You really won't believe this. It's so dumb and so stupid that it can't possibly be factual. No one would ever support such an obvious and blatant joke of a scam.Look, don't play the video below if you don't want to be disgusted. Just go somewhere else if you think the grant process is legitimate. Turn away if you believe unions are working for their membership. Run if you have faith in your politicians of either political party.Every time I begin to believe this country might wake up and restore values, James O'Keefe exposes just how corrupt and despicable things really are now.Ugh!
Tuesday, June 5, 2012, will be remembered as the beginning of the long decline of the public-sector union. It will follow, and parallel, the shrinking of private-sector unions, now down to less than 7 percent of American workers. The abject failure of the unions to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) — the first such failure in U.S. history — marks the Icarus moment of government-union power. Wax wings melted, there’s nowhere to go but down.
The ultimate significance of Walker’s union reforms has been largely misunderstood. At first, the issue was curtailing outrageous union benefits, far beyond those of the ordinary Wisconsin taxpayer. That became a nonissue when the unions quickly realized that trying to defend the indefensible would render them toxic for the real fight to come.
But as the recall campaign progressed, the Democrats stopped talking about bargaining rights. It was a losing issue. Walker was able to make the case that years of corrupt union-politician back-scratching had been bankrupting the state.
The real threat behind all this, however, was that the new law ended automatic government collection of union dues. That was the unexpressed and politically inexpressible issue. That was the reason the unions finally decided to gamble on a high-risk recall.
Without the thumb of the state tilting the scale by coerced collection, union membership became truly voluntary. Result? Newly freed members rushed for the exits. In less than one year, -AFSCME, the second-largest public-sector union in Wisconsin, has lost more than 50 percent of its membership.
It was predictable. In Indiana, where Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) instituted by executive order a similar reform seven years ago, government-worker unions have since lost 91 percent of their dues-paying membership.
So they fought and they lost. Repeatedly. Tuesday was their third and last shot at reversing Walker’s reforms … their Waterloo. Walker defeated their gubernatorial candidate by a wider margin than he had — pre-reform — two years ago.
The unions’ defeat marks a historical inflection point. They set out to make an example of Walker. He succeeded in making an example of them as a classic case of reactionary liberalism. An institution founded to protect its members grew in size, wealth, power and arrogance, thanks to decades of symbiotic deals with bought politicians, to the point where it grossly overreached. A half-century later these unions were exercising essential control of everything from wages to work rules in the running of government — something that, in a system of republican governance, is properly the sovereign province of the citizenry.
Why did the unions lose? Because Norma Rae nostalgia is not enough, and it hardly applied to government workers living better than the average taxpayer who supports them.
Most important, however, because in the end reality prevails. As economist Herb Stein once put it: Something that can’t go on, won’t. These public-sector unions, acting, as FDR had feared, with an inherent conflict of interest regarding their own duties, were devouring the institution they were supposed to serve, rendering state government as economically unsustainable as the collapsing entitlement states of southern Europe.
It couldn’t go on. Now it won’t. All that was missing was a political leader willing to risk his career to make it stop. Because, time being infinite, even the inevitable doesn’t happen on its own.
After the 2010 election, I was scared that the tea party movement and the conservative resurgence had "jumped the shark", peaking too soon to attain its goal of sending Barack Obama and his policies back to Chicago. The Wisconsin vote this past week put that fear to an end.
The midterm elections had recaptured the U.S. House of Representatives for the Republicans. It upset in both congressional houses what had been a filibuster-proof majority, theoretically allowing a unified Democratic Party to pass any legislation it desired. That election also brought forth the first truly Republican North Carolina legislature in more than a century. Before Wisconsin, many Republicans, including me, were concerned that the post-Obama conservative tide had ebbed.
The Badger State became a test for modern tea party conservatism. Scott Walker was a bold governor who dared to challenge the most stalwart supporter of the Democratic Party, organized government labor. He did this in an effort to govern under the Republican principle that budgets needed to be balanced without excessive new taxes. And the best way to do that was to curb the power of government unions.
He did all this in a state that had not sent a Republican electoral vote to Washington since Ronald Regan. Such conduct was so dangerous to the left-wing power machine that it decided to make Walker an example to the nation that conservatives ought not bring their philosophy into the House of Labor. They then decided to gather enough signatures to demand the governor's recall, along with certain legislators on whom the governor depended for support.
The result was supposed to be a stern lesson for any politician who treaded upon the sacred ground of organized government labor. It didn't turn out that way.
The conservatives accepted labor's challenge. It was almost like a second Battle of Gettysburg. Conservative forces found themselves in a place unfamiliar with their cause and on ground they might not have chosen. But the enemy presented itself there. This time, the tea party, galloping across open ground, led a charge that could not be repelled. They made it past labor's stone wall and are now headed for Washington with the defenses of the left wing in tatters.
Some might say that the conservatives outspent the left. Perhaps that is true. But this was clearly a battleground chosen by labor and the left. They cannot now complain that their army was not ready for the conflict.
Moreover, each side spent enough money to educate all voters about the issues before them. When the airwaves are saturated with mutually destructive propaganda, voters tend to tune out the noise, voting their convictions. And those convictions were sympathetic to the 2010 conservative movement.
Now, President Obama was heavily criticized for not standing with his labor allies and campaigning in Wisconsin. He was similarly criticized for not joining in the effort to defeat the North Carolina marriage amendment, instead opting to oppose it the day after it was passed. Perhaps the Obama pollsters knew that the conservative resurgence that turned around Congress in 2010 is not only alive, but is continuing to expand its influence over the electorate.
Interestingly, the lesson of Wisconsin is important, too, for Republicans. Mitt Romney, the nominee apparent, is not a tea party candidate by any measure. His advisers often seem uncomfortable with some conservative ideas. Yet Wisconsin proved that shaking the "Etch A Sketch" to erase Romney's conservative primary positions may not be either necessary or advisable.
Wisconsin proved that dissatisfaction with the liberal agenda runs deeper than Obama's economic failures. Independent and swing voters have embraced conservative principles of governance like limited taxes and placing curbs on the pension and salary excesses of government labor.
Wisconsin was a state colored blue for many years past. Today it is state where the only things that remain solidly "blue" are the color of its crumbled cheese and its crumbling government unions.
The lesson of the Battle for Wisconsin is that, to paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the death of the 2010 conservative resurgence were greatly exaggerated. Reports on the influence of conservatives in the 2012 electorate have been substantially underestimated. It is lesson for both parties found in local tea party song: "We Ain't Goin' Away!"
Robert M. Levy
How can I get around Congress again?
And that's what new regulations such as those the EPA is trying to force through around Congress are really meant to accomplish. Hooray that the independent truckers have caught on to the real game and are now actively fighting it. If we had all been fighting earlier and fighting stronger longer, we might not have come to the mess the country now faces.Read: EPA Headed for a "Smack Down" by Independent CA TruckersBill Cochrane
Independent truckers have begun to realize that the real agenda is to force them out of the marketplace and protect big, unionized trucking companies through government regulations. New regulations really aren't about protecting the environment, safety, consumer protections or any of the other shell excuses that the government is using. They are about the increasing partnership of big corporations, big banks, unions, and the government. It's called fascism, which is simply an interim phase on the way to full socialism.
The indictment of seven Long Island Rail Road workers for disability fraud last week cast a spotlight on a troubled government agency. Until recently, over 90% of LIRR workers retired with a disability—even those who worked desk jobs—adding about $36,000 to their annual pensions.
The cost to New York taxpayers over the past decade was $300 million.
As one investigator put it, fraud of this kind "became a culture of sorts among the LIRR workers, who took to gathering in doctor's waiting rooms bragging to each [other] about their disabilities while simultaneously talking about their golf game."
How could almost every employee think fraud was the right thing to do?
The LIRR disability epidemic is hardly unique — 82% of senior California state troopers are "disabled" in their last year before retirement
. Pension abuses are so common — for example, "spiking" pensions with excess overtime in the last year of employment — that they're taken for granted.
Governors in Wisconsin and Ohio this year have led well-publicized showdowns with public unions. Union leaders argue they are "decimating the collective bargaining rights of public employees".
What are these so-called "rights"? The dispute has focused on rich benefit packages that are drowning public budgets. Far more important is the lack of productivity. "I've never seen anyone terminated for incompetence,"
observed a long-time human relations official in New York City. In Cincinnati, police personnel records must be expunged every few years — making periodic misconduct essentially unaccountable. Over the past decade, Los Angeles succeeded in firing just five teachers (out of 33,000), at a cost of $3.5 million.
Collective-bargaining rights have made government virtually unmanageable. Promotions, reassignments and layoffs are dictated by rigid rules, without any opportunity for managerial judgment. In 2010, shortly after receiving an award as best first-year teacher in Wisconsin, Megan Sampson had to be let go under "last in, first out" provisions of the union contract.
Even what task someone should do on a given day is subject to detailed rules. Last year, when a virus disabled two computers in a shared federal office in Washington, D.C., the IT technician fixed one but said he was unable to fix the other because it wasn't listed on his form.
Making things work better is an affront to union prerogatives. The refuse-collection union in Toledo sued when the city proposed consolidating garbage collection with the surrounding county. (Toledo ended up making a cash settlement.) In Wisconsin, when budget cuts eliminated funding to mow the grass along the roads, the union sued to stop the county executive from giving the job to inmates.
No decision is too small for union micromanagement. Under the New York City union contract, when new equipment is installed the city must reopen collective bargaining "for the sole purpose of negotiating with the union on the practical impact, if any, such equipment has on the affected employees."
Trying to get ideas from public employees can be illegal. A deputy mayor of New York City was "warned not to talk with employees in order to get suggestions"
because it might violate the "direct dealing law."
How inefficient is this system? Ten percent? Thirty percent? Pause on the math here. Over 20 million people work for federal, state and local government, or one in seven workers in America
. Their salaries and benefits total roughly $1.5 trillion of taxpayer funds each year (about 10% of GDP). They spend another $2 trillion. If government could be run more efficiently by 30%, that would result in annual savings worth $1 trillion
What's amazing is that anything gets done in government. This is a tribute to countless public employees who render public service, against all odds, by their personal pride and willpower, despite having to wrestle daily choices through a slimy bureaucracy.
One huge hurdle stands in the way of making government manageable: public unions. The head of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees recently bragged that the union had contributed $90 million in the 2010 off-year election alone. Where did the unions get all that money? The power is imbedded in an artificial legal construct — a "collective-bargaining right" that deducts union dues from all public employees, whether or not they want to belong to the union.
Some states, such as Indiana, have succeeded in eliminating this requirement. I would go further: America should ban political contributions by public unions, by constitutional amendment if necessary. Government is supposed to serve the public, not public employees.
America must bulldoze the current system and start over. Only then can we balance budgets and restore competence, dignity and purpose to public service.
Philip K. Howard, Common Good
Remember the violent and disgusting demonstrations over Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker doing away with collective bargaining for teacher's unions? The results are in. Some school districts went from a $400,000 deficit to a $1,500,000 surplus as a result. Why?
It seems that the insurance company that provided all the "so-called" benefits to the teachers was an insurance company owned and operated by the teacher's union! Since the outfit was guaranteed to get the insurance business from the teachers, and the State had to pay for it (not the teachers) the insurance company was increasing annual costs every single year to become the most expensive insurance company in the state. Then the company was donating millions and millions of dollars to its favorite democrat politicians who, when they got elected, guaranteed to keep funding the union's outrageous costs. In other words, the insurance company was a "pass through" for Wisconsin taxpayer money directly to Democrat politicians.
Nice racket, and this is the racket that is going on in every single State that allows collective bargaining.
No wonder the States are taking it away. Now the State of Wisconsin is free to put the insurance contract out for bids and, lo and behold, they have saved so much money it has turned deficits into surplus amounts. As a result, none of the teachers had to be laid off, everyone got a raise, etc., etc., and the taxpayers of Wisconsin don't have to pay more taxes to fund the union's political ambitions.
If you weren't aware of the reasons Gov. Walker was fighting to take away collective bargaining, it gives you an idea of the problem the Republican Party has. Outside of one or two, none of them know how to speak up and explain properly what the problem was. We could sure use a Ronald Reagan now, someone who could explain things for people to understand, since we know that people don't like to read anymore.
Read: Wisconsin schools buck union to cut healthcare costs
So you think the Tea Party is "dangerous"? That they want to be "disruptive" and "bring things to a standstill"? No. Just the opposite. Here's Stephen Lerner, Organizer for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) trying to drum up riots and disruptive crises all around the country. He wants to bring the European riots and the "Arab Spring" to America!
So, who do you think is dangerouls now?
After a major defeat in Wisconsin, the public service unions are seething. They are angry that Wisconsin, the birthplace of the Progressive Movement, has turned back toward the center and rejected their union/socialist vision. The public services unions are also angry that the Obama Administration and his National Labor Relations Board haven't delivered more of the unions' wish list of additional handouts and rules changes. If you ask me, the unions have heavily benefitted from the NLRB and Obama's failed Stimulus. The unions were the primary beneficiaries of the Stimulus spending. But I guess it's never enough, and the unions are still very disappointed that all government everywhere is not completely unionized and that Right-to-Work states still exist.
Now, they're also angry at the Democrat National Committee because it decided, for its own political reasons, to hold their 2012 National Convention in Charlotte, NC -- in a Right-to-Work state. So they're threatening to boycott the DNC Convention.
It just goes to show that the coalition which put our current government in place (while too many of the electorate dozed) is a fragile coalition. The unions, the socialists, the communists, the Islamists, the anarchists, the globalists, the recipient class -- all those on the far-Left -- are so greedy for their own causes and ideologies, that the coalition breaks down when the individual groups do not get everything they want. That's good and hopeful news for the nation.
Read: Some unions to skip 2012 convention