Sunday, March 27, 2011


Sheeple: People being herded along, believing in the preposterous and bleating it ad infinitum thereby indoctrinating others in an ever-expanding sphere of ignorant influence.

Republican/Tea Party shepherds have launched an assault on unionism. Americans are being told that unionized workers are the cause of states' indebtedness. We're being told that public sector retirement costs are too much to bear; that health plans for public workers are costing too much. Americans are being told that there is an imbalance between private sector unions (only 6.9% of the workforce) and public sector union workers (9%) that needs to be remedied by eliminating all unionization. Americans are being sold a fiction. Again and again, Republicans/Tea Partiers are not telling the truth in order to scare enough people into acting against their own best interests.

First, let's identify just who these "public sector" employees are: firemen, police officers, teachers, emergency response personnel, government nurses, highway workers, snow plow drivers, etc etc. Also known as the middle class, or simpler yet, the American working class of which 90 plus percent are nonunionized.

Despite the fact that benefits (like retirement, health insurance etc) are in lieu of higher salary (deferred compensation) such benefits are being portrayed as unmerited "bonuses" which workers do not deserve. Americans have forgotten that Ronald Reagan, in his final years as President, urged raising teachers' salaries to entice the best and brightest into the profession. At that time, teachers in New York with nearly 15 years experience were making what the proposed salary for starting teachers were to be paid. It has been the states' and federal government's responsibility to make good on setting aside the necessary funds to abide by the contracts entered into. But, rather than raise taxes, they cut taxes. Rather than lockbox the retirement funds (Social Security at the federal level) they spent it on give-aways to businesses in order to create jobs. However, as two separate NYS Comptroller studies illustrated, less than 20 percent of the jobs promised by companies given those tax breaks actually ever appeared. Nationwide we have unemployment levels unseen since the Great Depression.

Republican/Tea Party spokespersons claim that public sector union workers (including benefits) make 42 percent more than comparable private sector union workers. Not true, but that's what the American public is being saturated with (paid for by Karl Rove's "Crossroads GPS" and the arch conservative "Club for Growth"). The only studies that went into enough detail to be able to truly compare apples to apples, demonstrated that public sector union members were 70 percent college graduates while private sector union workers were only 25 percent college graduates. Therefore, based upon education attainments, the public sector is underpaid, making less than the private sector.

Yet, what are we hearing from the American media? Propaganda paid for by the monied likes of the Koch brothers (tied for 18th richest people in the WORLD) and Republicans Dick "Grass Roots" Armey and Karl "Sleaze Job" Rove. What we're hearing is that the public sector is bleeding the country dry. It's a direct assault on workers, in general, and unionism in particular. Republicans/Tea Partiers understand that unions have always stood on the side of labor, against unfair wages and unsafe conditions in the workplace. Republicans/Tea Partiers understand that many union members died confronting the unfair working conditions in America; men and women murdered to save the paymaster money. But, most importantly, Republicans/Tea Partiers understand that unionists usually vote Democrat seeing as Republicans do not value labor.

It's a no-brainer then. Using the financial crisis created by a greedy, criminal Wall Street, newly elected Republicans/Tea Partiers are attempting to punish Democratic supporters; creating conditions that will make it more difficult for them to vote (e.g., not allowing same day registration/vote, requiring specific photo IDs, etc). These Republican/Tea Party "mavericks" are hell-bent on crushing unions for the monied elite they serve. With 65 percent of the fantastic gains made this past decade going to the top one percent, need you wonder who the elite are? They're the ones holding back trillions of dollars from investing to create jobs in order to break the American worker down to serfdom levels where they will be woefully undercompensated, but at least working and, therefore surviving, even as their safety while doing so is diminished.

Governor Scott Walker (Wisconsin) came into office and immediately delivered a $118 million tax cut to businesses. One week later he claimed the state had a "fiscal crisis" with a deficit of $132 million. He demanded concessions from public sector workers. The unions agreed to give-backs that balanced the budget. But, Walker wasn't satisfied. He demanded an end to collective bargaining (exempting those unionized workers that voted in large blocks for him: Police and Firemen). Democratic state Senators left Wisconsin in order to create a situation such that a vote could not go forward as there wasn't a quorum. The Republicans then defied an advance notification statute, finagled the law regarding quorum saying that because they removed all "fiscal items" from the bill (a budget relief bill, mind you) they could vote without a quorum and did so. Governor Walker has signed the bill into law even as it has been legally challenged and is currently under judicial stay.

In Michigan, the newly elected Republican/Tea Party Governor Rick Snyder created a bill that passed into law giving him complete authority to appoint a person that can eliminate any elected public official of whom he does not approve. Elected officials. Replaced at the whim of a single person. Democracy? Constitutional? Moral?

And it doesn't stop there. Twenty states have already introduced bills that, if voted into law, will prohibit or severely restrict collective bargaining. Even worse, there's a bill being introduced on Capitol Hill by Republicans/Tea Partiers that will allow states to declare bankruptcy in order to nullify their existing contracts with public sector workers. That means retirement, health insurance, etc will not be honored. People doing their jobs well for thirty-five years are now being told, "Yes, we underpaid you throughout your career. Yes, we promised we'd make it up to you with health care and retirement. But, we failed to do what needed to be done— paying as we went —and instead relied on the fantasy sold by Republicans that we could reduce revenues by cutting taxes for the wealthy and corporations then borrow our way to prosperity, at which time we'd pay up." Of course, that never happened as 'Trickle down' has been a dismal failure for 90 percent of the population and most certainly emptied governmental coffers!

Currently, several polls have been conducted regarding Governor Walker's assault on collective bargaining. One poll has it at 66 percent against, the other has 70 percent against. Americans intimately understand the concerns of the working class. However, if you listen to the media one would think that Americans are all for crushing the unions, that "America's" message is not that all workers should be pulled up to a living wage, but rather, that all workers should be pulled down to non-sustenance wages without benefits.

What remains to be seen is if we, the People, resist or remain sheeple being prodded to slaughter.