of the story is heard at the Capitol. After a week-long protest from the left, which included organization by the O-bot group, Organizing for America, plus an address yesterday by AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, the other side is calling for people to show up today for a counter-protest. "Stand With Scott Walker" is their rallying cry. You can believe that these people will be armed with their best weapons: video cameras. One thing the Tea Party has become during its short life is sophisticated in the tactics of the other side. And the best weapons against those tactics are two-fold: 1) show up; and 2) film what happens and plaster those videos all over the internet.

According to Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit, he will attend the rally along with Andrew Breitbart. Other speakers will be announced.

Unsurprisingly, fearless leader, the Big Zero, has weighed in on the union side. He called what the governor is doing in Wisconsin "an assault on the unions." Andy Stern, SEIU president emeritus and one of the most frequent White House visitors in the first two years of O's term, called O's statement "a clear, clean, quick statement" that will "help enormously." Yes, I'm thinking it will "help enormously" towards making O a one-term president. His "leadership" on this issue is as pathetic as everything else he does.

Speaker of the House, John Boehner, ripped Obama yesterday for his demagoguery on the issue: Rather than trying to ‘win the future,’ the President’s political allies are trying, desperately, to cling to a failed past by fighting reforms our nation needs to liberate our economy from the shackles of debt and create a better future for our children and grandchildren. The President should make it clear to his friends that the people of Wisconsin, and states across America, can handle their own affairs without Washington special-interest money and meddling.

Gov. Scott Walker has gone on record as saying that Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate and State Assembly are "stronger than ever" and "won't be bullied" by the union protestors. He also had this to say to President Obama: "We are focused on balancing our budget. It would be wise for the government and others in Washington to focus on balancing their budgets, which they are a long way off from doing."

At American Thinker, Joseph Ashby says that the demonstrations in Wisconsin are "eerily similar" to recent protests abroad; clearly, he writes, the Mob in Madison see themselves as very like the Crowd in Cairo. Not so fast, says Ashby: "The public employees' desire to align themselves with the angels notwithstanding, their protest is more Greece than Egypt." At the same site, Sonny Palermo writes that the runaway senators in Wisconsin are making a mockery of Democracy.

On Friday, more than 600 teachers in the Madison, WI school district called in "sick" to attend the protests, forcing the state's largest school district to close down for the day. Some on the other side are encouraging parents to temporarily disenroll their children from the public schools and shut them down. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal is calling for the the teachers and Senators to get over their "snit" and get back to work.

Charles Krauthammer weighs in on Obama's sweet words on the side of the unions: "In the end it will sink the country at the state and national level."

And this is quite hilarious. Even Joe Klein of all people (good Lord) at Time Rag is chastising the Democrats for running away from the vote in Wisconsin: I mean, Isn't it, well, a bit ironic that the protesters in Madison, blocking the state senate chamber, are chanting "Freedom, Democracy, Union" while trying to prevent a vote? Isn't it ironic that the Democratic Senators have fled the democratic process? Isn't it interesting that some of those who--rightly--protest the assorted Republican efforts to stymie majority rule in the U.S. Senate are celebrating the Democratic efforts to stymie the same in the Wisconsin Senate?

And finally, here we go, today's example of the "new civility" from the Left. And I'm just sure the lamestream media is reporting this all day long. That's sarcasm. We haven't forgotten the completely unhinged, ginned-up "hysteria" on the Left about Sarah Palin and her "Bulls Eye map" that was reported ad nauseam in the media.  

I plan to watch for coverage of the Tea Party counter-rally, starting at noon today, which I'm hoping will be covered by Fox News, but we'll see. If not, I know it will be well-covered by Tea Party people there with their cameras. Then I think I need to make plans to go to Ohio when this issue hits there. Had I known about today's rally sooner (I just wasn't paying attention--and this is how we lose democracy), I would be on a bus this morning, headed to Madison from St. Louis.

Update. Right Network interview with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker today. h/t to Gateway Pundit.

Governor Walker on what will happen if his proposals are not passed: It means 5,500 state workers would be laid off. It means anywhere from 5,000- 6,000 local employees would have to be laid off. That’s anywhere from 10,000 to 12,000 people in a time when we have a 7.5% unemployment rate. We can’t afford to have anyone laid off. I’m trying to save jobs.

Updates from Madison posted by Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit. There was some really charming leftist crap there today, but as Hoft said, at least they didn't beat any skulls on the cement.

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