Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Laughing at Andrew Klavan.

Here's a funny video that an old friend of mine posted to Facebook. It features a journalist named Andrew Klavan, who attempts to discredit public sector unions. See how many fallacies you can spot! I found oodles of them!


Let me begin with the most obvious mistake this guy made. He says unions form, getting more money until their employer goes broke, and then has to go out of business, getting an "important lesson in being nice while the now unemployed workers enjoy a hearty laugh at his discomfiture."

Bullshit. If the union drives the business to close, the unemployed workers will be the ones discomfited because they are now unable to make a living, and the now ex-employer will be just fine, secure in the interest he can still live off of. Believe me, the workers wouldn't be laughing at jack shit!

While it's true that unions have occasionally driven companies out of business (Allis Chalmers and the Schlitz Brewery are two examples that come to mind), a union is best served by playing it smart and not doing that. It's a foolish boy who kills his golden goose. Unions are only as good as the union's leadership, and if workers allow their union leaders to get away with the same sort of shenanagins we let other politicians get away with, then the union might well do something stupid enough to induce an employer to close. The price of democracy is constant vigil. The price of being a union member - doubly so.

But if a union does destroy a company, it must be remembered why certain union leaders developed the kind of "take no prisoners" attitude that causes them to sometimes be unreasonable, and still occasionally persists to this day. It happened when unions were just beginning to form, and corporate giants responded with extreme violence, having picketers beaten, jailed, union leaders shot and killed, turning the police on protesters, and a host of other evils. True, this happens seldom today, but many of today's union leaders are still the sons of the men who were beaten with nightsticks only a few short decades ago. The rich employer didn't grant unions their rights by "being nice." The union got its rights through blood, broken teeth, and fractured bones. Let us never forget that.

I love the cherry-picked footage of the protesters in Madison, which is honestly one of the nicest cities you'll ever visit. It's Berkley, California, but with snow. After nearly four weeks straight of non-stop protests in Madison, it's not surprising a few nuts turned up. I'm surprised that more footage wasn't found instead of the 15 seconds worth shown in this video. I'm sure that this fellow would argue vehemently about how showing a picture of the tea-partier holding the sign that said "keep government out of my Medicare" is out of context and unrepresentative of the movement as a whole. Right back atcha regarding the union protesters, big guy!

He says unions are saying that "elected american officials, working to reform public sector unions, are akin to the tyrants in the middle east in the sense of... fara fubu faa."

Fara fubu faa?

Okay, that's not an argument. If you want to call the opposition a big baby, don't yourself talk like one!

Here's the sentence he meant to say: Budget-slashing governors are akin to tyrants in the middle east in the sense that both are angry despots. I've watched Walker for over a decade now, and never was there a politician more despotic than he.

And WHAT "reform" is he talking about? I'm in favor of collective bargaining reform, and reform of the union structure. But this isn't about reform. It's about union destruction. Scott Walker outright said so.

Kings and princes being likened to unions? Don't they wish!

Using that kind of image, this guy clearly seems to think that public workers are overpaid. It's been said before, and it bears repeating: When you compare similar education levels, public workers get paid significantly less than the private sector. Since a teacher or fireman could get paid more outside in the private sector, employee retention becomes a serious problem. When collective bargaining attempts to raise the wages up to what the free market says they ought to be, politicians typically say no, opting to try and short-change that which is in the public interest, especially for teachers, and firefighters. (Not so much police, because they know that an unhappy police officer is a very, very bad thing for everyone.) So, to make up for their myopia, and ensure that public employees actually want to apply for the lower-paying jobs, they are forced to sneak in perquisites or additional retirement benefits. These often work, and people want to get hired for lower pay - but not always. And slash-and-burn politicians often want to take even that away. Then we wonder why we're short on science and math teachers.

I love the part about public sector unions buying elections. He left out the part where the Citizens United ruling (a goddamned 5 to 4 decision, by the way!) allows big corporations to dump millions into elections. The only Davids left to fight these Goliaths, are those few unions which are left.

This guy thinks that's unfair? Unbalanced? Then we'll let him have our union dues if he'll take away Citizens United, how's that?

I'll bet he wouldn't bite.

He says that the bought elections ensure that the unions will take more of your money until you "have no more money left." Seriously, folks, as soon as you hear something like that, you know you're listening to a hyper-extremist hack. Of course they're not going to take ALL your money! Not even Charlie Sheen would exaggerate that much!

This is yet another thing that got posted to Charlie Sykes' blog website. Oh, Charlie! How I miss the old days when you were more rational! What's happened to you, poor soul!

I guess the same thing that's happened to much of the nation: The disease of polarization has infected his brain.

Get well soon, Charlie Sykes. We miss the old you.

Eric

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