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Wisconsin Gov. Walker Threatens To Deploy National Guard Against Unions

Discussion in 'Alley of Lingering Sighs' started by Ragusa, Feb 15, 2011.

  1. The Great Snook Gems: 31/31
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    To build on Aldeth's point, that is what makes the fact that union dues overwhelmingly (90+ %) go to the support of Democratic candidates wrong. Looking at the past elections the country is pretty much 50/50 (within a few percent) so you have to figure that around half of the union members are having their money being spent to support candidates they don't support.

    I don't think I'm going out on a limb here by saying if this went the other way there would be plenty of people on these boards who would go insane if their dues were supporting Republicans.
     
  2. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    Snook - Perhaps you missed my post about corporate PACS. BTW, just so you know, union members generally know that, even before they join. Guess why? Because not all of them are political, partisan hacks. They just like the benefits. Hard to believe.
     
  3. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    Snook, in addition to what Chandos said there's another point you ignore: Not all unions support Democrats. For instance in Wisconsin the fire-fighter and police unions supported the GOP and Walker (and were spared the measures imposed on the rest of the unions). It is iirc similar at least in Arizona. Iirc prison employee unions also tend to support Republicans.

    So from what I can tell there are exceptions to the rule you laid out, that "union dues overwhelmingly (90+ %) go to the support of Democratic candidates", undermining your argument.

    I also doubt that the number of 90+ % is correct, since unions have overhead costs and in particular because they (practically as a raison d'etre) accumulate a war chest in case of strike.
     
  4. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
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    Well, if there are enough Republicans, I suppose the union may lean towards the Republican party as well. However, I can't help but think the GOP's policy towards unions may have something to do with it - they don't exactly go out of their way to court union support.
     
  5. The Great Snook Gems: 31/31
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    No, I didn't miss it. I just consider it a totally different thing since corporate PACS aren't so lopsided in who they support. I believe I have mentioned that the best thing that could happen would be the banning of PACS and unions from any political activity. When you look at the chart I'm linking to at the bottom you will see the disparity and why Republicans would take this deal in a heartbeat. It seems like all people seem to complain about is PACS as if union political activity makes sense.

    You always seem to try to use the "exception" to disprove the rule. Also, I'm not talking about how they spend their "gross income", but where their political contributions go.

    A quick Google search turned up this list of where the money is going. Hopefully, this list will open your eyes as to the disparity of how much in union members money is going to one party and the sheer volume of it.

    This is why the Democrats will bend over backwards and are basically owned by the unions. It is like the snake that eats itself. The public service unions give money to Dems who win elections and give the unions bigger contracts and benefits which enable the unions to give the Dems even more money. It is the poor shlubs who aren't in these unions (which is the majority us) who suffer the consequences of this circle (see California and New Jersey for the two worst examples).

    EDIT: Probably the most surprising thing to me about that chart is #5
     
  6. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    That quote is accurate but, as I understand it, misleading. Different states have different definitions for their rankings. In many states, "basic" means at-grade-level reading ability. Unfortunately, Wisconsin rates "proficient" as at-grade-level reading ability. "Basic" is liek getting a "D".



    I thought the judge changed that order so that they only had to allow access durring regular business hours?

    Money isn't the be-all and end-all of an election, but it certainly does help. The Dems may have outspend the Reps in 2010 and still lost, but at least the Reps were spending competitively. There's a reason there's so much hoopla about campaign contribution laws, and generally speaking, forcing someone to contribute to one political party or another is not a good idea.

    And workers in those fields shouldn't be forced to support Republicans. The knife cuts both ways, I know. But those people should not be forced to join a union that supports one political party. They can if they want to, sure. I have no problem with democrat workers joining a democrat-supporting union, so long as the union itself isn't abusive, but they shouldn't force their republican co-workers to do the same.

    I'm not sure why PACs are being compared to unions. PACs don't force their membership to join. A corporate PAC is formed from corporations who choose to give their money. Now, if a corporation were automatically deducting money from an employee's wages to support the PAC, or required that all employees suppor the PAC, then I'd agree that's wrong (and probably illegal).
     
  7. The Great Snook Gems: 31/31
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    The standard argument here is that it is possible that some PACs pressure their employees to make donations. I personally still find that better than being forced to with no option. For example if you want to teach in a public school system in WI you have to join the union and therefore you are making contributions. If you are a salesman and your company is pressuring you to make a contribution, you can always choose to either not to or to find another company to sell for. That option doesn't exist for a 3rd grade teacher. I consider that a major difference, others don't seem to think so.
     
  8. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    That's a great link, Snook. ActBlue is much like MoveOn, made up of individual members and donations [people like me :)]; it's not a corporate PAC. If one digs a little deeper into that link, there are some more recent trends in donations worth noting regarding Republicans:

    http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.php?ind=F03

    This is the PAC that I was familiar with. And you can see that since 2000 the trend has skyrocketed in donations.

    This would be oil and gas, and of course we can see who is at the top:

    http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.php?ind=E01

    Big Pharma in the last election:

    http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.php?ind=H04

    Remember the Dems and Obama were "very kind" to Pharma by passing legislation that still banned cheaper, imported drugs from Canada. :rolleyes:

    The thing to keep in mind is that some of that is from before 2000 on your particular link, Snook. And last year the Supreme Court opened the floodgate for corporate spending. It's more accurate to look at how things are trending more recently, before you proclaim that Republicans would take all that "away in a heartbeat."

    The problem for you is that the more you scream about unions supporting Dems, the more you make Walker's move look all the more partisan and less about "the budget." I have no doubts that most unions [but not all] support Dems. And it explains what Walker is really trying to accomplish, despite his lies. At least you are honest enough to admit it, so I give you credit. :)

    It also just so happens that a lot of Goldman Sachs people ended up working in the Obama administration. Surprise!

    The 3rd grade teacher can always move to another state as well. Which makes about as much sense as this:

    You are either for freedom of choice, or you are opposed to it. It sounds like you are for freedom as long as the "choice" is the same as yours. Sorry, that's not freedom.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2011
  9. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    I agree, and I'd further point out that such should be obvious. Most people are in unions because of the benefits they offer. They may not like where the donation dollars are going, but they certainly like that being in the union is likely making them a couple bucks more per hour of work than what they would make if they were trying to negotiate their own salaries. People are pragmatic.

    Snook, a couple of points. While I will concede that most of the top donors on that list contribute the majority of their political donations to the Democratic party (overwhelmingly so in some cases), the numbers are pretty even once you get to #15 on the list, which kind of disproves your point about unions being exceedingly democratic.

    Secondly, I think we need to put those numbers in perspective. The top donor on that chart contributed $50 million to the Democratic party. That sure sounds like a hell of a lot of money. But two points to bring up:

    1. That money was donated, according to the chart, over a 21 year period, and was spread out over a wide array of candidates. The donation on a per candidate basis was comparitively small because-
    2. In 2008, each presidential candidate spent about $1 billion on their campaigns. (McCain spent about $900 million, and Obama a little over $1.1 billion.) That doesn't include how much was spent on Congressional candidates, and it obviously doesn't include how much was spent in the presidential elections of 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004, all of which would be included in the donation period. We talking billions and billions of dollars all told. $50 million doesn't sound so big in that light.

    You're right. When you look at the election cycles, you'll notice that the Dems also spent more in 2008 (discounting the presidential candidates - the Dems spent more in the Congressional races as well). While the Republicans spent more in 2002, 2004, and 2006 (Bush outspent Kerry in 2004, but the Republicans spent more even if you take that factor out). See a pattern? I do. I will make a bold prediction for the 2012 elections: The Republicans will spend more than Democrats in races for the House, while Democrats will outspend Republicans in races for the Senate. Actually, it's not that bold of a prediction. It's about as safe a bet as you can make. The party that holds more seats almost always spends more money, simply because they have more seats to defend.
     
  10. pplr Gems: 18/31
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    I would just like to point out that while Obama in 2008 election was unusual in having more money than his GOP counterpart that is not the usual trend (at least not around here).

    If you count up the spending from 2010 the GOP candidates and their 3rd party backers spent more than many Democrats including Feingold. As a matter of fact most of the elections for US Senate that Feingold has been in his campaign and its allies have been outspent-the only exception to that was the 2004 election where most people figured he was likely to win.



    @NOG

    So is the individual correct in saying Wisconsin compares well with other states?

    EDIT(start):

    http://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/acrossstates/Rankings.aspx?ind=5116

    According to this Wisconsin is just slightly better than the national average for 4th graders. So the idea that Wisconsin is failing compared to other states is misleading.

    EDIT(end):



    @anyone talking about union dues

    And if an individual disagrees with who their union is likely to endorse-and thus send money to-he or she can request that his/her dues are not to be used for elections.

    I know I'm repeating myself but the union is obligated, I think under state law here, to honor that request.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2011
  11. The Great Snook Gems: 31/31
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    Lots to respond to here and I'm not anywhere as skilled at using the quote command as NOG so here goes.

    @Chandos

    You posted some links from industries that lean more towards Republicans. I could just as easily post links to entertainment, labor, and lawyers that would show the exact opposite. No matter how you look at the data nine of the top fifteen donors are unions and you have to go all the way to number 18 to find one that leans republican.

    I also disagree with you about the 3rd grade teacher. Moving to another state is a lot more difficult then finding another job. One involves uprooting your entire family, the other involves filling in a job application. When you worked at Circuit City if they were trying to force you to do something you didn't want to, you could have gone to Best Buy or some other electronic company. That is much easier then selling your house. I am for freedom of choice, however, you have to realize that they are vastly different choices.

    @Aldeth,

    I don't understand what you mean by it evening out at #15. I don't see a red elephant until #18 and in total I believe there were only 41 of them out of a list of 140 and the vast majority of them were deeper into the list.

    @pplr

    You are correct. I believe it is a federal law which allows for union members to opt out of political contributions. However, and this is a big however, it is an election. How many people do you think know about this or actually expend the effort to do so. If this was going to be just it would be an automatic opt out and if you wanted to let them you would have to elect to let them. That is one thing I like about my national society (The AICPA). They don't spend any of our money on politics, we have to send them money that is specifically earmarked for political activity and if you don't want to, you don't have to.
     
  12. Death Rabbit

    Death Rabbit Straight, no chaser Adored Veteran Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I don't have a lot to add to this topic much beyond what's been said by others (and I find the reading interesting) so I'll just toss this in.

    I think that Slith, Nog and Snook's position on one aspect of this debate is right on, well said, and more than fair. If you are a Republican, and you have no choice but to pay dues to a union you are forced to join in your given field, it is understandable to be outraged that your dues go toward Democratic candidates. I will state emphatically that that is wrong and unfair. Slith is right that unions in and of themselves are not a bad thing, and they certainly have their uses - but no one should have to sit back and accept that their money is being funneled toward those of opposing political agenda. I also agree that many unions – like many corporations – have far exceeded their reach on a number of issues and are virtually impossible to reign in due to their sheer political power.

    Having said that - it IS understandable that the lion's share of campaign contributions coming from unions go to Democrats, simply because Republicans almost universally despise and demonize unions, and are the ones trying so hard to restrict, minimize and/or eliminate them. It is the Democrats who almost universally support, defend and advocate for unions (for reasons that range from genuine philosophical support to shameless pandering). So naturally a union will pick the side that has their back, even if they are of different minds on all other issues. They will always move to guarantee their survival.

    I don't think it's unfair to insist that Republican union members – if they want to see the status quo change in their favor – be more vocal to their representatives in Congress to be less of an enemy of unions, so that the balance will shift in a direction that better represents the country's political demographics. That they are unfairly represented by the unions politically is at least partially their fault. If they vote for the enemies of unions, they probably shouldn't expect much else.

    The only way to make this truly fair would be to bar both unions AND corporations from contributing to political campaigns of any kind. But I don't think anyone could honestly expect that to be a possibility. Correct me if I am wrong.

    :2c:
     
  13. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Poor wording on my part. I was trying to express that after the first 14, there's a pretty even split between R-leaning, D-leaning, and fence sitters, and that because those big numbers are spread out over a large number of years and political candidates, that the total contributions of all unions only make up a few percent of the total donations received by either party.

    Also, one organizaiton I didn't see on the list was the NRA - because it's not a union, but is union-like in that it collects dues and donates to political candidates. The NRA has over 4 million members. Do they give to democrats? I mean, certainly some gun owners and NRA members are card-carrying democrats? I'd guess the NRA has similar donations as the largest unions, but that they represent a tiny fraction of total dollars in campaigns too.

    The larger point is that most political donations come from people who voluntarily give their money to campaigns and don't have it forcibly taken from them in the form of dues, whether they support the candidate or not.

    I would say relatively few - unless they were greatly bothered by their donations going to fund such candidates.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2011
  14. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    Well, I wasn't serious, but mostly pointing out that giving someone the "freedom," to limit someone else's freedom is nothing more than pure nonsense. But that's the track that you went down [not that you had much choice, given your postition of limiting the choice of unions but failing to do the same for your coporate guys]. When was the last time a CEO walked out on the floor and asked, "How many of you are Republican? How many of you are Democrats? Good. Ok then that's which party we will support." Why are you asking the same of unions?

    Btw, Circuit and BB are/were two completely different animals. Yes they both are electronic stores, but at one you are a minimum wage earner, and the other, the income was a "real" income that one can support a small family on. In that line of business, stores are not divided by what they sell, but how they pay. Believe it or not there are sales guys in regular retail stores that make 65K a year [that's sales, not management], while the person right next to them may be only making minimum wage. But you won't find that in a BB or a Walmart.
     
  15. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    Or, I'm not sure, but I think you could report them to the authorities. Or at least sue them. Isn't pressuring an employee to make political contributions illegal?

    I have no problem with the people who choose to be in unions. If they choose to make such political contributions, or decide that the inconvenience of such a contribution is negligable compared to the benefits of being in a union, then I have no complaints. I complain when people are shut out of a whole carreer field because they won't contribute to one political party. I complain when people aren't given the choice.

    Umm, isn't every seat that's defended also contested? In fact, usually it's cheaper to defend a seat, since an incumbent is usually given the defacto vote of the uninterested, plus has a track record people may like. 2010 was an unusual year for an incumbent, in that it was bad to be an incumbent. 2012 may be the same, but may not, we'll have to see.

    I think you missed my point. While I don't have a state-by-state breakdown, in many states, 'basic' is the equivalent of getting a B, while 'proficient' means A+. In Wisconsin, 'proficient' is the equivalent of B and 'basic' is the equivalent of D. By only comparing those ratings, you're comparing apples and oranges. You need to know how they define those terms. Wisconsin has one of the loosest definitions, and they're still doing that badly.

    And here's why that's a shell game:
    Let's pretend we have a union of 5 men; Tom, Larry, Bob, Gomez, and Xuan (just for diversity). All 5 pay union dues of $100. When they get together, they share coffee, or perhaps beer. That's their operating cost, and it comes up to a handy, round $100. The rest they contribute to the local Democratic candidate, for a total of $400. That's $20 for drinks and $80 for the candidate per person. Tom has decided he doesn't like supporting the candidate, as this year's candidate is a sleeze, so he asks the rest to not give his money to that candidate. So the union agrees to only use his money to pay for union activities. Happily, by coincidence (or ease of calculation, take your pick), his union dues equate to the union operating cost, so from now on his money will only pay for the union activities, which means he'll pay for all of the union activities. So, from now on Tom pays $100 for beer, or perhaps coffee. Meanwhile, the rest of the union sees that they're no longer paying $20 for drinks, so they can add that extra money to the political contributions. That means they can all give all $100 to the cadidate, for a total of $400. In the end, the total money spent by the union is $100 on drinks and $400 on the candidate.

    It would only make a difference if the union agreed to lower Tom's dues to only what his portion of the union activities is, or $20. I don't know of any laws requiring that, or any unions that do.

    I don't think it's at all fair to ask me to ask someone else to compromise their political or ideological position just so that my money, being controlled by another third party against my will, goes to the candidate I want it to. I would much rather just no be forced to join a union in the first place.

    I don't see that as a real possibility, but I also don't see that as the 'fair' solution. A corporation donates money according to what it's body wants it to, and no one is forced to join. A union donates money according to what it's body (at least the majority, or the leader, depending on the rules) wants it to, but people are forced to join. I'm not complaining about unions wanting to contribute politically. I'm complaining about forced membership in a politically active entity.

    When I complain about unions, it's because they're using their bargaining position abusively.

    Oh, and pplr, FYI, I checked and the judge did order the protesters cleared from the capital, so that wasn't illegal.
     
  16. Death Rabbit

    Death Rabbit Straight, no chaser Adored Veteran Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Geez, even when I compliment and agree with you I still get argued with. Ah, the Alleys. :D
     
  17. The Great Snook Gems: 31/31
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    If it helps, I thought what you said made a lot of sense.
     
  18. pplr Gems: 18/31
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    @NOG

    So you're saying it is a bad thing if the union uses the dues of someone who doesn't mind to do political activity?




    About the proficiencies, where did you hear that Wisconsin is using a loose definition?

    Moreover how do you know the link that I provided with a state by state comparison lets states use different definitions of its ratings when it compares them?

    And to bring it up again-because I think it is worth a response-how do you explain the good ACT scores the state has if its educational systems are floundering to the point of not being able to teach students to read?


    FYI the point I was referring to was not people having to leave the capital building but that the police were instructed to bar people from entering the capital building-even if they were willing to leave by a set time.
     
  19. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    No, that's not what I'm saying at all. For those that just don't care, that find the union benefits are worth more than the money being taken for political causes that they would just as likely ignore, I have no complaint. I don't mind when the union does that. It's the union essentially drafting people who do care, who don't consider the union benefits worth it, that I think is bad.

    Every news article I've read on the topic defines Wisconsin's system so, and many have pointed out that the norm (though not claiming all other states) is that 'Basic' be 'at-grade-level'.

    I admit, that's a guess, based on the fact that they're using the same terminology and not their own (for example at-grade-level, above-grade-level, below-grade-level, illiterate).

    I don't. I only brought up reading as another measurement. I also pointed out that 8th grade reading level isn't the be-all and end-all of educational measurements. Neither is the ACT. Wisconsin's SAT scores, while still nice, aren't as impressive as it's ACT scores, for example. How do you explain that? I don't, but by employing multiple criteria, we get a fuller picture of the situation.

    More to the point, though, I brought up the reading level because it hasn't noticably changed in a decade. In that same decade, teacher compensation has almost doubled. After looking it up, it looks like, during the same period, Wisconsin's ACT scores actually dropped. They're better than average, but they used to be even better still. I haven't found a record of SAT scores for the past decade.

    Ah, yes, I believe in the same order the judge ruled that to be illegal, but I hadn't heard of it continuing after the ruling (since the ruling was issued after the building would normally close, police were actually allowed to continue denying access).
     
  20. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    Protestors Bring Their Own Palm Trees To Madison

    :lol:

    [​IMG]

    After FOX aired supposed footage of "the protestors in Madsion" with palm trees in the background....
     
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