August 11, 2011
The N.Y. Times editorial this morning had it about right. "Tuesday's vote (in Wisconsin) proved that the unions and the middle-class voters who support them remain a potent force. Mr. Walker's opponents did not succeed in turning over the Senate, but it was still an impressive response to the governor's arrogant overreach."
I am no Pollyanna, but I think we got almost as much as they did. I have seen more than my share of defeats and some victories that turned quickly into defeats. While one more Senate winner would have spelled "victory," even that victory would have been suspect. Why? Well, what would the new majority in the Senate do? During the day Tuesday, when all of you were knocking on doors, making calls, discussing, the arrogant albeit shrewd governor signed into law the gerrymandered reapportionment plan that will make those six senate districts solid Republican until the next census. The "victory" pushed for would not have altered one Assembly or Senate district line. Not one.
So, Governor Koch/Walker, you won a temporary victory and, with the millions of dollars your Koch sponsors poured into Wisconsin, everyone will be watching you corrupt our state and its leaders as we go forward. (Is it true That Alberta Darling got more than $8 million? Whoa Nelly!) Now everyone in Wisconsin knows you and guess what...they don't like you, your tactics, your new platform, your arrogance, your disdain for the middle class and your willingness to injure or even destroy our wonderful system of public education.
(Yet another problem in Waukesha? C'mon GAB. This is a travesty.)
You, Governor Walker/Koch, and the Fitzgerald boys will lay it on thick but you will not change the reputation you so richly deserve. Recall your conversation with the Koch fake? "Hello, David..." That image and your words will live longer than you will serve as governor. (Did I say "serve?" I meant "rule.")
At the moment, the statement Tuesday night by the chair of the Dem Party, "I will not rest until Walker is recalled," has stirred a debate as it should. The party chair should, perhaps, get some rest before the discussion gets too far down the road. There are consequences when Democrats are not "d" democrats.
Take your time.
Off to a memorial service for our friend John Mackey, who, Alan Page said, "was always the best athlete on the field but was even better off the field." Quite a leader.
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Dear Fighting Bob, how fair is it to the men and women of Wisconsin that don't have a state job, to continuously pay more for their health insurance & retirement savings while a state paid workers benefits go untouched? To me it seems quite inequtable and I think tuesday's election is evidence of that. I can't believe people can't see that. When the economy tanks state union members can feel it too. The way I see it everything is on the backs of employers, private employers. From unemployment ins to workers compensation to social security taxes. You blame corporate greed, well teachers and 911 dispatchers, city police and fire workers are greedy as well. I've never seen people have so much. New houses, cars, boats, atv's, lawn equipment, campers, tv's and electronics. When I grew up, and I'm 37, no one had all this. But it's never enough. We now elect our government representatives based on how much they will give us. It makes me sick and I fear for the future of my kids.
-John B Wyss | Boyceville WI | August 11, 2011
It shouldn't be necessary, but, judging from Mr. Wyss's letter, I guess we need to point out yet again how teachers and other public employees got the benefits they receive: They got them because it was cheaper to give employees group medical coverage and retirement than to give them raises. Henry Ford figured that one out long ago.
Then, some more thoughts: I remember living in New York City years ago when John Lindsay was Mayor, and he approved a new contract with garbage workers. Of course there were complaints, and he said, "So - do you want to collect the garbage?"
Several years ago, I was on our local school board and a citizen at a board meeting said that the teachers were already making more than the average salary in our town - to which I replied, "Well, I certainly hope so!"
-John Smart | Park Falls WI | August 12, 2011
This is for John.
You need to be concerned about your children as I am for my children and grand and great grand children.I am 80 years old and have been through many recessions and grew up in the great depression.My dad was a successful baker with his own business.He lost his business in 1935 and was lucky enough to get a job on a Gov.program called the WPA.My oldest brother joined another Gov.program called the CCC.All his money except for $5 per month was sent home to help my dad feed our family.
The only place for old people to go when they were down and out and their kids could not feed and house them was the Poor Farm.For the kids it was an Orphanage.
1935 was also the year that Social Security was passed with the 1st payment going out
in the early 1940's.
1935 was also the year that the Wagner Act was passed that allowed workers to organise into unions and be able to bargain with their employer on all matters of wages,hours of work and working conditions.
We are on the edge of loosing all that has been gained for all workers.Remember "an injury to one is an injury to all"
Workers rights is like a "Victory Garden" of World War II.It was mostly free of weeds in the 30's,40's and 50's and most of the 60's.We then started to neglect weeding the garden.We started to sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labor.You know watch TV,go fishing,go out to eat,go to Las Vegas and yes evan take trips overseas.
Most of the unions went on their own way and felt they could do better by themselves and all the while the weeds kept taking over the garden.
Today all unions and most of their members and retirees (like me)are out pulling weeds from this 'Garden of Labor Rights'.
I hope you will join us in this effort for your kids sake.
Like the old slogan from Boys Town of the past(a former orphanage) "He's not heavy he's my Brother".
-Joe Gruber | Campbellsport,WI | August 12, 2011
These day we look at our candidates based on how much they will or won't take away from us, it seems, not what "they" give us (we earn that ourselves). You know, I hope, that the so called middle-class is becoming poorer and poorer and the the richest people in the nation are getting huge bonuses and all the tax breaks.
Where do you get this myth that union people are somehow fabulously wealthy? Teacher salaries are really not that great if you look at the numbers and if they pay less for health care and pension than a non-union person then what does that tell you? That they get compensated for a low salary somewhat by getting a little better deal on health care and pension (or used to.) And that maybe you should join a union if you want any negotiation power at all in the work place. These people you think of as "rich" are some of the hardest working people of our nation. Do you know how hard a teachers works? A corporate CEO wouldn't last a day in their shoes.
You see this is all a part of the big ruse to pit working people against working people, while giant corporate entities get truly obscene benefits and pay no taxes. The fact that this ruse works at all shows us something is not quite right with the electorate's thinking. People need to wake up. And, by the way, I'm 57 and have been watching this erosion for most of my life. The American Dream is only a dream at this point, and will remain so until we do real things to change this country in a positive direction.
-John E Davey | Kendall, WI | August 12, 2011
To John Wyss:
Instead of dissing public employees or any other employee with a family supporting job, benefits, etc, let's work to raise all workers to the same level or better.
No worker should work for substandard wages and no worker should work without job security, benefits, vacations, healthcare, retirement, etc.
A burden on employers or corporations? Hell, no! Workers are assets. They are not liabilities to be discarded for cheaper labor. Unions have done workers wonders but their benefits were soon forgotten in the 70's-80's. Today the worker has no idea why they work 40 hr weeks or have workmen's comp or any other benefit. If workers were to quit working, corporations and the wealthy would be toast.
What we need is more employee involvement in the ownership and decision making roles of business. We also need more balanced wages between management and workers. There is not a single employee worth millions of dollars. At the same time, every employee is worth more than non-family supporting wages tossed at many of them.
A healthy workforce means people can enjoy life after work hours. It means more money to spend and thus more demand for goods. It means more taxes collected.
Trash workers like Walker, Fitzgeralds, Tea Partiers, convervatives, the religious nuts, etc, do and all society suffers.
We saw communism implode in Russia after 75 yrs of corruption and mismanagement. There is no reason that capitalism should be immune from the same collapse once corruption and mismanagement corrupt it. Money in your pocket, Mr. Wyss, at the expense of others does nothing to make ours a better society or the planet a better home for all.
-Franz Fripplfrappl | Madison | August 12, 2011
Mr. Wys makes a few valid observations but draws some really bad conclusions. Yes, in many cases public employees do make better wage and benefit packages than their private sector (those that exist) counterparts. It makes it easy for politicians to vilify those "lazy" and "pampered" public employees and the voting public gets on the bandwagon.
What the public does not ask is to see the balance sheets of the private sector employers they work for. Why so few private sector unions, why the benefit cuts, why the shabby treatment? The angry voters never ask and frankly, are too damned gutless to fight for their rights. Easier to kick around the school teachers or garbage collectors.
What people like this never realize is that you don't make one set of workers better off by makuing another set worse off. The only ones who suck up the cream on that deal is the boss class, whether they are private sector bosses or politicians who kick around public employees.
Remember, today you helped these sociopaths shaft your neighbor, tomorrow it is your turn. And your turn will come again, and again, and again..., until you (hopefully ) wake up and get a spine before it is totally too damned late.
-Griebnotz Doerkpfester | (Glad) I Escaped, WI> | August 12, 2011
Dear Ed, thanks for all your work, energy and encouragement in the run up to the senate recall elections. And thanks to you and Dave and John as we ready for another exciting, much needed Bobfest. Here are some thoughts following the recall elections.
I think liberals and progressives, after the last 3 general elections in our state, (governor, supreme court, senate recalls) have to grudgingly accept that there are more people in Wisconsin who will turn out to vote who value and believe in the Republican agenda than people who will turn out to vote who value and believe in the Democratic agenda. Republican voters are mobilized and energized by huge amounts of corporate money, but we might consider that Republicans start every election with a base of 40-45% of voters toward a needed 51% majority with voters who are primarily motivated not by their economic and justice philosophies and values, but by social issues such as ie. "right to life", "anti-gay rights", "gun rights",and some "some unspoken lingering social and racial prejudice". These are difficult voters to budge, even with all our protesting this spring in the Capitol and our organizing this summer. They are motivated voters, maybe some of them are against union rights, but for the most part it seems that the "social" concerns mentioned above motivate the majority of our Republican and Tea Party friends. The Republicans can nominate and elect virtual unknowns ie Ron Johnson over a superstar like Russ Feingold not just because of the large money they bring to elections, but because the money mobilizes all their at the ready foot soldiers. I might bet that any Republican majority in our three recent elections begins with 40-45% of their needed 51% with Evangelical Christians, conservative Catholics, gun rights proponets and some people still harboring lingering social prejudice (that argues with the politically correct mantra of reigning in entitlement programs). Throw in another 5-10% of folks who are angry at having to pay any taxes for social, health, safety and educational needs and you see how easily they fashion their recent 51-55% majorities. NO doubt unlimited undisclosed money helps mobilize their vote but no amount of marching at the Capitol or phone calls or door knocking will change their vote or keep Republican voters from the polls. Right now they have a very large base, seemingly larger than ours.
We have to find a way to expand and mobilize the number of voters who endorse and benifit from Democratic priorities ie. fairness in taxation, a good public education system, health benefits for those who can't afford them, social and jobs programs, environmental protection etc. but so far we have not found a way to do that. If we don't, we will continue to fight the very good fight but lose in Wisconsin. And as heaven has known for a very long time, and as we know now, we will always be outspent.
-Sam Romano | Oregon, Wi | August 13, 2011
Alternatives to "Boehner-Baloney": 1. Collect what is owed to "entitlement" PRIORITY funds by the government by assessing the mega corporations, many of whom, including General Electric, paid NO taxes, to completely refund the entitlement funds, with interest. 2. Assess Social Security contribution taxes to the complete top, for high income brackets...NO exclusions. 3. Assess all adult Americans including Seniors, $1.00 more per month for Social Security contributions. 4.Make it illegal for the government to tap Social Security for ANY other reason.5. Raise taxes to the max on upper income individuals making over $170,000 a year. They whine that there are too high US corporate taxes? Then how come many corporations are not paying any??? Some individuals laughingly tell you that they are not about to create jobs with their tax breaks. That is a joke.
6.Do not DARE to touch entitlement programs for our children and grandchildren, or discriminate against them by raising the retirement age. It is criminal to even think of it, while the internationals are invading our country through buying our banks, our stock market, and our media.
7. Must comment once again on a maniulated, skewed, world of International mega corporations who have been allowed to invade the US Wall Street nation. and are dictating this country's economy and military support for their own purposes. (It was interesting to note that Murdoch's outfit, including Fox, is 7% owned by an Arab...who is not, to my knowledge, a US citizen. Many corporations who are sending our armies to war, (with falsely disguised "nation and democracy-building, propaganda), are NOT all US citizens. When did this become OK? NEVER, if you are a true patriot. My view is that the only time Wall Street and the banks recognize the US as a nation is when they need a military to prep, clean up, or maintain somewhere overseas for their expansion.
8. Assess all these mega corporations at least unescapable taxes at a minimum, and a war tax.
9. Do NOT REWARD companies for moving back to the US from overseas location. Tax and tariff them for any products brought back here from those locations....or strip them of US licenses and deport them....including the arm chair investors who allow it, in their name...and within their investment.
10. Prosecute any who lobby, promote, or vote for war if they or their family receive or will receive any funds from the war-machine industries.
Why do we hear of none of these alternatives to corporate welfare and financially casino rolling the middle and lower classes? Because these are not moral people...they comfort and insulate themselves with pretending that they are. I do not believe that all are even Americans. Finally, Grandpa's Republican Party is dead....it was replaced by these Mega-Corporate-Prostituted politicans who still call themselves Republicans..
But them, the Democrats are not all the same as the old Dems. Kindly kick some X**!
-hmj | Madison, Wi | August 13, 2011
Forgot to mention: SAM! You have it right...the voting divisions do combine at least four large strange, incompatible, but focused combinations of large groups: 1.) Huge corporations, and all the Wall Street jockeys, and their screamin' ragin' Investors "NO-Taxes-Group, 2.) Misled, Used Evangelicals, 3.) Rifle-totin'-Beer-Supportin'-Ball-Game combined with various sports-obsessed, and their cheerleadin', Fame-Idolizin'Fashion obsessed, Stepford Wives. and 4.) the small businessmen who still think that there is a Republican party like Grandpa's.
The only response just like Evers....Do NOT BUY
from these people's stores. Let the Great American Boycotts begin the very minute that they attack our children and grandchildren's safety net priority programs. It's the only thing they feel.
-hmj | Madison, WI | August 14, 2011
Actually Sam you need to run on something. What was the Democratic platform for recall? If you go by all the comercials you guys ran it seems you just want to be the party of no and raising taxes is your whole economic plan. Not one of your canidates ran on a plan for jobs. Only stop Walker, hate the rich and the stupidest one of all the secret plan of state legislatures to end the federal medicare plan of which they have no control. A little advice you won't take but Mike Tate and Graeme Zielinski being the face of the WI democratic party is not working out for you guys.
My comment on teachers is this. My wife works aprox. 40 weeks a year. She is off 10 weeks straight in the summer and gets all her summer pay in one lump sum at the end of the year. She spends the summer sleeping in, walking the dog, going shopping, exercise classes, going to summerfest, the fairs and we go on several up north road trips. Its a real rough life she has as a public teacher and she will be the first to admit how good she has it in her job. After sitting down and looking at what Walkers changes really mean to us. Its all going to be a wash after her yearly raise and dumping the useless union dues. We won't be selling our house or working multiple jobs. When teachers start receiveing thier pay checks in September they are going to find that out.
-SW | Waukesha WI | August 14, 2011