Thursday, February 17, 2011

Union Sundown: Libs Protest In Wisconsin

Everyone's been focused on DC and the federal budget battle just gathering steam, but the real action is in the states, especially those Blue States grappling with the unsustainable deficits that come with feel-good-now progressive governance. Thus, America's slow boiling battle over deficits and public sector unions has gone nuclear in...Wisconsin???

The state's largest teachers union Wednesday night called on all 98,000 of its members to attend rallies in Madison on Thursday and Friday, which led school districts — including Madison — to cancel classes for Thursday.

"This is not about protecting our pay and our benefits," Wisconsin Education Association Council President Mary Bell said at a press conference on the Capitol Square. "It is about protecting our right to collectively bargain."

In an interview, Bell said her message stopped short of endorsing the kind of coordinated action that closed Madison schools Wednesday. She asked teachers who "could" come to the rally to come.

As of press deadline, several Madison-area districts had canceled Thursday's classes. Middleton-Cross Plains union president Chris Bauman said she was encouraging all members to come to the Capitol at

8 a.m. Thursday.

Schools and teachers were a central focus at a third day of protests at the Capitol on Wednesday as Madison teachers and students joined thousands of public union workers to blast a plan to strip them of collective bargaining rights. Madison canceled school Wednesday after about 1,100 union teachers — almost half of its staff — called in sick by late Tuesday.

"This is the scariest thing I've ever seen," Betsy Barnard, a physics teacher at West High School, said of the Walker proposal. "This is going to change Wisconsin forever."

Barnard and other teachers at the rally said they are willing to make wage and benefit concessions to help fix the state budget, but Walker's plan to effectively dismantle the 50-year-old collective bargaining process for public employee unions goes too far.

Don't bother looking at "regular" news outlets for information on these protests. Madison resident and A-list blooger Ann Althouse has plenty of graphic photos and videos of protesting teachers denouncing the inoffensive Gov. Walker as a Hitler, or - to avoid Godwin's Law - Hosni Mubarak. What this is supposed to accomplish, besides demean Walker and fill the union biddies with righteousness, I have no idea. Are there really people in Wisconsin who are going to see a picture of Walker with a Hitler mustache or Mubarak comb-over and say "Wow, I voted for Walker, but I had no idea he was a genocidal dictator!" Verum Serum sums things up nicely

These are Obama’s people. Indeed, the President spoke up for themyesterday. Where the Tea Party exists to demand fiscal accountability from government, the public sector unions exist to demand more spending from government. Where the Tea Party is concerned about loading debt on future generations, the Free-Lunch Party is concerned about guaranteed benefits for themselves.

It’s an irony that exposes the hollowness of so much of the President’s rhetoric. He talked during his State of the Union about “winning the future,” but his natural allies in the public don’t give a damn about the future, except their own narrow sliver of it. And they certainly don’t care about doing “big things” unless that’s limited to getting themselves big raises and big benefits. You can certainly say they’re self-interested, but it’s not an enlightened self-interest. They want their free lunch now, even if that means somewhere down the road the entire system collapses under the weight of their demands.

It’s time for responsible leaders to tell the Lunchers to either pony up like everyone else or find another job.

To add to the chaos, the entire Democratic delegation in the Wisconsin State Senate has apparently jumped on a bus and fled to Illinois, in order to deny Republicans a quorum. Didn't this happen in Texas a few years ago?

A three-day-long stand-off at the Wisconsin state capitol between union supporters and those backing the Republican governor’s budget cuts just went to another level Thursday as Democratic senators apparently fled the area to prevent a vote on Gov. Scott Walker’s budget-repair bill, which would cut public employee union collective bargaining rights and require them to contribute to pensions and health care.

Fourteen Senate Democrats have left the state to prevent the vote, according to AP sources in Wisconsin, attempting to force further negotiation on the bill, which would pass the Republican-controlled Senate if brought up for a vote. ABC News reports that 13 of 14 of the Democrats may have fled the state in a bus headed to Iowa. The move would stall a vote on the budget-repair measure and protect missing Democrats from a provision in Wisconsin’s constitution that allows lawmakers to compel their return to the capitol.

Earlier today, law enforcement was sent to find missing Democratic lawmakers, according to a Madison, Wis. ABC affiliate. State Sen. leader Scott Fitzgerald said only one Democrat is needed for quorum to vote on the controversial bill, which is expected to pass a Republican-majority Senate. The “Sergeant of Arms is going door to door to find Democratic senators.”

Very mature. How long do they have to stay away before they can be said to have abandoned their seats?

These jokers might be able to fill a public square in Madison with chanting crowds, but the number of people who voted Wisconsin Republicans into office is surely larger by orders of magnitude. I haven't seen or heard from Walker, which I guess means he's not a combative Chris Christie type. But, I hope he has plenty of quiet courage. And, yes, just think. We could have done all this in California back in 2003.

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