Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Iron Fist of Governor Mubarak

Well, it’s the weekend and time to look in the old mailbox. Two of these letters are from actual comments on my last post.  See if you can guess which ones.

Dear Mondo Media:  I realize there are laws dictating the options available to public unions, e.g. disallowance of strike, but would not Mr. Walker's unilateral disemboweling of union protections lift those legal constraints? – jimspice

Dear jimspice: Well, you’d think that employees who made the compromise of working under a no-strike statute in exchange for standard and previously uncontroversial collective bargaining rights would then retain the rights of other free humans once their right to bargain is eviscerated in a “budget repair bill” that has nothing to do with the budget.  You would be wrong. Besides threatening to sic the National Guard on misbehaving state employees and leaving untouched the prohibition on strikes, the  “budget” bill, amends the statues to allow for the firing of those who take just three days off, slows down, makes a face…well, let’s let the governor’s bill-drafters at the WMC take it from there:

“during a state of emergency declared by the governor under s. 323.10, an appointing authority may discharge any employee who does any of the following: a. Fails to report to work as scheduled for any 3 working days during the state of emergency and the employee’s absences from work are not approved leaves of absence. b. Participates in a strike, work stoppage, sit−down, stay−in, slowdown, or other concerted activities to interrupt the operations or services of state government, including specifically participation in purported mass resignations or sick calls.”

Get it, state employees planning to take a personal day this week, when rallies have been scheduled for the State Capitol?  You can also look forward to a threatening reminder in your inbox on Monday morning, reminding you about the prohibition against personal use of e-mail in the workplace (or imposing a prohibition if one is not in place), along with the governor’s “emergency” declaration.  Planning to wear red to work in solidarity with the protest?  Better be ready to defend that to the incredibly weak Personnel Commission after you get disciplined.  Most amusing is the prohibition against “mass resignations”.  You can’t even quit.  Did someone get laughed at for saying something about slavery?

You would think, dear reader, that a party in total control of the government that is making radical changes to the very structure of its relationship with its employees would allow those employees to at least vent and work to affect the political environment under which they work for all the people of Wisconsin (not just those in power).  Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak would still be in charge if he had just allowed a modicum of pretend-democracy and a legitimate voice for the opposition.  Instead, he tried to bottle it up and outlaw dissent, leading to his demise just this week.  The only difference between Mubarak and Walker is that Mubarak has now learned his lesson and Walker has not.  Yet.

Dear Mondo Media:  I am on the editorial board for a major metropolitan newspaper with dwindling circulation.  Although our paper endorsed Scott Walker for governor, the majority of the editorial board has disagreed with many of his radical law changes and the destruction of state government disguised as “jobs” and “budget bills”.  This is not a surprise, since we disagreed with him on most issues during the campaign.  However, since we endorsed the guy, we find ourselves having to support many of the initiatives of the Republican jihad since it took power.  We offer grudging, weak criticism (“we wish he wouldn’t” disenfranchise thousands of voters through Photo ID; blowing up public employee bargaining is “not needed”) when we find, through an examination of our former principals, that we disagree.  After all – he’s our Boy.  However, with radical tea-party-talk-radio Republicans in control of both houses of the legislature walking in lock-step with the agenda emanating from the salons of Washington and the WMC, we are concerned that we might have to actually take a stronger stand against the regime, incurring the wrath of the more-powerful talk-radio side of our parent company.  In addition, what’s all this about the National Guard?  Do you think the tanks can find State Street on a map? – JS

Dear JS:  You are badly in need of an intervention.  Seek professional help immediately.  In the meantime, look at your lesser peers in the state media (for instance, the Cap Times) and try to figure out what they get that you don’t.  Remember – you are one of the last grown-ups still existing in a media environment ravaged by talk-radio, sensationalist children and empty-headed, transient TV personalities.  You have an obligation to everyone in the state to get off your defensive stance and rediscover your common sense roots.

Begin by repenting for your endorsement of Walker for governor.  Scott Walker is not doing anything as governor you could not have predicted from his years sniffing after Scooter Jensen in the legislature; his years of non-governing and political posturing as Milwaukee County Executive; and his five hours of talking on the phone to talk-radio hosts every day of the campaign.  You knew he was an empty suit with an agenda drafted in the right-wing “think-tanks” in Washington and the WMC when you endorsed him.  Alright, so maybe you didn’t know for sure that the legislature would turn from Dem to Rep and act as a goose-stepping rubber-stamp for his radical agenda.  But you chose to ignore that you mostly agreed with Tom Barrett and, instead, gave your valued imprimatur to Scott Walker.  Repent. Souls can be saved, or so I’ve heard.

After that, it should be easy to get on your high horse and scream about what the hell Walker and the Republicans are doing to destroy government in Wisconsin.  Such an acceptance of your failings will mean the end of the type of ludicrous editorial you posted today, praising Walker for unilaterally requiring public employees to make increased contributions to their pension and health care costs they would have bargained for anyway and ignoring the elephant in the room of the death of collective bargaining in Wisconsin.  “If the point is to balance the budget, these provisions are not needed.”. “Not needed”?? No.  “Not needed” would be something like eliminating wetlands protection for a parcel in Green Bay for a company that will not build on it, no matter what your rich contributor says.  Blowing up collective bargaining for public employees in Wisconsin is a radical, unprecedented power grab by an out-of-control ideologue who doesn’t care what you think.

Once you take this crucial step, JS, you will be well on your way to a happier existence and, unlike Republicans, you’ll sleep better at night, knowing that you are supporting good government in Wisconsin rather than destroying it. Staying on your current path can only lead to deeper sadness – both for you and the people of Wisconsin.

Dear Mondo Media: to jerk-off aka x*** grow up with your retarded comments, 70% of Wisconsinites support Walkers attempt to Make state union workers to pay a modest increase in there bloated benefits pkg. Walker is doing a great job. Mike go f**k yourself loser!

Always good to hear from what passes for a mainstream Republican these days.  Thanks for sharing and letting us all know what kind of reasonable people you really are. 

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