Saturday, 19 February 2011


Ken Berwitz

Want to see how low the Wisconsin teachers/protesters are sinking? 

Here's your answer.  No commentary necessary:




Ken Berwitz

As the protests in Madison, Wisconsin continue, and escalate, President Obama has made a point of coming down squarely in favor of the union position. 

Excerpted from an article by Brady Dennis and Peter Wallsten in ysterday's Washington Post:

MADISON, WIS. - President Obama thrust himself and his political operation this week into Wisconsin's broiling budget battle, mobilizing opposition Thursday to a Republican bill that would curb public-worker benefits and planning similar protests in other state capitals.


Obama accused Scott Walker, the state's new Republican governor, of unleashing an "assault" on unions in pushing emergency legislation that would change future collective-bargaining agreements that affect most public employees, including teachers.


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


Their efforts began to spread, as thousands of labor supporters turned out for a hearing in Columbus, Ohio, to protest a measure from Gov. John Kasich (R) that would cut collective-bargaining rights.


By the end of the day, Democratic Party officials were organizing additional demonstrations in Ohio and Indiana, where an effort is underway to trim benefits for public workers. Some union activists predicted similar protests in Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.


Under Walker's plan, most public workers - excluding police, firefighters and state troopers - would have to pay half of their pension costs and at least 12 percent of their health-care costs. They would lose bargaining rights for anything other than pay. Walker, who took office last month, says the emergency measure would save $300 million over the next two years to help close a $3.6 billion budget gap.


"Some of what I've heard coming out of Wisconsin, where they're just making it harder for public employees to collectively bargain generally, seems like more of an assault on unions," Obama told a Milwaukee television reporter on Thursday, taking the unusual step of inviting a local TV station into the White House for a sit-down interview. "I think everybody's got to make some adjustments, but I think it's also important to recognize that public employees make enormous contributions to our states and our citizens."

From a purely political perspective, this may or may not make sense. 

-On the upside, it can solidify President Obama's standing with union members.  While he owns the leadership of major unions (or, more exactly, they own him), Mr. Obama loses a lot of the union rank and file on election day.  His stand in Wisconsin could generate higher union support for him, which could be the difference in several large states.

-But on the downside, union members comprise only a small percentage of the overall work force.  If Mr. Obama is perceived as kowtowing to unions and giving them goodies while the rest of us suffer, he stands to lose a lot more than he gains.

I understand that the urge to play politics with this situation must be irrestistible to Mr. Obama.  But I wonder if he realizes just how much he is risking to do it.

Well, that's for him to worry about.  We'll keep a close watch and see how things play out.

Zeke .... ..... ..... It's only fair. .... ..... These deserving poor Union Thugs should get a bailout, just like the UAW got (GM, Chrysler), like the Stimulation went to gub'mint workers, like the bloated pay levels and incredible benefits that federal workers get. .... ..... We can't discriminate against these deserving Thugs ... ..... The nation needs to strengthen the privileged public employee class .... .... while the rest of us starve. .... ..... (02/19/11)


Ken Berwitz

Remember when Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats referred to the Tea Party rallies as being astroturfed (i.e. not at all spontaneous or everyday, but orchestrated by organized groups)?  Remember how sinister and shadowy that was portrayed as being?

To many of us, the Tea Partiers appeared to consist predominantly of everyday people who were carrying hand-made signs describing their dissatisfaction with government, mostly with government spending.  But astroturf was the Democratic Party line.

And do you remember how much of our media dutifully, compliantly picked up on the astroturf meme and recited it on behalf of their Democratic masters as if there were no issue that it was true?

Well, the protests in Madison, Wisconsin have gone on for something like a week now.  And they have predominantly been organized by unions both in and out of the state - and student groups (the U. of Wisconsin is in Madison).  They are about as astroturfed as they can be.  

Have you heard a word about astroturfing" in the media yet?  

Me neither.  It must be on the waiting line with footage of all those signs calling Governor Walker hitler, mussolini mubarak and showing crosshairs on his face.  No rush to show the, people stuff like that, no rush at all.

And while were on the subject, here are a couple of other things I doubt youve seen or heard much reporting on.  The first comes to us via excerpts from the web site:

Sick Teachers Force Milwaukee Public Schools To Close

On Friday, the Milwaukee Public School District was forced to close the doors of all its 184 schools after more than 600 teachers called in sick in order to travel to Madison to engage in protests against Governor Walkers Budget Repair Bill. The Milwaukee Public School District is the largest school district in Wisconsin with over 82,000 students and 184 schools.

The average salary of a Milwaukee Public School District teacher is $56,095 according to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Including benefits, the average compensation package for Milwaukee teachers is $86,297 per year.

If these 600 Milwaukee teachers are not docked pay, it could cost taxpayers nearly $186,983.32 to pay teachers to attend protests in Madison on Friday.

According to Census Bureau estimates, nearly 33% of of all children in the Milwaukee Public School system live in poverty. Essential services occur during the school day such as the administration of medicine and guaranteed meals.

Are the taxpayers really going to subsidize schoolteachers for walking out?  My guess is that, yes, they are.

And what about that average compensation package for Milwaukee teachers?  Do you think that a salary and benefits package of $86,297 should be enough for them to foot a tiny fraction of their health coverage and pension like just about everyone else does?

Oh, one other thing:  That compensation package actually may be a great deal higher.  The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction uses the $86,297 figure.  But here, from video footage provided by, is what Deborah Wegner, Manager of Financial Planning for the city of Milwaukee, says:

The average teacher salary for fiscal year 11 will remain at the fiscal 10 rate of $56,500..the cost of a teacher, plus benefits, will be $100,005 in fiscal 11, while in fiscal 10 the cost was $95,316 with benefits

Maybe its just me, but whether it is $86K or $100K a year, I dont see these teachers going broke if they have to kick in a tiny fraction of the cost for their benefits.

How about you?

Now:  when do media start reporting any of this?

free` Now: when do media start reporting any of this? --- Right after they report that Bush didn't lie us into war? (02/19/11)


Ken Berwitz

Joe Klein, most recently of Time Magazine, has about as strong a set of leftward credentials as you will find in mainstream media. 

So when he writes about how unions have acquired far too much power which they use to make wholly unreasonable demands, it is worth paying some attention.

Here are excerpts from his latest column for Time.  Read them and try to find anything you disagree with:

Revolutions everywhere--in the middle east, in the middle west. But there is a difference: in the middle east, the protesters are marching for democracy; in the middle west, they're protesting against it. I mean, Isn't it, well, a bit ironic that the protesters in Madison, blocking the state senate chamber, are chanting "Freedom, Democracy, Union" while trying to prevent a vote?

An election was held in Wisconsin last November. The Republicans won. In a democracy, there are consequences to elections and no one, not even the public employees unions, are exempt from that. There are no guarantees that labor contracts, including contracts governing the most basic rights of unions, can't be renegotiated, or terminated for that matter. We hold elections to decide those basic parameters. And it seems to me that Governor Scott Walker's basic requests are modest ones--asking public employees to contribute more to their pension and health care plans, though still far less than most private sector employees do. He is also trying to limit the unions' abilities to negotiate work rules--and this is crucial when it comes to the more efficient operation of government in a difficult time.

There are other parts of the column I disagree with (this is Joe Klein, let's remember).  But what you just read is dead-on correct.

Will there be other defections from the usually-reliable hard left?  Maybe yes and maybe no.  But this is one of them, and it is an important one.

Thank you, Mr. Klein, for the honesty and the common sense.


Ken Berwitz

Dan Gainor of the Media Research Center (MRC) has written a superb column which lays out, in plain language, a) just how completely the Obama/Democrat "stimulus package" has failed and b) just how completely our wonderful "neutral" media have failed to report it.

I urge you to read Mr. Gainor's entire piece by clicking here.  But, for the meanwhile, let me give you its first few paragraphs:

Politicians will promise just about anything to get elected. They might offer a chicken in every pot or even vow to end wars in places like Iraq or Afghanistan. That's just marketing. But once they get elected, we expect them to be honest.

Or at least we used to. Not any longer. Not since the $787 billion stimulus bill passed in 2010. Now, two years after it was signed into law on Feb. 17, it's easy to see why we've given up on political honesty. As Rep. Joe Wilson said to President Obama: "You lie."

He wasn't kidding.

The whole premise of the need for such an incredibly huge spending bill was jobs. As The New York Times explained it on Oct. 22, 2009, "the Obama administration's forecast at the start of the year, which predicted that unemployment would not climb much above 8 percent." That should earn Obama a spot in the Liar's Hall of Fame.

Now in 2011, unemployment isn't even close to 8 percent and it went as high as 10.1 percent. Unemployment has been over 9 percent since May of 2009, a 21-month stretch of pain for millions of Americans. And even though we've had some big drops in the number in the last two months, no one on the left or right believes them.

Yet you've hardly ever heard the media tell you about Obama's failed stimulus plan. That's right, failed. If you promise the largest spending bill in history is needed to keep unemployment below 8 percent and the jobless rate spends 21 months at 9 percent or higher, then you failed. Big time.

You probably didn't know that. That's because ABC, CBS, and NBC mentioned that promise just nine times in nearly two years of stimulus coverage. The remaining 98 percent of the time, Obama's disastrous overspending was ignored.


Nope.  Just what our wonderful "neutral" media have devolved into; shills for the Democratic Party with less and less concern for what the actual truth is.  How sad. 

But things are as they are.  And that is why, despite the fact that many people still rely on mainstream media for their news, more and more either reject them altogether or balance their information with what can be found from alternative sources - like this one, for example.

The more perspectives we get on the news, the less likely we are to be led like good little sheep by ideologues posing as journalists.  And that, folks, is the best news of this entire blog.


Ken Berwitz

There has been more coverage of Carmelo Anthony's on-again/off-again trade to the New Jersey Nets than it deserves. 

Like about 100 times more.

For god sake, he's a @&#%$@ ing BASKETBALL PLAYER.  Not even a very good one, beyond his (admittedly stellar) offensive talents. 

Besides, as a New Jersey Nets fan (more or less) I can't help thinking that the Nets are going to be bridesmaids again on this one.  Anthony wants to play for the Knicks.  When the Nets' owner said he was out of the trade talks last year he should have stuck to his guns.  Now, either he'll just look bad again, or he'll "win" a player who doesn't want to be there, at a hugely ridiculous cost in players and draft picks. 

In any event, there are more important things to worry about then how many tens of millions some sports mogul is going to hand Carmelo Anthony for running around in his underwear putting a big round ball into a bigger round hole.

Enough already.





Ken Berwitz

After days of  Democrats, unionistas, university students and left wing activists (yeah, I know there's a lot of redundancy there)descending on Madison, Wisconsin to protest Governor Scott Walker's budget proposals, Tea Partiers and, presumably, other members of the right are going to counterdemonstrate.

Excerpted from an article by Matthew Boyle of the Daily Caller:

Tea Party leaders are organizing a counter-rally in Madison, Wisc. to support newly elected Republican Gov. Scott Walker against the labor unions that have been protesting his proposed budget cuts all week. Conservative media guru Andrew Breitbart, possible 2012 presidential candidate Herman Cain and other notables are en route to Madison for the counter-rally, scheduled to begin at noon central time on Saturday.


Walker is pushing a new budget that would eliminate some collective bargaining privileges for public sector employees, which he says has been a long time coming. Wisconsins Democratic state senators fled on Thursday to thwart a vote on the measure. There are 19 Republican senators, and while they hold the majority, 20 senators total are required for a vote. So the budget cannot pass until the GOP gets one more senator on board.


Public sector unions, led by the Democratic National Committees lobbying and campaign arm, Organizing for America, have descended on the states capitol in an effort to keep Walkers budget from being approved. Big-name union bosses such as AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka have bussed in union folks from around the country to support the cause, and Jesse Jackson appeared in Madison as well. Several public schools throughout the state have closed down due to teachers calling in sick to protest.


Saturdays counter-rally is the first of many likely counter-attacks from Tea Partiers.


Breitbart told The Daily Caller hes not sure what hell see when he arrives in Wisconsin, but expects it will be the same familiar faces that back other left-wing movements.


Im expecting hostility because dissent is no longer patriotic in Obamas America, Breitbart said.

What will happen?  Will the presence of other voices result in hate rhetoric?  Violence? 

Well, the hate rhetoric has already been there.  I (and many others) have blogged about the equating of Governor Walker with hitler, mussolini and mubarak among others.  I've shown the footage of a sign with Governor Walker in crosshairs (funny how that didn't upset almost any of our wonderful "neutral" media - the same media which accused Sarah Palin of complicity in the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords because of an electoral map she had issued almost a year before with crosshairs on Ms. Giffords' district).

And if there are clashes, who will be blamed?  Is there any doubt that it will be the Tea Partiers?  After all, they will have showed up after the left wing demonstrators, didn't they?  What right do they have to counter those demonstrations.

Ok, there are the speculations.  Now let's wait and see exactly how it plays out in the real world, and in the media coverage.

Don't expect those two to be the same.


UPDATE:  Just a few minutes after posting this blog, I saw a Today show report on the protests.  It had footage of many signs being held by the protesters.  Not one of the hate signs was shown, and not one mention was made that there were hate signs.

This is not the coverage of a neutral media venue.  This is the coverage of an advocacy group - which, sad to say, NBC joins all too many of our other media in being a part of.

They disgrace journalism.

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