Morning Links

Thursday, February 24th, 2011
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88 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Z | 

    The whole point of being a u.s. citizen is that one person/group/party/state can’t say otherwise.

  2. #2 |  Rob in CT | 

    Quick question on the org. labor thing: is it contended that organized labor was, in the past, *more racist* than society at large? If so, perhaps that’s interesting. If not, I’m not sure what the point is. Are we now supposed to say “ah-hah! Unions were racists decades ago! They must, therefore, be wrong in Wisconsin. Phew, thanks for setting me straight!”

    [clicks through, reads Reason article]

    Yep.

    Reason points out that in the past (the 30s, in particular), labor unions were racist. Why would this be a surprise, exactly? It would be more surprising if they had not been (sadly). This isn’t the 1930s (nor the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s… etc, which is applicable to both sides of this particular argument).

    I also note the whole “unalloyed good” straw man is used. From what I’ve seen, standard RW rhetoric is about “union thugs” and “parasites.” Pointing out good things unions have done is a way of combating that rhetoric. I haven’t seen anybody actually claiming that unions – all unions, at all times – were “unalloyed good.” Good on balance, yeah, that argument is certainly being made.

    Yeesh. I’m not even in a union. I probably wouldn’t join one if I could (not that I could, since even discussing such a thing at my company is grounds for immediate dismissal).

  3. #3 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    I think the point of bringing up the past racial policies of various Unions is that a great many social institutions today continue policies of distinguishing between people according to skin color. They aren’t overtly putting brown people DOWN, but they are keeping track of who belongs to which ‘race’.

    And, frankly, anyone who thinks this tendency is wholly benign probably also believes in the Easter Bunny.

  4. #4 |  Mike T | 

    “When I tell them what I do for a living, another cop barks, ‘I’ve personally arrested a ton of pastors,'” Kurz said.

    Can’t have people going around turning people to God instead of crime, now can we? That might actually reduce the need for so many cops. Will somebody think of the police?!

  5. #5 |  Mattminus | 

    The Koch paycheck demands that every post includes some support for union busting, huh?

  6. #6 |  TomG | 

    “My biggest problem is that they treat you like a criminal before they’ve discovered anything,” Kurz said.

    Does anyone else think that cops are being encouraged to think like this during their training or at their precinct? (possibly as a pro-active, “for your own safety” measure)

  7. #7 |  M | 

    Can we give Arizonan legislators their own birth certificates that state they are not members of humanity and therefore not citizens either?

  8. #8 |  TomG | 

    Radley – I do hope you aren’t relying solely on Reason</em< for your union history. I'm pretty sure I can find some reliable left-libertarian articles that will demolish the standard right-wing "what we all know about unions". For instance, the early days of the IWW, and certain unions got co-opted by businesses to accelerate the trend we see today of unions serving primarily their high ranking officers rather than the worker-members in general.

  9. #9 |  TomG | 

    crap. No preview. The italics was supposed to end after “Reason”. sorry.

  10. #10 |  KochSister | 

    “Glossing over the ugly racial history of organized labor.”

    That article talks about organized labor in the 1930’s. Racism in the 1930’s? Ya don’t say!?!?

  11. #11 |  Mattocracy | 

    @ Rob in CT,

    Root isn’t saying what you say he is. The article is simply saying that a bunch of historians ignore the fact that unions weren’t all that progressive when it cam to racial integration, a hallmark of contemporary progressive thought.

    The article isn’t saying that the history of unions is a reason to dismiss the unions in Wisconsin. Nor is it commenting on the debate in the cheese state at all. You completely mischaracterized the content.

  12. #12 |  KochSister | 

    “The article is simply saying that a bunch of historians ignore the fact that unions weren’t all that progressive when it cam to racial integration, a hallmark of contemporary progressive thought. ”

    Please name on “progressive” organization that was not racist in the 1930’s.

  13. #13 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    It’s weird how prominently dogs, as opposed to cats or other pets,are figuring into cop stories these days, on both sides of the law.
    Bottom line, if the dogs are not working for the Badge Guys, they usually end up dead.

    I wonder if there are some canines working undercover. Or as double agents.
    Things that make you go….hmmmm.

  14. #14 |  ClubMedSux | 

    I think the point of examining organized labor’s racist past is that many people equate organized labor with social justice (completely apolitical example found in the “Stirrup Club Update” section of this blog post). When folks like Jesse Jackson compare Madison to Selma then I think it’s entirely appropriate to point out that unions traditionally have existed first and foremost to protect their own. Sometimes their interests may promote social justice, but when they do it’s purely coincidental.

  15. #15 |  Marty | 

    Yizmo- you think Hooch went undercover?!!! this adds a whole new wrinkle to things… I’m just glad the dog was able to bite the fucker before he got executed.

    ‘Can’t have people going around turning people to God instead of crime, now can we?’ yeah, ministers don’t have a loooooong history of preying on poor people… religion and crime are definitely not mutually exclusive.

  16. #16 |  GeoffB | 

    “Root isn’t saying what you say he is. The article is simply saying that a bunch of historians ignore the fact that unions weren’t all that progressive when it cam to racial integration, a hallmark of contemporary progressive thought.”

    This appears disingenuous. Assume, arguendo, that the point is correct. How is it relevant? Clearly, given the present political context, the article is being used as an anti-union data point.

    If so, the fact that its underlying logic is flawed – as noted in comments above – is highly relevant. Of course, if the the article merely argues that people today no longer believe things that people believed 80 years ago, this is so obvious that it defies publication.

  17. #17 |  GeoffB | 

    “I think it’s entirely appropriate to point out that unions traditionally have existed first and foremost to protect their own.”

    This is only appropriate if you are arguing that this is what unions are trying to do *now* – particularly since no one who was a union member in the ’30’s is a union member now. Otherwise, I think 80 years is probably past the statute of limitations on the sins of the father.

    The practice of dredging up the historical sins of various organizations to try to discredit them today is rather tedious, and in and of itself, hardly dispositive.

  18. #18 |  Marty | 

    agreed with your point about unions, Clubmedsux. even today, there are a number of parallel unions to address minority issues. There’s a lot of ‘old boy’ power in unions.

  19. #19 |  djm | 

    Mattminus

    It must be comforting knowing you can just scream “Koch Brothers!” every time you hear a libertarian argument you don’t like, avoiding the intellectually strenuous excercise of explaining why the argument is wrong.

  20. #20 |  Aresen | 

    Maybe the Az legislators could issue some special symbol for the holders of “non-American” birth certificates to wear at all times. Brown stars, perhaps?

  21. #21 |  SamK | 

    Radley,

    I’m not one to consider you particularly sensitive to political pressure by those who sign your paycheck. In that regard, I’d personally appreciate a statement/article by you stating your *personal* thoughts on the Wisconsin union busting bill/activity and protests. I know you have other things to do, but currently all we’re getting is Reason articles that seem more than a little biased…and it puts you in that camp as well when you haven’t set yourself apart. I’m not personally happy with the state of unions today but neither would I consider elimination of collective bargaining to be a step forward. The fact that the WI unions agreed to every cost saving measure proposed would seem to indicate that collective bargaining is working as intended in this case, yet vitriol continues to pour forth and the demand is breaking of the union. Unions are asinine…and they’re also the only effective means of resisting workplace tyranny for most people. The insistence on elimination of collective bargaining has only one obvious purpose that I (or apparently most of us) can see, which is gutting of pay, benefits, and labor restrictions that a union would resist. I’m sure there are some shitty teachers that would finally get fired who are currently protected, but my mother taught both public and private schools her entire life and I’ve gone to those functions, attended those schools, and bounced around enough educational institutions to know that whereas mediocrity is common, bad teachers are not. Exceptional teachers are protected by the union far more often than terrible ones, who usually find a way to get themselves fired even when they get protection.

    Look man, it’s the same story as the auto industry. The unions didn’t exactly help, but management drove things into the ground then jumped up and down to blame the unions for high costs. My dad was UAW his whole life and that gaggle of retards were overpaid twenty years ago, but they weren’t the ones who came out with the Pontiac Aztek. In this same manner teacher’s unions increase costs to a school district (but god, looking at their pay I have a hard time telling them to take large cuts) but they’re not the ones implementing NCLB, passing zero tolerance rules, or forcing conflicting restrictions on staff. They don’t get police dogs out to search lockers or 90% of the other garbage that’s terrible about schooling today which is mostly not about schooling but social instruction and intimidation. That’s my rant, I’d like to see yours instead of biting my cheek praying you’re not actually doing the bidding of corporate masters instead of standing on your own which is why I respect you. I know we disagree about things, but I’ve never considered the possibility that you weren’t 100% honorable in your presentations. If you’d take some time to assist me in that point of view I would greatly appreciate it.

  22. #22 |  ClubMedSux | 

    This is only appropriate if you are arguing that this is what unions are trying to do *now* – particularly since no one who was a union member in the ’30′s is a union member now. Otherwise, I think 80 years is probably past the statute of limitations on the sins of the father.

    GeoffB, I think that’s totally reasonable. Like I said, I saw the article more as a reaction to those who defend organized labor by citing its alleged role as a champion of social justice (something I’ve seen quite often). But certainly there are far more relevant and persuasive arguments for opposing the actions of today’s unions (and, like many libertarians, I’m not anti-union, I just don’t think they should be afforded special protection under the law); to get bogged down on an issue like that is to miss the crux of the debate.

  23. #23 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    If unions are being busted now (and I believe that this is arguable), it is because of a long history of unreasonable behavior. It’s all very well to scream “You can’t deny us the right to collective bargaining” (if that is what’s happening), but if the union has used its position to ‘bargain’ for unsustainable ‘bargains’ in the past, then it needs to deal with the political consequences.

    My Lady Wife is currently watching a lot of BBC programs about British history. Several of the go into great handwringings over the way Henry VIII broke up the monastaries, without going into the problem they represented by taking more and more land off the tax rolls.

    If the Church had been willing to meet the Crown halfway, Henry VIII wouldn’t have run the political risk involved in breaking up the monastaries. once forced to take the risk, the King made damn sure he wouldn’t have to do it twice.

    The same political logic applies to the unions. If they were prepared to be reasonable, the time to do so was a while back. As matters stand, they can count themselves lucky that their opponents are not the Nazis that the Unions claim they are, because the Nazis would do away with them. Period.

  24. #24 |  claude | 

    “Glossing over the ugly racial history of organized labor.”

    Send in the Pinkertons!!

  25. #25 |  Radley Balko | 

    SamK:

    I don’t really have time for an opus on my opinion of unions. In short, I have no philosophical objection to private sector unions or collective bargaining, though I don’t think the state should enforce them. It should all be voluntary. I think unions have a mixed history on civil rights, and have both done wonders to improve the safety and conditions of workers — and employed thuggish, often brutal tactics to close ranks. But I believe in free association and freedom of contract, so I don’t have any ideological objection to the existence of private sector unions, so long as there’s no coercion.

    That said, I don’t think public sector unions should exist. I’d be fine with making them illegal. This narrative comparing AFSCME or the Wisconsin picketers to abused coal miners or steel workers and Walker to Andrew Carnegie is absurd. These are upper middle-class people with cushy jobs that include guaranteed raises and almost no accountability. And the “big pockets” they’re protesting aren’t the Koch Brothers, they’re taxpayers. The big pockets are on the union side. AFSCME was the single biggest spender in the 2010 elections. (By the way, corporations gave more to Democrats than Republicans last cycle.)

    I especially have a problem with granting public unions collective bargaining rights, with the way membership dues are in many places mandatory, and with how those mandatory dues in part then go to support political causes. The government has no competitors, so when politicians negotiate with public employee unions, it isn’t a true negotiation. There’s very little incentive to hold back. Many times, the union helped elect the people with whom they’re negotiating, and by the time the bill comes due, the politicians doing the negotiating may no longer be in office. I also believe government jobs should exist only when they’re necessary, not simply for the purpose of providing someone with a job. You should take a government job knowing that it exists at the will and pleasure of the public, and that at any time, that job may no longer be needed. Instead, it’s the reverse — a government job has become synonymous with the idea of permanent job security.

    I have some quibbles with you exonerating the teachers unions for some of the problems you list. But there’s certainly *no* question that police unions in particular have contributed to much of the awfulness that you read about on this site.

    I don’t do full posts on this topic because it isn’t my issue. That’s why I link to people who cover it more regularly than I do.

  26. #26 |  Collin | 

    “It must be comforting knowing you can just scream “Koch Brothers!” every time you hear a libertarian argument you don’t like …”

    I prefer but..but..but George Soros!

  27. #27 |  CyniCAl | 

    “All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management.

    The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations.

    Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees.

    A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable.”

    Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1937

  28. #28 |  claude | 

    “These are upper middle-class people with cushy jobs that include guaranteed raises and almost no accountability.”

    Define “upper middle-class” as it applies in this case. I dont think 40k a year qualifies.

    Secondly, public sector employees are not entitled to less rights than other employees.

    “And the “big pockets” they’re protesting aren’t the Koch Brothers, they’re taxpayers. ”

    No, its the Koch brothers. The protesters are quite aware of who/what they are protesting. How do you think a guy named David Koch got his phone call answered right away?

    Theres a reason why the USA has professional civil service. It was a lot less fun b4 that.

  29. #29 |  CyniCAl | 

    •Puppycide in Philadelphia.

    The Drug War juggernaut never takes a day off.

  30. #30 |  claude | 

    “Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees.”

    They learned it from government.

    “A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable.”
    Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1937

    “My fellow Americans:
    Yesterday the Polish Government, a military dictatorship, took another far-reaching step in their persecution of their own people. They declared Solidarity, the organization of the working men and women of Poland, their free union, illegal.”
    “they have made it clear that they never had any intention of restoring one of the most elemental human rights—the right to belong to a free trade union.” ~Ronald Reagan

  31. #31 |  Sean L. | 

    AZ immigration:

    “Supporters of the crackdown include Katie Dionne, [...] “If their life is so wonderful why did they leave where they’re from?” she asked senators.”

    I can’t count how many levels of stupid this is.

  32. #32 |  CyniCAl | 

    Maybe if there were no professional civil service, there would be fewer people attracted to that line of work. A net positive, if you ask me.

    As for 40K/yr., please do include defined pension and health benefits in your analysis, Claude. You know, so we can talk apples/apples here.

    As for Koch Bros./taxpayers, it is ultimately the taxpayer who funds the government employee. The money can come from nowhere else. In fact, there is no more money. That’s what this is all about. Taxfeeders are trying to get blood from the turnip and are having predictably poor results.

    Next stop: civil war.

  33. #33 |  claude | 

    “Maybe if there were no professional civil service, there would be fewer people attracted to that line of work. A net positive, if you ask me.”

    Well it used to be that way. Research how well that worked out. It wasnt such a net positive.

  34. #34 |  CyniCAl | 

    You’re ignoring the difference between a private union and a public union again, claude. Rather intentionally, I presume.

    Perhaps we can agree to agree on anti-government sentiment. Can we?

  35. #35 |  claude | 

    “As for Koch Bros./taxpayers, it is ultimately the taxpayer who funds the government employee. The money can come from nowhere else. In fact, there is no more money. That’s what this is all about. Taxfeeders are trying to get blood from the turnip and are having predictably poor results.”

    And its ultimately high dollar contributers who contribute to candidates, political parties, special interests, etc. They expect a return on their investment. They have an agenda they want put front and center and carried out.

    If this union busting effort doesn’t work, Koch and Company will move on to their next initiative, and Walker will be just another “public servant” forever branded as a failure. Walker’s an investment, no more, no less.

  36. #36 |  TomG | 

    Radley – it does sound like I’d be in agreement with your reply #25. I’m betting that a lot of the bloggers who are reflexively pro-union are either ignorant of the sea change that many unions have undergone (from being pro-worker to pro-union) or ignorant of the problems of having public sector unions. Trying to convince people of the reasons why certain jobs (teachers, policemen, and other areas) should be opened to free market forces, and why UNIONS themselves should be, as you say, not subject to coercion from government or business forces…is very difficult.

  37. #37 |  claude | 

    “You’re ignoring the difference between a private union and a public union again, claude. Rather intentionally, I presume.”

    Fair enough.

    Truth be known…. youre right. Between us posters here at the agitator, i would much rather be defending a private sector union. Unfortunately, with the decimation of the middle class thats been going on, the fight manifested itself this way. I am really fighting the decimation of the middle class. There really isnt much of a private sector union base left, so im taking on the fight when the opportunity presents itself. But yes, i would really prefer to be defending the private sector union.

  38. #38 |  CyniCAl | 

    That may be the case, but you are ignoring the other side of the equation: public unions extract union dues and use the funds to purchase political candidates who then vote for lavish salary, pension and health benefits for public employees, which, while seemingly innocuous during good times, is now demonstrated to be bankrupting municipalities and states. Either the public employees keep their unaffordable compensation or services are cut to the community, there’s no other way.

    Perpetual motion machines are impossible because they’re unsustainable. The political system in place is an attempt at a perpetual motion machine. Energy has to come from somewhere. That somewhere is the taxpayer, who is unrepresented in government. As events across the Middle East have demonstrated, there is a limit to the patience of the taxpayer. Contagion is spreading rapidly, it is only a matter of time before it reaches the American shores.

  39. #39 |  Bill | 

    It is well known in Baltimore that if you are white and go through certain neighborhoods the police will stop you. They assume you are there to buy drugs. Blacks stay in black areas, whites stay in white areas – the drug war has achieved its goal.

  40. #40 |  CyniCAl | 

    I agree with you wholeheartedly that the middle class is being destroyed. As a member of one of the echelons of the middle class (really working class, but I do try to delude myself), I am acutely aware of the down-arrow trend of my class and I worry about my children’s futures.

    I also agree that the private/public distinction is critical. Freedom of association demands the right to unionize for PRIVATE entities. No disagreement there. But please consider claude, that in defending PUBLIC unions, you are arguing against your own interests. Public unions are in the business of securing the most pay for the least work, which is antithetical to the free market. And the money that pays public employees is extracted by force from taxpayers who are unrepresented in negotiations.

    If you’re making a slippery-slope argument that an assault on public unions will lead to assaults on private unions, I can respect that. But if public unions prevail, it may not matter much — what cannot be paid will not be paid.

  41. #41 |  EH | 

    Sean L.: “Your last name is the same as your husband’s. If you loved your parents, why did you change your name?”

  42. #42 |  claude | 

    “That may be the case, but you are ignoring the other side of the equation: public unions extract union dues and use the funds to purchase political candidates who then vote for lavish salary, pension and health benefits for public employees, which, while seemingly innocuous during good times, is now demonstrated to be bankrupting municipalities and states.”

    I dont think that is what is bankrupting states. Keep in mind, at one time the public sector unions had to offer maybe 2-3% better bennies to lure people from the private sector cuz at one time, not many wanted civil service jobs and private sector bennies were better, so public sector had to offer more. Whats happened over the last few decades is the rest of us have lost what we fought for while a few groups, like some public sector employees, have managed to keep more of it and lose less. A stable middle class provides a more robust tax/economic base. I prefer to ask where have the rest of the middle class gone, than to gripe at one sector of society who hasnt lost what the rest of us have.

    The problem with defending some unions is the same problem as defending certain kinds of free speech. The problem is that often you are defending scoundrels.

    The issues some people have with public unions… i get that. I do, really. If nothing else comes of this, at least it has caused some people to wake up and question why the middle class is being trounced. From my perspective, thats a plus.

  43. #43 |  claude | 

    “If you’re making a slippery-slope argument that an assault on public unions will lead to assaults on private unions, I can respect that.”

    That is part of the deal. Strong unions raise the standard of living in competing industries cuz they have to compete. Since private unions are so weak now, i take the battle wherever i find it.

    I even had my own joke for the protests. “Sure, there were 65k of them in madison, but only 10k were protesting. The rest were supervisors.” So i get the public union disdain. I do.

    A Day in the Life of Joe Republican
    http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2004/09/28/a-day-in-the-life-of-joe-republican/

  44. #44 |  claude | 

    Heh, the link i put above was meant for somewhere else. This one was meant for here:

    http://georgewashington2.blogspot.com/2010/11/fdr-wasnt-fdr-until-his-hand-was-forced.html

    (I swear. Some days im surprised i dont find myself wandering my own neighborhood in a bathrobe looking for my imaginary puppy.)

  45. #45 |  CyniCAl | 

    “I prefer to ask where have the rest of the middle class gone, than to gripe at one sector of society who hasnt lost what the rest of us have.”

    I think I caught a glimpse of the middle class last week in China and India.

    Oh, let’s face it, the 20th-Century American Lifestyle was unsustainable and we all know it. It was good while it lasted, which is curiously coincident with the incredible, unprecedented run-up in credit/debt from 1960-2007. Now it’s time to pick up the pieces and make the best of it. Like The Police sang, “When the world is running down, you make the best of what’s still around.” Unfortunately for public unions, that means being knocked down to the private sector’s level. After all, a middle-class once destroyed is never going to return, and those public employees needed that middle class to support their salaries/pensions/benefits.

    The goose that laid the golden egg is dead. Time for all of us to get to work — real work. If the market doesn’t value your services, if there’s no money to pay you, then you better figure out something quick.

    Perhaps you’re right that the answer is in unity, claude. Protestors across the Arab world are demonstrating the power of unity. I always believed that change, if not lasting change, could come from mass coordinated non-violent action like a tax strike or a voting strike. Time for a national taxpayers’ union. Or do people in general already believe that the electoral system is our taxpayers’ union?

  46. #46 |  claude | 

    “that in defending PUBLIC unions, you are arguing against your own interests. Public unions are in the business of securing the most pay for the least work”

    I really dont see that as arguing against my own interests. Dont most people try to secure the most pay for the least work? That isnt all unions do. They also try to guarantee the security of the job.

    Really all unions try to bring dignity to the work place. Some of them just get out of hand. That really can be reigned in without scrapping the whole game.

  47. #47 |  CyniCAl | 

    Thanks for the link claude, it was a good read. FDR is a very complicated subject.

  48. #48 |  claude | 

    “Oh, let’s face it, the 20th-Century American Lifestyle was unsustainable and we all know it.”

    No we dont all know that. Seems other countries have our 20th century American lifestyle without much of a problem. My friends up in Canada dont seem to be having a problem.

    (btw, they do occasionally get an american quarter, dime, nickel, or penny in their change, in case you ever wondered)

  49. #49 |  claude | 

    I think a lot of what i am seeing proposed by republicans recently has to do with a much larger issue. They seem to want to make it harder to vote. Some even tried planting the seed of “only property owners should vote”. I think republicans see the writing on the wall and they are making a power grab. The avg age of the viewer for many FOX News programs is 65 years old. In addition, in the next couple of decades white people are expected to be in the minority, with hispanics gaining the most increased population. I think republicans know if they dont move now, they will end up in the dustbin of history. The only group of voters i can see them picking up is gay white males, for tax policy purposes. Though even that group isnt to hot on republicans at the moment.

    Most of my fellow citizens cant even figure out that fox news has more viewers because it is on basic cable across the country and msnbc is on expanded basic cable, which requires buying an additional package. Fox has access to more potential viewers as a result.

  50. #50 |  CyniCAl | 

    Again, no problem with private unions, their contributions to workplace safety are a positive, but balanced against loss of freedom and barriers to entry.

    As for “most pay for least work,” all of my jobs paid what the market would bear, and the work was what it was, sometimes hard, sometimes not, but always determined by market forces. Not so in the public sector, at least not in the majority of cases, and usually by coincidence.

    In their inception, unions are designed to serve the needs of the individual members, but in almost every case, over time the union becomes an institution and the relationship is reversed, with the members becoming a means to the union’s ends. History appears to prove that this is entropic, a function of time and thermodynamic law. Only unceasing, vigilant and energetic individual resistance to institutionalization can preserve the original relationship, and time and again humans have proved too weak to achieve this.

  51. #51 |  M. Steve | 

    Did someone post this website on some sort of neo-left astroturf “go harass” list? It’s getting to the point where I hate Team Blue even more than Team Red, and I hate Team Red with the fiery passion of 1000 suns. Maybe 1050 suns for Team Blue?

  52. #52 |  claude | 

    “As for “most pay for least work,” all of my jobs paid what the market would bear, and the work was what it was, sometimes hard, sometimes not, but always determined by market forces. Not so in the public sector, at least not in the majority of cases, and usually by coincidence.”

    I think youll still find pay is based on market forces. Private school teachers make about the same as public school teachers, at least in my neck of the woods. Many times, pay raises and bennies are the only form of promotion available for some jobs. In my area, for comparable occupations, public and private salaries are fairly similar. Of course comparing non union jobs with union jobs.. you will find larger differences in pay. Non-union making less every time. The contracts unions negotiate and win, are what the market pays, or they wouldnt have gotten it.

    “In their inception, unions are designed to serve the needs of the individual members, but in almost every case, over time the union becomes an institution and the relationship is reversed, with the members becoming a means to the union’s ends.”

    There is some truth to that. Theres also truth in that it was much worse on the American worker without unions. There has to be a way to fix this where unions can have enough pull, but not too much. I sure dont want to have to shop at the company store and still end up owing money at the end of the week. This all can be fixed. It doesnt have to be a situation where either the employer can trounce a union OR a union can trounce an employer. It doesnt have be one or the other when it comes to this issue. It can be a different way. Certain problems with the way both function can be fixed.

    http://tarpley.net/2010/09/14/labor-struggles-have-delivered-economic-progress-not-the-cartelized-free-market/

    BTW, Wisconsin has the number 1 high school graduation rate in the USA. Thats how bad their teachers are.

  53. #53 |  claude | 

    “Did someone post this website on some sort of neo-left astroturf “go harass” list? It’s getting to the point where I hate Team Blue even more than Team Red, and I hate Team Red with the fiery passion of 1000 suns. Maybe 1050 suns for Team Blue?”

    I dont know. Should only certain points of view be permitted here?

  54. #54 |  B | 

    Re: getting harassed for being a white guy in a black neighborhood–

    My next door neighbor in Durham, NC, (white guy) used to work with resettled Katrina refugees, most of whom landed in predominantly black and somewhat crime-ridden East Durham. He got pulled over all the time in that neighborhood, especially if he had one of his clients in the car with him. Eventually the cops got to know him and left him alone (an advantage of living in a small city) but it really shouldn’t have taken that.

    It seems a pretty widely-held sentiment among police that if you are a white guy in certain neighborhoods you are probably there for drugs and/or prostitutes.

  55. #55 |  Rob in CT | 

    @ Mattocracy,

    I don’t buy it. I think that article was put up in Reason precisely because of what’s happening in WI. I mean, come on, let’s say some other publication puts out an article extoling the virtuous history of labor unions today. You’d think that was a coincidence? The Reason article specifically says that it’s pushback against those who are over-selling the greatness of Unions.

    I am ultimately unconvinced that public sector unions are somehow less worthy/needed than private sector ones (basically it does not appear to me that the sainted taxpayers, myself included, are any less exploitative of our employees as, say, the Brothers Koch are).

    On the other hand, I do think there is some substance to the argument regarding the monopoly or near-monoply government has on certain services, which increases the power of public sector unions (to the extent they’re allowed to strike, anyway). I think that’s a legitimate issue, but I have to believe there’s a way of counterbalancing it without removing collective bargaining rights. Further, I really believe that the problem (states staring down long-term benefit liabilities they cannot possibly pay) has less to do with the unions than it does with politicians and the public they serve (pander to, seek votes from, etc). IIRC, many states that do not have public sector unions are facing major budget problems.

    On unions in general, things I’ve always been conflicted about are the “closed shop” and “card check.” Conflicted b/c I can see from a power standpoint why such undemocratic/anti-individual liberty things might have been necessary in, say, 1920s West Virginia (just 1 example). Fundamentally those things rub me the wrong way, and yet I can’t quite figure out how those coal miners could have won w/o it. Note: I am not saying WI public employees in the 21st century are early-20th century coal miners. I really don’t think anybody else is really saying that either (the standard argument is about a slippery slope that many feel we’re halfway down already, not that WI teachers and such are fighting off the Pinkertons).

  56. #56 |  Rob in CT | 

    I can only speak for myself, but I came here originally b/c Obsidian Wings has a link. And I think somebody elsewhere (Andrew Sullivan?) linked to some of Radley’s posts. I generally think he’s a sane advocate for individual liberty, something I value a great deal even if I’m far from pure in that respect. I value more than one thing, and sometimes the things I value come into conflict and I have to choose, which gets messy. In such situations, I often end up disagreeing with Radley and other libertarians. But I like reading the arguments when they’re presented well, and engaging them at times.

    The fire of 1050 suns notwithstanding.

  57. #57 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “It seems a pretty widely-held sentiment among police that if you are a white guy in certain neighborhoods you are probably there for drugs and/or prostitutes.”

    @54B Yes, and to add an extra level or irony/complication it
    is common knowledge in the area (Durham) these same cops are getting nookie from these workin’ girls.
    http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/2020486/
    Who is it exactly these guys are “protecting?” Or “serving?”
    I lost track somewhere along the line.

  58. #58 |  claude | 

    “I think that’s a legitimate issue, but I have to believe there’s a way of counterbalancing it without removing collective bargaining rights. ”

    Thats what im looking for too. I fully believe the rights public sector unions gain or lose does have ramifications to the workers rights in the private sector. If i didnt believe whats happening in Wi with public unions would transfer to private sector unions, i would be a bit quieter about it.

  59. #59 |  Mario | 

    Regarding the cops getting off for beating the “back talking” 19-year-old in a bodega, here’s Police Commissioner Ray Kelly:

    Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters yesterday that after an investigation, neither cop will be charged with any wrongdoing. Kelly asserted that after receiving a warning about the sidewalk pedaling, Cartagena Jr. threatened to do it again, then resisted their efforts to give him a summons. “Words were exchanged,” Kelly said. “He resisted.”

    I’m sorry, but that explanation doesn’t even add up. Let’s suppose the teen received a warning and then “threatened to do it again,” in other words, gave the cop some “back talk.” Where does that video demonstrate the the teen “resisted [the cops'] efforts to give him a summons”?

    The video shows the teen and the cop exchanging words near the door of the bodega, at which point the cop immediately grabs the kid. At what point did the kid have the opportunity to “resist the summons”?

    I suspect the cops are liars and Kelly knows it. Kelly’s a liar, too.

  60. #60 |  claude | 

    “I can only speak for myself, but I came here originally b/c Obsidian Wings has a link.”

    I came here years ago cuz i heard there was a party here. I stay for the high quality very intelligent posters. :)

  61. #61 |  Radley Balko | 

    I think youll still find pay is based on market forces. Private school teachers make about the same as public school teachers, at least in my neck of the woods.

    Public school teachers make about 25-30 percent more, before benefits. Much more after benefits.

  62. #62 |  claude | 

    “Public school teachers make about 25-30 percent more, before benefits. Much more after benefits.”

    Its not so much that way here. Here they do make more than their parochial school counterparts, but not more than non religious based private schools. It has been a while since i have checked the numbers tho, so they could have changed.

    “Background

    Historically, private school teachers salaries have been less than those in the public school sector. Years ago teachers would accept a position in a private school for less money simply because they felt that the teaching environment was friendlier. Or perhaps they considered it a mission or calling. That is generally not the case anymore. Private schools have had to compete for a smaller pool of well-qualified teachers. Public school teachers’ pay has risen markedly. The same is true of private teachers’ pay. Private schools now pay very close to what public schools pay.”

    http://privateschool.about.com/od/salaries/qt/salaries.htm

  63. #63 |  Radley Balko | 

    Some even tried planting the seed of “only property owners should vote”.

    Who said that? I haven’t seen that position advocated by any prominent Republican or free market advocate.

    Most of my fellow citizens cant even figure out that fox news has more viewers because it is on basic cable across the country and msnbc is on expanded basic cable, which requires buying an additional package.

    This isn’t quite right. Fox paid cable carriers to pick up the channel early on, which was unheard of at the time. (Payment usually went the other way.) It was a risky business move for an upstart, and it paid off rather well. I’ve lived in the D.C. area, Chicago, Indy, and now Nashville, and Fox and MSNBC have always been on the same tier of channels. Perhaps there are carriers that put MSNBC on an expanded group of channels, but it’s certainly not true “across the country.”

  64. #64 |  Shannon's Mouse | 

    Public school teachers make about 25-30 percent more, before benefits. Much more after benefits.

    Private schools have the luxury of selecting their students from a privileged and educable pool of children. The supply and demand of teachers capable of teaching such children and its affect on teacher compensation is left as an exercise for the reader.

  65. #65 |  Shannon's Mouse | 

    I do love the well-timed “just throwin’ it out there” nature of the “racist union” history lesson though. What I’m really looking forward to is a Reason history lesson exploring how the Koch family’s road to riches was paved with oil extraction deals with Stalin’s USSR and oil stolen from US taxpayers. I betcha that one will be a real humdinger.

  66. #66 |  Rob in CT | 

    I vaguely remember that too…

    Judson Phillips appears to be the guy who wants to go back to property ownership as a requirement to vote. He is apparently President of “Tea Party Nation” whatever that is. Not sure if he qualifies as prominent.

    There was also the “repeal the 17th amendment” thing that went around.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/250726/repeal-17th-amendment-john-yoo

    Yoo, woo! Heh.

    I don’t think either of those got very far. Thankfully.

  67. #67 |  Medicine Man | 

    Re: The pastor in black neighborhoods.

    Racial profiling; you don’t see the term applied often when the target is white, but that’s what this poor pastor is having to deal with. That said, this is still a relatively smart and restrained form of police work.

  68. #68 |  ClubMedSux | 

    Should only certain points of view be permitted here?

    As a longtime reader and fairly regular commenter, I like to think that thoughtful dissenting opinions are respected here, even if they are vigorously challenged by the libertarian majority. It’s folks who spout out Republican or Democratic talking points who get ridden out on a rail.

  69. #69 |  SamK | 

    Thanks for the time Radley, that’s all I needed :)

  70. #70 |  SamK | 

    Oh, and I’m with Claude at #58. Removing some power, retaining collective bargaining. I would definitely like to see the forced automatic withdrawal of union dues go away. I’ve argued it a number of times and get yelled at, usually something about how it will destroy the union. My take is that so long as the collective bargaining right exists, and so long as the union is doing real good, they’ll have paying members. As the need for them disappears so will their power, rightly so. That said we must then preserve their ability to rise quickly and respond when a power hungry tyrant arises publicly or privately. The fact that public sector jobs are more difficult to work with philosophically does not mean those working in the public sector should be desperate slaves without recourse. Yeah, I think most people in right-to-work places fit that description.

  71. #71 |  travis | 

    “The officer who was bitten on the ankle was brought to the Presbyterian Hospital. His condition is not yet known.”

    Does anyone know if he’s OK?

  72. #72 |  Pablo | 

    #66 Rob–does “property owners” include someone who is upside down in their mortgage? Id say such people don’t own anything, and are just leasing their homes from the bank.

  73. #73 |  M. Steve | 

    My point wasn’t that The Agitator ought to be only a Libertarian sandbox, simply that unrecognized usernames are popping up, yelling “Koch Sucks”, and demonstrating no actual understanding of the topics discussed here by Radley, nor the positions the commentators are prone to take. That’s why I hate Teams Red and Blue; the mindless following of top-down directives thinly veiled as “grass-roots action”.

    And, for the record, I am a steadfast supporter of 17th Amendment Repeal. We already got the 18th, let’s go one lower!

  74. #74 |  Les | 

    Regarding the Kochs, this is pretty funny.

    http://www.reddit.com/r/politics/comments/frrth/stop_the_koch_brothers_they_are_trying_to_end_the/

  75. #75 |  lunchstealer | 

    If Arizona starts producing invalid birth certificates, it seems like a simple solution to simply cease accepting Arizona birth certificates at the Federal level. If Arizonans want to opt out of the US Constitution with respect to birth certificates, I figure the US State Department can opt out of accepting Arizona birth certificates as proof of citizenship.

  76. #76 |  KochSister | 

    “#66 Rob–does “property owners” include someone who is upside down in their mortgage? Id say such people don’t own anything, and are just leasing their homes from the bank.”

    That means Radley (or any other renter) wouldn’t be able to vote either, since they are just leasing their residence from a landlord.

  77. #77 |  Pablo | 

    #76 KochSister–agreed–I don’t subscribe to the idea that only “property owners” should be allowed to vote, one reason being that determining who is a “property owner” is not always simple or clear.

  78. #78 |  supercat | 

    The biggest problem with the ‘right to collective bargaining’ is that the term is used to mean two different things:

    -1- The right of a group of workers to voluntarily decide that they will not compete with each other on certain issues.

    -2- The “right” of a group of workers to forbid any other workers or prospective workers from competing with them on certain issues (and in many cases–on top of that–to demand payment from anyone who wants to compete with them even on permissible issues).

    Only one of which is really a right, and leftists smear any effort to restrict the second as an effort to restrict the first. Even public sector workers have the right to the first form of collective bargaining; if nobody is willing to work under the terms those in charge of government agencies want to offer, then those agencies will have to offer better terms. Nobody really has the right to the second form of collective bargaining, but that doesn’t stop some governments from enforcing it.

  79. #79 |  supercat | 

    # #33 | claude | “Well it used to be that way. Research how well that worked out. It wasnt such a net positive.”

    The civil service system was certainly an improvement for awhile. Unfortunately, it lacks the turnover and accountability that are necessary to stop an organization from metastasizing until it becomes a cancer that values its own preservation and self-interests above those of the host society. Having government agencies bound to do the will of elected officials isn’t great, but giving them unchecked free reign to do their own will can be even worse.

  80. #80 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    New Rule: See union post…go to Reddit for cat pics to avoid Union Fan Boys…positions so lame so tired.

    I don’t think public sector unions should exist. I’d be fine with making them illegal.

    This has been my position for more than a decade. Still haven’t budged.

  81. #81 |  Bobby | 

    Illegals are NOT “immigrants,” they are criminals.

    People who apply, wait, and come with papers are immigrants.

    Those who obey the law are, and should be, favored.

    Those who break the law should be barred from benefitting from their crimes. That’s the way it is. That’s the way it should be. No amnesty, go back to your country.

  82. #82 |  Aresen | 

    travis | February 24th, 2011 at 4:25 pm
    “The officer who was bitten on the ankle was brought to the Presbyterian Hospital. His condition is not yet known.”

    Does anyone know if he’s OK?

    Haven’t RTFA, but I am assuming that “he” refers to a dog.

  83. #83 |  Zeph | 

    #81 Bobby, I gather you’re not a big fan of Rosa Parks.

    Everyone is a criminal. The laws are myriad, labyrinthine and unknowable. They are not intrinsically just or moral. They deserve no respect.

    You get no free pass for obeying an evil law. See Nuremberg Trials.

  84. #84 |  supercat | 

    #83 | Zeph

    People who can shed their identity at will are able to escape accountability for crimes and torts, far more readily than those whose identity is firmly established. I see no rational basis for believing that people who are allowed to commit crimes and torts with impunity will not take advantage of this; thus, I see nothing wrong with requiring that people who come to this country have a firmly-established identity, and forbidding people from entering this country without one.

  85. #85 |  RWW | 

    Bobby, take your laws and shove ‘em.

  86. #86 |  derfel cadarn | 

    More police professional. Isure feel safer these morons are on the job!

  87. #87 |  JOR | 

    “Public unions are in the business of securing the most pay for the least work, which is antithetical to the free market.”

    Er, the market is process of everyone trying to secure the most pay for the least work (that’s what profit is). The free market is where everyone does so while forgoing theft, fraud, and domination.

  88. #88 |  Bob Weber | 

    Puppycide link isn’t working.

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