In My Orbit…

19 02 2011

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti /

It’s a rainy Friday here in Los Angeles, so after an afternoon Yoga class, I’m laying low and orbiting around the unfolding push/pull of the State of Wisconsin and its battle with the public-sector unions. I’ve never thought much about this sister State to my home State of Illinois. About the only things to which I have paid attention were its cheeses and the Dells. It is rightly considered the Berkeley/Bay Area of the Midwest, with its radical left-wing politics and campuses. I can get that in warmer climes, and I do!

But this Scott Walker, I’m liking the cut of his gib. I’ve watched union strong-arming from my days in Chicago and here in Los Angeles, and I’m glad someone is taking a stand in asking them to act like the rest of the citizenry and contribute toward the common good.

Like many of the institutions that were formed to assist the working man, public-sector unions have become a special interest that is intent on lining its own bed, as opposed to actually helping any of its members.

An editorial in the Chicago Tribune speaks to exactly that:  Lost: the common good. You look at certain news and blogs, and they are painting it as some noble protest against Governor Scott Walker’s trying to destroy the unions, which is anything but the truth. A pull quote:

“No, he is not seeking to eliminate unions, though you might get that impression from the heated rhetoric of the employees and even from President Barack Obama, who called this an ‘assault on unions.'”

Asking people to contribute something toward their pension and retirement in order to save the State is an assault? News to me.

“Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has demanded that state workers contribute roughly 5.8 percent of their wages toward their retirement. He wants them to pay for 12 percent of their health-care premiums. Those modest employee contributions would be the envy of many workers in the private sector.”

Amen to that. I wish I had a pension or health-care premiums to contribute to–oh, that’s right, I don’t have a job! I’m among the ranks of those 99ers who have been out of work for more than two years–and–newsflash: my unemployment benefits were pulled over a year ago, because I tried to at least work part-time, and was honest enough to let the EDD know. That was an exercise in futility and how backward their bureaucracy is, but I digress….

So these teachers walking off the job, and the cowardice of the Democrat Senators of Wisconsin who decided to go MIA truly chaps my hide. Typical Democrats: they pick the union coffers when they want to get elected, but when it’s their time to stand and be counted, they bail. Reason #9,997 that I am not affiliated with that party.

Then there is President Obama. According to a Washington Post article, he’s right in the thick of things:

“The president’s political machine worked in close coordination Thursday with state and national union officials to mobilize thousands of protesters to gather in Madison and to plan similar demonstrations in other state capitals.”

Those other state capitals include Ohio (who also has a Republican Governor) Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Another telling quote:

“The White House political operation, Organizing for America, got involved Monday, after Democratic National Committee Chairman Timothy M. Kaine, a former Virginia governor, spoke to union leaders in Madison, a party official said.

“The group made phone calls, distributed messages via Twitter and Facebook, and sent e-mails to its state and national lists to try to build crowds for rallies Wednesday and Thursday, a party official said.”

Talk about stomping all over state’s rights here. I thought he was supposed to be President of all of Americans? I hold no surprise here–Obama has been in bed with unions since his days as a Chicago pol– and he needs their support and money in order to get reelected in 2012.

Even the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel is calling this brouhaha a temper tantrum, and a mockery of the democratic process. I agree. I hope Scott Walker and the other Governors stand strong and do what their constituents elected them for: to trim the budget and get the state out of debt for all of their citizens. Many people in Wisconsin (and those of other states) do not care for these strong arm tactics–it is not the America we know.



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