Corruption: January 2011 Archives

Christie Gets Real

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New Jersey governor Chris Christie gets real when talking to a police officer complaining about the raise he received.

Policeman: "My salary went up 2%. And after the increase in my healthcare costs went in, do you know how much my check went up Sir? $4. How am I supposed to live on that?"

Gov. Christie: "Here's the difference. You're getting a paycheck. And there are 9% of the people in the state of NJ who are not."

Christie also hammered home the point that many of those still employed in the private sector in New Jersey haven't received pay raises of any kind for years, but their costs and taxes have kept going up. And he added a truth many in the public sector have yet to recognize.

"Other politicians made you promises they couldn't keep," Christie said. "I'm the guy who has to be here when the party is over."

What's telling about the video linked above is that as Christie was answering the police officer, many of those attending the town hall meeting applauded. At least they get it. He talked about the layoffs of police officers and firemen in cities like Trenton, Camden, and Newark, forced upon the cities because the unions were unwilling to compromise and the cities had no way to pay all of their employees.

Christie isn't saying anything earth shattering. Nor are the problems he outlines limited to New Jersey. Many states are facing the same financial crisis - too many promises made by politicians with no way to pay for them. It's a shame California doesn't have a Christie, someone willing to stand up to the public employee unions and tell them some very hard truths.

AQIM in the Sahel

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This sounds like something from a novel.

There are other lawless regions where al-Qaeda operates, outside Pakistan. The AQIM (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) is becoming an increasing player. Poor Edwin Dyer, a British tourist abducted and later killed by the group. Probably brutally beheaded.

French officials say the vast territory in which AQIM operates is essentially lawless and is outside the sovereign reach of governments.
Does anyone know what the Sahel is?
Just when the economy seems to be showing signs of turning around (but slowly) there comes the news from the UAW and the AFL-CIO that they will be working to stop that recovery in its tracks. Of course they aren't selling the idea the plans they've put forward will do that, but they will.

First, the UAW tells the foreign automakers with plants in the Southern states that they will be unionizing them. Never mind that most of those states are right-to-work states. (That means there is no such thing as a closed shop, where it's mandatory to be a union member in order to work there.) Never mind that the UAW has done such wonderful things for the domestic automakers, like driving two of the three of them into bankruptcy. Never mind that the union leadership really doesn't give a damn about the rank and file rather than the union dues they collect from them which allows them to buy votes at the state and federal level.

Second, the AFL-CIO has targeted groups like the Girl Scouts, the American Red Cross, and the Salvation Army in an effort to force small business owners and their employees into labor contracts neither wants. In effect they want to ban those groups from fund-raising through those businesses unless the unions can launch unionizing efforts without restraint (with the only restraints being laid entirely upon the business owners).

While in the past unions had their legitimate functions and did indeed protect workers, those days are long gone. What the unions fought to achieve has been codified in labor law. Now their only function seems to be extorting businesses into increasing their costs with no benefit to either the business owners or their employees. The only benefit comes to the union leadership.

Far too many unions seem to have the attitude that jobs are 'owed' to their members and that anyone coming along capable of doing the same jobs more efficiently and cost effectively are anti-union, or worse in their eyes, 'scabs'. Both my wife and I have seen this attitude first hand.

I worked in the defense industry for 20 years, all of it with one employer and, unfortunately, under the same union. My first hand view of working under a union contract left me with a distaste for all things union. Far too often you'd hear some of the more rabid union members or shop stewards admonishing someone for working too hard, being accused of "killing the job." On more than one occasion I was told that and my response to them was invariably "Screw you. They pay me to work, so I work. If you can't keep up that's your problem, not mine." That attitude was endemic in every facility where I worked. That is not the attitude of success or a means of keeping a job. You kill jobs by not performing, period.

My wife works for the state of New Hampshire and by default she's a member of the state employees association (i.e. the union). On more than one occasion she's heard the stewards come around trying to get their fellow employees to sign petitions against reforming the state pension system (in order to make sure it stays solvent) or allowing the state to outsource some functions (groundskeeping, housekeeping, laundry, etc.) as a means to save money. They seem to have the attitude that the state jobs are theirs for life and that it's wrong for the state to take measures to balance the budget by cutting costs. The act as if they are entitled to what they have. They're wrong.

If we need yet another example, all one needs to do is look at Detroit to see how unions have made a bad situation in the Motor City even worse. In this case the city has been closing schools and greatly increasing class sizes (up to 60+ per class) in order to cut costs. But the cost cutting isn't being done to save the taxpayers of Detroit (or what's left of them) any money. Instead, the savings will be used to pay pensions and benefits to the city's union employees. The city is committing economic suicide at the behest of the unions. Without a decent education system, the city is condemning its own children to economic doom, shortchanging them before they even finish school (if the even manage to do so).

As one commenter wrote:

Unions breed selfishness, undermine education, and destroy initiative, wherever they roam.
I'd say that's just about right.
Amidst all the hoopla over the Tucson shootings and the Left's efforts to paint them as a politically motivated assassination attempt by the Right (namely Sarah Palin and the Tea party) there's something these hate-mongers/fear-mongers have overlooked: violence in the US is is much lower now than it was in 1992. But you wouldn't know it to hear the media and the Progressives talking about it. So many people seem to think violent crime is a greater problem now than it was 20 years ago, but it's not.

I wonder how many Americans know that the country has never been less violent. Yet the establishment keeps telling us that we are under constant threat from violent elements among us and from abroad. We don't feel safe in this country because it doesn't serve the political power agenda.

So another sickness this incident draws attention to is how, in the absence of rampant violence, those with the microphones and who drive the national narrative insist on magnifying and manipulating every single act by a few nuts, especially white nuts...

Crime statistics the violent crime rate is almost half of what it was back in 1991, but it's still higher than it was 50 years ago. And one must also remember one particular violent crime - rape - was greatly under-reported due to the stigma laid upon rape victims 30, 40, or 50 years ago.

But none of this makes any difference. The Left will still make the accusation that the Tea party, the GOP, conservative talk radio, and particularly Sarah Palin are to blame for what's happened. Fortunately for us, Sarah Palin has a response to that canard, extending her condolences to the families who lost loved ones and condemning those libeling her, the Tea party, and others by saying they are responsible for the madman committing such a heinous crime.

Sarah Palin: "America's Enduring Strength" from Sarah Palin on Vimeo.

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