supporter
Posted by Stone (+1596) 10 years ago
By Jane Mayer
Covert Operations

On May 17th, a black-tie audience at the Metropolitan Opera House applauded as a tall, jovial-looking billionaire took the stage. It was the seventieth annual spring gala of American Ballet Theatre, and David H. Koch was being celebrated for his generosity as a member of the board of trustees; he had recently donated $2.5 million toward the company's upcoming season, and had given many millions before that. Koch received an award while flanked by two of the gala's co-chairs, Blaine Trump, in a peach-colored gown, and Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, in emerald green. Kennedy's mother, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, had been a patron of the ballet and, coincidentally, the previous owner of a Fifth Avenue apartment that Koch had bought, in 1995, and then sold, eleven years later, for thirty-two million dollars, having found it too small.

The gala marked the social ascent of Koch, who, at the age of seventy, has become one of the city's most prominent philanthropists. In 2008, he donated a hundred million dollars to modernize Lincoln Center's New York State Theatre building, which now bears his name. He has given twenty million to the American Museum of Natural History, whose dinosaur wing is named for him. This spring, after noticing the decrepit state of the fountains outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Koch pledged at least ten million dollars for their renovation. He is a trustee of the museum, perhaps the most coveted social prize in the city, and serves on the board of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where, after he donated more than forty million dollars, an endowed chair and a research center were named for him.

One dignitary was conspicuously absent from the gala: the event's third honorary co-chair, Michelle Obama. Her office said that a scheduling conflict had prevented her from attending. Yet had the First Lady shared the stage with Koch it might have created an awkward tableau. In Washington, Koch is best known as part of a family that has repeatedly funded stealth attacks on the federal government, and on the Obama Administration in particular.
With his brother Charles, who is seventy-four, David Koch owns virtually all of Koch Industries, a conglomerate, headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, whose annual revenues are estimated to be a hundred billion dollars. The company has grown spectacularly since their father, Fred, died, in 1967, and the brothers took charge. The Kochs operate oil refineries in Alaska, Texas, and Minnesota, and control some four thousand miles of pipeline. Koch Industries owns Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups, Georgia-Pacific lumber, Stainmaster carpet, and Lycra, among other products. Forbes ranks it as the second-largest private company in the country, after Cargill, and its consistent profitability has made David and Charles Koch-who, years ago, bought out two other brothers-among the richest men in America. Their combined fortune of thirty-five billion dollars is exceeded only by those of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

The Kochs are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry-especially environmental regulation. These views dovetail with the brothers' corporate interests. In a study released this spring, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst's Political Economy Research Institute named Koch Industries one of the top ten air polluters in the United States. And Greenpeace issued a report identifying the company as a "kingpin of climate science denial." The report showed that, from 2005 to 2008, the Kochs vastly outdid ExxonMobil in giving money to organizations fighting legislation related to climate change, underwriting a huge network of foundations, think tanks, and political front groups. Indeed, the brothers have funded opposition campaigns against so many Obama Administration policies-from health-care reform to the economic-stimulus program-that, in political circles, their ideological network is known as the Kochtopus.

In a statement, Koch Industries said that the Greenpeace report "distorts the environmental record of our companies." And David Koch, in a recent, admiring article about him in New York, protested that the "radical press" had turned his family into "whipping boys," and had exaggerated its influence on American politics. But Charles Lewis, the founder of the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan watchdog group, said, "The Kochs are on a whole different level. There's no one else who has spent this much money. The sheer dimension of it is what sets them apart. They have a pattern of lawbreaking, political manipulation, and obfuscation. I've been in Washington since Watergate, and I've never seen anything like it. They are the Standard Oil of our times."

A few weeks after the Lincoln Center gala, the advocacy wing of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation-an organization that David Koch started, in 2004-held a different kind of gathering. Over the July 4th weekend, a summit called Texas Defending the American Dream took place in a chilly hotel ballroom in Austin. Though Koch freely promotes his philanthropic ventures, he did not attend the summit, and his name was not in evidence. And on this occasion the audience was roused not by a dance performance but by a series of speakers denouncing President Barack Obama. Peggy Venable, the organizer of the summit, warned that Administration officials "have a socialist vision for this country."

Five hundred people attended the summit, which served, in part, as a training session for Tea Party activists in Texas. An advertisement cast the event as a populist uprising against vested corporate power. "Today, the voices of average Americans are being drowned out by lobbyists and special interests," it said. "But you can do something about it." The pitch made no mention of its corporate funders. The White House has expressed frustration that such sponsors have largely eluded public notice. David Axelrod, Obama's senior adviser, said, "What they don't say is that, in part, this is a grassroots citizens' movement brought to you by a bunch of oil billionaires."
Top
supporter
Posted by Bridgier (+9195) 10 years ago
Those are some mighty strong allogations.
Top
supporter
Posted by Levi Forman (+3712) 10 years ago
I've read a bit about these guys and I think it's disingenuous to paint them as cynical and only motivated by self interest. I think that they are true believers with regard to libertarianism, whatever that is worth.
Top
supporter
Posted by Bridgier (+9195) 10 years ago
It's easy to be a libertarian, when you've got enough money that you don't have to rely on anybody else.
Top
supporter
Posted by Levi Forman (+3712) 10 years ago
That's true. All I'm saying is that I think that they fund the Tea Party because they believe in what they advocate, not because they are using them to promote their corporate interests. When you're a 74 year old billionaire giving away money $100M at a time you're not really all that motivated to cut taxes for your own sake.
Top
supporter
Posted by Buck Showalter (+4461) 10 years ago
Tell that to this guy-> http://www.labornotes.org...l-security

And I don't read that poop, I just googled "billionaire wants end to social security" because I saw his old ass on the newsthe other day and that's the first link I got. Go labor!

[This message has been edited by Buck Showalter (12/22/2010)]
Top
Posted by J. Dyba (+1350) 10 years ago
Levi,

You are a bright guy and I would encourage you to look deeper into the Koch brothers. They are one of the few sources of energy in this country that run on a level of evil you really only see in a movie script. It is hard to fathom the harm they have caused.
Top
supporter
Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+17328) 10 years ago
Ditto to what Mr. Dyba posted.
Top
founder
supporter
Posted by Amorette Allison (+11757) 10 years ago
The Koch bros. make the Hunt bros. look nice.
Top
supporter
Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4463) 10 years ago
They are one of the few sources of energy in this country that run on a level of evil you really only see in a movie script.


Translation... in movie scripts, Evil = Right Wing Activism
Top
supporter
Posted by Stone (+1596) 10 years ago
translation- Greed is Good- Procreate your neighbor before they can procreate you.

Some of the best articles I have ever read have been on Labor notes.

[This message has been edited by Stone (12/22/2010)]
Top
supporter
Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4463) 10 years ago
for example... "The Lost Power of Buy Now Pay Later... What your grandkids can do for YOU!"

Brought to you by Labor Notes.
Top
supporter
Posted by Levi Forman (+3712) 10 years ago
I am not defending the Koch brother's character here, I'm objecting to the idea that because they give money to the Tea Party, the Tea Party is some sort of astroturf front for the corporate oligarchy. If corporations or the Republican party were running the Tea Party, it would probably have a lot more coherent message.
Top
Posted by Bruce Helland (+586) 10 years ago
The whole point of the 'tea party' is to keep the minions confused and misdirected so they cant see what is really going on. Lets see if any of the newly elected 'tea partiers' take a run at the corporate lobbyists...
Top
supporter
Posted by Stone (+1596) 10 years ago
Levi, they also donate to the Republican party. They are covering all there bases.
Top
supporter
Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+17328) 10 years ago
The Koch brothers must be toasting their champagne glasses constantly, for the work they have done in the legislative sessions across the country.

You gotta give those guys credit. I had no idea that they would be so successful in destroying unions.
Top
supporter
Posted by Levi Forman (+3712) 10 years ago
The unions have been pretty irrelevant for a long time. The public ones are just following the private ones into history. I think that their mistake was only buying Democrats. The smart money buys both sides of the aisle so when the other side gets the reins they have a reason not to gut you.
Top
Posted by aaron bruce (+193) 10 years ago
public sector unions rail against the bosses of public sector workers. that would be the people of the state and the nation. public sector unions are going to kill theirselves because the people will only get ripped off for so long.

i wonder if the koch brothers would be able to reach comparison with george soros???
Top
Posted by korky II (+608) 10 years ago
I don't think government employees should be unionized. Could you imagine if our military was and went on strike ? Just food for thought. Of course though, I believe that unions are a major reason (not entirely) of our financial problems here in the U.S.
Top
supporter
Posted by Bill Freese (+479) 10 years ago
So teachers should not be allowed to ask for higher wages because it would be dangerous to allow soldiers to go on strike?
Top
Posted by korky II (+608) 10 years ago
I'm just saying it is a complicated mess. On one hand, why should the government pay more for employees retirement than the private sector ? Plus right now the government is broke (and I mean broke), so there is no money availabe to pay such a huge amount into these retirement funds, yet the teachers union (NEA) is demanding they pay it. Simply, where's the money going to come from ? I spent 20 yrs in the Navy and retired. During that time I paid taxes on what I earned (which came from tax dollars). Since retirement I still pay taxes on my retirement income from the Military. (which still comes from tax dollars). I think the teachers in Wisconsin are getting a sweet deal from the state. The state is not taking their privilege of collective bargaining away for wage increases, just their outlandish retirement benefits. Plus the state is still offering them a better retirement than the private sector.
Top
supporter
Posted by Stone (+1596) 10 years ago
There was a surplus in Wisconsin until tax cuts for the rich at a state level put the state in the black. Cut taxes blaim public employees and fire them and then blame the spike in unemployment of the very same workers that provide services that no one else will do.

"With the battle in defense of public services and workers' rights reaching a fevered pitch, it seems worth revisiting the driving forces behind this conflict. We have previously reported on the network of right-wing groups and their deep-pocketed supporters who are attacking AFSCME members. Today's edition of the Battleground Bulletin explains why it is no surprise that the billionaire Koch (pronounced Coke) brothers have appeared at the center of our battles."

Charles and David Koch: Billions to Bust Unions?


"Three weeks ago we reported on a rally AFSCME members joined to protest the "Billionaires Caucus" sponsored by the Koch brothers in Rancho Mirage, California. Their annual right-wing fundraising event has previously hosted Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, both of whom supported the decision in the Citizens United case which allowed Koch Industries and other businesses to flood the 2010 elections with corporate cash."

"The conversation between blogger Ian Murphy [ http://www.buffalobeast.com/?p=5045 ], pretending to be David Koch, and Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin thrust these two right-wing billionaires back into the national spotlight this week. The Kochs were unrepentant even as a new light was shined on the pair's plan to strip workers of their rights and silence the political voice of union members."

""With the Left trying to intimidate the Koch brothers to back off of their support for freedom and signaling to others that this is what happens if you oppose the administration and its allies, we have no choice but to continue to fight," says Richard Fink, Executive Vice President of Koch Industries. "We will not step back at all.""

"Since they were already among the biggest contributors to both Scott Walker and the Republican Governors Association (RGA), this may indeed be the time for them to double down on their investment."

Republicans Feeling the Pressure?

"With public opinion running 3-to-1 against Walker's plan to strip public employees of their rights, one might wonder why the governor and GOP legislators are not willing to work out a compromise with those who are on the side of the workers. Or why GOP leaders in the Assembly felt as if they needed to rush through a vote on the bill in the wee hours of this morning without giving 28 Democratic legislators enough time to cast their votes against the bill. Again, the influence of the Koch brothers and the groups they support may be the answer to those questions."

"This fight may be most visible on the ground in Ohio, Indiana and Wisconsin, but the groundwork has been laid for many years by the right-wing forces with whom the Koch's conspire [ http://motherjones.com/mojo/2011/02/wisconsin-scott-walker-koch-brothers ]. By funding groups like the Cato Institute, the Reason Foundation and Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the Kochs have been creating the network that helped Republicans like Walker and Kasich win last November and is now aiding them in the state fights."

"Americans for Prosperity recently placed a $342,000 ad buy [ http://www.americansforprosperity.org/022211-americans-prosperity-launches-statewide-tv-ad-urging-wisconsinites-%E2%80%9Cstand-walker%E2%80%9D ] in Wisconsin to support Governor Walker's attack on workers' rights. The last Koch-supported organization that ran so much TV advertising in Wisconsin was the RGA, who spent $3.4 million attacking Walker's Democratic opponent Tom Barrett last fall."

"All of these national right-wing forces are no doubt putting immense pressure on GOP governors and legislators to continue their efforts to strip workers of their rights. We don't have as much money as the Kochs and their billionaire pals, but AFSCME members and the hundreds of thousands joining us in protest need to keep up the pressure. We must work to expose who is behind these attacks and what their true motives are."

Must Read

"Mary Bottari connects all the dots about the Koch brothers' financial interests in the Wisconsin fight, and President McEntee puts the whole fight in its historical perspective:"

Why A Reporter's Prank Call To David Koch Is No Laughing Matter [ http://www.businessinsider.com/why-a-reporters-prank-call-to-david-koch-is-no-laughing-matter-2011-2 ]
Mary Bottari, Center for Media and Democracy, 2/25/2011

Quote of the Day

"We fight these battles on taxes and regulations, but really what we would like to see is to take the unions out at the knees, so they don't have the resources to fight these battles." -- AFP staffer Scott Hagerstrom [ http://www.npr.org/2011/02/25/134040226/in-wis-union-battle-focus-on-billionaire-brothers ] advising grassroots organizers on spreading the message about public sector unions."
Top
supporter
sponsor
Posted by souix (+301) 10 years ago
Stone,

My father said that ever since Social Security was enacted the Republican Party has worked to do away with this program. In addition to Social Security, the environment, and women's rights have been something that they want to terminate. Below is an interesting article that all middle class Americans, and especially women, should read.

The Unions have been the voice of the middle class.

http://www.businessinsid...war-2011-2
Top
supporter
sponsor
Posted by souix (+301) 10 years ago
@ Korky II,

Plus right now the government is broke (and I mean broke), so there is no money availabe to pay such a huge amount into these retirement funds, yet the teachers union (NEA) is demanding they pay it.


Teachers work for lower wages than they could get in the private sector. Their health insurance and retirement come from deferred compensation.

http://blogs.forbes.com/...-pensions/

As a side note: The unions have agreed to every monetary concession for which Walker has asked. He just wants to break the unions, because they protect Middle America's rights.

BTW- How would you like to balance the budget with your retirement?

Waker just wants to break the unions, because they protect Middle America's rights.

[This message has been edited by souix (2/26/2011)]
Top
supporter
Posted by Stone (+1596) 10 years ago
What Conservatives Really Want
George Lakoff | Saturday 19 February 2011

"Dedicated to the peaceful protestors in Wisconsin, February 19, 2011.

The central issue in our political life is not being discussed. At stake is the moral basis of American democracy.
The individual issues are all too real: assaults on unions, public employees, women's rights, immigrants, the environment, health care, voting rights, food safety, pensions, prenatal care, science, public broadcasting and on and on.

Budget deficits are a ruse, as we've seen in Wisconsin, where the Governor turned a surplus into a deficit by providing corporate tax breaks, and then used the deficit as a ploy to break the unions, not just in Wisconsin, but seeking to be the first domino in a nationwide conservative movement.

Deficits can be addressed by raising revenue, plugging tax loopholes, putting people to work and developing the economy long-term in all the ways the president has discussed. But deficits are not what really matter to conservatives.
Conservatives really want to change the basis of American life, to make America run according to the conservative moral worldview in all areas of life.

In the 2008 campaign, candidate Obama accurately described the basis of American democracy: empathy - citizens caring for each other, both social and personal responsibility - acting on that care, and an ethic of excellence. From these, our freedoms and our way of life follow, as does the role of government: to protect and empower everyone equally. Protection includes safety, health, the environment, pensions. Empowerment starts with education and infrastructure. No one can be free without these, and without a commitment to care and act on that care by one's fellow citizens.
The conservative worldview rejects all of that.

Conservatives believe in individual responsibility alone, not social responsibility. They don't think government should help its citizens. That is, they don't think citizens should help each other. The part of government they want to cut is not the military (we have 174 bases around the world), not government subsidies to corporations, not the aspect of government that fits their worldview. They want to cut the part that helps people. Why? Because that violates individual responsibility.

But where does that view of individual responsibility alone come from?

The way to understand the conservative moral system is to consider a strict father family. The father is The Decider, the ultimate moral authority in the family. His authority must not be challenged. His job is to protect the family, to support the family (by winning competitions in the marketplace), and to teach his kids right from wrong by disciplining them physically when they do wrong. The use of force is necessary and required. Only then will children develop the internal discipline to become moral beings. And only with such discipline will they be able to prosper. And what of people who are not prosperous? They don't have discipline, and without discipline they cannot be moral, so they deserve their poverty. The good people are hence the prosperous people. Helping others takes away their discipline, and hence makes them both unable to prosper on their own and function morally.

The market itself is seen in this way. The slogan, "Let the market decide" assumes the market itself is The Decider. The market is seen as both natural (since it is assumed that people naturally seek their self-interest) and moral (if everyone seeks their own profit, the profit of all will be maximized by the invisible hand). As the ultimate moral authority, there should be no power higher than the market that might go against market values. Thus the government can spend money to protect the market and promote market values, but should not rule over it either through (1) regulation, (2) taxation, (3) unions and worker rights, (4) environmental protection or food safety laws, and (5) tort cases. Moreover, government should not do public service. The market has service industries for that.
Thus, it would be wrong for the government to provide health care, education, public broadcasting, public parks and so on. The very idea of these things is at odds with the conservative moral system. No one should be paying for anyone else. It is individual responsibility in all arenas. Taxation is thus seen as taking money away from those who have earned it and giving it to people who don't deserve it. Taxation cannot be seen as providing the necessities of life for a civilized society, and, as necessary, for business to prosper.

In conservative family life, the strict father rules. Fathers and husbands should have control over reproduction; hence, parental and spousal notification laws and opposition to abortion. In conservative religion, God is seen as the strict father, the Lord, who rewards and punishes according to individual responsibility in following his Biblical word.

Above all, the authority of conservatism itself must be maintained. The country should be ruled by conservative values, and progressive values are seen as evil. Science should have authority over the market, and so the science of global warming and evolution must be denied. Facts that are inconsistent with the authority of conservatism must be ignored or denied or explained away. To protect and extend conservative values themselves, the devil's own means can be used against conservatism's immoral enemies, whether lies, intimidation, torture or even death, say, for women's doctors.
Freedom is defined as being your own strict father - with individual, not social, responsibility, and without any government authority telling you what you can and cannot do. To defend that freedom as an individual, you will, of course, need a gun.
This is the America that conservatives really want. Budget deficits are convenient ruses for destroying American democracy and replacing it with conservative rule in all areas of life.

What is saddest of all is to see Democrats helping them.
Democrats help radical conservatives by accepting the deficit frame and arguing about what to cut. Even arguing against specific "cuts" is working within the conservative frame. What is the alternative? Pointing out what conservatives really want. Point out that there is plenty of money in America, and in Wisconsin. It is at the top. The disparity in financial assets is un-American - the top one percent has more financial assets than the bottom 95 percent. Middle-class wages have been flat for 30 years, while the wealth has floated to the top. This fits the conservative way of life, but not the American way of life.

Democrats help conservatives by not shouting out loud, over and over, that it was conservative values that caused the global economic collapse: lack of regulation and a greed-is-good ethic.
Democrats also help conservatives by what a friend has called "Democratic Communication Disorder." Republican conservatives have constructed a vast and effective communication system, with think tanks, framing experts, training institutes, a system of trained speakers, vast holdings of media and booking agents. Eighty percent of the talking heads on TV are conservatives. Talk matters, because language heard over and over changes brains. Democrats have not built the communication system they need, and many are relatively clueless about how to frame their deepest values and complex truths.
And Democrats help conservatives when they function as policy wonks - talking policy without communicating the moral values behind the policies. They help conservatives when they neglect to remind us that pensions are deferred payments for work done. "Benefits" are pay for work, not a handout. Pensions and benefits are arranged by contract. If there is not enough money for them, it is because the contracted funds have been taken by conservative officials and given to wealthy people and corporations instead of to the people who have earned them.

Democrats help conservatives when they use conservative words like "entitlements" instead of "earnings" and speak of government as providing "services" instead of "necessities."
Is there hope?

I see it in Wisconsin, where tens of thousands citizens see through the conservative frames and are willing to flood the streets of their capital to stand up for their rights. They understand that democracy is about citizens uniting to take care of each other, about social responsibility as well as individual responsibility, and about work - not just for your own profit, but to help create a civilized society. They appreciate their teachers, nurses, firemen, police and other public servants. They are flooding the streets to demand real democracy - the democracy of caring, of social responsibility and of excellence, where prosperity is to be shared by those who work and those who serve."
Top
supporter
Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14950) 10 years ago
One has to wonder how much more teacher would make if they were not paying union dues so that the head of the NEA makes 8 times the average teacher salary. How do you justify that hypocrisy? The union execs don't really care about the teachers. What they care about is making sure their gravy-train lands in the doggy dish every morning.

In terms of safety, unions have done some really good things. In the last few years however, public sector unions have over-reached. To get out of the mess we are in everyone is going to have to contribute.
Top
supporter
Posted by Bridgier (+9195) 10 years ago
The union execs don't really care about the teachers. What they care about is making sure their gravy-train lands in the doggy dish every morning.

I think this is an assertion without evidence.

Beyond that, there are numerous studies that indicate that, on a job-by-job comparison, public sector employees are slightly (in the case of non-professional) to significantly (for professional positions) under-compensated.

Where then is this over reach that I hear about? Is it perhaps due to the fact that middle class benefits in the private sector have been ratcheting downwards over the last 20-30 years? You've asked this several times, but I'll turn it around here: why must everyone be equally miserable? The public unions have managed to hold on to middle class benefits longer than the private sector has, in exchange for less take-home compensation.

This "crabs in a bucket" mentality wouldn't be so disheartening, if everyone truly was in this situation together, but given the effects of the upper bracket tax cuts which were extended back in December, it's pretty apparent that the current set of austerity measures are going to be directed at the poor and the middle class.

The swells, as always, are going to be just fine.
Top
supporter
Posted by Kelly (+2706) 10 years ago
Top
Posted by mule train (+1055) 10 years ago
As a member of the NEA, CEA and AEA I can tell you the $700 I spend a year on dues I have more than been compensated for after our union campaigned to the voters for a mill levy that only our district won approval. The 2% raise it gave me 3 years ago I would have never otherwise seen. Unions protecting poor teachers is not good. Unions helping campaign to get teachers more money form the community is a good thing. I'll die a union man.
Top
supporter
Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4463) 10 years ago
Interesting read

http://www.manhattan-inst.../cr_50.htm

Anyway, one of the things that's really killing the budget is retiree health benefits. I think taxpayers picking up the tab for people retiring in their 50's needs to be curtailed somewhat. Everyone keeps talking about raising the SS retirement age (again). Why are public sector employees immune? Especially since it's the poor suckers that have to wait until they're 67 who have to pick up the tab for it.

The major problem with collective bargaining over pensions and benefits is that it's easy for politicians to concede more and more on them because ultimately they become "someone else's" problem down the road. Unfortunately, now the bill is coming due on decades of binge drinking and something needs to give.
Top
supporter
sponsor
Posted by souix (+301) 10 years ago
Rick,

Full-time public school teachers work on average 36.5 hours per week during weeks that they are working. By comparison, white-collar workers (excluding sales) work 39.4 hours, and professional specialty and technical workers work 39.0 hours per week. Private school teachers work 38.3 hours per week.


I would venture a guess that the 36.5 hours do not include doing lesson plans, grading papers, and working in after school activities. Any school teachers that can give us an average of what they work per week?
Top
supporter
Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14950) 10 years ago
My wife work about 55 hours per week.
Top
supporter
Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6165) 10 years ago
My father-in-law worked well over 40 hours per week when he was a principal. When my mother taught she spent hours after school correcting papers.
Top
Posted by korky II (+608) 10 years ago
I come from a family of educators (teachers). None of them belonged to the teachers union (NEA) because they did not like what the NEA stands for. They did not have any say where their union dues would go. (the NEA backed political candidates they did not like.) They all have done very well for themselves (even better than most union members). They invested their money wisely and lived quite well off in their retirement years.
Federal employees cannot unionize (it's against federal law). No one squawks about that. Besides if there is no money to pay the demands, then there is no money. The state is broke and anyone that says differently just isn't paying attention. Just because they belong to a union doesn't mean they are entitled to anything. Far as I'm concerned Wisconsin can fire the whole lot of them and the dems that skipped the state too. They sure arent doing their job.
Top
supporter
Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+17328) 10 years ago
THE STATE CAN RAISE TAXES!!!!!

YES IT IS AN OPTION!!!!

GET YOUR THUMB OUT OF YOUR ASS!!!!!!!
Top
founder
supporter
Posted by Amorette Allison (+11757) 10 years ago
The gov. in Wisc. created the shortfall by his own pet projects and lowering taxes. There wasn't a budget crisis until HE created it. He created it to bust the unions.
Top
supporter
Posted by Bob L. (+5095) 10 years ago
korky:

Judging from your (lack of) writing skills, if you really came from a family of educators, they sucked at their jobs and s/h/b fired.

Just sayin'.
Top
Posted by korky II (+608) 10 years ago
Sure let's just tax the hell out of everyone. Hell while were at it lets just give the government everything we've got and sponge off the gov't. That's what all these left-wing nuts, loose screws want. tax and spend, tax and spend, We want LESS GOV'T not more. Everything the Gov't touches they screw up.
Top
supporter
Posted by Bob L. (+5095) 10 years ago
Kinda like your family of educators, korky, who sponged off the union. Your "family of educators" received the benefits of union membership without paying their fair share.

How left wing of them.
Top
founder
supporter
Posted by Tom Masa (+2042) 10 years ago
Korky
If you don't like he goverment here why don't you move to ... let's say Libya?
Top
supporter
Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14950) 10 years ago
It is interesting that the WI budget crisis started about the time Bret Favre departed. Hmm...
Top
supporter
Posted by Bridgier (+9195) 10 years ago
and sponge off the gov't.

Says the man collecting a government pension.
Top
Posted by korky II (+608) 10 years ago
If I sponged off the gov't then so did every other red blooded american who served in the military. Incidently, the scools they taught in were all NON UNION, so they did not sponge off anyone else. The problem with the unions is they want something for nothing. The vast majority of the people are non union and if you dont believe that you can get your own thumb out of your own hind end. The gov't of wisconsin will win this stand-off in the end. If you want to change it why don't you go live in one of those other countries you are talking about ? The left wing is who wants to change everything. I believe in free enterprise not big gov't with everyone spongeing off them. The more the gov't stays out of the peoples life the better off they are.
Top
founder
supporter
Posted by Amorette Allison (+11757) 10 years ago
This is the traditional "I got mine so" attitude. Get the government out of everything except my pension and my VA benefits.

By the way, the VA is TRUE socialized medicine. Therefore, it is an evil 'lefty' invention and every 'red-blooded' American patriot should withdraw from it immediately in order to prove their point that socialism is wrong.
Top
supporter
sponsor
Posted by souix (+301) 10 years ago
Two weeks into his term, Walker gave $117 million in tax breaks for business allies of the GOP like McDonalds and Wal-Mart. Now he is crying, "we are broke!"

The Wisconsin Legislative fiscal agency predicted that walker would have a surplus, before the tax cuts.

Incidently, the scools they taught in were all NON UNION, so they did not sponge off anyone else.


It is all a matter of supply and demand, if a teacher is looking for a job they would not go to a school that paid markedly less money than another school. So yes, they did benefit from all of the union schools.
Top
supporter
Posted by Bridgier (+9195) 10 years ago
LOOTERS!!
Top
supporter
Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4463) 10 years ago
Two weeks into his term, Walker gave $117 million in tax breaks for business allies of the GOP like McDonalds and Wal-Mart. Now he is crying, "we are broke!"

The Wisconsin Legislative fiscal agency predicted that walker would have a surplus, before the tax cuts.


Heh. Less than 60 days as governor and you're blaming him for a $2.7 billion deficit. Only problem....

http://www.jsonline.com/n...75069.html

Madison - Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle's administration on Friday told Republican Governor-elect Scott Walker that he would have to cope with a $2.2 billion deficit in the state's upcoming two-year budget, but this brighter-than-expected forecast contained more than $1 billion in hidden pain.

To arrive at the favorable estimate, the Doyle administration's estimate assumed that Walker and lawmakers would make spending cuts that have yet to actually happen - two more years of state employee furloughs, no pay raises, a virtual hiring freeze and belt tightening in state health programs. Without that $1.1 billion in savings, the state's projected shortfall rises to $3.3 billion - a significant increase over previous estimates that put the gap at between $2.7 billion and $3.1 billion.


Written about a month and a half before Walker even took office.

But I guess it doesn't matter. It's all about making sure the blame falls on the other guy.
Top
Posted by korky II (+608) 10 years ago
FYI, I don't qualify for VA benefits. Not everyone that was in the service qualifies for them. I am one who does not. I get my health ins elsewhere. I am also gainfully employed (non union) and live quite comfortably off my "non union" paycheck. I do my own bargaining when it comes to employment. I like it that way and intend to keep it that way. I don't need someone to speak for me on my behalf. I don't contribute to welfare except through taxes, but if a family member, neighbor or friend needs help I'll be there for them. I am extremely leery of someone who wants to take money from someone else just because that someone makes more money than they do. (spread the wealth). I still believe in old time values, (the way it used to be in the United States), and don't plan on changeing anytime soon.
Top
founder
supporter
Posted by Amorette Allison (+11757) 10 years ago
Ah, the old time United States. When the poor died and rich lived well. When there was child labor and no safety rules and owners of mines could murder their employees. Yes, let's go back to those days. Maybe take the vote away from uppity women and bring back slavery! That was great for the economy.

The past is past, my friend. We can't go backwards and we don't really want to. Think about turning back the clock on technology and medical care. We need to move forward and figure out a responsible and reasonable way to do so.

Condemning the poor for being poor accomplishes nothing, especially if someone is poor because of medical problems.

We need to accept that we are all responsible for this mess and we need to work together to solve it. We also need to raise taxes.

If you didn't qualify for VA benefits, how could you have spent 20 years in the military? Something in that statement doesn't make sense, unless there is more to the story.
Top
supporter
Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4463) 10 years ago
We need to accept that we are all Scott Walker is responsible for this mess and we need to work together he needs to solve it. We also need to raise taxes.


There, fixed that for you.
Top
supporter
Posted by Tim Miles (+464) 10 years ago
VA health benefits depend on service connected disability. If someone serves 20 or more years, they receive retirement checks, but those do not come from the VA, but from the service branch. The more service connected issues a veteran has, helps determine how much, if any, VA payment or medical care they receive. I know several retirees that do not receive any VA medical benefits. There is another medical benefit for retirees, they may participate in TRICARE, or wait in line at military health facilities for available care. Not all of us 20 year folks get the same package.

[This message has been edited by Tim Miles (2/27/2011)]
Top
founder
supporter
Posted by Amorette Allison (+11757) 10 years ago
I didn't realize that. I know it used to be you did any time, you got all benefits. Four years used to guarantee you coverage for life, even for non-service related issues. When did it change? And when you turn 65, do you qualify for Medicare or VA benefits?

Actually, this has gotten off topic. I believe we were discussing beverages.

[This message has been edited by Amorette Allison (2/27/2011)]
Top
supporter
Posted by Bob L. (+5095) 10 years ago
If korky was in the military, I bet he was a knuckledragger...
Top
Posted by korky II (+608) 10 years ago
No, Bob L. I was in electronics (satellite communications). Just because someone doesn't see things your way doesn't mean they are knuckledraggers. To me a knuckledragger is someone my tax dollars go to because they are to lazy to go get a job.
Top
supporter
Posted by Bill Freese (+479) 10 years ago
Earl Grey, hot.
Top
supporter
Posted by Bob L. (+5095) 10 years ago
Where I come from, knuckledragger = MP
Top
supporter
Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6165) 10 years ago
Earl Grey, hot.


Yes, where's Captain Picard when you need him?
Top
Posted by aaron bruce (+193) 10 years ago
obama said our teachers suck........the only reason he likes unions is because it filters tax dollars from every home owner, and gives it to democratic politicians. if republicans were for unions obama would end their influence, and if mexicans voted republican obama would have that border sealed off...dems are commies and that is the bottom line.

i wonder if i can sue the teachers union for taking my tax dollars as a home owner and giving it to democratics?
Top
supporter
Posted by Bridgier (+9195) 10 years ago
i wonder if i can sue the teachers union for taking my tax dollars as a home owner and giving it to democratics?


Apropos of nothing, but I wonder if huffing gas would be bad for me?
Top
Posted by korky II (+608) 10 years ago
So thats what's wrong with the left wingers, they've been huffing too much gas. I knew there had to be a reason for their insanity.
Top
supporter
Posted by Bill Freese (+479) 10 years ago
http://www.csmonitor.com/...nt-from-PR
I wonder if I can sue the Pentagon for taking my tax dollars and using them illegally to influence my elected representatives into giving them even more of my tax dollars.
Top
supporter
Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4463) 10 years ago
You should ask Chrysler or GM

They'd probably know the answer.
Top
Posted by Cheryl Pieters (+474) 10 years ago
A unionized public employee, a teapartier, and a CEO are sitting at a table. In the middle of the table is a plate with a dozen cookies on it.

The CEO reaches across and takes 11 cookies, then looks at the teapartier and says "Watch out for that union guy-- he wants a piece of your cookie!"


*******************************************************************


Actually there's nothing funny in the selling off of government, not one thing.
Top