We don’t need no education

John is definitely onto something about the fact that police are real Murkins because they carry guns. The military analogy goes even farther: Joe Klein’s dick gets hard when Michelle Rhee gives him tours of inner-city “war zone” schools, the same way it does when David Petraeus tells him stories about fighting bad guys in Iraq and Afghanistan. The teachers’ unions stand in for Al Qaeda in this parable, so it’s important to ignore all the facts and just go with the gut feeling that we’re fighting for freedom when we shit on teachers’ unions.

There’s other reasons to target teachers and janitors. I would argue that people like Megan McArdle, Charles Lane, and David Brooks are hostile to the entire modern educational project. Between the three of them, they’ve hit every Republican cliche about higher education, from the evils of teh liberal bias to dangers of wild relativism. Their hatred of public high-school education comes from the same place.

Until educators at every level move away from the evils of science and literature and start force-feeding their students a Rand, Burke, and Reagan based diet of right-wing propaganda, they deserve the wrath of all good American people.

The far right cannot hold

Republicans are breaking rank in Wisconsin.

The Wall Street Journal reports that one moderate Republican, state Sen. Dale Schultz, has proposed changing the budget proposal supported by Walker slightly but fundamentally: instead of losing their collective bargaining rights in perpetuity, as the governor wants, they would only lose the right to negotiate for benefits through 2013.

The unions shouldn’t take this either, but it’s a start.

If you want to give to Wisconsin Democratic Senators, you can do so here.

Suggest other things people can do to help in the thread. I’m going to write a letter to my newspaper, something I rarely do. This issue is a hill to die on.

The Inexplicable Conservative Assault on Collective Bargaining

Gets curiouser and curiouser…

First, (and thank you to commenter morzer for this) Governor Walker seems to be spreading some confusion on collective bargaining:

And yet on the morning of Feb. 18, 2011 — a day after Democratic state senators fled to Illinois to prevent a vote on the bill — Walker made a startling declaration in a Milwaukee radio interview. Walker then added: “Those fully remain intact. Civil service does not get altered by the modest changes we’re talking about here. Collective bargaining is fully intact. You’ve got merit hiring, you’ve got just cause for termination and for discipline. All those things remain.”

Collective bargaining would remain “fully intact”? But let’s take a look at what was said.

In contending that collective bargaining would remain fully intact, Walker mixed civil service protections with collective bargaining rights. They are not the same.Walker himself has outlined how his budget-repair bill would limit the collective bargaining rights of public employees. To now say now say collective bargaining would remain “fully intact” is not just false, it’s ridiculously false.

On to Ohio, and the excellent Ohio political site, Plunderbund. Walker’s proposal really is radical, which may be why he’s spreading misinformation about it.

The Canton Repository, a newspaper that endorsed Kasich:

The collective bargaining process in Ohio isn’t broken. It does need to be tweaked. But state employees don’t need to be stripped of collective bargaining rights.

Akron Beacon Journal:

The collective-bargaining law has been an asset in providing a vehicle for settling disputes that many times had turned ugly. Now the law requires updating and repair. Must that include the elimination of collective bargaining at the state level? Proponents still haven’t offered a persuasive answer. Take such steps, and the impression builds of a party more interested in ideological warfare than responsibly solving a problem.

Toledo Blade:

A bill on a fast track in the Ohio Senate would outlaw the use of binding arbitration to resolve contract disputes that involve police officers and firefighters, who are legally barred from striking. John Kasich and the General Assembly are using the bare cupboard in the Statehouse as a pretext to roll back decades’ worth of labor law

Cleveland Plain-Dealer, another paper that endorsed Kasich:

That said, it’s unfortunate the GOP approach has been to set a maximalist tone on an issue that should be looked at carefully —-before discarding a system that has brought decades of labor peace to the public sector, just as it was intended to do. On one front, the Jones bill is incontestably radical. It would flat-out abolish collective bargaining for employees of the state government and of state-aided colleges, and would abolish longevity pay and “step” increases.

“Decades of labor peace”. So why launch a preemptive assault, conservatives? What’s going on here?

Conservatives in the Ohio legislature cannot make a rational argument that connects their actions on collective bargaining to the budget. Ohio has a long history with collective bargaining, and the negotiation process works. They cannot explain why they refuse to sit down with workers, or why they seek to write the negotiation process out of law permanently and deny employees a seat at the table. Until they can do that, I have to assume they have some national political objective that is unrelated to the state budget. I wonder when they’ll get around to telling Ohio newspapers or their state constituents what that national objective might be?

Maps to consider…

A few days ago, Josh Marshall over at TPM published a map of how various States treat collective bargaining for public employees’ unions:


There are some obvious patterns when one considers this map (including the Red State/Blue State memes of recent years).

Deeper pattens emerge when you look at a map of Free States and Slave States as of 1857 when the Dred Scott Decision opened all US Territories (and all Free States) to Slavery:

slavery in 1857

What thing becomes clear–as you consider the modern Republican Confederate Party’s effort to attack workers, Unions, the Middle Class and their rights–is that their focus is all about the theft of labor. Stealing the labor of folks is a sure fire way to get rich and it has been since, well, forever. Fighting efforts to protect people from the theft of their labor is what the modern so-called Conservative and/or Gliberterian movements are all about.
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Rejoice and Be Exceedingly Glad

Word has it there is great reward in heaven. Here on earth, not so much:

The 401(k) generation is beginning to retire, and it isn’t a pretty sight.

The retirement savings plans that many baby boomers thought would see them through old age are falling short in many cases.

The median household headed by a person aged 60 to 62 with a 401(k) account has less than one-quarter of what is needed in that account to maintain its standard of living in retirement, according to data compiled by the Federal Reserve and analyzed by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College for The Wall Street Journal. Even counting Social Security and any pensions or other savings, most 401(k) participants appear to have insufficient savings. Data from other sources also show big gaps between savings and what people need, and the financial crisis has made things worse.

This analysis uses estimates of 401(k) balances from the end of 2010 and of salaries from 2009. It assumes people need 85% of their working income after they retire in order to maintain their standard of living, a common yardstick.

It’s important to keep in mind that this is the model for the future foisted upon us by our Galtian overlords (who fight any attempts to regulate the looting on Wall Street), and the austerity mobs are busy making sure that the pension you were promised is hatcheted and your social security is whittled away because we can’t afford it after lavishing all the social security proceeds on the rich in the form of the Bush and Obama tax cuts. But don’t worry, you will also have your collective bargaining rights stripped away, removing the last upward pressure on wages, and with Medicare rate increases you’ll have the peace of mind to know that you are contributing more to your health care.

How does it feel being fisted by the Invisible Hand, America?

Cartoons for Sully

The Ruling Clawss_let's lay off 1,200 more

I like Andrew Sullivan, but his infinite credulity on certain subjects tends to over shadow his good work on others. His over-the-top support for the Iraq war and the general neo-con con about ‘regime change’ by force of arms was one example. Over time, reality seeped into his world view and he changed his mind. His game plan for ending DADT was another example. Sully’s ability to change his mind is what makes him interesting. His weakness to naively embrace certain tactics and ideas as the only possible course of action–regardless of facts and reality–is what makes him tiresome.

His latest infatuation–that the only way to be serious about deficits is to put the hurt on the middle class and the poor–is a fresh example of his credulity and his bias for an idealized patrician class. John, E.D., and many others (here and elsewhere) have written about Sully’s embrace of the growing fad to scream ‘DEBT CRISIS’ to justify transferring wealth to a few while passing along the pain to the many. The Thatcherite appeal of this kind of wealth redistribution appeals to Sullivan’s credulity weakness in the same way that Thatcherite appeals to Empire led him to naively support the invasion of Iraq.
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Dear Ohio BJ’ers

If you’re not on the ODP list:

There will be a major mobilization this coming Tuesday at 1pm at the Ohio statehouse. This is when the next hearing and possible committee vote will take place on SB 5, the GOP bill to repeal collective bargaining. We’d like all of you to join and send as many activists, friends and family, to join the public employees for what will be the biggest show of force yet. I’d ask you to also consider organizing and coordinating buses or vans from your county to bring people en masse to the capital. Folks should wear the uniform they wear at work if applicable (ie scrubs) or wear red. It is crucial that we turn out even larger numbers this Tuesday than we did this past week to build momentum and ensure our voice is heard.

Please come to the Ohio Statehouse (1 Capitol Square, Columbus Ohio 43215) this coming Tuesday, February 22 at 1:00 p.m. Your presence will send a strong message and help our efforts to defeat Senate Bill 5 and the rest of our opponents’ anti-middle class agenda.

Please come. If you can’t make it, can you make calls and organize one group of four or five to commit to go on Tuesday, today? I can’t go so that’s what I’m doing. Those of you who have done this before know the drill: fewer cars, more people, so at least 4 per vehicle.

I won’t be able to respond to individual questions in the comments or emails today, but thanks in advance.