Saturday, July 2, 2011

Public Unions, the War on Smokers, and ACORN - What Do They Have In Common?

Daniel Bice over at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Online informs us that, "Firefighters union throws cold water on 9-11 float".  (h/t Bot for spreading the news)

The reason behind this union decision is the sponsor of this particular float, Matt Gorniak, has opted out of the union as allowed by a provision in his contract in that employees may elect to pay only their fair share of the union dues which are used for the associated costs of negotiating contracts.  Under Wisconsin state law, employees do not have to pay the portion of dues that funds the union's political lobbying, social, and ideological activities to the labor organization, but may instead donate that portion to a charity.  This applies as long as such a provision is approved by referendum under the bargaining unit agreement with the employees.

I've said before that we shouldn't judge all teachers (or cops or firefighters for that matter) by the spectacle of the union protests in Madison.  Many were silent for obvious reasons and it's a good development to see some start opting out and speaking out.  It warrants repeating:
"Let's not forget that at least some of the teachers, especially the many good ones, have a right to be indignant over some of the gross generalizations thrown at them during this ordeal, and to be fair, that may have fueled some of the ferocity of the protests. There are certainly many, many more good teachers out there than there are bad ones. However, those good teachers do need to understand that is part of the price of collective bargaining. You band together with other people whose ethical and moral value systems may differ significantly from your own then you'll get painted as such by the association. But sadly, many of those have been forced to join the unions and co-opted to accept coworkers who just can't cut it while the unions protect them which diminishes the strength of the organization. When you allow such corruption into your midst, it's too bad but you get the stink all over yourselves. It's no different than good cops protecting bad cops with the blue wall of silence. So you must make your decisions to organize carefully, and afterwards, strive diligently to weed out the corruptive practices."
I have no doubt there are plenty of good, honest teachers who didn't support those demonstations and the underlying principles and misconceptions.  This predicament about the float illustrates a very strong reason why most simply choose to remain silent.  However, this is why they must strive to diligently to weed out the corruptive practices.  To see some start taking a stand and speaking out is also why we must be careful not to disparage all with broad generalities.

Gorniak has emerged as one such leader amongst the firefighters (many of whom expressed support the for teachers' protests), in that he stopped being quiet and started to fight for his own individual rights over the coercive power of the group.  Bice reports at least one other firefighter who also opted out and is disgusted with the union's position in this matter.
Mike Gabbey, a veteran firefighter who also resigned from the union earlier this year, said most of his colleagues don't even know what is going on with the parade float. But Gabbey predicted a huge backlash once word gets out.
"I've got to think most of the guys would agree with me: This has nothing to do with politics," Gabbey said.
We can only hope that Gabbey is right about a backlash developing.  The blowback on this as word gets out to more firefighters may be what will ultimately weaken the unions much more than Governor Scott Walker's bill to curtail some of their collective bargaining privileges.

Public employee unions have enjoyed increasing influence in government.  As with any attempt to route out corruption by investigators, one premise is to follow the money.  The powers of government must be curtailed and put back into the box as was framed by our Constitution or we will all eventually feel similar pain to that felt by union members forced to provide funding for political activities and causes which diametrically oppose their own ethics, principles, and beliefs. 

We all feel that pain to some extent now, it's just not readily apparent to everyone even though it's a source of their anger exhibited in most political discussions.  It's because so many of us feel others are forcing their beliefs on us and we're powerless to stop it.  For example, following the money shows exactly what smokers endured in the never-ending war on smokers with excessive taxation that was handed to anti-smoking organizations to churn out more propaganda justifying taking even more from smokers. 

And it doesn't stop there, but moves on to other victims as seen by the decade long battles to legislate of smoking bans to deprive private business owners the use of their property as they see fit.  Yes, there's money in that too.  It allowed growth of local authorities to hire more compliance workers who levy fines on non-compliant businesses.

That, my friends, is how tyranny develops.

If you still have doubts about the tyranny of big government, remember the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN)?  There was a bill, Defund ACORN Act, and ACORN's last appeal to the US Supreme Court was recently denied in their effort to try to restore federal funding.  It was a big thing in the news for weeks, but now relegated into obscurity. 

But ACORN's story doesn't end there.  You know this stuff never goes away. 

Matthew Vadum over at The American Spectator informs us that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has recently awarded a small grant to the Affordable Housing Centers of America (AHCOA), which is just another name for what ACORN evolved into to hopefully get rid of the some of the stink.   

Now Obama is trying to raise a billion dollars for his reelection.  Things like this beg the question, "What better way is there to raise that amount of money than to give it from the public coffers to the organizations and very same people who helped  fund his campaign and supported him '08?"

It doesn't matter what ACORN transmogrifies into in the future or what other organizations the rats leaving a sinking ship may climb onto for new rides if it does split up and go away.  They were comprised of a group of people well versed in applying for government grants, they're still out there, and they will always be looking to get their hands on your tax dollars. 

One way to get this under control is to hold government agencies accountable by fixing, limiting, and periodically auditing their award processes to ensure the money is being used for the betterment of the public good, not special interests.  Better yet, we could just get rid of these federal government agencies performing tasks which were not specifically enumerated within the Constitution as Ron Paul wants to do.  The government really has no right to steal the fruits of our labors and give them to other people, especially those who wish to do many of us harm for their own gain.

So...  Are we ready for Liberty yet?

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