Let’s Occupy the Irony

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Remember the cop who pepper sprayed the students at UC-Davis? He’s still on the job.

Why? Because the job protections negotiated by California’s public service unions—that would be the same unions, negotiating power, and job protections the pepper-sprayed occupiers were championing—have made it nearly impossible to fire public employees.

Once placed on administrative leave, he was subject to an internal affairs investigation. The law requires that its findings alone can bear on personnel actions, never mind all the useful evidence collected by the independent consultants, or the analysis performed by the panel of esteemed statesmen. The internal affairs investigation into Lt. Pike’s actions were conducted by Ed McErlain, a former police officer and “senior investigator for Norman A. Traub Associates, which specializes in employment investigations;” and Deborah Maddux Allison, “a partner with the Van Dermyden Allison Law Corporation, who specializes in employment law and workplace investigations.” They were advised by Charles “Sid” Heal, another retired police officer.

Their method and findings are secret.

The public never gets to read them.

Their report was submitted to something called the Sufficiency Review Board, which is supposed to certify its quality and completeness in another secret process. And the secret internal affairs investigation won’t necessarily lead to anything beyond the report itself . . .

Basically, California law dictates that all UC Davis can say about its most controversial officer is “the employment status of the officer, e.g., current employment status and rank.”

For now, he still works there.

Thanks to the job protections California affords to this class of public employees, the thorough, independent review available to the public and the press has no bearing on the fate of the man who inspired it; whereas whether or not he’ll continue to patrol among the very students he needlessly sprayed is determined by a secretive process wholly lacking in transparency, and accountable only to the administrative apparatus whose very failure helped cause the pepper spraying.

California, like many states, has a “Police Officer Bill of Rights,” a set of rights negotiated by the police union afforded to cops under investigation that goes well above and beyond the rights of regular citizens. In some states, if fellow officers don’t follow strict procedures while investigating another cop, the cop under investigation gets off. If you’re cynical, you might say these “Bills of Rights” are how-to guides for cops who want to help a fellow officer get away with misconduct.

I remember at one point early on in the Occupy protests, one faction of the Occupiers in New York was protesting proposed cuts in police pensions, even as the police union in New York was suing the occupiers. And as cops in other parts of the country were beating them. I guess on some level, an some odd sort of principle at work protesting on behalf of the people who are beating you.

My general take on the Occupy movement is the same view I had last fall. I think they were right in most of their diagnoses. Unfortunately, most of their proposed solutions will only exacerbate the same problems they were protesting. As in this case. Strengthen the bargaining power of public service unions, and it’s just going to get more difficult to fire bad cops. (And teachers. And bureaucrats.)

And it’s already pretty damned difficult.

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74 Responses to “Let’s Occupy the Irony”

  1. #1 |  Miko | 

    You do realize that most of the people responsible for starting Occupy (and many of the serious people involved, although it’s a big tent) are anarchists, don’t you? Reading this suggests that you don’t have a clue what solutions most of us propose.

  2. #2 |  David | 

    “Name, rank and serial number” is supposed to be for the enemy, you morons, not your employers.

    Oh…right. I forgot, we are the enemy.

  3. #3 |  Difster | 

    @Miko,

    The people responsible for the Occupy movement are boot licking statists, not anarchists.

    An anarchist wants no government, which means no social spending, no taxes, no welfare, etc. There might have been a small percentage of genuine anarchists in the group, but most of them were just dirty hippies that want government more government to solve the problems created by the government.

  4. #4 |  no spam | 

    My position on this is I’ll take the tea party seriously when they stop begging the big government for permits to protest big government and I’ll take occupy seriously when they adopt a plank of abolishing all police unions. Until then they are both just big circle-jerks.

  5. #5 |  Les | 

    Miko, do you have links to support your assertion? Wikipedia seems to not have a clue either, unless Adbusters is made up of anarchists, now.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupy_movement

  6. #6 |  pichachu | 

    no spam wins thread!

    lol buying a permit to frm the government to protest the government…daaaaamn!

  7. #7 |  Bill Poser | 

    A union contract cannot protect a police officer from criminal prosecution. In the absence of justification as legitimate police action, the officer committed assault and battery. Can’t he be charged with that crime? If he wants to claim that what he did was legitimate police work, that is an affirmative defense for which the onus would be on him.

  8. #8 |  GT | 

    There’s a market, see?

    In that market, you pay someone (pseudonymously) and furnish them with the details of some or other incident, see?

    Within 24 hours (but usually within half an hour) you get the meatspace co-ordinates of the perp, and a link to an offer page with a variety of menu items designed to change the perp’s attitude, see?

    Until these fuckbags start dying from being beaten to death in their homes (where there’s no chance of them being able to respond en masse), this shit is going to continue. Anybody who saw this video (will this link? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZW0gGKKYMg ) knows: the type of people who become cops are people who pollute the human genome. They are the same psychotype as the people who become politicians and judges. (I almost wrote ‘bad’ or ‘corrupt’ there, but since they’re ALL part of a system that is both bad and corrupt, it would have been redundant: far from there being ‘bad apples’, you can count the GOOD apples on the fingers of one hand).

    Relying on the pigs’ internal processes to properly discipline vermin like the obese retard Pike (who appears to be a woman, given the adipose tissue distribution on what passes for his meatbag)… well, that is like trying to get Eichmann to discipline Mengele – you’re not going to be happy with the outcome.

    The good thing is – these scumbags are co corrupt that they will sell each other’s personal details for a dollar a pop (so long as you buy 100 at a time).

    When the ‘system’ fails to properly administer itself, people have a duty to take matters into their own hands.

  9. #9 |  freedomfan | 

    Perhaps the anarchist leanings of the movement’s founders and some of the current members don’t get much attention. But, many people visibly supportive and involved with the Occupy movement today and certainly much of their portrayal in the popular media seem very friendly to policies that involve more government power to regulate, tax, and control. There are many Occupy people who don’t seem clear on the idea that increased regulation of banking, manufacturing, retailing, etc. are not steps toward anarchy.

  10. #10 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    It has always seemed to me that the Occupy protesters has a hash of complaints; many well founded and others symptomatic of receiving radio venus on their bridgework (fairly typical for any mass protest). Their proposed solutions struck me as reminiscent of P.J. O’Rourke’s description of the demands of some Panamanian student protesters “An anti-Capitolism, and anti-Americanism with cheese, and a small Che”. Frankly I felt (and feel) that what the Occupy protesters want has been tried extensively in Europe, it didn’t work there, there’s no reason to think it will do any better here, and can we try something else, please? But I may be being unfair. Did anybody spot anything the OWS or any of the other groups proposed that wasn’t recycled social engineering and general buttinskism straight out of the Post WWII British Labor Party play book?

  11. #11 |  Doubleu | 

    #1 Miko : I am so glad you organized the anarchist. It must have taken work to set up all those rules and regulations for the occupy movement.

  12. #12 |  Burgers Allday | 

    It is not inconsistent to pay policeman generously (read: at above market rates), and to expect them to be smarter than the underpaid policemen in the Deep South, in places like Sanford, FLA.

    Disclaimer: I , personally, am not supporting the paying of policemen at above market rates, but, IMHO, those that are way overly compensated are much, much, much less likely to pull unConstitutional shit. Still, my personal politics aside, the idea of wellpaid “blue collar” workers is part and parcel with the idea that a smooth and even distribution of wealth makes for a more intelligent and more benevolent society. I think this was one of the, if not the, central theme of OW/jurisdiction. Everybody pretends not to hear bcs Koch bros say don’t acknowledge that particular message. But, of course, you should and should more than you do now, Mr. Balko.

  13. #13 |  Pegr | 

    #10:

    Well done.

  14. #14 |  el coronado | 

    Not lookin’ good for The Cause at ALL there, Miko, my….uh….man? Perhaps a catchy – and maybe gender-specific! – chant or tune or something like that is in order here??

  15. #15 |  Radley Balko | 

    I , personally, am not supporting the paying of policemen at above market rates, but, IMHO, those that are way overly compensated are much, much, much less likely to pull unConstitutional shit.

    I haven’t seen any studies, but my hunch is that there’s no correlation at all. Look at New York City and Boston. Two cities with strong unions and very well-paid cops. Also two departments with a long history of systemic abuse, racism, and corruption. When you have a strong union, it generally means better compensation, especially when it comes to pensions and overtime. But it also usually means less accountability, more built-in protections for bad cops, and a body to formalize and enforce the blue code of silence.

  16. #16 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    Ah yes, “abolish unions”. When you start on basic worker rights, abolishing salaries is never far behind.

    That you allow abusive behaviour by Unions, now…

    @8 – So your solution is to behave like the Taliban. They do that.

    @10 – Er what? Did you miss the Occupy protesters in places like the UK? No, reigning in the power of corporatism and capital hasn’t happened in most of the EU. Where it has, the Nordic nations, they’re happy and wealthy.

    Post-WWII Labour did great things for Britain, the current party’s abandonment and indeed hostility to most of the same ideals (and the left wingers left without a 2.x party, all that FPTP allows, to vote for) explains much of the mess we’re in today here.

  17. #17 |  Mario | 

    I [the Occupy protesters] were right in most of their diagnoses. Unfortunately, most of their proposed solutions will only exacerbate the same problems they were protesting.

    That’s Hayek’s insight—when poison is considered the cure, you get more ill.

  18. #18 |  Burgers Allday | 

    New York City and Boston

    I said “above market” not “above nat’l median.”

    Out in Nassau they may shoot each other, but they don’t do the typical cop shit like Pogan or Isnora or the guy who put the square hole, with his club, in Mineo’s underwear. Sure, they were all wellpaid by Bloomington or Memphis standards. But that isn’t the Koch-O-Phobic point that you are assiduously trying to avoid.

  19. #19 |  Murc | 

    I’m curious, Radley, what’s your position on the degree of worker protections from dismissal a person should have?

    I mean, given your general stance on matters of this nature, I would suspect it comes down to “Anyone can be dismissed at any time, for any reason.” But I don’t know that for certain.

  20. #20 |  EH | 

    You people suck at focus and Miko is an unrepentant troll. This is a story about bad police unions but you can’t help but be more interested in hippy-punching. Old habits never die, eh honky?

  21. #21 |  Mattocracy | 

    Unions=workers rights? Right, because the police unions are all about “rights.” No ‘unions’ does not equal ‘slavery’ like so many people say. As if the constitution suddenly stops applying when there aren’t unions to protect poor performance and artificially inflate wages.

    The current version of labor unions aren’t designed to protect workers from having their rights violated by employers. They are designed to protect workers from accountability. Kinda like corporatism protects businesses from the free market. It’s ok to be a lefty and realize that unions are very illiberal.

  22. #22 |  JOR | 

    “So your solution is to behave like the Taliban. They do that.”

    You know what else the Taliban does?

    Breathe.

  23. #23 |  JOR | 

    “An anarchist wants no government, which means no social spending, no taxes, no welfare, etc.”

    To put it in simple terms libertoids would understand, many anarchists view the plutocratic elite as a part of the government, and treat progressive taxes/welfare/business regulations much the way minarchists (and many capitalist-oriented anarchists) treat checks and balances between the judicial, executive, and legislative branches of government.

  24. #24 |  JOR | 

    The problem with cop unions, is that they’re made of cops.

  25. #25 |  Mister Pickles | 

    “Police Officer Bill of Rights,…”

    Thank you for this article and especially the part about the above referenced quote. I just assumed officers got away with this crap because IAD was composed of sympathetic, crooked cops. Now I see that it is worse than that. The brutality & corruption are rights for the cops.

  26. #26 |  parsimon | 

    Radley, I’m not sure why the lesson you take from the UC Davis pepper-spraying incident is that public sector unions suck, when it seems from the report about the whole debacle that Chancellor Katehi gave very mixed messages in her order to disperse the Occupiers, and nobody involved in the decision making — including the university’s legal department — clearly understood anyone else.

    That report provides a story of people who shouldn’t be in charge of much of anything, no doubt about it, and the cop shouldn’t have been in possession of so-called Mk-9 pepper spray in the first place: the cops screwed up big-time, but we knew that. Should that cop be fired? Probably. But this mess is not the result of public sector unions gone wild.

  27. #27 |  Michael Chaney | 

    The occutards also tried to save the home of a police officer in Atlanta (I think) who was having his home foreclosed. Many of them at the time mentioned the apparent irony but noted that they’re a friend of all unions. They’re not terribly bright.

  28. #28 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @21 – Sure, if you’re one of the left wingnuts, that’s just great. But the right to organise as you see fit is important, and isn’t something which the mainstream left is going to let go.

    If your government gives that organisation too many special rights, that’s a completely separate issue, giving employers powers to ban organisation between their workers rapidly erodes everyone’s working conditions and pay.

    I don’t believe, bluntly, that that’s not your aim.

    @22 – Yes, thanks for that defence of the Taliban there.

    @26 – So standing up for the right thing is conditional on who the victim is? Well, there are lots of people who would have agreed. Starting with the segregationists…

  29. #29 |  parsimon | 

    I know! Why, if the home of a police officer were on fire and the officer’s children were trapped inside, an Occutard would try to save them! Hard to believe.

  30. #30 |  rmv | 

    @23 JOR

    Peaceful dissolution of the state by means of granting greater power to the state?
    Usually, a second best option is on the path to the end goal, not 180°.

    Granting power to the state = granting legitimacy to the state

    That’s usually the thinking by Anarchists

  31. #31 |  StrangeOne | 

    @25 I don’t get your point.

    So the cop shouldn’t have used pepper spray, and should have been fired for his conduct, right? But he DID use it and was NOT fired. All because of the process of accountability set up by the union. If the union is taking ownership of internal investigations, then doesn’t the complete failure of these investigations say something about the union and its priorities?

    What you’re asking is to blame the system and ignore the players that rigged the system in the first place. These things are not independent of one another. Any indictment of Pike’s behavior, and subsequent non-response to it by his superiors and peers, is most certainly a black mark against the union that protects him.

  32. #32 |  r.l.s.3 | 

    @#27 Leon
    “giving employers powers to ban organisation between their workers rapidly erodes everyone’s working conditions and pay”

    Only if the conditions and pay are artificially inflated above the fair market value.

    Here’s an interesting point: A non-union company I worked for was bought by a company that was unionized. As it ended up, our younger employees were already near the max pay the union allowed. Our more experienced ones were far over. The union had so isolated itself from the market that it didn’t keep up with rising demand in wages. Our guys quit and found other jobs.

  33. #33 |  CyniCAl | 

    “If you’re cynical, you might say these “Bills of Rights” are how-to guides for cops who want to help a fellow officer get away with misconduct.”

    These “Bills of Rights” are how-to guides for cops who want to help a fellow officer get away with misconduct.

    :)

  34. #34 |  A Few Random Morning Links … | The Pretense of Knowledge | 

    […] Let’s Occupy the Irony, legendary irony […]

  35. #35 |  Mattocracy | 

    “giving employers powers to ban organisation between their workers rapidly erodes everyone’s working conditions and pay.”

    That’s not what most free market proponents are arguing. It’s the forced unionization that is not acceptable. There are many who hold the entire idea of collective bargaining accountable for the bad actions of labor unions. That’s not right, but at the same time, there aren’t a lot of unions out there that seem to advocate limiting their own power and manipulation.

  36. #36 |  Mike T | 

    That you allow abusive behaviour by Unions, now…

    @8 – So your solution is to behave like the Taliban. They do that.

    I hear the Taliban also disapprove of rape, murder and robbery. Let’s all make a stand of principle by gang-banging a prostitute, robbing her of her pocket change and killing her to show how un-Taliban we are…

  37. #37 |  JOR | 

    #34, To be fair(?), that’s exactly the sort of thing the Taliban would do, since in traditional cultures (which Afghanistan retains) rape is a crime… against a woman’s owner (father or husband). Since a prostitute in such a culture is either unowned or an offender against her owner, raping her is permissible, especially if you execute her afterwards.

  38. #38 |  Ben | 

    #31 | r.l.s.3

    Oh give me a break. Every corporation, everywhere, will suppress pay and benefits as much as possible at all times, to maximize profit. Especially in a shitty economy such as this one, there is literally nowhere else for employees to go. They will take as many paycuts and benefit cuts as the employer wants to hand out, and there is nothing they can do. There is no leverage. Because there is functionally no market for jobs right now.

  39. #39 |  Mike T | 

    Yeah, I thought of that afterward, but then I realized that this just shows how those who immediately say “whatever the Taliban is I won’t be” cannot do that in the real world because of hypocrisy, commonality in morality, etc.

    Appeals to whatever the Taliban does are fast becoming the substance of a Godwin’s Law for the 21st century.

  40. #40 |  JOR | 

    #27, If you construe my quip as a defense of the Taliban, then clearly you must be against breathing, since every single member of the Taliban demonstrably breathes very frequently and is undeniably in favor of doing so.

    Then again, you do seem to think holding violent gangsters who claim authority accountable in effective and meaningful ways is necessarily bad because, hey, the Taliban uses violence against some people, including their violent rivals. But I then hear that cops use violence too, so I guess we’re all a little bit Taliban.

  41. #41 |  Chicagojon | 

    “My general take on the Occupy movement is the same view I had last fall. I think they were right in most of their diagnoses. Unfortunately, most of their proposed solutions will only exacerbate the same problems they were protesting. As in this case. Strengthen the bargaining power of public service unions, and it’s just going to get more difficult to fire bad cops. (And teachers. And bureaucrats.)”

    That seems to be a narrow view of one aspect of the Occupy movement. I don’t think it’s fair to say that WI protesters were demanding for strengthened bargaining power of public service unions as the unions were loosing power. IMO the protests on labor rights are more proactive towards where rights are going (see Georgia auto plants, right to work states, etc.) and likely to go (revoking of existing union rights, elimination of unions) more so than a desire to strengthen unions further.

  42. #42 |  Why is that UC Davis Cop Still on the Job? — The League of Ordinary Gentlemen | 

    […] Radley Balko explains. The short answer? Public sector unions. Occupiers, be careful what you wish for. Share and Enjoy: […]

  43. #43 |  JOR | 

    I’m not big on Godwin’s Law (or, I guess, any sort of analogue for Taliban references) but this is the sort of case that makes me sympathize with it in spirit.

    The Taliban happens to do a lot of bad things (and because they do bad things, they’re bad people, a bad ideology, a bad organization, whatever), but something doesn’t acquire badness because it’s the Taliban doing it. Substitute Nazis, Soviets, Maoists, whatever for Taliban there. It’s an important logical distinction, and at least half the time the people who invoke Godwin’s Law (or whatever analogue) are the ones failing to make the critical distinction.

  44. #44 |  JOR | 

    #29, *Rightly or wrongly, they see the plutocracy as every bit a branch of the government as the executive, legislative, and judicial system. And rightly or wrongly, to (some of) them, say, regulations on business or labor laws** or whatever are no more an expansion of state power than any other check/balance between two branches of government. And to (some of) them, ‘progressive’ tax schemes or welfare benefits are restitutional or corrective in nature, no different in principle from the government, say, paying out taxpayer money to someone suing over police brutality or a wrong door raid or whatever. All that said I don’t think many Occupy folks are anarchists of any persuasion.

    *They wouldn’t generally express it in these terms, of course, I’m trying to explain it in a way libertarians and libertoids would understand.

    **When we’re talking about the government as the employer, it’s ridiculous to frame opposition to collective bargaining or public employee unions as an opposition to government. Even libertarians who really should know better devolve into idiotic libertoids and mouth the civic textbook platitudes about public “servants” being “our” employees, (rather than the state’s), implying that cutting their benefits or whatever saves “us” money, etc. I don’t know if they’re being deliberately dishonest or if some weird psycho-tribalistic thing is happening where the intersection of their suspicion/hatred of collective labor bargaining per se and their suspicion/hatred of non-military government employees leads them to temporarily, genuinely believe incredibly stupid things.

  45. #45 |  albatross | 

    It seems to me the problem here isn’t unions or public sector unions, but rather a willingness to make deals with those unions that includes effectively making it impossible to take incompetent or criminal policemen off the force. In much the same way, if a company with a history of dumping toxic waste in some vacant lot in the middle of the night hires some toxic waste handling employees, and negotiates a deal with their union that makes it impossible to investigate any claims of those employees dumping toxic waste illegally, it’s silly to blame the existence of unions. That company likes (or at least is indifferent to) having it be very difficult to investigate certain crimes carried out by its employees.

  46. #46 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Unfortunately, most of their proposed solutions…

    can be summarized as “we just need the right guy (my guy) in office.” Had OWS had more “anti-state”, I’d have supported them more.

  47. #47 |  albatross | 

    Leon:

    Instead of magic word arguments using the Taliban, why not just call #8 out for being a really bad way of organizing your society? Places that have a lot of that stuff going on are really awful places to live, and an attempt to move any political movement in that direction will lose you most of your support, as well as justifying an absolutely brutal crackdown on at least that part of your movement.

    Organizing your society on Assassination Politics lines looks to me like a good way to turn your society into a really awful place, where almost nobody (except rich powerful people) is willing to take any unpopular public position or action.

  48. #48 |  ParatrooperJJ | 

    It’s pretty simple really – a cop asks you to do something, then he tells you to do something, and then he makes you do something. Don’t like it? Then do what you are requested.

  49. #49 |  Mike T | 

    Speaking of irony, turns out Zimmerman has a history of also confronting the police on behalf of blacks who are being victimized by police or their relatives.

  50. #50 |  Brandon | 

    “Ah yes, “abolish unions”. When you start on basic worker rights, abolishing salaries is never far behind…”

    “Oh give me a break. Every corporation, everywhere, will suppress pay and benefits as much as possible at all times, to maximize profit. Especially in a shitty economy such as this one, there is literally nowhere else for employees to go. They will take as many paycuts and benefit cuts as the employer wants to hand out, and there is nothing they can do. There is no leverage. Because there is functionally no market for jobs right now.”

    ““giving employers powers to ban organisation between their workers rapidly erodes everyone’s working conditions and pay.”

    “You people suck at focus and Miko is an unrepentant troll. This is a story about bad police unions but you can’t help but be more interested in hippy-punching. Old habits never die, eh honky?”

    “It is not inconsistent to pay policeman generously (read: at above market rates), and to expect them to be smarter than the underpaid policemen in the Deep South, in places like Sanford, FLA.”

    Wow. Ad hominems, strawmen, false choices, and stuff just straight up pulled out of Burgers Allday’s ass. Does anyone have a logically coherent defense of either public sector unions or forced unionization? Because there is not one in this thread.

  51. #51 |  Brandon | 

    “It’s pretty simple really – a cop asks you to do something, then he tells you to do something, and then he makes you do something. Don’t like it? Then do what you are requested.”

    And then there’s your standard-issue bootlicking, for those who lack the foresight to see where that leads and even the basic creativity to come up with a decent fallacy.

  52. #52 |  EH | 

    Mike T: “market-ticker.org” …really?

  53. #53 |  r.l.s.3 | 

    @#36

    Bullshit. I’ve never had a problem negotiating satisfactory pay and job conditions in the absence of a union. My work ethic and work performance is my leverage. I worked my way out of the blue collar and union dominated world precisely because in that world it is difficult, especially for a younger worker, to get adequately recognized for exceptional work. Worker seniority and maximum pay limits seem to get in the way. After some experience with this, I made sure I got myself some training in a high demand professional field, worked 10 years to get through school, and I haven’t hit a salary ceiling since.

    The last time the union at my company went on strike they managed to get a few concessions in exchange for their 3 months of being out of work. It’ll take them years to make up for the lost income. I know of at least one of them who couldn’t afford the strike and lost his home. They got screwed.

    Like Mattocracy I’m not against the right to organize, I’m against being forced to do it because I can do better on my own, thank you very much.

  54. #54 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    #36 | Ben | April 20th, 2012 at 9:15 am

    Oh give me a break. Every corporation, everywhere, will suppress pay and benefits as much as possible at all times, to maximize profit.

    This is a very simplistic view of employee relations and business. It also seems to state that there can never be a win/win in employment.

    Employers around the world openly compete for the best employees with a basket of attractive items. One of those is profit sharing (via numerous forms).

    To openly complain about “suppressing pay to maximize profits” is much like a salesman crying that his customer wants to actually pay less for a car. Doesn’t the greedy customer know the salesman wants more money? So unfair.

  55. #55 |  Mike T | 

    #36

    You left out the fact that in this shitty economy, employers are also struggling because of dropping demand.

  56. #56 |  Joseph Moroco | 

    So now someone who violates the original Bill of Rights cannot be fired because he or she has their own bill of rights.

    In the immortal words of Maynard G. Krebs, “What an age we live in.”

  57. #57 |  Federale | 

    Well, I guess you leftists have a case of not thinking about the changes you make. I guess you all aren’t as bright as you claim. You made your bed, no lie on it.

    Oh, and by the way, what was the result of the investigation? Clearly they found that the use of force was lawful. That is why he is still on the job.

  58. #58 |  Ted S. | 

    JOR wrote at 9:51 am on 20 April:

    Even libertarians who really should know better devolve into idiotic libertoids and mouth the civic textbook platitudes about public “servants” being “our” employees,

    Sometimes, I think we should treat government employees the same way we would treat hired help — and they should treat their bosses the same way the servants in 1930s films would treat their bosses.

  59. #59 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    I will vote for Ted S.

  60. #60 |  Ben | 

    #50 | r.l.s.3

    Congratulations. I’m not in a blue collar job, either, and I’m in a “high demand” field (network engineering). There isn’t any negotiating going on right now. It’s “pay cut or enjoy unemployment”. There just aren’t any jobs, unless you’re willing to do a short-term contract, and I just can’t risk my house and the livelihood of my family living quarter to quarter, hoping there will be another job to hop to in 3 months.

    And I actually agree with you on unions. I don’t think forced unionization is good. But people in this thread seem to be demonizing the existence of unions.

  61. #61 |  Ben | 

    Crap, hit submit before my last point:

    Your argument (and Boyd’s) assumes that individual employees always have some sort of leverage. I’m saying that most certainly is not the case, especially in this market.

  62. #62 |  r.l.s.3 | 

    Ben,

    We had a production contract fall through recently. The line employees (union) were furloughed. In a down market, there is less leverage for everyone, union member or not. It’s no picnic for the company either.

    There is no arguing that unions provide an additional layer of protection against being let go and that protection is useful to some, but I read too many articles about egregious behavior being protected, especially in the public sector, that results in police officers and school teachers being in positions where they don’t belong. Hence the demonizing of unions.

  63. #63 |  r.l.s.3 | 

    One other thing about the down market. I’ve had several members of my department take new jobs and quit lately. We’ve also hired a couple. I interviewed a guy yesterday. Negotiations are increasing, workforce movement is happening, and I’m hopeful the trend will continue.

  64. #64 |  Danny | 

    Glad that the special and unique toxicity of police unions is finally getting some Libertarian attention. It was a vitally important point that got lost in the Wisconsin showdown, most regrettably.

    For those slow on the uptake:

    TEACHERS UNIONS DON’T REPRESENT PEOPLE WHO HAVE THE POWER TO SHOOT YOU IN THE FACE!!!

    Sorry to have to go all-caps there, but sometimes I get a little frustrated with the slow learners.

  65. #65 |  r.l.s.3 | 

    No, but they do represent people who have the power to sexually abuse your children:

    http://articles.nydailynews.com/2012-04-05/news/31296372_1_michael-mulgrew-teachers-union-president-city-teachers

  66. #66 |  Danny | 

    That article does not bear out your characterization, rls3.

  67. #67 |  pichachu | 

    Jor “#34, To be fair(?), that’s exactly the sort of thing the Taliban would do, since in traditional cultures (which Afghanistan retains) rape is a crime… against a woman’s owner (father or husband). Since a prostitute in such a culture is either unowned or an offender against her owner, raping her is permissible, especially if you execute her afterwards.”

    If only the secret service had known that!

  68. #68 |  Les | 

    Glad that the special and unique toxicity of police unions is finally getting some Libertarian attention.

    Libertarians here, at Reason, and other places have been complaining about police unions for as long as I’ve been reading them.

    And while teachers are less dangerous than police officers, teachers’ unions work just as hard to protect their corrupt and incompetent members as police unions do.

  69. #69 |  Brandon | 

    “Glad that the special and unique toxicity of police unions is finally getting some Libertarian attention.”

    Finally? Jesus fuck, this one word somehow makes this the most aggravatingly stupid comment in this entire thread. You do realize that the article Radley linked to talks about how the Occupy liberals want to protect ALL unions, including the police unions, right? Which means they STILL don’t get the point that you were trying to make, and that libertarians around the country, especially Radley, have been flogging for years if not decades? Or did no one get around to reading that part to you yet?

  70. #70 |  orangeyouglad | 

    “…sometimes I get a little frustrated with the slow learners.” You are absolutely right, the kettle is black.

  71. #71 |  Huey Short | 

    I see where you’re headed with that article. There’s a 180 page pdf. document to be found online about the investigation at U.C. Davis, it’s very detailed. It’s an interesting read.

    What you’ll discover are mistakes by the Chancellor of U.C. Davis in her directions to police, a break in the police chain of command, a cover up, and the fears authority had based on historical area events. The type of pepper spray being used was not authorized on U.C. campuses, among many other things of note totally outside of union and rights issues.

    Of course nothing has happened to Pike and he still has his job. Unions, rights or not he’d still have his job. Why do you think peaceful students are being arrested while the high finance crooks who’ve helped ruin the U.S. who are anti-union and anti civil rights walk free today? No criminal charges have been filed against these treasonous economic criminals.

    The U.C. Davis students were also demonstrating against high tuition fees which the media chose to overlook and play up the Occupy angle. Unions are often blamed for higher educational costs however in fact administration, real estate purchases, expensive construction, and endowments that have been ruined by our national economic are the true culprits.

  72. #72 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @32 – “That the union allowed”.

    Great. Well, in the EU no closed shops are allowed. But I’m not talking hypothetically, it’s something frequently noted. And it’s SO sad that you can hold off the advance of capital into wages by heavily unionising.

    Thanks for highlighting the evils of this.

    @47 – Because the point is it ISN’T different from the Taliban. I have very little use for the police myself, but for highlighting nutty policies like that I tend to fall back on analogies. It’s one of the few things which makes people think!

    @54 – No, they don’t. There are 2 US companies who would hire me the moment I had an unrestricted right to work in America. But it’s literally not worth them TRYING to get me a visa.

    Moreover, please keep defending starvation, because that’s what it’s coming to in the West now, let alone the rest of the world.

  73. #73 |  Labor and employment law roundup | 

    […] Arbitrator: felonious Montgomery County, Maryland cops should keep disability pay [Examiner] “Cop who took naked photos of rape victim can keep pension” [NY Post] Cop who pepper-sprayed UC Davis protesters is still on job, and maybe that’s how they’d have it [Radley Balko] […]

  74. #74 |  Really? | 

    I’m not sure if there is a misconception on here that the Peace Officer Bill of Rights is a union derived document. This is a government code “Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill or Rights Act [Gov’t Code §3300]”. The unions really only provide council to the officer’s accused of violating the law. So this is NOT a union issue.

    And it cracks me up that all of you liberals are complaining of the due process this bill allows officers. It’s very similar to legal due process that protects citizens from being unfairly found guilty of our county’s laws. You will complain that a cop “gets off” because there is not evidence for dismissal but when a criminal finds a way to “get off” because there isn’t enough evidence for prosecution its okay and our system is great.

    I agree there are incidents where a peace officer should be fired for misconduct, but they all deserve the same due process you would give a criminal facing trial.

    For all of you who “haven’t really had a need for cops.” Our society is civilized because of our law enforcement and our county is free because of our military.

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