Posted by MataHarley on 27 February, 2011 at 9:58 pm. 59 comments already!


The enemy from within… the Democrat Socialists of America in their alliance with the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the unions… has begun to shed their cloak and boldly show their faces in the unions/WI/collective bargaining debate. And right along with it, they’ve laid their agenda on the table. The stakes are large – union power over government, taxpayer funds – and now they need the power of the bully pulpit.

To coax out a POTUS who avoids controversy with every waking hour, they openly engage in an Alinsky style national disinformation propaganda campaign, whipping up the disgruntled, followed by thinly veiled threats of ripping away future support to Obama.

Last Wednesday, MN House Rep Keith Ellison, and co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, put out the public appeal for Obama to “… come to Wisconsin and stand with the workers.”

“The fact is, is that it’s working people who are going to be pounding for him in a couple of years,” Ellison said, referring to the 2012 campaign. “It’s working people whose policies that we elected him to pursue, and so, I think it’s only sensible that he would stand on the side of labor at this time.”

Hummm… think we have any political interests at play here now?

Mata Musing: And yes yes… I don’t need any of you out there to point out Ellison’s Muslim faith, or his relationship with Farrakhan… Please don’t digress from the union/progressive/DSA agenda that is the centerpiece of this post to appease some other caliphate subterfuge. I beg you to stay on topic for something larger and more eminent…

While more subtle in rhetoric, Trumka piled on to Ellison’s infinitely more direct entreaty today with his round table appearance on MTP. Tho he believed Obama’s “assault on unions” commentary was “the right way”, Trumpka responded to MTP’s David Gregory’s direction question about Obama’s personal involvment by saying, “Everybody could be doing more”.

Clearly Obama’s union/progressive/socialist base is not happy that their bought and paid for POTUS will not step out on that proverbial limb for them without undue pressure. And now, they have no qualms about danging olive branches, laden with promises of future political funding and support, in their desperate quest to bid for bully pulpit pressure.

Will the POTUS acquiesce? With this WH denizen, we can be assured he won’t be responding until his campaign team gets some adequate poll numbers on the best way he and the TOTUS should answer. I’ll give it a week or two, based on past slo-mo performance.

UPDATE: Bryon York reports that Obama’s Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, has found Obama’s missing “walking shoes”. The labor secretary is out there, loud and clear, fighting for the union label. With Obama’s blessings, as his proxy, or to his dismay? Who knows. END UPDATE

The rise of the collective bargaining “rights”, as the union mob wishes to term it, has given a new opportunity for the quintessential Alinsky tactic to agitate their disgruntled base… however small… with lofty arguments about “workers rights”. And they find no dearth of the uneducated to agitate. Additionally, we have a new political entitlement… it’s called *Irresponsible Obstructionism*, openly practiced by wayward, MIA Dem elected state legislators in two states to date. Apparently, the new way to watch your constituents’ back when you don’t have the votes to dissent, is to simply run away to prevent any action at all.

Can you imagine the media op-eds had the GOP done this during the Pelosi/Reid/Obama power reign?

The actors in this convoluted political farce are so inbred… performing a political screenplay fraught with tangible interwoven agenda… that it could make a privately employed citizen scream with frustration. But here’s the political plot in a nutshell…

The Progressive Caucus, the unions, the Democrat Socialists of America and the nation’s POTUS… afraid to do more than lip service for his base during an elongated presidential campaign… are quite busy pushing the welfare of teachers while deliberately engaging in a misinformation campaign to the US citizen. The goal is enough box office receipts to maintain the union’s third party hold on government budgets, power, and dictating the complete terms of any government worker’s working pensions, conditions and pay.

This is an ambitious, two act, talking points play with one hidden unholy alliance finale.

1: Talking point 1: Eliminating collective bargaining for the few US workers that are public sector is endangering “workers rights”, and negatively all the rights of us who are not government employees. Thus, the “public”…(meaning we peons without the taxpayer pensions) fully support the unions’ efforts, and

2: Talking point 3: WI’s pension plan isn’t in jeopardy, the collective bargaining rights don’t affect budgets, and Walker is playing a nefarious political game to forever banish public sector unions from the face of the Earth.

Unholy alliance: Progressive elected officials, the Democratic Socialists of America and an elected POTUS with a powerful bully pulpit and an established grassroots “community organizing” lynch mob.

Do we have the beefs and accusations down now?


It seems so simple on the surface. Do workers have a right to have a 3rd party representative bargain for reasonable working conditions, pensions and wages on their behalf? Generally, the US citizen would find no objection with this. But, the devil lies in the details, doesn’t it?

Fact is, since only 11.9% of all American workers are a member of any union – public or private – in 2010, it can be said that the understanding of collective bargaining agreements by public at large, and it’s effect on their personal wallets, is somewhat lacking.

This is proven in the Dick Morris poll in Wisconsin this past week, where that question was asked two distinctly different ways.

On the issue of limiting collective bargaining to wage and benefit issues, however, they break with the Governor, opposing the proposal by 41-54.

If the issues to be taken off the bargaining table are related to giving schools flexibility to modify tenure, pay teachers based on merit, discharge bad teachers and promote good ones, however, they support such limits on collective bargaining by 58-38.

So much for Trumka and the lib/prog media machine. They hold up signs and scream “workers rights” before cameras and on the talking head circuit, and on the other hand deliberately misinform the public as to just what collective bargaining really constitutes. Instead – banking on emotional catch phrases – they deliberately keep the American taxpayer “barefoot and pregnant” to it’s effect on taxes, the quality of education, teacher tenure and contracts, hiring and firing practices, etc.

The ultimate chutzpah becomes when they ironically use educators, themselves, to deliberately misinform the public.

Public sector collective bargaining is an entirely different matter than private sector bargaining. As the Michigan Mackinac Center for Public Policy said, it all comes down to that good ol’ fashioned, American principle of consumer choice.

But there is a crucial difference between public sector (government) and private sector bargaining.

That difference is consumer choice. In the private sector, if a business such as a grocery store were to negotiate a union contract that specified costly and cumbersome wages and work rules that drove up the price of the store’s goods, consumers could and would choose to shop at a different store with lower prices and better service. This competition forces the private sector labor unions to either be reasonable in their demands or risk bankrupting the business and losing employment for their members.

With government, or public sector, bargaining, there are no such competitive forces. If the state of Michigan negotiated a contract with state employees that established excessive wages and inefficient and bureaucratic work rules, Michigan taxpayers would have no alternative provider of state activities. Short of moving to another state, they could not choose to drive on lower cost roads, support a less expensive prison system, or otherwise seek options in other functions of state government. Citizens are, therefore, forced to pay the price through their taxes, or else spend their days lobbying public officials for change-an expensive and time-consuming process that is difficult for most hard-working citizens.

The Sunshine Review, a wikipedia’esque data source using state data to assess states’ fiscal status, also has a page devoted to the differences between public and private sector collective bargaining.

Public sector managers have almost none of the financial incentives of private-sector management to minimize labor costs. Private sector managers are likely either to own stock in their firm or know that their own paychecks depend on negotiating a cost-effective deal. If anything, public sector administrators (e.g., school superintendents) have incentives to see their subordinate employees paid as highly as possible because their own and their immediate staff’s salaries tend to rise in tandem with those of their unionized employees.

In public sector bargaining unions may have advocates on both sides of the table. That is, elected officials may owe their own positions to support from unions. They themselves or members of their immediate family may be union members. For example, Pennsylvania laws bar school board members who are also union members from participating directly in union contract negotiations, but does not bar them from voting on any resulting contract.

Scott Dilley over at the EFFWA wrote an interesting history of collective bargaining for public sector unions in Washington state. His conclusion points out an ugly public sector union reality:

Legislators may choose to revisit the topics and language of this failed legislation during future legislative sessions. If this happens, the pertinent question to ask is whether legislators should allow a portion of state-funded reimbursements, credits, and subsidies to be redirected to a union, only to have that union lobby for increased funding for program costs.

Legislators already have the power to control the funding for these social and administrative obligations. Diverting scarce funds to a third-party middleman is not an efficient solution to funding deficiencies or a proper role for government.

Why is it okay to have a 3rd party middle man insert themselves into control over taxpayer funds that increase costs and play on political favoritism? In fact, it’s amazingly hypocritical for the political aisle, railing about “special interests”, to thrust such power into the hands of union “special interests”.

While the WI debate centralizes around the plight of teachers, I can honestly say that education is of paramount importance in this issue. Because it is only after the American workers become educated to this ugly truth about public sector unions that the tide changes from support for the mob in the streets, thwarting states rights and democracy for a larger agenda, to a more emphatic “no way, Jose”.

But wait… there’s *more*!

Not only are these 3rd party negotiations offensive, but many of them take place behind closed doors. As EFFWA noted in 2007, the transparency of public sector union bargaining is a problem. WI was one of nine states that had closed bargaining session. Fifteen more states had varying degrees of restricted public scrutiny, depending on choice by government or the other party. Only eleven states allowed some form of public access to the bargaining negotiations.

Redstate’s “LaborUnionReport blogger did a Dec 2010 article about the ticking time bomb of manipulated pension funding reporting, and the unions’ attempt to cover up attempts at transparency… which brings me to …


Just how are these public sector pension plans funded? An oft referenced study by Robert Novy-Marx and Joshua D. Rauh from Northwestern in the fall of 2009 gives us the answer…. It’s a combination of partial pay in by the workers, and an investment of the pension assets. All of this makes the projections and certainly of pension funding and liabilities a Russian Roulette, tied to stocks and investments.

As the Kellog study noted in it’s Conclusion, the stock decline made the pension liabilities more apparent, but the state government accounting discrepancies have been off long before that.

The decline in asset markets in 2008 has made the state pension funding problem more apparent, but it is far from being the main cause of the problem. In real economic terms, state pensions were underfunded by $0.8 trillion even in 2005, when they appeared fully funded according to government accounting standards. Our analysis has several implications for government accounting standards and public policy.

Each state plan currently reports only one actuarial number for its pension liability. This number is of limited usefulness, because it is based on a number of ingredients that are subject to substantial discretion. At a minimum, states should be required to report liabilities under several pre-specified discount rates, such as Treasury interest rates and interest rates on taxable municipal bonds. States should also be required to report the sensitivity of the pension liability estimate to different assumptions. Better still, states could be asked to report projected annual cash flows from accrued and projected pension benefits, which are a key component to calculating their liabilities, thus allowing analysts to apply their own assumptions or to use standardized assumptions across states.

Does that sound like a mouthful of data? Let’s bring it to a simpler analysis, and based on the central state at hand… Wisconsin.

Wisconsin’s statewide pension system for public employees may not be as well-funded as the state reports, with a new study estimating it could be as much as $10.9 billion short in meeting its obligations just to teachers.

While the state estimates that the Wisconsin Retirement System is nearly 100% funded, the report by the conservative Manhattan Institute and Foundation for Educational Choice warns that the amount could be far less.

By using asset growth projection rates similar to what are required for private pension plans, the study found that Wisconsin’s retirement system would be considered only 78% funded. In addition, an analysis that takes into account recent stock market activity drops it to 72% funding, according to the report.

Oh, say it ain’t so… ya mean the government reporting and rose colored glasses accounting isn’t accurate??? And this is the “employer”, in negotiations with the unions, deciding how to spend the taxpayers money?

None of this has escaped those paying closer attention that the rest of us. One of those was Nick Gillespie. over at the Reason blog, who predicted this OK Corral moment back in Dec 2009.

There is a looming showdown in American society between public-sector employees and the rest of us, in terms of job security and, especially, unsustainable gold-plated retirement and health benefits that are working hard to bankrupt whole states such as California, New York, and New Jersey. As with some parts of the private sector (domestically owned auto companies, for instance), basic compensation packages were hammered into place in a very different America, and conferred massive future benefits when politicians were either too stupid or too cowardly to confront basic questions of fiscal responsibility. Do you want to spend your life (and have your kids spend their lives) to pay ever-increasing taxes for teacher, cop, and bureaurat retirements at early ages? Especially while you’re expected to fully fund your own? This is a social contract that needs to be redrawn ASAP.

Any pause for cause for you skeptics out there yet?

As Wisconsin investor, David Dierking wisely put in an article on The Sun Financial Diary site:

One of the big problems running into public pension plans now is the inflexibility of the plans themselves. In the private sector, companies can often change how the plan operates to manage costs in order to reflect current conditions. In the public sector, pension plans can be limited by state law that can guarantee the continued funding rate of plans even if the entity wishes to modify it. The result is that pension plans are becoming richer and richer for plan benefactors and more costly for states.

The other factor working against pension plans is the recent performance of the stock market. Pensions regularly use the stock market to grow the plan’s asset base. As the market has struggled over the past decade, an expected source of plan funding has come up short of expectations and as a result has left pension plans struggling to maintain their funded status.

No sheeeeeet, Sherlock.

Given the obvious fiscal irregularities, the lies, and/or conflicts of interest, just who are these players, and who do they think they are kidding in the American citizenry?


One thing I’ve learned is more than a few in the conservative world have no interest in facts on both sides of an issue unless it contains at least one link to an Obama conspiracy theory. Truly, in some ways many of we conservatives have become that which we so detested in the Bush years… and during the McCain/Palin campaign – suffering a similar malady called Obama Derangement Syndrome. (ODS)

While there are some charges that appear by conservative bloggers that are simply hyperbole, there are others that are indeed overt and undeniable. And right about now, a sitting POTUS, with a tanking US economy, the Middle East in various stages of mayhem, and union mobs taking to the streets in a way that makes a community organizer at heart pine for involvement, Obama is now rueing the moment that his base calls him to serve, knowing full well if he does, he risks his political career.

And the first overt link to his political demise is between the Congressional Progressive Congress, the unions, and the Democrat Socialists of America. But please, don’t believe me… take it from the DSA themselves.

The Socialist Party, USA, in 1956, chose to stop running candidates of its own, except on rare occasion. During the 1960’s, we began to work in the Democratic Party. This is where our allies in the civil rights and trade union movement worked and continue to work politically. We are proud of what we helped accomplish within the Democratic Party, particularly the civil rights legislation and anti-poverty programs of the the 1960’s. The struggle continues.


20% of the American public believes that socialism is superior to capitalism, says a poll by Rasmussen Reports released on Thursday, April 9.

Asked the question “Which is a better system – capitalism or socialism?”, 53% of those polled found capitalism the better system, 20% preferred socialism, and 27% were unsure. The survey did not define either capitalism or socialism, but Rasmussen also cites a December 2008 result saying that 15% of Americans prefer a government-managed economy.


Currently, only a single member of the United States Congress describes himself as a socialist: Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. The Social Democrats USA (SD USA), one of the successors of the Socialist Party of America, has expressed solidarity with the 76-member Congressional Progressive Caucus, which Sanders founded in 1991. It supports positions such as a living wage, universal health care, and the right of workers to form trade unions and engage in collective bargaining.

As I pointed out in the third paragraph of this post, the co-chair of that very same DSA “solidarity” caucus is House Rep Keith Ellison.

This alliance was, as usual, dismissed as conspiracy when the Canadian Free Press reported of the alliance between the “new and improved” socialist party and the Congressional Progressive Caucus back in 2009. It was equally distained by an American media when Gateway Pundit said the same in Aug 2010.

But wait… the DSA tentacles and direct links do not stop there. Instead they lead directly to a long time teachers activitist organization founded in… ta da… Milwaukie, WI. Oh my… how six degrees of separation is that?

DSA touts Rethinking Schools, founded in 1986 by a group of Milwaukie, WI school teachers “…with a vision.”

Rethinking Schools began as a local effort to address problems such as basal readers, standardized testing, and textbook-dominated curriculum. Since its founding, it has grown into a nationally prominent publisher of educational materials, with subscribers in all 50 states, all 10 Canadian provinces, and many other countries.

While the scope and influence of Rethinking Schools has changed, its basic orientation has not. Most importantly, it remains firmly committed to equity and to the vision that public education is central to the creation of a humane, caring, multiracial democracy. While writing for a broad audience, Rethinking Schools emphasizes problems facing urban schools, particularly issues of race.

Throughout its history, Rethinking Schools has tried to balance classroom practice and educational theory. It is an activist publication, with articles written by and for teachers, parents, and students. Yet it also addresses key policy issues, such as vouchers and marketplace-oriented reforms, funding equity, and school-to-work.


At a time when racial and class inequalities are growing in our country, we believe that any vision of schooling must be grounded in “the common school.” Schools are about more than producing efficient workers or future winners of the Nobel Prize for science. They are the place in this society where children from a variety of backgrounds come together and, at least in theory, learn to talk, play, and work together.

Schools are integral not only to preparing all children to be full participants in society, but also to be full participants in this country’s ever-tenuous experiment in democracy. That this vision has yet to be fully realized does not mean it should be abandoned.

There are many reasons to be discouraged about the future: School districts nationwide continue to slash budgets; violence in our schools and cities shows no signs of abating; attempts to privatize the schools have not slowed; and the country’s productive resources are still used to make zippier shoes, rather than used in less profitable arenas like education and affordable housing.

Is it any surprise that this is a group who considers evaluations of students, as a reflection of teacher quality, unfair? If, as the Daily Caller reports, it is a mandate to teach labor union history in Wisconsin schools, Rethinking Schools no longer seems so far fetched, and the firm entrenchment of both unions and the DSA mentality in Wisconsin’s youth is complete.

Now this shared passion between a community organizer turned POTUS, and his union buddies – not to mentioned shared by long time friend and unrepentant terrorist, Wm Ayers – has come to a head at a most inconvenient political time. For while his Democratic Socialist of America and progressive elected base calls, he cannot afford to answer, and maintain the powerful lifestyle to which he has become addicted.

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